Of Easter Eggs and Wedding Cakes

The Governor of Indiana saw the light. Sort of.

What he really saw was a tsunami of outrage that threatened to swamp his Ship of State. Even Republican business people were angry with him for signing into law a bill that appears to have been an attempt to make an end run around the supposed Radical Gay Agenda. The good (and some not so good) legislators of Indiana wanted to make sure their fellow citizens could refuse service to whomever they wanted, if providing that service would violate a deeply held religious or philosophical belief.

Regardless of what the Hoosier politicians say, its chief target was gay people.

Bakers of wedding cakes, schedulers of venues and (purportedly) scads of other merchants did not want to be compelled to provide their services to those people. The way the folks in Indiana were talking, you’d think the Radical Gay Agenda was about imposing Sharia Law in the state.

I cannot verify 100% that radical gay people do not want to impose Sharia law somewhere in America. However, I know quite a few homosexuals – more than Mike Pence, apparently – and I’ve never heard one of them go on and on about Sharia law and what a great thing it would be for the neighborhood. Still, one never knows.

The interesting thing about the now-revised and possibly meaningless Indiana law is what it could have led to.

An innkeeper could decide s/he didn’t want to rent a room to those two guys, or those two women, who look kinda … you know … gay. To have such a couple in one of their motel rooms, with their en flagrante delicto moral turpitude, might cause the innkeeper to suffer a spiritual nervous breakdown.

Or he could just go watch TV and not worry about it.

Apparently that’s not an option for the morally up-right and the spiritually elevated. They have fundamental torment, probably because they’re worrying about what they’re going to say to Jesus about the abominations and fornication in Room 217.

Meanwhile, a restaurateur might take offense at the Hindu family wanting to have dinner in his café. They’re idolaters, you know, those Hindus. Worshiping all those gods. One even looks like an elephant. The restaurant owner’s religious sensibilities and values might be deeply wounded by this gaggle of pagans, in which case his moral right to turn them away – his duty, even – should be legally protected. Right?

The problem with injured religious sensibilities and values is that, like a back ache or an upset stomach, you can’t see it, and you can’t prove it doesn’t exist.

We could turn this story around, of course. In this version – Wounded Values 2.0 – the owner of the café is a Hindu who doesn’t like having to serve Christians. It’s their monotheistic, blasphemous lifestyle of which he does not approve. If you feed people like that, he figures, it will only encourage them, and perhaps allow them to breed.

But it’s not Hindus whose delicate moral values are threatened by Jack kissing Billy. The offended ones, the poor souls whose moral universe is in such danger, are almost uniformly white Christians.

The timing of this controversy is exquisite. Tomorrow is Easter: the pagan spring fertility celebration (Eggs? Bunnies?) hijacked by the early Christian church centuries ago, so the Christians could have a special day to celebrate the re-birth, the rising from the dead, of their Jesus.

As you’ve probably deduced, I’m not at all religious. The label of “Spiritual but not Religious” isn’t even quite right for me. Maybe something like “Spiritual, Uncertain About What Makes the Universe Work, and Open to the Possibilities!” In any case, despite not being a Jesus-believing, God-Fearing guy, I am going to suggest to the multitudes of morally fragile white people out there that they read the book – I mean, The Book – they so loudly profess to love and slavishly follow. For example, Isaiah 58:10.

If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.

In other words, you’ll be a lot happier if you stop thwarting gay people and instead, help them become fully equal citizens. God will like you better for it. It says so right there in Isaiah.

When it comes to love, I am resolutely polytheistic. I don’t care whom you choose to love – heterosexual, homosexual, trans-sexual, asexual, queer, polyamorous, or Republican – nor do I care how you choose to love them. The important thing is that you love that person, fully, acceptingly, with all your heart.

In the wake of the outrage about Indiana’s newest law, Gov. Pence was quoted as saying, “This is a bill that in ordinary times would not be controversial. But these are not ordinary times.”

Here the Governor has attained a wonderful clarity of vision. No, this is not an ordinary time, if by ordinary, he means a time when it is acceptable to discriminate against certain of our fellow citizens, based upon whom they choose to love. No, this is not an ordinary time. It is a time when more and more of us are realizing that it is more important to protect those who love, than it is to protect those who do not.

“God damn it, first one wants freedom, then the whole damn world wants freedom.” — Gil Scott-Heron, B Movie

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