Pages Menu
TwitterRss
Categories Menu

Posted by on Mar 2, 2014 in Uncategorized | 96 comments

Religious Right, Angry at Reality

Slaves, serve your masters wholeheartedly (Ephesians 6:5-6). Picture from thebricktestament.com

The recently vetoed homophobic bill in Arizona got a good deal of publicity, and not in a way that its framers would have liked. The figures of the religious right are in a tizzy over getting called out on their resurrection of the ghost of Jim Crow. In a piece titled “Brewer picked the pig skin”, Gary Bauer, one of the most notorious christian homoprhobes, has no kind words for the way the public discourse on this matter was conducted.

Worse than the veto was that the left was allowed to frame the debate. Legislation intended to preserve religious liberty was cast by most news outlets as an effort to restore Jim Crow laws, which prevented black Americans from being served by certain establishments. Those laws were evil and there was no motivation for them other than raw racism. And America has correctly decided that racism is wrong.

See, motivation makes all the difference. In the case of discrimination against gays, the motivation is religion. In the case of discrimination against black Americans, it wasn’t. At least that is what Bauer’s writing (which I suggest be read fully) implies.

Except that racism was defended in those days every bit as biblically as homophobia is today.

Theodore Bilbo was one of Mississippi’s great demagogues. After two non-consecutive terms as governor, Bilbo won a U.S. Senate seat campaigning against “farmer murderers, corrupters of Southern womanhood, [skunks] who steal Gideon Bibles from hotel rooms” and a host of other, equally colorful foes.

For Senator Bilbo, however, racism was more that just an ideology, it was a sincerely held religious belief. In a book entitled Take Your Choice: Separation or Mongrelization, Bilbo wrote that “[p]urity of race is a gift of God . . . . And God, in his infinite wisdom, has so ordained it that when man destroys his racial purity, it can never be redeemed.” Allowing “the blood of the races [to] mix,” according to Bilbo, was a direct attack on the “Divine plan of God.” There “is every reason to believe that miscengenation and amalgamation are sins of man in direct defiance to the will of God.”

Bilbo was one of the South’s most colorful racists, but he was hardly alone in his beliefs. As early as 1867, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld segregated railway cars on the grounds that “[t]he natural law which forbids [racial intermarriage] and that social amalgamation which leads to a corruption of races, is as clearly divine as that which imparted to [the races] different natures.” This same rationale was later adopted by state supreme courts in Alabama, Indiana and Virginia to justify bans on interracial marriage, and by justices in Kentucky to support residential segregation and segregated colleges.

In 1901, Georgia Gov. Allen Candler defended unequal public schooling for African Americans on the grounds that “God made them negroes and we cannot by education make them white folks.” After the Supreme Court ordered public schools integrated in Brown v. Board of Education, many segregationists cited their own faith as justification for official racism. Ross Barnett won Mississippi’s governorship in a landslide in 1960 after claiming that “the good Lord was the original segregationist.” Senator Harry Byrd of Virginia relied on passages from Genesis, Leviticus and Matthew when he spoke out against the civil rights law banning employment discrimination and whites-only lunch counters on the Senate floor.

As it happens, though, far worse was committed in the name of “God the original segregationist”.

[S]ee Genesis ix, 24—27, as follows: “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him: and he said, cursed be Canaan (Ham); a servant of SERVANTS shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan (Ham) shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan (Ham) shall be his servant.”

…[Bishop] Newton maintains … that the curse of Noah upon Ham, had a general and an interminable application to the whole [negro] race, in placing them under a peculiar liability of being enslaved by the races of the two other brothers.

The curse, therefore, against Ham and [the negro] race was not sent out on the account of that one sin only. But as the deed was heinous, and withal was in unison with his whole life, character and constitutional make, prior to that deed, the curse, which had slumbered long, was let loose upon him and his posterity, as a general thing, placing them under the ban of slavery, on account of his and their foreseen characters. [...]

The appointment of this race of men to servitude and slavery was a judicial act of God, or, in other words, was a divine judgment.

 “Embarrassing” stories you’d never learn from Gary Bauer.

  • f_galton

    Bauer is correct, Jim Crow laws were government mandated segregation, while the purpose of the Arizona law was protecting freedom to associate and the free exercise of religion.

    • NoCrossNoCrescent

      Jim Crow laws were also for freedom of association (for those who didn’t want to “associate with those dirty n***s”) and to protect their religious freedom as their faith told them the races should be kept separate. Of course you’d know all this if you read the post before commenting.

      • f_galton

        Jim Crow laws made it illegal to associate with blacks, the Arizona law does not make it illegal to associate with anyone.

        • NoCrossNoCrescent

          Wrong. Jim Crow laws gave private businesses permission to keep blacks out. Just as the Arizona law was going to give them permission to keep gays out.

          • f_galton

            Jim Crow in Georgia:
            “All persons licensed to conduct a restaurant, shall serve either white people exclusively or colored people exclusively and shall not sell to the two races within the same room or serve the two races anywhere under the same license.”
            “It shall be unlawful for any amateur white baseball team to play baseball on any vacant lot or baseball diamond within two blocks of a playground devoted to the Negro race, and it shall be unlawful for any amateur colored baseball team to play baseball in any vacant lot or baseball diamond within two blocks of any playground devoted to the white race.”

            Jim Crow in Kentucky:

            1890: Railroads
            All railway companies were required to provide separate but equal accommodations for white and colored passengers. Penalty to do so resulted in the passengers or conductors receiving a fine of $25 or imprisonment for 20 days. Any officers and directors of railway companies that fail to follow this law were found guilty of a misdemeanor and could be fined between $100 and $500. This law excluded streetcars.

            1902: Streetcars
            All streetcars must provide separate but equal accommodations to a passenger of any race. The failure to do so ended with such penalties as passengers or conductors could receive a fine of $25 or imprisonment up to 30 days. Any railway company that refused to follow could receive a fine of $100 or imprisonment between two and six months.

            1908: Public Accommodation
            It was unlawful for whites and blacks to purchase and consume alcohol on the same location. Penalty for this act was a misdemeanor punishable by a fine from $50 to $500 or an imprisonment in the parish prison or jail up to two years.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Jim_Crow_law_examples_by_State

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            Rand Paul’s criticism of the Civil Rights Act: It is not the business of federal government to tell private businesses who they may or may not serve.

          • f_galton

            I happen to agree with that, which has nothing to do with the fact that Jim Crow laws was the government requiring non-association.

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            And I just happen to think you are not just a homophobe, but a racist too.

          • f_galton

            Three comments before resorting to Ad hominem, congratulations.

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            So you are OK with restaurants, supermarkets etc being able to keep blacks out-but how dare I call you a racist! You have a problem with reality, just like Gary Bauer.

          • f_galton

            It’s not racist to oppose government meddling in private affairs.

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            Except that who is kept out of a public place (like restaurant) and why, is a very public affair.

          • f_galton

            Only if you choose to make it one.

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            Mighty convenient for you to chose not to make it one if you are not the victim of discrimination.

          • f_galton

            Bulverism.

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            Racism.

          • f_galton

            Saying racism over and over doesn’t add up to an argument.

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            Oh, but saying bulverism does?

          • f_galton

            Bulverism is what you were doing.

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            Racism is the attitude you have been showing.

          • f_galton

            I haven’t said anything racist. Even if I were the world’s biggest racist it would not change the factual inaccuracy of your claims.

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            Well it is not surprising that you don’t see the racism in government sanctioned discrimination against racial minorities. Many kid themselves just like you do. And you can parrot the inaccuracy refrain as many times as you like, doesn’t make it true.

          • f_galton

            It is true you made incorrect claims about Jim Crow laws. Laws protecting freedom of association are not “government sanctioned discrimination” just as laws allowing bookstores to sell Mein Kampf are not government “sanctioning” Nazism.

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            I made the point that both Jim Crow laws and Arizona laws tried to make a certainly group of citizens second class, and I am standing by that statement. And the Arizona law has absolutely nothing to do with freedom of association; homophobes can avoid gay cooties all they want, when they are not doing the job the people of the state have trusted them to do, and not citing religion to illegally discriminate among customers.

          • http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

            Hang on, so a government can’t meddle in private affairs, even if said affairs are morally repugnant and causing harm? As a strict libertarian, you must surely then submit to the will of any individual or group and resist having the government qua police intervene. Wow.

          • f_galton

            I have no idea what point you are trying to make, and I’m not a libertarian.

          • http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

            You oppose government meddling, apparently only when it suits you or your notions of what should be left to be.

          • f_galton

            I oppose it in general. I also think we have too many laws, that doesn’t mean I want the police to stop investigating murders.

          • http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

            So, to NC’s point, when companies are doing immoral things, the government have the right to intervene, otherwise you are special pleading when the government can intervene (or you have developed a robust system of when they can intervene and when it is meddling – murder ok, racism meddling!).

          • f_galton

            Some people think alcohol is immoral. Do you think the government should make bars illegal? The government is restricted from interfering with the free exercise of religion, it is not obligated to make sure every business is doing what some people view as moral, nor should it.

          • http://www.skepticink.com/tippling/ Jonathan MS Pearce

            I think producers and sellers should pick up the negative externalities of the product.

          • f_galton

            That’s relevant how? I would agree that in some cases they should.

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            From your own link, Jim Crow in AZ:Education [Statute] School district trustees were given the authority to segregate black students from white children only where there were more than eight Negro pupils in the school district. The legislature passed the law over a veto by the governor.

            So no, not all of them were government mandated discrimination, some were, others just giving citizens the authority to discriminate. Like the one is Arizona that got vetoed-now that should sound familiar.

          • f_galton

            When people talk about Jim Crow that’s not what they mean. Stop trying to defend your gross ignorance. Also, the law you cite involves government run schools, which is not the same thing as not interfering with the religious exercise of certain private businesses.

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            When people talk about Jim Crow they mean segregation. Your point boils down to: if discrimination is mandated by government it is bad, but when it is done by private businesses, it is OK. No, it is not. Because private businesses are licensed by the government. They wouldn’t be there without government giving them a license. And they cannot do so, unless they are endorsed by the government. In either case it is government sanctioned discrimination in the public place. It has nothing to do with freedom of association. No one ever asked homophobes and racists to spend time with the undesirables when they are not performing a public service.

          • f_galton

            Whether you approve of the Arizona law or not it is wrong to equate it with Jim Crow laws. The government does not endorse every business it licenses, and the government is not required to mandate association, it is prohibited from interfering with the exercise of religion.

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            Whether you like discrimination or not it is wrong to deny that was the purpose of both Arizona and Jim Crow laws. When the government gives a business a license and fails to revoke it when they discriminate among their customers it has relinquished its duty to enforce equality before the law.

          • f_galton

            Whether you are for against it, it’s dishonest and wrong to equate the Arizona law with Jim Crow. Government is required to apply equal protection of the law, that does not mean government is required to enforce equality.

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            Whether you like discrimination or not it is wrong to deny that was the purpose of both Arizona and Jim Crow laws. And if it is OK for private businesses to discriminate then you don’t have equal protection.

          • f_galton

            The Arizona law didn’t discriminate against anyone. You don’t understand the concept of equal protection.

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            Sure, to you blacks and gays don’t count as “anyone”.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Can a business go to church?

          • f_galton

            Owners of a business can.

            Read the discussion at the link below of the federal RFRA which the Arizona law was based on.

            http://www.volokh.com/2013/12/03/rfra-allow-exemptions-burdens-imposed-corporations/

          • Nerdsamwich

            But that’s not what you said. You said “the religious exercise of certain private businesses.” A business is not, in and of itself, religious, unless religion is its primary business.

        • Shane King

          Right it just makes it legal to deny association based on the extremely nebulous concept of ‘sincerely held beliefs’ e.g. whatever I feel like making up.

          • f_galton

            The government should not coerce association.

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            The government can coerce equal treatment of citizens. Denying someone a service is not freedom of association any more than an ER is a private place.

          • f_galton

            It’s the definition of freedom of association.

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            Wrong. If you are a doctor and you refuse to care for a Jewish patient on the basis that you don’t want to be associated with “Christ killers” the state will revoke your license in a heartbeat.

          • Shane King

            It’s not, it’s preventing somebody from discriminating in the public sphere.

            It’s exactly like overturning Jim Crow laws.

            In essence this was Jim Crow +, because anyone could imagine any overblown reason to say ‘Nah I won’t serve blacks because according to my religion they’re bad people’.

            The GOP lost a push to move America back in time, and the world is a better place for it.

          • f_galton

            That is not what the proposed law would have allowed, and it’s absurd to equate it with Jim Crow.

          • Shane King

            Well that is exactly what it allowed. And yes it is absurd.

            If the law is allowing people to say, ‘My beliefs are X so I don’t have to follow the laws of anti-discrimination’ then it’s Jim Crow +.

            Because I could say ‘I’m a mormon and people with dark skin are the bad guys in my story book, so they’re not allowed services here’

            You could say ‘I’m a medical professional and a Jehovah’s witness, and blood transfusions are wrong, so I won’t perform them’

            How is that not, what’s the word, crazy?

    • Jon Rodriguez

      You are a paid shill, and your personal information linking you to various organizations has been noted.

      • f_galton

        What organizations do you think pay me?

  • WoollyMittens

    No he isn’t f_galton. You are free to exercise you religious freedom any way you want, but it’s not a special privilege to cause harm to others exercising theirs.

    • f_galton

      What does “cause harm” mean?

  • f_galton

    A group of law professors provide a good explanation of what Arizona’s law actually would have done:

    http://www.azpolicy.org/media-uploads/pdfs/Letter_to_Gov_Brewer_re_Arizona_RFRA.pdf

    • NoCrossNoCrescent

      Which of course, includes allowing Muslim business owners to keep Jews out.

      • f_galton

        You should read that letter.

        • NoCrossNoCrescent

          Right after you read my post.

          • f_galton

            Have you read that letter yet?

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            Have you read religious justifications of Jim Crow yet?

          • f_galton

            Sure, though they aren’t relevant.

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            Yes they are. They are the precedent that show why the AZ law is not defensible on the basis of freedom of religion.

    • Shane King

      Yeah because all those law professors from conservative groups were SOOO correct about gay marriage being enforced on the idea that the bibble is 100% correct.

      Oh, wait, I’m hearing that this never happened and that the law is pretty clear about equal protection in the 14th amendment, sorry my bad.

      • f_galton

        Equal protection isn’t relevant. If the law passed it would have been entirely constitutional.

        • Shane King

          I doubt it, as its implementation would have simply enacted a carte blanche pass for everyone to enact their own version of Jim Crow laws.

          I could say ‘You’re christian? No services provided.’

          Anyone could deny services to anyone for any reason. It would be enacting capricious discrimination.

    • NoCrossNoCrescent

      I have had enough of you for now. You have left no doubt about how horrible a person you are. You think there is nothing racist about the government allowing a restaurant to keep people out on the basis of skin color, and that “freedom of association” means while at work, you can deny service to those you consider icky. (Gee, someone should let the hospital near my home know, I am sure the doctors and nurses would prefer to get some sleep after midnight rather than “be associated” with anyone in need of urgent care).
      None of this means you are not welcome to leave comments here. Being a troll, on the other hand, does. And the rest of us will not be spending our entire day chasing you.

      For the time being you are being moderated to one comment per day (and you have used your quota for today already). In the future if you exceed that, you’ll be banned permanently.

  • Justin Kinser

    Denying citizens equal access to a public space based on the mere suspicion of homosexuality is disenfranchisement. It doesn’t matter how it’s justified, it’s unconstitutional.

    • f_galton

      It’s not unconstitutional.

      • Justin Kinser

        I disagree.

        • f_galton

          There’s nothing in the Constitution requiring it.

          • Justin Kinser

            On the contrary, the 14th Amendment requires equal representation under the law, which would be violated by a law granting religious people special privileges.

          • f_galton

            You should read what the 14th Amendment actually says.

          • Justin Kinser

            I have. You should re-read the 1st Section:

            //Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.//

            Empowering religious people to discriminate with impunity by depriving all other citizens of their right to seek civil retribution for such discrimination is in violation of this section.

          • f_galton

            “nor shall any State deprive”

            A private business that doesn’t want to do business with gays is not the State depriving someone, and the law applies equally.

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            A private business is not private in so much as its actions affect the community around it. It’s called a “public” place for a reason.

          • Justin Kinser

            The law itself establishes a preferred class of citizens. That is in violation of Section 1.

          • f_galton

            No it doesn’t.

          • Justin Kinser

            It grants a specific group of people legal immunity against discrimination lawsuits. That absolutely establishes a preferred class.

          • f_galton

            That’s not establishing a preferred class. You realize that in most of Arizona employers can fire employees for being gay and landlords don’t have to rent to gays, all of which is entirely constitutional?

          • Justin Kinser

            They haven’t been challenged in court yet, that doesn’t mean they’re constitutional.

          • f_galton

            They haven’t been challenged in court because they are constitutional.

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            Lol. They have not been challenged because they are UNENFORCEABLE! And they are not the only anachronistic laws still on the books.

          • Nerdsamwich

            Granting special religious privileges also runs counter to the First Amendment.

          • Jon Rodriguez

            Are you drunk? From the Constitution: Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

          • f_galton

            The Arizona law did none of those things.

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            Sure. To you a gay person doesn’t count as a person.

          • f_galton

            To me a business is not a State.

          • NoCrossNoCrescent

            Silly straw man fallacy. Street gangs are not the state either. It doesn’t mean the state is not responsible to intervene when they violate your rights.

          • Shane King

            Have you read the 14th Amendment? Section 1 wraps it up pretty nicely.

            No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

            If you’re going to make a law which unequally applies to people, you’re violating that clause.

            Which is what EVERY supreme court judge has ruled for gay marriage.

          • f_galton

            Whether you approve of it or not, the Arizona law was not unconstitutional. When did the Supreme Court rule for gay marriage?

          • Shane King

            Every state level supreme court has ruled that LGBT marriage bans violate the Equal Protection Clause. The federal level cases have upheld lower court rulings. In the case of prop 8 due to a standings issue.

            And when they ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional on violating the 5th Amendment in depriving persons of material goods without due process.

            In essence, religious arguments don’t count when it comes to depriving other people of rights.

          • f_galton

            Multiple state supreme courts have upheld gay marriage bans.

          • Shane King

            Recently? Unless you’d like to cite those cases, to my knowledge nearly every case lately that makes it to state supreme courts rules in favor of following the constitution of equal protection under the law.

  • Dare Murdok

    I reserve the right to not serve anyone associated with bigots or antiquated ideology.