By Bryan Fischer
Follow me on Twitter: @BryanJFischer, on Facebook at “Focal Point”
It is time for conservatives to reclaim and rehabilitate the word “discriminate,” particularly when it comes to homosexual behavior.
The left has twisted this word to create the utterly false impression that discrimination of any kind at any time for any reason is by definition wrong and immoral.
Of course, leftists are oblivious to the reality that they, these self-described paragons of tolerance, routinely discriminate against people of Christian faith, by refusing them permission to pray in public, by fining them for declining to photograph lesbian commitment ceremonies, by throwing them out of graduate programs in counseling, or by suing them in court if they won’t rent their facilities to same-sex couples. So their blindingly hypocritical mantra quite simply is “discrimination for me but not for thee.”
The truth is that public policy is about nothing other than discrimination. This is all it is about, all it can be about, and all it should be about.
According to Webster’s, the verb “discriminate” is from a Latin word meaning to “distinguish between.” It means to “differentiate,” to “distinguish by discerning or exposing differences,” “to make a distinction” or “to use good judgment.”
This is what public policy is all about: using good judgment to distinguish those behaviors that are worthy of public approval from those behaviors which ought to receive public disapproval.
Public policy is about discriminating against behaviors that are socially destructive and corrosive to the social fabric.So, we rightly discriminate against people who rip off convenience stores, burgle houses, drive while drunk, eat the faces off homeless people, gun down servicemen on military bases, embezzle funds from employers or clients, or beat their wives.
This discrimination is based, you will note, on behavior. Public policy is not a concern until an individual acts. As Thomas Jefferson said, “[T]he legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions.”
We should not therefore discriminate against a man for his sexual inclinations, only for his sexual conduct. We don’t punish people for what they think about doing, or even for what they want to do, but only for their actions, only for the times when they yield to socially destructive impulses.
In other words, regardless of one’s sexual “orientation,” which might even be to have sex with children, sexual behavior is always a matter of choice. You can ask Tiger Woods about what happens to an individual who yields to every sexual impulse that comes along.
If a man’s actions are contrary to good public policy, it is altogether right that society should discriminate against such behaviors by, at a minimum, expressing public disapproval of such conduct.
This entirely appropriate discrimination can take a number of different forms, ranging all the way from a simple refusal to provide societal endorsement for such behavior, to refusing to subsidize it, to refusing to give it special protections in law, to assessing fines for it, to incarceration, and ultimately, in cases of things like murder, even execution.
More to the point, we discriminate, both in public and private, against sexually immoral behavior all the time.
We discriminate against people who engage in prostitution. (You can ask the Secret Service about that.) Private companies discriminate against those whose sexual conduct make them poor representatives of company values. (You can ask Tiger Woods all about that, too.) Private companies discriminate against executives who sexually harass employees. (You can ask Mark Hurd, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, all about that.)
We discriminate against adults, even priests, who have sex with children. We discriminate against teachers who have affairs with students. We discriminate against teachers who moonlight in the porn industry. We discriminate against students who engage in sexting. We discriminate against rapists. We discriminate against those who expose sexual partners unknowingly to the AIDS virus. We discriminate against those adults who commit statutory rape against minors. We discriminate against homosexuals and prostitutes by refusing to allow them to give blood.
The point is this: we discriminate against sexually immoral and inappropriate behavior all the time, and homosexual behavior is sexually immoral and inappropriate.
As the president of the American Family Association, Tim Wildmon, has often said, homosexual behavior is “immoral, unnatural and unhealthy.” It is contrary to “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” as the Founders would have put it. It puts the human body to sexual uses which are utterly contrary to the way in which the human body is designed. And it is accompanied by a raft of pathologies, including HIV/AIDS and a host of other debilitating sexually transmitted diseases. It shortens the lifespan of those who engage in it by as much as 30 years.
In other words, this is behavior that no rational society should ever condone, endorse, subsidize, or enshrine. We’ve waged all-out war against cigarette smoking because it cuts six to seven years off the lives of smokers. We should care no less about those who are destroying themselves through non-normative sexual behavior.
We should discriminate against this kind of behavior not because we hate people but because we love them. We do not want to see them destroyed by their sexual choices, and we don’t want to see others destroyed through the diseases that are transmitted to them in unnatural sexual acts.
Does DOMA discriminate against immoral sexual behavior? Yes, and it should. Do state marriage amendments that protect man-woman marriage discriminate against unnatural sexual behavior? Yes, and they should.
We should reform our public policy on this issue by once again refusing to use the power of government to endorse homosexual behavior, to subsidize it, or to give it special protections in law. This means, for starters, re-instating “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and stopping ENDA in its tracks. And let’s be clear: nobody is talking about locking anybody up here.
Bottom line: it’s time for conservatives to unhesitatingly reclaim the “D” word, dust it off, and use it without apology. A rational culture that cares about its people will in fact discriminate against adultery, pedophilia, rape, bestiality, and, yes, homosexual behavior.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)