|A sign placed in the window of Rocco's Little Chicago Pizzeria in Tucson, Arizona, after Arizona legislators voted to pass SB 1062, a bill to increase religious freedom.|
Here at Thee Optimist, we're fans of religion.
Indeed, we even have our own religion, to whit: we believe that the human race is the result of interbreeding between chimpanzees and aliens from outer space, an event which took place long ago, perhaps as long as two million years.
We call this religion Monkeyshines.
Monkeyshines helps explain a lot of what's happening here on Earth, and one day I will expound on its many helpful (though not necessarily hopeful) properties.
I'll give you a few teasers.
Why do you suppose we seem to have dual natures, one animalistic, violent, and amoral, and another profoundly ingenious, creative and almost angelic?
Why do we behave in a similar way to so-called invasive species, easily out-competing and destroying all other living things on the planet in a wholesale way?
Why can't we seem to stop doing this, no matter how hard we try?
Yes. That's Monkeyshines. You can join if you like. Send me an email. For $99, I'll make you a bishop.
In the meantime, let's talk about religious freedom. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that we have plenty of religious freedom here in the United States.
For example, in many past cultures, merely mentioning the Monkeyshines faith would have been a good way to find oneself, oh I don't know, set on fire, nailed to a cross, skinned alive, crushed by large stones, pulled apart by horses, and in other equally unpleasant, and if you think about it, rather embarrassing situations.
If I were tied up and about to be pulled in four different directions at once by very large horses in front of my friends and neighbors and family, I think the major feeling I'd have would be embarrassment.
Especially if my mother was there. See, because I'd know what she was thinking, which would be something along the lines of: "I told him it would come to this."
And wouldn't you know it? There are even modern cultures where this sort of treatment is still possible. These are cultures I tend to steer clear of.
So the amount of religious freedom we have here in the USA is a pretty good amount. Yet, in the great state of Arizona, the legislators wanted to give us even more.
Last Friday, they passed SB 1062, what they termed "a bill to increase religious freedom."
Since we already do have a large amount of religious freedom, what sort of increased freedom did they have in mind? Namely, the freedom to discriminate against other people because of your religious beliefs.
For example, if a gay person were to try to come into your store, you could refuse that person service because of your religion. In this case, you would likely be of the Christian persuasion.
I assume you'd know the gay people by the little pink ribbons they all wear on their lapels. We've talked about this before, quite recently in fact. But let's say it again, in case anybody missed it.
Jesus loved all people, even gay people. If you don't like gay people, that means YOU don't like gay people. Not Jesus.
If Jesus had a store, he'd want everybody to come in.
Wisely, Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona decided to veto the bill when it came across her desk. I'd say "bravely," but she really had all the momentum in her favor.
Big name Republicans like John McCain and Mitt Romney were against the bill. Many, many interest groups were against the bill, especially business groups worried about an economic boycott by tourists from out of state.
And the NFL was hinting that if she signed the bill, they'd take their 2015 Super Bowl, scheduled for Arizona, elsewhere.
Money talks, in politics, and everywhere. Sometimes that's a good thing.
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