Monday, July 4, 2011

How to Spell "Bigot" in Legalese!

For the past few years - since she has been a blip on my Gaydar - I have wondered, precisely, what Maggie Gallagher-Srivistav means when she would run off at the mouth with, "They will call you bigots", or this gem during a lecture she gave at The Sutherland Institute (Salt Lake City, Utah) in April of 2011 where she was the Key-Note Speaker:
If you want to know how same-sex marriage is going to affect traditional believers, mainstream Christians and other faith communities, ask yourself, 'how do we treat racists who are opposed to interracial marriage in the public square?'  Racists are marginalized, stigmatized, oppressed and made second-class citizens.
But, what is a second-class citizen?  The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1997) defines it as follows:
An individual regarded or treated as inferior to others in status or rights, an underprivileged person. ("Second Class", pp. 562)
Sweet and concise - this definition has been in use since the early 1940s.  Is there any authentic evidence, however, that racists and other bigots are actually treated as second class citizens?  During the 1940s of Nazi Germany - when this term was coined - my Gay brothers were targeted for second class citizenship by the Nazi regime along with Gypsies, Jewish citizens, as well as Unionists.  However, the treatment of these men and women were relatively mild when one takes into account the brutality meted out to one who was branded with the Pink Triangle, even among his fellow inmates!  Even today, Maggie and her organization is fighting for the status quo in an effort to keep us Second Class Citizens, so that my Gay and Lesbian brothers and sisters cannot take full advantage of the laws that govern the country in which we live and pay our taxes to!  Sadly, Maggie does not seem to have realized the irony of her own statement.  But, let's think of this in another way.  Can a bigot be denied the Due Process of Law, such as loosing their children, being arrested, being denied the freedom to marry, filing joint taxes, ad nauseum?  The answer, of course, is a definite "No", unless the party in question wants to be brought up on charges that they have violated their Constitutionally Guaranteed Right to be an unapologetic bigot or a racist in this country!

Indeed, one wonders if Ms. Gallagher-Srivistav is, perhaps, also saying that she is - or would be - a second class citizen because she and her fellow "traditional believers" would no longer have the "right" to openly and publicly discriminate against the GLBT comm. as they have had in the past?

On a released memo from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) - of which Maggie Gallagher-Srivastav is Chairperson of the Board - during the battle over Prop-8 in California the group gives a variety of examples about what the organization believes will befall them - their so-called "consequences" - if they are legally defined as bigots within American society and culture:


So far as I am aware, the FCC has not pulled Michael Savage's radio license for his frequently anti-Semitic remarks, nor that of Tony Perkins since the SPLC has designated his group - The Family Research Council - an anti-Gay Hate Group in 2010, nor the radio license of white supremacist, James Edwards, because this would clearly infringe upon their Constitutionally guaranteed rights of free speech, no matter how despicable the public may find their rhetoric!  Edwards, who is only 27, still hosts his shamelessly white nationalist radio talk show - The Political Cesspool - for two hours each weeknight from a local station near Memphis, Tenn. where Edwards is currently a resident.  According to The Southern Poverty Law Center:
"The Political Cesspool" in the past two years has become the primary radio nexus of hate in America. Its sponsors include the CCC and the Institute for Historical Review, a leading Holocaust denial organization. Its guest roster for 2007 reads like a "Who's Who" of the radical racist right. CCC leader Gordon Lee Baum, Holocaust denier Mark Weber, Canadian white supremacist Paul Fromm, American Renaissance editorJared Taylor, neo-Nazi activist April Gaede, anti-Semitic professorKevin MacDonaldStormfront webmaster Jamie Kelso and League of the South president Michael Hill have all been favorably interviewed on the "Political Cesspool" this year, along with former Klan leader and neo-Nazi David Duke, the show's most frequent celebrity racist guest, who has logged three appearances.
Ms. Gallagher-Srivistav must realize that "bigot" is a public term, not a legal principle.  In fact, if one draws these fear-based scenarios to their logical conclusions, than we should expect to find a sudden crack down on websites espousing hate-rhetoric!  But, we don't.  Furthermore, according to Dr. Heidi Beirich - Research Dir. of the Southern Poverty Law Center - "there are [in fact] several hate groups [operating in the U.S.] with 501c3 [charity] status, including the very noxious Council of Conservative Citizens (they have a tax-deductible foundation)" (pers. comm.: 4 July, 2011).  As an example of the CCC's extremism, consider the following odious comment that can be found on the group's website: "God is the author of racism.  God is the one who divided mankind into different types...Mixing the races is rebelliousness against God".

Ultimately, NOM has no basis in fact for these accusations; they are nothing more than empty words intended to frighten their "traditional believers" into conforming with their oppressive ideology.  Indeed, as Dr. Beirich alerts us, these specious arguments which NOM is employing have been used before: "No Christian is going to be persecuted for being [opposed to] same-sex marriage.  These are the same specious arguments that the Religious Right has been making against hate-crimes laws - of course their only concern is about hate crimes protections for the LGBT community.  They argued that the recently passed Matthew Shepard bill would end with preachers in jail because they [evangelized] against homosexuality" (pers. comm.: Ibid.).  Indeed, in an attempt to martyr themselves in the service of their religious calling, several Christian ministers staged a protest in Wash. D.C. 11 July, 2007, because they considered the Hate Crimes Legislation that was being reviewed by the Senate as "hatred and intolerance aimed at ministers and good Christian folks who dare to call a sin a 'sin'".  Two years later, after the bill was signed into law by President Obama, a group billing itself as the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission - yes, the same group that defends so-called "Christian" organizations who spout anti-Gay defamatory rhetoric insisting that Gay men molest children and wallow in feces - engaged in a protest outside the Justice Department opposing the Hate Crimes Legislation, attempting to test the merits of the new law and their worries over religious freedoms to preach intolerance against the GLBT community in the hopes that these Evangelical ministers might be arrested for their cause.

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