Fred Phelps and Virginia
Virginia Is for . . . :
Welcome to the Fred Phelps Training Academy
A. BARTON HINKLE
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
The Rev. Fred Phelps, leader of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, likes to show up at funerals with a placard reading, "God Hates Fags." Certain legislators in the General Assembly -- princi- pally Republicans -- evidently would like to post one reading, "Us Too."
This year the Assembly made approval of a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage its first order of business. The amendment bans not just marriage, but potentially any legal arrangement that even approximates it.
Backers of the amendment insist the impetus for it is not rooted in animosity toward homosexuals -- that it's really about "the children" and shoring up the institution of marriage against the cultural tides that might erode it. Yet they display no inclination to erect barriers against a much greater force eroding marriage: divorce, which scars far more children than civil unions ever would. Perhaps that is because many political stalwarts, including some well-known Republican luminaries, have broken their marriage vows.
Still, hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue, and if this were all there was to the question it would be a slim reed on which to rest the charge that the Assembly is fetishizing hostility. But this is not all.
WHEN DEPARTING Governor Mark Warner wrote into his budget a prohibition against discrimination in state or local employment based on sexual orientation, opponents objected -- ostensibly on procedural grounds: It was a sneaky way to do under cover of darkness what should have been done in the broad daylight of specific legislation, they said. They also objected that the language was too broad -- "People have sexual orientation toward objects and animals," as Delegate Robert Marshall put it.
Well. Last week a Senate committee considered a bill sponsored by Louise Lucas that addressed both putative concerns. The measure outlawed employment discrimination against gays and lesbians while specifically excluding from protection those persons with sexually deviant disorders such as pedophilia. Problems solved, right? Wrong. Eight Republicans -- Brandon Bell, Charles Hawkins, Steve Martin, Jay O'Brien, Frank Ruff, Walter Stosch, Frank Wagner, and William Wampler killed the bill.
Meanwhile, Republican Delegate Matthew Lohr introduced legislation this year -- which already has passed the House -- that would allow school boards to proscribe student groups promoting unmarried sex. This neutral-sounding language is, in fact, aimed at gay-straight alliance clubs, which teach tolerance of homosexuals and give gay and lesbian students somewhere to talk about the difficulties of being in a sexual minority. Marisa Calasanti-Laws, a 17-year-old who heads Blacksburg's Gay Straight Awareness Organization, told The Roanoke Times, "We don't talk about our sex lives. We never get into that. We stick with tolerance and equality."
THEREIN LIES the problem, in the eyes of some. As Jack Knapp of the Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists put it when he testified against the anti-discrimination measure, homosexual behavior is "against the teaching of the word of God, and that settles it for us . . . .God did not create homosexuals." (If He didn't, then who -- oh, never mind.) Some social conservatives don't want anyone, let alone student groups, to foster tolerance of homosexuality. Gay-Straight Alliances don't promote ummarried sex for the simple reason that unmarried sex, especially among teenagers, lamentably needs no promotion. Treating homosexuals as fellow human beings is what needs a little help.
It won't get any from certain legislators, who seems intent on sticking it to homosexuals any way they can. Religious scruples can explain the opposition to extending the marital sacrament to homosexuals, and even prohibitions against civil arrangements approximating marriage. But they can't explain the marriage amendment and the pro-discrimination vote and the bill aimed at student groups (not to mention last year's "traditional marriage" license-plate bill, the bill to ban gay adoption, and so on). Only a visceral animosity that is the antithesis of Christian agape could account for such an unrelenting assault.
Gays and lesbians don't ask the state to love and embrace them. They simply ask that the state provide a due acknowledgment of their inherent dignity and worth as individuals. Yet this evidently is too much for some who do not want homosexuals going to roadside rest stops for illicit sex, or to the chapel for marital fidelity, or to government agencies for work, or to after-school clubs for simpatico and support.
This raises the question as to just where they do want homosexuals to go, and the only answer seems to be the one supplied by Fred Phelps: "Fags Burn in Hell."
This story can be found here
Good post Schoolboi, and Happy Birthday to you!
Thinly veiled anger below.
Can we in any way make those opposed to non-discrimination laws understand that "behavior" has nothing to do with the question? They say employers/landlords should have a right to fire/evict homosexuals because of their sexual behavior. By that logic then, they should have no legal right to fire/evict homosexual virgins or celibates. But they DO. So we have proof positive that their discrimination is in NO way based upon behavior but solely upon their dislike of gay individuals. Wouldn't that also give me, if I were to rent property, the right to evict a heterosexual tenant for disapproving of his intrinsic heterosexuality? How come I never hear this point mentioned? Because it's too obvious? Or do people really not see the truth of it?
Nothing infuriates me faster than people arguing against non-discrimination laws, especially when they say they base their discimination on behavior. Don't know if I've mentioned this before, when I was a kid I was thrown out of home and left homeless for weeks by such a landlord. I literally believed I was going to die from that experience. Since I was a virgin at the time, the "behavior" that got me thrown out was being quiet, paying rent on time and in full, and minding my own business. Shouldn't ALL such responsible tenants be thrown onto the streets then? By his logic, apparently they should. . . . Don't people notice how psychotic it is to argue against an innocent person's basic survival needs?
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