LGBT

Because We’re Not Afraid of Debate: RFRA Madness —Marriage Support May Suffer, But That’s a Good Thing

RFRA desormeaux

 

This was originally posted at Cynicus Prime.

One of the most startling memes I’ve seen in the wake of the Indiana RFRA debate is the swift retreat by many conservatives from their previously stated support for same-sex marriage equality. Many analysts expect this kind of pushback when an issue becomes as heated as this one has. The pendulum swings back and forth, they say, and perhaps RFRA was the top of the equal rights swing and now the descent begins. Maybe, maybe not. But the pushback we’ve seen here is incredibly instructive, and ultimately worth the price for an honest public debate.

I couldn’t scroll my Twitter timeline at any point on Wednesday without someone saying they were now rethinking or abandoning their support for gay marriage after Indiana. They had reluctantly agreed that marriage would be ok, but to have their businesses hired to (not at all) participate in them? Fascism! Totalitarianism!

At first blush, this sounds like an unfortunate setback for the LGBT equal rights movement. Polls may soon show a softening of national support for marriage equality. Well, I say it’s about time. The emergent consensus was a fairy tale. It was too good to be true.

What is “Ordered Liberty” Anyways?

No, I’m not suggesting a name change for the blog. What I’m talking about is the concept called “ordered liberty,” which is frequently used by conservatives as an attempt to appeal to libertarians. “Why, yes,” they say, “We believe in liberty, but we think it should be ordered.” It came up during a debate at Cato last year between Cato interns and Heritage Foundation interns (unless my memory is horrifically mistaken) and I’ve seen it be deployed in arguments across social networks. It was recently used on one blog, regarding the Amendment One vote in North Carolina, noting that incestrous relationships and polygamy were “detrimental to ordered liberty.”

But what exactly is ordered liberty? I’ve never really figured out just what, if anything, people using the term are really trying to say.

The two people that the term appears to have come from are giants in the field of conservatism: Edmund Burke and Russell Kirk. These two are probably the intellectual giants of modern American conservatism*, along with William F. Buckley. It was they who came up with this phrase, which, for what I can deduce, is essentially that liberty is not allowed to run completely amok, and that there must be some limits.

From chapter 5 of Russell Kirk’s The American Cause, aptly titled “Ordered Liberty”:

Now in the political beliefs of what we call “Christian civilization” or “Western civilization”—of which American civilization is a part—there are three cardinal ideas: the idea of justice, the idea of order, and the idea of freedom. These three great concepts are the cement of American society.

[…]

“Born This Way”? New Study Debunks LGBT Claims

trans

Among the political left, it is an accepted fact (“settled science”, you might say) that homosexuals and transgendered people are “born that way”, that their sexual attractions or gender identities are not the product of choice, but a matter of genetics. A new report, instantly controversial, torpedoes that understanding of homosexuality and gender dysphoria (the medical term for transgenderism).

The report, entitled “Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences” is co-authored by two of the most well respected experts on mental health and human sexuality; Dr. Paul McHugh, described as “arguably the most important American psychiatrist of the last half century”, is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and served for 25 years as Psychiatrist-in-Chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital; and Dr. Lawrence Mayer, Psychiatry Department scholar-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University, is a professor of statistics and biostatistics at Arizona State University.

While, not surprisingly, many on the Left and in the LGBT community immediately raged against the report as anti-LGBT, it should be noted that Johns Hopkins University was the first medical facility in the U.S. to perform sex reassignment surgery, and did so for a period spanning decades until a growing body of peer-reviewed studies, including an analysis of how Hopkins’ own transgendered patients fared over time, led the hospital to end those types of surgeries. Furthermore, McHugh is no far right-wing ideologue or Bible-thumper, he is a self-described “politically liberal” Democrat.

Obama has gotten one individual liberty issue right

halo

Call it a case of the proverbial broken clock being right twice a day. President Obama has been terrible on most liberty issues, of course. He came into office promising a hands-off approach to medical marijuana states, but his DEA and FBI have kept the pace of the Bush administration on clinic raids. He has proposed and supported restrictive gun regulations, though his infamous “executive actions” didn’t end up amounting to all that much.

The myriad Obamacare mandates are egregious violations of individual and organizational liberty. But there’s one area where Obama has gotten it exactly right, or at least as well as can be expected from a modern President: individual rights for gay Americans.

Choice & Discrimation, or “Kansas & Marion Barry”

Earlier in the week, Fox News reporter Todd Starnes reported that Hutchinson, Kansas, is looking to pass an ordinance that will require churches to host weddings and parties for LGBT groups—something which, predictably and understandably—got many on the right upset. Then, not too long after, former DC mayor and current Council member Marion Barry made yet another stupid move by criticizing hospitals for hiring Filipina nurses.

My oh my. Looks like discrimination is back in the media again.

First, what Starnes reported from Kansas:

 

The Hutchinson City Council will consider adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the protected classes in the city’s human relations code. They are expected to vote on the changes next month.

According to the Hutchinson Human Relations Commission, churches that rent out their buildings to the general public would not be allowed to discriminate “against a gay couple who want to rent the building for a party.”

Meryl Dye, a spokesperson for the Human Relations Commission confirmed to Fox News that churches would be subjected to portions of the proposed law.

[…]

 

Matthew Staver, chairman of the Liberty Counsel Action, told Fox News the proposed law is “un-American.”

“It is a collision course between religious freedom and the LGBT agenda,” Staver said. “This proposed legislation will ultimately override the religious freedom that is protected under the First Amendment.”

He argued that churches cannot be forced by the government to set aside their religious convictions and their mission. And, he warned, some churches could even be forced to rent their buildings for drag parties.

 

 

Rick Perry’s Disgusting Ad and #GOP schizophrenia

As you’re probably already aware, Rick Perry came out with a YouTube ad blasting gays serving in the military while, apparently, Christian children can’t celebrate Christmas—which makes me wonder if he’s an antiwar candidate and if I should invite him to Festivus this year.

Put simply, the ad is disgusting. Insulting people defending* Perry’s right to run for office in another country, insulting people putting their lives on the line so that he can say what he wants, and insinuating that Christians—who make up an absolute majority of all Americans [PDF]—can’t celebrate Christmas is absolutely insane and retarded (and yes, I chose those words specifically.)

Heck, even members of his staff thought the ad was nuts!

But not everyone was comfortable with the script. When the ad was being crafted several weeks ago, Perry’s top pollster, Tony Fabrizio, called it “nuts,” according to an email sent from Fabrizio to the ad’s main creator, longtime GOP operative Nelson Warfield. In a separate email to The Huffington Post, Warfield confirmed that the ad was made over Fabrizio’s objections.

Nelson should have listened to Tony. That was a bad, bad move.


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