Friday, September 16, 2016

Hate group leader: "U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Chairman Attacks Religious Freedom"

Mat Staver
Hate group leader Mat Staver  doesn't like a new report from the US Commission on Civil Rights that I wrote about on Thursday. In doing so, I tried to provide some of the important findings and recommendations in a 306 page publication. It's easy to see why the usually unhinged Staver, head of the hate group Liberty Counsel, would have some problems. According to Staver in an email:
The Commission's report is a shameful anti-American and anti-God document that trashes religious freedom.
Sure. The email goes on to state:
Martin Castro, named USCCR chairman by President Obama in 2011, said that the words "religious freedom" and "religious liberty" have become merely code words for intolerance, Christian supremacy, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia and therefore must yield before LGBT anti-discrimination laws. Regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, this report also does not support those people who hold to their religious belief of traditional marriage as they provide services such as marriage licenses, photography, cake decorating or flower arranging.
Mr. Staver has an ongoing problem with nondiscrimination laws that require public accommodations to serve gay people, even (gasp!) gay couples. Those laws did not mystically appear from fragments of ancient texts. Every one of those state and municipal laws was legislated by representatives elected by the people and then signed into law by an executive elected by the people.

Furthermore, those laws and ordinances have withstood legal challenge all the way to the Supreme Court. Staver and other attorneys from Liberty Counsel have been frequent counsel for litigants. They have lost every round of every case.

People are free to believe whatever they want but if they operate a business then they have an obligation to obey local laws and ordinances. It's not all that complicated. All of the people paid for the roads that bring people to the business as well as the police and fire departments that protect the business.

The email continues:
The focus of the "Peaceful Coexistence" report states that granting religious exemptions to nondiscrimination laws "significantly infringes" on the civil rights of those claiming civil rights protections on the basis of "race, color, national origin, sex, disability status, sexual orientation and gender identity." The report calls for laws that eliminate exemptions or accommodation for religious convictions. Two members of the Commission dissented from the report.
This is the very definition of Christian supremacy that was referenced (and objected to) above. Liberty Counsel is saying that the right of Christians to discriminate outweighs the rights of a minority group to be served. As Justice Scalia pointed out in Employment Division v. Smith, religious exemptions to otherwise valid laws make those laws entirely unenforceable.
"Chairman Castro is out of touch with reality and with our Constitution," said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. "He and the other members of the Commission who agree with him want to throw out the First Amendment and trash religious freedom whenever faith and practice collides with an intolerant LGBT agenda. The report is a declaration of war against religious freedom. George Washington said anyone who works against the twin pillars of religion and morality cannot be called a 'Patriot.' This report is un-American," said Staver.
The courts have repeatedly and consistently ruled that Free Exercise does not include the right to discriminate in violation of the law.  Staver seems to ignore the fact that the First Amendment also includes the Establishment Clause.

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