Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Gasbags in the Echo Chamber

In his emails, Hate Group Leader Tony Perkins frequently links to articles at LifeSiteNews. LSN frequently cites, as authoritative, information from Family Research Council. Others cite and link to both. Were I in the mood to be uncivil I might call this a circle jerk. I am content to refer to this lack of intellectual health as an echo chamber. It repeats and amplifies statements that the participants like. It has little regard for intellectual honesty or factual accuracy.

Wednesday's piece at LSN reads: Last ‘pro-life’ House Democrat votes for extreme pro-abortion Equality Act. It was written by a gay man, Doug Mainwaring who is married for convenience to a gay woman. Mazel tov and I digress.

Needless to say, amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include discrimination prohibitions based on sexual orientation and gender identity has absolutely nothing to do with abortion. Asserting otherwise is an error of fact. Claiming that people are “pro-abortion” is intellectually dishonest.

Religious zealots, in a demagogic pique, call supporters of reproductive choice “pro-abortion.” The term is routinely employed as required religious rote. It is a close cousin to putting quotation marks around the word marriage if the participants happen to be of the same sex.

It is imperative for these coreligionists to demonstrate their disdain when they disapprove of something. Shame is the principal currency of religious conservatism.
There is no evidence or explanation of the following:
Two weeks after delivering the commencement speech at Ave Maria University, Rep. Dan Lipinski, the last of a dying breed of pro-life Democrats on Capitol Hill, voted for the Equality Act, which guts every pro-life protection ever passed into law.
Mr. Mainwaring has stated an absurdity in order to support his opposition to the Equality Act. It is not only intellectually dishonest and factually incorrect. It is intellectually lazy. It is an appeal to the proverbial “choir.”
Repetition of a falsehood is not evidence:
“This isn’t just the most extreme LGBT bill ever written,” wrote Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC). “This is one-stop shopping for the worst the far-left agenda has to offer — including, we’ve discovered, the largest expansion of taxpayer-funded abortion this country has ever seen.”
Bovine excrement is not just malodorous. It spreads like grape jelly over a warm cat on a hot summer day. Furthermore, we have gone from the Equality Act having some association with abortion to the measure having the power to expand taxpayer-funded abortion.

The Hyde Amendment was originally passed on September 30, 1976. In its current form the Hyde Amendment bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortion except to save the life of the woman or if the pregnancy arises from incest or rape. How does one “expand” on that?
“Under this big new umbrella of ‘discrimination,’” continued Perkins, “any American who doesn’t want to fund, offer, perform, or participate in abortion on demand will have no real choice. They can conform — or they can be punished.”

“Taxpayers will be openly funding the culture of death all across America,” added Perkins. …

“Make no mistake: H.R. 5 isn’t just a threat to freedom, business, privacy, education, sports, and faith,” concluded the FRC head. “This is a threat to innocent human life.”
Perkins' claims are preposterous per se. Uncritically repeating Perkins' mendacity is dishonest and lacking in critical thinking.

If the bill requires a technical correction to preclude abortion (which I doubt), Perkins provides no clue what that would be. Mainwaring mindlessly repeats mindless BS. Mainwaring goes on to call Lipinski's vote a “[c]onfounding pro-abortion, pro-LGBT vote.” Calling people pro-LGBT is yet another way to demonstrate disapproval.

Fundamentally gender identity and sexual orientation deserve the same nondiscrimination protections as religion and race. If someone feels that they cannot provide flowers to be displayed at a same-sex wedding then the same religious stupidity would preclude providing flowers for a Jewish wedding. The marital participants in both cases are destined for Hell according to conservative Christian belief. And don't even think about inter-religious marriages.

Religion is the reason that interracial marriages were banned. In the original criminal case that was the predicate for Loving v. Virginia, the judge opined from the bench:
Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.
I am sure that he and the lawmakers of the Commonwealth of Virginia were just as certain that their deity would be ill-served by interracial marriage as today's fanatics who claim that they cannot exist without the ability to discriminate against gay and transgender people. Somehow we have not suffered a comet strike since the ruling in Loving. I think we can assume that their god was not pissed off when black people married white people.

This is all too familiar territory. Prior to the ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, a group of self-proclaimed “Major Religious Organizations” warned that the Supreme Court could not recognize marriage equality “without inflicting grave harm on millions of religious believers and their cherished beliefs and institutions.”

Four years later, where are all these millions of people who have suffered grievous harm? I am not suggesting that religious objections are not legitimate concerns. However, on balance we are a better society when we reduce discrimination and isolation.

Consider that cake baker. He could provide a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage and no one dies. He can still disapprove of same-sex marriage. If he has gay offspring he can demonstrate his complete disdain. Nevertheless, service is not approval.

Personally, I would like to see one correction to the Equality Act. I think we need to ensure that women's athletics are fairly competitive by allowing coaches and athletic directors to set reasonable restrictions. I do not believe that the act in its current form precludes such measures. I just think that it should explicitly state so. I doubt that high school athletes should be subjected to testosterone testing but I do think that it is reasonable to require trans girls to be recipients of hormones for a reasonable period of time before competing in athletics as females.

If you disagree with me, please tell me why. At the same time, please let me know whether or not I can republish your email.

I have no problem changing my mind about something on the basis of someone else's argument. Therein lies the greatest difference between me — I think “us” — and religious conservatives. There is no amount of evidence or logic that will convince them to change their minds about anything. Mr. Mainwaring, for example, will comply with the catechism of the Catholic Church no matter how foolish that might be. If nothing else, these religious arguments make Tony Perkins and Doug Mainwaring look rather foolish and incurious.

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