Speaking Of Stupid…

April 9, 2009

Watch this:

Fucking infuriating. Let’s start with the California doctor who has to “choose between my faith and my job.” Doctors are forced to perform marriage ceremonies in California? They are prevented from discriminating in their practice against gay people. I’m not sure what this has to do with gay marriage, though. And why exactly should a doctor be allowed to discriminate against gay people or anyone else? What religious faith prevents doctors from treating gay patients? It’s a mystery.

Then there’s the New Jersey asshole who claims his church is punished for not supporting gay marriage. This is an outright lie. The Methodist Church in question, on the Jersey Shore, owns a beachfront pavilion that is rented out to the general public. We’re not talking about church functions here, we’re talking about a piece of property that’s incidentally owned by a religious organization. They refused to rent the pavilion to gay couples for civil union ceremonies, in violation of anti-discrimination laws. Again, this has little or nothing to do with gay marriage, which is not allowed in New Jersey at any rate. But the broader principle is that churches can carry out all the Medieval discrimination they like in their churches and in their religious practices, and can oppose gay marriage and refuse to sanctify such marriages to their hearts’ content. But once they enter the public sphere, say by owning residential property and renting that property to the general public, they are bound by the same anti-discrimination provisions as everyone else. Is this wrong? To believe otherwise means you believe that religious freedom always and everywhere trumps all other freedoms. This is idiotic. Once a church enters into the public sphere in a manner that is not in any way a function of their religious life – and this beach pavilion played no religious role whatsoever – they can no longer rely on the First Amendment for exemption from anti-discrimination laws. This is nothing new, folks.

Finally, there’s the woman in Massachusetts who supposedly sits helplessly while the state indoctrinates her children with pro-gay marriage propaganda. The horror! Yet in reality the state does no such thing. There are no classes in Massachusetts public schools that teach kids about the virtues of gay marriage. This actually refers to a lawsuit against the Town of Lexington, whose public schools teach kids about different types of families in our society. Gay couples (not necessarily married) are included. They are not taught one way or the other about the morality of homosexuality or the validity of some religions’ attitudes toward it, never mind gay marriage. They are taught that such people exist in our society and should be treated with the same respect and courtesy as all upstanding and law-abiding citizens. This is wrong? What should the state teach? Should it carefully avoid mention of gay people and pretend that such people don’t exist? And if a religion out there has a problem with some other group, say, Catholics, or black people, or women, should we avoid mention of them as well? If a class is studying the works of Oscar Wilde, should it carefully avoid any mention of the fact that Wilde was gay, that he was persecuted by the state for his homosexuality? Should it edit from his works any reference to homosexuality? If a religious group believes that women should not read, should the state stop educating women in order to avoid offending this group? Or any mention of women reading? If there are members of the community who are creationists and are offended by evolution, should it not be taught for fear of offending these people? People are free to practice their religions, but they are not free to impose it on others in the public sphere. Religion cannot dictate the curriculum in public schools – if it did, there wouldn’t be much of a curriculum left. Evolution may indeed profoundly offend some people, and in some parts of the United States, the teaching of evolution to kids may profoundly offend a significant number of their parents. However, to remove it from the curriculum (putting aside the issue that this would be removing essentially all of modern biology) would, in and of itself, be the imposition of specific religious beliefs by the state, and this violates the First Amendment. If you don’t like the teaching of the Big Bang, the age of the Earth or the Universe, evolution, the formation of our solar system, sex education, biology, if you don’t like your kids being taught in the same classroom as girls who don’t cover their heads, or in a classroom that acknowledges the existence of gay families or black people or women who have jobs and drive cars, too bad. You can take your kids out of the public school system. But you CANNOT dictate changes to the public school curriculum to suit your religious beliefs.

I’m sick of the lies and innuendo. Why don’t these people just come out and say what they REALLY think: they want a Christianist theocracy in which our laws are determined by Christianist beliefs. They want a watered-down version of the Handmaid’s Tale.

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