Monday, March 10, 2014

Week of 03/10/2014

Liberty Or License?
– by David Matthews 2

In the 1860’s, southerners in America were told that they couldn’t keep people as slaves.  They had to treat the people they once considered to be sub-human to be on equal footing with them.

It’s not like this was news to them.  The effort to end slavery was going on for generations.  It was a major contention during the cobbling of the Declaration of Independence, especially when it came to the famous line “that all men are created equal”.  But southerners maintained that they were justified in what they did.  They called it “heritage”.  They called it “culture”.  They believed they had a biblical right to own others.  They even tried to separate from the United States and waged a bloody civil war to keep this supposed “right” intact.

What they were really defending, of course, was their own sense of superiority.  Institutionalized, codified, and passed from one generation to the next, it is the ego-centered narcissism that says in no uncertain terms that one group of people is superior over another group.

And when the Civil War ended and the southerners were defeated, they refused to accept defeat, just like they refused to accept that they were ever in the wrong.  When the U.S. Constitution was amended to say they couldn’t keep slaves and that they had to recognize the “all men are created equal” line as applying to all people of race, southern legislators wrote laws that said otherwise.  And when those laws got tossed out in the courts, southern legislators wrote new ones.  They created the asinine idea that you could have two separate standards and yet somehow be “equal”, just like they once championed the idea that certain people were only three-fifths human beings.

They did anything and everything they could to continue the delusion, the ego-centered arrogance that they were still inherently superior over others.

And now we are seeing that same pompous, self-serving, narcissistic, arrogance rear its ugly head once again.

Only this time it’s not about racial superiority.  It’s all about religious superiority.

Religious groups are busy pushing so-called “Religious Freedom” bills through state legislatures.  While some, like the one in Georgia, seem to be more of a solution looking for a problem, several others bills being rushed through aren’t even trying to be subtle.

The scripted argument being used is this: A bakery is visited by a same-sex couple looking to have someone bake them a cake for their same-sex wedding.  The baker is a thumper and believes doing business for the same-sex couple is a violation of his or her religion, but he or she also doesn’t want to get sued for discrimination or make a stink about it because that is bad for business.

Thumpers claim they don’t want the baker to be forced to “sacrifice” his or her religious beliefs by doing business with the same-sex couple.  What they are demanding is a religious veto, similar to a heckler’s veto, where the person says “it’s against my religion” and the other person is obligated to shut up and go away.  No retribution, no lawsuits, no boycotts.  Just shut up and go away.

I’m sure some of you are saying “where’s the harm”, right?  Well if that’s the only bakery in a fifty-mile area, I’m sure you can see the harm.  But let’s use a different scenario to really drive the point home.

9-1-1 call goes out to a home.  Someone is injured or sick.  They could die unless they go to the hospital and are treated immediately.  Minutes count.  Police call for an ambulance.  In many communities, the ambulance service is a private organization.  Ambulance driver realizes that this is a home of a same-sex couple.  The ambulance driver says “it’s against my religion to help” and refuses to allow the injured person into the ambulance.  Another driver has to be called, or maybe even another ambulance service needs to be summoned, and hopefully that one will “allow” the patient to be transported to the hospital.

The near-death patient is transported to the nearest hospital.  The Emergency Room doctor on-call takes a look at the sheet, sees the patient is in a same-sex relationship, and says “it’s against my religion to treat this person” and demands another doctor come in.  The hospital administrator hears what is going on and tells the patient’s partner “our religion says we can’t treat this person; go find another hospital”.

Far-fetched, you say?  It wasn’t that long ago that some hospitals were turning away patients on the basis of whether or not they could pay, even on an emergency basis.

And remember the whole debacle with the pharmacies refusing to fill proscriptions based on their “religious beliefs” and then keeping the scripts?  It was only a decade ago, and it’s still being hashed out in the courts and legislatures today.

Here’s the kicker: in some of the legislation being rushed through, the proposed legalized discrimination on the basis of “religion” isn’t just generic.  The LGBT community is actually being singled out by name.  So discrimination against other religions in the name of religion would still be wrong.  Discrimination against other races or ethnicities in the name of religion would still be wrong.  Discrimination by gender in the name of religion would still be wrong (as long as it doesn’t pertain to either sex or abortion).  But one group would be legally singled out as being “allowed” to discriminate against on the basis of “religion”.

And they don’t see what’s wrong with this picture?  They who claim to champion “history” and they don’t remember what happened the last time a specific group was singled out for “legalized” discrimination?

Let’s get brutally honest here… this is Jim Crow all over again!  This is the singling out of a specific group for discrimination sanctified by legislation.  The only difference is the group being discriminated against.

Even worse, they’re using their interpretation of religion as an excuse; claiming that their First Amendment rights trump everything else.  This from the same political faction that loves to carve out exemptions to other parts of that same First Amendment!

But what they want is not “liberty”.  It’s “license”.  They want the green light to discriminate against those they hate without consequence.  “Liberty” applies to all.  “License” only applies to those that meet certain standards.

And make no mistake: this is all about their religion, and their ego-centered interpretations of that religion being given superior status over everything else in society.  This is about feeding their egos, believing that no matter what the rest of the world feels about the evolving stance of the LGBT crowd, their views and their interpretations of religion are the “superior” views.  Their views and their stances are the ones that get preferential treatment in government.  Their views and their beliefs are the ones that get codified and sanctified and enforced by government.  “Their” will be done… on Earth, in the name of their Heaven.

Just like the pro-slavery factions were wrong, so too are their modern-day successors.  They are not the “superior” group.  Theirs is not the “superior” belief.  They are just pompous narcissists demanding something that they have neither earned or should they ever deserve.

1 comment:

okienurse said...

David being an ER nurse I remember some of the scenarios you are depicting up close and personally. In the 1970's when the first incidence of an HIV+ person was in a serious traffic accident and was made to wait for care until after the non-HIV people were cared for...almost cost him his life right then. There are laws in effect and hospitals and staff can't refuse to care for these individuals openly. The focus has shifted now to hiding their predjuices and discrimination but the same things are happening. Jim Crow...hmmm...remember the Tuskegee syphilis experiment? Laws are made but enforcement seems to be lacking.