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February 6, 2017 · OPINION

Let’s stand in favor of an inclusive society

By Stephanie Prince
Remington

LGBTQ people are a vulnerable minority and a group with no federal protections in housing, employment or public accommodations. The 1964 Civil Rights Act protects racial and religious minorities, but there is no such explicit protection for LGBTQ folks except for the 2014 Executive Order (EO) protecting LGBTQ individuals who either work for the federal government or a company contracting with the government. That EO was not rescinded last week, which is great. However, while that order is in place it is protecting a small minority and ONLY on the job.

Virginia House Bill 2025 just passed and is moving to the Senate. Under the guise of religious freedom, this bill would allow discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodation, among other areas. Same-sex couples can be denied the right to adopt, find a home, or be discriminated in their job and neighborhood. The law is so expansive that it could also impact heterosexual couples cohabiting when not married!

While we are battling this front in Virginia a similar executive order is being drafted in Washington, D.C., despite the administration wanting to appear to be LGBTQ-friendly. Factions within the administration are diligently working to against this. A freedom of religion EO is a pass for discrimination.

President James Madison warned in the Federalist Papers, “The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; . . . A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, . . . ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power . . . divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to cooperate for their common good.”

My 9x great grandfather Roger Williams, who was a Puritan and founder of the great State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his religious beliefs. He sought what he termed a “wall of separation” between church and state to protect the church and divine sovereignty. The Constitution must protect religious choices while at the same time it explicitly prohibits the compulsion to participate in a religion.

When you demand religious freedom it must not be at the expense of those who do not subscribe to that particular religion or practice. Discrimination against the LGBTQ Community through a “religious freedom” executive order that singles out particular religious beliefs for protection flies in the face of what our forefathers envisioned. Instead, why don’t we ALL work together to ensure that our great country does not discriminate against ANY of its citizens. Let’s not stand in favor of discrimination by legislation (nor EO); instead let’s stand in favor of an inclusive society where everyone is treated equally!
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BJ · February 11, 2017 at 7:49 pm
Demosthenes - I get where you coming from, and yes I did get off track. Mea Culpa. Yet being here 20 years and still an illegal?? And yes they work at jobs that the majority of Americans think is below them, so hoorah for the ones taking menial jobs, it keeps places like McDonald's running (I am being sarcastic if you didn't already guess), and horrendous jobs such as meat packing plants and huge chicken farms. Yet, my ancestors became "citizens" when they came to America, learned the language, and got busy supporting their new country, even sending their foreign born sons to war.
Demosthenes · February 11, 2017 at 6:43 pm
BJ - Getting a little off track here when it comes to illegal immigrants, since this was an article about LGBTQ Americans. But since you make mention...do keep in mind that illegal immigrants pay taxes. Several economic studies have shown that they regularly pay more in taxes than they will ever receive in benefits, since they pay payroll taxes in many cases but they don't apply for Medicaid (fear of government forms?) and they'll never qualify for social security. For many of these illegal immigrants it would seem they would be better off becoming citizens, as you imply they ought to do, but the system doesn't make it easy for them to do so. CNN Money had a good article on these issues a couple of years ago, found here: http://money.cnn.com/2014/11/20/news/economy/immigration-myths/index.html
BJ · February 11, 2017 at 6:22 pm
I am all for being inclusive with the exception of illegal immigrants and people overstaying their visas. There has been very little I have agreed with that the Trump Administration has implemented so far, yet I wholeheartedly think that if you are in this country illegally and haven't made the effort to become a citizen of the USA, some have been here 20 years, then you need to be made to leave. End the handouts of health care, etc. paid for by taxpayers. Get your citizenship, pay your taxes to support programs, serve your country in the military, then I have no problem with you living in the USA. Blaine Johnson
BJ · February 9, 2017 at 5:50 pm
Private Clubs are one of the biggest forms of hypocrisy. Do I want to belong to a group of people who think they are above the "regular" guy? Like who wants to belong to a club that charges $$$$ to join/belong? No thanks. Same go for exclusive places of worship or bakeries that don't want the business because they don't like the kind of person someone chooses to love and marry. Is it worth the headache to make an issue of it? Go somewhere else, it is a loss of income for them, just make sure to let your friends, family, and social media know how you were "truthfully" treated. In business the customer is what drives your success. Blaine Johnson
Traverse · February 8, 2017 at 9:49 pm
Demo.. You should change your handle. You hardly do it justice.

I know how to write well enough, but auto correct can be a problem... but you knew that, and we're just trying to be insulting.

You plainly were implying many Christians are hippocrites, and we're not just quoting the Bible, and that filing lawsuits against Christians was, in this case, justified. Are you now backing away from your previous comments... or just revising and extending your insults?

Demosthenes · February 8, 2017 at 8:43 pm
Traverse -

I wasn't interpreting the Bible, I was quoting it.

It is Christians, btw, and not Christian's. Grammar isn't quite your thing, is it?

Back to the point, though, I wasn't saying that the government should shut down people for their beliefs. I was simply calling on Christians to focus on the message of love and acceptance that is central to the teachings of the Gospels.
citizen observer · February 8, 2017 at 4:24 pm
When Sharia Law in enacted none of this will matter. LGBT beheadings will be replacing football on TV.
Oh, that's right; Hillary lost so we don't have to worry about it for awhile. Hard to believe the LGBT community was so behind her while she was taking lots of money from groups that want to eliminate them.
Traverse · February 8, 2017 at 3:14 pm
Question... Should a gay bakery be forced out of business for refusing to make a cake that says "homosexuality is a sin", or a muslim bakery forced out of business for refusing to make a cake that insults thier profit? I think we have the right to live our lives according to our religious convictions, and should not be required by the state to check them at the door of a privately owned establishment, or be penalized.
Traverse · February 8, 2017 at 2:35 pm
So Christian's are now subject to Demo's interpretation of the Bible (religious test?), or be sued, silenced, fined, forced out of business, and called a hypocrite. Interesting interpretation of religious freedom.

Well done Demo.
Demosthenes · February 8, 2017 at 7:14 am
Well done Ms. Prince.

As for issues related to bakeries or other businesses choosing to deny their services to people based on their own beliefs, there are surely great articles like this one and others that lay out the legal background for inclusion.

From a different side, how about looking at it from a religious one? When we look at Christian beliefs, a lot of the Old Testament gets ignored. There are a lot of Christians who say that they are against homosexuality because it is forbidden in the Old Testament. But there are so many other Old Testament rules that they don't bother to fight for. Leviticus 11:12, for example, outlaws the eating of any form of seafood that isn't a fish. Leviticus 11:7 of course outlaws the eating of pork. Leviticus 19:19 outlaws the wearing of clothing that is made from more than one type of thread. To the owner of a bakery or business who wants to discriminate based on Old Testament rules about homosexuality, I'd say you shouldn't ever be caught serving or eating bacon or shrimp while wearing a comfortable outfit made of a blend, because if so you are a total hypocrite!

Generally Christians focus more on New Testament ideas, like love they neighbor. If all Christians followed that idea well then we wouldn't see lawsuits brought against them for denying services to people. Inclusion matches Christian values - check out the Gospels one more time if you don't think so.
Cannon · February 7, 2017 at 10:39 am
Yes, a Christian bakery in Oregon was forced to shut down and the owners were faced with a large fine. However, they did receive money from donors to cover that fine.

Yet, Muslim bakeries will also refuse to bake wedding cakes for gay weddings. Why does not one complain about that? Why are Christians the ones that are supposed to be the only ones that comply?

Just a thought
Traverse · February 7, 2017 at 7:35 am
A Christian bakery in Oregon was forced to shut down last October after being sued by a lesbian couple, and faces a massive 135,000 fine for standing firm in their faith. Not only are they being forced to close their business, they were gagged, and forced to not even voice their displeasure. Because many here in Virginia agree this was right, and the Christians deserved their fate, is why this law is being proposed.

A little tolerance and understanding by one or both parties in this case would have gone a long way.
BJ · February 6, 2017 at 5:25 pm
When someone says that "white supremacist" groups aren't terrorists, I have to shake my head because they certainly strike "terror" in the hearts of the people who have been at the end of their "reckoning".
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