Monday, May 11, 2015

NOM's Brian Brown writes about common sense and fairness

Brian S. Brown

Brian S. Brown, president of National Organization for Marriage issued an email and blog post Monday afternoon titled “Urge Congress to Act to Defend Religious Liberty Today!” I can only assume that Mr. Brown presumes that his supporters are as dim-witted as the folks around him. Perhaps they are. Brown begins:
In the coming weeks it is crucial for the US Congress to act to protect the religious liberty right of people to act in concert with their sincerely held belief that marriage is and can only be the union of one man and one woman.

That's why NOM has been working tirelessly to promote the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (MARFA). We are eagerly anticipating reintroduction of MARFA, which was introduced in the last Congress, but never brought to a vote.
“Tirelessly” mind you. Brown cannot seem to accept the simple fact that everyone has the right to “act in concert with their sincerely held belief that marriage is and can only be the union of one man and one woman.” To the best of my knowledge nobody has been forced into a same-sex marriage. But Brown has something else in mind. He wants people to have the right to discriminate against fellow citizens that they disapprove of — veiled as “religious freedom.”

Brown goes on to describe a federal license to discriminate:
MARFA will prohibit the federal government from taking an adverse action against a person on the basis of that person's religious belief about marriage. It is the best firewall we have to prevent federal discrimination including, denying or revoking certain tax exemptions or disallowing a deduction of any charitable contribution made to or by such person; denying or excluding such person from receiving any federal grant, contract, cooperative agreement, loan, license, certification, accreditation, employment, or similar position or status; or denying or withholding any benefit under a federal benefit program.
Most of this is fluff. However, federal contractors are now (finally) prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. It begs a more basic question. If someone has the qualifications for a particular position of employment why would anyone not hire them because they are gay and married? What possible difference does it make to an employer even if they are religiously conservative? Years ago the same people made the same arguments about Jews. In certain industries it was impossible for a Jew to obtain a managerial position. That, too, was predicated on the religious freedom of Christians to discriminate. If there is a difference between not hiring a Jew for not accepting Christ and not hiring a gay person because they are in a marriage that someone disapproves of, I fail to see it.

Well there is one difference. While religion is protected in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, sexual orientation/identity are not. It is inexcusable that ENDA is not the law of the land. Brown goes on, towards the end:
The American people want common sense and fairness. They do not want the Federal Government targeting any person for their religious beliefs, including their beliefs on marriage.
Nobody is being “targeted” for their beliefs about marriage or just about anything else. We live in a free country. “Common sense and fairness” should mean treating fellow citizens with respect, dignity and equality regardless of their sexual orientation of sexual identity. NOM is a proxy for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Church should, for its own sake, stay out of American politics and law making. Most Americans would agree with that. Brian S. Brown would not.

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