Rep. Steve King (R-IA4) is confused … or else he’s just a dirty old man.
“When you’re in the private sector … with God-given rights that our founding fathers defined in the Declaration, you should be able to make your own decisions on what you do in that private business,” King told the Des Moines TV station WHO. The Arizona legislation sought to give business owners the right to refuse service to customers on the basis of the owners’ religious freedom.
“Although it’s clear in the civil rights section of the code that you can’t discriminate against people based upon—and I’m not sure I have the list right—race, creed, religion, color of skin,” King said, “there’s nothing mentioned in there on self-professed behavior, and that’s what they’re trying to protect: special rights for self-professed behavior.”
King explained that he doesn’t “know whether it’s a choice or not” but that homosexuality exists on “some type of continuum or curve”—although he doesn’t “know what that curve actually looks like” ….
…. “The one thing that I reference when I say ‘self-professed’ is how do you know who to discriminate against. They have to tell you,” King said. “And are they then setting up a case? Is this about bringing a grievance, or is it actually about a service that they’d like to have?”
Sexual orientation does not warrant constitutional protection because it cannot be “independently verified” and can be “willfully changed,” King contended. The Iowa lawmaker linked his opposition to LGBT anti-discrimination laws with his long-running suspicions of hate crime legislation, which he described as “punishing people for what you think went on in their head at the time they perpetuated a crime.”
Where to start? Okay, how about with verification, since that one’s pretty straightforward:
(1) Watch gay pornography.
(2) Can you tell the difference?
(3) Just how should we verify gayness?
I mean, come on. It’s long been a joke that the party of “small government” wants to forcibly insert itself into people’s bedrooms. After all, it’s not the size of the pen, but how it is used to legislate.
To the other, we might see Bob Christian wearing his graven image of God around his neck, going to church at least once a week, saying his prayers before bedtime, and the question of his faith is still, to borrow a term, “self-professed”. God might know what is in a man’s heart, but it also remains to be verified that Rep. King even has one.
Making all this even stranger is that King was referring to the discrimination legislation offered by Republicans in various states. That is to say, it is one thing to support “religious freedom”; and, certes, it is entirely another to institutionalize discrimination. But most interestingly†, perhaps—
Anybody who wishes to discriminate against someone for any reason need only state it’s because it’s in their religious beliefs. According to an earlier passage, it doesn’t even matter if that belief is “compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.”
For example, let’s say you’re a Catholic, and identify as such. Catholicism has nothing in its tenets about racial discrimination. Doesn’t matter — you can still discriminate against African Americans or Hispanics if you feel like it, and say it’s because God’s Holy Trousers told you to.
—is that the discrimination bills don’t require any verification of religious faith; indeed, it would seem that faith, such as it is, remains in the eye of the beholder.
Of course, we already know why that is.
Or maybe that’s all the congressman wants, anyway.
† Presuming, of course, that such absurdity is interesting at all.
Ashtari, Shadee. “Steve King: The Problem Is Homosexuality Is ‘Self-Professed,’ Can’t Be ‘Independently Verified'”. The Huffington Post. March 3, 2014.
Morn, Rebecca. “The sudden eruption of anti-gay legislation nationwide is not a coincidence”. AmericaBlog. February 21, 2014.