Burr opposes Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Afraid it will infringe upon the rights of discriminators:

“Like most Americans, I strongly oppose and condemn unjust discrimination,” Burr said. “It is my hope that our society can be tolerant of different people and ideas. That said, whenever we consider new legislation we must always consider the interplay of new laws with existing rights. I am concerned that the ENDA bill would go beyond our existing laws protecting individuals’ employment rights and would impose new burdens and legal uncertainties regarding the exercise of religious liberties. Therefore, I plan to oppose the bill.”

Only in the mind of someone like Dick Burr would "unjust discrimination" not be considered redundant. Somebody should ask him what forms of "just discrimination" would be acceptable. And that concern for "religious liberties" is merely a nice way of saying that bible-thumping bigots have more rights than the people they would discriminate against. Liberty doesn't mean the freedom to restrict, impose upon or control somebody else. It just means freedom.


Unjust discrimination

While I disagree with the substance of Burr's position, he is fundamentally right about discrimination in general. It is neither immoral nor illegal to discriminate in daily life; indeed, it's hard too see how normal life could be lived without a right you discriminate in dozens of ways. I discriminate every time I chose to watch a movie or tv show, select a soft drink, or refuse to attend a professional wrestling match.

What is both immoral and illegal is unreasonable discrimination, understood by the courts as a discrimination based on traits not reasonably connected to the specific behavior that is permitted or denied. We discriminate on the basis of age, for example, in the legal operation of an automobile or ability to give consent in marriage because we can see a reasonable connection between these behaviors and a person's age. We can no longer see a reasonable connection between skin color and the right to attend public schools or to vote; these are forms of unreasonable ("unjust" in Burr's term) discrimination, and it's no longer permitted.

The key issue is whether there is a reasonable connection between sexual orientation and employment (assuming the possession of the basic skills required for the job). Does someone's religiously based bias against homosexuality constitute a reasonable or unreasonable discrimination when it comes to having a job?

Patrick W. Hamlett

Worthy of discrimination?

If you're an evangelical Christian, you want protections so you can't be fired because of your beliefs. At the same time, those same evangelicals want to fire someone because of their religious or personal beliefs don't agree with their own.

So, Senator Burr, are you saying that one religion or belief system is more "worthy" of protection under the constitution than another?

Isn't this the same arguement used by racist Southerners against Civil Rights laws in the 50s and 60s when they were just adhering to their religious beliefs about the "difference" or "inferiority" of a particular race or against "race mixing"?

The only connection

between sexual orientation and employment is the right of LGBT citizens to earn a living. Just like everybody else. It's not like their monthly bills are less than everybody else's, or they use a different form of currency that buys more food and clothing and such.

They should not be limited to fewer economic opportunities because of their sexual orientation, and they should not have to live in fear of losing what they've achieved on that basis, either.

And we didn't send Richard Burr to Washington so he could "hope" people are treated fairly, we sent him there to make sure they are. Which is only achieved by creating the proper statutory framework. "Hoping" doesn't amount to dry shit, and Burr's use of that word is nothing more than a transparent effort to do the wrong thing and get away with it. Which is par for the course for this empty suit.

"Unjust" discrimination

It is SO tiresome to hear these people pretend they're supportive of non-discrimination, yet they refuse to back anything that would ensure it. It's also tiresome to keep hearing how religious beliefs are supposed to trump everything else - especially since even those in one religion cannot agree on what they believe - i.e. speaking in tongues, drinking alcohol, whether Joseph Smith was a prophet or a con-man, etc, etc. How is it that you want to discriminate against 10% or so of the ENTIRE POPULATION, based upon how you feel about something? Everybody thinks his or her beliefs are the end-all, be-all of ultimate truth. That they've heard from or seen miracles by God Himself, yet their beliefs are all as different as night & day. And you want me to step aside & cede my rights & liberties to your beliefs? That's arrogance of the HIGHEST FORM. You are free & welcome to believe ANYTHING you so desire... & to do so w/out my having any right or freedom to try to change your mind, or restrict you from practicing your freedom to worship. But YOU ARE NOT free & welcome to practice your beliefs to the extent of stripping away my freedom to pursue happiness & exercise my rights in this country. When Pentecostals are sure they're ultimately right in what they believe, Catholics are sure THEY are ultimately right, Episcopals are sure THEY are ultimately right, Presbyterians are sure THEY are ultimately right, Mormons are sure THEY are ultimately right - & on & on & on... Why in the WORLD would I allow you to use your beliefs that you're right in what you believe as a reason to deny me equality? Pull-eeeaaase. We, the LGBT community - a.k.a. around 10% of the population - will continue to fight tooth & nail for EVERY SINGLE RIGHT that everybody else in this country has. And we WILL win, no matter how long it may take (not that it's that far off now...) We won't accept ANYTHING less. We won't accept "separate but equal". We won't accept having everything except this or that. Nobody is interested in forcing your church to perform gay weddings - & if any crazy person out there wants to sue for that, then they'll lose. The church has NEVER been forced to hire or cater to, in any way, those that disagree w/their beliefs. So those claims don't hold water in the least & are nothing more than the usual attempts to stir up fear in the hearts of the sheep so that the entire flock will be so scared of "the horrors of gay marriage" that they'll all revolt against it. Those claims are all too transparent these days. You can't get by w/claiming all gays are pedophiles anymore. You can't get by w/claiming that accepting gays getting married will undoubtedly yield the failure of & disinterest in all heterosexual marriage from then on & will irreversibly ruin all the children of the world... We've already seen otherwise. When a 5-year old asks where babies come from of his or her mom & dad, you don't give a graphic explanation of how an adult man & woman have vaginal intercourse. So why would anybody suggest that a child seeing 2 men in a relationship forces us to engage in discussions that will absolutely ruin that child forever? How does saying that "sometimes there are women who realize they fall in love w/a woman" or however you want to phrase it, imply to a child that said women are being sexual or anything like it to a 5-year old? Kids that age don't even think to ask questions beyond that, so pretending we must explain gay sex to them is irrational, like all the other arguments against accepting gays that we've had to listen to over the years now. You don't have to condone gay behavior in order to allow such people to live their own lives in the manner in which they believe they should. You can never know the things we (LGBT people) felt as children, earlier than you believe, nor that there are signs of being LGBT that go above & beyond merely sexual things & having a sex drive - meaning your attempts to say we CAN'T possibly know we're gay before puberty aren't valid. I was different for as long as I've been alive. I've ALWAYS had effeminate characteristics, even though I don't want to be a woman, nor do I particularly appear to be gay to everyone. Most people w/any sense pick up on it... but not everyone, by far. And I couldn't change those characteristics (not that I would want to) if I tried. They're just a part of who I am - ME. Just like I wouldn't ask you to change any part of whom you are, you shouldn't be demanding that I do so to please you or the deity you believe in. If I'm going against God, that's between me & Him... NOT you, me & Him. It's not up to you to correct my behaviors, nor to force me to live according to the Bible. God ONLY charged you in the Bible w/sharing His word w/others - not forcing others to live by your beliefs or His word. I keep hearing about "reverse intolerance & reverse discrimination" against Christians now. Ever heard of an LGBT person attacking a Buddhist? Or a Hindu? Ever wonder why you haven't? Perhaps it's b/c they never attacked us! So live by your beliefs. Share them w/us if you like. But stop trying to FORCE people to live by what you believe. That only pushes them (us) away just as hard as possible. I used to go to church... I grew up in the church. My father has been a pastor all his life. But in these last couple of years, between NC's Amendment One & the way folks have talked & acted around that & this same-sex marriage stuff around the country, I don't care to set foot in a church EVER AGAIN! I've witnessed some of the most "Godly" people, talking trash & blatantly encouraging the oppression of LGBT people, all b/c of THEIR INTERPRETATION of the Bible. And make NO mistake about it - every person's interpretation is different. You say it's in black & white that homosexuality is wrong? Nope. I know MANY people who totally disagree w/you. There are other ways to interpret what those Leviticus & Romans scriptures say than simply that all gay relationships are an abomination against God. Are they referring to loving relationships? It doesn't say so... It speaks of burning w/lust & lustful relationships or sex in Romans. And we don't live by ANY of Leviticus anymore, so there's no point in discussing that. If we did, we'd be murdering those men who lie in a bed where a woman's had her period in the last month. We'd be banning tattoos & eating shellfish. So everything isn't cut & dry... not to mention that the translation of the Bible has meant that many scholars aren't convinced that it was translated properly. There's not a single mention of homosexuality in the original versions of the texts. That word didn't exist back then anyway. And Sodom & Gomorrah? Isn't gang-rape, which the men sought to do to the angels that visited, ALWAYS a sin? And my Bible doesn't mention that God destroyed those cities b/c they were homosexual... It says b/c they were SINFUL/EVIL. There's a HUGE difference. It doesn't go on to say they were sinful/evil b/c they were gay, either. And if we're going to REALLY think about that story, how was offering up the women for them to gang-rape any better than allowing them to do so to the men? Maybe they offered up the women b/c the others were angels... & not b/c they were men... You can call this a cop-out if you want, but this raises REAL questions to those willing to use some critical thinking in their interpretation of the Bible. Like another comment said - "unjust discrimination" is redundant. There's NO SUCH THING as just discrimination... though Mr. Burr seem to believe there is. And like the other comment said, we didn't send him to DC so he could "hope" we didn't get discriminated against while knowing we do everyday. We sent him so he could pass legislation against such things to ENSURE we don't. And by "we", I mean ALL PEOPLE. If you want religious zealots to be protected in THEIR job searches, then you need to protect LGBT, blacks, legal immigrants, & all such minorities in THEIR job searches equally well. There's NO justification for doing otherwise - or NOT doing as much for one as the other.

A truly righteous rant

Well said.