equal rights

Firing someone for being a bigot does not violate religious liberty.

Thomas Banks is suing Ford Motor because they fired him over a homophobic tirade.  He claims that his religious freedom was violated.  He is wrong.

He wasn't fired for his beliefs, he was fired for attacking Ford Motor for being an equal opportunity employer that refused to discriminate against its employees based on sexual orientation.  This was a violation of the companies anti-harassment policy.

As a Christian, I am unaware of any commandment of Jesus for his followers to be hateful or hostile or discriminatory.  There is no justification within the faith to be uncivil.

Banks is free to believe whatever he wants.  He is free to practice his religion.  He is not free to harass fellow employees. 

I am not sure what happened to civility.  When I was growing up, I was told to be respectful to other people, and not to do anything that would hurt other people.  It breaks my heart to see this value fall out of favor, or be labeled as "political correctness."

Democracy requires an open, honest, fact-based discussion of policy.  We cannot pretend that inconvenient facts don't exist.  Homophobia has no scientific or factual basis.  There are no facts left to put on the table.  It can be upsetting when an opinion fails under the weight of the facts, but when it happens we have to accept the well reasoned case, and either change our opinions or at least understand that we have no valid argument to make anymore.

I am not sure what to do about all this.  I hope there is a path we can take back to civil public discourse, but right now I just cannot see what it is.  Do you have any thoughts?

Don't you know it's gonna be alright

A friend of my shared a story today about a Transgender Kid who left a suicide note on Tumblr asking for the world to change (read it here).

Stories like this trash my spirit. I only hope that we are moving forward in some ways...

What we need more than anything is a cultural revolution that reconnects us to compassion and hope and breaks the chains cynicism, nihilism, and isolationism have wrapped around our necks. Only when we learn to stand up will things change.

One moment, I need a musical break, sing a long if you know it, if not, it has the words.

For years, decades, centuries, people have tried to change the world, and as Joseph Campbell said:

When we talk about settling the world’s problems, we’re barking up the wrong tree. The world is perfect. It’s a mess. It has always been a mess. We are not going to change it. Our job is to straighten out our own lives.

Every time I quote that, my friends sigh, and tell me that I just don't get it.  We talk for a couple hours until we finally get back around the point.  We cannot change other people, we can only change ourselves.

This is one of the most troubling aspects of modern social movements, our solution is always to pass a law, change a law, or enforce a law.  If history has taught us anything, we have to see that law is only a minor part of the change we need.

Yes, anti-discrimination laws are important, and so are hate crime laws.  They won't accomplish anything if we don't take wise action to change ourselves in such a way that it encourages others to take on the same change.

All of this starts with compassion.  Compassion is simply living by the gold and silver rules:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
— The Golden Rule
Do not do unto other as you would not have them do unto you.
— The Silver Rule

When we act according to these simple rules of compassion that every culture on earth has come to over time, we start building the world that we want to see.  We only have control over our actions.  We have to take responsibility for our own actions.

How can we expect others to treat us with respect if we will not grant them the same courtesy?  How can we expect society to celebrate difference if we demand conformity?  The path forward it to demonstrate through our lives, our jobs, our entertainment, and our businesses that diversity and compassion make us stronger.  If we do not demonstrate the basic interconnectedness of all people, places, and things, we have no hope that others will see it.

In every encounter, be kind, be compassionate, and celebrate the differences between people.  Only through living a life that makes others envious of our joy, hope, and prosperity will others start looking for ways they can have the same thing.

Become a beacon for compassion.  Live compassion in all your words, thoughts, and deeds, and you will be the change that we need.  When others ask you why your life is so different, tell them, but make they want to ask.

One by one, we will realize that we are all interconnected, and that our actions effect everyone and everything.  Eventually, this will change the world.

Lawyers attack Nebraska gay-couple ban

C.E. Dorsett A ray of light in the struggle for equal rights:

In oral arguments in one of the nation's most important gay rights lawsuits, the ACLU and Lambda Legal on Monday told a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to strike Nebraska's wide-ranging anti-gay constitutional amendment.

Ratified by voters in November 2000, the amendment is the only measure in the country explicitly to single out gay couples for disfavored treatment (Gay.com).

In a fair world where the Constitution would be read and applied justly, this case would be a no brainer. I am a little concerned that under the most conservative judiciary in who knows how long might enshrine bigotry into the court's decision.

[sigh] Living in the “heartland”, I can tell you that this bigotry is a generational bias. In ten years it will be seen as quaint, and in twenty years people will wonder if people really believed those hateful things.

Yet Another Boycott Against Liberty

The American Taliban threatens a boycott:

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A pastor on Monday called for a national boycott of Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and other companies that support a gay civil rights bill, saying the corporations have underestimated the power of religious consumers (Gay.com).

Now, there are a lot of reasons to support a boycott of Microsoft, but their support of Equal Rights has kept me from doing it. Here we are in 2006 and hate groups are still launching boycott of companies because they are in favor of Equal Rights!!!

I wish people would grow up and realize that Equality is not dangerous!

NJ passes Equal Rights for Gay couples!

The cause of Equal rights marches on!

New Jersey lawmakers voted to give same-sex couples the same rights as married couples regarding inheritance and funeral arrangements and to extend gay couples' access to health benefits in the public sector (Reuters).

It feels so good to read some good news, doesn't it. The last four years have been one repeal of rights after another, so hurray for New Jersey! One day we will all be free!