Human Rights Commissioner Told Local Pastor to ‘Burn in Hell’

 

For some time now, I’ve been writing about the First Amendment threat posed by local and state “human rights” commissions, which have virtually unchecked power to make life miserable for those accused of petty discrimination complaints, threatening them with fines and subjecting them to administrative hearings that drag on for years. (See my piece on “The Sensitivity Apparat” at The Weekly Standard earlier this year.) 

This has been a particular problem in that these groups have been aggressively enforcing an Orwellian vision of gay rights. If you own a business and make any public affirmation that you think homosexuality is immoral, prepare to have your life upended by petty bureaucrats. Regardless of your opinion on gay marriage and other issues, your right to have that opinion shouldn’t be in question.

And if you live in Sioux City, Iowa, you might watch what you say for a while. So far, two city council members are standing by a recent appointment to the city’s human rights commission after it was revealed he made threatening comments to a local pastor over his disapproval of the Iowa Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage:

In one comment, Raasch wrote: “You are haters and bigots and you will get what’s coming to you sooner or later. I hope you rot in hell.”

Gordon replied, “I hope you repent of your sins and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. I wouldn’t want you or anyone else to go to hell.”

Raasch wrote, “I know Christ and don’t need a snake oil salesman like you to tell me about him. I guess that’s the difference between us because I think there are many people that deserve to burn in hell … including you and your entire family.”

“He gives blatant death wishes to anyone who disagrees with his political or sexual views,” Gordon said Thursday. “He is obviously unstable and filled with raging hatred.”

Raasch has since apologized: “I would like to say that if I caused him or his family any stress, I do apologize for that, as that was not my intention.” (I would be curious to know what was the intended purpose of those remarks.) In any event, when you consider some of the witch hunts — or rather Christian hunts — human rights commissions have been regularly engaging in, Raasch’s appointment makes perfect sense.

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  1. Profile Photo Member
    @BasilFawlty

    With appointments like this, I can see how the city got its name.

    • #1
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    @TheKingPrawn

    I don’t think picking such a person was unintentional. A more honest name for these things would be Anti-Traditional Values Commissions.

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Member
    @genferei

    How do these commissions work in the face of the incorporation of the First Amendment?

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Member
    @RossC
    genferei: How do these commissions work in the face of the incorporation of the First Amendment? · 3 minutes ago

    The first amendment (like the others) is subject to reasonable regulation.  The classic example is exhortations to violence or yelling “FIRE!” in a crowded theater.  To the backers of these commissions hate speech is a reasonable restriction (at least I believe that is what they believe). They see no inconsistency at all.

    This needs to be adjudicated out of existence but it is rather on the rise throughout the western world.

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Inactive
    @KimK

    Speaking of burning in hell….there should be a room reserved there for people who issue apologies containing the word “if”.

    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Inactive
    @KCMulville

    Using law and authority as weapons …

    There’s a basic political principle that at some level, law and authority depend on trust. We give people power for particular purposes, not to allow them to use that power to advance their own private agendas.

    The same intellectual corruption that fuels petty human rights commissions is the same corruption that drives the free-association interpretations of the Supreme Court. They all depend on the following dishonest, vacuous argument:

    • The judge is empowered to deliver justice.
    • Something is unjust.
    • The judge is empowered to remedy it.

    By broadening that “mandate” beyond any reasonable interpretation, that gives the judge (or commission) unlimited power. All you have to do is define (x) as a “human rights” violation, and the judge can do anything.

    That’s why you can never give a commission or judge an open-ended warrant. You must empower them to do A, B, and C, and absolutely nothing else.

    • #6
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    @MarkHemingway
    genferei: How do these commissions work in the face of the incorporation of the First Amendment? · 49 minutes ago

    I discuss this in the link to my longer article, but:

    In 1986, the [Supreme] Court heard the case Ohio Civil Rights Commission v. Dayton Christian Schools, Inc. “The Court said that a doctrine called the Younger Abstention applied to proceedings before a state human rights tribunal. It’s a doctrine that says a federal court won’t get involved if there’s an ongoing state proceeding that addresses an issue,” Campbell says. “So if someone files a discrimination complaint and thereby invokes a state administrative human rights commission proceeding, you then trap the business owner into the administrative tribunal, and he can’t get into federal court to have his constitutional claims heard.” Only when you’ve been through the human rights tribunal and exhausted your appeals at the state level will federal courts even consider intervening to protect your constitutional rights.

    It’s become a huge problem. In one case involving a New Jersey church group, the state HRC dragged out the administrative proceedings over five years.

    • #7
  8. Profile Photo Member
    @RossC
    Kim K.: Speaking of burning in hell….there should be a room reserved there for people who issue apologies containing the word “if”. · 18 minutes ago

    Very funny, it is a non-apologetic apology.  If connotes that the offended party is likely overreacting to…what…….harmless fun.

    Maybe what he really means is they should thank him for expanding their life experiences so dramatically.

    • #8
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    @Pseudodionysius

    Hell is the Human Rights Commission squaring off against the IRS as they each attempt to audit and litigate each other to death while each pleading the 5th amendment in order to avoid self incineration.

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Coolidge
    @ChrisO

    Why does any city of 80,000 have a human rights commission?

    • #10
  11. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Pseudodionysius

    I’ve been writing about the First Amendment threat posed by local and state “human rights” commissions,

    As a Canadian I can safely say our country is the superior administrator of human rights commission based tyranny. Welcome to our world.

    • #11
  12. Profile Photo Contributor
    @FrankSoto
    Mark Hemingway

    I discuss this in the link to my longer article, but:

    In 1986, the [Supreme] Court heard the case Ohio Civil Rights Commission v. Dayton Christian Schools, Inc. “The Court said that a doctrine called the Younger Abstention applied to proceedings before a state human rights tribunal. It’s a doctrine that says a federal court won’t get involved if there’s an ongoing state proceeding that addresses an issue,” Campbell says. “So if someone files a discrimination complaint and thereby invokes a state administrative human rights commission proceeding, you then trap the business owner into the administrative tribunal, and he can’t get into federal court to have his constitutional claims heard.” Only when you’ve been through the human rights tribunal and exhausted your appeals at the state level will federal courts even consider intervening to protect your constitutional rights.

    It’s become a huge problem. In one case involving a New Jersey church group, the state HRC dragged out the administrative proceedings over five years. 

    That is insanity.

    • #12
  13. Profile Photo Member
    @RossC

    Is “hoping” a Christian man and his family go to hell a human rights issue?  My irony antennae are up.  Does it rise to a “dogs and Muslims” level I wonder?

    • #13
  14. Profile Photo Member
    @genferei
    Mark Hemingway

    genferei: How do these commissions work in the face of the incorporation of the First Amendment?

    I discuss this in the link to my longer article,…

    It’s become a huge problem. In one case … the state HRC dragged [it] out … over five years.

    I should have followed the link to your longer article, sorry. (BTW, note to the designers of Ricochet 2.0 – please, please, please don’t make R2 anything like the visual hell that is weeklystandard.com…)

    The Dayton case doesn’t actually seem all that crazy – the Supremes are saying that Federal courts should err on the side of staying out of State business until the State system has finished. In particular, they noted that the Human Rights Commission could assess the First Amendment issue, just as the Ohio courts could upon judicial review of the Commission’s decision, if necessary.

    And the complaint that a particular proceeding might take five years before some non-kangaroo court can apply the constitution isn’t particularly strong: it only takes one case to determine that a law is unconstitutional.

    The ultimate answer, of course, is for legislatures to abolish these abominations. How many persist in_red states?

    • #14
  15. Profile Photo Inactive
    @NickStuart

    It’s only the beginning, it will get much worse.

    It’s not that you can’t fight it and win. The process is the punishment.

    The free speech of everyone who observes the process being applied is chilled. Who wants to spend five years in Human Rights Commission purgatory for speaking up for traditional marriage?

    The answer would be banding together to speak en mass, but look at what happened to Tea Party organizers who applied for tax exempt status.

    So clearly what will have to happen is banding together, being willing to forego tax exemption, being willing to be excoriated in the media, and stage mass civil disobedience to protest leaders being singled out.

    • #15
  16. Profile Photo Member
    @Sisyphus

    These are the American equivalent of the Iranian or Saudi morality police. 

    Lawfare on stilts for tyrannical ends.

    • #16
  17. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MothershipGreg

    Where’s Rawls at?  I’m sure he approves.

    • #17
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