FRC's Connor Semelsberger is a self-manufactured victim
FRC employee Connor Semelsberger is self-victimized and confused | image via Family Research Council

“Religion is already constitutionally protected while LGBTQ people have no protections under federal law.”

Wednesday, at the anti-LGBTQ hate site LifeSiteNews, Connor Semelsberger informs us that Biden promotes LGBT alphabet soup, meanwhile COVID is used to threaten faith abroad. Yes, that title is discordant.

Biden’s priorities are extremely clear: while the economy struggles, wars break out, and people of faith are discriminated against, President Biden and Vice President Harris’s priorities are canned speeches in support of the socially liberal groups that put them into office, not protecting faith, family, and freedom at home and abroad.

Family Research Council, an anti-LGBTQ hate group has provided Connor Semelsberger with his first real job. One that he began in September, 2018. Apparently Semelsberger is a conservative Catholic.

Semelsberger’s views put him at considerable odds with the mainstream. A greater percentage of American Catholics in contrast to the general population supported marriage equality.

As for the above-quoted rhetoric, Connor Semelsberger doesn’t seem to have absorbed the importance of intellectual honesty. President Biden’s current priority seems to be to get an infrastructure plan through Congress. As for the economy, the nation is on the road to recovery from a pandemic that was mishandled by the prior administration.

Presumably, the war that Semelsberger is referring to is conflict in the Middle East. We have Jared Kushner to thank, in large measure, for the violence. The Abraham Accords accords were premised on the notion that the Palestinians were so thoroughly defeated that Israel could simply ignore their demands. Bibi did just that.

Semelsberger and his ilk are perpetual victims. Free exercise, guaranteed by the First Amendment, remains unchanged. Free imposition remains prohibited in spite of desires of the religious right to create an America resembling Iran.

But let us get to that “LGBT alphabet soup” which is a sophomoric means of demonstrating disapproval. In pointing that out, let there be no confusion. I do not seek, and I sure as hell do not require, Connor Semelsberger’s approval.

After all, Semelsberger works for Tony Perkins, a cynical hate monger with direct ties to the Ku Klux Klan in his past.

On Monday, to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Biden doubled down on his support for the Equality Act. He argued that the Equality Act is necessary because “COVID-19 and rising authoritarianism around the world continue to widen economic, social, and safety gaps for LGBTQI+ people.”

As long as we are going to quote President Biden, let’s provide more context from the original comments:

“To suggest that the intent of the Act is to punish people rather than to protect people from discrimination is just idiotic.”

Despite this progress, both COVID-19 and rising authoritarianism around the world continue to widen economic, social, and safety gaps for LGBTQI+ people — and an epidemic of violence still rages, with a particular impact on the transgender community, specifically transgender women and girls of color. Around the world, some 70 countries still criminalize same-sex relationships. And here at home, LGBTQI+ Americans still lack basic protection in 25 states, and they continue to face discrimination in housing, education, and public services.

In other words, Semelsberger drew the wrong inference. The Equality Act is necessary, according to the president, because LGBTQ people “still lack basic protection in 25 states, and they continue to face discrimination in housing, education, and public services.”

President Biden, in the quoted passage, was factually accurate in every respect. In fact Mr. Semelsberger does not challenge the accuracy of any statement by the president. Rather, he offers:

People on both sides of the aisle from the Women’s Liberation Front to a group of African-American clergy have made clear that the Equality Act would allow LGBT rights to be used as a sword against people of faith rather than a shield to protect those facing discrimination.

Women’s Liberation Front is a tiny organization reportedly funded by Alliance Defending Freedom (an anti-LGBTQ hate group). The Front doesn’t seem to actually do anything other than attempting to marginalize transgender women.

The clergy he is referring to are the AND Campaign which supports the alternative (and watered down) Fairness for All Act. In a letter to Senate leadership, the AND Campaign (which is not a federally nonprofit organization) makes a number of misstatements about the Equality Act which I believe are unintentional and born of paranoia.

Mr. Semelsberger is being hypocritical in citing an organization that seeks to replace one nondiscrimination proposal with another. Semelsberger’s employer, Family Research Council, strongly opposes the Fairness for All Act.

Yet, it is Semelsberger’s sense of purpose for the Equality Act (according to his self-victimized motif) that is the most staggeringly stupid statement in the above-quoted passage. To suggest that the intent of the Act is to punish people rather than to protect people from discrimination is just idiotic.

The Equality Act amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I can imagine Strom Thurmond making a similar argument nearly 60 years ago. It is a mechanism designed to remove the stigma of admitting “we need to be able to discriminate.” It also removes the intellectual obligation to be specific.

Indeed, specifics are replaced with an abstraction:

Furthermore, how damaging the Equality Act would be to life, family, and religious freedom cannot be reiterated enough. This bill impacts nearly every facet of American law, and there is no fix or compromise that will prevent this bill from threatening First Amendment freedoms.

The First Amendment provides for Free Exercise which has been held to pertain to belief — not conduct. Even Justice Scalia opined that there cannot be religious exemptions to otherwise valid laws.

“There is no fix or compromise” when individuals feel that discrimination is justified and even required. Notwithstanding edicts from the Vatican, there is no religious duty to discriminate against others under any circumstances.

This is reminiscent of the abstract arguments in opposition to marriage equality. No one ever proposed to posit something along the lines of: “In Massachusetts, same-sex marriage [has adversely affected tradition marriage as follows …]. They didn’t because it didn’t.

How many times can they call on us to pity the imbecilic baker who turns customers away or the attention-seeking florist who wants control of where her arrangements are displayed after purchase.

“Family Research Council is what it is. The organization reinforces the existing prejudices of its personnel. Employees go from prejudiced to a belief in Christian privilege and then to Christian supremacy.”

More intellectual gibberish:

While the administration did not offer any evidence that people who identify as LGBT have faced further discrimination under COVID-19 in their public statement, there’s more than enough evidence to show that people of faith – both at home and abroad – have been threatened during the virus.

Notice the “identify as” bullshit which is straight from Church teachings. The two things are not mutually exclusive and some of the Christians assert that they have been victimized by measures intended to contain the virus. Some refuse to wear masks and some are still refusing to be vaccinated. Poor you!

Later on:

President Biden has yet to announce a replacement for Sam Brownback, who served as the Ambassador for International Religious Freedom under President Trump. Furthermore, President Biden was the first president since 1952 to offer an address on the National Day of Prayer that did not reference God.

Trump caused the position to be vacant for a year. Saperstein’s term ended on January 20, 2017. Brownback was not nominated until six months after Saperstein’s term ended. Brownback was confirmed on January 24, 2018.

“You cannot have it both ways! You cannot claim that your rights are at least the equal of LGBTQ rights and, at the same time, deny LGBTQ people any protection of those rights.”

Semelsberger is confused and half right about President Biden. Biden did not use the word God in the proclamation. However, in his “address” he did use the word:

By the grace of God and the extraordinary work of researchers and scientists, we have vaccines that have proven to be safe and effective … Thank you for your prayers and may God Bless you and all those you love and are concerned about on this day and every day.

You can tell that Connor Semelsberger is employed by Family Research Council:

Through his first few months in office, Biden has taken dozens of actions through executive orders, memos, and agency guidance to further a radical sexual ideology and the LGBT agenda. Meanwhile the number of actions taken to protect religious freedom pale in comparison.

What the hell is a “radical sexual ideology?” Are LGBTQ people adherents? This type of hyperbole is the reason that the American mullahs often look so damned foolish. Neither sexual orientation not gender identity are an “ideology.” (Religion is an ideology.)

Moreover, freedom from discrimination in the federal workplace is not a “radical” concept. Attempting to keep trans kids safe in public schools is not radical. Semelsberger’s lack of specificity allows dishonest hyperbole.

Furthermore, Semelsberger is comparing two things that are not comparable. Religious freedom™ as free exercise is constitutionally protected. That does not apply to the “freedom” of LGBTQ people (to be free from discrimination). The very purpose of the Equality Act is to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination under federal law.

Therefore, more actions are required to protect LGBTQ people than to protect religion. And who has been denied service in a public accommodation because they happen to be an unhinged religious crackpot? Where are all the cases before the courts and the EEOC?

You cannot have it both ways! You cannot claim that your rights are at least the equal of LGBTQ rights and, at the same time, deny LGBTQ people any protection of those rights.

Family Research Council is what it is. The organization reinforces the existing prejudices of its personnel. Employees go from prejudiced to a belief in Christian privilege and then to Christian supremacy.

The discordant title produces an incongruous essay. LGBTQ protections and protecting people of faith are neither mutually exclusive nor mutually dependent. Nor do they present a zero sum proposition. Moreover, they are not equal in public policy. Religion is already constitutionally protected while LGBTQ people have no protections under federal law.

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.