Posts Tagged separate but equal
“I have been called names, threatened, hated on and all manner of ridiculed because of my atheist activism, but I think sitting in a bank and having another professional refuse to do business with me because I am an atheist was the worst slight I have ever received.”
Amanda Knief, Managing Director of –American Atheists, Inc. who was refused notary service at a TD bank in Cranford, NJ because of her atheist affiliation.
Yup, just like Jesus would do.
It is amazing, and with that I mean appallingly frightening, to watch the mental gymnastics religious people will go through to justify bigotry and hate and the extent to which they are willing to hide behind the Bible to justify their narrow-mindedness and intolerance.
The hatred and bigotry of religious people these days, among a myriad of other things, appears to be particularly focused on gays and lesbians and doing everything possible to humiliate and degrade them, including denying them their basic human and civil rights, and defending such thinly veiled bigotry, by making appeals to “traditional values”, “god” and other nice-sounding and “wholesome” terms.
It is a tragic testament to the state of affairs that gays and lesbians are being scapegoated when in reality those who have done, and continue to do, the most harm to society and its people are not gays and lesbians, but heterosexual, most notably religious, men (women too, but I say men because our political landscape – from Congress to state governments – as well as the business sphere are predominately populated by men). Which is not to say that a person’s gender identity and sexual orientation should be used to pass judgement on their character and actions. It is merely to point out that if you are going to blame someone for the shit we’re in, maybe you may want to rethink whether someone’s sexual origination should be relevant in answering that question. And if it is not, then you should ask yourself why you think being gay or lesbian, and thus someone’s queerness, could somehow lead to the breakdown of society.
The sad thing, of course, is that even self proclaimed “reasonable” religious folks believe that at the end of the day it is ok, acceptable and understandable to deny gays and lesbians equal rights, or to at least curtail those, such as a same-sex couple should have to undergo more stringent scrutiny when trying to adopt and so forth. And the thing is, such people don’t even feel bad about. On the contrary, they make such claims with a good conscience and they sleep well at night, too. No compunction.
One such individual is Mark David Hall, a “traditional, orthodox Christian” who believes that “God designed marriage to be a covenant between one man and one woman.”
Hall is this week’s guest columnist at Oregon Live. Hall, who undoubtedly must have Jesus as his role model, and I can see that just by looking at all the love, caring and acceptance that is so shining through in his column, just like Jesus would do, defends the “right” (ahem) of religious people to
deny services to discriminate against anyone mainly gays and lesbians and deny them services of any kind, especially when serving gays and lesbians constitutes “endorsing a practice” (homosexuality) that disagrees with the Christian’s beliefs hateful, ignorant notions. Although he personally would never to do it, as he assures us, Hall, nonetheless, fully supports business owners who want to be able to legally deny people services if they believe that rendering such a service would violate the tenets of their religion.
He believes that the “religious convictions of these individuals [who wish to discriminate] should be respected” because allegedly this country was founded on “the conviction that men and women should be able to worship God according to the dictates of their consciences.“
Yeah, I don’t think so.
The First Amendment
The First Amendment separates church from state, explicitly saying that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” That is all the protection and “right to religion” the US Constitution provides. Full stop.
A place of business is a place of business. Baking a cake, serving food, selling furniture, AstroTurf, cars , clothes etc. are not exercise of one’s religion which would necessitate First Amendment protections.
What Hall is proposing is, therefore nothing but pure, cold, hard, unadulterated, not to mention legalized, discrimination.
The Demand For Legalized Discrimination
I am no legal expert but if the government, through laws and legislation, were to actually grant business owners the right, the legal right, to deny services to gays and lesbians (or any number and creed of people religious business owners do not like) if they felt that providing those services would violate their religious rights, then that would, in fact, constitute the government “respecting an establishment of religion”, which is a clear violation of the First Amendment.
Now, I don’t feel inclined to get into a discussion about how under the umbrella of “religious beliefs” millions of people have been killed, oppressed, subjugated and otherwise harmed over the millennia and continue to be killed, oppressed, subjugated and otherwise harmed, but I will say that such a measure, if made into law, would be nothing more than a license to discriminate. A licence which a myriad of companies out there could potentially use to discriminate against a host of people they don’t like and/or whose life style choices and/or various other inherent attributes they do not agree with.
After all, what if business owners decide that they do not want to sell to blacks and Muslims, atheists and women, red heads or people with tattoos? This is no different than having a black only section in your restaurant or a”White Only” lunch counter at the diner – only that in this case religion is used to accomplish the same, which is to deny certain people, whom religious people deem abnormal or unworthy, access.
And make no mistake about it, granting certain people rights while denying the same rights to others based on any attribute you do not like is discrimination.
Separate But Equal and the Jim Crow laws that enforced them were terribly unjust and discriminatory, not to mention that under Separate But Equal, there was, in fact, no equality for those who had to be separated, by law, from the rest of the (white) population that felt threatened by black emancipation.
The irony here, of course, is that under the umbrella of “religious freedom” such a law would mainly be utilized to deny services to gays and lesbians and only gays and lesbians. In fact, this appears to be directed at gays and lesbians only as there is rarely any talk about denying other entities that violate biblical laws (and we all know that they exist) services. They do call it religious freedom but that is only a scaffold beneath their bigotry.
Sweet Taste of Wickedness
Last year, the owner of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, told a lesbian couple that “we don’t do same-sex marriages.”
It is interesting to note that there is nothing there to indicate that Sweet Cakes by Melissa was denying to bake wedding cakes for other biblically non-approved actions, such as for couples for whom this is the second marriage (i.e. who have been divorced), for example, or inter-faith marriages. There is nothing in there about doing hymen inspections to sanction the validity of a heterosexual engagement before agreeing to bake a cake. In fact, the owner was more than happy to bake a cake for all people no questions asked but decided to throw the Good Book at her same-sex wedding customers, claiming that apparently in this instance, and in this instance only, her religious convictions were being violated.
Surely, if one were so obliged so as to deny people services because it disagrees with one’s religion, one would do so for all actions that violate religious doctrine.
See how religious/Christian supremacy works? Religious people have put everyone on the defense, playing the victims whose rights are being allegedly neglected and stomped on. As the privileged, dominant entity they really believe that they are entitled to their privilege and dominance and that demands for equality infringe upon their rights to subjugate, discriminate, oppress and harm others. And they think they have that right, that entitlement, because it is in the name of god and religion.
This “right to discriminate” legislation which Hall supports with bells and whistles, is a hate filled piece of legislation directed at gays and lesbians only. This is not about right to religion. This is legislated hate under the guise of right to religion.
The new name for bigotry these days seem to be “religious freedom” which religious people have taken to mean that it should be upheld to the point where it should supersede and trump someone else’s human and civil rights.
* * *
Religion is harmful, in case you had not gotten that message from the eleventy million other examples and cases I have talked about and explored here.
Governor Corbett from Pennsylvania Wants Women Who Have to Undergo Transvaginal Ultrasound to “Just Close” Their Eyes
Yeah, another man violating a woman and telling her to just close her eyes and take it while he’s giving it to her and looking to codify that behavior into law while he’s at it.
During a discussion of a far-reaching mandatory ultrasound bill, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett dismissed off-handedly the insinuation that the measure goes too far, saying, “You just have to close your eyes.”
Republicans and the few Democrats that support them have taken the notion of misogyny and violating a woman to new heights, all beautifully wrapped in obfuscating language that makes being vaginally probed and humiliated sound like a trip to the spa and personal salvation, all at once.
The transvaginal ultrasound bill is misleadingly called the Woman’s Right to Know Act and its introduction reads like a dream come true for all lovers of humanity and especially all those who hold women in high esteem:
“An act providing for ultrasound test requirements to determine gestational ages of unborn children; establishing the right to view ultrasound image and ultrasound video of unborn child and the right to observe or hear the fetal heartbeat.”
Note how it refers to the fetus as a child already, implying personhood.
Also note the reversal of language they use: establishing the right to view and hear as opposed to shaming a woman into carrying a pregnancy she doesn’t want to full term, which is really what this bill really is about.
The bill goes on to say that
“A woman considering an abortion has the right to receive complete and accurate information regarding the development and health of her unborn child.[…] In recognition of the importance of a woman’s dignity in making an informed choice, the factual information provided by an ultrasound test should be provided to a woman as an integral part of the informed consent necessary to undergo an abortion.”
According to the bill, a woman who has been patronized regarding her decision making abilities and who is being forced to undergo an invasive procedure under the guise of “informed consent” should take whatever dignity she has left – and which the State of Pennsylvania generously grants her according to the bill – so she can make an informed decision. One which lawmakers apparently believe a woman is really incapable of making unless they spell it out for her.
Instead of describing this bill as what it really is, namely violation of a woman’s body and insulting, they call shaming a woman into a pregnancy she never wanted as protecting her rights.
So ladies, this is all for your own good and protection. Lean back, take a deep breath, close your eyes and take it.
Segregation, Jim Crow Laws and the Woman’s Right to Know Act
This all sounds suspiciously like another epoch of our history; a dark epoch called Segregation and the Jim Crow laws that followed it. Back then, the same rationale of “this is done for your own protection” was used to justify de jure racial segregation in all public facilities in Southern states of the former Confederacy, with a supposedly “separate but equal” status for black Americans. One rationale for the systematic exclusion of black Americans from southern public society was that it was for their own protection. An early 20th century scholar suggested that having allowed blacks in white schools would mean “constantly subjecting them to adverse feeling and opinion“, which might lead to “a morbid race consciousness“. This perspective took anti-black sentiment for granted, because bigotry was widespread in the South (Murphy, Edgar Gardner. The Problems of the Present South. 1910, page 37).
History repeats itself over and over again and yet we don’t learn our lessons.
Corbett’s comments are disturbingly offensive and yet just one of the many hits agaisnt women and women’s rights in honor of Women’s History Month. Yep, no one knows how to better honor and respect women than men who legislate them to get unnecessary and invasive procedures as a means of getting a government permission slip to undergo legal medical care, who shame them by shoving an ultrasound screen in their face and who casually dismiss their concerns regarding it by advising them to just close their eyes.
Speaking of respect for women: in another totally non-intrusive way in the finest tradition of non-government interference that is so dear and near to Republicans, Ayatollah Santorum has vowed to ban hard-core pornography when elected into office, stating that “pornography is toxic to marriages and relationships. It contributes to misogyny and violence against women. It is a contributing factor to prostitution and sex trafficking.”
I am going to get into Santorum’s epic misinformation about porn in another post, but it is good to know that pleasure fucking, and not something like mandatory vaginal probing for a legal medical procedure, constitutes misogyny in the bubble unembarrassed, supposedly righteous, pious and god fearing hypocrites like Santorum live in.