Friday, March 13, 2015

Every single day

Every single day, there’s some new outrageous thing done or said by the radical right to oppress the majority. Usually, they try to claim it’s “Christian”, though real Christians know differently. I pick and choose which outrage to focus on—and then ignore most of them altogether.

The fact is, I really couldn’t possibly care less what some religious extremists think or say, even when it’s about me (collectively speaking, not personally). I mean, if they want to say things that make them sound like raving lunatics, I say, go for it! None of my business, nor any concern to me.

But when they try and force their religion on everyone else, when they try to make laws to impose their weird religious beliefs onto everyone, well, then we have a problem. And I will fight them. And I will mock them, belittle them, and call them out for being the bigots that they so clearly are. The way to understand the boundary is that, as my mother so often put it, they have the right to swing their fist as far and as fast and as hard as they want, but their rights end when their fist connects with then end of my nose.

We see this in the radical right’s new obsession, their crusade to enshrine their bigotry in law through laws they claim merely protect “religious freedom”. They’re lying, of course, but sometimes it’s more blatant than other times. In every case, their fist is hitting my nose.

In Oklahoma, hardly a bastion of free thinking or modern thought generally, a Republican (of course) state legislator hates the very idea of loving same-gender couples marrying, so he proposed a bill to end ALL state marriage licenses, turning that over to, of course, clergy. Because what could possibly be wrong with respecting an establishment of religion? (Hint: the US Constitution).

The Republican nincompoop said, “Marriage was historically a religious covenant first and a government-recognized contract second,” though, obviously, he has NO idea what he’s talking about: It was the exact opposite of what he claimed. Marriage was about securing property rights, including legitimate inheritance, among other things. Religion was only sometimes, and in some cultures, an only sometimes relevant thing. And, in any case, SO WHAT?! We’ve all moved on, even if certain dimwit non-entities in state politics haven’t yet moved into the seventh century.

But, that’s all splitting hairs—admittedly, knowable, verifiable facts, but we won’t get in to that. There’s also this:
“[Atheists] don’t have a spiritual basis for a marriage and don’t want to have a clergy member or a priest or someone involved in the spiritual aspect, then they can file an affidavit of common-law marriage.”
Um, just no. NO government unit, federal, state or local, gets to make a religious test necessary to receive some public good, in this case, recognition of marriage. The extreme religious bigotry that the Republican clearly has for the non-religious is beside the point: NO government can favour religion over non-religion, end of story.

It turns out that there’s actually a good and correct way to fight this nonsense: Make the bigots own their bigotry.

A Democratic Oklahoma state representative proposed a simple amendment to a bill allowing anti-gay discrimination for those involved in what one might call the wedding-support industries. The amendment (PDF available online) says simply:
Any person not wanting to participate in any of the activities set forth in subsection A of this section based on sexual orientation, gender identity or race of either party to the marriage shall post notice of such refusal in a manner clearly visible to the public in all places of business, including websites. The notice may refer to the person’s religious beliefs, but shall state specifically which couples the business does not serve by referring to a refusal based upon sexual orientation, gender identity or race.
This is actually a completely reasonable proposal: If a business insists on the right to use their supposed religious views to justify discrimination against couples seeking to marry, then they ought to own that and proclaim it publicly so that all potential customers can know what/who they’re dealing with. Most rational people wouldn’t do business with someone who feels the need to discriminate against a minority, so shouldn’t such customers have the right to know of the bigotry of a business before they even begin talks?

Personally, I think that this wording should be included in all these “religious liberty” bills the radical right will propose in state legislatures throughout the USA. If they really, truly believe that their god calls upon them to hate some people, then surely they would be willing to publicly proclaim that for all the world to see, right? Otherwise, why claim they need a special exemption from standard civil rights laws in the first place?

The Republican state rep is a colossal idiot. The Democratic representative proposes a reasonable thing. While that might be a common (though certainly not universal) thing, the fight between the forces of oppression and resistance is an ongoing battle.

Every single day. No wonder I ignore them so much.

It's worth noting that the most of Oklahoma's anti-gay bills have been defeated. So far.


rogerogreen said...

I'm REALLY ambivalent about this. White people didn't want black people to sit at Woolworths lunch counters in North Carolina in the 1960s, yet they did, and the nation, in general, is better off for that.

rogerogreen said...

like this stuff: http://www.theroot.com/articles/news/2015/03/la_transit_ceo_would_love_fewer_black_bus_drivers_to_put_white_passengers.html

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

Oh, I absolutely oppose "religious freedom" bills, and I think they're disgusting and should be stopped. But amending them to force bigots to embrace and publicly reveal their bigotry is ONE way of making it crystal clear that these bills have nothing whatsoever to do with religion OR freedom, but are only about enshrining bigotry in law. Sunshine is the best disinfectant, and when the bigotry behind these bills is revealed, then the support of all but the truly bigoted falls away.

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

Ignorance and prejudice never go away, but at least it's more likely to be revealed these days. Sadly, in too many places, that's as far as it goes.

rogerogreen said...

Still dunno. Seeing signs that say "We reserve to not serve black people because of our religiously-held beliefs" is SO retro.