Tag Archives: religious freedom

Meanwhile, Georgia is Still Fighting Gay Marriage


In other, less heartening news, I woke up to this in my Facebook feed today (yeah, I know, only old people use Facebook anymore, shut up): the Georgia senate has approved a law which “protects religious freedom”.

God dammit.

Here’s a salient central point from the actual bill (which I looked up and read).

Government shall not take any adverse action against a person or faith-based organization … on the basis that such person or faith-based organization believes, speaks, or acts in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief regarding lawful marriage between two people, including the belief that marriage should only be between a man and a woman or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a union.

Emphasis mine. The bill in its entirety can be read here.

I’m not a lawyer by any stretch, but I’ve re-read the passage several times and I don’t see where they say that those actions are limited to refusing to perform a marriage, as the header in the bill claims. In other words, you can do or say or believe whatever the fargo you want, as long as you’re doing so because of your religious beliefs about gay marriage.

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Refuse to bake a cake for a gay couple? The Georgia legislature stands with you. Shout and proclaim that gays can’t get into heaven or god hates gays or simply that you don’t feel like serving gays? The Georgia legislature stands with you. Send a homosexual couple a bag full of excrement on the day of their wedding? The Georgia legislature stands with you.

I’m also going to go ahead and point out the idiotic double-talk present in the bill. Up in that section above, see where it says “lawful marriage”? Much as the religious right hates it, chokes on it, can’t stand the thought of it, GAY MARRIAGE IS LEGAL IN THIS COUNTRY. This law, and any law like it, is about prejudice and the denial of human rights, pure and simple.

Its proponents are predictably smarmy and blind to the double-edged sword they’re creating. Georgia’s lieutenant governor, Casey Cagle said, “We are simply ensuring that no Georgian suffers at the hand of our government for their view on marriage.” (Torres, Atlanta Journal-Constitution.) No Georgian, of course, except for those who are denied services or basic human decency because our leaders want to pander and wring their hands and stroke the egos of the religious zealots who want the world to bend their way.

I guess southern hospitality is reserved for those who think, believe, and worship the same way you do. Discriminating against a black person will land you in jail. Discriminating against Muslims apparently might get you elected present. But discriminating against homosexuals? Just say it’s a religious thing, and let the hate flow!

On a personal note, I can’t wait for a Muslim or Jew or atheist business owner to start denying service to homophobic Christians under the protection of this law. Because the moment that happens (and it would be LEGAL under this law), the “persecuted” will be shouting about discrimination and religious freedom all over again, except this time, they’ll be doing it to repeal the law they just got done passing.

The bill hasn’t passed yet, but according to the AJC, it’s just about a sure thing that it will.

As an atheist who thinks most religion is focused on a lot of the wrong things; as a teacher who has to turn around and explain things like this to young minds; hell, as a decent human being, I’m appalled at this. I’m ashamed that the people who have worked so hard to get this legislation passed represent the rest of us to the rest of the country and the rest of the world.

In forty years, we’ll be looking back on foolishness like this the way we look back at the shameful history of Jim Crow laws and segregation. Our kids, thank goodness, will think we were insane for having laws like this on the books.

In the meantime, those of us who don’t have our heads up our asses have to live with this crap, and we have to try to explain it to the rest of the world as they laugh their butts off at how bass-ackwards we are.


Easy Money — But the Hatred is Free


I know, I know. For the past few weeks it’s RFRA this, human rights that. But I’m not here today to argue about whether the RFRA functions properly as a backdoor allowing prejudice in a society that is trying to move past such a thing. Okay? I’m not here to talk about that. Never mind that, you know, it’s the 21st century, and we still have people in this country who think it’s vastly more important that they not have their feelings hurt by having to think about what goes on behind the closed doors of other people than to look out for the actual human rights of vast swathes of society… okay, god, it hurts to be so vague. Specifically the people behind RFRA, and in fact, behind the pizzeria I’m talking about here, feel really icky about homosexuals. To be more specific, they don’t feel that people that don’t like homosexuals (and, you know, whoever else they decide to hate that day) should be allowed to order cakes for weddings, or have a slice of pizza, or, god, I dunno, use the same water fountains as the rest of us.

But ahhh, there I go, talking about the issue I didn’t come here to talk about. Hate gay people if you want. In some states, it’s even going to be legal soon!

No, I’m here to talk about all the sweet, sweet green that’s out there waiting for you if you’re savvy enough to hop on the train early.

See, Memories Pizza is a trendsetter. They’ve shown us that you don’t have to work really hard, or even offer a good product, to make money… all you have to do is uphold a controversial point of view, get “persecuted” for it, and then complain to people — usually religious people, but I suspect it would work with other groups — and wait for the donations to roll in.

Because what’s important to people in this day and age are causes, not individuals.

Let’s say I have $20 that I don’t particularly need for myself. I know this is a stretch for most of us, but just work with the hypothetical. I don’t need this $20, and I want to use it to make a difference. I could take the money down to a homeless shelter and donate it directly, or maybe I go to the thrift store and buy a pile of coats and take those down to the homeless shelter. Maybe I prefer animals, so I take my money to the pet shelter instead. Or maybe there’s a donations bucket for wounded veterans or something out front of the grocery store. In those scenarios, I give my money to people that need it, though I don’t really get anything back for doing it — aside from the warm fuzzies in my heart.

Or, I could find a cause that I agree with and send the money there. A political campaign. The donations plate at my church. The GoFundMe page for a pizzeria that’s been closed down because of protests. Now I’m actively supporting something. Which means my money is speaking a little bit louder than just quietly buying meals or clothes for an anonymous group in need. I can put a face to the people getting my money. I can say that this person’s or group’s success is thanks to me. I’m part of something. And that’s important.

It’s so important that the pizzeria in question raised over $800,000 in the first 24 hours. That $800,000 didn’t come from the restaurant’s patrons; it came from anonymous people all over the country that wanted to support this particular pizzeria’s cause in discriminating against gay people.

That’s awesome, isn’t it? The owners can retire and never bake another pizza again, all because they hate the gays, and there were enough people in the country that think it’s bad they got backlash for hating the gays to send them almost a million dollars IN A DAY.

It’s all so clear now.

I’ve been laboring under the false pretense that the American Dream involved working really hard in your job and making enough money to provide you and your family a decent living. Picket fences and all that. But that’s yesterday’s dream.

In the age of the internet, there’s a new American Dream, and man oh man is it sweet.

The dream goes like this:

  1. Work somewhere. Anywhere. It’s probably better if you own your own business, but I don’t think it’s necessary.
  2. Acquire some controversial beliefs. Gay issues are hot right now and thus are probably overdone. Maybe look into weird oppressive stances on dwarf boxing, or insist that the earth is flat.
  3. Operate your business as usual until you meet somebody who runs afoul of your chosen controversial belief. Refuse to offer this person your goods and/or services based on your dispute over said belief.
  4. Make a big stink on social media about the argument that ensues. If necessary, call a local news station. (It’s better if the person you refused service to does this for you, but however the dumpster fire gets started, it works out in your favor.)
  5. Close down your business or resign your position, citing “protests from the community” or “online threats” or “fear of magical civil rights fairies”. Again, make a big deal about it on social media.
  6. Create a GoFundMe page in support of re-opening your business or getting your job back.
  7. Retire in Aruba.

This will work for as long as fools and their money remain in close quarters with each other. Oh, and for as long as people continue to hold their religious (or social, or scientific, or whatever) beliefs more dear to them than the rights of individuals.

Which will probably be forever.


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