Tuesday, April 23, 2019

I have some questions for Peter Sprigg

Peter Sprigg
Via YouTube
Peter Sprigg is just one of the many reasons that his employer, Family Research Council, is designated a hate group. Tuesday, Mr. Sprigg opines: Supreme Court Will Determine Whether “Sex” Means “Sex”. We all know what's coming but I will step through the intellectual dishonesty.
According to Sprigg:
LGBT activists want “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” (“SOGI”) to be protected categories in federal non-discrimination laws. They have been using a two-pronged attack to try to achieve this goal—working through both Congress and the courts.

In Congress, they are pushing a sweeping bill that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to virtually every federal civil rights law. …
This has little to do with those mythical activists that the religious right is always referring to. What this is about is the health, safety, dignity and economic security of LGBT people. Most importantly it is about Equal Protection.

My first question is this:
Why shouldn't LGBT people be protected from discrimination?
After Sprigg reviews the cases to come before the Supreme Court next term:
When Congress prohibited employment discrimination based on “sex” in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, both their intention and the plain meaning of the word indicated that they were prohibiting discrimination against an individual because the person is biologically male or biologically female. The Supreme Court should decline the invitation to radically re-write the statute by expanding its meaning to cover “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” Even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing years ago about sex nondiscrimination protections in the Equal Rights Amendment, refused to countenance the idea that they would do away with simple male/female distinctions in the context of bathrooms.
My second question for Mr. Sprigg is admittedly rhetorical:
Is the science behind our understanding of human sexuality more accurate now or when the Civil Rights Act was signed into law 55 years ago?
My third question for Mr. Sprigg:
If you concede that we have made broad advances in science, shouldn't applicable laws keep up with our improved understanding and if not, why not?
The failure of LGBT activists to achieve their goals through the democratic process is no excuse to simply bypass that process and obtain their goal by judicial fiat instead.
My fourth question for Mr. Sprigg is similar to question one:
Regardless of the process, what possible logical reason is there to deny nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people?
FRC believes that SOGI laws are unjustified in principle, because these characteristics are not inborn, involuntary, immutable, innocuous (like race and sex), or in the U.S. Constitution (like religion). We also believe such laws pose a threat to religious liberty in many situations, as was an issue in the Harris case that the Court will hear.
The fact that the First Amendment provides freedom of religion has no bearing on whether religion is a protected class under law. Sprigg is just trying to get around the inconvenient fact that religion is a choice and he is not terribly competent in doing so. Anti-discrimination, after all, is a relatively new concept having become law 188 years after the Declaration of Independence and 173 years after the Bill or Rights was written.

Religious nondiscrimination was not the intent of our framers. Otherwise it would have been included in the Bill of Rights. Racial nondiscrimination was inconceivable in 1791.

Mr. Sprigg is not very adroit at asserting that sexuality is about choices. The notion that human sexuality is not involuntary or immutable is just nonsense in disagreement with the overwhelming consensus of science. I did not know that a requirement of a protected class is to be innocuous. Nor did I know that natural variants of human sexuality were offensive (which is the opposite of innocuous). Sprigg's employer does not believe that Muslims are innocuous (unlike Christians, I suppose). Nevertheless, neither Tony Perkins nor Jerry Boykin (FRC's executive VP) can change the fact that Muslims have protections under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

As for religious liberty, that might be true only if service in public accommodations or employment constitutes approval. Some Christians are obsessed with the notion that we seek or require their approval. We don't care but religious disapproval is not a logical reason to discriminate against LGBT people any more than it was, not that long ago, a reason to discriminate against Jews.

“They” have it by rote: “My sincerely held religious belief is [fill in the blank].” It might be that Jews are heretics for not accepting Jesus Christ as lord and savior. It might be a gay couple whose marriage offends religious conservatives or a transgender person whose gender affirmation creates a problem with a passage in Genesis. It used to be held that African-Americans were designated by God to be servants to white people.

Banning discrimination does not infringe on any religious right conveyed by our Constitution. Religious Liberty™ has come to mean the self-seized “right” to discriminate against LGBT people.

In 1963 Strom Thurmond stated that it would be repulsive for a white woman to have to give a massage to a white woman and Thurmond presumed that most people would agree. How is that any different from finding it impossible to serve, house or employ an LGBT person? Their money is as good as that of other individuals. When it comes to employment, we want to be judged on our workplace performance. Is that really too much to ask?

The Harris case that Sprigg referred to is Harris Funeral Home v. EEOC. A transgender person was terminated from employment solely for being transgender. The owner of the funeral home claimed that his religion was offended. So what? Was the person doing what she was paid to do? If Mr. Harris is a Baptist then his problem would extend to Catholics, Jews, Muslims and a number of Protestant denominations. But those folks are protected by federal law. They pose the same problem but people like Harris seem to get by while adhering to the law.
At the end of the day, the core issue before the Court in these cases is whether it is within the legitimate power of judges to suddenly rewrite a 55-year-old statute. The answer is no.
The issue before the Court is the applicability of a 1964 law in an evolving society. LGBT people are not much different today from those in 1964. However, our understanding of LGBT people is markedly different.

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