For the poor pathetic souls that follow politics closely, especially when religion controls politics, it seems there is nothing new under the Sun in 21st Century America under siege from the evangelical movement. Although the latest outrage isn’t really anything new, it is stunning that an issue that does not exist has prompted a southern-state theocracy run by a perverted preacher to sue the federal government for upholding and supporting the U.S. Constitution; and enforcing three long-settled federal laws. The issue, it seems, is that North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and the Republican-controlled state legislature are incapable of comprehending that the Christian bible is not the law of the land, or that it is contrary to the U.S. Constitution to legislate according to bigotry and discrimination.
McCrory cannot tolerate the idea that the U.S. Constitution and several federal laws prohibit discrimination against anyone, but particularly the LGBT community. So, in an escalation over transgender rights McCrory is suing the Department of Justice and the federal government for doing its constitutional duty. The suit is a response to the DOJ sending North Carolina a letter informing them they were in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
A few hours after North Carolina filed suit against the Justice Department for doing its Constitutional due diligence, the DOJ filed suit against North Carolina for violating several provisions in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Title IX of the Education Acts Amendment of 1972, and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act first enacted in 1992; all the “Acts” prohibit discrimination against any American on the basis of sex according to the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. North Carolina Republicans and Governor McCrory believe their religion allows them disregard federal laws and the Constitution by enacting a blatantly discriminatory law with impunity and dispute they are in violation of anything. In fact, they claim that in upholding the Constitution, the Justice Department and federal government is in violation of North Carolina religious Republicans right to be bigots.
The Republican Civil Rights violation is a purely discriminatory law prohibiting people, predominately “female people,” from using a “public toilet that does not correspond with the gender listed on their birth certificates.” Often missed in reporting about North Carolina’s “gender ID” law (HB2) is a provision stripping all North Carolina city and local governments of any authority to enforce anti-discrimination laws. And just for sheer meanness, HB2 included a special prohibition on all the state’s employers from paying wages above the state’s minimum wage. Seriously, these North Carolina Republicans are some deeply sick and mentally deranged religious malcontents.
Since McCrory does not support the Constitution or equal rights, he thinks the U.S. Congress should step in and “clarify” national anti-discrimination laws; clarify is religious Republican code for abolish them with extreme prejudice and enact federal provisions legalizing and rewarding discrimination against the LGBT community. McCrory said,
“Ultimately I think it’s time for the U.S. Congress to bring clarity to our national anti-discrimination provisions. Right now, the Obama administration is bypassing Congress by attempting to rewrite the law.” Apparently McCrory is religiously incapable of understanding that discrimination on the basis of sex is not only unconstitutional, it is against the law.
Typical of Republicans, McCrory is dead wrong about the Obama administration rewriting the laws. The laws prohibiting discrimination were settled and enacted in 1964, 1972, and 1994; Barack Obama was not elected President until 2008. It is curious how McCrory thinks enforcing 50, 40, and 20-year old laws is either “bypassing Congress or rewriting laws.” Most Americans would say the Obama Administration is doing precisely what the Executive branch is mandated to do: enforce federal and Constitutional laws.
Besides violating federal laws, as White House press secretary Josh Earnest said, North Carolina’s Republicans are just “mean spirited.” Earnest said, “It should be evident from the response of the business community that what the North Carolina government has done is inconsistent with the people of North Carolina and the economy of North Carolina.” Earnest failed to note that what North Carolina is doing is inconsistent with the Constitution and long-settled federal laws, not the people or the North Carolina economy.
The people of North Carolina and business community supporting Republicans are just as culpable as McCrory et al because they dutifully elected the religious Republicans that passed the law discriminating against LGBT people according to the dictates of the religious right. This discriminatory law has no basis in reality and Republicans know it, but now that the Supreme Court ruled that gay people can marry the person they love, religious Republicans shifted their focus to transgender people and created yet another issue that does not exist; evangelical Republicans just need a cause célèbre to incite outrage against Democrats who believe equal rights are universal and support the federal laws and the Constitution’s equal rights protections.
As the executive director of Freedom for All Americans, Matt McTighe, said last week, North Carolina’s “HB2 is a solution in a search of a problem that simply doesn’t exist,” and it is true that transgender people have been using the bathrooms they feel comfortable using forever. And, not only was there no outrage from the religious right, there were no “trans” women sexually assaulting other women or girls in public toilets.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest was right about North Carolina Republicans being “mean-spirited,” but he didn’t go far enough in criticizing the religious Republicans. They are dirty bigots who have manufactured another non-issue to incite one segment of the population to take action against a minority. And as usually is the case it is based on religious belief that the LGBT community warrants being discriminated against for expecting the same civil and constitutional rights as every other American. It is fairly certain that for the first time in recent memory, there is an authentic news story based on Republicans suing the federal government because it expects a state to follow the United States Constitution and three federal decades-old laws. And this is particularly noteworthy because North Carolina Republicans filed their lawsuit protecting unconstitutional discrimination before the federal government took any action.
North Carolina suing the government for enforcing the law and Constitution is a portent that America is even more dysfunctional than one ever imagined, and yet another indication that until religious fanatics are completely stomped out of existence, Americans will never truly be what the Founding Fathers envisioned. A free and equal society is contrary to everything Republicans stand for and an abomination according to the Christian bible they still claim is the law of the land.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.