Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Independence From Religion Day

Christians have apparently forgotten what it is like to be persecuted.

Michigan, Mississippi and a spate of other states already had a similar law in place. Indiana, Virginia and now Arkansas have just passed an anti-gay/pro-discrimination law as well. The
Rallying against hate.
difference, though, is that Indiana and Virginia, for example, doesn’t have any laws that protect LBGT’s as a class. As reports on Virginia (and basically pertains to Indiana also), “The state of Virginia is set to pass a law which would allow anti-LGBT business owners to bar gay people, purely on the basis of their sexuality. The Virginia Bill states that anyone seeking or holding a business license from the state of Virginia in the state can refuse service or entry to gay people, on the grounds it ‘would violate the religious or moral convictions of such person with respect to same-sex marriage or homosexual behavior.’”

It is legalized discrimination meant to protect business owners who are also Judeo-Christian from catering to gays, though we all know that in reality the laws may eventually extend to anyone a business owner doesn’t like (and they will be able to invoke ‘religious objection’ in their defense). To be clear, I do think that a business owner should be able to deny a person service provided there is a good reason, where ‘a good reason’ is one grounded in reality. (That is to say being a religious Jew, Christian, or Muslim is not grounded in reality.) While those of us in the good ol’ U.S. of A. with any semblance of sanity or aren’t insane about inflicting our exclusionary beliefs on others can talk and give lip-service to how terrible these laws are, no one is doing much of anything about it. Sure, there have been street protests and several companies have bailed on planned expansions into Indiana, for example, but I don’t think it is enough. The people creating and passing these laws simply don’t understand how hateful they are being, where being hateful is simply primitive at this point in human history.

It is no longer acceptable. But you cannot reason with the kind of people who support these laws, the kind of people who, say, claim to be Christians but don’t act anything like Jesus. Take the Indiana Gov. Mike Pence for instance, who complained in an interview of, "an avalanche of intolerance that has been poured on our state" but seemed not to understand that what he’s done is allow the government to sanction just that, intolerance. You can only make such people understand by demonstrating what it is they are doing to people when they deny a person basic human rights. You can only hope to make them understand by putting them through the very thing they insist on doing to other people. That being the case, I am calling for a national day of protest, a day in which Christians are denied services by non-Christians based, of course, on ‘moral objections.’ Without getting into the particulars of my system of ethics, let’s just say I find the morality of Judeo-Christians quite disturbing. Why shouldn’t I, or anyone else with a different system of ethics – one based on science since science is apparently a religion to the Christian right-wing – deny Christians service based on a ‘moral objection’?

Unfortunately, Easter is too close to raise awareness of and organize such a protest. My solution is to make July 4, 2015 in the U.S., America’s Independence Day, Independence From Religion Day* by being intolerant of the religiously inclined and invoking a ‘moral objection’ as the reason for denying certain people services. On a day that is only allowed to be celebrated by straight Judeo-Christian patriots – since you’re not a patriot if you’re not a straight Judeo-Christian – I say we hold what is the social equivalent of the Boston Tea Party; the rest of us are going to take the rights straight Judeo-Christians take for granted and throw them overboard. Extremist straight Judeo-Christians need to be shown that freedom from religion in just as important as the freedom of religion.

[Sorry, can’t think of a catchier title at the moment.]

This was a lifetime ago! And today?
I will admit that this seems like a rather extreme measure to take but ‘extreme’ is the only thing extremist straight Judeo-Christians understand. There is only a shred of hope that the people who wish to legally discriminate can come to see that Independence Day really should be called ‘Interdependence Day;’ America has long suffered from a fractured psyche (in no small part due to the Reagan Years) and it is time to re-establish a national identity. These discriminatory laws cannot accomplish that. Making bullies understand what they are doing by showing them how it feels is the only possible hope in putting the U.S. back on the road to unity. Okay, okay, not that the U.S. was ever really unified – some group somewhere was always getting the shaft – but few will argue that the U.S.’s current national identity isn’t like Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde at best. The sane among us cannot stand idly by and let religious lawmakers create laws in their favor. And so the sane among us have no good recourse but to deny their kind service.

Certainly there will be practical difficulties. For instance, it is not always immediately clear who is and who isn’t a religious wing-nut. In cases where it is known, servicing a religious person should be politely declined and the reason for denying service given; “I’m sorry Mr. White, but I morally object to the nature of your ethics and therefore cannot in good conscience serve you today.” There is also the matter of whether to deny service to religious people who are not dicks, which in actuality would be most religious people (in my experience). Should those people be denied service? For the sake of consistency, I would have to say ‘yes’ as doing so would result in the situation being recanted to the denied party’s family and friends who are also likely to be religious. While I don’t like the idea of there being ‘collateral damage,’ no good revolution has come about without some innocent ‘blood’ getting spilled.

The year is 2015. Americans are not dirt-snorting, cave-dwelling misogynist towelheads that like to behead people for petty reasons. Some people should stop acting like that’s what they want to be, or if they want to, be that person somewhere else. The U.S. is no longer the place for you.

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