By D’Anne Witkowski
Hello LGBTQ Americans! Are you ready to enslave “people of faith throughout these United States of America?”
Because the U.S. House just passed the Equality Act and, according to James Dobson, that’s our job now.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not prepared. Also, full disclosure, I’m not interested. The “people of faith” Dobson is talking about have done a fine job subjugating themselves by living in fear of two men kissing or a woman in control of her own uterus. Also, note that I didn’t use the word “enslaved” because let’s not just throw that word around like hundreds of years of that shit didn’t happen in this country and foster the deeply entrenched racism black and brown people are still dealing with.
Dobson, however, is particularly tone deaf on this topic.
“In the history of our nation, there have been times when evil was so apparent — and so heinous — that they stand in infamy decades later,” he wrote for Charisma News. “They include the Dred Scott Decision on slavery in 1857 and the Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion in 1973. Now, we are faced with another such tragic moment in American history.”
Dred Scott, you’ll recall, affirmed the rights of slaveholders and was horrible. Roe v. Wade legalized a medical procedure. Not horrible. I get that Dobson thinks it is, but it isn’t.
And now Dobson is comparing the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect LGBTQ people, to slavery and the thing he thinks is the worst thing ever: abortion.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, “The Equality Act would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs and jury service.”
This sounds perfectly reasonable. And, in fact, the majority of Americans think LGBTQ people should be protected from discrimination. But if you only asked people who don’t think that LGBTQ people are actual human beings, I suspect that number would drop by a lot. And no doubt Dobson is in that category.
Why is Dobson so afraid of the Equality Act? Because civil rights laws give LGBTQ people a legitimacy that he wants to continue to deny. Dobson calls the Equality Act “breathtaking in its scope” and he’s not wrong. It’s pretty momentous.
The HRC explains, “Decades of civil rights history show that civil rights laws are effective in decreasing discrimination because they provide strong federal remedies targeted to specific vulnerable groups. By explicitly including sexual orientation and gender identity in these fundamental laws, LGBTQ people will finally be afforded the exact same protections as other covered characteristics under federal law.”
Why, if this passes the Senate (it won’t. Mitch McConnell is a ghoul), then bakers might have to make cakes for same-sex couples and employers can’t just fire someone for being trans and landlords can’t kick you out of your home for being gay!
According to Dobson, “This legislation will represent one of the most egregious assaults on religious liberty ever foisted on the people of this great nation. It therein imposes a thinly veiled death sentence to the First Amendment to the Constitution.”
Wow. That’s some hyperbolic shit right there. A “thinly veiled death sentence to the First Amendment?” Can someone please let Dobson know that the First Amendment isn’t “Freedom to use your religion as a weapon against people you don’t like?”
Dobson continued, “We must not remain silent as our historic liberties are gutted by Democrats and their friends in the LGBT movement. They will enslave us if they prevail. We must let our voices be heard, first in the U.S. Senate, and then to the world.”
OK, first of all, just about every right-wing conservative Christian has his or her own radio show so I don’t know what he means by this “remain silent” business. Also, a blanket right to discriminate is a “historic” liberty only in that it belongs in the past. With slavery.
Dobson ended his statement with, “Viva biblical values and beliefs.”
I know what you’re thinking: isn’t “viva” Spanish? Yes! It is. And after vowing to continue to make life as miserable as possible for LGBTQ Americans, Dobson launched into an impassioned plea that we stop ripping Spanish-speaking children from their parents at the border and putting them in cages because it is unchristian.
Just kidding. He did not. That would require some sort of moral code that cared about other people. Somebody should send Dobson a pamphlet or something about Jesus.
— D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.