If I was a betting woman I would have put my money on racism being at the forefront of the battleground of American culture. Or guns. The wage gap, reproductive rights, drug use, climate change.
Alas I should have known. Because the front line battle of American culture seems to be legislating who can use which bathroom stall and whether or not someone should garner legal protection for being, frankly speaking, an asshole in the name of ‘religious freedom’.
I guess I just didn’t realize how strongly people felt about urinals and tiered cakes.
I find it hard to believe that God cares so much about toilet stalls and wedding cakes that some folks feel they have to make laws about them to protect his followers from sullying their beliefs by possibly peeing in a pot next to Paul who used to be Paula. Or arranging azaleas for Adam and Aaron.
It is astonishing to me how much time and effort people are putting into hatred and bigotry in the name of freedom. Far from sullying someone’s faith, it is sullying the idea of freedom to include in its definition shunning, shaming or discriminating against someone else because they don’t have the same beliefs. Or sometimes they share the same beliefs but happen to dress differently or love a different person.
I know so many intelligent, caring people who believe in God, who go to temple or church or mosque, or who simply practice a more homegrown version of religion in their homes and hearts.
These people I know, some deeply religious, are not threatened by the way others live because they are secure in their own faith. They don’t need to hide behind malice in order to please their God.
If having a strong enough belief in God to know that living a good, kind, and decent life, looking out for others instead of shaming them, and finding joy in life rather than searching for ways to suck joy out of someone else’s isn’t faith, I don’t want to know what is.
If your idea of pleasing God is to shun and shame, if the strength of your faith comes from fear and segregation rather than living a good and enriching life you are not morally rich. Far from it. You are bereft. Left without even a religious pot to piss in, whether it is next to Paul, Paula or anyone in between.
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I am dying to ask these folks who are so concerned about other folks in the bathroom this question:
“What the hell are you doing LOOKING?”
The other question I want to ask the folks who are discriminated against:
“Why do you want to force a bigot to take your money?”
The world is a really strange place to be these days.
The bathroom one is a stumper for sure. Even my 70 y/o Catholic mother scratches her head and thinks they should just make all bathrooms unisex and be done with it that way no one is offended. The worst part about the chamber pot laws is that it would be FAR more dangerous for an identifying transgender male to use the women’s room than to just use a stall in the men’s room. And with the gun laws the way they are, it doesn’t take an overactive imagination to come up with a shoot-out at the stall. In terms of the other, I think it’s a matter of principle. No, someone probably wouldn’t want to give their money to a bigot, but if the bigot is legally protected, it’s like state sanctioned bigotry. And in a sense, they win. But yup, the world is strange. And the US seems to be leading the way at the moment!
Yes, we’re number one.
I can hear the chants of U.S.A!! from here, Elyse.
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Oh, it’s still about racism too, make no mistake. It’s just a racism less full-throated about announcing itself. Like the TV ad campaign in NC that stoked fear and anger towards transwomen by positing them not just as “men” lurking in the ladies’ room — but as *black* “men.” And most of these so-called religious freedom laws, while ostensibly preserving the sanctity of spaces where we perform those most sacred of activities (ie, sh!tting and pissing), also open legal loopholes for businesses and individuals to discriminate against interracial couples.
Sometimes I really hate this country.