Friday Reads: The Theocratic Tango

Good Morning!

bigotsRight wing religious extremists in the US continue their incredible movement to ignore our Constitution’s separation of church and state to push hate agendas throughout various states in the country.  The hate was front and center in Indiana as Governor Mike Pence signed a bill that basically labels bigotry as “religious freedom.”  We continue to see Jim Crow type laws established so bigot business owners can openly refuse service to GLBT Americans.

The Indiana bill is part of a wave of recent legislation seeking to guarantee “religious freedom” on the part of organizations or businesses who want to retain the right to discriminate against gay people. While the advocates usually posit a baker who doesn’t want to have to take business from a gay couple seeking a wedding cake as the person the law would protect, the laws are often written so vaguely that they would allow almost any kind of discrimination, so long as the discriminator justifies it on the basis of their religious beliefs.

The bill in Indiana doesn’t mention words like “gay” at all. It merely says that the government can’t “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion.” And a key element of the conservative Christian argument about religious freedom is that “exercise” of religion isn’t just about rituals and prayer and worship; it extends to everything, including commerce.

The implications are therefore enormous. Forget about the baker — what if you own a restaurant and think homosexuality is an abomination, and therefore you want to hang a “No gays allowed” sign in your window? Under this law, you’d be able to. Or what if you’re a Muslim who owns an auto repair shop, and you want to refuse to serve women, because you say your religion tells you that women shouldn’t drive?

Those kinds of concerns are what led former governor Jan Brewer to veto a similar bill in Arizona, after she got all kinds of pressure from the state’s business community, which feared boycotts of the state. That same pressure has been building in Indiana, though it doesn’t seem to have moved Governor Pence.

The more news this Indiana law gets, the more likely it is that it will become an issue in the presidential primaries. And it fits neatly within the key divide among Republicans: on one side you could have business groups that are nervous about negative economic impacts and strategists who don’t want the GOP to be known as the party of discrimination, while on the other side you have candidates eager for the votes of religious right primary voters.

Pence signed the bill in private and against the outcry of many in the business community who are now pulling business from the state.  This is from the lunch counterIndianapolis Star. This includes a video of his statement and a presser with Q&A.

The nation’s latest legislative battle over religious freedom and gay rights came to a close Thursday when Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a controversial “religious freedom” bill into law.

His action followed two days of intense pressure from opponents — including technology company executives and convention organizers — who fear the measure could allow discrimination, particularly against gays and lesbians.

Pence and leaders of the Republican-controlled General Assembly called those concerns a “misunderstanding.”

“This bill is not about discrimination,” Pence said, “and if I thought it legalized discrimination I would have vetoed it.”

Senate Bill 101 prohibits state or local governments from substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion — unless the government can show that it has a compelling interest and that the action is the least-restrictive means of achieving it. It takes effect July 1.

Although the bill does not mention sexual orientation, opponents fear it could allow business owners to deny services to gays and lesbians for religious reasons.

Pence signed the bill during a private ceremony in his Statehouse office just before 10 a.m. Thursday. He was joined by supportive lawmakers, Franciscan monks and nuns, orthodox Jews, and some of the state’s most powerful lobbyists on conservative social issues.

The event was closed to the public and the press.

bigots2As I said, the response from businesses was swift and drastic.

The CEO of major U.S. corporation is following through on his warning to the State of Indiana to not pass a discriminatory “religious freedom” bill. 

Salesforce, founded in 1999, has grown into a $4 billion software corporation. It is a component of the prestigious S&P 500, and boasts 12,000 employees.

50-year old CEO, founder, and chairman Marc Benioff (photo), who started the company in San Francisco, and his wife Lynne Krilich, have given millions to children’s hospitals.

Recently, Salesforce came out strongly against Indiana’s discriminatory Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

“We have been an active member of the Indiana business community and a key job creator for more than a decade,” Scott McCorkle, CEO of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud division, wrote in a letter to Indiana lawmakers. “Our success is fundamentally based on our ability to attract and retain the best and most diverse pool of highly skilled employees, regardless of gender, religious affiliation, ethnicity or sexual orientation.”

“Without an open business environment that welcomes all residents and visitors,” he warned, “Salesforce will be unable to continue building on its tradition of marketing innovation in Indianapolis.”

Benioff has cancelled all business travel to Indiana. tumblr_m264nhl6rD1qguulqo1_500

Already, the gamer convention Gen Con and the Disciples of Christ church group had threatened to pull their conventions out of Indianapolis. Tech giant Salesforce said it would halt its plans to expand in the state, too.

The NCAA had hinted for days that the bill — which has the effect of allowing businesses to challenge local laws that forbid discriminating against customers based on sexual orientation in court — could damage the city’s reputation as a host of major sporting events.

Jason Collins, who last year became the first openly gay active NBA player, asked Pence in a tweet whether it is “going to be legal for someone to discriminate against me & others when we come” to the Final Four.

Still, Pence signed the bill in his office Thursday. In a statement explaining his decision, he pointed to President Barack Obama’s health care law — which triggered a lawsuit by Hobby Lobby to ensure the company wasn’t required to cover birth control through its employees’ health insurance plans.

Of course, the War on Women continues too with the Republican’s whackadoodle religious right taking the lead.  Arizona proves its once again the place where medical science can be damned when it gets in the way of fetus fever.

Doctors in Arizona might soon be required to tell women that abortions can be “reversed.” As the Washington Post reports, the Arizona legislature just passed a bill that is the latest in state-based attempts to ban women from using their own health insurance to pay for abortion. What makes this bill especially Orwellian is this attempt to force doctors to put the stamp of medical authority on the fantastical belief that women en masse are regretting their abortions hours after getting them and are miraculously getting them reversed through heroic interventions by Christian doctors.

I reported on this fantasy back in December, but to recap: Anti-choicers, backed by one particularly vocal doctor named George Delgado, are claiming that you can “reverse” medication abortions. A woman having a medication abortion takes two pill doses, one of mifepristone and then another of misoprostol. Proponents of “abortion reversal” would like you to believe it’s common for women to take the first dose and become wracked with guilt, desperate to save her pregnancy. To help these women, Delgado gives the woman progesterone shots, supposedly in an effort to reverse the effects of the mifepristone.

The problem is it’s almost certainly quackery. Mifepristone is not enough on its own to terminate a pregnancy some of the time, so you’re not “reversing” the abortion so much as interrupting the process before it’s complete. The progesterone shots reverse nothing—they are medically unnecessary theater, designed to portray anti-choicers as conquering heroes rescuing pregnant maidens from the clutches of abortionists. There’s no evidence of much demand from women to interrupt their abortions, and in the rare circumstances that someone is seized by regret, all she needs to do is contact her regular doctor about stopping the pills.

Forcing doctors to “inform” patients about an intervention that isn’t medically useful and isn’t really in demand serves no other purpose but to inject anti-choice histrionics into what is already a stressful situation for many patients. You should be able to get through an abortion without having to indulge a right-wing delusion.

I’ve had several friends travelling to Mississippi to defend the last standing abortion clinic there.  The Fetus Fanatics have physically attacked the building and are doing all kinds of crazy things there in the name of Operation “Rescue”.   So, here’s a little of that homegrown terrorism for you.

A couple nights ago, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the last standing abortion clinic in all of Mississippi, was attacked and vandalized by a masked intruder who destroyed security cameras and attempted to cut the power lines.

So I’ll just ice the cake with a little gratuitous Pat Robertson.  You remember him, he ran for the Republican presidential nomination and did pretty well back in the 1980s?  Ongoing investigations show that the co-pilot most likely downed that German Airliner in a murder/suicide action related to ongoing issues with depression. So, with that in mind … Here’s Patty!!!

Christian televangelist Pat Robertson suggested on Thursday that the co-pilot’s decision to crash Germanwings Flight 9525 could be explained if he was a Muslim.

French prosecutors concluded on Thursday that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had locked the pilot out of the cockpit, and then deliberately crashed the plane into the French Alps, killing 150 people.

“What happened to that plane that crashed into the French Alps?” Robertson asked on Thursday’s edition of The 700 Club. “Well, they’ve begun to find out. The pilot went to the lavatory and was soon locked out of the cockpit. He pounded on the door, begging to come in. But the door was not opened.”

“The co-pilot then takes the plane, pushes it into a dive and crashes it. The passengers are screaming as the plane went down. The pilot is yelling.”

“What a terrible tragedy,” the TV preacher continued. “Was that co-pilot a Muslim? Was he suicidal? What was it about him?”

Robertson later allowed for the possibility that Lubitz could have been “just psychotic.”

“What was it?” he wondered. “Why would he want to kill all those people?”

French prosecutor Brice Robin on Thursday described Lubitz as a 28-year-old German who was “not listed as a terrorist.”

Robin told reporters that he did not know Lubitz’s religion or ethnicity, but said, “I don’t think that’s where the answer to this lies.”

144769_600I’m still stunned by the murder fantasies of hyper-Christian and Duck seducer/murderer Daddy FuckBucks Robertson who seems to have replaced a smack addiction for talking religious smack.

Phil Robertson, the paterfamilias on A&E’sDuck Dynasty who also frequents the Christian speaking circuit, has stirred up controversy yet again by inventing a bizarre parable in which an atheist family is raped and murdered.

The conservative reality television star has a reputation for sounding off about controversial issues. In 2013, he came under fire for making homophobic remarks in an interview with GQ.This time, his focal point was atheists, whom—he asserted—have no moral compass because they do not believe in God. Here is the graphic story he told, per the audio from Right Wing Watch:

I’ll make a bet with you. Two guys break into an atheist’s home. He has a little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters. Two guys break into his home and tie him up in a chair and gag him. And then they take his two daughters in front of him and rape both of them and then shoot them and they take his wife and then decapitate her head off in front of him. And then they can look at him and say, ‘Isn’t it great that I don’t have to worry about being judged? Isn’t it great that there’s nothing wrong with this? There’s no right or wrong, now is it dude?’

Then you take a sharp knife and take his manhood and hold it in front of him and say, ‘Wouldn’t it be something if this [sic] was something wrong with this? But you’re the one who says there is no God, there’s no right, there’s no wrong, so we’re just having fun. We’re sick in the head, have a nice day.’

The moral of the tale? “If it happens to them, they probably would say, ‘Something about this just ain’t right,’” Robertson said.

Some fundamental Christians, like Robertson, believe that morality is dependent on the existence of God and by rejecting God, atheists also reject morals.

WTF is wrong with these people?!?!?!   Dude, nonsociopaths do not have to have imaginary beings threaten them with hell to do the right thing.  Doing the right thing is its own reward.  We can ask BB, but I’d say the guy has a serious case of projectionitis.

But, here’s a better question … why are we enacting their hateful, bigoted crap into our laws? And, why do these people get a public platform?

There’s way too many of them and way too few lions for my taste.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

29 Comments on “Friday Reads: The Theocratic Tango”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Thanks for covering the Indiana story, Dak. I had read about the bill a few days ago at Alternet, but I saved it for yesterday’s post. Here’s the link.

    Indiana Governor ‘Looking Forward’ to Signing Bill That Ensures Sweeping Discrimination.

    Mike Pence is a horrible person. Why anyone voted for him for Gov. is beyond me. Pence used to be my Mom’s House Rep. Ugh! There is no way in hell this bill is constitutional, but now it will have to go to the courts. I’m so glad that businesses are reacting negatively to it. It’s just disgusting!

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Harry Reid will retire at the end of his term.

    • janicen says:

      Good. He’s a drag on the party.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I’ll be glad to be rid of him. Maybe the next majority leader will be Dick Durbin. I just hope some Tea Party wingnut doesn’t replace Reid.

  3. List of X says:

    It sounds like according to Robertson, if the father believed in god, all would be just peachy in this scenario, because he’d know that the criminals would be eventually judged by a higher power.

    • janicen says:

      What kind of sick, twisted mind could even go there? I’m flabbergasted.

      • dakinikat says:

        I don’t think the guy realizes that most of us don’t even think of those things and don’t need some invisible friend to keep our base instincts in check. He almost beat a guy to death in a bar once. I think he is projecting his sick mind on to others.

        • ANonOMouse says:

          You’re so right. I don’t need some fire & brimstone preacher yelling hell at me to know right from wrong, good from evil. Robertson is the guy having demented fantasies about cutting penises off and raping innocent women and children. And he thinks L/G are sick????? What a pathetic little man.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            And I don’t think he’s ever known an atheist or an agnostic he just hates anything and anyone that doesn’t bow to his Christian dogma.

        • NW Luna says:

          Well, Redneck Fukaduk may need fear to make him not do bad things. The rest of us don’t want to hate, rape, maim, and murder people because a) we don’t want to, and b) we ourselves know quite well it’s wrong.

          Jesus, save me from your crazy followers. And I know Christians who are good people and who abhor bigotry and violence. The haters would be scary haters if their god was Allah or Jehovah or none at all. But so many of them have a fetish about a strong authority deity. Makes me shudder.

  4. dakinikat says:

    From the Louisiana Democratic Party:
    AG Caldwell Endorses Discrimination and Flouts Federal Law
    Caldwell Joins Suit to Deny New Spousal Rights Under the Family and Medical Leave Act
    Baton Rouge, La. – Attorney General Buddy Caldwell joined in on an out-of-state lawsuit Thursday that would continue to allow employers to discriminate against same-sex couples when administering family and leave benefits. A change to FMLA that will go into effect today prevents such discrimination.
    “Attorney General Caldwell is actively trolling the legal system in a desperate attempt to save his own career,” said Senator Karen Carter Peterson, chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “At a time when our state is facing the largest budget shortfall ever, AG Caldwell would rather squander the resources of his department in a futile attempt to cause additional harm to families in crisis – all to score political points from shrinking special interest groups.”
    The lawsuit in question came from the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. A majority of Americans now live in states where marriage equality is the law of the land. In every single challenge made to prevent equal treatment the courts have ultimately ruled that baring some loving couples from the benefits and responsibilities of civil marriage is unconstitutional.

    • dakinikat says:

      Today seems to be Red State Hate on GLBT Day.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Hate on the LGBT is everyday in the Red States. They better get over it because SCOTUS is going to rule in favor of Marriage Equality in just a few months and these stupid “Hate the Gay” laws will eventually be eliminated.

  5. ANonOMouse says:

    The most ridiculous part of the Pence story is that he is trying to make people think this bill wasn’t intended to allow discrimination against the LGBT community when there’s no doubt that it was and is. Apparently lawmakers believe that if you don’t say “homosexual” that exonerates them from the bill being described as a Anti Gay Discrimination Bill, which is exactly what it is.

    This bill will literally allow a shop-keeper, a hairstylist, a physician, a pharmacist, a hotel operator, a restaurant to refuse service to LGBT people solely on the basis of their “religious” belief. I can guarantee you that the LGBT people who live in Indiana are NOT be going back into the closet to avoid the consequences that this Bill promises. I can guarantee you that LGBT people across the Nation will not do business or support tourism in Indiana or any other State that passes such discriminatory laws, and I hope that those who care about us will support us in pushing back against these laws.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      It also allows employers to cull LGBT people from the workforce. Of course that is already happening, but this adds a whole new dimension of employer protection from discrimination lawsuits. And, this would also threaten LGBT people in housing. Damn, if I closed my eyes I could almost make myself believe it’s 1970 all over again.

    • gregoryp says:

      What is perplexing is that they can use the protection of “Religious beliefs” to get away with this when we all know what the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America states. It is in fact, the only law on the book that is necessary to protect religious rights. It is settled law and has been for many, many decades. The only people they are fooling is themselves. This law and others like it are all about discrimination and being able to discriminate against the people of their choosing.

      • bostonboomer says:

        They won’t get a away with it. They’ll just have to spend taxpayer money defending the lawsuit from the ACLU. The law is blatantly unconstitutional.

    • teele says:

      While there is no doubt that this is intended to show some special hate toward LGBT folks, the law does not specify that and indeed allows discrimination to be shown toward ANYONE if it is a burden to your religious beliefs — and you don’t need to belong to an organized religion, or show proof from your Special Book or anything. I think there are a lot of Catholics (who, like Mormons, are only considered Chistians by the Protestant fundamentalists when it is convenient), Jews and, of course, Muslims that don’t realize that the right to crap all over other people by producing the religion card trumps both ways.

      I was born and raised in Indiana, and still have family members living there, and couldn’t be more disgusted with the state. The only trade show I attend each year is held in Indianapolis, and I have already written to the organization that puts it on and informed them that our company will not be in attendance this year, nor indeed will I ever go again if they continue to host it in Indy (unless the law is repealed — and I mean repealed by the same legislators who voted it in, not overturned by a court). I am also writing to my primary vendors who display at the show, and letting them know that if they return to Indianapolis after this year (I do understand honoring commitments already made for this year), I will find other companies to purchase my raw goods from.

      When I do visit my mother or brother, I won’t be spending any money at any establishment that doesn’t have a large, visible sign outside their business announcing that they do not discriminate against anyone.

  6. ANonOMouse says:

    California AG moves to block ‘shoot the gays’ ballot initiative from going forward

    “McLaughlin’s initiative seeks to amend the California penal code to make gay or lesbian sex a capital offense punishable by “bullets to the head or by any other convenient method”

  7. ANonOMouse says:

    “What a terrible tragedy,” the TV preacher continued. “Was that co-pilot a Muslim? Was he suicidal? What was it about him?”

    What happens if this guy turns out to be a “Christian”, or perhaps a “heterosexual Christian”? Will Robertson make an issue out of that? The answer is clearly NO. Robertson is a hate peddling, fear mongering, grifter.

  8. TheRealKim says:

    You have to ask yourself if this crap is for real? Things are just getting crazier and crazier. I mean how the hell did we get to this point?

  9. TheRealKim says:

    It seems like not so long ago we passed hate crime legislation, we rallied against wars and embraced our neighbors. WTF has happened?

    • NW Luna says:

      Cruz is going to disintegrate, but his craziness keeps getting worse.

      Imagine the ruckus if a Democratic candidate had a campaign stop hosted by a donor who was vociferously still wanting Bush & Cheney to be arrested. Yet they lied to Congress and the American people.

    • janicen says:

      Wow. All that stuff and more is actually on his FB page. And he has over 2k friends!!