Being biased against people without valid reason is wrong.
Still some people cling to the practice, so much so that if they lose the right to be horrible to one group, they keep plugging adjectives in, seeing if they can somehow get away with it when dealing with someone else. How about being biased against black people? Also bad? Okay, how about being biased against Muslim people? That good? Nope, still wrong. How about being biased against handicapped people? Better? What? Still wrong? Even if you find them unsettling? No? Not a valid reason?
Hmm...how about: being biased against gay people? That has to be okay. What? Also wrong? But what if your religion says it's okay? That must be okay, right?
That used to work. True. But it doesn't work so well anymore. Times change. More Americans now see it as morally wrong now. They finally get that there is no non-religious reason to be biased against gay people. None whatsoever. And what a refreshing miracle that is, to see the intake of breath in revulsion as Indiana passed a small-minded bill designed to afford small businesses legal protection should they decide that being a place of public accommodation doesn't apply to gays because, well, God hates them.
Fearful revanchists decided to cast this fight as a struggle for their "religious freedom," in their mistaken notion that if they put a positive-sounding name on their moral lapse, and frame the question so it focuses on their supposed rights to harm people and not the people being harmed, that it would work.
Which made for a very interesting week last week, particularly after my Wednesday column "We're not on the savannah anymore" pointing out the long decline of tribalism, being replaced by the modern world, thought not so much in Indiana.
I don't usually get into discussions with wrong-headed readers. I'm not the Idiot Police. Too many of them, not enough of me. Usually I brush off obvious haters with Samuel Johnson's wonderful line, "Sir, I have found you an argument; but I am not obliged to find you an understanding."
But this past week I found myself drawn in, sparing with people, well, because their insular worldview is so maddening. You just want to crack that stuck window open and let some fresh air, finally, into that stale mind of theirs.
I'll share a single exchange—this with one Robert Chernik, which kept me engaged, because it was such a queasy-making glimpse under the rock of bigoted thinking, I kept toeing at the mess, rapt. I'm including the entire email exchange, from April 1 to April 3, when I shrugged, bored, and gave up. Re-reading it, I assume you'll get tired and drop off much sooner, and there is no shame in that. But if can get through, notice his intense focus on self: me, me, fuckin' me. My remarks aren't polished legal arguments either—I'm firing them off, on the fly. But I think I make the case in a way I'm not too embarrassed to share. It might be easy to sneer at a guy like this, but remember: lots of people agree with him, which is another reason his thoughts deserve dissemination. Sunlight is a disinfectant.
Robert: You liberal nuts never cease to amaze. Have you even read the Indiana religious bill? Apparently not, because that's too much work for libatards. This bill is in essence the same bill signed by President Clinton while he was in office, if you morons just tried to do some research you would have known that! The bill simply reaffirms religious freedom guaranteed in the first amendment of our constitution, nothing more. But as usual facts just escape you people when the truth doesn't fit into your ridiculous agenda!
Me: As a matter of fact, yes, I did. Just one of your many mistaken assumptions. Time doesn't permit me to list them all. But just one observation that seems to have flown past you: from what you said, Bill Clinton seems to have become your moral compass. That's a new development, is it not? When did that start? I should also point out, it's not 1993 anymore. Or 1953. I'm sorry if I'm the one to tell you. Thanks for writing.
Robert: Clinton was never a moral compass for me, but having our rights protected is!
Our rights under our constitution can not be compromised to satisfy a few or of any group. If a business does not wish to meet your needs then go on to another that will. It's called shopping, probably a concept you haven't heard of! People should not lose their lively hood adhering to their religious doctrine. Talking about intolerance and hate, just who is being discriminated against here?
Me: Gay people are. Do you really not see it?
So if God tells me not to rent my hotel to black people, the Constitution protects that? Really? There is no religious doctrine that says you can't bake a cake for a gay wedding. The whole thing is an artificial dilemma constructed by haters to trumpet their hate. I'm not sure why. Why do you do it? Myself, I would be ashamed. Perhaps it's the sexual aspect that you find compelling. That must be it. Thanks for writing.
Robert: I didn't realize you were gay!
Why are you bringing blacks into this conversation? You have to bring up the race card comparing gays to blacks?? You can't make your point so go off target on to another subject and bring race into it.
The media has turned into a Circus, not reporting the news but creating the news. Just like the lie of Ferguson Mo. "Hands up don't shoot", you ignore the facts and report lies and innuendos! You all knew you were reporting misinformation on Ferguson after all the evidence was in but continued with the lies to stir that racial pot!
This bill does not discriminate or encourage people to. Your hero Clinton signed the exact bill and it wasn't in the 50s or 80s it was in the nineties but where was you indignation then??
Me: Just trying to use a simple metaphor you might understand. I'm not arguing with Bill Clinton fans -- you guys think you can smooth talk your way out of anything. Thanks for writing.
Robert: I'm not a Clinton fan!!!
But hey, let me put it to you this way
I walk into a kosher Jewish deli and order a pork roast and a pound of bacon
But the counter man tells me it's a kosher Jewish deli and they don't carry those products, but I demand he supply me with my order order. Finally a Rabbi comes in and says it's contrary to the Jewish faith to carry and sell pork products and asks me to try another non Jewish deli to fill my needs.
I go to my attorney and file a discrimination suit and demand the deli be closed and the owners pay a hefty fine and lose their lively hood.
Do you understand this?
Robert II (I lingered responding, and he must have so admired the beauty of this metaphor he rephrased it a second time): Not and never have been a Clinton fan!
Let me try simplifying this for you
I walk into a kosher Jewish deli and tell the counterman I wMt a pork roast and a pound of bacon, the counterman explains they are a kosher Jewish deli and don't carry pork products due to their religious beliefs and suggest I try. Non-Jewish deli for my request
I go directly to my attorney and file a discrimination law suit demanding a hefty fine and that the deli be closed for refusing me service!
Do you understand now????
Me: Sure, I understand you can't tell the difference between trying to order something that a place of business doesn't sell and that store not serving you because they hate you.
Thanks for writing.
Robert: Not wanting to cater a gay wedding because of ones religious belief is NOT hate! Why should ones beliefs be compromised to satisfy someone else? By Doing do you are in essence violating their first amendments rights of freedom of religion
That being the case then, just go to another business that will satisfy your needs, it's called shopping!!!!
You said you read the Indiana bill (which I doubt you did) show me the section if the bill that allows hate
or racism as a deciding factor!!
Illinois also passed the same law and your hero obama actually voted for its passage!
Me: Maybe you should be talking to all the Indiana businesses complaining, all the states banning travel to Indiana. They seem confused by what is clear to you. Though you are saying that if my sincere religious beliefs dictate that black people can't use my lunch counter, then the First Amendment protects that, which of course is just wrong. See, your argument is based on the idea that gay people are a shunned class of sinners, and that isn't true anymore. If, like the Amish, your religious dictates require you to withdraw from society, than that of course is always an option in a free country. But you can't pretend to be a place of public accommodation while dismissing those who don't meet your constantly shifting religious tests. No need to write back, as I really don't expect you to understand. But yout kids will. This is in many ways a generational issue. Though if you wondered who would show up at a school and scream at black kids trying to enroll, look in the mirror. It's you.
Robert: Again talking about blacks and not using a lunch counter. Go off subject because you can't make your point, typical liberal!
The states so called boycott of Indiana probably don't do business in Indiana any way plus it's not that large of a segment of the population, you liberal media guys do that, blow everything out of proportion to meet your agenda, what ever that is!
Just what are you libs hiding that your jumping up and down about a law that is already part of many states, including Illinois and the federal government?
Could it be the nuclear deal with Iran??? Because it's sure something you're all trying to divert our attention from!
I asked you what part of Indiana's law calls for racial and homosexual discrimination and you couldn't pin point it, just the usual lies and innuendos, admit it, you didn't read the legislation, you just jumped on the misinformed liberal band wagon and commented on something you didn't read or understand'
You should be removed as a reporter, talk about abuse of the first amendment! Freedom of the press does not give you free reign to lie!!
You are an mature
Me: One last time. Blacks aren't "off subject." The subject is your inability to view gays as human beings. I'm assuming that you are familiar with that view being used toward blacks, and you no longer feel that way. Maybe you don't understand that either. It's not my job to hold your hand while you try to understand common human decency. Goodbye.
Robert: How dare you assume to even know one iota about me and my family
Standing up for and defending our constitution is not anti-American, hateful or racist
You and your liberal ilk are what is destroying our American freedoms and our way of life!
This particular legislation just affirms all of our rights and really didn't need to be enacted except for the liberal attack on Christianity.
You should be ashamed but we all know your too ignorant for that.
Comparing the black struggle for equality to that of homosexuals is demeaning and shameful.
No One cares what one does in their bedroom and I certainly don't want to know, except for people like you, apparently ones sexual preference is what defines an individual in your eyes! Apparently you have never taken the oath to defend and protect out constitution but you're ready to destroy at the drop of a hat!
You disgust me!! And that's my constitutional right as well!!
Me: Thank you for writing. Happy Easter