Friday, February 21, 2014

The New Discrimination: Because Freedom Is Only For Straight People

Words can be dicey. There's no question about it. Words can be so dicey, especially in the Constitution, that sometimes they even get their definitions changed by the Supreme Court in order to make things seem like they are saying something they are not.

Today, in Arizona, a bill was passed to allow open discrimination of people, a bill that needs only the signature of the Governor Jan Brewer to be officially put on the books. There should be little doubt that it will be struck down by the Supreme Court for being unconstitutional, but in the meantime, it's something to ponder.

According to Tracey Stewart, of the Arizona Anti-Defamation League, the bill is a "state law allowing business owners to turn away gay and lesbian customers, employers to deny equal pay to women, or individuals to renege on contract obligations–as long as they claim to be doing so in the name of religion." (1) [italics mine]

Now. The First Amendment seems pretty clear, depending on interpretation. Isn't interpretation fun? Sure it isn't. More hate, intolerance and violence has been in the name of someone's interpretation of some text for over thousands of years than most care to acknowledge. But let's look at an interpretation and think about it, maybe have a conversation about it.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." (2)

The bolded part is the part we're going to focus on here.
'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof'

Let's break it down and look at the word 'establishment'. Now, people who hate individual freedom (and if you think that people who are gay shouldn't have the same basic rights as you, then you are against personal and individual freedom, so don't even play that game) will jump on the first definition and scream "It means Congress can't make a law preventing me from establishing a religion. But it can make laws based on my Christian beliefs. This is 'Murica!"

Another, more rational person might view this statement and see it as "Congress shall make no law in favor of a religious organization/group"

See how those two could be viewed in completely different ways? See how one makes more sense when it comes to keeping politics out of religion, and religion out of politics? Apologies, we've been studying the writings of key founding fathers and writers who influenced the forming of this country in a class called American Political Thought, and it's pretty clear they thought mixing politics and religion were dangerous.

Okay. The second part of that says that Congress cannot prohibit you from practicing your religion; meaning they cannot stop you from going to church, or prevent you from praying. They also cannot make a law requiring you to do any of those things.
Congress also cannot pass laws that will make you be a murder, or adulterer, they can't force you to worship a God that is not your own, they can not force you to be blasphemous, steal, lie or stare at your hot neighbor's ass against your will. (These are all related to things in the 10 Commandments, the principles of ethics and worship). They cannot make a law that forces you to do any of these things which would prohibit you from freely exercising the tenants set forth by, what amounts to the Constitution of Biblical Law.

As an aside, since when did being bigoted, hateful and/or intolerant to groups of people become part of the 'free exercise of religion'? Does the Bible not state to love thy neighbor as thyself (Mark 12:31) and to love thy enemy (Matthew 5:44)? So where does 'turn away those icky gays because you don't approve of their lifestyle' fall into that? *hears crickets*...we digress.

Back to it, why then do the Powers That Be (All Hail Congress) think that a law, that enables segments of the population to be discriminated against because (some) religious people don't like them, can pass U.S. Constitutional muster?

It's baffling, the ignorance of it all.

But let's look at some other issues...
First...some have hinted that the bill may deny equal pay to woman...on religious grounds. Maybe we missed that commandment or verse - 'Thy women shalt not earn equal pay...because vagina.'

That blows. Just got a pay-cut for being born with this stupid vagina. Thanks, God.

Second...How will these Christian owned businesses ID members of the LGBT persuasion?
Is entering the store with someone of the same sex the clincher. Because really, straight guys obviously do not go shopping together, duh.
Is it if you both "have the gay look"...and what does that even mean?
Do these gays have the gay look?

NFL player Dave Kopay (he's totally an old dude now though)
 GAY Image Source
Boxer Orlando Cruz
 GAY Image Source
Zachary Quinto
Oh, you mean gays that are easy to pick out of a crowd like these...
Sacha Baron Cohen
Not actually gay
Carson Kressley
Totally gay
Because if someone doesn't look gay how are you going to prevent doing business with them...Arizona Christian Business Owners? Guess you could get them to talk and see if they sound LGBT. Because there's nothing like falling back on stereotypes...0_o

Personal photo taken during a tour of
Dachau Concentration Camp, 2009.
For more on the Nazi Rosa Winkel:
How about holding hands? Shows of affection? [don't know about what you've observed but even straight females that are close friends are very affectionate with each other publicly]
Will people of the same-sex be able to hug each other in your place of business without you raising the Gay Alarm?

Maybe you should have "them" wear badges  so you can more easily signal them out, so you don't accidentally sell them some crap on your shelves made in China by children, or chemical-laden shampoo, or art supplies, or maybe they should affix a symbol to their house or door so you don't accidentally go into their big gay houses and accidentally fix their big gay furnace.


And think about this.
What if you, as a Christian, went into a store owned and operated by a Buddhist, or a Jew, or an Islamic, and you were denied service under suspicion of being a Christian, or because of the cross on your neck, got asked to leave and never return.
What if it was any number of non-Christian God based religions who didn't want to serve you because of who you choose to worship.
Further, religions aren't hard to create [see: L Ron Hubbard and Scientology].
Hell, the government even considers Atheism a religion (3)!
Bottom line...whose religious beliefs and when/where would it end...that's basically it.

Oh, go ahead, tell people you won't serve "the gays", put up a little sign on your door saying you won't serve the LGBT community; but don't be surprised when you end up on countless lists and websites of banned businesses and have to close down because the only people shopping at your store are the other homophobes.
Sure, you don't need that "creepy transgender person"'s business, but you probably need his/her sister's business, and his/her mother's business, and all of their friend's and family's business...because if you have a business that refuses to do business, they can always go somewhere else. After all, WalMart will welcome all of them with open corporate arms. IHop will serve them coffee just the same as they'll serve the coffee to the person at the next table twisting their little cross pendant anxiously, in fear that they "might catch the gay". You can bet that billion dollar businesses, and ones that have managed to survive in cities and towns that have undergone corporate overhauls didn't do it by refusing to serve "those people".

This may have spiraled into a tangent.

Apparently people have not thought through the implications of such a bill/law. They don't see how it could turn around and bite the very people who feel vindicated because of it right in their self-righteous ass. Who knew fear could look so ugly (okay, it's not really that shocking).

Look, nobody is making you be friends with people of the LGBT community, an exchange of money for goods and services isn't a date (at best it's a little capitalistic prostitution).
They're (rational people) asking you to "allow" "them" to buy shit from your stupid store, maybe eat some sub-par crap you threw onto a plate in your disgusting restaurant, maybe have you do a poor job fixing the gutters on their house at exorbitant prices. Freedom means not being subject to segregation, to have the freedom to go where you want, shop where you want, eat where you want, access services you want/need.

Freedom isn't just for Christians, and it isn't just for straight people, and it isn't just for white people, and it isn't just for people whose lives you approve of. Freedom (at the length any remains) is for everybody.
Maybe you're living in a different America, one that wasn't founded on the principles of working towards a nation of freedom.

It's okay, you can be scared (goodness knows how much who someone else has sex with directly affects your life in a personal and scary way) - but you should do it more tactfully, because the younger generations are watching you, learning from you, and what they are learning is that you're irrational, hateful, intolerant, and insane...and you're doing it in the name of the God you want everybody to love.

Editorial Note: We have a lot of experience with religion, and we only have beef with the people who do bad things in its name. More on that:
Religion, You Say? We Have A View On That
Respecting Religion? We Have A View On That

Sources and Citation:
(1) Serwer, Adam. "Arizona Passes Law Allowing Discrimination." NBC News Digital, 21 Feb. 2014. Web. 21 Feb. 2014. <>.
(2) "The Bill of Rights: A Transcription." National Archives and Records Administration. National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. <>.
(3) Chumley, Cheryl K. "Atheists Incensed after IRS Grants Them Tax Exemption as Religious Group." Washington Times. The Washington Times, 21 Aug. 2013. Web. 21 Feb. 2014. <>.

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