An editor asked me to weigh in on Indiana's new anti-gay bigot empowerment act, which they somehow think is acceptable because it's directed at gays and draped in someone's idea of religion. The lede echoes "Welcome Back to the Steinberg Bakery," written last year when Hobby Lobby decided to thrust its hands down the pants of its employees to check what they were doing down there. But I figured it would be a new concept to most of the newspaper readers. The following only lived online Friday, it wasn't intended to be published, but I thought you might like to see it.
Before I begin today's column, I have to ask any menstruating women to stop reading.
No offense. But my faith believes you are unclean — it's written somewhere, I'm sure; I'm not going to bother digging out chapter and verse. So if you would set your device down, and go sit in the Hut of Shame for a few days and wait for it to pass, well, then I would feel better. You are welcome to read this column later, after you perform certain ablutionary rituals I will not describe here.
There, now my religious scruples are honored, I can cluck over Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signing a law Thursday that allows Indianapolis photographers and Bloomington bakers, Evansville owners of Grange Halls and Fort Wayne barbershop quartets, to refuse to serve gay weddings because, well, God wants it that way, in their estimation.
As far as why this should be limited to gays — why anybody of any faith should not use any religion as a reason to refuse any kind of service to just about anybody — has not been sufficiently explained. We have to take it on faith, I suppose.
I could use this as an opportunity to sneer at Indiana. The state where, in the mid-1920s, half the members of the same General Assembly that passed this law, and its governor at the time, belonged to the Klu Klux Klan, along with 30 percent of the white Protestant men. I assume that's no longer the case, but I haven't hard evidence.
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First and last haircut at a small town barber in NW Indiana, circa 2009.ReplyDelete
"Somebody oughtta do to that Obama fella what they did to them Kennedy Boys. That'll shut them damn lefties up."
I didn't feel the need to further the conversation while alone with someone having immediate access to sharp instruments.
he died in '68Delete
Oh yes I've seen a program about the Hassidic Jews having to go to some special bathing place when there period ends. Or the husband can't even touch her arm. One lady was ill, but hub couldn't touch her. Thanks goodness for the Reformed movement.ReplyDelete
meant their not thereDelete
What's with the creepy doll on the photo, Mr. S.?ReplyDelete
It seemed vaguely wedding-esque. And maybe a little find-a-photo-to-match-this exhaustion.Delete
Subtle nazi reference, untermenschen, and yes I agree using ones belief to justify putting your beliefs above theirs bears the stench of it. I'm right and you're wrong because my god is right and yours is wrong is not what a civilized society ought to be about.ReplyDelete
It's primal. A hardwired tribal response that sees difference as threat.ReplyDelete
Be it religion, race, ethnicity, geographic, it's all tribalism.
A reptilian brained response that leads to isolation and violence.
Getting to know people of different beliefs and orientations is the only solution, both globally and locally.
I think of the old Steel neighborhood of South Chicago, or the Back of the Yards neighborhood in its hey day. Old biases and bigotries were often relieved by proximity and intermarriage.
I have grandchildren that are the perfect example. Scott-Irish, Cherokee, French, German, Mexican, Polish, and Italian genes all coursing through the same veins, with Uncles and Aunts with African Blood. And Life long friends proclaiming their sexuality and marrying within their gender tends to shed a whole new light on your own prejudices towards homosexuality and the transgendered. It isn't enlightenment as much as it is just seeing others as human.
Fear and Pride seem to walk hand in hand.
I think all of it is BullSHIT!
My step-father was a Black man born in 1925 Arkansas. A man who was clearly angered and frustrated by his second-class status as an American, especially after having served his country and being wounded in WWII. I remember a moment in the late 60's when a friend of mine was singing along with James Brown on the record player "I'm Black and I'm Proud." This made my dad angry and he scolded my young friend, "You'd better learn to be a good man first and be proud of that. You had nothing to do with being Black."
The 1897 Indiana legislature tried pass a law setting the value of pi at 3. Just 3!ReplyDelete
It didn't pass, after the entire world laughed at them.
So, never expect anything intelligent from our bizarre neighbor to the east.
Yes, one can you expect in Indiana.Delete
The Crossroads of America.ReplyDelete
May be a fitting state slogan.
"No wonder conservatives are terrified of the concept of Sharia law: they're jealous."ReplyDelete
now what happens when the first atheist business owner refuses service to someone wearing a crucifix around his/her neck?
Excellent column today. I learned some things today. Thanks.ReplyDelete
Ergo, if a devout Muslim stones his wife to death due to her violation of his faith, he's protected under this law.ReplyDelete
I thought "lede" was a misprint, particularly when I didn't find it in my Webster's Unabridged, but Mr. Google informs me it is a usage peculiar to you journalist fellows. And that it has a history having to do with the printing process. Not a word I would ever use, but then I could say the same about demonym. Glad to know of it all the same.ReplyDelete
Too bad the piece wasn't published in the paper. It's a clear and witty exposition, justifying wider readership.
I just heard the good Governor on a morning talk show trying to mount a defense. After refusing to concede again and again that the bill is intended to discriminate against gays, he fell back on expressions of outrage at all the Indiana bashing that's going on, alleging that anyone who has been there knows that people answering to the demonym "Hoosier" are the friendliest folk you could ever find.. I spent a few weeks there once and everyone was indeed very friendly. But then I didn't go into any flower shops. And am not gay.
Quite a hoo-ha ha over an unenforceable law that 's not likely to have any actual affect in the real world. It's more of a symbolic middle finger to gay activists. People are free to not do business with anybody they don't want to do business with for any reason, and keep quiet about it.ReplyDelete
Is it really? You mean the legislature in Indiana passed a law in order to tell "gay activists" where to go/ I find that "activists" is the word that conservatives tag onto ordinary individuals in order to try to make their normal going about their business -- or trying to -- into something odious. If people are free to refuse service to people they hate -- really again? -- then why have the law? I'd say it's more of a governmental blankie offered to frightened bigots who can't stand that the world is changing. The hoo-ha was sparked by the law, not the reaction.Delete
I'm gay, and I still maintain the law will have little practical affect, aside from the symbolic. Nobody really wants to force business people into an unwanted transaction. A transaction has to be voluntary on both sides or it shouldn't take place. The motive is irrelevant. Forcing people into a business relationship they don't want, for whatever reason, is tyrannical.
Nobody forces you to start a business, just the same as nobody forces you into any profession. Once you decide to work for or profit off the public, you assume certain guidelines, such as serving anyone who requires your product. Wasn't that the point of the Civil Rights Act? Can I go to Indiana and refuse to educate children who are gay or whose parents are married gays?Delete
No wonder conservatives are terrified of the concept of Sharia law: they're jealous. EXACTLY!!ReplyDelete
So you can tell your real estate agent you want to sell your house but agree with the neighbors that "those people" should be kept out? Blacks? Jews? Moslems? Gays? Restrictive covenants have been illegal for many years. Why should the same principle not be applied to other commercial transactions?ReplyDelete
If someone doesn't want to make a cake for me and my husband we can google "cake" and find hundreds of bakeries who are willing to bake for us. There's no need to force someone to do something they don't want to do.ReplyDelete
Hmm..."If someone doesn't want to rent a hotel room for a black person, we can Google..." nope, not worth trying to explain.Delete
another good point, my eyes are being open and that doesn't mean I belong in Indiana automaticallyDelete
Well said, Phillipe. One might also be afraid as to what they might put in the cake if the business was forced.ReplyDelete
I don't agree with certain lifestyles but if they want to pay me for my products, that's fine with me.ReplyDelete
Neil, you seem overly obsessed with gays. Why is that?ReplyDelete
Because you don't see the crucial civil rights issues behind it, and only the sexuality, which makes you find it excessive. You can take comfort in that you're not alone -- there's a whole state of Indiana, for instance, that's got your back.Delete
Neil, I never thought of it that way, good point.Delete
On a side note - thank GOD the City of Chicago repealed that ugly ordinance or I would be out a lot of money.ReplyDelete
Then again, maybe putting this law back on the books would mean we can drop the red light cameras....
read the John Fountain article in the ST today or online if you don't get the paper-he is right in pointing out who can be blamed for problems in the hoodReplyDelete
Ah yes, next we can welcome child molestors and say they should be able to buy pro child molesting cakes with naughty statues so to preserve their civil rights. anything goes, same for polygamists, etc etcReplyDelete
Ah yes, the same logic that Southern bigots used to keep black kids out of the pools. Next they'll be dating our sisters. Which they didn't -- couldn't -- realize would happen, and be okay. Remember, you're anonymous so people won't associate your stupid ideas with you. One of the many drawbacks of being wrong.Delete
Don't get me wrong, I think it's a stupid law. I also don't think it's -*that* big of a deal. It's a solution in search of a problem. There just aren't that many businesses refusing to serve gays that it's a significant problem. It's even less of a problem that gays ar trying to force businesses to serve clients that they don't want to.ReplyDelete
It's common enough to pass a law to permit it. I understand what you're saying--people telegraph their comfort levels in these situations, and the gay couple going in for the big wedding cake and getting shown the gate by some zealot doesn't happen much. But I imagine a black couple being turned away from a hotel doesn't happen much, either, and the reason it doesn't happen much is it's against the law. Look, Jews used to not be able to check into fancy hotels. They, too, were sneered at for wanting to go where they weren't welcome. I'm sure your equivalent 60 years go found it "not a big deal." The rights of people you don't care for in the first place seldom are big deals. To you, but they are to them.ReplyDelete
The point I was trying to make in my original post is that the practical effects of the law will be negligible. The point of the law is a symbolic middle finger to those forces that made Indiana and other states accept gay marriage. Yes, I find that distasteful, but it's not the second coming of Jim Crow.ReplyDelete
And why exactly should the government of Indiana be in the business of thrusting "symbolic middle fingers" into the faces of people who simply want to live their lives without being condemned for who they are?Delete
Nobody said they should, and I'm certainly not defending it.Delete
Well said, Phillippe-it isn't Jim Crow or as pervasive and dangerous.Delete
Well. I think I'm going to let someone else swing at that one.ReplyDelete
OK, I'll bite. How exactly does Marcus Bachmann's "silly mess" differ from yours?ReplyDelete
Mr. Riley, You're nuts. Go read a science book.ReplyDelete
Riley are you one of those scientology nuts?ReplyDelete
So, you're the Gay Demon Exorcist?ReplyDelete
No, thanks, I'll wait for the movie version.
yuck, gefilte fish in picReplyDelete
In the old novel, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which was reality based, supposedly, the Jews would spit or worse in the pickle barrel that was suppose to be for gentiles. So I have the solution, you must sell your wares to anyone who can pay , but just spit in the cake if they are gay or if Nazi's come in to buy a sandwich, while you turn your back to add relish or such, spit in it. No harm , no foul, etc, (unless you have TB) (wink)ReplyDelete
Proud of that solution, are you?Delete
Although I might seize on it, to explain the occasional typo. They're there for the readers whose lives I disapprove.
I guess acceptance isn't an option then?
I was being sarcastic, against those who would support that rel. law in Indiana.Delete
Sarcasm just does not work in this medium. Did no one see the movie "Fight Club"? Just do not ever order the soup! I'm not gay so I don't see the problem. I also do not "see" gay like I can when I see those black thugs. I would also like to applaud all those bigots who will proudly advertise their bigotry with signs in the window. I have long wasted too many moonless nights with this pile of unused bricks. SpirilisDelete
Fast-forward three years: Mike Pence, the bigoted and formerly-obscure governor of a bigoted and backward state, has advanced to possibly becoming the next President of the United States. The mind boggles, but nobody seems concerned. Too much other madness going on. Pence is keeping a low and quiet profile while his deranged boss turns America into one of the "shithole countries" he tweets about.ReplyDelete
Fast-forward three more years--it's now 2021. Is the boss still around? Is Pence now the Boss of Bosses? How far down the shithole have we fallen? Is there even still a shitlhole? Have the maniacs blown it up? Watch this space.