On January 12, 2016, The New York Times ran a cover story entitled “Balancing Terror and Reality in the State of the Union Address.” The article conveyed that President Obama will address the threat of terrorism against U.S. interests, even though such threats are actuality relatively minor. As Americans are nervous due to all of the terrorism they see in the world, Obama will discuss an issue he would rather minimize. As such, the guests that will accompany the First Lady to the speech include several people from the military, veterans and a police officer.
The long list of defense personnel guests masks the message of compassion in a veneer of strength. As the White House press release said, “the [invited] guests personify President Obama’s time in office and most importantly, they represent who we are as Americans: inclusive and compassionate, innovative and courageous.” Most of the military guests will be props for Obama to discuss: the fight against homelessness; women’s rights; Islam is a religion of peace; and monitoring the police force.
Obama’s message is that while there is a fight against terrorism, it is a secondary concern. The seven years of his administration were not primarily about keeping the country safe, but moving forward on a progressive agenda.
For example, another guest at the SOTU address was the lead plaintiff for the Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage, Jim Obergefell. He described his fight for equality as “liv[ing] up to the promises to love, honor and protect each other.” The case was decided by the Supreme Court, not the executive branch, but it symbolized a step forward in “inclusiveness and compassion.”
The year 2015 also had lowlights on these exact points of inclusion, compassion and protection.
Protecting Children from Terrorism
On 9/11/2001, 2,753 people in New York City were murdered in acts of terrorism. Over the next fourteen years, the city had numerous failed terrorist attempts (such as the Times Square bomber) which also included “softer” targets. The city therefore placed more security around public schools to protect children.
The largest Jewish population in America is in New York City and the surrounding counties. That religious community suffers from the most persecution, where 57% of all anti-religious crimes were against Jews. As Jewish schools and synagogues were also targeted by terrorists, New York City advanced a bill to provide security to religious private schools.
Leading activists and politicians in the LGBT community were appalled.
LGBT Hate for the Bible and
Children that Learn the Bible
Rosie Mendez, a Manhattan Democrat, lobbied aggressively against providing security guards for Jewish children at private schools. She said: “As a member of the LGBT community, I know that a lot of these schools discriminate against us and if the city is going to provide any kind of funding, the schools should not be discriminatory.”
New York Councilmember Daniel Dromm of Jackson Heights said together with Mendez that “often their [Jewish] leaders embrace homophobia, transphobia, and other horrific ideologies, and subject our young people to them on a daily basis in the classroom. It is our duty to protect LGBTQ students in every school. We must not bankroll hate with tax dollars.”
In other words, because the Bible says that male homosexual acts are a sin, and the religious schools teach the Bible, these politicians do not want children in religious schools to be afforded the same police protection that children in public schools receive. Whether the topic of homosexual sex ever comes up in school is irrelevant (the Bible is thousands of pages long and the prohibition against gay sex is a single sentence- do the schools really “subject our young people to [anti-gay rhetoric] on a daily basis?”). The Bible also prohibits eating pig. Should everyone who eats bacon argue that police should not protect any children in a school that teaches the Bible, since they are offended by the Bible’s contents?
What does protecting children from potential terrorism have to do with a school’s curriculum? Would these councilmembers be comfortable if these young children were murdered?
The statements are thinly veiled masks for anti-Semitism.
Dromm and Mendez weren’t alone in attempting to block police protection for religious schools because of their distaste for the Bible.
Allen Roskoff, president of the LGBT Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, was strongly opposed to funding police for religious private schools, saying “religious institutions pushing this bill have a long history and present-day reality of discriminating against the gay community. Why should they be able to discriminate on our dime?”
Gay civil libertarian Bill Dobbs said, “religious freedom does not mean socking overburdened taxpayers for special treatment worth hundreds of millions. Religious freedom means don’t disturb religion, it doesn’t mean you throw your wallet their way.”
Note that the bill was not “special treatment” for the religious schools, but one that was drafted to give private school students the same police protection that are given to public school students.
LGBT Hate of “Jewish Money”
Rosie Mendez continued to spew anti-Semitic hatred. She accused New York City Mayor Bill Di Blasio of caving to the security request because “he’s trying to acquiesce to the lobbyists, to the religious community that has been looking for money for their private schools.” She invoked an old anti-Semitic canard that Jews don’t even care about children’s safety- they’re only out for the money.
While Obama reluctantly addresses terrorism during his State of the Union address, he must remember that protecting the people of the United States is the primary responsibility of the government. Not only is freedom of speech and religion protected in the First Amendment, but the physical protection of every individual underscores the entire reason for having governmental institutions.
When Obama joins the LGBT community to celebrate achieving equal rights, they must all remember that inclusion, compassion and protection extends to every single citizen – even Jewish children that learn the Bible.
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