Bryan Fischer’s Religious Right To Hate Is Being Threatened

Ken AshfordConstitution, Godstuff, Sex/Morality/Family ValuesLeave a Comment

Renew America columnist Bryan Fischer writes ("Our choice: liberty or homosexual agenda"):

On the pages of the Idaho Statesman, the Gem State's largest newspaper, Amy Herzfeld recently expressed her determination to continue pressing for legislation at the state level that will grant special workplace protections to those who engage in homosexual and transgender sexual behaviors.

Laws that provide special rights and privileges based on "sexual orientation" or "gender identity" are bad public policy because they represent a clear and present danger to religious liberty, freedom of conscience and freedom of association. Such laws are quickly used to harass, intimidate and punish individuals, businesses and organizations which adhere to traditional, time-honored values regarding human sexuality.

Bryan seems to fear laws which will make discrimination illegal.  Because that is unfair to the people who are doing the discriminating.

Well, yes, Bryan.  That is the point.  Just like laws which make it illegal for you to kidnap people.  Those laws are discriminating against kidnappers.

What follows is just a sampling of what happens under "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" statutes:

  • A Christian photographer was fined $6,637 by the New Mexico Civil Rights Commission for declining to photograph a lesbian commitment ceremony, even though same-sex unions have no legal status in the state

Yes, but New Mexico does have a law which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.  Any businessperson, including a photographer, cannot deny services to someone based on that customer's sexual orientation.  The fact that the business provider is "Christian" does not enter into it.

  • Christian fertility doctors in private practice in California have been barred by the state Supreme Court from declining to artificially inseminate lesbian patients on conscience grounds.

Same deal.  Plus, as doctors, there is an additional moral ethic here (apart from anti-discrimination laws) — you simply cannot deny treatment based on the race, gender, or orientation of your patient.

  • Catholic Charities of Boston shut down its work of finding homes for hard-to-place adoptive children because Massachusetts' "sexual orientation" law required staff to place children in homosexual households

Yup.  Even charities which receive government funds can't discriminate.  Don't worry — plenty of other adoption agencies picked up the slack.

  • The Methodist Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association was found guilty of violating New Jersey's discrimination law for declining to rent space to a lesbian couple for a civil union ceremony.

Yup.  The facts are complicated, but the "space" available for rent is actually public land.

  • The Cradle of Liberty Boy Scouts of Philadelphia were evicted from a building they had occupied since 1928 because the organization does not allow homosexuals to serve as Scoutmasters, even though the Supreme Court has upheld the Scouts' policy

Oh, sure.  The Supreme Court did uphold the Scouts' policy of discrminiating against homosexuals.  And the Scouts can.  But not while using taxpayer funded public property.  That's why they were evicted.

  • eHarmony, a match-making site for heterosexuals, was compelled to create a dating site for homosexuals, despite the fact that hundreds of such sites already exist

Well, I don't think "hundreds" of such sites exist, and certainly none with the widespread popularity (and seriousness) of eHarmony.  In any event, eHarmony chose to create the site, in part because they knew they were discriminating.

  • A nightclub in the Midwest is being sued for denying entrance to a cross-dressing male because he insisted on using the women's restroom despite the club's common sense concern for patron safety and privacy


This latter case demonstrates that privacy protections for every bathroom, dressing room, and locker room will disappear under "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" legislation.

I'm not quite sure what Bryan means here.  As far as I know, there is no dressing room or locker room that bars homosexuals.  I think whatever "privacy concerns" Bryan has, those have long gone out the window.

Congress is even now considering "hate crimes" legislation, which provides enhanced penalties for those convicted of bias crimes against homosexuals.

The problem here is that this gives more protection to some victims of crime than others, which violates the fundamental principle of American justice that we are all equal under the law. Every victim of violence ought to have the full protection of the law regardless of his sexual orientation.

No, it doesn't give "more protection to some victims of crime".  That's like saying that people who are victims of "assult with a deadly weapon" get "more protection" than people who are victims of "assult".  They're all protected.

The murder of a cross-dressing man is a cause célèbre in Colorado right now. We join with homosexual activists in wanting his murderer prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

But we want justice for the victim because he was made in the image of God, not because he dressed as a woman and wore breast gels.

Didn't know God was a cross-dresser, but okay.  Whatevs.

We want every victim of homicide, regardless of sexual orientation, to have the same legal protection, no less and no more. Every crime, in fact, is a hate crime.

NO!  That's really NOT true.  It sounds like it might be true, but it's really not, if you think about it (which Bryan clearly hasn't done).

I was the victim of a mugging once.  Did/do I think the mugger hated me?  Of course not.  He was indifferent to me.  He just wanted my money.

The "every crime is a hate crime" is just another canard, which, upon the slightest reflection, simply isn't true.

In addition, "hate crimes" laws are "thought crimes" laws. They punish an individual not for what he did but for what he was thinking when he did it.

I have a surprise for you, Bryan.  ALL crimes punish a person for what he was thinking.  In fact, "what he was thinking" is, in legal terms, mens rea, or "state of mind".  That's why, for example, the law makes distinctions based on what's in the criminal's head, i.e. "intentional homicide" or "involuntary/voluntary manslaughter" or "with malice aforethought". 

If a gun I am holding goes off and kills another person, I haven't necessarily commited a crime until it is proven what my thoughts were at the time.  Was it my intent to kill?  Was I being reckless?  Or was it an accident (i.e., I was asleep and didn't even know I was holding a gun?)  The answer to this question lies in my thoughts.

The law has always been that way.

But as Thomas Jefferson said, "[T]he legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions."

Actually, Jefferson wrote "the legitimate powers of the government reach actions only, and not opinions." But, again, we're not talking about making crimes out of one's opinions, which is what Jefferson was talking about.   We're talking about the state of mind of the criminal coupled with the action. 

Killing someone in a sponteous fit of jealous rage is treated differently under the law than killing someone through planning and preparation.  So by the same token, killing someone for their money is intended to be treated differently under the law than killing someone for their skin color or sexual orientation.  The latter is treated as harsher because it is a crime directed at a class of people, much like terrorism.  It's "victims" are more than just the dead person; the victims spread to the class of people who are made afraid. 

Society views a lynching, for example, as a different kind of murder than say, a mugging in which the victim is shot.  That's why it has a special name — lynching — because it's an especially heinous kind of murder.

To suggest that we not inject the concept "hate" into our laws would make crimes like cross-burning no different than vandalism.  But cross-burning is more heinous than vandalism.  And what makes that so?  It is a crime of hate, meant to scare not only the black property owner, but all blacks.

And that's the point.  There are already hate crimes.  Lynching and cross-burning, for example.

Religious freedom is the first right guaranteed to us in the First Amendment.

No, it's not.  Establishment of religion is mentioned first.

Special rights for homosexuals receive no explicit mention in the Constitution whatsoever. Yet now we must choose between liberty and the homosexual agenda because, it turns out, we can't have both.

The term "special rights" has always puzzled me.  When a straight couples get married, that is apparently a right, but not a "special" one.  But when homosexual want to get married, it is a "special" right?  What's so special?  It's the same right — the right to marry.  Rights don't become "special rights" just because they apply to different people. 

In fact, they're supposed to apply to everybody.  And that is in the Constitution.  14th Amendment.  Equal Protection clause.  Look it up.

Besides, just because religion freedom is specifically mentioned in the First Amendment doesn't mean it wins out over other rights.  Read the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.