Wednesday, September 20, 2017

No Tony Perkins. Charlotte's mayor did not lose her primary over LGBT issues UPDATED

Tony Perkins
Updated with an email from the primary winner. Hate group leader Tony Perkins of Family Research Council is determined to rewrite events to suit his anti-LGBT agenda. Late Monday afternoon, Perkins wrote: “Pastors Work toward Tar-Healing.” Later on it is obvious that Perkins is intent on creating a wedge between LGBT people and African-Americans.
Charlotte has been ground zero for bad policy, with the ripple effects of its SOGI ordinance felt across the state and arguably the nation. Of course, bad policy is the offspring of bad politicians and the city council is full of them. However, Watchmen Pastors met at the Billy Graham Library to pray and talk strategy to change all of that. Their theme verse was "Seek peace and well-being for the city where I have sent you...for in its well-being you will prosper." (Jer. 29:7).
The fair and equal treatment of all citizens constitutes, according to Perkins, “bad policy.” I am no expert but I would suggest that the quoted scripture supports nondiscrimination more than it supports the disrespect and divisiveness that Perkins stands for.

A helping of BS:
Encouraged by the primary defeat of Mayor Jennifer Roberts, who had been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, participants were emboldened to engage their churches to register to vote, become educated on the mayoral and council candidates, and vote their values. "Men of God," Watchman Pastor Bishop Larry Jackson cheered, "thank you for supporting our efforts to flip the city of Charlotte!"
The intended inference is that Roberts was ousted because of Charlotte's nondiscrimination ordinance which was probably irrelevant to the outcome. Charlotte Mayor Pro Tempore Vi Lyles won the Democratic mayoral primary, defeating incumbent Mayor Jennifer Roberts. However, the two have nearly identical voting records and Lyles voted in favor of the city's nondiscrimination ordinance that so infuriated the state's conservative Christian politicians.

Update, September 20. Primary winner and Mayor Pro Temp Vi Lyles:
Thank you highlighting the need for information on my position on LGBTQIA issues.  The website is being reworked and I will ensure my position as and LGBTQIA ally is clear and openly expressed.  

Yes, I did vote for the City non-discrimination ordinance and I continue to support the values it represented.  As Mayor, my approach is to build a statewide alliance with cities and towns that want to see the same values for their citizens to work together to adopt a framework for a local ordinance to provide protections to our LGBTQIA community.
The most likely reason for Lyles' victory was Roberts' apparent mishandling of the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott and the ensuing riots. I write “apparent” because the consequences of different decisions on the part of the mayor and police chief are unknown in hindsight. Scott, an African-American was killed by an African-American police officer.

Scott was brain damaged and he was also in possession of an illegally acquired handgun. Police serving a warrant on someone else in an unrelated matter saw Scott smoking a joint when he pulled up alongside of them. They chose to ignore the weed until they then spotted the weapon. Scott then did not follow the instructions of officers to drop his weapon on the ground.

Scott's daughter claimed that the gun was planted by police. However there is conclusive evidence that Scott did purchase the weapon and store receipts demonstrating that he purchased ammunition for the .380 semi-automatic which was found cocked, safety off and with a bullet in the chamber. The DA chose not to prosecute the police officer. Nevertheless, there remains a legitimate question of whether or not Scott posed an imminent danger to the officers and whether or not the officers had non-lethal options. There is no evidence that Scott raised his gun at the officers.

The controversy widened when the police department initially refused to make the body cam and dash cam videos public in spite of considerable community pressure to do so. Mayor Roberts probably should have overruled her police chief because the appearance was that the police were covering up something.

Lyles ran on creating community advisory groups within each Police response area and an overhaul of the citizens review board. This would not have changed the outcome of the shooting but might have averted the riots through better communication with the community. Lyles did not campaign on reversing the position of the city with regard to LGBT issues.

Charlotte's LGBT policy (which is currently revoked under state law) is probably the result of the city's commercial interests. Bank of America and Wells Fargo combined employ nearly 30,000 people in the city. Big business loathes discrimination because it diminishes the employment pool. That's not to say that they do not value the social values of diversity but their first obligation is to shareholders.

Perkins concludes:
Convened by Bishop Jackson and joined by other Watchmen like Dr. Mark Harris and Leon Threatt, Tami Fitzgerald of North Carolina Values and others laid out plans to make a positive impact on the direction of these upcoming elections. "We believe there are five candidates who can be seated on the council with our values on both sides of the aisle," Bishop Jackson said afterward. Among those in attendance were pastors of the 10 largest African American churches in North Carolina. Let's pray they are successful.
Fitzgerald is a particularly odious bigot, Christianist and theocrat. She has opined:
It is quite clear that marriage has been defined in North Carolina law by church doctrine, which has been overwhelmingly determined by Biblical principle, since the majority of churches in North Carolina are Christian.
Harris is perhaps best known as the coordinator of the campaign for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. He has run unsuccessfully for the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. Leon Threatt is also an unsuccessful US House campaigner. He continues to oppose marriage equality.

My view: Those ten largest churches in North Carolina should stay out of politics altogether or face reclassification as 501(c)4 organizations whose donation receipts are not tax deductible. Of course that is an unrealistic expectation for the foreseeable future.

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