Oh God No. No. Tell Me This Is a Joke. Father?


My God. What have we become? My God, my God, is it going to get so much worse? Will we look back on these days fondly, in comparison to what is yet to come?

You know, I’ve been busy. When I’m not working on ideas to make some money and make some headway against the rising tide that threatens to overwhelm me, I’m taking a few rare off moments to watch the Olympics or watch a cynical McCain cheat his way through the Saddleback forum and appear much more capable than he truly is.

In the meantime, I wasn’t even aware of this issue. My God, my God. Has it really come to THIS?!?! Here’s the full AP article:

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ― California’s highest court on Monday barred doctors from invoking their religious beliefs as a reason to deny treatment to gays and lesbians, ruling that state law prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination extends to the medical profession.

The ruling was unanimous and a succinct 18 pages, a contrast to the state Supreme Court’s 4-3 schism in May legalizing gay marriage.

Justice Joyce Kennard wrote in the ruling that two Christian fertility doctors who refused to artificially inseminate a lesbian have neither a free speech right nor a religious exemption from the state’s law, which “imposes on business establishments certain antidiscrimination obligations.”

In the lawsuit that led to the ruling, Guadalupe Benitez, 36, of Oceanside said that the doctors treated her with fertility drugs and instructed her how to inseminate herself at home but told her their beliefs prevented them from inseminating her. One of the doctors referred her to another fertility specialist without moral objections and Benitez has since given birth to three children.

Nevertheless, Benitez in 2001 sued the Vista-based North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group. She and her lawyers successfully argued that a state law prohibiting businesses from discriminating based on sexual orientation applies to doctors.

The law was originally designed to prevent hotels, restaurants and other public services from refusing to serve patrons because of their race. The Legislature has since expanded it to cover characteristics such as age and sexual orientation.

“It was an awful thing to go through,” Benitez said. “It was very painful — the fact that you have someone telling you they will not help you because of who you are, that they will deny your right to be a mother and have a family.”

Benitez has given birth to three children through artificial insemination — Gabriel, 6, and twin daughters, Sophia and Shane, who turn 3 this weekend. She is raising them in Oceanside with her longtime partner, Joanne Clark.

Jennifer Pizer, Benitez’s attorney, said the ruling was “a victory for public health” and that she expected it to have nationwide influence.

“It was clear and emphatic that discrimination has no place in doctors’ offices,” Pizer said.

Robert Tyler, one of the lawyers representing the clinic, said the ruling advanced the Supreme Court’s “radical agenda” and would help the campaign supporting November’s Proposition 8, which seeks to once again ban gay marriage in California.

“The Supreme Court’s desire to promote the homosexual lifestyle at the risk of infringing upon the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion is what the public needs to learn about,” said Tyler, who leads the nonprofit Advocates for Faith and Freedom in Murrieta, Calif. “This case will have a direct impact and cause people and look very favorably at Proposition 8.”

The Supreme Court did order a trial court to consider whether the Christian doctors were allowed to refuse inseminating Benitez because she was unmarried. The Legislature in 2006 amended the law to bar discrimination based on marital status, but it’s unclear whether the doctors could legally withhold treatment in 2000.

The case drew numerous friends of the court briefs from a wide variety of religious organizations, medical groups and gay civil rights organizations.

The American Civil Rights Union supported the Christian doctors, siding with the Islamic Medical Association of North America, the Christian Medical & Dental Associations and anti-abortion groups.

The California Medical Association reversed its early support of the Christian doctors after receiving a barrage of criticism from the gay rights community, joining health care provider Kaiser Foundation Health Plan to oppose the Christian doctors.

The American Civil Liberties Union, California Attorney General Jerry Brown, the National Health Law Program and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association filed papers backing Benitez.

Now look. I’m fat and I’m disabled and I was once gay. If that’s not the trifecta of discrimination, I don’t know what is. In terms of mental anguish for someone refusing to treat you themselves and referring you to another provider who will provide those services free and clear — frankly, you got off rather well. There are other people who would provide you poor service, if any, and there are others who would make sure you were as uncomfortable as possible. That they told you to move along is sad and ignorant, defnitely not a Christ-like example, but the results could have been so very much worse.

However. And this is a big freakin’ caveat:

What if it’s not just insemination services the next time? What if it’s breast cancer? A virus? HIV? What if it’s a disease where days and hours make a difference between life and death? There is a “morning after” pill available from pharmacists if you think that you have been accidentally exposed to the HIV virus that makes contracting the disease less likely. If a pharmacist declines to issue you those medications because they don’t approve of your “lifestyle,” that moral judgment they make could have a direct and disastrous impact on your health!

Sure, here it’s just reproductive services being denied from one provider; there is no guarantee this is as far as this will go. It is not a stretch of the imagination to realize that this can be spread out to include providing gays and lesbians other general medical services, it probably already has. And we’re not talking just your average, every day, ignorant, hateful knuckle-dragging, sub-Picanthroidal, slope-jawed homophobic miscreants. We’re specifically outlining religious beliefs as an excuse not to provide medical care.

If gays and lesbians ever had a clearer message from people of faith that we really don’t want them to come to Jesus, I don’t know what it is.

This just breaks my heart in half. I didn’t know this was a problem anywhere. This is the gateway case; this is the precedent that will either keep people from making discrminatory choices or the one that will give them the all clear signal to go ahead and discrminate and cause harm, all in the name of Jesus.

I have to admit today I am brokenhearted that our hatred in the name of Jesus has carried us this far. Where is our outrage? Where is our compassion? Where are the Christians who stand up in the public square and risk being crucified by other Christians to separate out the sin from the sinner, to call for holiness and wisdom instead of judgment? When precisely did we become the gatekeepers of who is and is not worthy to receive medical care? When were we made the arbitrators of moral rectitude? My Bible pretty much makes it clear I’m a sinner just as worthy of obliteration in the depths of Hell as anyone else. Jesus saved my gnarled carcass as it stands ready to redeem and reclaim the gay men and women of this world who need him just as badly as the rest of us.

I can’t see the screen anymore. This will probably be edited and revised once the tears dry. But now, it just hurts. God help us.

~ by WriterRand on August 18, 2008.

8 Responses to “Oh God No. No. Tell Me This Is a Joke. Father?”

  1. Sadly, for those who are members of moral minorities, it is all too common to discover that there are those who would use their own religious convictions to deny us the validity of our lives.

    It is the difference between religion as a source of enlightenment and the politicization of faith as a means by which to exert control over others.

    Sadly, it seems to have more to do with the dark side of human nature than it does with meaningful spirituality.

  2. I can hear it now. A ton of conservatives reading this, shaking their heads and scowling, “Well, how can you force them to support a gay lifestyle and still call themselves Christians?”

    There is an enormous, immesurable difference between “supporting a gay lifestyle” and “supporting a gay life.”

    I swear, it’s as though Christians were so caught up in the culture wars and protecting their precious “rights” that Christ’s commission is lost on the caterwauling. I sincerely think that Christians these days — and I’m overgeneralizing here, I’m aware — genuinely don’t want to share Heaven with redeemed gays and lesbians. Other adulterers, idolaters, liars, perverts, thieves, murderers — not a problem. Gay and you’re obviously headed down there, so wasting time with the gospel on you would just be counterproductive.

    Man, Michelle, what does a guy have to do to convince you that the majority of those Christians who think you’re too far gone to have anything to do with Jesus are missing the boat and don’t speak for the rest of us?

  3. Can I offer another perspective? Here in the UK legislation has been passed that forces adoption agencies to treat same-sex couples identically to other couples, not permitting them to not offer children for adoption because of religious beliefs. The Roman Catholic adoption agencies offered to refer any same-sex couples that came to them to other agencies, but the Government wouldn’t have any of it. The result is that most of the RC adoption agencies are going to shut down rather than violate their consciences.

    Surely such a decision (to refer a client to someone else when there is a clash with your conscience AND the condition is not requiring immediate action) is different to denying emergency medical treatment? I also can’t see the similarity between this and treating cancer, HIV etc, because in each case the treatment of the illness doesn’t in any way support directly an unholy lifestyle?

    I’m the first to pull conservatives up for behaviour that is blatantly homophobic, but in this case I think the point you are trying to make is stretched slightly.

  4. […] Hmmmm. Here’s my response: […]

  5. I’m a casual reader of your blog who also happens to be gay. I understand why it would pain you to read that article but is this really a surprise? Do you really assume that the Christians you attend church with are any different than this? Like the person who posted above me about an “unholy lifestyle” (Each day I get up, go to work, try to exercise, maybe see a friend or two, go to school, read a few emails….that’s my usual “unholy lifestyle”, thanks!), these people devalue and dismiss you w/ no more than a caveat and go about their way. The best thing any gay person can do is walk away from the “church”. Let them feel self righteous in their moral crusades despite the fact that their lives look nearly identical to the consumeristic, power driven culture around them. At least the gays know how they feel and now they can feel better about themselves for standing up for the gospel! I’m sure Jesus would have been proud…

  6. It’s very disturbing that many medical professionals do not actually believe in empowering their clients and seek the right to impose their personal beliefs on their clients.

    What is even more disturbing is that this anti-gay clinic did not advertise its bias and was perfectly willing to take gay money up to a point. If religious conservatives are so supposedly ethical, why didn’t they disclose their bias and limitations before taking LGBT/gay-supporting/liberal/non-religious as clients?

  7. Hi, I just stumbled across your blog and I am very proud of you. God bless you and praise God for the work he is doing in your heart. I’ll be praying for you, the Lord is clearly using you to speak truth to a population who otherwise might not be reached. AMEN!

  8. stephenny, thank you. I needed to hear that today in the worst possible way. Thanks for the encouragement. Blessings to you, brother.

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