Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Anti-discrimination protections are opposed with a toxic mix of arrogance and hypocrisy

Don Hinkle
Don Hinkle is an advocate for Christian privilege
Don Hinkle is the editor of Pathway, the organ of the Missouri Baptist Convention: Tuesday, Hinkle wrote: Pro-LGBTQ laws may pose problem for Mo. Baptists. Hinkle is referring to the distinct possibility that Missouri will adopt some form of anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in the near future.

Hinkle asserts that Baptists require the right to discriminate against people they disapprove of (all neatly cloaked in scripture). Asking them to forfeit the opportunity to demonstrate their disapproval by refusing service is simply too much to expect. Oh, they will say that we are less than human “politely.” They might also refer us to another provider who might serve us.

We come away from an incident of discrimination seething. They, on the other hand, convince themselves that they have projected Christian kindness while serving their deity by denying revenues from the enemy.
I politely explained that my religious beliefs preclude me from arranging those flowers. I even helped them find another florist.
Meanwhile, the gay couple that was refused service feels like firebombing the store. They won't but they are justifiably furious. Ask them if they feel that were treated politely.

The damage is not just transactional. These things create scars that might fade over time but those lesions last a lifetime.

These discriminatory people convince themselves that they have a religious duty to deny service. Scripture does not support that point of view. In fact, Jesus was very clear that Christians are obliged to obey the law, even when that has consequences for Christians.

I have written many times that, in their minds, service equates to approval. Not only do they not want to demonstrate approval, they feel the necessity to demonstrate disapproval.
Getting back to Mr. Hinkle:
LGBTQ activists recently announced that they would begin a major effort to get such laws passed in southern states. Specifically, 28 are targeted – including Missouri.

Such discrimination laws are dangerous because the LGBTQ movement has used them as weapons against people of faith who cannot celebrate their chosen lifestyle.
It is always the Christians who are victimized. How about the people who hear: “we don't serve your kind here?” Claiming the sexual orientation is a “lifestyle” immediately depicts the speaker as a bigot who thinks that we are defined by our sexuality.

Claiming that sexual orientation is a “chosen lifestyle” tells us that Hinkle is not just a bigot. He is an ignorant bigot. Being a conservative Christian is a chosen lifestyle. Perhaps that is the source of Hinkle's confusion.

The assertion that they “cannot celebrate their chosen lifestyle” confirms the very fact that service equals approval and approval is something that must be withheld. It reflects the arrogant belief that we either seek or require Mr. Hinkle's approval. We do not care. People like Hinkle think that we should care about his approval. He is diminished; he feels less important, I think, because we are not asking him to “celebrate” our sexuality. Refusing service is a way for people like Hinkle to feed their egos; to feel that they matter.

We are willing to exchange money for goods or services. It is just that simple. Who has ever asked the provider of goods or services to celebrate anything?

Furthermore, the way that Hinkle writes his complaint (with words like “weapons”) you would think that the purpose of anti-discrimination laws is to persecute Christians. Anti-discrimination laws exist to, well, prevent discrimination in order for us to have a more civil society.
Florists, bakers, photography businesses and other artists, have been fined and run out of business in some states for not supplying services to LGBTQ people – even when the services are readily available with businesses who gladly provide LGBTQ people with the services they desire.
The availability of services elsewhere is irrelevant. Imagine: “I do not serve Christians but the guy down the block can probably take care of you.” People should not have to shop around to find out who will serve them. If proprietors have been run out of business it is not because of either fines or laws. It is because the general public does not want to do business with bigots even when they are personally unaffected by the bigotry.

Anti-discrimination laws allow a business owned by a conservative Christian to serve everyone (“render unto Caesar …”). They prevent protected classes from being treated poorly in the public marketplace. Fines only occur if businesses choose to be non-compliant. Accidental discrimination is a rare occurrence. In the end the Christian has scriptural support to obey the law and reap the financial benefits. Minorities enjoy the assurance of receiving service. Everyone wins.
Bring forth the victims:
Such laws are problematic for Christians – like Missouri Southern Baptists – who believe only God is Lord of the conscience. If such a law passes in Missouri, it could force the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home to hand foster care children over to LGBTQ couples or else close their doors. Hannibal-LaGrange and Southwest Baptist Universities could be threatened in numerous ways. Ultimately, our churches, most of which could ill afford a costly legal battle, could be threatened, as well.
Adoption and foster care agencies do the work of the state with taxpayer funds. If they want to be a private agency paid by the adoptive parents then they can discriminate all they want. A Trump official has now waived nondiscrimination requirements so that a Christian agency can refuse to place children with Jews. Fuck you all.

Gay couples and Jews are at least as competent at parenting as conservative Christians. This is about doing what is best for the kids. They want to turn away, say, a gay pediatrician married to a stay-at-home software developer. If they believe that they must discriminate then they should refuse state money. The notion that churches are in peril is dishonest. It is a lie.

Mr. Hinkle is an activist for Christian privilege. We are a secular society. We were founded as a secular society. One of the ways in which we have progressed as a society is in our civility.

Within walking distance from my home is a condominium with (now void) deed covenants precluding the sale of units to Jews. That too was based on Christian beliefs.

These same Calvinists were the primary actors in segregation. While racism and anti-Semitism still exist, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires nondiscrimination in employment, housing and service in public accommodations. It is time to move along. Religion, which is protected, is a choice. Being LGBT is not a choice. LGBT people deserve protections at least equal to those afforded to people based on religion.

When we demand the equal rights due us we are portrayed as evil activists. Our opponents only do so because they cannot accept sexual minorities as their equals. Then they portray themselves as victims of those same activists. It is time to put an end to this hypocritical nonsense.

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