Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Fight for Gay Rights Shifts to Jacksonville

Here in the holiday season Christians are supposed to be motivated by peace. love and good will towards all.  That is, unless one is a "conservative Christian" in which case one's motives and thoughts continue to run to hate, bigotry, and a license to mistreat others.  At least that is the image one gets from the ongoing effort of the "godly folk" in Jacksonville, Florida, to defeat a measure before that city's city council that would provide LGBT protections in housing, public accommodation and employment.  As was done in Houston, these "loving Christians" are depicting gays and especially the transgender as predators seeking to lurk in women's rooms so that they can molest women and girls.  The irony is that moderate Muslims are being told that should condemn their extremist coreligionists, yet moderate Christians are largely silent when it comes to condemning their foul fellow Christians.  Once again, Christianity in America receives an undeserved deference.  Here are highlights from the New York Times on the message of hate being promoted by the "godly folk":
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The first major gay rights showdown since Houston’s rancorous vote to repeal its anti-discrimination ordinance is shaping up here in Jacksonville, the largest city in the nation whose leaders have never enacted civil rights protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Like Houston, Jacksonville is a growing Southern city where religion plays a powerful role in public life. And, as in Houston, the battle here pits a well-organized coalition of gays and business forces against energized Christian conservatives who raise issues of religious freedom and the specter of male predators in women’s bathrooms.

For Christian conservatives, wounded from repeated losses in the courts culminating in the Supreme Court’s decision in June to make same-sex marriage legal nationwide, it is a chance to show that Houston was not an isolated victory.

“It’s a fact of life that predators attack women and children in bathrooms; it happens everywhere,” said one panelist, Roger Gannam, a lawyer and former Jacksonville resident who represents Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He drew jeers when he said an anti-discrimination law “will make that easier” by allowing male criminals to pose as transgender.

Currently, more than 200 cities and 17 states have ordinances barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, with no evidence of any increase in crime, proponents say.

If Christian conservatives are not as well organized here as they were in Houston, they soon would be, Mr. Gannam said in an interview. He helped lead the opposition that defeated a similar effort in Jacksonville in 2012, and is now working with a coalition of pastors and conservative groups, including the Florida Family Policy Council, a statewide group affiliated with Focus on the Family.

And already, others are organizing locally. Raymond Johnson, a Republican strategist who runs a ministry devoted to “biblical concepts in public policy,” has been emailing a network of pastors with fliers opposing what he calls “a Christian persecution law.”

“The business case is simple,” said Steve Halverson, the chief executive of the Haskell Company, one of the city’s largest private employers. “We are handicapped if we have a culture that is the least bit intolerant or uncomfortable for anybody.”

The hypocrisy of the "Christians" is disgusting.  They define "Christian persecution": as anything that restricts their right to persecute and mistreat others.  The Biblical Pharisees come off as nice folks in comparison.  Please NEVER call me a Christian if it puts me in the same category as these foul individuals.  

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