the least tolerant city
aebrownstein at UCDAVIS.EDU
Tue Dec 2 10:26:50 PST 1997
Rick Duncan is correct that Mr. Lumpkin is being fired because of his
religious beliefs. That is a serious concern that should never be taken
But how do we avoid taking the Commission members beliefs into account?
Some religious people believe things that are in direct conflict with the
goal of protecting the civil rights of certain groups defined by race,
ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. (Just as an example -- consider
the comments of the chaplain of the Hialeah Police Dept. about the Santeria
religion that are quoted in the Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye case. The
chaplain told the city council "that Santeria was a sin, "foolishness," "an
abomination to the Lord," and the worship of "demons." He advised the city
council: "We need to be helping people and sharing with them the truth that
is found in Jesus Christ." He concluded: "I would exhort you ... not to
permit this Church to exist")
What do you think, Rick? Should a person who sincerely holds the above
beliefs (and I have no reason to doubt the sincerety of the Chaplains
beliefs) be allowed to serve on a human rights commission in a community in
which members of the Santeria faith reside? If the chaplain was fired from
such a commission, he would lose his position because of his religious
beliefs just as Mr. Lumpkin did. Perhaps as an individual, one might
distinguish the chaplain's beliefs from Mr. Lumpkin's on the ground that
Mr. Lumpkin's statements accurately reflect the word of G-d and the
chaplain's statements do not. But surely the government can not use this as
a basis for distinguishing between the two cases.
Again, I do not think we should ever treat the firing of a person because
of his religious beliefs as a trivial matter. But it may be that in some
cases it is justified.
Prof. Brownstein writes:
> Forgive my intolerance, but I would prefer to have the rights of
> protected by a commission whose members did not believe we were
> "abominations." Since as an ethical matter I think there is much to be said
> for treating one's neighbor as one would like to be treated by others, I
> think it is also forgiveable intolerance for gay people to have similar
> views about the membership of a commission charged with protecting their
This is a good point, but we must remember that the Commission is also
charged with protecting citizens against *religious* discrimination.
Lumpkin was fired because he refused to disavow the Bible's teachings
about homosexuality. He was fired because of his religious beliefs.
What are we to think about a Commission charged with fighting
religious discriminate that itself engages in religious
discrimination? Why not put up a sign on the door to the office of the
Commission saying "Bible believing Baptists need not apply"?
By the way, Eugene, I think the Lumpkin case is *directly* relevant to
religion and government. It is a modern heresy case. Of course, we
have already discussed it on a number of occasions, so we may not need
to linger too long on it. But I continue to believe that the gay
political agenda threatens religious freedom (indeed, one of the goals
of the movement is to discredit and marginalize traditional religions
and traditional religious believers like Lumpkin).
Rick Duncan (rduncan at unlinfo.unl.edu)
"O Truth, Truth, how the deepest marrow of my mind ached for you!"
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