In an article produced by the New York Daily News, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
will not did not
Here is the issue: a group of gay folks wanted to participate in the parade, but they wanted to identify or advertise their sexual orientation. The organizers of the St. Patrick Day’s parade are of Irish heritage and are also, not surprisingly, Catholic. They, in accord with their Catholic beliefs, the traditional Catholic beliefs their ancestors held, decided that no participant should identify their sexual orientation. This includes both straight and gay. I believe the organizers of the event to be very smart by not allowing any public display of sexuality, which common sense would show, there is no form of discrimination based upon sexual orientation because you didn’t know who was gay and who wasn’t. De Blasio said that he “disagreed” with the organizers of the parade and will not march in it. A city councilman, Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Queens), said “I find it offensive that the parade takes a formal and hard line that I can’t participate.” He goes on, “That literally shuts down portions of our city.” The problem with Van Bramer’s statements are this: the organizers have not excluded anybody from participating. They’ve only prohibited certain actions i.e. the expression of one’s sexuality. Van Bramer distorts the prohibition of the organizers and calls it discrimination.
Here is why I am writing on it. My concerns are two-fold:
1) Politicians make things which aren’t explicitly political in nature to be about their agenda
This parade is about a celebration of Irish heritage for many people of the city, not about anything relating to sexuality, and in particular, homosexuality. And yet, I am amazed at how politicians, in this case de Blasio and Van Bramer, spin something to address their political agenda. A similar thing happened with Democrats regarding the Newtown school shooting where on the very same day the Dems wanted to capitalize on a tragedy to push an anti-gun agenda. It’s sickening and uncalled for. Not everything has to be politicized.
2) The cry of discrimination and it’s effect on religious liberty.
As quoted earlier, some politicians think this prohibition (of all expressions of any sexual identity) is discriminatory, which I think is ridiculous considering it pushes all agendas on this issue, without discrimination, out of the picture. And because, typically, the Irish-American community is Catholic, one can only imagine how some will try to say that we, who don’t believe same-sex marriage to be proper model of human relationships whether Catholic or protestant, are able to discriminate against certain peoples under the guise of religious freedom. The purpose of the Parade not allowing any people to identify themselves by sexual orientation was to prevent these claims of “discrimination.” (Note: the Parade organizers never said anything about gays being banned from participating in the parade.) Cases of religious convictions and freedoms being violated/suppressed to prevent discrimination are in news reports around the country (Christian wedding photographers, cake bakers). We need to keep up with such cases as they will probably increase.
Bill de Blasio and NYC politicians have the right to participate in activities that they support and not to participate in those they do not, just as we should have that right. But they need to be aware of what message they are conveying when they are choosing what to do, whether it be to promote a political agenda at the exclusion of a majority, or to withdraw from a morally-neutral (if we can say that) celebrated tradition of heritage for an excuse that is a distortion of reality and truth.