Friday, April 18, 2014

Bonehead Quote of the Week: David Barton on SA's LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance

Posted By on Fri, Apr 18, 2014 at 11:09 AM

During an evangelical conference held in Austin earlier this month, Texas’ self-taught pseudo-historian David Barton took aim at San Antonio’s recently passed non-discrimination ordinance, a measure that grants equal protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents in hiring and firing, public accommodations, fair housing, city employment, contracts and board appointments by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the city code. After months of heated debate, the long and controversial fight to secure equal rights for all SA residents is now in our rearview mirror.

But Barton, echoing the misinformation spouted from vehement right-wing critics that showed up in droves at City Council chambers for months, gave us a throwback we could do without. As religious conservative watchdog group, the Texas Freedom Network reports:

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Via Creative Commons Images

“The problem is, under the non-discrimination ordinance that they just passed in San Antonio, if you did what JC [former Republican Congressman JC Watts of Oklahoma] did tonight and if you stand up for traditional marriage—marriage is a man and a woman—you are dismissed from office in San Antonio under the new city law," said Barton. 

“So JC, even though he’s elected by an overwhelming majority in San Antonio, he’s out the door. ‘You can’t do that. The people elected him.’ Yeah, but the new law in San Antonio says if you criticize homosexuality or homosexual marriage, you are dismissed from office.”

“I decide I’m going to run for City Council in San Antonio but they have found that what I’m saying tonight is criticizing homosexuality, I am barred from running for office in San Antonio.”

False.

While SA’s NDO did, at one time, state “[n]o person shall be appointed to a position if the city council finds that such person has, prior to such proposed appointment, engaged in discrimination or demonstrated a bias, by word or deed, against any person, group or organization on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age or disability,” that’s not the case any longer.

After talking with religious groups who feared their free speech rights were at risk, ordinance author and District 1 council member Diego Bernal struck that section from the draft to appease concerns. Moreover, as Bernal told the Current in August, the clause has been in the municipal books for decades. The long-standing law is simply meant to give city council vetting power when considering new hires and that several other factors go into that decision-making.

Distorting the facts seems to be Barton’s forte. Head of WallBuilders, a group that openly promotes the injection of religion into politics, Barton’s brand of historical recounting has come under heavy criticism from his right-wing brethren for “gross factual mistakes” and has been refuted by conservative Christian history scholars. Here’s a bonus bonehead quote for those still wondering if Barton is simply misinformed or promoting a thinly veiled anti-LGBT agenda with little regard for the truth. From the Southern Poverty Law Center, via WallBuilders broadcast, April 27, 2012:

“There’s a passage that I love in Romans 1.

[I]t talks about homosexuality and it says that they will receive in their bodies the penalties of their behavior.

The Bible [is] right every time

and that’s why AIDS has been something they haven’t discovered a cure for or a vaccine for.

And that goes to what God says, ‘Hey you’re going to bear in your body the consequences of this homosexual behavior.’"

Audio of Barton from the Texas Renewal evangelical conference here, from Texas Freedom Network:


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