David Fowler of the Tennessee Family Action Council recently wrote a blog, entitled “The Religion Caesar and Obama Have in Common”, in which he takes President Obama to task for signing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) executive order.
Specifically, he claims that Obama is worshiping a “god” (note the lowercase “g”) of the state instead of the true Christian God. He dredges up the tired and harmful claims that same-gender marriage (and homosexuality in general) will destroy our culture and eventually our society. He whines that Obama is “quashing the religious views of all dissenters”.
Where Fowler and others totally miss the boat is that when there are no laws to protect the rights of minority citizens, there are very REAL consequences. Same-gender couples who have tied their lives to one another do not have the same protections and rights as opposite gender couples. We must work harder, spend more money, and piece together complex legal processes to protect our relationships. Heterosexual couples can do these same things by simply getting married. Insurance issues, inheritance issues, health care decision making, child custody issues, etc. are all addressed through legal marriage. If same-gender couples are unable to marry, due to laws, amendments, or other government policies, then we suffer.
Furthermore, Fowler wants to live in a world in which he has the legal right to fire someone for being “actively” gay. He wants to be able to refuse housing to gays. He wants to be able to refuse other public accommodations to the LGBT community—all because we behave or believe in a manner that offends his religious belief system.
Let’s be clear… If his religious sensibilities are offended, he does not suffer a physical or monetary loss. The government does not restrict his beliefs in any way. He is able to worship God. He can believe whatever variation of Christian dogma he pleases. His marriage will be completely unaffected. He will see no difference in his community. He can go about his life, completely unburdened by obstacles.
However, if laws are not enacted to protect and extend rights to the LGBT community, we have much to lose. We won’t be allowed to marry the person of our choice. We will have to worry about being terminated from jobs by bosses and administrators who take issue with our orientation. We will be banned and turned away from certain businesses whose owners live under the misconception that gays, lesbians, and transgender individuals are “disordered”, “sinful”, or “unnatural”. We will experience actual damage in multiple facets of our lives.
Frankly, I’m tired of otherwise educated people, who generally accept wide-held scientific and medical ideas and beliefs, who then want to live in a make-believe world where psychiatry, medicine, biology, etc. of the past 40 to 50 years simply “got it wrong” with regards to homosexuality. They are like the Catholic leaders of the 16th century who admonished and imprisoned Galileo for his audacity to find that the earth was not the center of the universe—a concept that was largely based in scripture.
Fowler shames himself and his family’s name. His children will have to live with the knowledge that their father waged a strong battle against equality and in favor of discrimination and prejudice. Not a stellar legacy to leave your children…
The only silver lining to this otherwise putrid cloud of hate is that each time someone like Fowler takes to the internet for the purposes of denouncing LGBT individuals, he unwittingly pushes a greater number of reasonable people into our corner. He also pushes our agenda for equal rights and protections into the legal arena in which the LGBT community has seen so many recent victories.
We all know where this issue will end. LGBT individuals WILL have equal rights and protections in this country. It isn’t a matter of “if”, but a matter of “when”.