One of the many e-mail newsletters I get is from the Traditional Values Coalition. Often it seems that the most traditional value from their point of view is overreaction.
Recently I got an e-mail from them telling me of the perfidy of the New York Human Relations Commission, which has apparently decided to investigate a skating rink (SkateTime 209 in upstate New York) for holding a “Christian skate.” Attached is a letter that Rev. Lou Sheldon sent to the Human Relations Commission berating them for their action.
Now let me get something straight here. If the New York Human Relations Commission actually thinks playing Christian music for a period of time at a skating rink is discriminatory, they bring new meaning to the word “stupid.” It really wouldn’t surprise me if they did have such a problem. Unfortunately many people involved in human relations do seem incapable of relating to actual humans. I’m not acquainted with New York law at all, but I’m fairly certain that if New York law can be construed to state that playing Christian music for a period of time is discriminatory, then a federal court case would take care of them pretty effectively.
One good result from all of this has been the inclusion of “all are welcome” notices on the SkateTime 209 web site beside the “Christian Skate” notices. That is probably a useful advertising option and is likely to improve their attendance. It is not, however, something the government can have a proper interest in.
But what interested me the most about this was the Christian response. For some examples see: NEW YORK INVESTIGATES SKATING RINK FOR PLAYING CHRISTIAN MUSIC and TVC ASKS PATAKI TO STOP HARASSMENT. Instead of seeing some bureaucrats overstepping their bounds, or some of the stupidity that infects pretty much all government offices, Christians are up in arms. The anti-Christian conspiracy is in action! Christians beware! One commenter even mentions that we can have a special time for gays, but not a special time for Christians. Ignoring the fact that the two groups are not mutually exclusive, I would have to note that very often Christians are involved in trying to deny various legal rights to gays. Here in Pensacola there is a regular effort every spring to prevent gays from celebrating here around memorial day. Would it not be discriminatory should they be successful in preventing this event?
I would suggest applying the same standard to both situations. It is certainly appropriate to have a skate time designed for a Christian audience, or for any other audience at one’s private business. But it is also appropriate, by the same standards for Disney, another privately owned company, to offer a gay pride day, or for Ford Motor Company to offer benefits to same-sex couples, both of which have been protested by the religious right.
Perhaps it’s time we realized that doing nice things for a group of people does not necessarily harm the rest of us. The New York Human Relations Commission is displaying astounding stupidity in this case. Unfortunately, it’s a form of stupidy that is reflected by too many Christians.