Good morning Portsmouth!

It’s midnight, and you’re listening to me, Dee, your Trans-sister DJ, here on WSCA-LP, 106.1 FM, Portsmouth Community Radio.

 

I’ve been listening to some of the political goings-on, and reading a bit of what passes for news on some of the Christian-Right and conservative news sources. I should probably avoid these, as they get me a bit riled at times … but then again, I suppose that there is a need for some people to get riled … it’s motivational, if nothing else.

 

So, a bit of what’s been getting me riled this week is the so-called news items on some sites such as the AFA and others, along with emails asking me to write to congressmen and other groups which might show any bit of compassion or acceptance of gay marriage.

 

The most recent of these emails was from the AFA who is making the strange claim that the “homosexual agenda” is now trumping religious rights.  Here is the text of their letter:

 

  • Dear Friend,

The California Supreme Court, which recently legalized same-sex marriage, has ruled by a 7-0 vote that homosexual rights trump religious freedom. The ruling barred doctors, because of their Christian beliefs, from withholding unnecessary medical care to gays and lesbians. The ruling says that under state law sexual orientation rights trump religious freedom.

Justice Joyce Kennard wrote in the ruling that two Christian fertility doctors who refused to artificially inseminate a lesbian have neither a free speech right nor a religious exemption from the state's law, which "imposes on business establishments certain antidiscrimination obligations."

Doctors at the Christian clinic referred the lesbian to another clinic, but the lesbian refused their referral - demanding that the Christian clinic perform the procedure. When the Christian doctors refused to violate their religious convictions, the lesbian sued and the Supreme Court gave her the victory.

This ruling will affect every business in California. If a similar victory in a federal court is won, every business in America will be affected.

For example: Alabama Fertility Specialists (AFS) has begun a campaign to bring Honda of Alabama to its knees because Honda will not cover artificial insemination for a lesbian in it’s insurance.

Honda advised their insurance carrier to "exclude domestic partners (same-sex partners) from ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) benefits including diagnostic services related to fertility/infertility..." If this doesn't work, then count on AFS to sue.

Alabama Fertility Specialists alerted the media, their supporters and gay groups about Honda’s actions and called on supporters and gays to bombard Honda with phone calls and letters.

 

Sincerely,

Don

Donald E. Wildmon,
Founder and Chairman
American Family Association

 

So, if we take this point by point, what happened was that a lesbian woman went to a fertility clinic. The Doctor, who happened to be a Christian, and worked at a Christian clinic decided that he didn’t want to provide fertility services to a Lesbian.

 

The claim is made that homosexual right trump religious freedom. This is simply a lie. What the ruling states is that businesses which provide services to the public may not discriminate. It says nothing about an individual’s right to practice their religion.

 

Nobody’s religious rights were taken away. State and federal law state simply that if you are, as a business, no matter who you are owned by, no matter your race, no matter your religion, going to provide services to the public, that you must do so in a non-discriminatory fashion.

 

There are those who would deny services to others because of race or religious preference. This is illegal. Likewise, if you are going to provide a service to anyone, you cannot deny that service to an individual because of their sexual orientation.

 

If you are providing fertility services to the public at large, the State of California declares that you must not withhold such services because of the client’s sexual orientation.

 

If we go down the slippery slope of having an individual’s religious preference determine who, as a business, they wish to serve, then anti-discrimination law means nothing. The doctor may well have said “my religious preference prevents me from providing services because the couple is Islamic”.

 

The rights of the Christian have not been abrogated; the physician has not been denied any “right” other than that of bigotry. If he is in a business, providing services to the general public for hire, he must do so without discrimination based on the client’s religious choice, race or sexual orientation.

 

The article then goes on to claim that if such a suit is brought to Federal court, that it will affect every business in America. Well, Businesses in America are no longer free to discriminate against people because of their race or religious preference. So what is the AFA looking for? Would they appreciate reverse discrimination? Would they like to not be treated by a physician because they are Christian? Would they not raise their flags of protest in a similar case?

 

Their last point was that American Fertility Specialists has become outraged because Honda has directed its insurance providers to not cover fertility treatments for same-sex couples. It seems that AFA is outraged that people should actually take this information in a negative fashion.

 

Some years ago, I was in the Air National Guard. There was one man there who was always telling Gay jokes and poking fun at LGBT people. I once confronted him about this, and his response was that these were the only people it was still legal to poke fun at in the military.

 

He was actually quite right. The LGBT community is the only group of people that it is legal to discriminate against. We are the last large subset of the population who are not permitted to marry, who are denied certain medical treatments, who are not permitted to bring our spouses into the country, who may not be permitted to see our spouses when they are dying in hospital.

 

The religious right would prefer to keep it this way. They use the same arguments that they used to try to prohibit inter-racial marriages some years ago.

 

I suppose this is one of the reasons I’m a Pagan. Not because Paganism is more permissive, but rather because at least for the most part, Paganism does not hold to the idea that individuals are less than human because women were born to love women or men to love men. Pagans generally care about each other. It’s not utopia, but it’s not filled with the hatred of people who are different or who don’t believe differently than them.

 

Again, I’m not saying that ALL Christians are so intolerant. There are many who are. The UCC, for example is generally welcoming. But even in Christendom, there is a pervasive hatred of those who are accepting of homosexuals by the more conservative elements.

 

In any case, for me, it’s important to read what’s going on, and to understand the forces that are motivating a large part of the political machine in this country.

 

So, I suppose that’s enough of a rant … sometimes my blood pressure rises a bit.  Being trans myself, and thus part of the LGBT community, these issues are close to my heart.

 

But, coming up on the program tonight, we’ll have a new segment, Mystic Moment. This is a segment that will hopefully be put out weekly, and is contributed by Julia Passamonti, and speaks to the use of herbs in our lives. Tonight’s installment will be about cleansing our homes, offices and living spaces, and uses incense and herbs to that purpose. We’ll be airing that segment right after our PaganFM Almanac, so you’ll be able to catch it at about 12:45 am.

 

I’ve decided that since Mystic Moment is a pre-recorded segment, that I’d make it available on the web site. You can go to www.paganfm.com, click on Mystic Moment, and download the installments as they become available.

 

On installment 25 of our Pagan Primer, I’ll touch a bit on what it is that we know, or can know, and how we’re able to know it. It will contrast Neo-Pagan traditions with revealed religions, like Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

 

On our weekly book review, we’ll take a look at Raven Grimassi’s “The Wiccan Mysteries”.

 

© 2008, Deirdre Hebert