Wednesday, September 27, 2017

They Might Be Bigots

Political Correctness, thinks the Trump-Voter is ruining American. We can't disagree about anything without being labeled racist or a bigot. Is this true? The Omnivore went to the least racist Trump-Voter who will talk to him (there are, of course plenty of Trump-Voters The Omnivore knows who embrace racist propaganda--even while thinking, provably incorrectly, that it's real-facts--and there are a few Trump-Voters The Omnivore doesn't talk to about it because, well, those conversations don't go well).

But here was the example: Serving Gays.

The Question: "How has PC damaged your life?" The answer--and this was not surprising--was that some guy was forced to bake a cake for a gay wedding.

In other words: It hasn't. Not really. At least not In Real Life. Sure--on the Internet you get called names--but on the Internet, everyone gets called names.

The Conversation

"Tell The Omnivore More," said The Omnivore, knowing full well that hearing more would not make anything better. This is what emerged:

  1. A person of religious conviction who feels gay marriage is immoral should not be forced to bake a cake for gays.
  2. A person of religious conviction who feels gay people are immoral should not be forced to serve gays in their establishment.
  3. A person of religious conviction who believes gays are immoral is not a bigot.
  4. A person who refuses to serve blacks in their establishment because of religious convictions cannot exist.
  5. A person who refuses to serve blacks in their establishment is a racist.

Enter This Guy. Brian Klawiter runs a Diesel Engine repair and servicing shop in Grandville Michigan. He posted on Facebook--and reaffirms in his video that he runs his shop in a Christian fashion:
I am a Christian. My company will be run in a way that reflects that. Dishonesty, thievery, immoral behavior, etc. will not be welcomed at MY place of business. (I would not hesitate to refuse service to an openly gay person or persons. Homosexuality is wrong, period. If you want to argue this fact with me then I will put your vehicle together with all bolts and no nuts and you can see how that works.)
Is he a, you know, bigot? The answer, according to the Trump-Supporter is no. He is just religious. His religion says gays are immoral so he won't serve them. Same with thieves or murders--he's not a bigot--he's just religious.

Wait, Why Is That Any Different Than Discriminating Against Black People?

The Omnivore wanted to know too. The answer, he was told, was that the bible didn't say anything bad about black people--but it did say homosexuality was immoral. When it was pointed out that Christianity had long been used to justify slavery and racism (the curse of Ham, God's alleged separation of the races, the primacy of certain tribes or people), he was told:
  1. The reason it was illegal to discriminate against black people (but not gays) was because of the religious difference (FACT-CHECK: False. The reason is that the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment was interpreted during the Civil Rights movement to apply to black people. Various other specific acts created protected classes on the basis of gender, for employment, handicapped people, veterans, etc.--none of this was specifically based on religion).
  2. The religious prohibition on fixing a gay man's car was the same as baking a cake for a gay wedding (FACT-CHECK: False. The religious prohibition against participating in a creative way in a gay wedding is based on the fact that marriage is a sacrament and participating in a sacrament in a way that is immoral would be a sin. Fixing a gay man's car is not a sacrament. In fact, religious doctrine usually distinguishes the immorality of gay sex from lying, cheating, and stealing--we as Christians are called on to love each other as we are all sinners and gay people aren't victimizing others in the way thieves are).
  3. That since no specific verse could be found saying "black people" that The Omnivore's history was clearly incorrect. (FACT-CHECK: The Omnivore Suspects She Really Did Know Better But Just Wouldn't Admit It.)
The point here is that there are probably a lot of people who believe that a religious objection to gays--or that, say relentlessly using gender-pronouns not wanted by a transgender person, or whatever is "just your opinion, man." It should not--morally cannot--be condemned because of some religious exception to being branded a bigot.

The Omnivore is here to tell you: that is some bullshit.

There Is No Religious 'Exception' To Bigotry

What is happening here is a combination of misinformation (not understanding the religious objection to forced participation in SSM), ignorance of history (not understanding how The Church participated in the institutions of slavery and racism in America), and  good, old fashioned, denial ("I can't be a racist/bigot--then I'd be bad.)

No--the fact is that racists and bigots have long justified their positions with everything from religion to biology to bogus crime stats. There's always a reason. Black people were hanged--before scores of well-dressed onlookers, for the bogus charge of raping a white woman. If you'd asked any of them, they'd have told you, kids in tow, that justice was done.

However, this doesn't really help with the clearly extant problem here: What do we tell all these people who think they're unfairly being accused of being racist/bigoted while, at the same time, thinking they should be able to refuse service to gay people if their religion finds the gay lifestyle immoral?

To be clear: This issue has many different permutations. There is the guy who constantly calls a transgendered co-worker by her previous gendered name/pronoun because he's "committed to Truth and Facts and doesn't want to be made to tell lies." There's the person who has no problem with black people--but 'knows' the science shows they're statistically less intelligent and genetically more prone to criminality (carrying the "warrior gene") so, you know, he wouldn't want his daughter dating one--the kids would be dumbed down!

There are more--there are all kinds of these people who feel that because they have a position that is "based on fact/logic/science/religion/morality" they ought to be allowed to hold it--in public--and if they get called a racist or bigot for that, they are being subjected to intolerance and oppression--that their free speech is being silenced.

How do we handle people who honestly don't believe they're bigots while maintaining they should be allowed to discriminate against vulnerable people for reasons that are flimsy at best and dishonest at worst?

First: Identify the Bad Actors

Nazis--literal Nazis--rallying under the 'Free Speech' banner are not honest champions of the first amendment (in their ethnostate they would, of course, restrict free speech as soon as possible). This doesn't mean they don't get to exercise their free speech--but neither should they be given a pass on being bigots when doing it.

The guy in the linked story above makes a joke about how he'll put your car together wrong to show you how bad being gay is. He also equates gay people with thieves and liars. This is not backed up by any actual religious doctrine and, in fact, is counter to a lot of it (if, in fact, being gay is largely biological then it is even more absurd). He shouldn't get a pass for that--if he is going to joke about gay people while refusing them service in a non-religious context, while equating their consensual actions with actions that nonconsensually harm other people? He's a bigot and he doesn't get a pass.

In these cases, the religious or ethical front is an excuse for a set of personal beliefs and prejudices that the person knows better than to express.

Second: Correct Misinformation

There is almost no way to do this without being seen as an asshole--but you gotta do it anyway. Patiently and relentlessly explain how religion indeed has been used to justify racism. How biology doesn't back up the claims most racists say it does. How the objection to being forced, legally, to commit a sin doesn't hold up when being asked to repair a car--and so on. 

This may not change minds (being told your facts are wrong usually doesn't change anything) but it still has to be done.

This may cause a change in behavior down the line, to other observers, or, who knows? You might win the argument (miracle!).

Third: Understand That A Great Deal Of People Are Certain They're Not Bigots

A great deal of the friction that we feel in society today is that it is rapidly becoming socially unacceptable to actively discriminate against people who have low social capital (transgendered people, gays, etc.). This used to be okay--and it was, The Omnivore asserts, quite comfortable for the people who weren't subjected to it.

Don't 'get' the whole transgendered person thing? The Omnivore is sympathetic. The idea of "the surgery" squicks you out? The Omnivore doesn't condemn you at all. Think they shouldn't serve because of bogus reasons around "troop readiness" or because "it's bad for the poor transgendered people and we should save them from themselves"? Well, The Omnivore has news for you--your facts are bad--and you're lying to yourself.

Unfortunately where we are as a society is that this shift is rapid--it is uncomfortable--and the conflicts are unavoidable.

The Omnivore can handle the diesel engine guy not liking gays. That's fine--but refusing to serve them is a societal cancer. The religious right trying to prevent transgendered people from serving is a battle that's unavoidable. It'll get cloaked in socially acceptable terms--but the core of it is intolerance and bigotry--

So the rule is: If they're not hurting anyone in a direct and obvious fashion (gay marriage making "your marriage worth less" is absolute bullshit, David--and you know it) then you don't get to take action against them or close doors on them in the public square without being a bigot.

If that's the rule--then make the cut-off calling for action--not holding the belief. People get to hold beliefs. All kinds. Some may be offensive--but they're still just beliefs.

Hold the line at the calls to action.

Oh--and just so you know--that anti-gay diesel repair guy? He supports the practice of "rolling coal" (creating special modifications on your truck's diesel engine to blow black smoke out of it in copious amounts to anger environmentalists) and, he voted for Trump.

The Omnivore is Jack's complete lack of surprise.

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