Righting "Arguments" from the Right Side of Reason (and to the far Left of the Constitution)

There is a strange rumor floating around that Religious Freedom Restoration Acts are about whether a cake decorator can refuse service to a gay couple. Proponents ask whether opponents would fine and close down the business just because the owner is sticking to her religious beliefs. But that is not the question answered by RFRAs.

Would you tell a Christian youth group that the Government will pay legal costs and that it can flout zoning or whatever laws it feels are inconvenient, but an organization that provides suicide support and homelessness intervention to the kids who are kicked out of their homes by the people who run the Christian youth group that they have to obey the law and pay legal costs or lobby the government for oversight themselves?

Why is it that people who claim that they are religious get the extra privileges of government support and ignoring laws they don't like? They do not have to show this nor that the exercise of their religion would actually be disrupted if they obeyed the law; they just have to claim they are burdened. (BTW according to the Bible, the law of the land is the law that must be followed by the religious so their free exercise of religion is not impeded, but furthered, by secular law.) RFRA allows Churches to destroy historic landmarks. Look up the lawsuits that have been brought under the Federal RFRA and other RFRAs. None of them involve refusing service. They involve people citing religion as reason to break laws they dislike.

The rumor that RFRAs are about freedom or the Constitution is obviously false. None of cases brought under RFRAs could have been brought under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, because the plaintiffs in these cases cannot possibly prove that keeping the law actually interferes with Free Exercise of Religion. You want proof? Look no further than the fact that these cases were brought under RFRA, not Constitutional Law. Rest assured cases can and have been brought under the Free Exercise Clause. The very purpose of RFRAs, though, is to replace the Constitution and it's protections and to excuse people who claim they are religious from demonstrating their case; Indiana's excuses petitioners from ever funding their own efforts. This is not "restoring" the First Amendment; it is replacing it!

This is called discrimination. It is not necessarily discrimination against gays, but it can be used that way. It is utterly superfluous in allowing discrimination against gays though, as gay people are NOT protected from discrimination and hate crimes in Indiana or at the federal level to begin with. It is discrimination *for* people who claim to be "religious".

This is called prejudice, a blanket preemptive law that awards the religious over the "Church Separation" State, governments and people. Mostly, it will be used like this.

Let's say there is a profitable Christian bookstore. If this business is threatened or even just burned by a new law that is passed, the government will pay legal costs and the business that sells books that happen to be Christian able to ignore the law and stay open. Your generic bookstore, or even non-profit library next door, would have to close down and pay legal costs or lobby the government to make reasonable exceptions before the law is passed or change it after. But, it's not just this. Let's say you are also a Christian and believe sharing or selling knowledge is part of the Christian mission, then, abracadabra, your business the government pays legal costs and you get the privileges, too! This discrimination is what you are supporting if you support RFRA.

You are not supporting the cake decorator's right to refuse to make a cake for faggots. Business have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason, as the signs in many windows state (and, PS, gay people are not particularly keen on giving money to homophobes or discovering what might have been put in the cake). Gay people are not a protected minority in Indiana or most states. If they were, the decorator could still say no (but hopefully keep her hate to herself and not bother saying why), but employers could not fire them. Legal cases involving business practices are brought under business code, not RFRAs.

Maybe you think people who claim they are religious should get special government support and the privilege to flout the law, but this is not a freedom guaranteed in the Constitution. Indeed, the First Amendment prohibits the government from establishing religious profession as a condition of rights and liberties.

I support the Constitution being restored, but I know that constitutional restoration is not a power given to the Legislature in the Constitution. It is the power of the Judiciary. No doubt, it will restore to the Constitution in this case, just has it has many times before, and just as it did when it voided the federal RFRA. A possible role in Constitutional Amendment is granted to the Legislature in the Constitution; it can recommend Amendments for ratification by 3/4ths of the State Legislatures or State Conventions. Of course though, the people who want the "restoration" are the people who fear the will of the people and wouldn't dare countenance Conventions or putting this willful, wreckless and wasteful (il)legal farce up up for vote from 3/4ths of the States. Instead, they lie, call it restoration and subvert the Constitution, contenting themselves with the bipartisan politics that always favors a majority even by 1 vote.

Since the Republican Congresses that pass such laws have no doubt cut funding for education and social studies, government and history textbooks, here is a graphic representing the Constitution's specification for how Government is to work, as well as a graphic illustrating what Republican Congresses are actually doing when they pass RFRAs.

I hope these diagrams can disabuse the rumors that RFRAs have anything to do with the Constitution, restoration or freedom. There is, however, another conservative NewSpeak rumor that is a little less subtle.

Conservatives accuse liberals of attempting to give special privileges to a favored group of people, all while passing laws again and again that do just that. They claim that civil, employment, housing rights and hate crimes protections give special rights to minorities. This is demonstrably false. Prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex protects men just as much as it protects women. The Department of Justice details, for example, that prohibitions against discrimination based on race enfranchise white people to pursue justice when not given the same employment opportunities as black people. So called reverse discrimination cases make up a significant proportion of the discrimination suits that prevail in court. "Reverse" of course is a misnomer based on the widespread and intentional misperception that anti-discrimination laws give special rights to minorities only.

The irony, of course, is that the opponents of anti-discrimination laws are generally the proponents of RFRAs, which do in fact give special privileges to only a special group. These same people are fond of the false rumor
 RFRAs are about whether a cake decorator can refuse service to a gay couple. With it, they accuse opponents of bigoted persecution of people who claim that their religion demands that they refuse service to queer people. But, that is hardly the issue to begin with. 

Can a last straw be a first?

Outrage against Indiana for discrimination is not enough. ‪#‎BoycottIndiana will not end discrimination. If you want to do something positive to fight discrimination in Indiana and in America, please sign and share the linked petitions.

As a gay Hoosier, the ‪#‎BoycottIndiana‬ phenomenon is reassuring to me on one hand, but, on the other, I hope doesn't distract from the real issues. I do not believe Mike ‪#‎RecallPence‬ is really responsible for the ‪#‎ReligiousFreedomRestorationAct‬. I'm sure he is too busy to be personally invested at all as he directs his energies at destroying the public education system of Indiana (which had been one of the -- forgive me if I boast about my home -- best in the country). I'm sure, if he could, he would replace all of the elected legislators who actually invested precious time and money to propose and passed this law with his goons. He should have been recalled a long time ago, and I hope his not vetoing the bill is the last straw: petitions.moveon.org/sign/recall-mike-pence

But, it is just a straw, and it is a strawman to scapegoat Indiana for discrimination. 31 other governors have signed similar bills that 31 lawful congresses passed. Indeed, President Clinton signed a much more conservative law in 1993 that was declared unconstitutional in it its excess.

Unconstitutional laws can paradoxically be a means of progress. If DOMA and Prop8 had not been passed into law, those states that have marriage equality now would not have it (Thank you, Clinton, I had felt betrayed, and thank you, Mormons, if it weren't for you funneling all that money to promote a hasty law). Indiana's RFRA is bringing attention to inequality.

It took hateful laws to make progress because our Congresses refuse to protect the civil rights and liberties of LGBTQ citizens. The Civil Rights movement began over 50 years ago for racial minorities and queers; we tried to fight together, but it did not work out that way. LGBTQ people were excluded from the progress of the larger Civil Rights movement. Racial minorities won Constitutional protections. What makes queers different though is something that some people find morally objectionable; those who have a different interpretation of religion have been more quick to defend the intolerantly religious than the religiously intolerated. For fear of persecution of the religious, we allow religious persecution.

Like murder, persecution of the religious will unfortunately happen, but there is an Amendment to the Constitution (the first one, no less) and many other laws that ensure that it will not go unchecked. On the other hand, religious persecution of queers is rampant. The signs and images of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, origin or ancestry that well meaning people appropriate from the past are only a specter of the messages and realities that gay people are confronted with day in and day out, today.

"Not welcome" is still posted on signs in our communities on crosses that threaten fire and, we fear, what else. "Not welcome" is shouted into our ears by taunting peers. It is beaten into our broken faces. Several times a day in the US, it is cut into wrists of the children who have understood a message so common place that we often miss it and cannot recognize the effect it can have. It is written across the faces displayed on the big screen in your home almost every night. Tears etched it on a bloody body hung as a warning and reminder that hate crimes against involving sexual orientation and identity go unpunished because it sounds just a little too sexual to be dignified with the status of a minority whose civil rights the government must protect.

Look at the writing on the walls! Look at the graffiti on our homes before we are evicted for bringing it upon ourselves. Turn on the news! Ask the friend in your newsfeed why she lost his job and watch how long it takes for her to find another; I guarantee you those things were easier when people considered her male.

There is no need to wax nostalgic about have far we've come because the fact is some of us are still living those horrific black and white photos you want to believe can no longer be taken. Maybe, some part of us thinks that what is happening to queers is okay -- that only the obvious and easily hidden discrimination experienced by racial minorities in the past is legitimate injustice unlike the systematic disenfranchisement of queer people because being publicly gay is a prideful and foolish arrogance and some say being gay at all is a choice.... I'd like to think that it is only the obvious bigots who predetermine another person's dignity and whether they invite persecution or deserve equality. I'd like to think that it's just easier to pretend all of that was left behind, but gay people are still casualties of this convenience; you left us behind.

If you think the problem is the Indiana RFRA, you are grossly mistaken. You are appalled that the Indiana Congress could pass a law undoing half a century of progress? Wake up! Discrimination against gay people was NEVER prohibited. 

It was only about decade ago that being queer was decriminalized. Into the 21st century, queer Americans were arrested and prosecuted just because just the alleged religion of the majority declared them sinners. We look back on prior generations' racial discrimination with horror, but we forget that it too was religiously motivated; the Biblical curse of Ham and his descendants was used to justify subjugation and exploitation of Blacks, and the Biblical prohibitions against miscegenation motivated outlawing mixed-race marriages in the United States until the racial Civil Rights movement. We forget that America was founded by people whose rejection of the horrors of religious persecution by people exposing a certain religious view was so fundamental that they established a State separate from any Church; religion is not the problem, but rather religionists imposing their views on others. We look to marriage equality as proof that religious persecution of queer citizens and discrimination is behind us. But, when we still allow people to be fired for daring to get married, we are only deceiving ourselves.

RFRA is just a distraction that fools you into believing that gays have rights to begin with. We'll be too busy fighting this thing to realize that it could only deny rights only if we had them. Bigots don't need RFRA when it comes to really destroying us.

When Indiana refuses to prohibit employment and housing discrimination based on orientation and refuses to prosecute hate crimes against us, do you really think it matters if a few Indiana businesses are stupid enough to refuse what little money we manage to get?

If we had civil rights, it would be easier to address that issue but it doubt remain one for very long. Like the 1993 Federal RFRA, Indiana's law will be declared an unconstitutional abuse of the Government's enforcing powers and will be almost entirely voided, as well. You got that, America? We did this already. We paid for the US Congress to push through a much more conservative bill. Then we paid for the Judiciary to tell us the same thing it said in 1878: "Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious beliefs and opinions, they may with practices." The voiding of RFRA should have come as no surprise to the legislators who said the were restoring the Constitution as the people who wrote it drew the very same distinction, as discussed by Jefferson, "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State." But, here we are again and again and again. Religious freedom restoration is a lie. The Constitution was not altered; there is nothing to restore; even if it were an amendment itself, an RFRA could not prevent the unlikely one that is feared.

Religious Freedom Restoration Acts are a lie. Perhaps, there is a reason why Pence is so bent on destroying education.

When RFRA is voided by the institution whose Constitutional duty it is to restore the Constitution, namely the Judiciary, we will not magically become equal. Unlike DOMA, RFRA doesn't dare refer to us lest the Court interpret rights for us that legislature refuses to acknowledge. When it is voided, we will not see any positive effect on our lives. Paradoxically, the effect will be negative: the self-righteous will become scared again, and start a new round of legislated discrimination. But. it's utterly superfluous; it's completely legal to discriminate against gays in most states (and if it is illegal, RFRA cannot alter those protections). Still, it makes them feel better, like they are keeping back Satan and the count down to Armageddon because that is what Government is supposed to do, right? Right... Satan and Armageddon are what gay people and equality are for them. Of course, I am not their Satan, and Indiana is not mine.

Believe me when I tell you that, as a gay man and a native Hoosier, I am very grateful for the sentiment of #BoycottIndiana. But, no thank you; I'd prefer it if you didn't bully the good people of Indiana (but, if you absolutely must, by all means have at the bad ones in every state). Every state is responsible for what is happening in Indiana; America is responsible for what is happening in every state. If you really want to do something about it: demand Civil Rights, demand Equality, demand prosecution of Hate Crimes in Every State and at the Federal Level. Defeating an RFRA in Indiana will not accomplish any of that. Call on your representatives to propose and pass comprehensive Civil Rights legislation. Call on your representatives to Amend the Constitution to protect even the religiously persecuted. Call now before you forget that it's still 1960 for us. That is the only thing that will stop this endless farce. If you really want to show the Legislatures what you think, demand Conventions. Of course they won't allow that, but unlike RFRA, Conventions is in fact enshrined in the Constitution. 

Outrage against Indiana's ‪#‎ReligiousFreedomRestorationAct‬ is not enough. Queer Hoosiers are not protected from discrimination and hate crimes to begin with. ‪#‎BoycottIndiana‬ is a wake up call, but it is misplaced and does nothing to end discrimination or hate crimes. Queer Americans in most states are not protected from discrimination and hate crimes, and are not protected at all the Federal level. If you want to do something, demand ‪#‎CivilRightsForAllHoosiers‬ (and your state) and#‎CivilRightsForAllAmericans!



I'm not saying the Indiana RFRA is not important. It is, and by all means follow and demolish it. But, that is all you do, don't be surprised when it happens again.

It is time for you to share the freedoms and protections of modern America with us. It is time for us all to move on to constructive matters that improve lives, like education and recalling Pence.

If only religion were restored!

It's not a secret that I am opposed to so-called religious freedom restoration measures. I am opposed to them on religious grounds (does that qualify me for an exemption), but, more centrally to me, for personal and social reasons. I am not opposed to Indiana; I am a Hoosier. I am not opposed to religion, or even Christianity; I am an admirer and believe the world would be a better place if religion were restored -- rather than the hateful perversion that is behind allegedly religiously motivated discrimination.

"Reclaimed" is perhaps the better word. Many have maintained it, but they seem inherently less intolerant, loud or militant than the self-appointed defenders of religion. Religion does not need a defender; G-d does not need a champion over Him. The founding fathers of the United States knew this; the one on the $100 bill observed and warned:

  • When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself so that its professors are obliged to call for the help of the civil power, ’tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.
It is a supreme arrogance to pretend to be religion's champion. Jesus observed and warned:
  • You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
Jesus was recounting what G-d revealed to Isiah:
  • Who say, “Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.” These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all the day.
The Bible the arrogant would defend teaches plainly, again and again:
  • If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
  • Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.
Such arrogance is a disservice even to the self-appointed champion as it reveals him for exactly what he is:
  • For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.
And, it is a disservice to religion that twists religion into a cruel mockery of destruction that drives people away and has absolutely no place in a religious community or greater society.

Jesus was not a crusader for religion. He did not condemn the Good Samaritan for not converting to Christianity, or even Judaism; instead he said the Samaritan was saved because for loving his neighbor, for welcoming someone who was different. It was the self-righteous in positions of religious authority who refused to do this that were condemned. Jesus did not tell people to be unwelcoming in any circumstance. Instead, he welcomes a felon convicted of capital crime (identified as Mary Magdalene), rebuking not her sin but the people who abuse her for it. Jesus did talk about people being unwelcoming though:
  • If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them
  • But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you...I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city
The Bible condemns inhospitable discrimination and sanctions a boycott of even the surrounding town that tolerates it, not as a punishment for the inhospitable Sodomites, but for safety; they bring destruction.

Jesus was the champion of the marginalized people the self-righteous would destroy. Even if he had championed religion instead, you are not Jesus. Those who are inhospitable to others considered sinners are absolutely nothing like Jesus.

Though not as loudly as the hypocrites, plenty of religious people maintain the teachings of the Bible. Two millennia ago, there was a man who realized that maintaining the tradition is not enough and it must be reclaimed with the same fire and brimstone as used by those who abuse it.

Though the Indiana Episcopal Church's response to Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act avoids the fire and brimstone Jesus promised hypocrites, it goes a long way to reclaiming authentic religion, which has and hopefully continues to be constructive force in lives and society rather than a destructive mockery.

You know by now that the Indiana State Assembly has passed a measure called The Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This bill purports to protect persons and businesses from government reprisal if their decisions to treat groups of people differently (in the provision of services and goods, for example) stem from what they claim to be religious beliefs – even if those beliefs are not part of the formally professed teaching of any established religious group.

Proponents of the bill say it is not about discrimination. Discrimination, in its truest sense, is about drawing distinctions. To discriminate is to make considered decisions, and is not in itself either morally or ethically good or bad. But when decisions are being made about who will be entitled to what, and on what basis, the potential for discrimination to become a relational weapon in a culture and society is tremendous. None of us has to think hard to come up with examples in our own history as a nation.

The language of the bill does not identify any specific group of people – either as needing protection for their beliefs, or as possible targets in decisions to withhold services or goods. What this means is that there is no legal boundary placed on who may decide to discriminate, or who may be discriminated against, so long as the 'decider' claims to be acting out of religious conviction. The possibilities for mischief are tremendous!

Though the group most likely to be singled out in our thoughts is the LGBT community, it is clearly possible for many others to be told they are unacceptable to receive whatever services or goods a person or company has on offer. Consider the possibility that only Christians will be served in some places, only Jews in others, while no Muslims, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, or Druids can purchase merchandise in some stores, and only Latinos will be included here, only Blacks excluded there....you see the point. This legislation gives the appearance of tolerating and protecting overt bigotry in any form so long as it is dressed up as personal religious fervor.

That this is terrible for business is already being made exquisitely plain. That it is an embarrassment to 'Hoosier Hospitality' is undeniable. It is also an affront to faithful people across the religious landscape. Provision of a legal way for some among us to choose to treat others with disdain and contempt is the worst possible use of the rule of law.

For Episcopalians, whose lives are ordered in the Gospel of Christ and the promises of our Baptismal Covenant, it is unthinkable. We are enjoined to love God with heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love others as Christ loves us. We promise, every time we reaffirm our baptismal vows, to "seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves." We promise to "strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being."

The God we worship became Incarnate, and waded into the unfaithful realities of human life. We follow a Master who associated with sinful, unacceptable people, both Jew and Gentile, all the while challenging as hypocritical the religious leaders who held themselves aloof from the general populace.

As I write this letter to you we are approaching Holy Week and Easter – seasons of deep reflection and joyous celebration in which we rehearse the saving acts of God throughout human history and in the death and Resurrection of Jesus. We claim for ourselves the transforming, reconciling love of God in Christ; not as treasures to be hoarded, but as gifts to be shared with the whole world in the name of the Lord we serve and worship.

Please join me in prayer for all those who have experienced demeaning behaviors, and those who have chosen to treat them so badly. Both in our individual and our common lives, may we become faithful advocates for justice, and reconciling examples of the indiscriminate love of God.

+Catherine M. Waynick
Bishop of Indianapolis
March 26, 2015

Red Pen Logic Lesson

From now on, I think my response to "arguments" relating to the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act and opposition to it will be something like:

I encourage you to feel free in the future to solicit my estimation if you should come up with an argument, but in the mean time it is perhaps best for you to reflect on your statement yourself:
"I hate [appeal to emotion fallacy] to break it to you [ad hominem fallacy, i.e., I am ignorant and/or delusional, which may be true of me but does not bear on the position which presupposes the following facts], but 31 [ad populum fallacy, anecdotal fallacy] other states [ad auctoritate fallacymasked man fallacy] have similar laws [masked man fallacy], not to mention [lie, you are doing so] Bill Clinton [ad autoritate, anecdotal, factually misleading] put a similar law [masked man] into effect in 1993 [ad antiquitatem fallacy, anecdotal]."
Thus [benefit of doubt, assuming you are attempting to make an argument]: if a law is acceptable it is common/traditional/made by a respected authority [unwarranted assumption fallacy, assuming it is not a vacuous truth fallacy]; similar laws are common/etc [FACT(!) ergo my problem(!)]; therefore, this law is common/etc [masked man fallacy, FALSE]; therefore, it *is* acceptable [converse fallacy]; therefore, you *ought* to accept it [naturalistic fallacy, illicit substitution]. In other words [by LOGICAL implication, presupposition, and pragmatic implicature], it is my unreasoned opinion that you should accept things as they are [granted that that is in fact your opinion, at least as stated obscurely, but it is MOOT ergo the position you are responding to] and I am telling you this because I cannot accept your position as it is and believe you should change it [tu quoque fallacy, a fancy Latin phrase meaning 'you're a hypocrite and a fool'] and I do not realize that everything I just said is precisely why you think there should be change [I can't say that I hate to break it to you: idiotic].

A few months ago, marriage discrimination against gay couples was enshrined as law by more than these 32 states and the Federal government (also by means of a bill put on the desk of Clinton by an antagonist Republican Congress that was attempting to impeach him). A few decades ago, marriage discrimination against mixed race couples was law in the overwhelming majority of states making the repeated attempts at Federal Constitutional amendment superfluous. A few decades ago, racial discrimination was the law of the land. Less than century ago, women were disenfranchised, with only Utah (thank you, Mormons!) having had woman's suffrage.

31 states, the Federal government and my home outdoing them all, you say? I know! That's why I want that to change. It goes without saying that the change I would like to see is contrary to the position of those who do not want change; it's presupposed, logically. And, I have a red pen to break this to you if necessary.

If you can't stand the heat, turn off the Bible

It seems the "Religious" Freidom Fighters cannot contain their self-righteous indignation at the boycotts their discrimination doubtlessly inspire. The potential GenCon boycott was just too much for one gaming granny:
  • You know, after thinking about this for a day, and listening to all the misinformed bumper sticker mentality from one sided people, I have made a decision. I have four grandsons. I love my Zelda games and I have some fond memories of playing Zelda with my son, and my husband playing Mario with him. This has continued with my grandsons. They have ALL the skylanders. One set for each. We just got a 3ds for my one grandson and a Wii U for the other, and my older grandson and I just worked our way through Majora's Mask and were looking forward to Hyrule Warriors next. But guess what? We're going to find something else fun to do, like go out bike riding, because no one pushes their one sided political opinions down our throats doing that, and no one tries to force us to believe what they do bike riding. So enjoy your convention Gen Con. You just lost a lot of money from this household because of your intolerance of ALL people's rights, not just the ones you happen to agree with. You attacked my home and you attacked my people. I will not give your industry another penny.
    ~So Mad I Could Ride a Bicycle in Greenville

    [For those of you who are not from the Midwest, so mad you could ride a bicycle is like the most forserious! If it can't be done by car, it cannot be done. If you want to borrow a cup of sugar from your neighbor, you drive next door. Except maybe if Armageddon happened, like the real one, not the armagayddon we connipt over; no Hoosier is going to lynch a gay with a bicycle. Unless he's is the one on the bicycle... Riding a bicycle in Indiana is, in a word, queer.]
  • You could read the Bible instead; that would show em real good like! Maybe spend some time to reflect on your thoughts too. Like how is it that one person can believe that,


    1) it is perfectly justified for businesses to refuse service from customers who they disagree with, but

    2) it is an outrageous attack on your race and fatherland if customers refuse businesses they disagree with, unless

    3) it is you who is the customer who is refusing business on ideological grounds?

    If you do read the Bible in protest, you will find numerous passages where Jesus says "Hypocrites burn in Hell" and "Burn in Hell, Hypocrites" (more or less). You will also find a couple of passages where Jesus says "If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them" and "But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you...I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city"... Scratch that.

    You, your family and your fatherland should start playing The Floor is Lava! It could come in handy real soon. 
    ~If You Can't Take The Heat, Turn off the Bible, Hoosier Abroad
They want to protect their right to discriminate against groups of people without a real religious motivation, but then they feel unjustly targeted as a group when they people they don't want to do business with do business elsewhere for legitimate Biblical reason, not to mention social and personal?


I so confuse. Do they want our business or not? Do they want us to try to give them our money so they can rub it in our nose if we refuse it, and if we don't, then they're just go all sour grapes on acid: "I didn't want to refuse your business anyway because I already refused it because you're queer and now I do because you're a meanie who hurts my feels." Perhaps it does make some sense: they simply want control.

And, that should be obvious as the law, as repugnant as it is, is utterly vacuous. Unlike women and racial minorities, queer people are not guaranteed civil rights at a state level in Indiana. Even if Indiana recognized equality for all, civil rights protections are generally limited to the more public domains, like voting, housing, employment and "public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce" -- private clubs are explicitly exempted, and religious objection exemptions feature into the most sacrosanct areas of civil rights. The Catholic Church for example is free to permit and higher only male priests. If civil rights protections prevented discrimination in the selling of goods and services to a particular group of people, the law would be inapplicable in defending discrimination against that group. As it stands, a suit filed by LGBT people (in most circumstance, by any minority) for discrimination in commerce cannot prevail, and if someone is foolish enough to file a suit with no valid case, they will have to pay restitution to the person they wrongfully sued for any legal fees and any losses that resulted from the suit. That is how it works; this is why most people don't go around suing people just because we disagree with their ideology.

Of course, there are a few who file frivolous civil suits. This law however would excuse only people who claim to be religious from the legal process and provide only them with a defense. That is discrimination (favoritism) based on creed, which most likely is unconstitutional and would most certainly be costly to the state if only there were such suits to begin with. The State of Indiana wants its citizens to assume the legal responsibilities of someone who claims they are religious if they are faced with a frivolous suit from people they chose to (legally) discriminate against, but not assume the legal responsibilities of, for example, an atheist who is taken to court for not carrying the Bible in her bookstore or refusing to allow a Christian ritual take place in her private club. The new law is discriminatory in who it allows to discriminate and protects. If religious people want to be excused from the responsibilities that come with living in a society with civil courts that hear cases regarding business practices, they should recognize that their religious calling is incompatible with having a business and/or participating in greater society. The Amish reject such social responsibilities and have a religious exemption for paying Social Security taxes because they refuse to claim that (particular) benefit of greater society. If religious people instead wish to be a part of society, then, if ever faced with a frivolous law suit, they should have to spend the 10 minutes to fill out and submit a demurer to the court and request for dismissal -- just like everyone else.

The Religious Fascism Restoration law could only be non-trivially relevant at some future point if, by some magic, new laws are passed in the distant future that forbid allegedly religiously motivated discrimination; its relevance would be that it has become unconstitutional (for a different reason than above). The legal non-issue the law explicitly addresses is not its purpose at all.

The law would pervert legal protections into a tool of discrimination for people who pervert their religion into a tool of recrimination. What people do to their religion is their own concern. Laws that protect and promote discrimination have no place in society. If someone is committing a crime, then by all means call the police; if someone is minding their own business, then let them be. I'm pretty sure that is in the Bible, and it is what we all want, whether religious or not.


If you're going to be a bigot, try to be a consistent bigot. And, if you're going to use the Bible, be prepared to burn.

Don't be shown up by Californicators, ÜberHoosiers!

Freunds, Fellow Hooßiers and Freidom Fighters:
     A Californicator just upped the ante.
California "Kill the Sodomites" Measure 
Are you really going to let the Left Coast of Sodomy and Gaymorrah show you up? If you think freedom is safe by just refusing service, you are wrong. They will sneak in anyway camouflaging themselves as real human beings who look exactly like your family, fellow church members and neighbors -- geegolly, that's what they are for cry sakes!

Some businesses will still welcome them into our communities anyway. They will punish you for standing up for freedom, by refusing business with our Great State and our Great Race. The Court will rule Indiana's RFRA unconstitutional just as it did with the 1993 Federal RFRA. The legislature will backtrack. We need to stand up for ourselves, Hoosiers!

They're here; they're queer; and they're *already* marrying your boyfriends and your daddy! It is a fact that our Blessed Capital has more gays than Sodom Francisco -- and don't even get me started on the dainty flower of Bloomington, home of our Blessed University, the best in the US and entire world! I went there once -- and God have mercy on me -- I [gasp] learned something! God have mercy on
 us all! I repent and rebuke knowledge and the passage of time in Religion's name! (We did agree to call this "religion", right?)

It's time to restore our great state to what God and our Deist Forefathers intended -- just like Free and Christian Germany needed to be restored.

"Freedom" of "Religion" for once, ℲR for all (real people only)!

To spare myself some hate mail, allow me clarify: I hope everyone directs their comments to the bigots who passed this fascist farce. A list of them is here.

Remember what happened when a "freedom" was "restored" and Christians were "protected" in Germany. I doubt the majority of Germans wanted discrimination, but they were complicit, and in the end, they suffered just as much if not more so than the active perpetrators. Don't be silent! Please share the petition to recall Mike Pence.
But, don't #BoycottIndiana; do something! Share and sign the petitions herein:


I did NAZI see that coming

I did NAZI that coming, Indiana! I wonder whether this lot of Aryan "Christians" have printed signs for the windows of stores, restaurants and service providers.

Will they auch noch be providing undesirables with colorful armbands so that we may be easily discriminated without putting undue burdens on them or interfering with their Freedom of Religion, or do we have to provide our own?

Will you be wearing the RF on your arm so we know who the 
Übermensches are who decide what is and is not tolerated in society? I dare you to.

I must admit that I am impressed how they explicitly clarified in the bill that the belief th
ey are acting on need not be central or even part of the religion professed, i.e.: 
  • Them:   "God hates fags. It says so in the Bible. This is why stores must not sell them food or whatever it is the abominations consume to survive, realtors should not show or sell them homes in communities with real human beings, Samaritan helicopters should not take them to hospitals,..."
  • Jesus:   "That's not how it works. That's now how any of this works! It doesn't say that in the Bible. It doesn't say any of that. It says love your neighbor (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) , not shun them and starve them out (Leviticus 19:18). I said it says that loving your neighbor is the only thing you must do (Mark 12:31); that this is what it all about (Matthew 22:40, et passim)."
  • Them:   "How *dare* You [gasp] persecute me for my persecution of others, You hateful, whore-hugging, stone-not-throwing, hippie bigot, You! Oppression, intolerance, bullying, homosexual agenda, the moon landing was fake... My 'religious'  wink emoticon freedom trumps all other freedoms and legal rights."
Got it: no one has the authority to say what your religion requires, but you have the authority to tell others that they are forbidden by your religion and what the Constitution really means.

The Freedom of Religion allows one to profess any religion they choose and apply its principles to ones own lives 
— or not as is often the case. Religious beliefs are protected, not actions taken against others which one attempts to justify by cherry picking excerpts from religious texts (and, FYI, Jesus said it's not justified). When "traditional", religiously justified marriage discrimination preventing interracial miscegenation was struck down, the bigots responded with more creative ways to discriminate. History remembers those bigots for what they are. America must recognize these bigots who are reacting to marriage equality for what they are before we end up on the wrong side of history. Your Religious Freedom begins with how you live your life  and ends with how I live mine. That is freedom; this farce is fascism. It's not a matter of religious belief, simply the Constitution. 

There is no Freedom of Stupidity. Willful ignorance of the law is no excuse. I can't wait until the businesses start getting sued thinking their State law can protect them from complying with Federal law. They will spend years and a small fortune fighting only to lose and then have to pay reparations, just like their NAZI heroes who sacrificed themselves (and millions of others) to ensure their "freedom" over other people.

But, don't #BoycottIndiana; do something! Share and sign the petitions herein:

Ever After, an epilogue to my favorite childhood fairytale

My cousins Cary and Jim are off to their dream wedding in Hawai'i. Yes, they are my cousins, but, no, that's not as brow raising as it seems. Or, perhaps it is. Jim has been my family for as long as I remember, but only through marriage with his husband Cary. Their marriage didn't come into existence by a piece of paper. Like all others, its real source was deep love and personal commitment that needs no permission nor recognition. Soon, however, they will be legally wed, and I raise my brows in excitement, and my glass.

Cary and Jim, I wish you a wedding as wonderful, precious and inspiring as the marriage you have enjoyed for decades  despite of course those years *not* showing in your beautiful faces wink emoticon, and certainly despite your love being any worse for wear or lack of someone else's recognition.

Because of your courage to be yourselves  because of your courage to love in a world too full of hate  I grew up in a world full of hope. I knew that there is the divine gift of love for everyone despite what others might say or care to acknowledge. Believe me when I say that it made a difference. A world of difference. I knew I was neither alone nor did I have to be. I knew I am worthy of love.

Because of your loving courage, I now live in a world in which my marriage can now enjoy a legal wedding and have the same legal rights and privileges as everyone else's. Because of you, I live in a world in which your wedding will one day seem as unremarkable as an any other, despite how remarkable it actually is. How many heterosexual marriages have accomplished anything approaching that?!

Okay, granted, the Royal Wedding was like so major, but only in pomp, circumstance and fascinators. So maybe Princess Beatrice will not be sporting that *thing* attacking her forehead at your ceremony  at least, I hope not: flying womb monstrosities are so last season. You don't need any of that. Your marriage is already the stuff that sustains hope and inspires change; your wedding is no longer a fantasy, but a dream come true. Yours is already fairytale that captivates children, just like when, despite some seriously heinous haters and what society deemed appropriate, Prince Charming married Cinderfella.... Well, Disney didn't tell the stories I needed to hear. You did. Your love and your marriage did that.

Your marriage is no more valid for your wedding, and your courage, example and love are no less heroic today than they were when I was young. You, my dear cousins, do not need my blessing, but you have my profound admiration, respect and best wishes. I love you guys! Have fun in Hawai'i!
heart emoticon Corey

PS I got all ferklempt writing you :') Send me tiki-themed handkerchief!

PPS Looks who decided to show up afterall: that *thing*.
And, her hat.

The Highway to Hell, a PSA

Friends, I cannot remain silent. Far too often, I hear people from all walks of life encouraging Jesus to take the wheel. What are we all thinking?! His Blood is about 30 proof. His Blood alcohol is literally a Mystery, and it is no small miracle that he could even *ride* his ass in His native Asia (you know: the continent parallel parked *on* Europe and in mid collision with Africa, forcing the Americas give it a world's berth, but I digress). Truly, it is a Miracle just that He is alive. That is a whopping 1500 times the legal limit — we're talking Biblical proportions here! Think about the children for crysakes! And the adults! He not an alcoholic, just He is alcoholic, so don't get me wrong. And, do NOT let Him take the wheel.



And, in conclusion, may I please remind you that it does not say RSVP on the Statue of Liberty.