Given the events in Anchorage over the past week concerning the attempt to grant gay, lesbian and transgender people equal protection under the law in housing and employment, I find my self compelled to speak out against the slogans being used by fundamentalist Christians in efforts to defeat this legislation. Their belief that there is a gay agenda and that gays are pushing for Special Rights is just absolutely ludicrous.
Here's a short list of what I would categorize as Special Rights. My definition of Special Rights is simple: benefits or protections which all members of society do not share in equal measure.
- Churches not paying income or property taxes
- Church members being able to deduct their tithing as charitable contributions
- Deductions for each child on federal taxes
- 13 years of education for children subsidized by businesses and single people’s property taxes
- The right to live where you wish and work where you wish regardless of your religious affiliation
- Subsidized children services by both state and federal agencies.
- PFDs for each Alaskan child - which the parents can spend without the child’s consent and not necessarily to the child's direct benefit
I’m not going to argue whether society benefits from subsidizing children. But at the very least, the fact that it is given for free, should be appreciated and cherished by those that receive it. And this is a Special Right.
The non taxation of the churches was spelled out by our forefathers to prevent the interference of the government in the livelihood of churches. In the old countries, governments too often used taxation to control and persecute churches and church members by making it hard for them to gather together and promote their beliefs. This is called separation of church and state. This is a Special Right.
The deductions for tithing, I don’t really understand. Why should money that you give to support services that you mostly benefit from, be tax deductible: Church schools, buildings, staff, recreation halls, gyms, camps, parking lots, adornments, etc. After all these things are paid for, maybe there is something given to those in need. This is a Special Right.
This summary just scratches the surface of all the special rights and or benefits that heterosexual families and churches benefit from that are not shared by all members of society equally. Throwing around the term “Special Right” is just “Especially Wrong.”