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Focus on the Family Policy: When All Else Fails, Lie

Timothy Kincaid

November 9th, 2007

jennifermesko.jpgJennifer Mesko, associate editor at Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink had this to say about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA):

ENDA would prevent employers from taking sexual orientation into consideration when hiring, promoting or firing. That could spell trouble for Christian business owners, churches and faith-based groups, which could be obligated to hire people who don’t share their beliefs. ENDA also could silence religious speech in the workplace.

The problem with that? Churches and faith based groups are specifically excluded from ENDA. Even though protections were in place in the original language, the House reinforced religious organization exclusions by means of an amendment.

Does Jennifer know that? I think you know the answer to that.

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Liadan
November 9th, 2007 | LINK

Christian bookstore owners might have to find other excuses not to hire queers to stock and run the cash register! Baptist auto mechanics might have to contend with homo-cooties getting all over the socket wrench set! Presbyterian cafe managers can no longer fire butch waitresses or swishy cooks unless they actually can’t wait tables or cook! Oh, the humanity!

…Hold on, my tiny violin is around here somewhere.

Timothy Kincaid
November 9th, 2007 | LINK

Actually, I think Christian bookstores would be exempt.

Liadan
November 10th, 2007 | LINK

That’s… frankly quite bizarre, since being gay, straight, Christian, or whatever else has very little to do with the logistics of running a business in the same way as it does a church or other religious organization. Christian bookstores are still just businesses, when you get down to brass tacks.

Not that I think most gay people would be thrilled at working at your average Christian bookstore, but employment isn’t always a matter of working where you *like* to.

CPT_Doom
November 10th, 2007 | LINK

That could spell trouble for Christian business owners, churches and faith-based groups, which could be obligated to hire people who don’t share their beliefs.

You mean, like Baptists having to hire Catholics? Which, of course, is already the law of the land. I am not an expert on ENDA, but my understanding is that it has the same exceptions as the current law on non-discrimination by religious background. So a Catholic diocesan hospital cannot refuse to hire a Baptist nurse, but it can refuse to hire a non-Catholic Religion teacher in its high school.

Ben in Oakland
November 10th, 2007 | LINK

To me, the obvious question is this: once again, the exception for religious belief calls into question the idea that this really about sincere religious belief as opposed to plain old prejudice. The laws of the land allegedly outlaw bias on the basis of religion. As a Jew, i can reject the whole of conservative Christianity and nobody gives a damn–so to speak. Nor as a reasonably inteligent man would I seek employment in a religious environment where I must transmit superstition and humbuggery as god given, absolute truth. But let me say that i am gay and reject just this tiny part of conservative christian theology, and the heavens let loose with cries of anguish over being forced to consider that I am a human being and an american citizen. As a gay man, all I want is the same respect that conservative religionists offer to all of the other people they believe their just and loving god is going to send to hell to burn for ever for the crime of breaking one of his rules, or heaven forbid, not believing in the old bugger at all!

Timothy Kincaid
November 12th, 2007 | LINK

That’s… frankly quite bizarre, since being gay, straight, Christian, or whatever else has very little to do with the logistics of running a business in the same way as it does a church or other religious organization. Christian bookstores are still just businesses, when you get down to brass tacks.

To be honest, I’m not 100% sure that christian bookstores are exempt. I would assume that they would be – or at least some of them – because the nature of the business is different than a regular bookstore.

In religious bookstores the proprietors often are asked advice about their products from a specific religious viewpoint. The store may well be able to argue that because of their close affiliation with some denomination that a gay employee would not be able to provide adequate service. I do think that being Jewish or Muslem would probably also be a legal reason for being denied employment at a Christian bookstore. But I’m not completely certain.

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