Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hey Kids! It's Time For Tony Perkins' Fear and Confusion Show: ENDA's a DRAG!

Tony Perkins, the endearing don't-I-look-like-a-choirboy? president of Family Research Council is sizzling over ENDA - the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. He thinks that men will come to work draped in hot pink feather boas and secretaries (his term) will be sporting fake mustaches and sideburns. But most of all, he's bent out of shape because of Amanda Simpson's appointment as Senior Technical Advisor to the Commerce Department.

Of course, it makes no difference to people like Perkins that Simpson is almost overqualified for the job: she underwent her sex change over ten years ago while working in Tucson for Raytheon Missile Systems as Deputy Director. BTW: Raytheon is the world's largest producer of guided missiles and the majority of its revenue ($20 billion per annum) is from defense contracts, giving Simpson one hell of a resume (and Perkins one hell of a headache - he can't say she isn't qualified!)

It also doesn't make any difference to Perkins that ENDA has been introduced in every Congress since 1994 (with the exception of 2005-2007 under George W. Bush). Or that the primary goal of ENDA is to curb discrimination in the workplace. Pehaps Tony Perkins thinks he's a prophet of decaying morals: "everyone" will be "potentially" "forced" to hire homosexuals and transgendered people. So the Perkins dog and pony show begins:

From FRC Action Alert:

Stop Obama's Crossdresser Protection Bill

"...the Obama Administration dropped another bombshell in its agenda to radicalize America by appointing its first openly "transgender" person to a high federal post.

The day after Simpson began work, The New York Times reported that the main website advertising jobs with the federal government now says there will be no "discrimination" based on "gender identity"-even though Congress has never passed a law saying that.

This new policy applies only to the federal government. But there is a bill being considered in Congress, the so-called "Employment Non-Discrimination Act" (ENDA), which would require every employer in America to open every position to homosexuals (by making "sexual orientation" a protected category) and "transgenders" (by protecting "gender identity").

The problem with Tony Perkins' harangue is that the current bill under consideration prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. And exceptions are made for religious organizations, non-profit membership-only clubs and the military (currently covered under DADT). He frequently engenders fear by confusing his faithful, making them think that drag shows will be performed at every company Christmas party. Perkins also inundates the reader with buzz words in his petition to Congress (to be signed by every Right-thinking American in the country):

Dear Members of Congress and President Obama,

Please do not tarnish the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement by treating a person's chosen sexual behaviors or their gender self-identification as a protected category in the nation's civil rights laws. The choice to engage in homosexual conduct and the choice to adopt a "transgender" identity (sex change or cross-dressing) are not equivalent to the established (and immutable) protected categories of one's race and biological sex, nor are they protected by the Constitution (as is the freedom of religion, also a protected category).

I urge you to oppose the "Employment Non-Discrimination Act," known as "ENDA," and not to add "sexual orientation" or "gender identity" to America's civil rights laws.

And his "Action Alert" states:

All American employers including Christian owned businesses and potentially Christian ministries would be affected.

Don't let Congress and President Obama force American employers to hire homosexuals, transsexuals, and cross-dressers.

Since he brought up the Civil Rights Movement, is it permissible to ask Mr. Perkins which side of the Movement he would have been on if he was time-warped back to the 60s? A southerner with traditional family values? Take a guess.

Perkins is obviously confused on several points: "Christian ministries" are exempt from the bill and transgender does not necessarily mean "cross-dressers." And if he still wants to go there, studies have shown that most "cross-dressers" are heterosexual men.*

Fear and confusion.

That's the Family Research Council way.

*Docter, Richard F., Prince, Virginia (1997). Transvestism: A survey of 1032 cross-dressers. Archives of Sexual Behavior 26(6), 589-605.

The Elated And Inflated Rick Warren: More Than $2.4 Million ...In Publicity!

Rick Warren proved to himself that he is still has the Midas Touch: he turned a plea for $900k into $2.4m+ and publicity gold. For that feat he should be lionized, I guess. The problem with glorifying a"man of God" like Warren, however, is that it tends to cover up the real person. But perhaps, that is why Warren wants to be lionized. He preaches, converses, and lies in vague generalities. He causes more confusion than clarity with his explanations and backpeddling: after he insisted that no "fat cats" were involved in the donations, the matter of who gave what is still unclear:
  • Supposedly the envelopes filled with checks are still coming in!
  • An AP story stated that only Saddleback "members" were involved.
  • And the number of donors is questionable:
Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA Today:

The potential size of the pool of givers is also confusing. Outreach Magazine lists Saddleback with 22,000+ in weekend worship attendance. But remember, not everyone goes every Sunday; not everyone who goes is a "member" (which Saddleback, like many conservative evangelical churches, reserves for people who have taken classes in discipleship and committed to joining the church); and not every member goes.

A, Larry Ross, spokesman for Saddleback Church:

At virtually every Saddleback church service, a disclaimer is made from the platform and reinforced in the bulletin to the effect that, "if you are not a member or regular attender who considers this your church home, you are our guests - please do not feel compelled to give." So, by posting the Intranet letter addressed to church family on the church blog, it is akin to the plate passing a visitor by in the pew -- it is an appeal intended for members only, giving them an opportunity to minister through giving.

According to Warren:

"No big major extravagant gift by some very wealthy person," Warren said. "This was just normal giving by normal people. Fifty bucks, one hundred bucks, one thousand bucks."

Hmmm. I know many who consider themselves "normal people" but not "one thousand bucks"-normal people.

Much more disturbing, however, is the claim that "200,000 people will be fed" because of the donations. Saddleback supposedly supports/maintains many local ministries that provide food and/or shelter, but how can this figure be verified? Why should this figure be verified?

"Why" is easier to explain than "how." We've experienced Warren's sweeping generalizations before: "For 5 thousand years in every culture and society, marriage has always been between one man and one woman." This statement insults educated people, of course, but Warren isn't interested in reaching educated people. So a huge subjective number like 200,000 serves Warren's agenda quite well: is there anyone out there who dares to go against such a number?

Furthermore, counting 200,000 homeless and hungry people is almost impossible given the situation: if, as Warren says, most of the money will go to helping the homeless, there is no way to track the money. You can't go to every park and public building and ask the homeless what ministries or churches they've been fed from today. And those faith-based agencies are notorious in having their programs overlap. It's the same with his "AIDS programs" here in the States. He says that they are inclusive of gays, but no one has come forth to verify it.

And the $900,000 shortfall: he said that 50% of Christmas donations were off because of the economy. Citing the obvious (which would have been expected over six months ago), Warren acted like it was some great surprise. If it was, he's got the dumbest marketing team on the planet. And considering the size of his congregation and Saddleback's yearly gross (over $150 million), $900,000 is not a great sum of money.

So as usual, Warren's actions and reactions bring up questions; more than he's willing to answer, or answer with credibility. One comment to an article summed it up nicely:
Amazing. We will call up and pledge money to a stranger who claims to have an inside track to God and leave a neighbor out cold in the street...