Upon reading this article in the news, about a recent US government vote to not guarantee civil rights for LGBT employees of government contractors, a few questions sprang to mind:

  • How can any government advocating human freedom and equality, in particular one that attempts to hold the freedoms and equalities enjoyed among its own citizens as an example that the rest of the world should follow, fail to enact basic measures designed to eliminate discrimination among citizens employed by that very government?
  • Assuming that the contention of the Republicans involved in this vote is a valid one, that they felt motivated to protect the right and freedom to religious belief and expression, what is the track record of Republicans when it comes to protecting these rights and freedoms for people of all religious paths (not just those that descend from one Abrahamic faith or another – keeping in mind that there are religious views that believe in full equality and right to participation for members of the LGBT community) within the United States under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment? Or are they motivated to protect the rights and freedoms of religious expression for members of a specific religious outlook? If so, what would be the difference between this and adopting a state-sponsored religion in the United States?
  • Since this vote was so close, and even two more votes from Democrats might have made a difference in a situation where nearly 30 Republicans sided with Democrats, what were the reasons for the five abstaining Democrats to stay silent on this vote?
  • Regarding the other news in this article, about further measures to restrict the display of the Confederate flag: assuming that this flag is solely and entirely a symbol for racial hatred (which is disputed), how does the display of this flag in the US differ from the display of Nazi flags in the US, which seems to be constitutionally protected (the meaning behind which is not nearly so disputed)? If all of this really boils down to an effort to remove icons of America’s slave-owning past, why not remove the image of George Washington (who owned slaves for over 50 years) from American currency and other public displays?
  • If the racially-motivated killer of nine parishioners at the church in South Carolina had instead posed for pictures with a Bible instead of a Confederate flag, would there be as much effort to remove the Bible from public display? In looking at the issue concerning the first questions in this post, could it not be said that the Bible has been just as divisive, if not moreso?


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