I went to bed angry, and woke up with a deep and painful sigh of the soul. Every other blogger in the progressive and free-thinking world is writing and ranting about North Carolina today. But really, what can you say?
What can you say when a country that is based on freedom, passes a law that suppresses the very right to be one’s self?
What can you say when people who claim faith in a loving, merciful God, pass a law out of hate and spite, that serves no purpose but to label, ostracize and degrade the ‘other’?
What can you say, when free people can pass a law based on imaginary, moral high ground; even if, ultimately, the law comes at the expense of families, the economy, religious freedom, free speech, and basically the country’s street cred with the rest of the free world?
What can you say when children in our country have to go to school today and hear that their family isn’t really a family; that they no longer have health insurance; and that, if something happens to one of their parents, the state will probably get custody of them instead of their other parent. (OK, probably nobody is telling the kids about that last part. Because nobody thought that far ahead when they passed this heinous law).
What can you say when privilege of normalcy can wreak such havoc on the lives of innocent people?
I am a Christian minister, and i am pretty intentional about not saying things that polarize across party lines. But this is not a party issue. I know plenty of Republicans who think this whole conversation is bananas, and are pretty angry that their party is wasting precious time and resources on passing–let’s call it what it is–a hate law. I also know some (but not many) gay republicans. So, this is not a party thing. This is a human thing, a faith thing, a justice thing. And for those of us who spend our lives trying to save the church from itself, it is also a pretty significant PR problem.
What can i say? Only that, if we are handing out amendments all over today, I would like to say that:
1: Crazy people don’t get guns or access to social media. Say what you will about the right to free speech and arms, but I think we are learning quickly around here that freedom has its limits.
2: You can no longer do something spiteful in the name of Jesus and call it Church, and hide behind freedom of religion. If I am amending things, I say that you don’t get to claim my Jesus in your hate speech.
3: You are not allowed to vote with hate in your heart; you are not allowed to vote if you have never read a newspaper, met a gay person (or a person of color, or a poor person, or a non-Christian) in real life.
What else can you say, when the foundations of liberty can shift with a nation’s bad mood? What else can you say, but:
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed– That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter and abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
“Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes” Really, some truths are self-evident. What more can we say? Except, Thomas Jefferson forgive us; Tim Gunn, Elton John and Ellen Degeneres, please forgive us; and may God have mercy on our free, empowered, privileged souls when want to keep freedom for the select and privileged majority. A threat to liberty anywhere is a threat…well, you know. I can’t add much to that.