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10/03/2014

Orientation is not a 'vision,' Maggie

by Jeremy Hooper

Check out this flawed comparison that Maggie Gallagher makes between a Christian college that refuses to hire LGBT employees or accept LGBT students and a theoretical campaign that she could have (but has not) waged against the Human Rights Campaign:

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, Barbara Brittingham, president of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges’ higher-education commission, announced that Gordon College may have violated the NEASC’s accreditation standards. What was the nondenominational Christian college’s sin? Like many Evangelical Christian colleges, Gordon requires that faculty and students promise to live by a Christian code of sexual conduct that forbids sex outside of a marriage between husband and wife. The NEASC has given Gordon College 18 months to review its policies.
...
I have never participated in any effort to suggest that gay-rights groups must permit people who oppose gay rights to be leaders of their organizations, on or off campus. No one I know has ever organized to try to deprive activists in the Human Rights Campaign of their right to speak, assemble, and organize (and get tax benefits) on behalf of their vision. So I think I can in good conscience say that in my experience this is a genuinely one-sided ominous attack not only on the rights of traditional religions but also on the idea of pluralism in a democratic state.
FULL: The Forgotten Freedom: Freedom of Association [NRO]

See what she does? She's not making the rational comparison, which would be between a gay person–rejecting college and a version of the Human Rights Campaign that refuses to hire heterosexuals. Instead, her comparison involves a theoretical version of HRC that is forced to hire actively anti-LGBT people, which is just plain anti-intellectual on its face. The former refusal (the one Gordon College seeks) is based on who a person is; the latter refusal would be based on their point of view—one that would be incongruous with the organization, its wants, and its needs. There is no comparison.

And then as for the coupled comparison involving HRC's right to speak, assemble, and organize based on their vision? Well again, no one at HRC is targeting that right as it applies to Gordon College or any other institution. Anti-LGBT colleges have every right to speak anti-LGBT messages, assemble anti-LGBT classes, and organize their education around a viewpoint that is less-than-favorable toward LGBT people and LGBT rights. Liberty University proves this every day. But what such schools may not have—and to be clear, Gordon College has not yet been penalized for anything at this point—is the right to maintain this kind of view and still receive accreditation from the bodies which grant such things. Because these accrediting bodies (in this case the the New England Association of Schools and Colleges) also have a right to make nondiscrimination a part of their accrediting process. They have that freedom, and schools have a right to determine whether or not they even want that accrediting body's blessing and credence.

What is one-sided is the idea that this stuff constitutes an "attack." Maggie sees it as an attack because Maggie has built a career around the idea that the fair and reasonable inclusion of the world's billions of LGBT people (and taxpayers, importantly) is itself an unfair burden that somehow targets her rights and/or wellbeing. We simply don't. We see it as a decent way for societies to operate.

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