Saturday, May 16, 2009

Chuckie Colson, Still Obstructing Justice

Chuck Colson, former chief counsel to President Richard Nixon, is perhaps best known for pleading guilty to obstruction of justice by creating an environment in which the Pentagon Papers defendant Daniel Ellsberg’s chances for a fair trial were damaged. He was also reputed to be deeply involved in the Watergate scandal, but was never charged or tried for this.

While working for Nixon, Chuckie believed his value was based on his willingness, in his own words, “to be ruthless in getting things done" – essentially a belief that an evil end justifies an evil means.

After spending time in prison, Chuck organized a not-for-profit organization devoted to prison ministry, and has a daily radio broadcast. The organization, Prison Fellowship, is based on the idea that the basis for every criminal act is a destructive decision.

Despite this central message, and seven months imprisonment for his own admitted crime, Chuck doesn’t seem to have learned the lesson of the destructive decisions that led to criminal behavior. He still seems to be devoted to obstructing justice, but now his prey is the LGBT community.

As a case in point, we have Chuck, who was trained as an attorney, seeming to show a complete and total ignorance of the First Amendment to the U.S Constitution, and the religious freedom it protects, in a column entitled “Gay Activists and Religious Freedom.”

Chuck starts by mentioning the New Jersey settlement by which Neil Clark Warren’s eHarmony dating and matchmaking website agreed to stop discriminating against gay and lesbian participants.

Colson believes that the settlement forced Warren to act against his “sincerely held religious convictions.”

This is, of course, not true. Warren runs a dating website that is not limited to people who belong to a particular religion. If, for example, Warren was a member of the Church of God the Creator (the religion for members of the KKK), which has no non-white members, he could market a private club dating service limited to members of the religion, who are all white, without running afoul of racial discrimination laws. But the moment the service is open to the public, then the state laws about racial discrimination become an issue – and African Americans should be able to use the service.

It’s the same thing with the gay issue – Warren’s website service does not limit itself to members of a particular religion, so if he is marketing the service to the public, he can’t legally discriminate against blacks, or gays.

Colson thinks that these laws adversely affect the rights of Christians (though Colson is not Christian, he’s a Christianist), Catholics, and Orthodix Jews with businesses in the public square.

Colson writes:

“It’s as if the First Amendment no longer exists. I can’t help but suspect that radical gays deliberately target outfits run by religious believers in order to force them to accommodate their political agenda—or go out of business.”

Can you imagine? The first thing is that religious believers should learn to avoid situations and businesses that could compromise their “sincerely-held religious beliefs.” People should not be in a business aimed at the general public if their religious beliefs require them to discriminate against minorities. Warren’s eHarmony business is lucrative – if he were to limit it to certified born-again-Christians, he would not be making the money he does (and he’d still run the risk of running into gay evangelical Christians – they do exist).

The First Amendment says, in its entirety:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

The right to one’s deeply-held religious beliefs is guaranteed – but there is no concomitant right that one may act to harm others by the exercise of these beliefs.

If the government were to support one religious belief, against marriage equality, it would be “establishing religion,” and denying the religious freedom of those who believe in marriage equality. Chuckie believes quite sincerely that the only people who are entiled to freedom of religion are Chuckie and people who believe the way he does.

True fundamentalist Christianists believe that it’s appropriate to stone to death gays and adulterers. They would love to act as fundamentalist Islamists do in countries where Shariah religious law holds sway, such as Iran and Iraq, where gays and adulterers are routinely executed at the behest of the mullahs.

Chuck apparently wishes to join with James Dobson and other Christianists, to oppose the passage of the Matthew Shepard Act because it impinges on the religious freedom of funadamentalist ministers to call on their flocks to stone gays to death.

Colson writes:

“The issue is critical. We all must learn how to answer the charge of “bigotry,” and winsomely explain why marriage cannot exist between same-sex couples; and how same-sex “marriage” will not broaden marriage, but radically and dangerously change its nature."

It is simply amazing that Chuckie can take Christianity and pervert it to support his personal bigotry, just as James Dobson, Maggie Gallagher and their ilk in the Christianist community seem to do. He asks that his followers learn how to lie, “winsomely explaining” the things they twist.

Colson’s May 12th column, “Same Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty, Why They Can’t Co-Exist” goes through the usual lies used by the National Organization for Marriage and the other perverted Christianist Organizations. These are the lies Colson wants his followers to spread in support of their bigotry - pretty much the same ones in the "Gathering Storm" ad.

Lesbians using the oceanfront Pavilion at a New Jersey Methodist Camp. The Methodist camp got its tax exemption based on the pavilion being open to public use. The tax exemption was lost, not because of “gay marriage” but because lesbians are part of the “public” and the pavilion had been used for similar purposes by non-Methodists. Parts of the camp still have tax exemptions because they are for religious purposes. This had nothing to do with marriage and everything to do with the pavilion being open to the general public.

Christianist Physician refusing in vitro fertilization for lesbian. Sorry, there is no excuse for a physician licensed by the state to discriminate against patients based on who they are. This doctor performs in vitro fertilization for a living – discrimination isn’t appropriate here. If the doctor has “sincere religious beliefs” she should have become a fundamentalist minister. Like the other cases, this wasn’t about marriage equality, it was because the services were offered to the general public, and the profession is licensed by the government.

Catholic Charities in Massachusetts stopping its adoption service. The only reason was that state taxpayer subsidy money was withheld because of the discrimination. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints still runs an adoption agency in Massachusetts using its own funds and limiting clientele to straight Mormons. Again, this has nothing to do with marriage equality and everything to do with unlawful discrimination, this time with taxpayer money..

The firing of the mental health counselor in Mississippi is more the result of the application of ordinary employment law principles, not “gay marriage.”

The Yeshiva University medical college housing case had to do with campus housing, not marriage – and the same “non-discrimination laws.” If the university was open solely to Orthodox Jews, it might have been a different story.

And it goes on . . .

Chuck quotes Maggie Gallagher, that paragon of perversity: “As marriage expert Maggie Gallagher puts it, same-sex “marriage” advocates claim that religious faith “itself is a form of bigotry.””

But Chuck, it isn’t religious belief that is a form of bigotry, it’s bigotry cloaked in the trappings of religious belief that is still bigotry, despite the illusion of "faith."

I can and have gone on in several of my blog posts to show that the Bible doesn’t support the Christianist antipathy for gays and lesbians. The Christianists are still entitled to their bigoted beliefs – but they should not be allowed to use them to harm others.

No one is going to force Chuck or Maggie to believe that homosexuality is a moral good. No one is going to force Chuck to marry a man, or Maggie to marry a woman. No one is going to force them to date black people either, or marry them – but if they own a restaurant, they’d have to seat and serve both the black and the gay customer, regardless of their personal “religious” bigotry.

Chuck, you’re still obstructing justice – will you ever learn your lesson?

I do pray that you do - before you, too, will find yourself numbered among the goats on the day of Judgment.