It seems Dallas Erickson somehow fancies himself the victim. He argues in his letter of February 8 that protecting people from abuse and discrimination because they are gay discriminates against his freedom of religion. His religious convictions cause him to justify the persecution of others because they are wrong, and it’s for their own moral good.
What if my religious beliefs include the sinfulness of being named “Dallas”? I have holy texts to prove it. By Mr. Erickson’s logic, I should be able to abuse him for his wicked name (which, of course, he could change if he wanted to) and any attempt to prevent me from doing so would violate my religious liberty. Shame on those trying to give people named Dallas “special” protection from bullying, discrimination and hate. My religious freedom trumps his expectation to be safe from harm.
The fact is that Dallas, and everyone else who believes, for whatever reason, that gay people are justly condemned, has the right to believe that, and to decline to be gay themselves. That’s the extent of their religious freedom. In a civil and a religiously free and plural society, gay people have the right to expect to be protected from abuse for whatever reason. This is not “special” protection, but simply developing the backbone to stop abusive treatment that we have allowed to go on out of prejudice, apathy, and ignorance.
No one deserves to be abused for anything. It doesn’t matter whether gay people were born that way, or they are living a lifestyle of their choice. Specific mention of sexual orientation and gender identity in anti-discrimination rules are only necessary because they are the ones being hurt.
Finally, I want to say explicitly that I abhor the views of Mr. Erickson and others like him. “Love God and Your Neighbor As Yourself” should be simple and difficult enough without seeking to persecute others in the name of religious piety. Mind your own business, religious and otherwise, and maybe even consider reapplying some of that effort toward healing and helping.