Bigotry on Parade

Posted: July 20, 2014 by Marner in Conservative Shenanigans, Current Events, Politics
Tags: , , ,

President Obama is going to sign an Executive Order (Imperial President!) on Monday preventing federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers. The order will prevent the non-hiring or firing of people based solely on sexual orientation and only applies to organizations, for-profit or non-profit, that contract with the federal government. This is a good policy, since there is no federal law and few state laws protecting LGBT people from religious bigots in their jobs. As expected, the religious bigots are in an uproar, having sent a letter to Obama demanding they be given special rights to be exempted from the order. Obama refused to grant any exemption, so these groups will most likely sue for the right to practice their bigotry against employees.

Of course, the bigots have turned to the right-wing noise machine to press their case that they should be allowed to discriminate. One of the people they turned to was Neil Munro at the Daily Caller, Tucker Carlson’s alternative conservative digital rag. Mr. Munro pulls out all the stops in writing his story, checking his journalistic integrity at the door.

He’s expected to sign a regulation on July 21 that would force religious groups that get federal contracts to give up federal funding if they don’t submit to progressives’ claim that homosexuality and heterosexuality are morally equivalent.

The Executive Order does not say anything about moral equivalency. It merely says that if you want do business as a federal contractor, you cannot make hiring and firing decisions based solely on sexual orientation. Company or non-profit owners are still free to believe whatever they want.

Gay and lesbian groups cheered the decision, but many religious groups will contest the regulation as a violation of the constitution’s “wall of separation” that protects religious groups from government dictates.

The government is not “dictating” anything that violates any “wall of separation.” The separation between church and state, which conservatives usually despise because it interferes with their desire to have a Christian government, prevents the government from endorsing a state religion or preventing the free exercise of a religion. This order does neither. The order prevents endorsement by not allowing one particular religious view to be a criteria for employment in support of the US government and business owners are still free to preach bigotry against gays to their hearts’ content.

Many religious groups, such as Catholic Charities, seek and accept federal funding because it helps them carry out charitable missions that exemplify their religion and are also sought by government.

Unless they abandon their religious beliefs relating to men and women, the family and sex, they be forced to give up federal funding.

Again, Munro is lying about the order. No one is being forced to “abandon their religious beliefs.” If they believe it is righteous to discriminate, they can choose not ask the government for a federal contract. No one is being forced to compete for federal contracts.

Once Obama signs the regulation July 21, the religious groups likely will sue in courts for a reversal.

They’ll sue because an existing law — the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act — bars regulators from imposing unnecessary burdens on religious groups.

And this is where we get to the crux of the argument. Since the Supreme Court bastardized the definition of a person in the RFRA in the Hobby Lobby decision, the bigots believe they can use it to gain special privileges. This will fail, though, because the government is not regulating anything in this instance. Everyone has the right to compete for a federal contract if they meet the standards imposed by the awarding agency and the agency has the authority to dictate the standards. The government can and does impose requirements in every single contract. They require that employees be paid the prevailing wage for the location the work will be performed in. They say a company must be no larger than a certain size in order to compete. They insist that a minimum standard of benefits be provided to employees. If a business does not like the restrictions imposed on the competition, they have every right to not ask the government for a contract award.

The religious bigots will continue to use the Hobby Lobby decision to try and gain the right to openly discriminate against whomever they don’t like. If you accept that a company or group cannot hire or fire an employee for the sole reason of their sexual orientation, then you have to accept that they can discriminate for any reason whatsoever. You have to support the contention that a company is allowed to only hire whites, or Hispanics, or Asians, etc. You have to believe that a woman who gets pregnant without being married can be fired on the spot. You also have to accept that a company can dismiss an employee because he had a beer and a cigarette after work. If you believe bigotry is okay in one instance, you have to believe it is okay in all instances.

  1. rustybrown2012 says:

    Your analysis is spot on as usual, Marner. Any lawsuits stemming from this executive order are without merit and should wither on the vine, although nothing is certain with the Catholic Supreme Court we’re currently saddled with. The good news is that this mindset is changing, and I suspect the changing populace will be more wary of appointing similar religious extremists to the courts in the future.

    The right is on the ropes and they know it. Bad ideas and a bad track record marginalize them as fossils. It’s most prominently displayed by Cheney’s pathetic attempts to rehabilitate his legacy. In spite of the complicit conservative media, the public snickers and eyes roll. They will continue to bray from the sidelines as the world, and their country, pass them by.

    • Marner says:

      Thanks, Rusty. What gets me is the feeling of entitlement the conservatives have. They believe they are entitled to do anything as long as they can cloak in “religious freedom.” They believe they are entitled to tell people that they are lesser forms of human beings because they don’t have relationships with the “right” people. If you asked them if a company could impose withholding of 10% of an employee’s salary for tithing, they would say, “Sure, you don’t have to work there.”

      • rustybrown2012 says:

        That’s a great point. The “sure, you don’t have to work here” canard is constantly presented by conservatives, and is a great example of how unsympathetic they are to average Americans. Presumably comfortable in their own jobs or retired, they can’t spare a few brain cells for empathizing with fellow humans who may be experiencing more difficult circumstances than themselves. Incredibly, in the real world of familial obligations, it turns out that it’s not so easy to merely switch jobs when your boss is revealed to be an asshole; if it were, there would be no asshole bosses (Ha!).

      • meursault1942 says:

        “They believe they are entitled to do anything as long as they can cloak in ‘religious freedom.'”

        This is exactly right, and it’s also the emphasis on THEY. You want to see the right wing put limits on religious freedom? Apply it to Muslims. Hell, wingnuts shriek in protest when Muslims simply want to build a house of worship; they sure as hell don’t want those people having the same freedom that they do. It’s the same thing with gun control: The thought of black people having guns was terrifying enough that even Ronnie the Golden Calf Reagan hopped on board with gun control in a hurry. And nowadays, a single black person with a stick is enough to send wingnuts into a tizzy (and by the way, it was RACIST not to prosecute that guy for…I dunno…something, dammit!). When wingers talk about things like “freedom” or “balance” or what have you, they only mean for themselves.

        “If you asked them if a company could impose withholding of 10% of an employee’s salary for tithing, they would say, “Sure, you don’t have to work there.””

        And that’s doubly funny because wingnuts absolutely, positively support the right–nay, the responsibility!–of Christian pharmacists to refuse to do their job and fill contraceptive prescriptions. If you want to fire that Christian pharmacist and hire somebody who will actually carry out the job duties, then you, sir, are an anti-Christian bigot!

        So yeah, wingnuts absolutely want it both ways. Just as they want all the benefits of the social contract and none of the responsibility for upholding it, they think being Christian entitles them to a free pass from myriad rules they think everybody else must follow.

        And as far as Catholic Charities goes, the Catholic Church has more money than the U.S. government. So if Catholic Charities can’t seem to abide by the notion of not being bigoted, perhaps they could hit up the Vatican for some money?

      • meursault1942 says:

        Right on cue: Pro-Life Nurse-Midwife Who Won’t Prescribe the Pill Sues Family Planning Center for Not Hiring Her

        Because if you aren’t hired to do a job you’ve outright stated you won’t do, that is a violation of your religious freedom. Of course.

  2. meursault1942 says:

    O/T: Richard Mayhew has a great post up about how hospitals in the states that rejected the Medicaid Expansion are hurting, while hospitals in states that accepted the expansion are benefiting. Gee, it’s almost as though more people having health care coverage is a good thing or something.

    Mayhew’s closing paragraph is the real kicker:

    In a rational world, blame would be placed squarely on the Republican governors and Teabagging legislatures for refusing free money. In a slightly less rational world, blame would be split between the Supreme Court and the Teabaggers who say Nee. In our world, at least 27% of the country will blame Obamacare for closing the rural hospitals in non-Expansion states.

    You can damn near guarantee that our beloved wingnuts are going to be a part of that 27 percent (and likely will use “Obamacare destroyed our hospitals!” as a rationale for repealing Obamacare, because as we all know, they love to augment stupidity with even more stupidity).

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