Far-right Christian fundamentalist group Family Research Council has a clever idea for raising money: convince supporters that President Barack Obama will take away their Bibles and turn their kids gay.
That’s essentially what the group’s newest fundraising alert amounts to, with its claim that the president has a “plan” to “impose homosexuality” and “silence Christianity.”
It’s hard to make this stuff up.
The group’s four-page letter, available here [PDF link] courtesy of Think Progress, reads like end-of-days fiction, with Godless liberals on the march and only your dollars keeping America from the fires of hell.
In truth, it’s a lengthy, deceptive rant about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would ensure gay, lesbian and transgendered people have a right to work alongside other Americans without fear of reprisal by the employers due solely to their sexual orientation or appearance.
The letter, which repeatedly refers to those not aligned with Christianity as “the homosexual Left,” explains:
*The government prosecuting a small business owner — perhaps a Christian bookstore — for declining to hire an open-homosexual or cross-dresser.
*Your employer telling you to remove the Bible from your desk because it is offensive to the homosexual or cross-dresser he was forced to hire.
*Your church being forced to choose between hiring a man who dresses as a woman to work in the Mother’s Day Out or preschool program or facing federal investigation.
*Your teen coming home from his faith-based summer camp and telling you his councilor was an openly-practicing homosexual.
Unimaginable, you say? The government can’t force churches to do that, can it?
It can — if ENDA becomes law.
Except, all of that is completely untrue.
According to the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, “ENDA exempts all religious organizations, which includes corporations, associations, and religious societies. In addition, all educational institutions are exempt if the educational institution is at least substantially controlled or owned by a religious organization or if the institution’s curriculum is directed towards the propagation of a religion.”
The exemption is even more broad than that contained in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which allows religious organizations to discriminate on the basis of faith, the group goes on to outline.
“For example, in a 1987 Supreme Court case dealing with [the Civil Rights Act’s] Title VII, the Court ruled that a gym operated by the Mormon Church could require its janitor to be a Mormon in good standing,” the conference continues. “Title VII does not, however, permit religious organization to discriminate on the basis of an individual’s race, sex, or national origin. By contrast, ENDA permits religious organizations to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.”
The group specifically calls out religious bookstores and day care centers as being exempt from the provisions.
Think Progress further notes: “In the body of the letter, which was signed by FRC President Tony Perkins, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) is quoted as saying that ENDA legislation would mean that ‘the federal government would be dictating to religious institutions and organizations whom they must hire.’ … These claims are ridiculous. Despite what Price says, the legislation would not force anyone to be hired.”
*Extends federal employment discrimination protections currently provided based on race, religion, sex, national origin, age and disability to sexual orientation and gender identity
*Prohibits public and private employers, employment agencies and labor unions from using an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity as the basis for employment decisions, such as hiring, firing, promotion or compensation
*Provides for the same procedures, and similar, but somewhat more limited, remedies as are permitted under Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act
*Applies to Congress and the federal government, as well as employees of state and local governments
The Family Research Council has a long history of spreading vicious lies about homosexuality, outlined here by Media Matters.