It would be pretty great if the Times-Dispatch Editorial Board could stop publishing lies about ‘religious liberty’ laws
Another weekend, another opportunity for the Times-Dispatch’s editorial board to stir up clicks on a controversial subject by running lies about it.
This week, an OpEd from local pastor/human-mannequin at Richmond Community Church Rick McDaniel caught our eye as it proceeds to lie and undermine equality all under the auspices of “God’s love,” much like the proposed laws he aims to support, “religious freedom” bills.
McDaniel opens the piece by condemning Gov. McAuliffe for vetoing SB41, a vague bill which could have allowed private businesses to deny services to LGBTQ couples if it violated their deeply held religious beliefs:
He did so because he said, “It demonizes folks. It brings fear and persecution.” This is remarkable language since the word demonizes has obvious biblical connotations. And the word persecution is especially ironic since the State Department just declared persecution of Christians in the Middle East as genocide.
Did McDaniel just compare ISIS slaughtering Christians in the Middle East to a baker denying a cake to a gay wedding? Congrats on the grossest miss-comparison of the week, but I guess you know a thing or two about people ‘being on the cross.’
McDaniel goes on to mention the actions in North Carolina, where a bill was signed removing protections for LGBTQ’s while forcing transgender people to use the bathroom aligned with their birth gender. He also mention’s Georgia’s governor vetoing such a bill, noting that massive corporate outcry from the likes of Disney, Apple and the NFL.
“There is also the trepidation of even appearing to be discriminatory in any way,” he writes. Interestingly he seems to admit the law is discriminatory which is kind of amazing. But it doesn’t stop there – there’s still plenty of cross for him to nail himself and his fellow Christians too:
But what about people of sincere religious faith — do they not deserve equal protection from discrimination? Politicians theorizing about religious liberty are not the same as hearing from a religious leader. A pastor can see the personal impact of government decisions in a way a politician cannot.
Yea, what about the people of faith here in America and how often are THEY victimized? If someone had tried to stop people from throwing food at Khloé Elizabeth Vaughan would that have been violating their religious beliefs?
I’m really running out of comparisons outside of McDaniel putting himself and his fellow Christians on the cross here, but good grief this OpEd is full of it:
“Time and time again we are told there is no way any religious leader or faith community will ever be forced to marry people who do not hold to their understanding of marriage. Let’s hope this will always be the case, though there is some doubt.”
No. There is ZERO doubt that priests and pastors will be forced to perform same-sex weddings. As Slate pointed out years ago, the way we differentiate between types of discrimination offers protections for churches if an act would violate their religious beliefs.
Those who say otherwise, that the government could compel a church to perform a gay wedding, can really only use one ruling to stand on. Back in the 70′s, the Fed started cracking down on the tax-exempt status of churches that denied interracial weddings. And when Bob Jones University in SC started allowing Black students, they had rules in place which would expel students if they took part in an interracial marriage.
The school lost a challenge to keep the law all the way up to the Supreme Court and instead of changing their policy, they decided to to keep it and pay the back taxes. They didn’t drop their policy until the early 2000′s.
If that’s what McDaniel want’s to be associated with, go nuts, lets just not pretend you’re being victimized because you don’t like something.
And luckily for Churches and faith groups, challenges over sex discrimination have been far more successful. In 2002, a woman tried to sue the Catholic Church over the exclusivity of men being priests. Sure enough, the Supreme Court found in favor of the church saying the rule fell within their “ministerial exception.” This is the same exception that allows a Catholic School to fire an unwed mother.
Did that look right to you? Cause just reading “allows a Catholic School to fire an unwed mother” made me feel gross, but that’s beside the point – they are allowed to do it so you can be sure they’ll be allowed to deny a gay wedding.
There’s also the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, one of the first in the country, penned by Jefferson himself. According to the Virginia Historical society, it breaks it down pretty cleanly into two big rules:
1. No person can be compelled to attend any church or support it with his taxes.
2. An individual is free to worship as he pleases with no discrimination.
Notice it says nothing about forcing a Church to do anything, nor does it offer protections for private businesses to force their beliefs on their customers – worship as you please, just check that shit at the door.
McDaniel then details a member of his church who runs a BUSINESS that plans weddings. He defends the female business owner’s lack of discrimination by saying “She has no issues with discrimination of any kind — in fact her marriage is interracial.” You hear that guys? She’s married to a Black guy! She’s not racist or whatever, just no queers!
The Pastor says there is no way “she could offer her services to a same-sex couple without violating what she believes her Faith teaches…” and she “has no animosity toward homosexuals.”
In the words of The Princess Bride’s Diego Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
I wonder if this woman in question lets her customers serve red meat on Friday weddings during Lent?
McDaniel then goes on to wax-poetic about other arguments LGBTQ and ally folks might have if we continue to rob them of their ability to discriminate:
“…a Christian college that receives Pell grants for its students but does not condone same-sex marriage or co-ed dorms should not receive any educational funds. A homeless shelter that has Christian beliefs and shows God’s love in practical ways should not receive any government funds whatsoever.”
Yea know, I might, and that’s a big might, give you some leeway on the college thing. I, personally believe in a diversity of opinions and think there are some good faith-based colleges out there. But if this guy just said it was okay for homeless shelters to turn people away because of who they love, or because of their gender identity, I look forward to seeing him roasting on a spit inside the gates of hell.
And if he thinks Jesus is cool with this kind of treatment of people, then maybe his tax-exempt status should be put into question.
The OpEd is lengthy and pretty nuts.
He talks about his personal faith being called out more than Jews, but the Jews aren’t the one’s trying to deny services to people. He also talks about the lack of immediate threat to any religious orgs over this issue – he’s actually wrong, the local Catholic Dioceses is facing an EEOC complaint after firing a gay man from an administrative position because he’s married – but he wrote “Just because there has not been a specific case does not mean there won’t be one, maybe very soon.”
Curious, cause that’s the argument LGBTQ people have been using to get protections in the work force, or even housing, for years and you don’t seem to believe us when we ask for it.
Seriously, the rest of McDaniel’s write up is so ironic and quotable it’s almost laughable. I wont go into it much more here cause I’ve already wasted a chunk of my day proving how crazy and wrong he is – luckily, the comment section on the story agrees with me:
The good news is Virginia has been spared the humiliation of any kind of religious freedom law this year, and god willing we’ll have similar success fighting this kind of legislation in the future. I don’t necessarily fault McDaniel for his beliefs, he probably comes from a long line of intolerant men who wrap themselves in God and Country while beating progress back with a bible and cross. He doesn’t know any better.
But one day, a bit longer from now, he’ll be gone, and his grand kids, maybe his great-grand kids, will grow up in a world where all there is is gender-neutral toys for toddlers and I’m okay with that.
Tim is a writer, video game nerd, and music fan. You'll see him at shows, or you wont really see him at all.
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