Dr. King Was Seeking Creative Accommodation, You Know

So what have you got for me today, NY Times, from our nation’s best pundits on the situation in Indiana?

David Brooks, you say?

Like a purty girl dancin’ to Both Sides music, and a mess of Mom’s Bobo, mess of Mom’s Bobo, mess of Mom’s Bobo-cue.

If the opponents of that law were arguing that the Indiana statute tightens the federal standards a notch too far, that would be compelling. But that’s not the argument the opponents are making.

Instead, the argument seems to be that the federal act’s concrete case-by-case approach is wrong. The opponents seem to be saying there is no valid tension between religious pluralism and equality. Claims of religious liberty are covers for anti-gay bigotry.

This deviation seems unwise both as a matter of pragmatics and as a matter of principle. In the first place, if there is no attempt to balance religious liberty and civil rights, the cause of gay rights will be associated with coercion, not liberation. Some people have lost their jobs for expressing opposition to gay marriage. There are too many stories like the Oregon bakery that may have to pay a $150,000 fine because it preferred not to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony. A movement that stands for tolerance does not want to be on the side of a government that compels a photographer who is an evangelical Christian to shoot a same-sex wedding that he would rather avoid.

Furthermore, the evangelical movement is evolving. Many young evangelicals understand that their faith should not be defined by this issue. If orthodox Christians are suddenly written out of polite society as modern-day Bull Connors, this would only halt progress, polarize the debate and lead to a bloody war of all against all.

As a matter of principle, it is simply the case that religious liberty is a value deserving our deepest respect, even in cases where it leads to disagreements as fundamental as the definition of marriage.

Morality is a politeness of the soul. Deep politeness means we make accommodations. Certain basic truths are inalienable. Discrimination is always wrong. In cases of actual bigotry, the hammer comes down. But as neighbors in a pluralistic society we try to turn philosophic clashes (about right and wrong) into neighborly problems in which different people are given space to have different lanes to lead lives. In cases where people with different values disagree, we seek a creative accommodation.

Because of course the history of various civil rights movements in America is filled with “neighborly problems” solved with “creative accommodations” like fire hoses, billy clubs, dogs, armed National Guardsmen firing into crowds of students, firebombings, lynchings, and assassinations.

At no point is anyone trying to “write Orthodox Christians out of history” here, but it’s a nice little fantasy necessary for justification of “Hey you know what, gay people?  You should probably be nicer to Republicans making laws to be used against you, and they would probably stop it, just like Malcolm X played a friendly game of Parcheesi with the Dixiecrats to end Jim Crow in the South.”

I mean come on, history is replete, if not goddamn gravid with examples of the ruling class happily giving rights to oppressed minorities when asked really nicely. You guys, people have lost their jobs being mean to gay people. When will the madness end?

Puppies and rainbows can live in harmony and crap before it turns into a bloody war or something. Suck it up and accept some structural discrimination for a while and eventually it’ll stop, because it’s hard being a white Christian guy in a state like Indiana, you know.

Just get you some of that there respectability politics and a mess of Mom’s Bobo-cue.



Left, Go Right At The Right Over Rights

We’ve talked about Indiana’s “religious freedom” bill allowing people to not face penalties for discrimination against LGBTQ folks based solely on belief, so when similar legislation came up in front of the Georgia House of Representatives this week, one Republican bravely stood up and killed it with truth.

As in Indiana, proponents of Georgia’s bill have tried to argue that it has nothing to do with discrimination. Rep. Mike Jacobs, an LGBT-friendly Republican, decided to test this theory by introducing an amendment that would not allow claims of religious liberty to be used to circumvent state and local nondiscrimination protections. Supporters of the bill, like Rep. Barry Fleming (R), countered that the amendment “will gut the bill.” Nevertheless, the House Judiciary Committee approved the amendment with a 9-8 vote, three Republicans joining the Democrats in supporting it.

Fleming moved to table the amended bill, a motion that passed with 16 votes, making it unlikely the bill will proceed before the legislative session ends. With an exception for nondiscrimination protections, the “religious liberty” bill is dead.

Before the vote, the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Josh McKoon (R), joined the hearing to similarly argue against making an exception for nondiscrimination protections. He claimed that the bill’s religious liberty protections would no longer be “uniform” across the state, adding, “That amendment would completely undercut the purpose of the bill.” Rep. Roger Bruce (D) pressed McKoon: “That tells me that the purpose of the bill is to discriminate.” Without further explanation, he countered, “It couldn’t be further from the truth, no sir.”

Well played, Mr. Jacobs.  Well played indeed.








Guns Don’t Kill People, Gays Kill People

Hey, did you know that gays were responsible for the UCSB shooter, a frustrated heterosexual obsessed with hetero pick up culture?

[…] [Ken] Blackwell blamed the shooting on “the crumbling of the moral foundation of the country” and “the attack on natural marriage and the family.”

“When these fundamental institutions are attacked and destroyed and weakened and abandoned, you get what we are now seeing,” Blackwell said, arguing that people who are “blaming the Second Amendment” are “avoiding talking about what is at the root cause of the problem.”

Ken Blackwell, a “senior fellow” at the hate group called the Family Research Council, used to be the Attorney General of Ohio, so he ought to know.

This guy is a professional hater, unlike, say, that Duck Dynasty guy or Cliven Bundy. Since he’s paid to hate, I don’t think criticizing him will turn him into a “hate martyr”, which is Josh Marshall’s term for those other two.

(via)








Public-Private Poutrage

Modern conservatism in the US is predicated on a bizarre, ongoing inversion of reality. Item: an addled B-movie actor explodes the national debt and is lionized as a champion of small government. A cowardly, none-too-bright male cheerleader from a patrician clan is packaged and sold as a brush-clearin,’ neo-Churchillian, genius cowpoke.

The party that bankrupted the country through ruinous, pointless warmongering and Wall Street wilding markets itself as the fiscally responsible foreign policy grownups. The party that lets a gun manufacturer flak organization intimidate it into allowing terrorists and the floridly insane to purchase unlimited semiautomatic weapons bills itself as tough on crime. Etc.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that conservatives’ perception of their ongoing defeat in the culture wars is exactly the opposite of reality on every level too. But that doesn’t mean we can’t laugh at the ahistorical ranting. Cue the Powertools, lamenting the resignation of erstwhile Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich:

So the liberals claim another scalp. This is something new in our history, as far as I know. Until now, private citizens could hold whatever political beliefs they wanted, and support political causes as they chose.

Ever heard of the McCarthy hearings? Where a wingnut senator persecuted private citizens and destroyed their livelihoods because of their political beliefs? See, when the party of free markets decides to regulate political beliefs, it does so via the government.

What happened to Eich is a free market phenomenon. You can make the argument that the companies and developers who balked at the prospect of working with a CEO who thinks gays are icky should have given Eich a chance. But the companies and developers are independent agents who are free to vote with their feet because freedom.

Over at Heritage.org, they’ve discovered the power of government policy in leading social change:

Policy should prohibit the government from discriminating against any individual or group, whether nonprofit or for-profit, based on their beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman or that sexual relations are reserved for marriage. Policy should prohibit the government from discriminating in tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation, or contracting against such groups and individuals.

Okay, so you guys were for prohibiting the government from discriminating against same sex couples in tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation or contracting, right? Nope.

Once again, the self-proclaimed anti-nanny state crusaders and champions of free markets are revealed as sniveling hypocrites. Hoocoodanode?

[X-posted at Rumproast]



Putin Family Values

A couple of professional bigots, Peter LaBarbera and Scott Lively, have made a holy commitment to bind one to the other in pursuit of a shared goal. Here’s a taste from Lively:

“[We] want to praise the Russian Federation for providing much-needed leadership in restoring family values in public policy, and to encourage the governments of the world to follow the excellent example that the Russian government has set…
“By taking these steps in the face of intense criticism and hostility by some Western governments and NGOs, the Russians have demonstrated the high value that they place on their children and the ‘natural family’ model of society. We believe that God will bless the Russian people for their faith and courage.”

To see why Lively and LaBarbera will make a happy couple, here’s LaBarbera:

“The United States of America, especially under President Barack Obama has nothing to teach Russia and the world when it comes to homosexuality-based so-called rights and sexual morality,” he said. “Russia has enough problems of its own to be worrying about U.S. liberals who are obsessed with promoting the normalization of homosexuality and gender confusion, even to children.”

Their new group is called the Coalition for Family Values. What God has joined together let no man put asunder.