Category Archives: Culture

Face Off

The Conflict of Discrimination

It is commonly being said today, “Religious people are complaining that it’s discrimination to take away their right to discriminate against LGBT people.” If something just doesn’t seem right about this statement, your’re right.

The First Amendment

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

So religious people have the right to free exercise and speech regarding their religion. This does not mean their rights can override other U.S. laws. For example, if your religion tells you to kill all the infidels, you are not going to get by withs murder because of the First Amendment. The focus here is  primarily in regard to government infringement of rights, not so much the private sector.

Civil Rights Law

Another important piece of law in regard to discrimination is the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Its Title II and VII bar public accommodation and employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Sometimes there are religious exemptions from this law – sometimes not.

State and Local Discrimination Law

States and local governments are increasingly adding their own discrimination laws or expounding upon their existing laws to include both sexual orientation and gender identity. Many states and municipalities have civil rights commissions to receive complaints, investigate, fine, require sensitivity training, and file criminal lawsuits.

Defining Terms

What is discrimination? In the broadest sense of the term it is to distinguish between to things. Every time you have a choice, you are discriminating. If you choose chocolate instead of vanilla, you’ve discriminated for chocolate and against vanilla. The problem is when people discriminate for invalid reasons and it harms others. But what is a valid discrimination to one person is invalid to another. This is why the government has enacted laws to help regulate these differences of opinion. But another problem occurs when the government includes different groups of people into discrimination law because conflicts arise.

For example, consider an African-American civil rights organization that needs to hire a new director. Latino and Asian applicants apply but are not considered because the organization deems it important to hire an African-American person. Is this discrimination? Yes. Is it invalid discrimination? It depends who you ask. Most Latino and Asian people, if putting themselves in the shoes of the African-American organization, see the point of hiring an African-American director. But some will not see anyone elses view but their own and see it as unjust discrimination. What if the organization hires a contractor for landscaping services and only considers African-American companies? Is this unjust discrimination? It depends on who you ask. Some will say because African-American companies loose business to bigoted decision makers that they deserve some type of affirmative action to help level the playing field. Others will claim this is technically unjust discrimination and is wrong. So even within the same class, in this case race, conflicts arise. Discrimination law cannot eliminate the charge of unjust discrimination but hopefully it can minimize it.

Conclusion

The same conflicts are arising with LGBT rights which are now being included with race, color, religion, sex,  and national origin in many states/municipalities. Many on both sides can understand the others perspective and not wish to force others to do what they find objectionable. In Kentucky a Christian owned print shop refused to print T-shirts for a gay pride event and was penalized for violating a local civil rights ordinance. A local lesbian printer publicly supported the Christian printers decision because she realizes that if someone wants her to print an anti-gay T-shirt, she doesn’t want to be penalized. For those who cannot or will not understand others perspective, the courts will decide for them. But rest assured, where inevitable conflict exist in discrimination law, one side will feel justice has been served and and the other will feel unjustly discriminated against.

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Suicide is Never the Answer

At the writing of this post, there is much talk about the need to affirm transgendered people to avoid them committing suicide.

Non-affirmation ? Suicide

Suicide simply does not follow from non-affirmation. If if did, everyone would kill themselves. Everyone has to deal with rejection. Live your life. Don’t end it over someone elses views about you.

But it hurts so bad

Everyone deals with people not affirming them. Why don’t they all commit suicide? Because it makes no sense to most people. They are not living their lives based on other people’s approval. Neither should you. Please seek out help to get a proper perspective.

But it’s hateful

Some people are hateful. It’s part of life. It does not warrant letting them get the better of you and committing the ultimate act of hate against yourself. But not all non-affirming views come about by hate. Keep in mind that you don’t affirm all people. Does that mean you hate them? Maybe it does but this is not how all people think. In fact, most people can disagree with others without hating them.

But being LGBT is different

This is true. Most people’s communities are not stressing their differences from others in society are the most important thing about them. You are a human being above your sexuality with value and worth. No one can take this away from you but you can throw it away yourself by committing suicide.

But things will never get better

You’ll have to live your life to know if this is true. What you should know is this is a statement of a depressed person. Depression makes it seem much worse that they are. People do not make good choices in a depressed state – they make bad ones. From a depressed state things can always get better.

If you identify as Christian

Being a Christian means Jesus is not just your Savior but your Lord. He has given you your life as a precious gift. As Lord, He has a plan as to when your earthly life will end. Taking your own life says something about who is really Lord of your life. Jesus could has saved Himself from death but instead He stated, “Not my will but Yours by done.” This is the attitude of a true follower of Christ.

Suicide is not the ultimate answer but the ultimate mistake. I implore you, whether you feel bullied, hated, rejected, depressed, worthless, broke, unemployed, you name it – do not end your life. You were created with a purpose – the purpose to life and love forever. Jesus paid your penalty on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins. Repent and trust in Him for eternal life. Eternal life with God, not death separated from Him, is infinitely more important than anything else in this world.

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Stop Shoving Your Religion!

You can have your religious views, but don’t legislate them. You should not expect others who do not hold your religious views to live by them.

The above mantra is anti-democratic, anti-American, and anti-Christian.

First, why can’t a person legislate their religious views? The answer is typicaly “separate of church and state.” Now let’s put aside the disagreement of this Supreme Court ruling for it has little bearing on whether religious people can legislate their views. In fact, in most cases, the freedom of religion could be taken away and religious people could still legislate their views. Why? Because most often they are not legislating their religion but their values.

For example, image the following scenario. A Christian, whose religion states that salvation is receive through God’s Son – Jesus Christ, walks into a voting booth and votes for a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage between one man and one woman. Then a Muslim, whose religion states that damnation is certain for those who say God has a Son and salvation is dependent on Jesus Christ, also votes for the same amendment. Then an Atheist votes for the amendment. How can people with contradictory religious and no religion vote the same way? Because they are not voting a religion, they are voting their values. Values are informed by family, culture, education, belief in God or not, and more. There is nothing any more in violation of church-and-state for a religious person to vote their values than for an Atheist to do so. This is why in part simply being religious does not warrant getting ones voting privileges revoked.

Second, the purpose of a democracy is for all people, even the religious, to have their say in the laws and policies of their governments. It is anti-democratic and anti-American to claim they are doing something wrong when they participate in their civic duty. If people who make this claim don’t like the idea of their fellow citizens having a say in government, they are free to move to a country with a dictatorship. Then they won’t have to worry about religious people having a voice or vote because no one will.

Third, it’s cherry picking. Back to the same-sex marriage example. If it is wrong for one to vote their religious values, what about people whose religion informs them to vote for same-sex marriage? Are these people shoving their religion? No, not as long as a persons religion informs them to vote liberal positions.

Fourth, it’s self-serving. The real thrust of the statement is not for religious people to do the right thing, but to do someone else’s right thing – for religious people to vote against their view and for someone else’s.

Fifth, legislating views and living by them are two different things. Some non-religious people may feel that it is bad for society to legalize illicit drugs. They are not dictating to others how to live. If some people want to talk the risks in using illicit drugs they can. But just because people want something legal doesn’t mean everyone needs to agree and make it legal. In many cases, to do so would be profoundly immoral (rape, incest, infanticide, etc.).

Sixth, it is anti-Christian. People who’s Lord said the greatest commandment is love have an obligation to uphold what is right according to their faith and oppose what is wrong. To approve of what the Christian faith calls sin is unloving to God and others as well.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:6

Seventh, if one believes others show vote against their values, then they should show the way and do it themselves. But they won’t. This is hypocrisy.

If one has confidence in their view then argue for it with legitimate arguments, not fallacious ones like “don’t vote your religion.”