As many of you are doubtlessly aware, the Arizona State House has recently passed a new law which, simply put, legalizes discrimination against LGTB citizens by anyone who runs a business serving the public. The bill awaits Governor Jan Brewer’s signature before it becomes law, but the fact that it passed with solid majorities, in 2014, is a deplorable situation that must not be allowed to pass without comment.
The simple fact is, no matter what Gov Brewer decided to do, this law will be short lived. Not because those people who passed it will suddenly have a change of heart and become reasonable and tolerant human beings, but because the law itself is OUTRAGEOUSLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL. It violates the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause in about a hundred different ways, and won’t survive five minutes of judicial review, even in today’s right-leaning Supreme Court.
So, what we’re talking about here isn’t so much a step backwards for equality, but a histrionic fit from the extreme rightwing of our polity, a death spasm coming from the still-warm body of bigotry and discrimination that has already been largely vanquished. These folks look around today and see that over the last ten years, the ground has simply disappeared from under their feet. From the death of DADT, DOMA, the shocking speed at which same-sex marriage has spread among the states, the complete flip of national polling on the issue, to the reality of a gay athlete in the manliest of sports, they simply weren’t prepared for the speed and scope of their total failure. Things are moving too fast for them, they’ve barely been able to process one defeat before five more have piled up on top of them. The rate of change is just too much for them to handle, so they’re fighting back like a cornered animal; no strategy, no skill, just pure, unadulterated violence.
What’s being revealed here is very telling, at least to me. The AZ bill, very similar to one that failed to pass in Kansas, (seriously, Arizona, Kansas knew better than to walk over this cliff, anti-evolution, butt-of-all-jokes KANSAS!) was written to hide its discrimination under a veil of religious protection. You see, these poor Christian business-owners were being persecuted by being forced to provide services to those queers, who kept getting their sin juices all over everything. And everyone knows queer sin juice doesn’t wash out, leaving a stain of immorality on whatever they touch. Sure, the disguise was about as convincing as an NBA Center in a Sailor Moon outfit, but that was the justification it passed under.
But what does that tell us about the “Christians” who would choose to refuse service to homosexuals on religious grounds? Well, here’s what it tells me: They aren’t Christians at all. The story of Jesus, whether you believe him to be a real historical figure or not, is one of tolerance and acceptance. The people he broke bread with were lepers, prostitutes, the hungry, the poor, the people society had rejected as unclean. His story and message was one of universal love.
Let me ask you a simple question: Who Would Jesus Deny Service? If you actually read the fucking Bible, the answer is pretty clear. Jesus would deny service to NO ONE, (well, maybe money changers).
Anyone who would deny service to the LGTB community on religious grounds may indeed be religious, but they are anything but Christian. They are not following the clear and unequivocal example set by their founder. The irony here is the very bill that was passed under the guise of protecting Christians is perhaps the most anti-Christian bill imaginable. It codifies discrimination, something that Jesus fought against his entire life. Many of the same people here in the U.S.A. who are so terrified of Sharia Law coming to our shores have embraced a bill that the Imams in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt would support whole-heartedly. That’s pathetic.
The modern rightwing obsession with homosexuality is simply baffling to me. Why is this the one group that a certain group of Christians care about discriminating against? Why gays and not divorcees? Why are “Christian” bakers not fighting for the right to refuse service to gluttons? Would that eat into profits too much? Why not fight for the right to deny services to couples who had premarital sex? I just can’t understand what the big fucking deal is if two gay people want to use their bodies in many of the exact same ways straight couples do.
And what happens the first time a Jewish deli in Scottsdale denies a Lutheran their morning bagel on Saturday? Or a Muslim denies a Catholic a humus tray during Ramadan? Can you just imaging the fucking shit-storm that would come about if these same people faced ACTUAL discrimination because of the law they passed? Usually, I have very little patience for discussions of ‘privilege’, ‘micro-aggressions’, or a dozen other liberal buzz-words, but in this case they are exactly appropriate. The people who designed this law intend to use the overwhelming majority position of their beliefs in society to allow them to discriminate against a disadvantaged minority group with very little risk of the same thing happening to them. They are trying to codify their privileged position into law.
Not only is that anti-Christian, but it’s anti-American, and real American Christians must fight it if the label is to have any meaning whatsoever.