By this time, many of my readers have already seen the story about a woman in Michigan who faces civil rights charges for advertising on a church bulletin board for a Christian roommate to share her own home. The state is pursuing the charge, but evidently the claim is that it's contrary to federal law for her to do this, and the state is enforcing federal law. In this article, the PR director with the Michigan Dept. of Civil Rights seemed unsure as to whether what the woman did was against the law. He seems pretty sure by the time we get to this article. A complaint is actually being pursued against her by the state. (But if you think this can't happen elsewhere, let me stress that the claim is that this is a violation of federal law.)
Now, since I have at least one reader who will tell me, no matter what outrage I report, that there's nothing really bad going on here (either it didn't happen, or it's been misunderstood, or nothing will really come of it, or...or...or), let me be blunt: Either this woman's ad on a church bulletin board is illegal or it isn't. If it's illegal, that's incredibly outrageous, and things are worse than most of us thought they were. (Who would have believed that sticking a notice up on a church bulletin board subjected that notice to all the "anti-discrimination" provisions of the Federal Fair Housing Act? Better watch out next time you pass the word along via your local home school newsletter or e-mail list.) If it isn't illegal, what is going on is still outrageous, because this woman is being harassed by this complaint at all and because the state agency didn't simply laugh it off and tell the bullies and busybodies at the non-profit Fair Housing Center to go fly a kite and to apologize profusely to their victim on the way to the kite field. That a citizen in the United States should have to defend herself (and get a lawyer to help her defend herself) against legal action by a government department for such a perfectly legitimate and innocent act is outrageous, and that is happening, so something outrageous is happening, period.
This story says that "the state" wants the woman to reimburse the non-profit $300 for investigating her. A different story I read last night (which I can't now find) merely said that it is the non-profit that wants that. Who knows which it is or whether the poor victim's "punishment" will include the $300 to the organization. Imagine being the kind of person that this Nancy Haynes is: "You engaged in a perfectly innocent action that I get my knickers in a knot over. Somebody at your church spied on you and told us about it. We're not an arm of the state at all, but we specialize in sticking our noses into such aspects of other people's normal lives, so we spent some time investigating you and preparing to get you harassed by the government for this action that you, all unsuspecting, engaged in--attempting to get yourself a Christian roommate. Therefore, you should pay us for the time we took to do that."
That kind of person is sickening to think of--a kind of gigantic, caricatured horror of a Woman Involved in Public Matters. Imagine the local gossip and trouble-maker of past years, elevated into (in her own eyes) a glorious servant of the public weal, employed by a non-profit organization, who spends her life going around making people's lives a burden to them and then having the chutzpah to demand that her victims pay her for doing so. I won't say that anyone is beyond the reach of redemption, but I'm inclined to say that some murderers are nearer to the kingdom than self-congratulatory, normal-people-hating, left-wing totalitarians like Nancy Haynes.