Roger Kiska comments on various cases both in the UK and USA that show that fundamental rights are being eroded in the name of ‘equality’.
It is getting more and more difficult to deny the strong political motives behind the increasingly aggressive equality agenda. Fundamental rights such as freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom of conscience are being laid to waste in the name of tolerance and preventing offence. Policy shapers are making no distinction between actual discrimination against those who identify as LGBT and reasoned or moral opposition to LGBT campaigning points, even the most extreme ones. This reality has been on full display in both the United Kingdom and the United States in recent weeks.
The United Kingdom
Just this month in the United Kingdom, a 74-year-old Christian school governor with 40 years’ experience as a nurse was suspended for questioning why parents had not been properly consulted about the introduction of a school Pride month and LGBT themed books into the school library. This despite a statutory obligation to consult with parents on these issues.
An Employment Tribunal ruled that transgender rights override religious freedom, holding that Genesis 1:27 is “incompatible with human dignity.” Conscience, the Tribunal reasoned, was no justification for not using someone’s desired gender pronouns.
The Department for Education provided guidance to Local Authorities to sniff out and stamp out parental dissent to LGBT elements being introduced into schools, irrespective of whether the school had a religious ethos or not. Among the strategic advice provided by the Department to Local Authorities is to have Council Members issue joint statements showing “strong support” for teaching about LGBT, contacting the police, placing ‘spies’ among disenfranchised parent groups to gather evidence against them, and having early warning systems in place where parents seem to be showing “too much” interest in what their children are learning.
The UK’s Sentencing-Council has also issued binding sentencing guidelines calling for harsher jail sentences for those convicted of criminal intolerance against gay and transgendered people than for cases of domestic burglary.
The United States
In the United States, the situation has not been much better. The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee has just passed a bill which would, among other things, create a list of foreign individuals who “violate” the rights of LGBT people largely preventing them from entering the United States. The Global Respect Act calls upon U.S. government state actors, with the assistance of NGO’s and campaigning organisations, to actively seek out incidences and individuals guilty of committing acts of intolerance or crimes against those who identify as LGBT.
The proposed language of the bill would put anyone of the list, whether directly responsible for or complicit with, among other things, denying personal liberty or participating in degrading treatment of LGBT people. The preface of the bill highlights opposition to Pride events and statements opposing LGBT rights among ongoing international homophobic incidences. If passed, the Global Respect Act can create a situation where activist LGBT organisations could effectively bar anyone who opposes LGBT campaigning points from entering the United States by lobbying for them to being placed on the proposed list.
The bill could have a heavy toll on freedom of expression and freedom of religion. It would also heavily discriminate against countries who have, because of their own policy decisions, culture and religious beliefs, not adopted the same privileges for LGBT people as exist in the United States. Implicit in the bill is a strong sense of ideological colonialism.
A new kind of inquisition
As Ryan T. Anderson, in Equality and Non-Discrimination: Catholic Roots, Current Challenges (edited by Jane F. Adolphe, Robert L. Fastiggi, and Michael A. Vacca) so helpfully points out: “Antidiscrimination laws are about government coercing people to live according to the majority’s values. Religious liberty laws are about removing government coercion and allowing people to live by their own beliefs.”
The Equality agenda is creating a new kind of inquisition where the campaigning group who shouts the loudest, gets to define which fundamental rights are to be respected and which are to be disregarded. This is bad for the principle of legal clarity; bad for the rule of law; and bad for the preservation of a democratic society….fail…fail…fail.
As evidenced by the exponentially growing number of incidences where moral and religious opposition to anything even tangentially related to LGBT issues has led to punishment, we seem to be navigating into an area of unprecedented government coercion. Without freedom to hold and express dissenting views, the democratic principles we have fought so hard over the centuries to preserve will quickly be lost. To those who so hastily and unconditionally welcome the equality agenda, my advice is: buyer beware.