Friday, October 20, 2006

Padilla, Free Speech and Seperation of Church and State

First off I'm working off a single news link from James Young's Blog. Link away if you think someone else covered the incident better than DNRonline or if there is more to the story (Was the truck company property? If so, they really did have the right to decide what they did or did not want advertised on it).

From what I know about this, I agree with the outrage. Freedom of speech has a lot more to do with protecting the things we don't like, be they the KKK, a holocaust denier, Bill O' Riley, Howard Stern, Slim Shady, Marlyn Manson or simply an employee with a different political belief, than your own. What really makes this frustrating is the degree of compliance and cooperation that Padilla gave to Cargill's wishes. I cannot see anything more offensive about having written "Please Vote for Marriage on Nov. 7" on the back one's car than writing, "Don't blame me, I voted for Willie Nelson."

So yeah, I'm not denying it. From what I've read I feel that this is pretty messed up and the people at Cargill that fired him give people that oppose the Marshall-Newman amendment a bad name. This is our chance to make the kind of proper address of outrage that people like Va4marriage were so reluctant to make in the face of the Loudon hate crime incident.

Before Va4marriage licks their lips too much (too late?) I must throw a word of caution to amendment supporters. This is not as good a thing as you might think. You see, for all the skill in turning this into how the gays want tolerance and yet give none in return, a bone has been thrown the way of the opposition.

The firing of Padilla, said Dunaway in her letter, "not only reeks of discrimination and hostility toward Christians, but is nothing less than a clear example of corporate bullying."

Um... Who said anything about his faith? His faith had never been brought up anywhere in this confrontation as it's been reported. It wasn't expressed in what he wrote on his truck nor did he bring it up in his account. They never even reported his reason for supporting the amendment.

So what is Dunaway and Co. telling us when they make this a religious issue without showing anything in the confrontation that would imply that it's a religious issue? It would seem to me that they are telling us that the amendment itself is religiously motivated thus making support for it a religious decision.

It is not the government's job to protect let alone "save" its peoples' souls. It is not the governments job to define the human soul and what are threats there too. People often argue license to such with the grounds that the Framers were Christian, but it was those Christian men that made it VERY explicitly clear that the government was not made to favor any religion let alone its labors towards the soul. Let us not forget that the first notable proponent of separation of church and state, Roger Williams (1603-1684), devised it not for the protection of the state from the church, but for the protection of the purity and sincerity of the church from the ambitions and coercions of the state. No one can be forced to love God, only broken to despise God. Remember that.

If truly wronged, I hope Padilla finds justice in the courts, but if those that defend him claim his faith was what got him fired without providing evidence that it was his motive for supporting the amendment and that the issue was clearly addressed in the confrontations leading to his dismissal, than the message seems clear.

This is what they are saying they want to put into the state constitution - to the Virginia Bill of Rights: legislature that will restrict the rights of unmarried heterosexuals so that a religious group's beliefs can be enforced upon homosexuals without looking too blatantly bigoted. The church is not an evil thing, but when granted the power of the state one allows both the church and the state to become corrupted by the pursuit of power and the arrogant justification of absolutism in the face of the abstract that is divinity.


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