Buzz is rarely shocked, but we must say we're taken aback by Plano Citizens United, the Texas Pastors Council and assorted fellow travelers such as the right-wing Texas Liberty Institute. It never occurred to us that they had it in for military service members and veterans.
We could be wrong, of course, but we assume it's military veterans they were talking about today as Plano Citizens United announced it had collected enough signatures to force a public vote in May on the Plano City Council's recently enacted equal rights policy. That ordinance extended anti-discrimination protections in housing, public accommodations and employment to military members and veterans ... among other groups whose names escape us at the moment.
"We applaud the citizens of Plano for collecting over 7,000 signatures to repeal this unlawful and unconstitutional ordinance that threatens religious liberty," Jeff Mateer, Liberty Institute general counsel, said in a news release. "We are glad the voice of Plano citizens will finally be heard on this important religious liberty issue."
Well ... OK. Makes sense, we suppose. Jesus was the prince of peace, blessed are the peacemakers, turn the other cheek and all that. So, yeah, if a bunch of good Plano Christian pacifists don't want to guarantee equal access to housing and employment to warriors and wounded veterans, that's their right. Seems a bit harsh, but if that's what their God wants, the rest of civil society certainly has no call to argue. Obviously, any public goal, any effort to extend rights and dignity under law to marginalized individuals, can only go so far that it doesn't offend the cherished prejudices of even one bigoted believer, let alone a whole 7,000.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
So, sorry, legless Afghanistan veteran, no "special protection" for you, killer. Even though Plano's anti-discrimination ordinance exempted religious institutions, there's a principle at stake here -- the principle being that whom the godly choose to shun the law should not recognize in any fashion.
But not to worry. Plano is such a warm and welcoming place for people of all ... um, most ... stripes that it doesn't really need things like anti-discrimination laws, because the right sort of people will never face discrimination.
"The citizens of Plano are good and decent and treat one another with respect, so criminalizing the beliefs of our diverse communities of faith does not advance the common good," a spokesman for Plano Citizens United was quoted saying in another press release.
So it's tough luck for you, veterans and active service members of Plano. Come May, you might have to just rely on the good will of your community to ensure you get a fair deal on housing, city jobs, etc. But we suspect you'll probably be OK, so long as you're straight. The lesbian, gay, transgendered, etc. people the ordinance also covers? Well, of course they're fucked. But that's what God really wants, so everything is jake.