Thursday, February 13, 2014

Anti-Gay Law in Kansas

The state government of Kansas is proposing a new anti-gay law, the likes of which must be deeply disturbing to just about anyone. You can find information on this law here:

I want to make several different points.

First, we need to ask this question: does the fact that you disagree "deeply" on "religious" grounds with someone legitimize state-orchestrated and supported discrimination against them? If the same law were proposed in, say, Saudi Arabia (I know nothing about Saudi laws, I am just using this as an example) but the terms were changed so that muslims were allowed to refuse service to any non-muslim, how would American conservative commentators react? The truth is that unless they reject this law, they do not have a leg to stand on because they themselves legitimize the principle that "deeply" help beliefs are legitimate grounds for discrimination (to fire people, to refuse to serve people, etc.).  I'd suggest that the fact that they wouldn't is a sign of hypocrisy: my prejudice is OK; yours is not.

Second, is this really what people in Kansas want to teach their children. If you believe something "deeply" discrimination is OK? If I believe that "deeply" that black people are the children of Ham (remember Handmaiden's Tale) and so one can refuse them service ... is that OK? In other words, where does it end? There are all kinds of things I believe deeply. Does that legitimize discrimination?

Third, is this the right use of "rights". Should rights be used to defend the marginalized, the oppressed, those who suffer violence? Or, should they be used to further marginalize, legitimize economic sanctions (because that is what firing is), and ostracize people who already suffer prejudice. Heath speaks of the "nobility" of rights when he asks this question. His question is simple: which is better: to use rights to promote equality, build community, and support integration or to use right to marginalize, oppress, and make violence more possible?

Fourth, as a Christian I am deeply concerned about this law because it has nothing to do with Christianity. Remember Jesus associated with the people who were marginalized and oppressed in their society. He defended those people who the mob wanted to stone, he used a Samaritan in the parable of the good Samaritan for a reason. How can anyone who claims to follow Christianity so flagrantly violate its basic tenets? Jesus told people that "all the law and all the prophets rest on two principles: love God and love your neighbour." Is this an example of loving your neighbour (for Jesus response to the question who is your neighbour, read the parable of the good Samaritan. Jesus also specified that one should not judge others.  He noted that one will be judged in the measure to which one judges others. So the Christian supporters of this proposed law want to be judged ... intolerantly? BTW, Jesus also did not like hypocrisy.

I am glad I live in Canada when I read things like this.

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