Although the original purpose of this blog was to have something for my grandson and others to read about 2014 and beyond, it’s morphed into something larger.
There are still health updates, still criticisms of the healthcare system and its built-in corruption based on profit, general news of the times, and commentary on what it’s like to be poor/over 50/disabled on a day-to-day basis…but now I am adding more and more examples of what I see as an increase in rudeness, unkindness, bullying, and extreme intolerance/narrow-mindedness.
It’s not that I started out to be negative or focus on bad attitudes and behavior, it just seems to me that I run into so much more of it these days – helped, of course, by the online world, which seemingly magnifies everything and can bring out the worst in humans at times.
I don’t see a lot of appeals for people to back off, look at their own aggressive behavior, and maybe focus a bit more on what they can do that will make the world a bit better, and not just a world where all their needs and desires are catered to.
Take the recent passing of legislation in certain states that is touted as “religious freedom law”, when in fact what it is, is legislation designed to remove penalties for outright bigotry and discrimination.
Now, if someone wants to hate someone for who they are etc, I really don’t care but when that person tries to legislate hate as legal or immune to legal remedy, that’s where it crosses the line. It’s no longer a “I believe what I want to believe” issue, but a “I should be allowed to hurt people I don’t like and you can’t legally stop me” issue.
No. One thing about civilized societies is we do not go around hurting people with impunity just because we think we have a right to do so. And, no, I am not talking about hurting someone’s feelings (though I do think that has a lasting effect on someone’s psyche), I am talking about denying services or otherwise discriminating against people because of their sexual orientation.
I am picking ‘sexual orientation’ this week because of the laws that have been enacted that basically protect people who want to discriminate against gay people. Next week it could be something else – there is unfortunately no shortage of hatred in the world today.
One very large and very vocal group that is funding a lot of this anti-gay legislation is called the Alliance Defending Freedom (“How An Extreme Anti-LGBT Legal Powerhouse is Working to Enact ‘Religious Freedom’ Laws”, Rachel Percelay, Media Matters for America website, 4/16/2015). Their justifications for what they do are those tired old tropes about “a gay agenda” and “pushing their lifestyle on everyone else” – that being gay somehow infringes on their right-wing Christian ‘rights’. They use the tactic of redefining oppression to turn it on its head and have it mean that equal rights = oppression.
You know, those “religious rights” that I guess are special to that group because…..reasons and Jesus and pushy gays. And teaching children to be gay and blah blah blah fear-mongering garbage on Fox News.
Again, it’s another example of fringe Christians believing that they are being persecuted when some group they don’t like is afforded the same civil rights as all Americans. Yes, it does not make much sense. These “patriots” are so freedom-loving but only in regards to a very narrow sector of the American population.
No one told them that this is not how America is supposed to work.
Specifically, there was a law passed recently in Indiana that essentially allows businesses or individuals (like landlords, for example) to deny service to people if by serving ‘those people’ it goes against their religious beliefs. And that this supercedes silly little things like federal civil rights laws.
According to an article by Mike Hiltzik in the LA Times
Indiana’s law applies to wholly private disputes in which the government is not a party. That places the burden of fighting discrimination on its victims. The result will be “private actors, such as employers, landlords, small-business owners, or corporations, taking the law into their own hands and acting in ways that violate generally applicable laws on the grounds that they have a religious justification for doing so,”a group of 30 law professors from across the country warned Indiana legislators while SB 101 was being debated. (“Indiana’s Anti-LGBT Law is Even Worse Than it Seems”, Mike Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times website, 3/31/15).
So, if you are discriminated against by, well, anyone, your recourse is to hire an attorney. You can’t ask the Justice Dept to help you, even though what happened was a civil rights violation.
I am old enough to recall when this actually was the only recourse someone had if, say, they were fired for being female. Which happened to me in Minnesota, in 1975, when Sears fired me because they said “their male workers felt intimidated because they can’t put up their girly calendars and they have to watch their language because they are working with a woman.”
I filed a complaint with the state. They didn’t do anything with it. There was no federal recourse. And, since I was poor, I couldn’t afford an attorney.
Years later a group of women won a class-action suit in Minnesota against Sears for the same thing – whoopee, I was right. Didn’t help me, though, did it? Story of my life, unfortunately.
So I can tell you from personal experience, what the Indiana law does is it effectively legalizes discrimination. And it tries to do it by claiming it’s an undue burden for Christians to serve LGBT people. Because, apparently selling pizzas to gay people causes a moral dilemma for Christians and makes them violate their religious beliefs.
“That’s a lifestyle that you choose,” Kevin O’Connor told WBND. “I choose to be heterosexual. They choose to be homosexual. Why should I be beat over the head because they choose that lifestyle?” (“Indiana Pizzeria Vows to Never Deliver a Pizza to a Gay Wedding”, Catherine Thompson, TPM Livewire website, 4/1/15)
Selling pizza is being “beat over the head”. Oh, but he did then add that he wouldn’t refuse to serve a gay couple in his restaurant, he just wouldn’t deliver pizzas to their wedding. Because catering a gay wedding compromises his principles. He couldn’t answer when asked if he would cater a wedding for people who had been divorced….oh and he’s divorced, by the way…you know, that whole “if you remarry after divorcing it’s still adultery” thing in the Bible. He said he would have to think about that.
So this is the kind of thing you would have no legal remedy for. Of course, what happened to this guy’s business is he was (and still is) boycotted by a lot of people, and on the other side the bigots raised over $800k for the poor dear. He reopened his business and is getting kudos from bigoted Christians everywhere.
But here’s something to consider – and something I mentioned to a van driver who was listening to Rush Limbaugh bitching about “Christian rights” who told me that “those gays are trying to shove their lifestyle down our throats, and we have a right not to serve them – it’s our business, America supports free enterprise blah blah blah”…
What if the “Christian” was a part of the Christian Identity Movement? They’re a part of the white supremist movement. They use the Bible to spread their hate about Jews and African-Americans and just about anyone else who isn’t “white” (“Christian Identity”, ADL website, no date). So, in Indiana, they can bar anyone from their business and then claim “Christian rights”. They could put signs in their windows stating they will not serve Jews or African-Americans or Latinos or LGBT people or anyone without a cone for a head.
I asked the van driver, “Would that be ok with you?”
His answer: “But I saw a video on YouTube where a guy went into Muslim bakeries and asked them to bake a cake for a gay wedding. And no one did anything to those businesses!!!!”
Typical. Caught out in his prejudiced, hateful attitudes, he deflects to something he thinks everyone in America agrees on – hatred of Muslims. And he continued to yell so that I could not get in a word edge-wise. Basically he shouted me down and I had to decide if this was a battle worth fighting – and since he and I were the only ones on the van and it wasn’t a ‘teaching moment’ for me, I backed off and shut up. After telling him I didn’t hate Muslims like he does.
But you see how this is going to go unless people speak up and get the Indiana law revoked – it just opens the door for rampant discrimination, divisiveness, and hate. Not just against the LGBT community, but against the whole rest of us, too.
Well, those of us who aren’t closeminded fake Christians.
“Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.” (Cesar Chavez, United Farm Workers website, no date)
Today’s weirdness comes from a couple of different places…
http://www.rainymood.com/ This is a site that features nice mellow music and rain/thunderstorm sounds. For those of us who don’t have those cool sound generator things. Not really weird, but I wanted to show you something nice, to counteract the icky people described in my blog post.
From SkyNews, a story about a dog who flagged an RSPCA officer down so he could be rescued and returned to his owners:
Recommendations for this week? “Deadbeat”, season 2 is now on Hulu. It’s a funny show about a stoner who is bothered by ghosts who want him to help them. Really, it’s funny!
Be good. Be kind. Life’s too short to be self-centered and mean.