"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Saturday, October 25, 2014

"My Rights Are Bigger Than Your Rights"

Digby noted something that started the old synapses firing:

I've been writing for quite a while about how the gun proliferation movement was essentially nullifying everyone elses freedoms. You might recall the final graph of this piece of mine at Salon which got a whole lot of comments:

All of this is allegedly being done to protect our freedoms. But it’s only the “freedom” of the person wearing a firearm that matters. Those parents who want their kids to feel safe in a public park aren’t free to tell a man waving a gun around to leave them alone, are they? Patrons and employees of Starbucks aren’t free to express their opinion of open carry laws when one of these demonstrations are taking place in the store. Those Jack in the Box employees aren’t free to refuse service to armed customers. Sure, they are all theoretically free to do those things. It’s their constitutional right just like it’s the constitutional right of these people to carry a gun. But in the real world, sane people do not confront armed men and women. They don’t argue with them over politics. They certainly do not put their kids in harm’s way in order to make a point. So when it comes right down to it, when you are in the presence of one of these armed citizens, you don’t really have any rights at all.

Now think about the "religious freedom" arguments used by "Christians" against having to have any associated with gays in any context. This is only the latest variation:

Since marriage equality’s arrival in North Carolina this month, at least two magistrates have resigned from their roles in the state judicial system to avoid having to officiate marriages for same-sex couples. This week, Senate Leader Phil Berger (R) said he will introduce legislation that allows officiants to refuse to perform marriages that violate their religious beliefs.

This is not some florist or baker he's talking about -- these are government officials. (Do I smell a violation of the Establishment Clause? You bet I do. Look at the court rulings on teacher-led prayer in schools.) This is a step above the "license to discriminate" laws vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer in Arizona, but passed and signed in Mississippi. (And look for more of those.) It's just a way of making certain religious beliefs paramount, the way the ammosexuals want to make the Second Amendment paramount.

Digby's post also triggered memories of reading a series of stories on the black pastors opposing equal rights for gays, especially marriage, on the ground that gay rights are not "civil rights":

In the brief, the coalition calls for a reversal of Friedman's decision. They argue that the marriage equality movement is inaccurately equated with the civil rights struggle, and that such comparison ignores the acute suffering of blacks throughout American history.

"The fact that American media or other factions erroneously characterize the traditional meaning of 'marriage' as being on par with the civil rights deprivations of Black Americans does not make it so," the brief states. "Comparing the dilemmas of same-sex couples to the centuries of discrimination faced by Black Americans is a distortion of our country’s cultural and legal history."

Excuse me? Where have you been for the last few hundred years? Oh, right -- pretending that only white people are gay.

The trend is obvious. It looks to me like the ungodly hybrid child of conservative insularity -- shrinking the idea of "us/other" rather than expanding it, an authoritarian mindset (also a conservative trait, mostly, reinforced by an authoritarian theology), greed, and fear, aided and abetted by the efforts of the right-wing noise machine. Yes, it's conservatives -- you won't find a lot of liberals running around in support of these ideas, because liberals tend to understand one of the basic tenets of insuring an orderly society: all rights have limits.

To conservatives, only other people's right have limits.

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