Apr 8, 2015

April 8, 2015: Cat in a Thunderstorm, Well-Oiled Weathervane, Jackass in a Hailstorm

"There's no place where you can call home
Got me running like a cat in a thunder storm
Just a big bed and a telephone
Like the last remnants of a stately home

And it's a pretty hard thing
(It's not easy)
And it's hard
(It's not easy)
Well, it's a pretty hard thing
(It's not easy)
It's not easy living on your own"
----The Rolling Stones "It’s Not Easy" from the album Aftermath (1)

Nearly two weeks ago Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law the so-called "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" touching off a firestorm that had the dear governor "running like a cat in a thunderstorm". Previously Pence has been seen as a ‘moderate’ of sorts, in what passes for moderation nowadays in the bowels of Rescumlican politics; but forced to throw the idiot wrong a bone in the wake of last years’ defeat by the marriage equality movement, Pence thought that he could slip this one under the rug unnoticed. Accordingly, in a private signing ceremony attended only by the leadership of his own party and a few religious fundamentalists, Pence quietly signed the bill into law.

The reaction was devastatingly swift with everyone from "Star Trek"s George Taikai to the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association which has its headquarters in Indianapolis) to several high tech companies and those planning conventions a hue and cry went out condemning the action by the state as nothing less than legalized discrimination. Accordingly the governor was seen running like a cat in a thunderstorm, first appearing on a following Sunday’s television talk show saying the law needed to be ‘fixed" but reversing his position later that afternoon on the radio saying that the law was good as written. Hung out to dry and twisting in the political hurricane like a well-oiled weathervane the governor had, by mid-week lost all of his political bearings finding, in the words of Jagger and Richards, that it’s "pretty hard thing...living on your own".

By mid-week the State’s major newspaper the "Indianapolis Star" ran a front-page headline featuring a big black box taking up most of the front page with the words "Fix This Now" in bold white letters. This produced a ‘news conference’ in which the governor after having taken the podium stood in forlorn silence for 29 seconds looking for all the world like a jackass in a hailstorm. Finally speaking he tried desperately to wrap his arms around the incomprehensible, f admitting that although a ‘mistake’ had not been made, the law nevertheless needed amending. Meeting later with several of the legislative cabal responsible for the outrage an amendment, of sorts, was unveiled. The resulting ‘compromise’, of course, pleased no one with critics contending that the revisions didn’t go fare enough. Meanwhile, in states like Arkansas, governor Asa Hutchinson, another Rescumlican stands ready to sign a similar law into effect earning the preemptive condemnation of the likes of WalMart.

What we have here is, of course, bigotry demanding the right to discriminate using religion as a smoke screen. We have seen this nonsense before, as when the country saw an explosion in attendance at religious parochial schools in the wake of court-ordered desegregation back in the late 60's and 70's. Following the well-tread path of using the shield of religious conscience, as well as the ‘separation of church and state’ as rationale for re-segregating the society, the idiot wrong has here extended the argument beyond the church and schools into main street.

It is no coincidence that Indiana with a history, in the 1930's, of being ruled by the Klu Klux Klan, that the first experiment in this form of bigotry should come from the fertile fields of the Hoosier state. Given its history, perhaps Governor Pence thought this a relatively mild concession to the siren voice of intolerance. One, perhaps, will never know.

In any case it is curious that the idiot wrong will argue that there is no state jurisdiction, because of the separation of church and state, over religious conscience but will, in other arenas, argue against such separation. There is, of course, no logical consistency to these arguments moored as they are not in constitutional law nor in New Testament theology but rather in the dark murky bigotry of political expediency.

There is no need for the law. Everyone in America–Indiana included–is free to practice their religion with the number of churches standing in every community a visible witness to the robust practice thereof. Therefore the very name of the act is a misnomer, for there is no freedom in need of ‘restoration’. Others were simply demanding, and have been getting, the same freedoms as the alleged aggrieved. You can almost tell from the very names of these initiatives be it "Religious Freedom Restoration" or "Patriot Act" or the "Fair Tax" proposal often bandied about that whatever the title of the law or the initiative it is almost always a cover for a falsehood. Whatever the proponents call it is almost surely a means of controlling the language so as to control the debate and obfuscate real intent. So it is here. "Religious Freedom" is here conflated with discrimination. Freedom here comes to mean, in practice, discrimination; and, let there be no mistake about it, discrimination leads to persecution

Meanwhile the governor, after all this effort, stands like a jackass left out in a thunderstorm.


1. http://www.metrolyrics.com/its-not-easy-lyrics-rolling-stones.html

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