Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Will Right Wing Christians Support "Religious Freedom" Based Discrimination When They Are Its Victims?

This is a response to someone who defended the "religious freedom" bills that are meant to allow discrimination against LBGT people. He insisted that same-gender coupling was "sinful" (I strongly disagree) and said that while we should always be polite to people, we shouldn't be forced to participate in same-sex weddings (as if selling flowers or cakes or tuxes to people was "participating" in their nuptials). He further stated that while Jesus associated with "sinners" he probably didn't pay prostitutes for sex or steal people's donkeys. I responded with one of my more verbose rants. It follows:

Actually, the Palm Sunday story features Jesus having his disciples steal a donkey. But, there were so many Messianic figures in the first century that was a common case the next Messianic claimant was really the one, if they asked for an animal to ride, one usually just let them have it...though, the stories don't show the disciples asking, just taking, and when they are caught and asked, "what are you doing?" only then do they say, "The Teacher has need of it." But, Jesus wasn't the literalist that many of his later followers pretend to be.

Secondly, Jesus may not have paid for sex (though we can't know), but his ancestor (Tamar's father-in-law) certainly did (with Tamar, who is listed in Jesus' genealogy) fact, ALL of the women in his genealogy are associated with Taboo activity (Tamar and Rahab were prostitutes, Ruth was a pagan Moabite, Mary was an unwed mother)...that Matthew makes a point of showing Jesus' less than pristine lineage shows that Jesus comes from earthy stock...of course the men were pretty gritty too...Solomon with 1000 sexual partners, David who was a murderer and a rapist, Boaz who seems pretty gay to me, etc.

Thirdly, these scriptural and theological discussions are IRRELEVANT for civil law. We aren't a theocracy. All citizens should have equal opportunity and equal protection. Religion shouldn't even be part of the discussion. We already have religious freedoms...we can worship anywhere in anyway or not at all. We are at choice. But religion can't be an excuse to discriminate against others in public life (and business and politics are public life). We settled the issue of if diners could refuse service to people because of race long ago...can they now refuse service to Muslims, atheists, gays, single mothers, non-citizens...NO. 

If Christian Business Owner doesn't agree with abortion, then she shouldn't have one, is free to pray for unwed mothers, donate money to anti-abortion "counseling" services, but is not free to say "I won't sell you my product because i heard you had an abortion." When you open a business, the social contract is that you will serve the public without discrimination. You don't have to agree with Hindus, but you can't deny them service. You don't have to understand that sexual orientation is innate and not chosen, but your ignorance of sexual diversity isn't a reason to refuse service to LBGT people. You can think atheists are on a fast train to hell, but you can't humiliate them by denying them service in this life. If I sell you flowers or cake or a veil that you will use at your wedding that i don't understand or like, that doesn't imply that I agree with you, only that I don't use my personal prejudice as an excuse to humiliate or dehumanize you. You have a business, gays want to support your business (but if they know how you feel about them, I wonder why they would), and that's that. YOu aren't allowed to use your business to force your religious values on others (or to punish them for now sharing your beliefs).

You can even let the Bully Some Homos for Christ Club put posters advertising their next meeting in your window, but you can't refuse to do business with someone just because they are the target of the BSHFCC.

These onerous and odious "freedom" bills are a petty backlash against marriage equality. In the end, they will be ruled unconstitutional (and are already proving to be vastly unpopular) and those who wish to marginalize same-gender loving people will have to find new and more novel approaches to do so. 

One final point: Sauce for the Christian goose is sauce for the non-Christian gander. Will the Christians who assume these new bills give them a blank check to dehumanize same-gender loving people, be as supportive of the laws when Muslim business owners refuse to do business with "Christian infidels", when Wiccan shop-keeps refuse service to anyone driving an Earth harming SUV, when Christian Science teachers won't send your injured child to the school nurse, when Gay Christians won't serve homophobes...If religion is the legal excuse to deny service, then any religion can be used to deny service to anyone...will Right Wing Christians support the law when it is used against them?

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