Friday, August 28, 2009


As we saw in the African American civil rights struggle, it is only when there is the force of law, or the threat to use the force of law, that integration into mainstream society, with all the civil rights available that accrue to all citizens, occurs. Whether it is the bringing of civil and/or criminal suits or the threat and/or actual removal of tax exempt status from religious institutions that help cause the suicides, assaults, and murders of LGBT people, full equality will only occur by means of the judicial system and not merely by appealing to the will and whims of the electorate.

For example:

A school district in Herkimer County, N.Y. has agreed to take immediate action to protect a gay student before the academic year begins in September.

The agreement is only a step in resolving a lawsuit that was filed on behalf of a 14-year-old student who was constantly harassed by students at his high school for his sexual orientation....

"It shouldn’t take a lawsuit to motivate school district officials to protect a student from vicious harassment," said NYCLU staff attorney Corey Stoughton, lead counsel on the case. "Our case will proceed until the district addresses the systemic failures that allowed it to ignore Jacob’s plight for two years."

NYCLU executive director Donna Lieberman added that the district must take steps to "ensure that all students are safe at school and treated with the dignity and respect they deserve."

[For the full article, see here

Although the lead counsel in the case said, ""It shouldn’t take a lawsuit to motivate school district officials to protect a student from vicious harassment," the fact is that it is such a lawsuit, or the mere threat of such a law suit, that will move prejudiced people to act in a civilized manner and protect those under their care. Mere appeals to bureaucrats' "better natures" will often be of no avail, just as the appeal to the electorate's "better natures" cannot and should not be counted upon to acquire full and equal civil rights.

As with secular institutions, the same mechanics hold true with "religious" institutions:

Calvin College professors say they want a campus discussion about academic freedom after being told it is "unacceptable" for them to advocate for homosexual issues and same-sex marriage.

College employees received a memo last week saying the Board of Trustees has revisited issues surrounding the college's position on homosexuality, concluding it is "unacceptable" for faculty and staff to teach, write or advocate on behalf of the issue....

The board says there are cases where academic integrity will "require acquainting students with alternate views. However, the position of the church and the college should be clearly and sympathetically presented [Notice, that consigning Gay people to pariah status is to be taught "sympathetically."], and advocacy of homosexual practice and same-sex marriage is not permitted."

[For the full article, see here.]

Regarding the Roman Catholic Church:

Catholic bishops in New Jersey have started their new campaign against ending marriage discrimination.
The fight has been prompted by the anticipation of a possible vote on same-sex marriage by New Jersey lawmakers after the November election.

Under direct order of bishops, a 2,300-word letter was distributed inside Sunday bulletins at parishes across the state. The note included mention that it’s a long-standing Catholic value that marriage is only “the union of one man and one woman.”

[For the full article, see here.]

Whether it is a professing "Christian" college or a "religious" denomination such as the Roman Catholic Church, it will be the threat and/or actual removal of tax exempt status that will enable them to "get another revelation" (Just as it did with the Mormon Church when Jimmy Carter, in 1978, threatened to remove its tax exempt status unless they stopped their discrimination against African Americans.), and stop their hateful rhetoric and behavior directed against LGBT people.

Regarding the Mormon Church, it is instructive to read the following, in order to see how the legal threat to diminish its coffers, and how this tactic can get other "religious" institutions to immediately stop discriminating and poisoning the society in which it is allowed to exist, if not flourish:

Prior to 1978, Mormon leaders forbid Blacks from holding the Mormon Priesthood. In 1978, due to mounting pressure from pending lawsuits concerning racism, Spencer W. Kimball suddenly received a revelation that Blacks could now enter the temple and hold the Mormon Priesthood. If the Mormon Church had not changed its views on Black people, it would have lost its Tax-Exempt 503(c) status - as pending litigation in several states in America was proceeding.

Today the Mormon Church flatly denies that it's revelation was based on losing its Tax-Exempt 503(c) status - however a great deal of evidence exists showing that it did.

[For more discussion of this particular topic, see here.]

As James Hipps of "Gay Agenda" wrote in regard to this matter:

It wasn’t that long ago (1978 to be exact) when former President Jimmy Carter had to threaten the church with taxation if they didn’t stop preaching segregation. It was only three weeks later the church’s leader heard a voice from “God” or had some “vision” that people of color were human too! [See here.]

It would behoove Gay Rights organizations to learn from previous civil rights and other discrimination issues and use their energies and monies to take discriminatory institutions to court and/or lobby the IRS and Congress to remove tax exempt status from any religious institution that advocates discrimination, and attempts to codify or reinforce their prejudices into civil law, that in any way deprives LGBT people of full and equal civil rights.
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