Thursday, November 05, 2015

New York Times: In Houston, Hate Trumped Fairness

Christian extremist celebrate the triumph of hate
In a main editorial, the New York Times voices some of the thoughts that sprang to mind when I heard about the defeat of Houston's nondiscrimination ordinance on Tuesday: how many transgender youth will end their lives as a result of the viscous hate and lies disseminated by the hated-filled "godly folk"? Not that these "godly folk" give a damn for anyone who doesn't look like them and hold to their hate and fear based religious beliefs, proving yet again that the best argument against Christianity are its fundamentalist adherents. As I have noted before, the hate and vitriol - and hypocrisy - these folks exhibit has caused me to immediately have negative thoughts when someone says that  they are a "Christian."  I cannot help but assume they are a horrible, self-centered, bigoted  person until proven otherwise.  All too often, my negative impressions prove accurate.  But I digress.  Here are highlights from the editorial:

Sometime in the near future, a transgender teenager in Texas will attempt suicide — and maybe succeed — because vilifying people for their gender identity remains politically acceptable in America.

The hateful rhetoric of leaders like Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is the latest, ugliest example. Mr. Patrick was ebullient on Tuesday night after it became clear that Houston voters had decidedly rejected a broad equal rights ordinance that opponents maliciously and misleadingly characterized as a boon for cross-dressing sex offenders.

“It was about protecting our grandmoms and our mothers and our wives and our sisters and our daughters and our granddaughters,” Mr. Patrick said as he thanked a crowd of joyful supporters who nodded and cried “Amen!”

HERO, which the City Council passed 18 months ago, established sensible protections from discrimination for 15 classes of people. It would have given people with disabilities, like Mr. Abbott, a paraplegic, a mechanism to fight employment or housing discrimination. It would have given veterans, pregnant women and senior citizens a valuable layer of protection and prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion and national origin. But it was its inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity that turned a sensible initiative into a nasty national controversy.

Opponents of the law, led by Jared Woodfill, a Houston lawyer and a Texas Republican Party leader, started a well-funded campaign that equated supporting it with allowing men to use women’s public restrooms for deviant purposes. Their fearmongering, blasted on yard signs, bellowed from church pulpits and dramatized in a television ad, suggested that sexual deviants were waiting for the ordinance to kick in to sneak up on unsuspecting women in bathroom stalls.

This is completely unfounded. There are no documented cases of peeping Toms or rapists taking advantage of anti-discrimination ordinances that have extended legal protections to transgender Americans in recent years.

While the defeat of HERO is a painful setback, it is encouraging that the broader quest for equality for gay and transgender Americans is advancing steadily.  . . . . When that movement achieves irreversible momentum — and it is a matter of when, not whether — people like Mr. Woodfill, Mr. Abbott and Mr. Patrick will be remembered as latter-day Jim Crow elders. Their demagogy is egregious because it preys on some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

As opponents of the ordinance celebrate their victory this week, transgender people across the country are understandably reeling. They should take comfort in knowing that history will not be kind to the haters who won on Tuesday. In time, the bigots are destined to lose.

What makes the situation even more disgusting is that many tax-exempt churches fought against HERO.  Thus. all citizens were forced to indirectly support the forces of hate and bigotry.  Tax exempt status for churches needs to end. The First Amendment grants no entitlement to be supported by all citizens.  Indeed, it argues against taxpayer support of religion.

No comments: