December 21, 2013

The Tyranny of Equality Threatening Europe

Photo Credit: gozonews.com

After having surmounted the seemingly overwhelming challenges of communism and Nazism in the twentieth century, Christians might have expected to live happily ever after in post-communist freedom and democracy. Although our true commitment is to God as king, freedom as the West had come to understand it easily allowed for a personal life under the lordship of the God of the Bible. And so we seem in disarray both in terms of rhetoric and actions in responding to a new threat which is really of similar magnitude (if not yet as systematically organized): that of the liberal antidiscrimination regime.

This is a body of laws and policies prohibiting adverse actions against protected categories of people. Of the original categories that were advanced in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the most basic, race, poses little difficulty for traditional Christians; only extrapolations could justify the claim that racial inequality is a Biblical doctrine. Others, such as sex or even religion, do not pose great difficulty (the last because religious organizations were specifically exempted from it). And the “ministerial exception,” generally practiced in the civil rights era and given constitutional standing by the Supreme Court in 2012, makes religious considerations absolute in the employment of clergy or teachers of religious doctrine. What threatens the freedom, and even the long term survival of orthodox Christianity in the West, is the addition of sexual orientation to the list of protected categories. In particular, courts are making it clear that the prohibition against discrimination applies to facilitating personal behavior Christian doctrine holds to be sinful, as well as to personal orientation.

As was the case with freedom of speech, in which the cultural left moved from the unrestrained free expression (including obscenity and vulgarity) of the Berkeley free speech movement to restricting “discriminatory” speech in its hate speech doctrine, so in personal behavior the left has moved from a concern for “privacy” (in no small measure to protect the sexual revolution) to an attempt to regulate personal behavior through antidiscrimination law and policy.

So far in America, the antidiscrimination regime is being realized through state and local laws which require persons serving the public to provide goods and services that will facilitate homosexual behavior, and through attacks on conscience protections for medical and other health care providers. But in Europe, there are several proposed supranational legal instruments which would systematically apply this regime to personal life, thus enacting a new totalitarianism, controlling all of life, in the midst of multi-party democracy.

The first of these proposed instruments in the Equal Treatment Directive in the European Union. Originally intended to prohibit discrimination between the sexes with respect to employment when proposed in 2006, it was expanded by the European Commission in 2008 to include religion, age, disability and sexual orientation and has a much broader scope of the provision of goods and services, i.e., one may not refuse the provision of goods and services to anyone in the protected groups. Since the provision of goods and services is what business, the professions, and charities are about, the directive amounts to a major intrusion of state power into private businesses and institutions, and a major loss of civil liberties for anyone not subscribing to the dogma of “equality” in the antidiscrimination categories. As the British Equality and Human Rights Commission enthusiastically describes in a question and answer document on its website, if the directive is passed, it will be “transposed” into the national law of EU member countries that do not already have such antidiscrimination law, and require member states to prohibit refusal of services to protected groups, thus overriding any considerations of conscience or personal choice on the part of providers.

European Dignity Watch (EDW), a non-governmental organization which monitors the European Union at its Brussels headquarters, reports that the addition of sexual orientation to the directive was occasioned by an effort to make disabled persons a protected category. As can easily happen (and may well be intended), policy concerning disabled persons, expressed in the framework of civil rights and protected status, provided an opening wedge through which it could be argued that it is proper for the government to regulate personal behavior and the private world in the interest of improving society and changing attitudes.

EDW has incisively analyzed the directive as overruling basic freedoms of religion, association, and speech. An individual’s personal freedom to act in these areas would be denied by an overarching principle of “equality,” with no adverse judgments or decisions made about the protected groups even in one’s own personal life. The directive attempts to regulate and correct “horizontal” relationships (between private citizens) in which “discrimination” is understood as “less favorable treatment,” which is verified by the judgment of the offended party. Any complaint about “discrimination” in personal life by a member of a protected group will require the accused to justify his or her decision to a human rights bureaucracy, which will decide cases brought on subjective criteria as it thinks fit. The state thus gains control of much of people’s day to day lives, and if the subjective criteria are stretched far enough, over all of life, the essence of totalitarianism. EDW observes that what guidance is given to the human rights apparatus tends to contradict common sense justice; inherently different categories of persons are held to be due the same treatment.

The breathtaking scope of state control and the underlying criterion of hurt feelings on which it is based cannot be overestimated. As described by LifeSiteNews in a 2010 article, personal behavior will be deemed “discriminatory” if it “creates an offensive or humiliating environment.” This establishes a legal environment ready made for radical activists intent on prevailing against the great mass of society with the force of the law, and for the EU’s cultural left bureaucrats to remold society as they wish. The same source earlier noted that the directive would essentially dictate “to religious bodies which beliefs they may hold.” This is accomplished by a provision in Article 13 of the directive that declares that the internal rules and functioning of for-profit and non-profit bodies must conform to “the principle of equal treatment.” Another article by Atheist Conservative (despite its confusing introduction that seems to endorse the “tolerance” principle of Equality Directive) notes that Islam would be prominent among the categories immune from criticism, and that children in Europe would be indoctrinated in the new social code of behavior and thought and punished if they disagreed with it. The same source notes that the press will be required to conform to the ideology of “tolerance,” and submit to government supervision of national “mass media complaints commission(s).”

A second supranational document, the Framework National Statute for the Promotion of Tolerance, is brazenly explicit about being intolerant of any dissent from its doctrine of tolerance. EDW notes that this document states frankly that “there is no need to be tolerant of the intolerant,” defines “tolerance” as acceptance of protected groups, emphasizes that tolerance is to be practiced by individuals in “horizontal” relationships (between private groups and individuals) as well as by governments with respect to their citizens, and calls for government surveillance of society to ensure “tolerance.” Illegal doctrines will be “racism, colour bias, ethnic discrimination, religious intolerance, totalitarian ideologies [as if “tolerance” has not become totalitarian ideology], xenophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-feminism and homophobia.” The statute will, in short, put European society on an explicitly ideological basis. Any expression or activity by private parties judged to be “intolerant” will be illegal.

Two other documents are “reports” which would be non-binding if the European Union accepted them, but which nevertheless could be cited by activists and lawyers seeking to force their desired changes on an unwilling society. They are the Estrela Report (pertaining to abortion), and the Lunacek Report (pertaining to homosexuality). The former, offered by Portuguese European Parliament member Edite Estrela, called for abortion on demand, eliminated conscience protections for medical providers, and compulsory sex education for children in the 0-4 age range. It was narrowly defeated in the European Parliament on Oct. 22, and again, without some of its compulsory sex education provisions, on Dec. 10. The second vote followed a massive public campaign against it, with proponents characteristically endeavoring to get the report approved as quietly as possible with no debate on its contents. While turned down for now, the same well-funded pro-abortion and LGBT interest groups will surely continue to press for essentially the same provisions in the future. Incredibly, as reported by the Turtle Bay and Beyond NGO, the Lunacek report, advanced by a Green member of the European Parliament, Ulricke Lunacek, proposes that LGBT interests have a special privilege called “mainstreaming,” in which new laws and policies cannot be adopted without a formal process to ensure they do not conflict with LGBT interests (a “right” held by no other group), the more common demand for “hate crimes” and “hate speech” provisions, and a related staggering immunity from criticism of LGBT leaders in any context. EDW offered its own similar analysis of the Lunacek Report, noting the report also included a call to the European Union to enact the Equal Treatment Directive.

As yet, these instruments are not in force. EDW reports that the Equality Treatment Directive has been blocked by Germany (as it needs the universal consent of European states), the Framework National Statute for the Promotion of Tolerance, and the Lunacek report have not yet been adopted, and the Estrela Report has been defeated for now. But if any (particularly the binding Equal Treatment Directive) ever is adopted, the European and international left will have come a long way toward overcoming the adverse verdict of 1989 (the collapse of communism), and toward removing its objective (acceptance of the sexual revolution) from public discussion. In the kind of “mission creep” not uncommon in the “human rights” bureaucracies established in the West in the last generation, whatever the left deems “progressive” will likewise be removed from public discussion and made state doctrine, enforceable in all of life. Increasingly, the West will resemble the pre-1989 communist East, with which the western left was allied in the Cold War, with all of society, public and private, subject to its ideology, and no legal opposition possible.


13 Responses to The Tyranny of Equality Threatening Europe

  1. Marco Bell says:

    This fear of being “forced” to accept tolerance of LGBT’s existence is the same fear that kept the American Civil Rights act from becoming law any sooner than it did.

    As for abortion, if one doesn’t desire to have abortion services made available to those wanting them, then what right is being denied those that oppose these services?

    I think it is time for the religious zealots to understand the diversity of mankind, and stop trying to impose their limited mindset on those that think differently.

    The Christian Right is starting to sound very similar to the stifling Sharia law followers, who if not challenged, will have everyone under THEIR thumb!

    Times are a changin’ … what’s new?!

    • Rick Plasterer says:

      Marco,

      I can only marvel at the kind of comment you give, which is a typical liberal/left response. Sometimes I wonder if such a response is really believed, or simply advanced to see if it will fly.

      Your response defies logic. It is traditional Christians (“fundamentalists” if you like), who are being denied the right to exist, not the LGBT community. It is we who are being imposed on, required to take actions which facilitate homosexual behavior which we in conscience believe are sinful (such as baking wedding cakes for homosexual couples). Such services are themselves sinful because they facilitate sinful behavior. Would not pacifists be denied the “right to exist” if the draft were applied to them?

      As for abortion, that can be legally obtained from doctors and nurses who believe in it; there is generally no need for anyone else to provide it, and even in the rare case where there might be no one else to provide it, it is still wrong to require people to violate there consciences.

      No, it is liberal/left opinion which does not believe in “diversity.” They (and from your comment, I may say “you”) insist that everyone speak and act in agreement with them.

      Rick Plasterer

      • Marco Bell says:

        Thank you Rick for your thoughtful response.

        On the subject of Social intrusion, and Governmental edicts regarding “tolerance”.
        Wasn’t it a great and wonderful thing when the Civil Rights laws were enacted? I believe you’d agree. But even when that law came into being, there were many “fully-faithed Americans” who considered that to be an atrocity to our society. And they were loud about their feelings of abandonment and injustice. But they really didn’t lose any moral ground by accepting the law, right?

        On the issue of abortion, you rightly stated that there will be those physicians and nurses that will provide it, (Thank God), but why is it such a personal intrusion to the observing Christian, when a woman chooses that for her life?

        I agree that if a bakery chooses not to provide a cake for a homosexual couple, then that couple should find another bakery. I do fear the kind of totalitarian rule that you elude to in your article. And I would fight to resist it. But that shouldn’t include besmirching people who truly love one another, as many LGBT individuals do.

        Ask your Gay friends about this position. I think we all need to accept that humans aren’t simply Male or Female. The binary aspects of zero and one are even now being honed, to reveal that there are finite variances of both.
        Ah, Life used to be so simple!

        And yes, I do believe what I say. I’m not parroting anyone. But I also gladly invite your intelligent exchanges. Keep up the good work!

    • Kay Glines says:

      Since I belong to what you regard as a gaggle of evil Christians trying to impose “sharia” on America, I felt I had to respond: In short, you are totally WRONG in everything you accuse Christians of. We have no desire, none, to put everyone under out thumbs. You apparently despise us, meaning you despise several million of your fellow Americans. It is your right to hate and to express your hate, but rest assured, your hate is based on your liberal fantasy, not on the thoughts of behavior of actual human beings that you contemptibly dismiss as “the religious right.”

      If a persecution of Christians ever come, and it will, you will have nothing to fear. There is not one statement in your post that could not have been scripted by the most malicious atheist in America. So the secularists will never harass or persecute people like you – why would they, since you hate Christians as deeply as they do?

      I have to wonder: Do you believe any of what you posted, or are you just parrotting things you hear from your friends? Did it occur to you that “the religious right” is not composed of make-believe figures but of humans made in the image of God?

      I wish you “Happy Holidays.” You strike me as someone who would side with the people who find “Merry Christmas” offensive or not “inclusive” enough.

      I have to ask: Other than expressing contempt for conservative Christians, and promoting gay “marriage,” what else does your “faith” consists of? Those two elements do not sound like much to build a life upon, and perhaps that is why churches like yours in are terminal decline and will eventually shut down forever. A church that is committed to gay “marriage” and to deriding evangelicals really has nothing for people to bother getting out of bed on Sunday, and so they don’t.

      • Marco Bell says:

        Dear Kay Glines,

        I sincerely apologize if I offended you.
        I do not hate Christians. I was raised a Christian, and most of my family are still Christians, and I dearly love them.

        Their religion (and yours) does not make any difference to me. I simply marvel at the diversity of humans (and their religions) around the globe, and wonder why they/we can’t find ways to share the love.

        You say my “hate is based on my liberal fantasies”, I don’t know how to respond to that, as it is unclear to me what that means. I do find the dichotomy of logic that the Religious Right uses to be counter to what I believe Jesus had taught.

        I love everybody, regardless of their religion, mental capacity or public opinion… and I love YOU!
        That’s not a joke, I do!

        [For clarity, I’m a Nudist Buddhist. That’s not a religion.]

        Merry Christmas!

  2. Lyle Jackson says:

    The argument made by the LGBT community that laws granting them a special status is comparable to the recognition given to minorities by the Civil Rights Act is specious. The Civil Rights Act deals with racial origin, which is an unchangeable physical state. The “state” that the LGBT community is working to gain legal recognition of and protection for, is behavioral in nature which is changeable.

    Where does the change stop? It stops when a society collapses upon itself because the behavioral changes adopted in order to obtain physical gratification overwhelm the moral foundation upon which the society rests.

    • Marco Bell says:

      Dear Lyle,
      This article by Rick Plasterer deals with some heavy social concerns, but
      I sincerely don’t believe that society will collapse if Rights such as Marriage Equality are enacted.
      If you ask any of your gay friends about this issue, I think they would express similar concerns of civil rights, ie: spousal rights for legal, insurance and financial matters.

      You are still not acknowledging the physical distinctions of the human being by maintaining that Gays are “choosing” to be gay. I’m guessing that none of your family is gay?
      And would that change anything? I wonder?

  3. Kay Glines says:

    Rick, I did not address my post to you but to the earlier post above it.

  4. Rick Plasterer says:

    Marco,

    Looking at your several comments, I really wonder if you understand the issue at this point in time. In particular, you say (8:30 comment, Dec. 30) that a homosexual couple seeking a wedding cake should find another baker after a conscientious refusal. You also wonder how Christians are imposed on by abortions. You are then in opposition to the LGBT community and the ACLU, who believe merchants should be legally required to facilitate homosexual behavior against their consciences, and penalized if they refuse. Similarly, abortion itself is not an imposition on those opposed to it, but requiring them to actually participate in providing an abortion is. Requiring people to take actions they believe are wrong, to say things they do not believe, and to refrain from saying anything in opposition to the current liberal/left line is the great issue in the western world today.

    If you believe, as you apparently do, that the broad path should be broad enough to include people who in conscience must follow the narrow path, then please highlight liberty of conscience when you speak about cultural issues, since traditional religious believers cannot do other than follow our consciences when confronted with secular requirements to disobey God as we understand his commands to be.

    Rick Plasterer

    • Marco Bell says:

      Rick,

      I’ll try to keep in mind, those whose moral convictions require them to take a different path. That said, I find it oddly hypocritical to expect me as a tax paying citizen, who is a Pacifist, to contribute my tax dollars to participate in funding War! Especially ones that are crimes against humanity, where millions are slaughtered in the name of “Freedom” or “Liberation”!

      On the argument that the current ACA plan for health care (not) be shared unanimously, because of conflict of conscience, let’s hypothetically take a view from a Christian Scientist, who by their ‘belief’ should probably not include seeing any Doctor when ill!

      Abortions, Birth control medications, etc. and other personal medical decisions should be considered just as elective as paying ‘good money’ for War?

      I am sincere in my beliefs, as I’m certain you are too. But these issues need to consider more than personal beliefs if they are to serve the Greater Good. That’s where I stand as a citizen… FOR the Greater Good!
      No apologies if that sounds Socialistic.
      Namaste.

      • Rick Plasterer says:

        Marco,

        The “tax dollars” issue is one heard when people don’t like something the government is doing. However, my tax dollars are not my tax dollars after the government gets them, its really the government’s money that it can use in ways I don’t like. The HHS mandate threatens the ability of a religious employer to run a religiously based organization, since the organization’s own plan, now, by government mandate, must include things the employer believes are sinful.

        Must a Christian Scientist employer have a health plan? Perhaps, but in my understanding of Christian Science doctrine, medical care is not sinful, although it may not be used in conjunction with Christian Science prayer therapy.

        As I have said before, if the government really believes that free contraceptives and abortifacients are that important, it could pay for them itself.

        Rick

        • Marco Bell says:

          If I were a woman whose conscience wasn’t hampered by any religious edict regarding birth control, and I worked for an organization or company that claimed religious exemption from the mandate, I think I would have to either change employers, or pay for my own birth control.
          These seem like two options, but the first one is a tough one because of the economy.
          I’m guessing that one’s employment security generally trumps the small price of such things as medication liberties?

          In spite of my respect for religious liberty, I wish the Church would stop trying to force it’s dogma on Governmental decisions.
          We as American citizens will hopefully always boast of diversity, and I know it will be difficult to satisfy everybody’s personal guidelines for living. But I hope we’ll all want to keep getting along together peacefully?

          • Rick Plasterer says:

            Marco,

            Of course this issue can be argued interminably, but I cannot emphasize too much or too strongly about this or other situations where religious persons are legally required to provide goods and services they believe are sinful – who is imposing on who? It is religious employers that the government is attempting to force to pay for other people’s choices, so it is the religious employers who are being imposed on.

            Rick

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *