Friday, October 15, 2021

Understanding, Sympathy, and Compromise is the Key

Title IX (The Column)
No one is more sympathetic to people with same sex attractions or gender dysphoria than I am. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect – no different than anyone else. It is not easy living in world that treats people with these issues derogatorily. Whenever I see this issue come up, I speak out. And I have done so here many times. 

But I have also said that when it comes to religious people – violating religious principles is an affront to God. This means that living a lifestyle conducive to sin cannot be normalized. Sympathy and understanding is the right approach. Every human being should be treated with dignity regardless of any personal issues - without necessarily normalizing their lifestyles.

But LGBT activists will not have any of this. They want their lifestyles to be completely normalized to the extent that even religious institutions will treat them that way. Regardless of religious dogma. If it clashes with religion, too bad. 

The sad reality is that the culture in which we now live has been going in that direction for quite sometime now. If, however,  you are a religious bible believing individual that is the wrong direction. You cannot treat something the bible says is sinful as though it wasn’t!  

I understand why that might hurt a gay individual who wants his lifestyle to be considered as normal as a heterosexual’s lifestyle even by their church or synagogue. But if they are believers, they must know that this is impossible. 

I believe there are many religious gay and gender dysphoric people that understand this and have learned to live with it. Even if they transgress, they understand it is a transgression and do not deny it. They deserve our utmost respect and admiration for trying to remain religious in a mental state that makes it extremely difficult to honor that particular principle.  But as religious people themselves - they understand the right of a religious institution to maintain their values.  

But  LGBT advocates argue that religious rights are superseded by gay rights. And in that vein they are doing their level best to force religious institutions to abandon their principles or be penalized if they don’t. In other words human rights should always supersede religious rights so that when they come into conflict, the ‘right’ thing to do is abandon the religious rights – which to a religious person is not only a right but an obligation. 

This brings me to a story in Christian Post wherein religious rights had a small victory:

A federal judge has granted the request of Christian colleges who want to intervene in a lawsuit that seeks to force the U.S. Department of Education to strip federal funding from Christian colleges that abide by traditional beliefs on gender and sexuality… 

Although the lawsuit was filed against the Department of Education earlier this year, three Christian colleges and the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities filed motions to intervene… 

The lawsuit alleges that religious colleges and universities' exemptions from Title IX nondiscrimination laws are unconstitutional because they allow such schools to discriminate against LGBT students.   

Allowing the Church to block the LGBT lawsuit  is a small victory. But a victory nonetheless. The judge in this case understood that religious institutions may have the right to be exempt from these laws by virtue of the rights granted by the constitution.

The details of  the LGBT lawsuit involve the Title IX  initiative. Which is intended to provide equal opportunities to women in education by not discriminating on the basis of sex. LGBT advocates argue that the prohibition against gender discrimination extends to gender orientation and identity.  I don’t see how any fair reading of title IX goes that far. But I am not the one that will decide this issue. My guess is that it will end up in the Supreme Court. Whose conservative majority will probably see it the way I do.

We are at a cultural crossroads. When 2 rights guaranteed by the constitution clash and one of them must give way to the other, which right should prevail? Is the right to non discrimination absolute? Or are religious rights a legitimate exemption?

In a democracy such as ours one person’s rights should not impede another persons rights.  In my view that means religious institutions should be able to limit how far LGBT rights can go in their church or synagogue without being penalized by the government. 

At the end of the day, I believe the answer lies in compromise based on common sense. It ought to be illegal to discriminate against anyone with sexual attraction or identity issues. But religious institutions ought not be forced to violate their religious principles. 

The question often asked by defenders of the LGBT perspective is how far should religious rights go? For example should human sacrifice be allowed if a particular religion mandates it? 

Of course not. Religious rights cannot extend to primitive religions whose acts are considered barbaric in the modern era. Murder certainly qualifies. As would other extreme religious rites that would be considered immoral in our day. Common sense alone tells you this. But when it comes to something like gay rights versus religious rights - that is a legitimate controversy.  

In my view a little bit of civility, understanding and compromise would go a long way. This would mean that gay and gender dysphoric people should be able to live as welcome citizens among us and fully participate in society without discrimination. At the same time religious institutions whose tenets prevent their full integration into those institutions ought be respected too. And ought not be penalized for adhering to their principles. And they should not be an impediment from receiving government funds they are entitled to.