(I want to start out this rant by saying that I’m NOT against religions or people who are religious. I’m not. I use examples in here to explain my points, not to pick on any particular group. I get that there are a WHOLE lot of religious people who are horrified by this law in Indiana, and who do NOT support it. I also get that money now runs our government, and it was a small group of well-funded special-interest religious pinheads who were able to ramrod this legislation through without really listening to the constituents about it. My rant isn’t against the people who are against the law in IN and who are now suffering the backlash in a guilt-by-residency kind of way.)
I get it. You put a vocal special interest group with some hot buzzwords under their bonnet, and a shit-ton of money, and you get legislation like what happened in Indiana. (And he didn’t expect the backlash? REALLY? So wtf is he even doing in office if he’s so short-sighted that he didn’t expect backlash?) And if there wasn’t anything wrong with the law that they passed, why are they now working to amend it? Um, DUH.
I feel sorry for my friends in Indiana (who are now experiencing some of the national WTF focus my home state of Florida frequently suffers, so my thanks to y’all for that, at least, taking some pressure off us for a while LOL). I feel sorry for the people in Indiana who did NOT want this bill, and who are now suffering the backlash of it. This is what those of us here in Florida who could correctly punch a ballot felt a couple of presidential elections ago, trust me. So next time someone wants to pick on Florida, just remember, your state could be next up on the mocking block.
I get that there is a fine line between forcing businesses to serve someone they legitimately don’t want to deal with (like if a customer is being a belligerent asshole) and forcing businesses not to discriminate because they are the belligerent asshole not wanting to serve a customer.
For example, if a catering company is run by someone who is a Kosher Jew, and someone wants them to serve pork or some other non-Kosher food, that catering company should have the legally protected right to say, sorry, that’s not one of the services we offer, without fear of repercussions. And if a business is run by a homophobic asshole who is against LGBT rights, frankly, if they admit that up front, I personally would exercise MY right to say okay, thanks but no thanks, you don’t get my money anyway because I’m in favor of LGBT equality and I won’t support a homophobic asshole. I would hope that the Kosher catering company would be able to decline offering those services without fear of a frivolous lawsuit, just like I would hope the the homophobic asshole wouldn’t sue me for deciding not to use their services because they’re a homophobic asshole.
But. It’s a slippery slope. Government needs to be able to lay down laws prohibiting an individual’s rights from being trampled on without enacting laws that basically open the door for an individual’s rights to be trampled on. And Indiana got it flat-wrong in a heinous way.
Which is why I go back to civil rights issues do NOT belong in the hands of states, because they frequently get it heinously WRONG. Civil rights cross state and municipal boundaries. That makes it a FEDERAL issue, in my not so humble opinion.
Unfortunately, what Indiana did was basically write a law that gave businesses wholesale permission to discriminate for whatevs, and cite religious reasons. (And I’m sure backers of the law would be the first ones pissing and moaning if a non-Christian denied service to a Christian based on religious objections.)
I also know that states have a fucking piss-poor history (Jim Crow laws, voting access laws, etc) when it comes to equality issues, and they always have. Equality should NOT be a states’ issue. PERIOD. It’s a human rights issue, and therefore it should be a federal issue, and federal law should be settling this once and for all. Gay marriage bans are falling across the country. This is no longer a matter of if, but when, equality IS the law of the land. It doesn’t matter how loudly the far religious right minority wants to stick their fingers in their ears and say la-la-la-la-la and pretend it’s not happening.
It is. It’s inevitable. Equality WILL be the rule of the land.
If your argument about a civil rights issue can be summed up by saying, “Because my religion says it’s wrong,” then that is NOT sufficient reason to try to legislate bigotry into law.
I have a hot news flash for those of you who want to force your religions down our throats through side-runs of passing laws to “protect” marriage or “protect” religion: WE DON’T WANT YOUR “PROTECTION.” We want our fellow citizens to have EQUAL TREATMENT. Why are you people so interested in what happens in the bedrooms of citizens when you scream “states rights!” on one hand, and yet you’re desperately trying to strip rights from groups of people with the other?? Do you NOT see the disconnect and contradictions here, or are you so blinded by your religious fervor that you refuse to see it? If you’re that interested in religious issues, GO START A FUCKING CHURCH! But stay the hell out of our courts and our houses of legislature.
To me, what’s even more heinous than these kinds of special-interest-backed legislations is how much MONEY is poured into the campaigns by the so-called “religious” people. If they’re so religious, why aren’t they using that money to REALLY do good things, like fund church-sponsored food pantries, or church-sponsored health clinics, or things that, oh, I don’t know, actually HELP people instead of do nothing but piss money down the drain or into the pockets of people who have nothing in the game but fattening their wallets?
Had this been a non-Christian sponsored bill, say it was sponsored by a Muslim special interest group, I can imagine Christians probably would have seen it as an attack on Christianity and fought it tooth and nail. Or if you substitute “black” for “LGBTQ” in all of this, there would have been a backlash the likes of which no one’s ever seen. You cannot say, “Okay, we’ll protect the rights of someone who is a person of color, but not someone who is gay or transgendered.” You CANNOT.
Why are supposedly “religious” people WASTING so much money on what equate to hate campaigns? I mean, SERIOUSLY? Where in your religious texts does it say, “thou shalt wage political war against people who are different than you because, reasons?”
I am not a Constitutional scholar. But I know that the First Amendment prohibits the government from establishing a religion. To me, this law runs dangerously close to eroding that protection and sets a dangerous precedent.
And honestly, laws like this to “restore religious freedom” are a dangerous slippery slope, because if they are allowed to stand, unchallenged, they will likely one day be used to discriminate in other ways. Islam is rapidly growing around the globe. It’s not beyond the realm of imagination to think that, one day, Muslims in this country will outnumber Christians. You don’t think it could happen? Yes, it could, and if you allow discrimination against one group of people stand in a court of law, it will lead to more discriminations the likes of which your small-minded minds haven’t thought about. (I could bring out the Hitler argument here, but frankly, I’m too fucking depressed that this rant is even necessary in the first place.)
How would the founders of this bill feel if suddenly they found themselves the ones discriminated against because a Muslim-owned business objected on religious grounds to doing business with a Christian?
Think it can’t happen? It most certainly can. Just because YOU don’t want to think it can happen doesn’t mean it won’t.
I saw a great comment on Twitter yesterday, that people who are worried about going to hell because they bake a cake for a gay wedding…that’s NOT why they’re going to hell.
No, I don’t have a perfect answer. If there’s someone who is a total asshole running their business, and they want to discriminate against people, well, they should, in some way, be allowed to broadcast their stupidity and assholishness so that the rest of us who DON’T want to spend our money in their establishment know to avoid them. (I think in cases of health and public safety there should be explicit prohibitions against discrimination for any reason, however.) I think businesses who wholesale advocate their pinheaded and discriminatory views will eventually find themselves losing business as people vote with their dollars.
To this day, I still won’t eat at Chick-fil-A. And I used to love their food. But no way will I give them a penny of my business because I disagree with their practices and philosophy. They made their views known and lost business because of it. Yes, they probably gained some business from like-minded pinheads, so whatever. But I won’t eat there, and I know quite a few people who won’t.
There is no “attack” on religion in this country. There is, however, an attack on attempts to create laws allowing religious-based bigotry. As well there should be. It seems like that so many people scream “religious freedom” but only if it means it’s for THEIR religion. And that’s not what this country is about. Equality and freedom means even for people you don’t agree with. It doesn’t mean you have the freedom to try to legislate people into having to march in lock-step with YOUR religion.
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8 thoughts on ““Freedom” to discriminate.”
I’m with you 100%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
These laws were initially intended to make sure that Sikhs were allowed to wear their turbans, Christians their crosses, and Muslim women their headscarves without being persecuted. The Indiana act has changed this by adding a clause to protect businesses instead of people. Guess what? Businesses are NOT people and they don’t have the same rights that people do. No one is forcing people to have gayfolk over to their homes for dinner. They can be as prejudiced and bigoted as they want in their homes. But once you bring your act into public, and start a business that is open to the public, then you have all those pesky rules that keep you from having separate bathrooms for colored people and the like.
Should have put “colored people” in quotes like that. I just wanted to carry the Jim Crow vibe to the discussion.
@Kimberly – Exactly, thank you, that was something I couldn’t figure out how to say. Businesses are NOT people, despite what money-funded special interests try to keep saying.
Today I am wondering if people come to think they are the center of the universe because their religion tells them so, or if people who think they are the center of the universe elect to impart that specialness to a religion of their choosing. They’re wrong in either case, of course.
Great post. Even though I am Canadian, I still follow a lot of the US news and I am just shaking my head at how the separation of church and state seems to be dwindling these last few years. I just do not get it.
I find it difficult to comment on the laws of other countries but I will say I dislike laws which by trying to protect one group target another. In our country we do not have so called ‘freedom of speech’ but we do have a bunch of laws against ” inciting to violence or hate crimes”. I think it was last year a current polly (who was the ‘Federal Attorney General” at the time) famously stated and was quoted to say ” everyone should have the right to be a bigot”! What The….? Thinking people were very quick to call him on it. Our liberal Gvnmt, which I think is the opposite to what those in the USA would think – it is actually ultra-conservative, with the head honcho famously saying he would bring his ultra-conservative form of Catholicism into office, and he certainly has. Most thinking people think he is an embarrassment. His government wanted to remove a section of the above law, known in this country as the “repealing of law 18, part C, of a law which had its origins post 2011. It would have made it legal in this country for anyone to say anything they liked to someone for any reason – skin colour, sexual orientation or self identification, religion, color of one hair, body shape to begin the slide into the ridiculous. removing this law was ridiculous and keep in mind we have a VERY strong “Equal Opportunity & Anti- Harrassment Laws”. Repealing 18C made a mockery of the EO & AH Laws. I am grateful to say that our independent senators actually did their job well and voted down this objective. I was very proud of them. If you will forgive an outsiders comment- this law in Indiana appears to have been put on the books because those in office did not have enough advisers or legal advice to warn them of unintended consequences to a barely considered and ill-conceived idea. All arguments previously stated I would agree with as just consideration of/for all people. Thankyou for furthering my education and strengthening my argumets on sooo many topics. [smile}
I saw a lovely image that summed it up: that famous image of 4 young men at a Woolworth lunch counter and it had the following caption: Dear Indiana, we already had the discussion about who could sit at the counter. Signed, America.
In addition, four Planned Parenthood had their budgets cut to the point they closed. Note: they did not provide abortion services. Subsequently, HIV is on the rise in Indiana. The entire state, even those who think they got what they wanted, has my sympathy.
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