koi and swan, sepia

Monday, March 30, 2015

Ruminations, factoids and geshtalty self examinations.*

Lot of stuff rolling through the ether, I'll try to affix a few virtual post it notes. 

I knew that Governor Mike Pence was headed for trouble in Indiana and that he was going to be digging himself a very big hole on the Sunday morning news show and dadgummit, I was right. I hate it when that happens.

He had six  opportunities to answer a very simple question; whether the measure legalizes discrimination against gays and lesbians. And he refused,  repeatedly rope a doping and squirming out of a very simple yes or no question.

It is rare in this day and age for a bigot or racist to actually self identify as one. You have to look at their actions and the crowd they hang with and then it is usually not so terribly difficult to discern. Never believe what anybody, especially a politician, is actually saying.

Interesting column from Tom LoBianco in today's Indianapolis Star. This controversy may actually be helping Pence with his electoral base.

I have been quite intrigued with the whole kerfuffle, and have enjoyed reading a wide range of reactions, both pro and con. The Federalists and the Libertarians, who never met an instance of private discrimination that they didn't love (let the market sort it out) are predictable but entertaining.
As a libertarian, I hold that everyone has a legal right to discriminate against, or organize a boycott of, an entity they don’t like. Laws like RFRA act as if religious reasons for discriminating against someone are valid in ways other reasons are not. To put it one way, they wrongly discriminate in favor of religiously-motivated discrimination.
The intellectually-consistent position is that all people should be legally entitled to practice discrimination, but practicing discrimination is itself a tactically unsound way to achieve social progress.
I don't want to spend a lot of time hashing this thing out again but thought that this article from Mother Jones was spot on. This bill is not like all the other bills across the nation  and this is how it is different:
The Indiana statute has two features the federal RFRA—and most state RFRAs—do not. First, the Indiana law explicitly allows any for-profit business to assert a right to “the free exercise of religion.”....What these words mean is, first, that the Indiana statute explicitly recognizes that a for-profit corporation has “free exercise” rights matching those of individuals or churches. A lot of legal thinkers thought that idea was outlandish until last year’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, in which the Court’s five conservatives interpreted the federal RFRA to give some corporate employers a religious veto over their employees’ statutory right to contraceptive coverage.
Second, the Indiana statute explicitly makes a business’s “free exercise” right a defense against a private lawsuit by another person, rather than simply against actions brought by government. Why does this matter? Well, there’s a lot of evidence that the new wave of “religious freedom” legislation was impelled, at least in part, by a panic over a New Mexico state-court decision, Elane Photography v. Willock. In that case, a same-sex couple sued a professional photography studio that refused to photograph the couple’s wedding. New Mexico law bars discrimination in “public accommodations” on the basis of sexual orientation. The studio said that New Mexico’s RFRA nonetheless barred the suit; but the state’s Supreme Court held that the RFRA did not apply “because the government is not a party.”
I also thought that the words of law professor and RFRA supporter Professor Daniel Conkle were disingenuous at best.  The bill is about establishing a legal standard and granting religious believers legal consideration does not mean that their religious objections will always be upheld. I'm voting for it because no court in their right mind would uphold it.

If Eli Lilly and the NCAA exert a little muscle, methinks this bill is toast. Because if there is one thing they love as much if not more than god and apple pie in Indiana, it's basketball.

Lost in the RFRA white noise is the good congresswoman from Arizona who opined last week that church attendance in our republic should be mandatory and required.

Republican Sen. Sylvia Allen, of Snowflake was involved in a Senate Appropriations meeting when she tossed this one out:
“And how we get back to a moral rebirth in this country, I don’t know since we are slowly eroding religion at every opportunity that we have. Probably we should be debating a bill requiring every American to attend a church of their choice on Sunday to see if we can get back to having a moral rebirth,” she said.
I think that it would be advisable to worry about your own moral rebirth and keep your nose out of mine, Sylvia. Because if it is a requirement there isn't much choice involved, is there?

Charles Calvert, fifth Lord of Baltimore
But for a little background, this is a teaching moment. Our forefathers came to this land escaping religious tyranny of the kind the Arizona Congresswoman advocates. The land they were escaping from was of course Massachusetts, where the nasty anglicans and puritans were making life miserable for everybody.

The concept of religious freedom was first enacted in Maryland, founded by the Catholic Lord Baltimore, in 1634. The Lord drafted an act that was enacted that read "No person or persons...shall from henceforth be any waies troubled, molested or discountenanced for or in respect of his or her religion nor in the free exercise thereof."

Unfortunately some sixty plus years later, after Maryland's Protestant Revolution of 1689, freedom of religion was again rescinded and an act was passed forbidding Catholics from holding political office.

Eventually other states followed suit in trying to establish beachheads for the free exercise of the religion of your choice, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Connecticut. Madison and Jefferson were both firm proponents of religious freedom, perhaps borrowing the concept from Roger Williams, a Baptist.  Thomas Jefferson wrote that the First Amendment erected a "wall of separation between church and state." A wall that some people in this country have been trying to breach for centuries.

 Got a letter from a friend who gave it to me pretty good last week. What can I say?

I laughed at your blog.  Sometimes……
well…I was not laughing at YOU, just the notion of this old fart forcing himself to write down his ongoing geshtalty self examinations and in particular the idea that you actually think you are on your own when you arrive to find an entire corps of like minded enthusiasts….

I also received a wonderful letter from a newspaper editor telling me of her fondness for my writing and suggesting that I go into syndication. That is very kind. Thank you for the compliment. Don't think it will ever happen. But we are still barreling down to a million views and I am very proud of that. Hard to do that without lots of pictures of boobs or cats.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, should the rightists manage to make church compulsory I believe we will see a great flowering of religion in this country: The Church of Polyamory. The Church of Dionysus, And the Paul Sartre Church of meaningless futility.