Conservative Uses Civil Rights Icon Rosa Parks To Promote Anti-Gay Hate

Bryan Fischer invokes Rosa Parks to support anti-gay hate

In the conservative movement’s ongoing effort to will themselves into obscurity through showing how historically illiterate they really are, yet another conservative icon used a civil rights icon to support discrimination against the LGBT community. Right wing spokesbigot Bryan Fischer sent out a tweet on Saturday co-opting Rosa Parks’ civil disobedience message to secure equal rights. In the tweet, he said, “The first county clerk in CA who refuses to issue a sodomy-based marriage license is our next Rosa Parks. I have a dream.” Whether he’s clueless as to the historical significance of Parks’ form of civil disobedience or just intentionally disingenuous, Fischer doesn’t seem to understand that the two examples of civil disobedience aren’t analogous.

This isn’t the first time a conservative has attempted to use prior liberal equality-based civil rights movements/icons to support anti-equality ideals. Back in May abortion opponent Lila Rose invoked prior progressive moments such as the women’s rights movement as models to restrict women’s right to choose.

“You've confused a 'war on your religion' with 'not always getting everything you want.'

Here’s the deal Bryan: while Rosa Parks (and MLK – who had a dream, by the way) engaged in civil disobedience because her rights as an African American were being violated, your rights (and any county clerk’s rights by extension) are not being violated. You’re confusing getting your  way religiously with being discriminated against (they aren’t the same thing). A county clerk is under no obligation to change churches, to stop practicing the religion of his/her choice, or any similar notion of “religious discrimination ” In fact, working in a government role, each county clerk is bound by law to carry out the dispensing of marriage licenses with a blind eye to religion as they represent the government, not their personal beliefs, when working in an official capacity.

Just as the government cannot favor one religion over another in other facets of government, a county clerk cannot legally favor a fundamentalist version of Christianity over LGBT-friendly religious beliefs while carrying out the duties associated with the position of county clerk. Or if it helps to crystallize the argument for you, think of it this way. Should a Muslim or Buddhist county clerk be able to deny any Christian a marriage license because it offends their faith?

Of course, I don’t expect the Bryan Fischers of the nation to succumb to logic and reason. to them the steady march toward equality threatens their hate speech, their established role(s) as arbitrators of right and wrong, and their livelihood as hatemongers. No war against religion exists in this country, but profit can’t be made from telling people the truth – that LGBT families merely want to live the American dream like everyone else. How many outraged religious fundamentalists would tune in to hear that on the radio?

Tim Peacock is the Managing Editor and founder of Peacock Panache and has worked as a civil rights advocate for over twenty years. During that time he’s worn several hats including leading on campus LGBT advocacy in the University of Missouri campus system, interning with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, and volunteering at advocacy organizations. You can learn more about him at his personal website.


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