Tuesday, January 19, 2016

IRD: Chastity creates a right to discriminate


Rick Plasterer, a staff writer at the Institute on Religion and Democracy, writes “Chastity: An Inseparable Part of Religious Freedom and Liberty of Conscience.” According to Plasterer humanity rightly “restricts sexual activity to that in the marriage of man and woman.” The objective of this orthodoxy is something more than religious purity in accordance with conservative Christian values. Mr. Plasterer is interested in discouraging LGBT non-discrimination laws.

Editing the concept of religious freedom is precisely the objective of homosexual activist groups … The passion against conscience protections for sexual morality then was carried over into the proposed Equality Act, which covers, at a national level, all areas civil rights deals with: employment, housing, and the supply of goods and services. The goal of this sadly misnamed bill is certainly not full equality before the law, which everyone has, but immunity from adverse judgment in personal behavior, which no one else has. Unlike race and the natural sexes of male and female, which have immutable characteristics, or even religion, which to the law of the state is a matter of affiliation, homosexual identity is based on nothing more than personal behavior. As this writer has argued, only race is truly superficial, and thus an irrational, unjust basis for discrimination. But to forbid discrimination against personal behavior really amounts to the state decreeing what morality is acceptable for the American people. The goal here is obviously not merely the already achieved goal of the legal practice of homosexuality and having homosexual acts and relationships regarded as equal in law (which they certainly are not in biology), but social acceptance of homosexuality by all of society, so that homosexuals will not experience condemnation in personal life.
This is the “special rights” argument in a nutshell. It requires one to subscribe to the idea that sexual orientation doesn't really exist. Rather, there is same-sex attraction which is a temptation to engage in bad behavior that people can resist. Plaster has omitted the customary comparison to drug and alcohol abuse. He further argues that religion, although not immutable, deserves [special]  protections because it is a matter of affiliation. 

This entire argument goes up in smoke when one's thinking conforms to the science — and common sense. The following organizations assert that sexual orientation is innate and that efforts to change sexual orientation are ineffective and possibly harmful:
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Counseling Association
  • American Association of School Administrators
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • American Medical Association
  • American Psychological Association
  • American Psychiatric Association
  • American School Health Association
  • American Sociological Association
  • Interfaith Alliance Foundation
  • National Association of School Psychologists
  • National Association of Social Workers
  • National Education Association
Who to believe. Mr. Plasterer or the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics?  The reasons that Plasterer asserts that sexual orientation is just a behavior are two-fold:
  1. It attempts to conform social and medical science to conservative religious belief and;
  2. It facilitates the preposterous argument that Plaster makes to somehow affirm a right to discriminate.
In practical terms it provides an employer with the religious right to insist that his employees are chaste. Since, according to Plasterer, that is impossible for gay people because their marriages don't count, the employer has the right to discriminate against gay people.

Thank you Mr. Plasterer!

You have voiced precisely why such protections are necessary in employment, housing and public accommodations.

IRD is a conservative Christian organization with orthodox Catholic roots. Its considerable influence and 19 member board of directors outsizes its $1 million annual budget. During calendar year 2013, IRD employed 17 people and had 10 independent contractors.

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