Sunday, May 11, 2014

QUote of the Day: Susan Russell

As the conservatives bewail the fact that people who spout anti-gay views are increasingly viewed the way we view the anti-Semites and the racists,and claim that somehow religious freedom allows them to say what they want without free-market effects,  our friend the Rev. Susan Russell explains clearly what's going on here:
The First Amendment absolutely protects the right of the Benham brothers to preach, practice and believe whatever they choose – whether that choice is anti-gay or anti-gluten. That’s part of the beauty of this country. Another part of the beauty of this country is that free enterprise allows networks – like HGTV – the freedom to decide what kind of values they want represented by the talent they hire. And this week HGTV made the decision that it does not want to give air time to two brothers who, when they are not flipping houses for profit, are proclaiming that equal protection LGBT families is “demonic” and protesting a woman’s right to reproductive freedom.

As a Christian priest and pastor, my response is a big fat “Amen.”
The HGTV decision is not a war on Christians. It is not an attack on free speech. And it is not “anti-family” (whatever that means.) It is a business decision made based on the welcome reality that we are becoming a country where prejudice against LGBT people and their families is increasingly understood as counter to American values of liberty and justice for all. 
I serve a church where we believe in family values that value all families and support a protect marriage movement that protects all marriages. When Jesus said “love your neighbor as yourself” there was no asterisk that said “*unless your neighbor is gay or lesbian” – and there are many, many Christians – as well as other people of faith and conscience – who find the views of the Benham brothers antithetical to their faith and values. 
It is not fun to be fired. It is not pleasant to find your perspective disagreed with. But what has happened to the Benham brothers does not make them victims of the gay agenda. It makes them a footnote in the story of the arc of history that is bending toward justice for LGBT people.
Preach it!


JCF said...

IT, how would you say the Benham case is different, in principle, from Brendan Eich?

Benhams: canned for homophobic statements, by HGTV.

Eich: resigned (under duress) for homophobic actions, by Mozilla.

I just don't see a difference.

dr.primrose said...

Frank Bruni column in today's NY Times re new draconian Catholic school contracts in Cincinnati, which can be read in full here.

"The new contract expressly forbids a 'homosexual lifestyle' and any 'public support' of one. But it says nothing about public support of the death penalty, something else that the church opposes.

"The new contract specifically rules out any use or advocacy of abortion rights, surrogacy, even in vitro fertilization. But it doesn't address possible advocacy of the sorts of bloody military engagements that the church often condemns.

"The new contract forbids 'living together outside marriage,' 'sexual activity out of wedlock' and any public endorsement of either. But there's no reference to concern for the downtrodden, to the spirit of giving, to charity. And while those are surely more difficult to monitor, aren't they as essential to Catholic principles, and closer to the core of the faith?"

Even slimier, I think, is this:

"The Archdiocese of Cincinnati ... label[s] the new employment agreement a 'teacher-minister contract.' The language is deliberate. Religious organizations can claim exemption from anti-discrimination statutes in the hiring and firing of ministers who are actual caretakers of the faith. Putting teachers in that category — lumping them together with clergy — is an end run around laws that govern other employers."

Gym teachers are thus just as "ministerial" as priests and nuns

IT said...

JCF, I believe Eich was punished for what he did in 2008. He had made commitments that he would not change the culture of equality at Mozilla, regardless of his personal beliefs. He was not out and openly attacking LGBT rights and people in 2014. If everyone in CA who gave to /voted for Prop8 becomes unemployable, I think that's wrong. It was 6 years ago.

I believe people should be allowed their private beliefs, even if I disagree with them. IT's when they take those beliefs into the public square that problems develop, because they may be seen to be representing their employer.

Both Mozilla and HGTV can decide what their values are, and make business decisions accordingly. I certainly defend their right to make those decisions, regardless of whether I would make the same one.

And the Benthams have still the right to fulminate publicly against gay people. They just need to find employers who share that view. Maybe Hobby Lobby or chik-fil-ay.