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12/30/2008

Fallacy as policy: Mat Staver edition

by Jeremy Hooper

Back in 1987, Fleetwood Mac made a request:

In subsequent years, the religious right has been more than happy to fulfill the band's appeal. Latest example comes from the Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver, who says the following in reaction to yesterday's positive news about the New Jersey pavilion:

The clash between same-sex unions and religious freedom has arrived, and that clash will increase. We’ve seen a pastor arrested in Sweden for preaching that homosexuality is contrary to biblical principles. When the alarm was sounded, some thought it was all hype. But when a church has to sacrifice its religious convictions in order to invite the public to use its facilities, the threat to liberty is not hype. Whenever a right is granted to same-sex unions, then a right is taken from religious liberty and freedom of speech. Same-sex unions pose a serious threat to freedom of conscience and free exercise of religion.

Okay, but Matt. Uhm. Here's the thing:

FACT: The New Jersey pavilion was open to public usage, without any hesitation until gays and lesbians wanted to start using the building for same-sex civil unions. It's not a religious matter -- it's about allowing the heterosexual public to use your facility, but not the homosexual public.

FACT: Nobody is trying to force churches to marry ANYONE (straight or gay). But this building was not and is not a church, and folks like Mat Staver KNOW IT! They are exploiting the fact that the building had church ties, all the while overlooking that those church ties had never previously been used to bar straight couples.

FACT: The Swedish pastor that the right loves to use, Ake Green, was arrested (but later acquitted) because Sweden, unlike America, has strict hate speech laws. Plus, it was only after his words were published publicly that he caught scrutiny.

FACT: Nobody is proposing similar laws here in the states, regardless of what folks like Staver want folks to believe. In fact, gays and progressives are more commonly on the side of protecting unpopular speech. For an example, see how Barney Frank was one of only 3 members of Congress to vote against a law designed to restrict Westboro Baptist's funeral-picketing pastime.

FACT: As a movement, gays and progressive allies are seeking CIVIL MARRIAGE EQUALITY. The way "religious freedom" REALLY applies to this matter is in regards to how everyone's civil liberties should be protected from being stifled by others' faith-based beliefs!

First Amendment Takes a Hit in New Jersey [Liberty Counsel]

*EARLIER MAT STAVER FALLACIOUSNESS: Video: 't'-less Mat spouts fact-less logic [G-A-Y]

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Your thoughts

These guys keep bringing up these lies in their own circles, because they can do it in a vacuum. I'd like to see one of them do it head to head in a public debate, because it isn't that difficult to expose them as the lying liars that they are.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Dec 30, 2008 5:49:36 PM

Well Dick, the first step is getting people even within our own community to care.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Dec 30, 2008 5:52:37 PM

Actually I've wanted to muzzle the churches for a long time. I say rip away their tax exemption to start.

Posted by: Tony P | Dec 30, 2008 11:20:32 PM

Jeremy,

There is one other fact that the right is ignoring here. The group in question applied for tax abatement under New Jersey's Green Space law. This law allows private land to avoid property taxes along as the owner certifies that the land is open to use by all members of the public. LGBT people are members of that public and protected under NJ's Law against Discrimination since 1972.

The group could have avoided this by claiming the land as private and paying property taxes or by letting the lesbian couple marry but they wanted their tax-free cake and to eat it too.

Here is a great quote from the state official on this case:

“When people hear the words ‘open space,’ we want them to think not just of open air and land, but that it is open to all people,” said Ms. Jackson. “And when the public subsidizes it with tax breaks, it goes with the expectation that it is not going to be parsed out, whether it be by activity or any particular beliefs.”"

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/1...on/ 18grove.html

Posted by: Ed | Dec 31, 2008 11:56:44 AM

Thanks, GAY for arguing with these nut bars. Some one's got to do it, and better you than me. Woops. Gotta go. The spinach souffle with mushroom sauce is ready. Yummers. Steamy goodness.

Posted by: Wilberforce | Dec 31, 2008 6:59:21 PM

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