In writing my representative to endorse a bill that would end discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace, he replied that such a law would violate freedom of religion by forcing Christians to hire people who do not share their religious beliefs and practices:

All religious groups in America have a constitutional right to freely exercise their religion that includes the right to hire employees who share the faith and adhere to the tenets that the religion values. Not only is it possible that ENDA could force religious groups to hire employees who don't share their faith, but some have expressly stated their eagerness to use ENDA law for that very reason.

What are your thoughts on this idea?

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Or maybe ask him if he'd be more comfortable without his head since he doesn't use it anyway...
Just when I think 'they' can't possibly be more assinine, 'they' go and surprise me again. Does this mean I don't have to hire xtians?
I'm gay and of course I don't think it should be legal to not hire me because of it. But I think it's debatable that organizations should have special freedom to discriminate. I mean lets ask some questions ... should an atheist group be able to turn away an otherwise qualified Muslim for clerical office work? What about a fund raising position? Should a church be able to reject a gay, jewish, etc. music director? In another situation, should a church be able to fire a plumber when they find out he's gay?

Yeh, your rep is a jerk wad and probably isn't thinking of any logical reasons to reject the law. I'm just putting some thoughts out there.
I think that businesses should not be able to discriminate, organizations on the other hand probably always will. But there is a difference between most business and
''churches' I would hire a person based on their qualifications for the job, clerical, janitorial, whatever. I would make it clear that it is a business (as I do with any employee) and to please keep activity at work business and not personal. I employ a xtian and we do not discuss anything at work except work. Organizations such as churches are different in that they were set up primarily to seperate themselves from others and to judge, oppress, choose who is worthy or not of their continued support. I don't know many people who go to a church for a job that are not already of that faith. If it is a business with the express purpose of making, selling, distributing merchendise, services, financial, whatever then it shouldn't be able to discriminate. We already know organizations discriminate, and starting young too, boyscouts etc.
The representative is Louie Gohmert, and he is an absolutely brainless, homophobic, right-wing, corrupt, disgusting moron. This is what he said about the Matthew Shephard hate crimes bill:

GOHMERT: If you’re oriented toward animals, bestiality, then, you know, that’s not something that can be used, held against you or any bias be held against you for that. Which means you’d have to strike any laws against bestiality, if you’re oriented toward corpses, toward children, you know, there are all kinds of perversions, [...] pedophiles or necrophiliacs or what most would say is perverse sexual orientations but the trouble is, we made amendments to eliminate pedophiles from being included in the definition. [...] But people have always been willing to give up their liberties, their freedoms in order to gain economic stability. It happened in 1920 and 1930’s. Germany gave up their liberties to gain economic stability and they got a little guy with a mustache, who was the ultimate hate monger. And this is scary stuff we’re doing here when we take away what has traditionally been an important aspect of moral teaching in America.

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/10/07/gohmert-hate-crime/

I am living in East Texas. The very fact that people elected this sorry excuse for a human being makes me sick to my stomach. I can't help coming away from this thinking that most people in Texas are simply the greatest morons in the state.

This isn't usually the way that I talk about people, no matter how distasteful I find them, but this man just sickens me. I have also written other representatives about repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell. All of them replied and said that the military indicates that Don't Ask Don't Tell has worked well for them.
His/her explanation is pretty weak but so is your position.

You mean you think that the government doesn't involved itself in your life enough, you want them to get involved with your choice of employees? I don't think it's the government's job to intervene in my life to that extent. The government would do a lame job at it anyway. How do I know? I work for the government!

The way I see it, if I have a private company I can hire or not-hire whomever I wish and for whatever reason. Freedom's a bitch like that. Just like I believe that people should have the full freedom to marry whoever they want. I also believe that folks should be able to choose who works for them too. Me personally would never discriminate but just as I believe in the freedoms and rights of LBGT folks I believe in the freedoms and rights of the narrow-headed bigots. Freedom's a bitch like that.

Government institutions, that's an entirely different matter.
Paul, I can kind of see where you are coming from. It is difficult to know where to draw the line when balancing personal freedoms with social justice and equality.

However, I do believe that there is merit in a strong central government and laws that protect people from senseless, myth-based and fear-based prejudice and discrimination.

African-Americans and other racial minorities are protected more today than they were back in the 60s. The result of that has been better opportunities in education and employment for racial minorities. (Of course, there is not complete equality in the US, but I am not holding my breath that there ever will be.) Anti-discrimination laws have benefitted African-Americans, and harmed no one. When all people in a community are successful and productive citizens, then everyone benefits. When a nation lacks these kinds of protection for minorities, I believe you'll see much more virulent racism, tribalism, and outright violence like you see in Afghanistan, Iraq, China, Sudan, and the DRC.

I'll grant that the government does not always do a good job, but it is a fallacy to believe that private enterprise does any better. (Ever tried to call your bank?) Both are, after all, just run by people -- typically the same people. The difference is that governement is accountable to the people, whereas private enterprise is not (unless required to by law).
That's my point. I think that if someone wants to be a bigot they should have the right to do so. Just because I personally find it abhorrent does not give me justification (or the Government, any government) to take away their right to be a bigot.

There is a popular paradigm shift in the direction of social justice and acceptance.

The civil rights struggle was about institutional racism and initiated the paradigm shift that I am talking about. And I don't think it's over by a long shot and great strides do need to continue. But government intervention in the private sector is not the answer. Social justice and equality can only come from protecting not only the freedoms of those like you but also protecting the freedoms that you do not personally support.

I am a "minority" myself. I am an Asian. But I don't need the government to hold my hand and make sure that I can get a job even if my employer don't want any slant eyes working for him/her. On top of that, my employer should not have to worry about retaliatory lawsuits I may file if I find that there is not enough rice in the vending machines or something.

Creating new laws is cutting off the head to cure the headache.
their right to be a bigot.

But should we define bigotry as a right? I mean, I suppose we can't legislate thought or personal preferences, but should we elevate it to a right, like a right to freedom, to vote, etc?

But I don't need the government to hold my hand and make sure that I can get a job even if my employer don't want any slant eyes working for him/her.

Okay, but imagine that you work for a company for 10 years and you do an outstanding job. Your boss dies suddenly and is replaced by a bigot who decides he doesn't need any slanty-eyed people working for him, and he fires you. Should you just suck it up and take it? Don't you have a right not to be fired just because of his prejudice? I think you do have that right, and it ought to be protected.

On top of that, my employer should not have to worry about retaliatory lawsuits I may file if I find that there is not enough rice in the vending machines or something.

IMO, this comment kind of downplays some of the serious offenses that take in the workforce. One woman I knew was constantly sexually harrassed, and a guy poured hot coffee down her pants one day, and yet even that is not the worst that can happen on the job.

The bottom line is: People will not act nicely, appropriately, humanely, legally, etc, unless they are forced to. That is just how people are.
But should we define bigotry as a right? I mean, I suppose we can't legislate thought or personal preferences, but should we elevate it to a right, like a right to freedom, to vote, etc?

Absolutely 100%. Like anyone's personal lifestyle choices it should be protected in a free society even at the expense of others' feelings. My United States is not one where you can outlaw what someone believes even if you personally find that belief unacceptable.

I think the right of the private business owner extends to the right that he/she has the right to exclude anyone that he wants from his business. You guys all seem to want government to make decisions in your own personal lives and the lives of others. I want far less government control. If I have a company and I don't want blacks, whites, gays, heterosexuals, veterans, short people, fat people, tall people, the legless, the armless, the blind or the deaf working for me, for whatever reason, then that is my business.

Sounds like ya'll want social justice only one way. Freedom is a bitch because it cuts both ways. You either want it or you don't.
Paul, you are much more absolutist than I am. You seem to see things in pure black and white, and I do not.

You guys all seem to want government to make decisions in your own personal lives and the lives of others.

No, not really. This isn't about personal decisions. I don't want the gov. making my personal decisions. It is about maintaining social justice and freedom, preventing tyranny, and protecting the citizenry. That is one of the functions of good government.

If I have a company and I don't want blacks, whites, gays, heterosexuals, veterans, short people, fat people, tall people, the legless, the armless, the blind or the deaf working for me, for whatever reason, then that is my business.

But don't you have some legal and social obligations to your fellow Americans, seeing as how we all basically share the same space, government, infrastructure, laws, etc? It strikes me that your world view is "anything goes." I can't accept that.

We do not have absoute freedoms in the US. We are not on one extreme side of the spectrum of rights or on the other. We are a combination of both. In America, we have freedom of association, religion, information, education, career, etc., but our freedoms end where our actions start to affect the lives and welfare of others. We must accept and understand that our actions affect others, and we must act responsibly and honestly. Government authority is there to insure that (though I grant it is far from perfect, or equitable). I do not have the freedom or the right to pour radioactive waste into a river and poison the people downstream.

Also, as I said earlier, we have freedom of association, religion, information, education, career, etc., and it is the government that ensures that we keep those rights. If we didn't have that kind of government, we'd be living under religious persecution and duress like they do in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia -- forced to believe or behave in ways that those in power demand.

Lastly, I think you overlooked my previous question:

Okay, but imagine that you work for a company for 10 years and you do an outstanding job. Your boss dies suddenly and is replaced by a bigot who decides he doesn't need any slanty-eyed people working for him, and he fires you. Should you just suck it up and take it? Don't you have a right not to be fired just because of his prejudice? I think you do have that right, and it ought to be protected.
Ian: Stationed in Texas for 2 years, lived in Mississippi for 5, North Carolina for 3 and Alabama for 2. So if by south you mean the South East United States than "Yes". I have also lived in South Korea for about 11 years but I don't think that's what you had in mind.

"If we allowed businesses to discriminate based upon any criteria, then many groups would be unable to find work in a number of areas." I don't agree but for the sake of argument let's say it's true. I believe that in a free society a business owner has right to hire whomever they choose for whatever reason even if that reason is something as ludicrous and baseless as prejudice. I also believe that a statement such as "then many groups would be unable to find work in a number of areas" is incredibility racist and seems to imply that these people are unable or unqualified to do the work in question and need a law in place to make things just so "fair" or that certain occupations are closed to certain groups of people.

I don't need you to tell me that racism still exists, being a racial minority myself. But it is every free person's right to think and believe what they wish. Laws that control the decisions people can make and where no one is in imminent danger, is a step too close to tyranny and thoughtcrime, however well intentioned, that I am personally unwilling to make.

On top of that, I don't see how you would enforce a law like that without making an even bigger bureaucratic mess than we already have. That has not even been addressed as far as I can tell.

And no, I certainly am no tea bagger and the reference is almost offensive.

Dallas:

Black and white? Check out this wording:

In writing my representative to endorse a bill that would end discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace...

A bill that would end discrimination? Ambitious but no single bill would/could do that. Even after desegregation of the Military there still exists elements of racism within the ranks. Just because government says so don't make it right and certainly is no guarantee that it will work. That's ignoring massive and important shades of gray and the devil is in the details.

It is about maintaining social justice and freedom, preventing tyranny, and protecting the citizenry. That is one of the functions of good government. Got it. We're on the same page. Why are the rights of the business owner subject to infringement and the rights of the LGBT superior? Are not the rights of the ignorant considered in your view of social justice? Because you personally find them offensive? Tyranny is the government telling you how to run your life.

Not only that, I promise, forcing employers to hire LGBT folks against their will will only crystallize their own personal petty objections to proportions unimaginable thus far.

...but our freedoms end where our actions start to affect the lives and welfare of others. Check it out, we are in agreement again! I don't agree that not hiring someone for some stupid belief is putting anyone at risk. These are the perils and price of a free society or at least as free-as-we-can society (I think you know what I mean). But where's the line? How do you define "affect the lives"? Maybe the existence of homosexual people is enough to affect the lives of certain folks. Maybe it could even affect their welfare to know that some people [gasp!] are living in sin against the Word of Him?

And you are about to make my point:

If we didn't have that kind of government, we'd be living under religious persecution and duress like they do in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia -- forced to believe or behave in ways that those in power demand. I couldn't have said it better myself. That also includes hiring folks that you just don't want to hire.

Should you just suck it up and take it? Don't you have a right not to be fired just because of his prejudice? I think you do have that right, and it ought to be protected.

Yes. I should suck it up and take it. I am able enough and I am capable enough to find work elsewhere. I would not want to work for someone that was forced to employ me in the first place. I am an adult and I am a big boy fully capable of taking care of myself without anyone holding my hand to see to it that I get hired by someone that hates me on groundless principals. Do you see the major flaw in this bill yet? Forcing people to hire people that they do not want to hire?

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