Sunday, April 24, 2005

Sadly, it's our turn here in Washington

First came Indiana.

Next, Ohio.

A couple of weeks later, much closer to home. Oregon.

Now, alas, it is my turn to write the sad blog. The senate in my state of Washington has voted down a bill that would have added sexual orientation to the list of classes protected from discrimination in jobs, housing, and insurance. 25-24. All 23 Republicans voted that it's just fine to discriminate against gays, and were joined by 2 rural Democrats, one of whom said he really wanted to support the bill, but knew his constituents wouldn't have it.

It remains legal here to say "you're fired because you're gay." There have been stories of a woman who had lived in her apartment for 15 years and was never late with her rent getting evicted when the new landlord found out (a year after buying the building) that the woman's roommate was her partner. Apparently our legislature thinks this is just fine.

I'm angry enough to spit and sad enough to collapse in a heap.

There are a number of side stories to this. Most interesting is that Microsoft, long considered one of the most gay-friendly companies on the planet (benefits to same-sex partners, publicly valuing all kinds of diversity in the workplace, etc.), backed out of its support of the bill and delcared itself "neutral" after a pastor from a local church threatened Microsoft with a national boycott (story here). Microsoft denies this, and says that they simply are reducing the number of issues that they take stands on at the state level.

There are so many places for my anger here. For now, I'd like to focus on the pastor who threatened the boycott, the Rev. Ken Hutcherson of the "Antioch Bible [sic] Church [sic]."

First of all, this isn't gay marriage we're talking about. Gay marriage is a massive, revolutionary change in our society. It is a change that I support, but I can see and understand more conservative folks in our country struggling with that change. I also see that one can interpret one or two Bible verses to say that this isn't right. I reject all of these arguments, but at least they are arguments that I can understand.

This issue? Basic, civil, even human rights. It is not a revolutionary change. It is not supportable through any Bible verse that we should make people homeless, unemployed, or uninsured for no other reason than their homosexuality. SHOW ME THE VERSE, REVEREND. NOW.

Waiting for you, Reverend...C'mon, surely the Antioch Bible [sic] Church [sic] can teach me, a guy who misses a few Sundays at a liberal Episcopal church, a thing or two about the Bible! Perhaps you can look a little bit at Jesus, a character you might be familiar with. Who said "I am the law." Who said that what you do to the lowest of our society is what you do to Jesus.

Reverend, you're advocating throwing Jesus out of His apartment and onto His ass, and taking away His health insurance to boot.

One more thing about the Reverend. I can't find the quote anywhere, but I heard him say something on the radio yesterday that made my jaw drop. About Microsoft, he said (and I'm paraphrasing from memory): "What they do in their own house, I can't affect. But when they want to come into my house and change things, I stand up."

Um, Reverend? Exactly how does this impact your house?

Oh, wait a minute. I get it. You're upset that the legislature would require employers to treat people as Jesus says you must.

Don't worry, Reverend. This wouldn't change your church's [sic] modus operandi. You have publicly said that if you knew of any gay parishioners, you would bar them from your church [sic]. That's not employment. You can continue to go against Jesus' teachings by rejecting people from the house of prayer.

But I do have one request.

Please change the name. I don't want the word Bible in your name. You're only reading a little bit of it. I don't want the word Church there either.

Antioch Leviticus (And Sometimes Paul) Heterosexual Gathering Place.

Go with that, Reverend. Meanwhile, I'll go with Jesus.

Off to Church...


Anonymous said...

Microsoft can't be serious. That pastor could not possibly cut into their profits, and they must have a strong vested self-interest in the issue, if they hope to keep attracting young, talented workers. Shame on them. I say you start a boycott of them, trp, until they get back on the right side of this. Neutrality essentially means you favor the existing law.


lemming said...

The latest from Indiana: one of teh legislators announced that homosexuality is a "curable addiction." Lovely.

TeacherRefPoet said...

Yuck, Lemming. Has Reverend Hutcherson moved to Indiana?

tommyspoon said...

I thought that guy's name sounded familiar... he used to be an NFL linebacker!