Wednesday, July 13, 2011

We, The Morally Superior

The website “” is dedicated to showing why Liberals & Democrats should be winning elections with America's "Christian vote" instead of losing elections because of it.” It maintains

The lack of interest in religion by the great majority of those in leadership positions in the Democratic Party has caused too many of them to underestimate its importance for a vast number of American voters. The tendency of such Democrats to put their heads in the sand when it comes to religion is a recipe for political suicide.

Barack Obama, who commonly ends speeches with “and may God bless the United States of America” and periodically reminds us that he is a Christian, clearly understands the need not to drive “people of faith” further into the arms of the Republican Party. However, some on the left haven’t gotten the message.

Posting on DailyKos, Kalli Joy Gray links to a Politico article detailing the resignation of Barber, N.Y. Town Clerk Barbara Fotusky, who in her resignation letter wrote

The Bible clearly teaches that God created marriage between male and female as a divine gift that preserves families and cultures. Since I love and follow Him, I cannot put my signature on something that is against God.

Gray, who apparently knows Ms. Fotulsky far better than I do, charges

See, it's not that she's a total fucking bigot. It's just that hating gay people, even if it means quitting her job, is what her God wants her to do.

Fearing the use of obscenity does not fully reflect her outrage, Gray continues

Well, Ms. Fotusky, we certainly wouldn't want you to compromise your morals by loving your neighbors. Lord knows there's nothing in the Bible about that.

I don’t know whether Laura F. loves or hates her neighbors- or gay people. And neither does Ms. Gray, though that does not restrain her from snarking

Poor, poor Laura Fotusky. Why, she's just like Job, singled out by God to choose between a paycheck and her deeply held, religion-based hatred of gay people. It's tragic, really.

Fotusky does not claim to be like Job but Gray (however inadvertently) correctly notes that the Clerk chose between a paycheck and a deeply held religious belief. Few employees- especially in an economy with a dramatic surplus of workers over jobs- choose principles over a paycheck or ambition, as demonstrated by the famous careerist Anita Hill, whose interest in moving up the career ladder exceeded her discomfort in being sexually harassed.

Most employees faced with such a choice would continue in the job, complaining, signing a grievance, or putting bureaucratic obstacles in the way of clients. If Fotusky were assigned participation in an abortion, she would be permitted to opt out of the procedure and still maintain employment. The Hyde Amendment, which prohibits use of federal funds for virtually all abortions, contains a (Hyde-Weldon) Conscience Clause, which protects health care providers from discrimination by state and local governments for refusing to provide, pay for, or refer for abortion. Fotusky does not have such a luxury and, forced to choose between her job and the dictates (as she sees them) of her religious faith, has chosen the latter.

This is distinguished from civil disobedience, given that the subject has embraced her penalty (resignation/termination) rather than embracing a penalty after violating the law. No doubt she will be replaced by a clerk who will grant licenses for same-sex marriages, as the law prescribes. But branding as a “bigot” an individual who chooses principle over cash- a curious position for a person of the left- not only reflects an overt hostility to traditional religion but will increase the disaffection from liberal causes and by extension, the Democratic Party, of committed Christians.

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