Can Rights be Wrong?

Indiana and Arkansas are still in the news for their controversial bills adding the right to discriminate against LGBTQ people. It seems another polarizing issue and both the Left and the Right are completely unwilling to compromise. Should there be a compromise on discrimination? The clear answer is “no”, or is it?
Let’s put these vendors and purveyors of goods in a context outside LGBTQ rights.

A black photographer is hired by the KKK to cover a rally. The photographer doesn’t realize it’s the KKK and the KKK don’t know she is black. Now both parties surely don’t want to work with one another, but money has been exchanged and contracts are signed. The KKK cannot find another photographer to cover this important event and so they begrudgingly settle for this woman’s service, but she refuses returning the money. The KKK sues for breech of contract.

Next we have a doctor who specializes in cosmetic surgery. He consults with a woman who wants to augment her features. They come to a mutual agreement and exchange the proper funds and paper work. Just before he performs the surgery he notices bruises on the woman’s body and makes inquiry. She says it’s her boyfriend and she’s getting the surgery thinking it will please him, thus mitigating the abuse. The doctor decides he did not have all the information and it would be unethical to perform the surgery. He takes his fees for the consultation and returns the rest. The woman sues him for breech of contract.

You can think of myriad situations where people may have scruples differing with a client’s belief or reasons for soliciting services. A tattooist refusing to do a Swastika or a daycare center refusing service to the unvaccinated. The point being, are Christian’s practicing discrimination by sticking to their beliefs anymore than any of these aforementioned businesses?

The simple answer is “no”. Christians simply want the right to deny service to an act they view as an abomination and these people truly believe LGBTQ are living in hateful defiance of their loving god. However, marginalizing an already marginalized group never moves society forward. Should whites be able to refuse service to blacks? Absolutely not. So what is the difference? Is there one? Not really.

Christians have no just reason for treating LGBTQ differently and are terribly inconsistent with their claimed reasons. We know LGBTQ people are not sexual devious any more than straight cisgender people. They struggle to maintain healthy loving partnerships just as much as straight cisgenders. They are just as terrified about that wedding day. So LGBTQs aren’t psychologically bent, it’s not about perverse sex, and they are not demanding straight cisgenders act in any way counter to their natural state. The only reason left is religion.

Christians are ridiculously disingenuous about what they choose to defend as traditional marriage. They rightly claim god despises gay sex, but a closer Biblical reading shows men can have many wives (in fact this is recommended). Women may be bought and sold as wives. Men must marry their rape victims and vice versa. On and on, the Bible has obscene recommendations regarding traditional marriage and yet Christians are only hung up on discriminating against LGBTQ people. Where’s the legislation demanding rape marriage and polygamy?

Thankfully society’s backlash to these bills indicate sure defeat, but in the interest of compromise and freedom to practice religion and run a business in a free market society this is my recommendation: If you want to make badly reasoned discrimination a legally backed business plan you must show bigotry is part of your business model. Put it on the shop door, the website header, and your mission statement. “No service for LGBTQ”. Put it out there big and bold if you are that sure your god wants that. You want to treat people badly for a completely natural state of being, you own it. Let the free market teach you how it feels to be discriminated against.

Obviously there are parts of this country where those businesses would thrive and possibly expand as we’ve seen with Chick-fil-Aand Hobby Lobby, so contact your legislators and let this know this is discrimination for the dumbest of reasons and you won’t stand for it. Christians are wrong and hateful for thinking any part of this could be justice, but that’s the beauty of this country. You have the right to be wrong. If the law won’t hold them accountable, then it is up to us to boycott their services. Maybe we should start with the source of all this non-sense and stop going to Church. If you really care about human rights, stop supporting one of the worst violators in all of history, or don’t. That’s your right.

Drive fast. Take chances. Thanks for reading.



Whoa to Atheists

Atheists, agnostics, skeptics, freethinkers, brothers, and sisters. I’m leveling a charge in this new year. Too often we are accused for anger and pride. Too often those charges are level and fair. In the following I hope to clear the air and distill some truth.

First let’s define where we stand.
Atheism: the lack of belief in god(s), nothing more or less. By definition no central text, rule set, or dogma. Despite this, non-belief is always polarizing in religious culture and perceived as the antithesis of the religions it avoids. We unfortunately are defined by what each religion views as its polar opposite.

Bertrand Russell wisely said if someone cares to be a skeptic they should suspend judgment in lieu of evidence. Atheism at its core is just that, but we have found our public voice and we are trying it out. Like a new vegetarian or environmentalist we are over zealous. We speak loudly without all the facts and limited understanding. It’s only natural, but I worry if we don’t learn tact and understanding the movement will end before it even started.

This New Atheism is a natural and a useful reaction to years of repression, ostracization, and execution. To this day atheists lose jobs, community, and in many parts of the world, lives, when we come out of the closet. The worldview of the militant atheist, often justifiably, attributes the worst of the world to religion. Presidents can say atheists are unpatriotic in speeches. States leave atheophobic clauses in their constitutions. Alienation in our courts, our pledges, our money. We watch women’s rights languish, gay rights trampled, education embroiled in idiotic quagmire, human rights stuck in bronze age thinking. All this points to a slimy trail oozing behind religion.

Given the litany of crimes, why wouldn’t society rush to our embrace?

Whether its visions of hell fire or the fear of losing Christmas, culture seems to think atheism is the end of hope. It is after all, “damning”. People think atheism is a choice. The lifestyle of the contrarian. Atheists supposedly want to destroy community. They are assholes getting bent out of shape after you say bless you. Atheism is hated not because people love god but because it’s perceived to destroy society’s glue. Atheists tell believers their churches are hollow, their Christmas tree and Easter hams are pagan, their cross is a torture device, and their beliefs toxic. We speak to them as though they have poured through the Bible and found every sinister nook and cranny. We take away the Pastor at a wedding. We take away the Sunday potluck. We take away heaven. We take away mystery. We argue against theology, books, and ideas. They are arguing for their marriage, their children, they family, their way of life. In essence they hate us for repressing who they are. We have every right to be pissed off for inequality and misunderstanding. If that’s true, then why are we surprised when they react the same way?

You atheists who never believed and find yourself saying, “I don’t understand how they think…” stop after that sentence. If you haven’t believed you can’t understand. Asking questions will get you much closer to goals than berating and belittling. Those of us who lost are faith are often hurt and angry about the loss of family, community, and being lied to. While we may be justified in our pain, we are not justified in lashing out and to be fair believers thought they were doing a good thing. They had our best in mind.

The solution isn’t to show them they are wrong, foolish, and delusional. No one learns from someone they hate. No. We must show a better way. Rather than destroy their society, we need to present them a better one. One of inclusiveness, community, reason, and altruism. We need to develop systems to replace the ones we condemn. Religion supplies charity, community, and hope for so many. They will never listen until we fill the vacuum. Let us show them the rituals families bond over are available without faith. Speak to them in terms they understand. Show hope is better based in reason. Kindness for kindness sake. Forgiveness for forgiveness sake. We need to be grassroots in our communities. Atheistic hubris is toxic. We need to stop claiming to know more than is possible to know and be unflinching in what we can know. We need to show them love in community. Friends, we need to ask questions before supplying the answers.

Join a Sunday Assembly. Work with secular charities. Bring families together for beautiful secular weddings. Bring families together for infant secular dedications. Read their holy text through their eyes rather than one of contempt. Choose battles based on universal merit. Give them purpose and hope by living hopeful and purposeful lives. Be patient.

Be humble.

Drive fast. Take chances. Thanks for reading.