First of all, today’s big news was the death of Prince, a musician/singer/songwriter/record producer/actor from Minneapolis, MN. He was 57. The press is suggesting that maybe flu was the cause. Such a shame, he was so talented.
So far this year, we music lovers have lost…
- David Bowie, age 69
- Glenn Frey, age 67
- Paul Kantner, age 74
- Maurice White, age 74
- Frank Sinatra, Jr, age 72
- Merle Haggard, age 79
- Signe Anderson, age 74
This last singer was important to me (as was Kantner) because she was the first lead singer of the Jefferson Airplane, and recorded their first album with them (“Jefferson Airplane Takes Off”). It was released in 1966, when I was 10 and my sister Ginny was 13…Ginny bought it because she had heard the band in San Francisco with some friends. Memories.
Ok, on to this week’s topic.
Like I stated last week, there are other news stories besides the US presidential election, though you wouldn’t really know it from watching the news here.
Aside #1: Massive, killer earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador, for example (“Powerful Earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador”, EarthSky website, 4/17/16).
A couple of stories about recently-passed laws have me shaking my head in disbelief, they are so stupid and hateful. Again, we have right-wing religious fundamentalists trying to use “religious freedom” as an excuse to discriminate against people they don’t like.
Conservatives, who are constantly screaming that they don’t want the government to tell them what to do, have no problem whatsoever with having the government tell everyone else what to do.
Here’s a summary of these 2 bills…
In Mississippi, there is a “religious liberty bill” that allows social workers, public employees, and businesses to deny services based on their ideas about marriage (only between a man and a woman), sex (only when married), and gender (determined by birth only).
So…someone can refuse to grant a marriage license, deny an adoption based on the parents being a same-sex couple, or even fire LGBT people. The list of people this involves is endless, from florists and wedding planners to counselors and doctors.
I would love to move back to the area and put a rainbow-colored shingle out, declaring that LGBT people are most welcome for counseling services. Along with pagans and everyone else.
Aside #2: Unfortunately, long ago the social work lobby succeeded in getting Mississippi’s grandfather clause on licensing tossed out – the one that enabled people with master’s degrees in psychology who do marriage and family therapy to get licensed just by applying. So, unless someone out there already has a counseling business and needs to hire a counselor (so I could work under their license), my whole “Mississippi equal opportunity counseling” dream is just that – a dream – for now.
(Btw, that’s a hint)
Anyway, this law also allows (I would say “encourages”) schools and businesses to “establish sex-specific policies regarding bathrooms and dress” (“Mississippi’s Senate Just Approved a Sweeping ‘Religious Liberty Bill’ that Critics Say is the Worst Yet for LGBT Rights”, Sarah Kaplan, Washington Post website, 3/31/16).
In N. Carolina, the law blocks local governments from passing anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBT people. This seemed to be in reaction to Charlotte, N. Carolina passing a law that prohibited discrimination against LGBT people. Apparently one of the big objections to this anti-discrimination bill is the part stating that people can use the bathroom of whatever gender with which they identify.
In fact, a lot of what you hear on the news about either bill is this whole “bathroom controversy”. It’s just so ridiculous, and I can’t understand what upsets people so much about it.
If someone is dressed like a woman, why would you want that person in the men’s room? How would you even notice if she was born a man?
I don’t know about you, but when I use public bathrooms my 2 main concerns are 1. will there be an empty stall, and 2. did the last dumbass decide she had to “avoid germs” by hovering over the toilet seat and pissing all over it? That happens a lot in women’s bathrooms!
I couldn’t tell you who was in there if my life depended on it. And I would think this is the norm for most people. I don’t see why there is an issue.
And how would you enforce this? Cameras?? Having a towel person, or whatever they’re called, that fancy restaurant bathrooms have? Except they’d not hand you a towel, their whole job would be to make sure the “right gender” is using the bathroom.
That is unbelievably creepy. Just imagine who would apply for a job like that.
I would think that this would be a voyeur’s dream job. Ugh.
Though ridiculous, the main focus should be on the fact that these laws permit discrimination, even encourage it. This is not ok. It’s not “religious freedom” to discriminate against others.
The Old Testament, from which many of these “religious ideas” come, also has passages in it about witches and pagans (the most famous one is Exodus 22:18 – “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”). Heck, I didn’t even have to look it up, it’s been thrown in my face so many times.
And, although the laws specifically refer to people in the LGBT community, make no mistake that, once these idiots get away with laws like these, others will be next.
Pagans, maybe Muslims, possibly women, atheists…the list goes on and on. How would these businesses know?
Well, they can ask, of course. Recall the last time you checked into an outpatient facility for medical tests, or the ER…didn’t they ask you what religion, if any, you prefer? I’ve been asked this many times, in many states.
Aside #3: Presumably it’s to find out what religious person you want them to call in case you code and are dying in their facility – pretty morbid, if you ask me, and also stupid, as there really isn’t any other witch they could call, in my case.
It is also a routine question asked by therapists while filling out a client’s “psychosocial assessment” – something I have done thousands of times during intake.
With these laws, there’s nothing to prevent landlords and businesses and others from asking questions about sexual orientation, and if the right keeps pushing agendas like this, they will soon be able to ask religious questions as well.
So, if you have to argue the question with someone who says, “I’m not LGBT, why should I care?”, you can point out that they might be next, if they have something about them that offends some fundamentalist Christian.
I have to admit I’m shocked at the nerve these people had to pass laws like this. Laws that are so basically unfair and bigoted. But, in the current political climate, where the extreme right feels they can push their agendas hard, and often, it’s important that we push back.
Push back – hard and relentlessly.
Today’s weirdness comes from a site called Daily Grail – and this is also my recommendation for the week. It’s a rather long, but fascinating, article on mushrooms and fairies, hallucinations, and certain works of literature (yes, “Alice in Wonderland” is mentioned).
The article is titled “Mushrooms in Wonderland”, by Mike Jay (Daily Grail website, 4/15/16). Well worth a read.
Be good. Be kind. Push back.