Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Proposition Eight Backlash

A measure of a civilised society is the manner in which its citizens differ. Since Proposition Eight was passed in California back in November, intolerance has skyrocketed. People are losing their jobs for being open about their sexual and political preferences. Are gay activists taking to the streets in protest? No! They are the perpetrators.

According to World Net Daily, discrimination lawsuits have already been filed by individuals who allege that they were asked at work how they voted on Proposition Eight and fired when their choice became known. World Net Daily reports on the situation as follows.

“Pacific Justice Institute reports a growing number of cases where those opposed to the ballot measure have taken out their anger more quietly: by harassing – and even firing – employees who voted for it.

PJI, a non-profit legal defense organization specializing in religious freedom, claims to be representing a San Francisco woman who was fired for voting for Proposition 8, but whose name remains confidential to protect her privacy and legal case.

“Californians have been shocked by the aggressiveness of radical homosexual activists who have ousted several individuals from their jobs and livelihoods based solely on their support for traditional marriage,” states Brad Dacus, president of PJI, on the group’s website. “These tactics of fear and intimidation in retaliation for supporting a lawful ballot measure are completely unacceptable.”

PJI also claims to be advising several others seeking settlements after they too were fired for supporting Proposition 8.

“Unfortunately, this is far from an isolated case,” asserts a recent PJI statement.”

The proponents of gay marriage have used intimidation tactics against individuals and businesses who made contributions to the campaign in support of proposition eight. According to WND,

“Kevin Snider, chief counsel for PJI, told WND of a worker at a financial company who was asked before the November election how he would vote on the issue of homosexual marriage. The employee gave an evasive answer. Following the election, the employee was asked repeatedly how he voted.

When it was learned the employee had voted in favor of Proposition 8, he was written up for discrimination, Snider reports, and fired within a couple of days.”

Firing workers for their political choice takes the struggle to a completely new level. In a time of economic downturn, this is a harsh form of reprisal. It is also a double edged sword. Homosexuals who want to change the attitudes that shape voting behavior would do well to combine openness with tolerance. People who have good workplace relationships with a group they may dislike may well modify their attitudes and political positions. Personal relationships often have an influence on political evolution. This is a slow process, but it a critical one in the evolution of a society’s values and attitudes.

One target of the gay activists was El Coyote, a coffee shop that has been picketed and whose patrons harassed when they entered the establishment. The harassment was so bad that riot police had to be called in to restore order.The owner had made a contribution to a group supporting Proposition Eight, making his business fair game for reprisals.

What is particularly ironic is that El Coyote has among its eighty nine emloyees some that are openly homosexual. It has been tolerant in its hiring and work policies. Now, these workers are in danger of losing their jobs. The net effect of this boycott action is polarisation and resentment. Straights and also gays are losing their jobs when a targetted business goes under. Additionally, chances to soften anti homosexual antagonism are being lost.

There are plenty of situations where people of the same gender live together who are not homosexual. Two elderly women may share an apartment. They may be best friends who mention each other in their wills and want visiting rights in a hospital. I have no problem respecting their rights to have a partnership. People can be siblings, pals or lovers and feel a need for some benefit of legal recognition. I have no problem with that. I don’t need it spelled out for me what happens when the shades are pulled and the lights go out. That is none of my business.

I am against gay marriage. But I am in favour of tolerance. Tolerance does not just mean letting gays be gay. It means letting others dislike homosexuals and even detest them as long as they don’t hurt them. This principal applies to any matter about which citizens may differ, whether it is religion, politics, race or sexuality. It is the foundation of a civilised society.

We think of censorship and repression as the sin of the political right. We think of Fanny Hill and Ulysses being banned in Boston. We think of Lenny Bruce being busted for obscenity or John Birch Society members warning ominously of communist infiltrators.

There is a new “McCarthyism” in America, complete with blacklists and gentleman’s agreements. I speak of the intolerance of the left, emboldened with a sense of self importance and self righteousness that banishes any shame or self examination.

Any proposal for change in societal attitudes must be preceded by frank dialogue. Right now, such dialogue is being stifled with witch hunt tactics and raw intimidation. This is a recipe for confrontation. People of faith in America already feel that they are being marginalised , bullied and ridiculed. The collective sense of aggrievedness among citizens of faith matches and outrage that could be mustered on the left by gay activists and their sympathisers.

When my siblings and I used to fight, it used to unnerve my mother. When we seemed to be close to inflicting bodily injury upon each other, she used to say “Please ! At least be civil to each other!”

Years later, I equate civility with a grudging pledge not to inflict bodily harm. It is not the best way for siblings to feel about each other or even neighbours . But sometimes it is all you can expect. America has a good record for civility. Let’s keep it that way. Tell me how to act. No problem. But don’t tell me what to believe or how to feel.

No comments: