My timeline is chock full of posts clarifying that the Orlando shooter did not use an AR-15, but a Sig MCX .223–and not only that, but we need to know that neither is, by strict definition, an assault rifle.
Whew! I don’t know about you, but now that we’ve got THAT all cleared up, I’m feeling a heckuva lot better about this whole biggest ever mass shooting thing.
So, suck it up Orlando and get back to business as usual. It was all just a big misunderstanding by people who don’t know what they’re talking about.
Since you asked,
the only god
I’ve seen rolled reckless
from a red, cardboard
Cracker-Jack box, elusive
from lips to lap
and mad as hell, no decoder
ring to metaphrase the sharp
sting of copper on tongue
coated in caramel
candy coating loaded
with peanuts, good,
sweet, and salty.
Yes, my religious views have been well documented across the whirled why’d web, so you’re a little surprised to see me quoting “the good book” but there’s a lot of great stuff in there, some of it resoundingly, wonderfully evocative. Like this.
Proverbs 26:11: As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
In a shocking (to civilized human beings) development, Indiana Governor Mike Pence flourished his burning cross ballpoint pen and signed Senate Bill 101, the ” Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” a so-called “religious freedom” law which forbids state or local governments from “substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion–unless the government can show it has a compelling interest and that the action is the least-restrictive means of achieving it.”
Just what the hell does that mean? In short, it means that as of July 1, any business in the state of Indiana can deny services, employment, or acknowledgement of anyone based on their religious beliefs. Practically speaking, it is a license to practice bigotry.
Governor Pence, denying that the law does any such thing, said “This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination I would have vetoed it.” Leaders of the Republican-controlled senate called concerns nothing more than a “misunderstanding.”
But Eric Miller, the Founder and Executive Director of Advance America stated, a leading supporter of the legislation, said “It is vitally important to protect religious freedom in Indiana. It’s the right thing to do. It was therefore important to pass Senate Bill 101 in 2015 in order to help protect churches, Christian businesses and individuals from those who want to punish them because of their Biblical beliefs!”
Because the 85% of people in the state of Indiana who identify as Christian suffer daily at the hands of the overbearing, rights-denying, freed0m-hating, gods-damning unwashed 15 who haven’t been bathed in the blood of the lamb, so to speak.
A press release from the ironically titled Advance America continued “Churches, Christian businesses and individuals deserve protection from those who support homosexual marriages and those who support government recognition and approval of gender identity (men who dress as women). SB 101 will help provide the protection…Christian bakers, florists and photographers should not be punished for refusing to participate in a homosexual marriage!”
The bill passed despite loud public outcry from citizen groups, celebrities (including Indianapolis Colts Punter Pat McAfee, who grew up about half an hour down the road from my home–good for you, Pat!), businesses, the NCAA and the sponsors of several major conventions that bring millions of dollars to the state have expressed serious concerns, not only for the economic impact of this bill but for the safety and welfare of conventioneers, business persons, employees, and others who might suffer the soon-to-be legal wrath of Christian extremists looking for payback after losing their struggle against equal marriage rights last year.
It is telling that Pence signed the bill during a private ceremony, which was barred to both public and press, 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.
While this bill is aimed at punishing and denying civil rights to homosexuals, I’m curious what happens the first time, say, a Muslim store owner denies service to a Jewish patron, or perhaps a Hindi restaurant owner refuses to seat a Muslim–or, for that matter, a southern Baptist hotelier denies lodging to Catholic? It is a slippery slope, once we step away from the ideal of equality–I mean, what are the Scientologists going to do with this law? I shudder to think.
It’s going to suck to live in some corners of Indiana for a while, but supporters of equal rights should take comfort in the absolute surety that bigoted business owners in all but the most insular communities will quickly feel the financial effects of their discriminatory practices. Indeed, the main reason that shameful laws like this pass is because it requires the average person to sit quietly by and let the professional hate-mongers who make careers of sewing discord do the dirty work.
I very much hope that a network is quickly formed to call out the hidden bullies who will pick and choose when to use religion as a cudgel to wield against their neighbors. In fact, I’d love to see someone call out businesses in the State of Indiana who intend to adopt discriminatory policies because–you know what?–most of them are going to be too cowardly to actually see it through, let alone admit it publicly.
And, once again, I offer this old rhetorical chestnut: WWJD do, brothers and sisters?
And by the way, fellow Pennsylvanians–get off your high horses, we’ve got one of these laws too.
I missed the whole “No-Go Zone” brouhaha of Fox News and Bobby Jindal in real time, having more important things to do like chase my wife around the house, whooping like a b-movie indian and accompany her on a quick lark of a trip down to Pittsburgh, an hour to the south, and back, for gourmet popcorn (I’m not kidding–add “standing in line for 25 minutes to pay $22 on popcorn” to the list of First World Problems), a bunch of Trader Joe deliciousness, and the best freaking shawarma and kibbeh EVER at Basha21 on Murray Ave. I moaned like a sexed up reverend while I ate food cooked up by the owners, right in front of us, and vowed to give ’em a plug. (This is it. This is the plug: eat some. Fly into the city if you must, or take the train–just have some.
Anyway, I can’t leave the internet alone for more than an hour and it gets itself in trouble, this time by some asshat on Fox News, an “expert” who raised a great stink in assuring that there were large swaths of France and England which are essentially “No Go Zones” for anyone who isn’t Muslim, places where even local government and law enforcement fear to go, where Sharia law is imposed. If that sounds like a April Fools story, you’re not alone. It turns out it was exactly that, and Fox News reluctantly walked back the story and apologized.
Not so Louisiana governor and republican presidential hopeful Bobby Jindal, a once-rising star in the GOP who, despite the earliness in the race, is already struggling for relevance in a post-Obama election where only one thing is certain: there ain’t no way right wing America is going to put another brown-skinned guy in charge, even if he was the second coming of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy himself. I’ve got a better chance to be President than he does so, naturally, when confronted by journalists the dude doubles down. Fox retracted, but not him. It’s beautiful.
I said, “For all you head-in-the-sand dirty rotten truth-deniers laughing at Fox News and Bobby Jindal this morning: “No-Go Zones” are absolute truth. We even have them in my small Appalachian university town. Of course, ours are enforced by Presbyterians, but…. #comedyisntthisfunny”
I immediately got this response from a conservative friend: A Pilipino women (sic) from my church will no longer travel back to the Philippines to visit her family because of the large Muslim population and the threat Catholics feel from radical Muslims. There may be no such thing as no go zones but there are areas around the world where the radical Muslim population is high and Christians will not go unless they want to risk death.
No good joke goes unpunished, it seems, so I was compelled to a retort about which I ended up feeling proud:
Plenty of dark corners in the third world–including some in Louisiana. But Jindal wasn’t talking about Nigeria or the The Philippines, The idea that people hate and fight over religious constructs is hands down the most absurd element of humanity–and the reality that cynical politicians like Jindal all over the world, regardless of creed, employ fear and hatred as tools to galvanize support is the most disgraceful. One might even call it sinful. Yet that’s what this is all about: all this Caliphate and Sharia nonsense has been stirred up by leaders over there, in an effort to maintain and expand their influence, and we in the west respond with bluster and bombs, playing right into their hands. The people doing the actual fighting on both sides believe they’re being noble, but they’ve been sold a rotten bill of goods. It’s telling when someone like Jindal, caught in his misstatement, refuses to admit it when even Fox has issued a retraction, but that too is a political strategem: tell a lie long and loud enough and it becomes like the truth.
There’s little left for the rest of us to do but laugh. Like Elvis (not that Elvis, the other one) said, “I used to be disgusted, now I just try to be amused”
I love to tell stories with words and images, often with a darkly magical twist. While speculative fiction & dissecting pop culture are my primary passions, I also work with clients & brands by assisting with content creation, editing, marketing & design.