Lavender Hill Op-Ed: LGBT protections on the federal level

LHv6APresident Obama is slated to sign an executive order on Monday 21 July 2014 that would protect LGBT federal employees and employees of federally contracted companies from discrimination in hiring and firing. Many contracted companies already have such protections on the books as well as 21 states have protections for LGBT citizens in regards to employment and public accommodations.

In a Talking Points Memo dated 2 July, Dylan Scott wrote that almost immediately after the SCOTUS ruling regarding religious exemptions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in favor of Hobby Lobby and other privately owned businesses with a strong religious leaning in ownership many religiously owned institutions and businesses were petitioning the president for similar religious exemptions to his proposed executive order. Similar religious exemptions are written into the current draft of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that was recently passed by the Senate and sits before the GOP-controlled House this session. The religious exemptions in ENDA have caused many LGBT rights groups to drop drop their support. The Human Rights Campaign being one of the only groups to maintain their support.


Read Phil’s op-ed on the SCOTUS ruling.


Read Phil’s op-ed piece on LGBT civil rights group dropping support for ENDA.


With Obama signing this executive order only federal employees and the employees of federally contracted companies are protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Outside of the 21 states that have such laws and those companies around the country that also protect their employees from such discrimination, people can still be fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity (or perceived sexual orientation/gender identity). In my state of Nebraska that means that only those who work for the federal government in some capacity will be protected in the hiring and firing process (as well as for consideration for promotion) and those who are lucky enough to work for a company that has similar protections (and residents of Omaha). Fortunately, I work for such a company. As indicated in my earlier pieces (see above links), I have been lucky enough to work for many such companies over the years. But not everyone is that lucky.

On Tuesday 8 July over 100 faith leaders in the United States sent a letter to Obama, along with a press release to several major media outlets, urging the President to not include religious exemptions in any executive order from his administration. One of those leaders, Rev. Serene Jones, president of Union Theological Seminary,  included in the press release this statement, in part:

“As people of faith, we should be exemplary and not exempted. Jesus came to protect the most vulnerable. The faith community that taught me never to throw stones should not have special permission from the White House to throw stones. It is simply theologically indefensible.”

This letter arrived on Obama’s desk a week after a letter from a large number of faith leaders, many of them his own advisers, urging him to include such exemptions.

“An executive order that does not include a religious exemption will significantly and substantively hamper the work of some religious organizations that are best equipped to serve in common purpose with the federal government. When the capacity of religious organizations is limited, the common good suffers.”

You can read the entire letter against exemptions, and the list of signatories, at Huffington Post.

QueerProud Monthly has been following a story that shows what kind of damage these religious exemptions can do. A transgender student at George Fox University in Oregon has been denied housing in the men’s dorm because the religiously owned institution doesn’t accept transgender as valid. Socially, medically, and legally Jayce M is a man. He was born a woman and that is the argument that GFU is using to bar him from single apartment dwelling in the men’s dorm. The Department of Education has upheld their decision to bar him, citing a religious exemption in the 1972 version of Title IX, the updated Title IX (from 2010 includes protections for LGBT students). The religious exemption from 1972 carried over to the 2010 version.

“This section shall not apply to an educational institution which is controlled by a religious organization if the application of this subsection would not be consistent with the religious tenets of such organization.”

Religious exemptions don’t protect religious institutions, they harm people. The federal government should be working to protect everyone. Institutions of higher learning should be educating their students. Citizens of the United States won’t have equality, protection from discrimination, without the government and religious stepping up to the plate and protect, treat equal, everyone within the borders.

Phil in StudioPhil is one of the hosts of L“As people of faith, we should be exemplary and not exempted,” Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, president of Union Theological Seminary, said in a press release sent to The Huffington Post. “Jesus came to protect the most vulnerable. The faith community that taught me never to throw stones should not have special permission from the White House to throw stones. It is simply theologically indefensible.”avender Hill on KZUM-Lincoln/KZUM-HD. KZUM is Nebraska’s first and only community radio station, Lavender Hill is Nebraska’s only LGBTQQIA news and talk program on radio. The views and opinions expressed in this op-ed are not necessarily those of KZUM, it’s board of directors, underwriters, or staff. Nor are they necessarily those of Corwin, Phil’s cohost on Lavender Hill. Lavender Hill can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. The show airs live every Sunday at 11am Central. Email the hosts with questions, comments, or suggestions for the show at lavenderhill89.3@gmail.com.

Phil is also known as RevKess on the Pagan-Musings Podcast Channel.

 

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PWN S4E6: What we’re really say is….

On the Pagan Weekly News RevKess and Zaracon do their best to bring you news, views, and information that is of interest to the Pagan community. Along the way we often discuss religious intolerance/persecution and the brighter side of our religio-spiritual umbrella: festivals, books, and music. This week’s edition is no exception to that pattern. As the title of this edition implies, Zaracon and RevKess discuss some of the popular memes that are floating around on the internet, primarily on Facebook. What is a meme, you might be asking. It used to mean “an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means, especially imitation.” It has come to mean “a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.” Many of the memes that we see in social media are political in nature, especially during an election year. Whether they are political or not, memes are often half truths at best, out-right lies at worst. Many of the memes that people share seem humorous at first glance, if you look at them again you note that they are insulting to one group or another. Here is a prime example of such a meme. It is true that many who use politically correct speech are sugar coating things, but not because they cannot handle the truth. More often than you might think it is because they are trying not to insult someone else. This one makes no attempt to avoid insulting people. It does, however, bring to light what many think of politically correct speech. An example of how politically correct can be more insulting than sugar-coated would be many of the attempts the straight community use when talking about the gay community, in particular the trans community. See, look there. In an attempt to be general and “politically correct” I left out lesbians and bisexuals, gender queer and gender fluid. Other attempts to be more encompassing of everyone who might fit into that community is the abbreviation “LGBTQA” Even that collection of letters leaves people out.  Some like the acronym “SOGI”, sexual orientation and gender identity. This term is confusing for some, a literal look at the term would encompass the entirety of humanity. Perhaps that is the point. Maybe, just maybe, people should call it as they see it, or to use a phrase “call a spade a spade.” And then you have the opposite end of the spectrum. Memes that point out something that many might consider to be true. In this situation, many might consider it a fault to need alcohol and drugs to be entertained. Agreed. Drugs and alcohol are not necessary to have a good time. They can make for a little extra entertainment – like when your friend gets so drunk they can’t walk without falling down. In moderation, though, alcohol is fine – even some drugs are fine in moderation. RevKess would rather enjoy a glass of wine at dinner or while watching a movie than toke up, or even go out to the clubs. Combing through several pages of racist memes, none could be found that weren’t in some way disgusting or too far into the racist field (I think I need a shower now). But it is easy to understand that a racist meme is just wrong, insulting. Whether they are directed at whites, blacks, Jews, Asians, Latinos, whatever. They are all disgusting and insulting. After all this, there are some memes out there that are just down right funny, cute, or enlightening. Here is an example of one that is inspiring – at least for the bibliophiles out there. Just look around at RevKess’s home and you will see bookcases in every room (save the bathroom) and stacks of books literally to the ceiling. Never enough bookcases. And of course there are the snarky memes.

LINKS

Before we start with the links, RevKess would like to apologize for a tidbit of misinformation. He failed to double check the publication date of an article about Andy Griffth. Mr. Griffth died on July 3, 2012.  The article he saw just before going live was in memorial of him.

  • In the New York Times, opinion columnist Nicholas Kristof talks about how religious freedom is in peril, focusing on how Muslims seem to be using the idea of religious freedom to persecute non-Muslims – primarily in the Middle East and “underdeveloped” countries.
  • The Pope apologizes to Buddhists for the Christian Colonial Rule of Sri Lanka. Is it enough?
  • Rev. Chuck Currie, a minister for the United Church of Christ and columnist for Huffington Post – Religion, writes about how religious freedom is in under attack, and not how you might think. His focus is on how the SCOTUS ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby’s religious exemptions for certain birth control coverage may lead to further misuses of the law and the protection of freedom of religion. “In a nation as diverse as the United States of America, it is critical that the federal government be trusted to follow — and indeed, to role-model — equitable employment practices. We believe that our mutual commitment to the common good is best served by policies that prohibit discrimination based on factors that have no relationship whatsoever to job performance. We are better and stronger as a nation when hiring decisions are made based on professional merit rather than personal identity.” – from a letter Currie wrote to President Obama.
  • On the Wild Hunt, Cara Schulz writes about the SCOTUS decision, after breaking things down in understandable terms she quotes several Pagans who voiced their opinions. RevKess is quoted.
  • RevKess’s full opinion piece on the SCOTUS decision for Lavender Hill.
  • In the days following the SCOTUS decision many businesses and organizations have begun prep work to petition for religious exemptions from Obama’s promised executive order to ban discrimination of LGBTQ employees of federal contractors, and the current draft of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act before theHouse. RevKess wrote an opinion piece for Lavender Hill after the announcement that  the Nation Gay & Lesbian Task Force, the ACLU, and other civil rights groups have withdrawn their support for the current version of ENDA.
  • In the current edition of the Pagan Community Notes on the Wild Hunt, Jason PItzl-Waters talks about the New Alexandrian Library Project and the special issue of Green Egg in honor of Morning Glory Zell.
  • Heather Greene has written a two part series on Pagans on campus for the Wild Hunt. Part 1, Part 2.
  • Cara Schulz, taking a step away from the seriousness of SCOTUS, birth control, and religious freedom, writes on the Wild Hunt about discovering Pagan ethics in modern secular life – Football.
  • Silverspring on her blog writes about why some people may choose to remain in the broom closet.
  • Writing on Witches&Pagans’ blog, author and lecturer Karen Tate talks about integrity in Pagan writing. Read an excerpt from her new book Goddess Calling on the blog Bad Witch.
  • On Patheos, T Thorn Coyle writes about public priesthood.

MUSIC

  1. PWN intro, courtesy Aetopus
  2. Damh the Bard – The Parting Glass – Tales from the Crow Man
  3. Big Bad Gina – Freedom Connection – Lake of Dreams
  4. Leigh Anne Hussey – She is Grandmother – Homebrew
  5. Mama Gina – Summer of the Fae – Goddess Kiss’d
  6. Spiral Dance – Weaving the Summer – Magick (also available on their best of CD, The Quickening)
  7. Frenchy & the Punk – The Circus Parade – Hey Hey Cabaret
  8. Celia – Carry Me Home – Carry Me Home

PWN: Religious & Political News discrimination

RevKess goes solo again for this edition of PWN. That means a little bit more music than you might usually expect, but plenty of news coverage and opinion bits. Zaracon is settling into his new living arrangement and getting used to things there.

RevKess’s work schedule got turned upside down this week, adding to his already hectic schedule with rehearsals for a musical he is in this spring. This and other factors made for a one hour edition of PWN this week.

LINKS to stories and op-ed pieces discussed

  • It is with sadness in our hearts that we make formal announcement of the passing of Donald Michael Kraig. You can read an obituary and comments from loved ones and friends on The Wild Hunt.
  • Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps is reported to be dying, according to a Facebook message from his estranged son Nathan Phelps. He was also excommunicated from the WBC back in August 2013, a disagreement with other elders of the church about being “kinder” to others. Update: Since our broadcast Wednesday morning, Fred Phelps has passed away. Stay tuned to PMPChannel.com for RevKess’s editorial on the life and times of Fred Phelps.
  • Federal Judge rules in favor of the student after a creationist teachers calls his beliefs “stupid” and orders the school staff and faculty be educated on the 1st Amendment by an ACLU approved attorney.
  • St Patrick’s Day parade boycotts in NYC and Boston. Both mayors and three major beer bottlers drop support of the St. Patrick’s Day parades in the cities. Sam Adams, Heineken and Guinness.
  • Cognitive Dissonance on PaganActivist.com
  • ReligiousTolerance.org

MUSIC

  1. Damh the Bard – The Parting Glass – Tales from the Crow Man
  2. Heather Dale – Call the Names – Call the Names
  3. Celia – Symbol
  4. Tuatha Dea – Ye Jacobites by Name – Tuatha Dea
  5. Frenchy & the Punk – House of Cards – Happy Madness

PMP: Enough is enough!

Show notes for Pagan-Musings Podcast, Sunday 12 January 2014:

RevKess and KaliSara call it as they see it in this edition of Pagan-Musings Podcast. Inspired in part by a blog entry on Radical Wind, your hosts stroll down the lane of radical thinking. The hosts did not set out to bash on Witch Wind or even on Z Budapest, but to call them out on the hypocrisy of their words and how those words hurt more than heal. They also covered some of the intersections of discrimination.

The topic focused heavily on the concepts introduced by Witch Wind’s blog article. “All intercourse is rape.” “Men crave power over women.” And other similar concepts. As well as talking about how Z Budapest has said that all men are secretly gay and are a danger to woman as they forcibly have sex with them to hide their gayness. (Unfortunately the article of Budapest’s that states is no longer online, but you can read segments of it in one of KaliSara’s blog posts from February 2012.)

The thrust of the topic addresses “intersectionality”. Wikipedia’s article on intersectionality begins: Intersectionality (or Intersectionalism) is the study of intersections between different disenfranchised groups or groups of minorities; specifically, the study of the interactions of multiple systems of oppression or discrimination.

KaliSara and RevKess would like to say thank you to their friend Arthur for sharing much of the below listed articles as well as many more.

Additional links pertaining to intersectionality

Music

  1. Celia – Ground, Center, & Shield – For the Asking
  2. Tuatha Dea – Irish Handfasting (fea. Damh the Bard) – The Tribe
  3. Avalon Rising – God Walks Among Us – Songs for the Goddess: A Pagan Music Compliation
  4. Paradiso & Rasamayi – Attuning to Onenes – Attuning to Oneness

MMM: Freedom to Be (Who and What We Are)

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Notes for 29 September 2013

KZUM promotes diversity and the Mess is a prime example of that diversity. If you listen to KZUM often you know that Sundays are an interesting combination of programming. The Glorious Gospel is from 6-9am and immediately followed by Murphy’s Magic Mess from 9-11am. Two polar opposite programs back to back. There is very little, if any, tension between the programmers for these two shows.

To share in that diversity, Murf, *K8 and Phil decided to do a show filled with songs about diversity and songs that address the discrimination that unfortunately still exists in the world. You can see that by the variety of songs that were picked for the show.

  1. God is Alive, Magick is Afoot – Buffy Sainte-Marie – Illumination
  2. Ancient Paths – Stanton Lanier – Open Spaces
  3. Valhalla – Stephen DeRuby – Sacred Spaces
  4. Day of Celebration – James Sera – Reality of the Fantasy
  5. Goddess Rising – Paradiso & Rasamayi – Attuning to Oneness: the Harmonic Ascension
  6. Malaika – Wouter Kellerman – Mzansi
  7. Rag Klem – David Vito Gregoli – Primordial Sonics
  8. Burning Times – Charlie Murphy & Circle Magic Music – Circle
  9. By Our Own Fear – The Wyrd Sisters – Inside the Dreaming
  10. Scott & Jamie – Fred Small
  11. Homophobes in Robes – Romanovsky & Phillips – Let’s Flaunt It
  12.  I’m Not Homophobic – The Trestle Foote Faerie – Naughty in Pink
  13. The Heart is the Only Nation – Ruth Barrett & Cynthia Smith – The Heart is the Only Nation
  14. Silent No Longer – Emma’s Revolution – Roots, Rock and Revolution
  15. Feel the Colors – Ubaka Hill – Dance the Spiral Dance
  16. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee – Buffy Sainte-Marie – Up Where I Belong
  17. All My Relations – Ulali – Mahk Jchi
  18. We Won’t Wait Any Longer – Gwyddion Pennderwen – The Faerie Shaman
  19. Everyday Goddess – Celia – Breathe
  20. Burning Times – Spiral Dance – Magick