Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): I see dumb people

Friday, February 14, 2014

I see dumb people

Literally, everywhere.

I'm not going to advocate for the religious liberty bill that recently passed the Kansas House. But I'm also not going to call those who voted for it, bigots.

I am truly baffled at the sheer number of people commenting on the bill who obviously never bothered to read the text. That includes a boat load of fools on social media, an awful lot of political reporters and even a number of legislators that voted on it.

It's shocking that the majority of local news stories about the bill didn't bother to report why such a bill was being considered. The story linked is but one example. It glosses over the whole "why" behind the bill, which was a U.S. Bureau of Labor ruling that would force a private business in Oregon, a cake maker, to make a cake for a gay wedding.

I personally think anyone should be able to deny service to anyone for any reason -- even if it's a reason for which I don't agree. It's a little thing called freedom. It matters to Christians, but to others as well.

Freedom allows my pro-choice friend who owns a sign and publication business, the right to not make signs and post cards for say, Operation Rescue, a pro-life organization who regularly shows very graphic pictures of aborted babies. 

It should allow a barber to only serve male clients. (What female wants her hair cut by a dude with a hacksaw and a razor? No thanks.) It should allow a strip club (whatever you think of such places) to only hire female dancers. (Because what dude who frequents such places is interested in watching a guy in a g-string dance erotically?)

Another outspoken Christian friend is a landlord. He could say no to couples living in sin, but he doesn't. The application doesn't ask. His rule: Pay your rent on time, and don't make meth in the residence. 

This is exactly what the vast majority of businesses will do no matter what the religious beliefs of the owner. Almost everyone has a price. But those who don't, those whose religious beliefs make them fear for their mortal soul if they bake a cake for a gay wedding shouldn't be required to.

The Oregon cake maker should NEVER have been sued or challenged by the government for refusing to bake a cake. The  baker's reasoning is irrelevant. As far as I'm concerned business owners should have the right to deny anyone service. The reason doesn't really matter. Once the government starts worrying about the reason for denial of service, the government becomes the thought police. Either you can run your business how you want, or you can't. That's all, folks.

While we're on the topic, I'll just mention that I think we've moved beyond needing special classes of citizens. There are codes that disallow discrimination of certain protected classes, and to be honest, I don't get it. So, I can be the world's biggest jerk to a white male, maybe just because I don't like white males, and that's OK. But woe to the person who discriminates against a minority? That makes no sense at all. 

It may have at one time, but it certainly doesn't today. Even in Kansas, where I note a bazillion people are deadset on calling this place the bastion of discrimination and hate, if a minority women went to a barber shop and was refused service because she was a minority woman, the barber would likely lose his business -- even without the law. There's this thing called Facebook and Twitter and other social media, and also a news media that is the equivalent of discrimination ambulance chasers. If that woman was denied service for being a minority woman and put the information on her Facebook page, the story would probably go viral in a millisecond. That barber would look like the world's biggest hater, and no one would use his business.  

The problem with the proposed Kansas law as currently written is that it manages to make the state or courts "thought police." It allows a business or individual to deny service, but the state or a court or someone must determine that the reason behind the service-denial was a "sincerely held religious belief."

That said, I absolutely believe that we are at a point where Christian beliefs (and all others) should be protected. We can't sit on our hands and wait for the feds to show up and demand that a private business, like someone who owns a rental hall, absolutely must rent it out for pagan rituals, gay weddings or Christian weddings for that matter. (Again, I note that the vast majority of rental halls would rent to anyone who will pay the asking price.)

If a court can tell a private individual or business, that they MUST use their talents to do something they believe imperils their mortal soul, that's a problem in the land of the free.

Unfortunately, the Kansas bill didn't do a very good job of fixing the problem. It's far too vague. And this is where I wanted to slap one legislator who explained to me like I was a five-year-old, that the legislation was very narrowly written. This legislator obviously didn't actually read it, because "narrow" is the last word I would use to describe it.

There are many who argue Kansas already offers those protections, and that's true, but I have no qualms about further codifying it. The feds can't be trusted at this point, and I'm not a fan of waiting until the U.S. Department of Thought Police shows up with an edict. By then it's too late.

So, yes, the legislation was bad. The idea behind it was not. 

That said, everyone needs to cool their freaking jets. You would not believe, (OK, you probably will) the number of complete numbnuts saying things about how much they hate Gov. Brownback because of this legislation.

I'm not Browback's biggest fan, but to those of you hating the governor for this piece of legislation, take a lap. The Governor didn't write it. And for those who missed fifth grade, the governor doesn't draft legislation. He proposes it. Sometimes, a friendly legislator takes it up. All signs suggest that's not what happened here. It appears Brownback had nothing to do with it.

The bill was proposed by a legislator, and in all likelihood, that legislator didn't propose the language itself. He told someone what he wanted to fix, i.e, the Oregon cake maker scenario, and someone (with a questionable ability to put words into the correct order) wrote a very bad piece of legislation.

And then this happened: Everyone lost their damn minds. If it's unjust to call pro-choice people baby killers (and I believe it is), then it's also unjust to call people who don't support gay marriage, bigots. 

There is absolutely no room for discussion or debate once people start calling names. All name-calling manages to do is cause the other side to dig in its heels. Legislators were too busy defending themselves from slander to discuss how the legislation may have been improved in a way that solved the problem it sought to fix.

I don't blame the legislators for attempting to defend themselves, because as I said before, the intent behind the bill was truly religious liberty. Of course, you wouldn't know that from half the stories out there about the bill. 

And while we're on the topic, legislators, you need to learn to talk through the name-calling. That means being able to firmly and clearly state exactly what it is you believe the legislation accomplishes. In this instance, it meant specifically mentioning to, oh, a reporter and constiuents, the Oregon cake maker case. And sincerely asking those on the other side how they would go about ensuring that sort of thing -- i.e., forcing a private business to provide a service they don't want to provide --  doesn't happen in Kansas.

Reasonable people can agree: No one should be forced by the government to do something that they think violates their conscience. Right? 

Finally, a note for my so-called moderate friends: You were in a unique position to assist. That means waiting before piling on and actually reading the legislation. Or attempting to find out what problem the bill was trying to solve and assisting in the debate of how best to do it. 

You aren't helping your state, your own political career, or your cause by calling names. How about acting as mediators? (This is why no one likes moderates. They pretend to be reasonable and thoughtful, but when push comes to shove, their main political function involves picking a side a slinging mud. Nice.)




12 comments:

  1. You wrote: "I am truly baffled at the sheer number of people commenting on the bill who obviously never bothered to read the text."

    One thing I find shocking is that you assume anyone who disagrees with this bill is uneducated on it. Can't it just be that I disagree with its purpose?

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  2. You wrote: "It's shocking that the majority of local news stories about the bill didn't bother to report why such a bill was being considered."

    I am probably only considered moderately informed and I've heard of the sad sack Oregon cake baker who refused to bake a cake for a lesbian wedding and got sued.

    http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2014/feb/11/kansas-house-debates-religious-freedom-measure-cri/

    http://pvpost.com/2014/02/10/capital-update-religious-freedom-marriage-bill-and-anti-gay-discrimination-24916

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  3. You wrote: "I personally think anyone should be able to deny service to anyone for any reason"

    So did whites in the South prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Thank goodness the government stepped in and made a law against that. Once the law was enacted it took a long time (in some places a very, very long time), but society slowly followed.

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  4. You wrote: "Once the government starts worrying about the reason for denial of service, the government becomes the thought police."

    Please refer to comment three above re: Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    Racism is alive and well in the Deep South (see: George Zimmerman verdict, Loud Music Murder Trial both in Florida). But it is FAR less rampant than it was before the government stepped in.

    With each generation racism is less prominent. Because when people see other people treated differently based on certain characteristics (use separate bathrooms and drinking fountains and restaurants and lunch counters…) they start to think of them as different. As less. But when those same people are suddenly treated the same, over time, people start to see them the same.

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  5. You wrote: "The bill was proposed by a legislator, and in all likelihood, that legislator didn't propose the language itself. He told someone what he wanted to fix, i.e, the Oregon cake maker scenario, and someone (with a questionable ability to put words into the correct order) wrote a very bad piece of legislation."

    I believe the bill was written in D.C. and passed by Rep. Lance Kinzer to Rep. Macheers. I'll have to find the link where I saw this later as I have somewhere to be today.

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  6. No doubt some news stories mentioned the Oregon cake baker case, but they did so in passing and many times in ways that eliminated crucial details. Many ideas that were valuable and meaningful at one time outlive their usefulness. History is littered with them. Current examples: Compare the labor unions at their origination to labor unions today. Or Reagan's Universal Phone Fee, originally created to ensure rural America had access to landline telephones. It's more than a little outdated.

    I didn't write about the Civil Rights Act or even the Civil War, and maybe I should have. I'll simply say this: Social change is much more effective when it's managed person-to-person as opposed to by fiat. It's the George Bush model of one heart and one mind at a time. I'm not saying neither side should push with legislation, but ultimately, the only true success at changing the culture (or social values) is person-to-person.

    I think one reason Kansas' religious liberty bill was written and passed was due in part to backlash against the push that everyone MUST get on board with gay marriage. And by get on board, I don't mean tolerance. We're very tolerant in Kansas, despite what anyone may say. By 'on board' I mean the down right demand that not only do you tolerate, but you be required to show your approval. There's a huge difference between tolerance and approval.

    An example near and dear to my heart in social issues -- abortion -- has been tearing apart since before I was born, in part, because the Supreme Court announced by fiat that every state had no choice to allow it. This country can barely move forward based on that ruling. Every Supreme Court nomination means a bloody war of words and indignities that should embarrass the left. (I'll personally never forgive the left for how they treated and continue to treat Clarence Thomas.)


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  7. Aa promised I found one of the stories that tells about the bill's origin:
    "Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, brought the model legislation to the attention of Macheers. Kinzer, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, was one of the most vocal proponents of the bill when the House debated it earlier this week but was absent throughout the hearing process.

    “I chair a committee, and I’ve got a lot of other things to do, and the bottom line is I saw the model, thought it was interesting and passed it along. And that’s it,” Kinzer said.
    "Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, brought the model legislation to the attention of Macheers. Kinzer, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, was one of the most vocal proponents of the bill when the House debated it earlier this week but was absent throughout the hearing process.

    “I chair a committee, and I’ve got a lot of other things to do, and the bottom line is I saw the model, thought it was interesting and passed it along. And that’s it,” Kinzer said.
    "Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, brought the model legislation to the attention of Macheers. Kinzer, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, was one of the most vocal proponents of the bill when the House debated it earlier this week but was absent throughout the hearing process.
    “I chair a committee, and I’ve got a lot of other things to do, and the bottom line is I saw the model, thought it was interesting and passed it along. And that’s it,” Kinzer said."

    Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/2014/02/13/3287827/susan-wagle-bill-that-allows-service.html#storylink=cpy

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  8. You wrote: “It allows a business or individual to deny service, but the state or a court or someone must determine that the reason behind the service-denial was a "sincerely held religious belief."

    As good and beautiful as the bible is people have been misusing them as a tool for evil for as long as the bible existed. Here are a few examples in our country:

    Justifying slavery: “Various slavery proponents cited verses such as 1 Corinthians 7:21, Galatians 3:28, and 1 Timothy 1:10 to not only to justify slavery but also to condemn those who spoke out against it as un-Christian. Proslavery advocates espoused Paul’s message in Timothy 6:1-5. In it, Paul commands slaves to obey even non-Christian masters, to do otherwise is ungodly. Advocates of slavery used this verse to condemn abolitionists.”
    https://libertyeducationforum.org/issues/12-religion/47-the-bible-tells-me-so.html

    Segragation: “Segregationists made similar biblical arguments to oppose integration efforts in the 20th century. They used Genesis 9:18-29 to make the case that God approves of segregation. These verses tell the story of the separation of people after the flood through division of the sons of Noah. Additionally, the curse of Ham in Genesis, discussed above, was offered to justify segregation.[xxxi] Segregation supporters also used the Genesis story about the confusion of tongues at Babel (Genesis 11:1-9) to argue that God believes the races should be kept separate. Another frequently used Bible passage was Leviticus 19:19 which forbids a mixing of certain animals, plants, or fabrics.
    Segregationists used "calls for a pure Israel," as found in Deuteronomy 21, to advocate for a racially separated society.[xxxiii] One segregationist, S.E. Rogers, argued that support for segregation was rooted in Christian love. Other opponents of racial equality argued that the Gospels justified segregation. Just as Jesus Christ refused to associate with certain people, they too could refuse to associate with black people and not be considered un-Christian.”

    Interracial marriage:
    In 1959 the trial judge from the Loving vs. Virginia case said:
    "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."

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  9. You wrote: “I absolutely believe that we are at a point where Christian beliefs (and all others) should be protected.”

    We agree about this, but we probably disagree about the practical application of this. Christians have the right to believe interracial marriage or gay marriage (or any other kind of marriage) is wrong, but they don’t have the right to discriminate against people who fall into those categories.

    You wrote: “If a court can tell a private individual or business, that they MUST use their talents to do something they believe imperils their mortal soul, that's a problem in the land of the free.”

    Baking a wedding cake doesn’t mean you support an issue. It means you’re baking a wedding cake. It should never imperil your mortal soul.

    You wrote: “There are many who argue Kansas already offers those protections, and that's true, but I have no qualms about further codifying it.”

    It’s interesting the things you are willing to legislate while your party pretends to be the party of smaller government.

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  10. The bill was poorly worded, gave public employees a right the probably shouldn't have as employees of the public, the entire public. But it failed.

    This is how the legislative process works. Someone proposes a bill, its debated, its voted on.

    Virtually the same bill, with the same language has popped up in other states.

    Everyone deserves the right to be as stupid as they want to be. The free market will reject businesses that don't operate in a manner commensurate with public opinion. We don't need government legislating thought or protecting people from their own poor business decisions.

    What kind of sadistic person wants to force another to service their wedding against their will anyway? That doesn't exactly the impression one is interested in creating the perfect memory of their solemn vow of life long commitment.

    The real bigots are those who can't respect someone's religious beliefs and find a business that is more in line with their own values.

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  11. Yeah. Black people who held sit-ins at counters in the Deep South in the early 60s were pretty much assholes. Those restaurant owners with religious beliefs that blacks were inferior and shouldn't be served in the same places as whites had every right not to serve them. Troublemakers.

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  12. I have just downloaded iStripper, so I can have the hottest virtual strippers on my desktop.

    ReplyDelete