Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bad Arguments Against ENDA:

With Bush's threatened veto of a federal sexual orientation antidiscrimination bill, you knew you could count on the antigay right to come forth with bad arguments against it. There are good arguments, I think, against antidiscrimination laws that apply to the private sector in general. The best argument I could imagine against adding sexual orientation is we shouldn't expand what is already a set of liberty infringing litigation encouraging laws. However, the antigay right tends to argue the indefensible: the laws are just fine, those groups already protected deserve to be there, sexual orientation doesn't.

Take for instance, this article by Harry Jackson:

Let me give you a list of five of the most important reasons we are against this legislation.

1. ENDA would overturn the historical basis of protected class status by adding “actual or perceived sexual orientation.” While every other federally-protected class embodies three standards: an obvious, immutable characteristic; a history of discrimination evidenced by economic disenfranchisement; and political powerlessness, “sexual orientation” falls under none of these criteria. It is an insult to African Americans to grant special protections for “sexual orientation.”

He bombs with his first reason. I don't know what planet he is living on. Federal law currently protects not just race, but ethnic origin, color, gender, religion, age, disability and pregnancy. Religion is obviously not immutable, otherwise there would be no reason to proselytize. Neither are pregnancy or age, the latter of which is in a constant state of flux. And because people tend to amass more wealth as they age, older folks are richer than younger.

Gays don't need to make a near perfect analogy to blacks for "sexual orientation" to "qualify" as a protected class. Can anyone with a straight face assert the aged or disabled have suffered more oppression from society than have gays? We could just as easily assert "It is an insult to gays to grant special protections for the aged [which is defined as people over 40] and disabled" while not protecting them. The way current anti-discrimination laws are structured, one cannot plausible argue the list makes sense as it is and sexual orientation does not qualify according to its criteria.

Next we have Peter LaBarbera who inaptly appeals to America's founders:

"Homosexuality is not a 'civil right,' it is a human wrong – one that is redeemable as proven by thousands of contented former homosexuals and ex-lesbians. Our Founding Fathers, infused with a biblical view of fallen man, created limited government that sought to restrain the sinful outworking of men's hearts … The law once punished sin (e.g., sodomy and anti-abortion laws), so it is preposterous to say that homosexuality affirming laws are necessary to uphold basic 'constitutional rights,'" LaBarbera said.

America's key founders while certainly not "pro-gay" by any stretch of the imagination, were not "infused with a biblical view of fallen man," and their creation of limited government was not to seek "to restrain the sinful outworking of men's hearts." The problems with LaBarbera's assertion:

First, it seems to me that limited government would not suffice to restrain a nature that was so fallen. The law of Moses, for instance, was the antithesis of a "limited government" that granted political liberty, because it regulated virtually every aspect of an individual's life! Limited government arguably implies confidence in man's nature -- in man's ability to rule himself.

Second, Jefferson, the author of the Declaration, outright rejected original sin, and Washington, Adams, Madison, and Franklin rejected Calvin's view of total human depravity and viewed man's nature as partially fallen, capable of great good or great evil.

Third, their attitude on the fallibility of the Bible was a cafeteria rationalism that thought man's reason could "edit" those parts of scripture they deemed "irrational." This, it seems to me, is exactly what pro-gay theologians do when they try to scrub out the antigay passages from scripture.

Finally, these founders did grant, as a basic civil right, the right to violate not just the Bible, but the very First Commandment of the Ten Commandments. Every single one of those 5 key founders (as well as many other non-key founders) believed in granting the full rights of conscience to non-Christian worshippers. When you have an unalienable right to worship false gods, as America's founders believed, you have a natural right to do what scripture forbids. Therefore, how America's founders believed the Bible should relate to America's civil laws proves nothing against sexual orientation's status in antidiscrimination codes.

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