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Audio: Tony Perkins' tiered employment protections (Christians safe, gays 'special')

by Jeremy Hooper

On the second edition of Tony Perkins' new daily radio show, talk turned to a specific LGBT policy matter. Here's Tony's brief chat with a caller:

Perkins full show:Washington Watch Daily [AFA Radio]

First off—it's ridiculous that Tony says "I get what you're driving at," as if the caller's point is other than what he stated. The caller quite clearly stated his fears about Christian business owners being "forced" to hire Mormons or Muslims. That is what Newton said; that is what Newton meant.

That out of the way, let me say that I'm really glad Tony Perkins seems to support in-place protections that keep business owners from arbitrarily limiting hiring or facilitating firing on the basis of faith. That is common sense—the kind of thing that is necessary to fair employment practice. This debate is closed.

But now let's get real: Religion is a choice. Always, every time, in every single instance—faith is an option that one chooses for his or her life. Again, there is no debate about this.

So how dare Tony Perkins take one of his caller's (and presumably supporter's) misguided concerns about faith protections that both he and I support and then twist them to make a point about the very same employment protections as they might apply to LGBT people? Tony calls them "special rights" when he applies them to LGBT people, but there is not a shred of logic in his intellectual leap. Even if Tony believes homosexuality is a choice—which he, unlike credible science and the vast majority of LGBT people, most surely does—that still wouldn't give him the intellectual capital, considering that (a) millions of LGBT people realistically exist, regardless of "reason" and (b) the widely supported religious protections bely the idea that a characteristic must be in-born to earn protection. It is patently ridiculous to speak so highly about religious protections as a matter of basic, no-brainer fairness in one breath and then refer to LGBT protections as "special rights" just seconds later.

Not that I expect intellectual consistency or fair-minded policy support when it comes to Tony Perkins' regard for Christianity versus his regard for LGBT human beings. That would be like me expecting the next Hangover film to be a nuanced period drama set during the Prohibition era. A politico who seeks fair, reasonable, common sense approaches from the Family Research Council is seeking his or her own disappointment.

I will, however, continue to call out Mr. Perkins on his attempt to force his societal vision onto the rest of us. Between the two of us, one of us seeks a nation where both he and I are fairly protected from the cruel and arbitrary employment decisions of a biased boss who has it out for us; the other seeks an America where LGBT people don't get an inch, so as to not traipse on religious right mileage. It's a broken view, his.

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