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Religious Freedom?

The Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed through the state Senate yesterday by a vote of 40 to 10, thanks to the heavy Republican support.  The act will allow individuals and businesses to refuse services on the grounds of their personal beliefs.  It basically legalizes discrimination against LGBT individuals.  Supporters of the bill state that the bill is actually just strengthening the 1st Amendment rights of freedom of religion.  The bill is currently at the House of Representatives for debate and vote, where I hope it dies.

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I am 100% in favor of freedom of religion.  I do not enjoy being told what I should or should not believe, and I imagine the rest of the world feels the same way, regardless of their religion or lack thereof.  What boggles my mind here is that my state wants to give the green light to businesses to boldly discriminate against LGBT individuals and couples while hiding behind a religion they may not even be that serious about.  This opens a door for hateful people to simply be hateful, denying services to others for the simple reason that they don’t agree with who they love, sleep next to, and spend their life with.

This bill is not protecting anyone’s freedom of religion.  This bill is destroying equality for every individual who chooses to live outside the norm of “man marries woman.”  This bill is hurting people who simply want to be free to be who they are.  This bill teaches children that being gay is not okay.  It sends a message that the LGBT community is less than the rest of us.  It sends a message to all that the popular belief is homosexuality is wrong, is a sin, and all who identify as such will be going to hell.

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I don’t want to live in a world where I can go get a coffee, have my haircut, and get a massage while someone else who happens to be gay can be refused those services over what they do behind closed doors.  In a world where we worry about the rights of recently released prisoners, who have raped and murdered and done unspeakable things, why are we so preoccupied with sexual orientation?  How does anyone else’s sex life affect us personally?  I don’t agree with polygamy, but I sure as hell don’t oppose it.  It’s not a choice I would make, but I’m also not affected whatsoever by any polygamous couple anywhere.  Their daily life has no impact on mine.

We need to come together and accept that being gay, transgendered, or bisexual is a fact of life.  I was born straight.  Others are born gay.  Some are born in the wrong body.  Some are gender blind.  We can’t help the way we are born.  A gay person cannot help being gay any more than I can help being a woman with brown eyes of average height.  Hate, on the other hand, is something we learn.  We are taught that certain things are wrong.  We learn to detest characteristics and choices people make.  We build a hatred towards things we don’t understand.  THAT is what we need to work on changing.

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This issue is as important as the issue of racial equality, if not more so, as sexual preference doesn’t stick to certain races or nationalities.  People would be outraged if a business refused service to every Hispanic person that came through their doors, yet we are going to be okay with the same business refusing service to a lesbian couple?  These are foolish and stupid things to judge people on and it needs to stop.  My husband pointed out that it wouldn’t be okay for a business run by a gay person or people to refuse service to straight couples, and if a bill was passed allowing this to be done, people would be enraged.  No matter what the discrimination is, be it skin color or religion or orientation, we should be doing all we can to fight against it, not be passing bills in support of it.

Some may argue that this is needed because children shouldn’t be “exposed” to certain things.  I grew up knowing what cross dressing was, understanding that different people have different skin colors, knowing what being gay meant, and accepting different religions and social/economic differences.  I am a better person for being exposed to so-called harmful things.  Drag queens aren’t going to go away, so what’s the harm in your child seeing one and asking a question?  If you want to argue that it’s inappropriate, then you better start shielding your child from Kim Kardashian, every 20-something during the summer, Facebook, Instagram, TV in general, The Walking Dead, professional wrestling, public places, college, popular music… you get the idea.  When it comes to harmful influences, the label of GAY doesn’t automatically qualify as harmful.

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We need to stop acting as if being gay makes someone a bad person or an affront to any god.  We need to stop calling it a perversion, as we all know that straight people can be more perverted than can be imagined; being into unusual things isn’t based on whether you are gay, straight, or bisexual.  We need to stop thinking that pedophilia is something exclusively affecting the gay community and sticking that perverted label to them.  We need to stop being such assholes, plain and simple, denying basic human rights to people based on things that are none of our damn business to begin with.

I currently have and have had gay friends (and family members), straight friends, bisexual friends, confused friends, slutty friends, repressed friends, and every type in between.  The only time the love/sex lives of any of them affected me is when a friend of mine decided to bang my boyfriend at the time.  Otherwise, they do them and I do me and everyone is happy as pie.  Unless someone is being a nuisance about something, I’m not bothered.  Who they sleep with, pray to, or what country they would travel to if they wanted to visit ancestors is of no concern so long as they are a decent and honest person.

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My mother once told me that if I ever brought home a black man, she would disown me.  One parent among many who will turn away from their children based on who they love.  One person among many who think its acceptable to deny rights, goods and services, or even kindness to another based on characteristics that don’t define character.  My son will likely grow up unable to say that he lives in a world where an LGBT individual receives the same rights and privileges as a straight individual.  In a country that loves to proclaim it’s the land of the free and of opportunities, how utterly pathetic is that?

 

 

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About Jamie C. Baker

“Long time no see. I only pray the caliber of your questions has improved.” - Kevin Smith

Posted on March 4, 2015, in Fear, News and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Why are you expecting people in political power to respect LGBT (which isn’t the current acronym any more, by the way) when the people that elect them still haven’t accepted the fact that women are human beings, too?

  2. I read this yesterday and ironically I had a co-worker come by and ask me if it was okay to send, as he called it, “wall of text” about an ongoing argument he was having with a buddy of his about this same topic on FB. He wanted me to try and provide a more “Libertarian” minded approach to the issue.

    I was going to comment here yesterday, but due to his wall of text, decided to convert my response to him as a post that I am posting now.

    As you know, I am an agnostic and I support the right of gays to marry, or grow tomatoes, or rebuild engines, or whatever the hell they want to do. Just to put that out there, not because I support gay rights, I don’t, I support individual rights, and since gays also just so happen to be individuals, then I support them by default. It may seem like a distinction without a difference, but there is in fact an immense difference, which I laid out in my post.

    For now, let’s consider your statement that, “I am 100% in favor of freedom of religion. I do not enjoy being told what I should or should not believe, and I imagine the rest of the world feels the same way, regardless of their religion or lack thereof. What boggles my mind here is that my state wants to give the green light to businesses to boldly discriminate against LGBT individuals.”

    If an agnostic business owner does not want to do business with gays, therefore removing the cloak of religious protection, how would you change your statement above?

    • Is it wrong to say that I’m happy they’re at least being honest and not hiding behind a bible or a god? That said, I’m not okay with that type of discrimination, religion or no religion. As a business owner, your job is to serve the public. It’s unfair on so many levels to deny service based on sexual preference. It isn’t as if people enter a store, announce the gender of the last person they were intimate with, and then get on with their purchases. People are making judgement calls based on mannerisms, behavior, speech, etc. It’s horrifying. I have been mistaken for a lesbian before, not because I have a list of ex-girlfriends, but because I’m very huggy with people I like. I’m not the only person who can say this, and all of those people are in danger of being discriminated against because they happen to fit into the stereotypical mold of LGBT at one given moment in time. Likewise, I know some very undercover LGBT individuals who don’t give off any “typical” vibe of being anything but straight. So these business owners either have to ask every customer’s sexual preference and then, based on religion or personal preference, decide who to serve. Which is ridiculous. I would like to hear a good explanation from anyone on how they are possibly going to keep themselves shielded from the LGBT community entirely.

      • I see where you are coming from, I really do. Let’s toss around some what-if’s and see what you think about them. And remember, I am with you, I agree – the only difference is that I hold the business owners rights at the same level as the gay person’s rights. If the business owner can choose not to serve gays, then gays can just as easily not patron those businesses, or serve Christians within their own business. Everyone is equal.

        Business owners are not in the business to serve the public any more than the public exists to serve businesses.

        For example, can I make you, by force, spend your money at a particular store? Can I force you to buy everything you need from Amazon? Can I tell you that all electronic purchases must now be done exclusively through Best Buy? Is that within my power? Is that within my right?

        If the answer to all of these is no, then how can someone make a law to force a business to do business with a customer if you can’t force a customer to do business with a business? It’s the exact same thing in reverse.

        What if I am Christian business owner that owns a business and I don’t want to serve gays, and rather than serve gays, I close my business? You might not be too upset by that, but if you can force me to do business with someone who is gay, can you also force me to keep my business open to serve gays? In other words, just how much control over my business do you want to have to make me serve gays?

        What if, in the same scenario, I serve gays to keep my business open, but I use inferior ingredients. What if I use beet sugar instead of cane, and I always put my worst cake decorator on those jobs, and I burn the cakes a little too much in the oven, because I just don’t care. Since I am being forced to do this, then I will do it poorly. Will there be additional laws that require random audits of the products being made to make sure they are consistent with how they are made with others? Will there be a new government agency to handle complaints from gay people that feel their product was substandard and the business owner did not do his “best” to service me? Who will define the word “best” and then maintain an objective standard with which to measure it.

        Do you see how quickly this gets out of control?

        What if the business owner is gay and the customer is a violently homophobic? What if the business owner is Palestinian and the customer is Jewish? What if the business owner, back in the day, was Jewish and the customer was a Nazi?

        It is not the government’s business to force these people to do business with each other. Customers can boycott businesses, they can refuse to buy their products and services and those businesses will suffer those losses accordingly. If the losses are substantial enough, the business will change its mind, or risk going out of business.

        The purpose of a business is to serve itself and the beauty of that, is that it’s self interest requires it to serve the public by default, but only because of it’s own self interest. It’s own greed. But greed is controlled by demand from the public.

        If I open a Starbucks, can I charge $100 for a mocha. Yes I can! I absolutely can. I can charge $50 for a coffee and $25 for a danish. So if I can, if there is no law stopping me, why doesn’t every Starbucks just do that? Because it can’t, not because it doesn’t want to, and not because there is a law, but because the Starbucks down the street will charge less. And that is how you get to $3.50 mocha’s, because that is as low as the business can charge and still stay in business. But believe me, every Starbucks WANTS to charge you $50 for a coffee. They want to every single day. But the free market keeps them in line.

        So the business does not exist for the public, it exists for itself, but the public makes choices as to which businesses get their business, and that determines; a) what the business can charge for any given thing and; b) if that business even stays in business.

        We don’t need Government to sort this out. If a business does not service gays, then they will lose customers, lose enough and they go out of business. I know everyone wants the quick answer. They want Government to ensure “fairness” from cake makers with gay people to internet bandwidth, but every time we do, we invite the devil. In the end, the only winner is the government bureaucracy that explodes all over the scene and now gets to stick its fingers into every corner of our lives because we invited them in – when it just isn’t necessary.

        We sell or soul when we invite government, the devil grants our wish, but now it owns us. Now we can never get rid of it. The free market can solve these problems without it, which is why the Government is the loudest voice on why we need them so much, for everything, all the time, forever.

      • And no, youre not wrong about being happy about it. At least everyones cards are on the table.

        I dont think gays should use the gay defense anymore than i think the christians should use the god defense.

        Ethically, what we have are two groups of people that dont like each other for a specific reason, just like thousands of other groups for thousands of other reasons. We dont need a thousand laws to judge and mete for each of the thousand reasons, we should just accept that not everyone likes everyone else, and let them sort it out on their own.

        And everyone has THEIR reason that they believe strongly about, and they would all like a law to fix it. Thats just such a long, dirty, expensive road paved with lobbyists, special interests, government intrusion, oversight, tyranny…or they can put their big boy pants on and just work it out. Dont like them? Dont deal with them. Works both ways.

  3. And by the way, I still love your blog. Just venting out my thoughts.

  4. Hi there! Your write-up rocks too as becoming a legitimate amazing realize!??

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