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Religious Tolerance logo

Religious freedom to discriminate laws:

2016-JUL: Part 3 of six parts:

2016-JUL: The federal FADA:
(First Amendment Defense Act):
Golden Rule implications of FADA.
Amended bill is debated before
the House committee.
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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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Supporters of FADA ignore the Ethic of Reciprocity (the Golden Rule):

Curiously, in their effort to promote the freedom to discriminate against the LGBT community, these religiously-based groups and individual supporters of FADA are overlooking the Ethic of Reciprocity. This is commonly called the Golden Rule. It states that a person should treat other people as that person would wish to be treated in return. Followers of the Golden Rule, do not discriminate against others on the basis of the latters' skin color, religion, race, nationality, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, degree of disability, etc. The Rule is a foundational guideline of behavior that Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus Christ) required of his followers. It appears in all of the major world religions, and in many systems of philosophical thought, although the wordings differ among the sources.

Groups supporting FADA also appear to be all using a very conservative interpretations of the six "clobber passages" in the Bible which some theologians beileve refer to same-gender sexual behavior.

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2016-JUL-12: An amended version of H.R. 2802 is debated by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee:

The bill lay dormant for over a year without any significant action taken after its filing. Apparently, the main sponsors of H.R. 2892 felt that the bill was not likely to be passed by the Committee and/or the full House in its original form. Although there was strong support from Republican members of Congress, virtually all Democratic lawmakers were opposed to the bill.

The main sponsors made a very strange amendment to the bill during early July, apparently expecting that they would obtain more support from Congress:

  • The original version allowed individuals, non-profits, for-profit corporations, etc. who have a sincere religious or moral view that marriage is to be restricted to "two individuals of the opposite sex" to freely discriminate against same-sex couples who want to marry.

  • The amended version seems to also protect people who have a sincere religious or moral view that marriage is to be restricted to "two individuals of the same sex" to freely discriminate against opposite-sex couples who want to marry.
    .

The new wording states:

Section 3 (A) 1

Webmaster's comment on the FADA amendment:

The main sponsors of the bill seem to believe that they could dredge up more support from liberal-minded Representatives and Senators if they widened the range over which people could discriminate or denigrate others over marriage, with impunity. I am at a total loss to understand their thinking.

Democrats appear to be almost universally opposed to the original bill. Expanding the grounds for discrimination against others would not seem likely to increase liberal support.

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2016-JUL-12: Debate about FADA at the House Oversight Committee:

Sadly, the Committee meeting was scheduled on the one month anniversary of the mass murders in Orlando, which is perceived by many as being at least partly motivated by hatred of the LGBT community. Brandon Lorenz, writing for The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) said:

"HRC denounced House Republican leaders for holding a hearing on a deeply discriminatory anti-LGBTQ bill on the one-month anniversary of the horrific attack in Orlando.  The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is holding a hearing on the so-called "First Amendment Defense Act" (FADA) -- radical legislation backed by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump that would sanction unprecedented taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBTQ people.

'Members of Congress should hang their heads in shame for attempting to advance this reckless and irresponsible bill that embraces taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBTQ people,' said HRC Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof. 'On any given day, this hearing would be wrong but it is especially deplorable to be considering this legislation on a day that marks just one month since our nation’s deadliest [recent] mass shooting left 49 families and friends of LGBTQ people and allies in mourning. Meanwhile, these same House leaders refuse to hold hearings on the Equality Act, which would provide comprehensive non-discrimination protections to protect LGBTQ people, or on addressing common-sense gun violence prevention measures. ... This hearing on FADA is not an exercise. It’s a frightening preview of how LGBTQ people would be targeted for discrimination in our federal government if Donald Trump is elected'." 2

HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy said that on JUL-06 over 50 national organizations and 20 local and state organizations sent a letter to Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz urging him to cancel the hearing. Sacy wrote:

    "Congress should be holding hearings on the needs of the victims, their families, and survivors of the Orlando attacks, or on ways to better protect the LGBTQ community from bias-motivated violence or discrimination. But instead, only a month after the attack, they are unconscionably holding a hearing on harmful legislation that singles out the LGBTQ community. The misleadingly named First Amendment Defense Act has nothing to do with the First Amendment and everything to do with sanctioning taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBTQ people. Enough is enough. It’s far past time to stop the legislative attacks on LGBTQ people and their families.” 3

  • Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) one of the original sponsors of the bill said:

    "What an individual or organization believes about marriage is not, and never should be, any of the government’s business, and it certainly should never be part of the government’s eligibility rubric in distributing licenses, awarding accreditations, or issuing grants. And the First Amendment Defense Act simply ensures that this will always remain true in America." 4

  • John Obergefell, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court decision on 2015-JUN-26 that legalized same-sex marriage said that if the bill became law it would be essentially a state-sanctioned license to discriminate against LGBT people. He said:

    "Everyone in this country is free to believe or not and to live out their faith as they see fit, provided that they do not do so in a way that harms other people. As I see it, this legislation turns this value on its head by permitting discrimination and harm under the guise of religious liberty." 5

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "JoeMyGod," "FRC Withdraws Support For FADA Because New Language Also Legalizes Anti-Straight Discrimination," JoeMyGod.com, 2016-JUL-13, at: http://www.joemygod.com/
  2. Brandon Lorenz, "SHAME: On Anniversary of Orlando Tragedy, House Republicans Hold Hearing Anti-LGBTQ Bill," Human Rights Campaign, 2016-JUL-12, at: https://www.hrc.org/
  3. Stephen Peters, "On One Month Anniversary of Orlando Attack, House will Hold Hearing on Anti-LGBTQ Legislation," Human Rights Campaign, 2016-JUL-06, at: https://www.hrc.org/
  4. Maggie Gallagher, "Why I Support a Viewpoint-Neutral First Amendment Defense Act," National Review, 2016-JUL-29, at: http://www.nationalreview.com/
  5. David Badash, "Watch: Hero Jim Obergefell Tells House Republicans Why First Amendment Defense Act Is Discriminatory," The New Civil Rights Movement, 2016-JUL-13, at: http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/

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Copyright © 2015 & 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2016-JUL-30
Latest update: 2016-JUL-31
Author: B.A. Robinson
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