"Gingrich’s Commission On Religious Freedom Caters To NOM/Catholics’ Self-Victimization"
As NOM Exposed points out, Newt Gingrich is now fully endorsing the self-victimizing rhetoric promoted by extreme anti-gay groups. In a new 20-page proposal, Gingrich commits to a creating a 12-member presidential commission that will investigate “threats or impediments to religious freedom,” promising an “On Day One” Executive Order to set it in motion.
Reflecting Gingrich’s crusade against judges, the proposal makes various claims about how LGBT equality somehow infringes on the religious freedoms of people with anti-gay beliefs. Here are a few examples of what the commission will investigate from the 12-point mission statement:
2. The extent to which schools from primary to university level are discriminating against religious viewpoints, restricting religious expression, or forcing students to violate their conscience by forcibly imposing beliefs about sexual orientation, gender, same sex “marriage” and abortion, to which students have constitutionally protected religious objections.
6. The extent to which individuals have been harassed or threatened for exercising key civil rights to organize, to speak, to donate or to vote for marriage and to propose new protections, if needed.
8. The impact on religious freedom of same-sex “marriage” and non-discrimination laws, including the rights of individuals, businesses and religious institutions that have a conscientious objection to providing or engaging in services that support values they oppose.
11. The extent to which states are restricting religious institutions from competing for state funding for educational and other social programs.
It’s worth noting Gingrich borrowed point #6 verbatim from the National Organization for Marriage’s presidential pledge he signed this week. The pledge, in fact, was likely the primary (or sole) catalyst for this proposal. NOM’s broad claims of harassment against those who oppose equality have failed to impress the courts.
Gingrich seems to join those who oppose even the mere mention of LGBT people in schools, including basic education about LGBT people, anti-bullying policies, or even professional ethics for counseling students. He also conflates the right to hold an anti-LGBT belief with the right to discriminate against LGBT people, taking the side of New York town clerks, Iowa bakers, and Vermont B&Bs who have refused to serve same-sex couples. Similarly, adoption agencies such as those run by Catholic Charities believe that they should be entitled to discriminate against same-sex couples without jeopardizing their state subsidies, an argument that did not hold up in Illinois recently.
Gingrich clearly buys in wholeheartedly to the talking points that somehow Christians are the primary victims in the “culture war” for LGBT equality, referencing both the defamatory Manhattan Declaration and a recent “study” on religious liberty from the Catholic Bishops of Maryland. These arguments ignore the real harm that is done to LGBT people of all ages by the proliferation of stigma and resistance to justice.