Thursday, April 16, 2015

"Mike Pence Must Go," Really?

     The signs are popping up in front yards around Indy.  I'll bet you can find them in many of the college towns, too.  Outside those areas?  Probably not.  He plays quite well in the hinterlands.

     The reasoning behind the signs seems to be that Governor Mike is, after all, openly Christian and socially conservative, and he didn't veto RFRA when it crossed his desk -- far from it! So off with his head -- or at least haul him out of office.

     I thought and continue to think the RFRA was legislative foolhardiness, applied to a "problem" that has never actually been a problem in this state, a problem that is really just the other side of PC-speak and "trigger warnings:" people think they have a right not to be squicked by the not-illegal actions of their fellow humans. (Hint: you don't.)

     But Mike Pence isn't to blame for introducing it.  That lies squarely with the State Legislature, where a power-besotted supermajority decided to do a little social engineering, egged on by a set of comfortably familiar lobbyists with a vocal following.

     I blame WW II, which gave us the old notion of "kings" in a new suit of clothing: it was a war of Great Leaders all 'round, Hitler and Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt, Tojo (and his Emperor), Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Tse-tung and a host of lesser leading lights, all taking the credit and blame, all villains and/or heroes-- And barely a word about the cheering masses; barely a word about the troops and the victims, barely a word about the pliant legislatures and bureaucracies that enabled them.  WW II would've fizzled like a wet firecracker if nobody'd shown up, if the tax-collectors stayed home, if the sewer workers had flooded cities with sludge--  No, hell no, in history class it's 90 percent Great Leaders, eight percent Great Generals, and three pages on the war crimes trials after, with a half-page each for RADAR, guided missiles and the atomic bomb.

     Call me an anarchist.  Call me a Wobblie.  Whatever -- but stop tellin' me "The King Must Die!" every time the crops fail or some addlepated law you don't like gets passed, and start diggin' into Your Elected Representatives, who are the ones who put this bilge forward and carefully nurse it out of committee, onto the floor, over to the other whirling cam in the bicameral, and only then onto The Executive's desk to be signed or vetoed.

     If you are looking askance at the laws they propose and pass -- from whatever angle -- you have in your hands a lever to fix that, and a much smaller mass to move than the Governor: your state-level Congressthings.  Vote at 'em like mad, but don't stop there -- send them mail!  Call them up!  If you've got the bucks and the 'leet schmoozing skills, offer to buy 'em dinner and bend their ear!  Most of 'em aren't holed up in a mansion on Meridian street, they're down here with the rest of us and you can lean on them.  You can even look up how they vote and cheer them or take them to task over it!  (No, I will not Google that for you; the future belongs to those with the wit to at least pour sand out of a search engine when their own ox is gored.)

     Mike Pence is what he is, a conservative, well-intentioned, loyal Party man who thought he saw a narrow gap to get through and got his tail caught trying it.  His career is probably dead-ended at Governor -- not over Wrongthink but because his handling of the after-effects was clueless and clumsy. The legislature is hiding behind him, holding him up and shouting "Boogity-boogity!"  But he's not the source of the RFRA mess.

     Dig in.  Do your homework.  Make 'em fight more -- it's the only way to get fewer foolish new laws.  Or at least fewer new laws, and I'd count that a win for everyone.


Anonymous said...


rickn8or said...

Well said, well spoken.

Getting a little tired of this obsession some people have over other people's genitalia and their employment...

LCB said...

But isn't history always taught that way? We learn about Richard the Lionhearted, not the poor schlubs that followed him to the Holy Land.

We hear about the Tsar, Kaiser and King from WW1, not so much the poor guys who went over the wall.

Closer to home we hear about Lee, Grant, Meade, Stonewall...Lincoln and Davis. Not as much about Johnny Reb or Billy Yank.

Yes, for those of us that love to read history there are excellent exceptions to be found. My favorite episodes of World At War are when they focus on the home front. But this stuff is not taught in schools...if history is taught at all.

LCB said...

As to your larger point, I agree completely. Not trying to argue that...just a discussion on your example.

B said...

RFRA was a good idea, an attempt to keep some people from suing others because they INSIST that a conservative Christian make a cake for a (to the christian) activity that is distasteful. It was a (very) poorly written attempt to fix the fact that some people couldn't just take their business elsewhere.

Yeah, it could have (and should have) been done better, and it failed in what they attempted to do.

But the screaming horde (what, 5%) of Same Sex warriors had to sue (in another state) to get their lifestyle validated, and our legislators tried to fix that.

I really don't care what/how/who you sleep with. And I really DO think that business owners should be able to discriminate.

Again, this was a push back against the Social Justice equality folks who couldn't just take their business elsewhere. THe signs you see are the (very loud) few who want to change/fix a not broken system.

There are good reasons to vote against Mike Pence. THis isn't one of them.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

What B said.

Roberta X said...

...Except you're ignoring that whole "place of public accomodation" part of the law.

Also, will someone please explain to me the sin involved in baking a cake for a marriage of which your faith disapproves? Ain't nobody asking the baker to officiate. This really is all about the right not to be squicked.

rickn8or said...

"Also, will someone please explain to me the sin involved in baking a cake for a marriage of which your faith disapproves? Ain't nobody asking the baker to officiate. "

I asked the same question about the florist that decided she couldn't provide "wedding" flowers for a customer, after selling him "courting" flowers for years.

It was explained to me, (in not tactful tolerant language) that providing wedding flowers required the florist to be much more involved than a simple over-the-counter sale. Such involvement would be "helping the customer sin" and as a good Christian they simply couldn't do that.

And, yes, I've read their Bible cover to cover and couldn't find the verse that said that you'd go to Hell (or "Heck") for selling cakes and flowers to gay people.

Besides, if it caused you to "sin" then you can always ask for forgiveness, and your (Protestant) salvation isn't predicated on your outstanding sin account anyway, but your belief in Jesus.

As for the "squick", I have two classmates of both persuasions (both of which are devout Christians) in long-term relationships that I am not entirely comfortable being with, but I'd much rather be around them than someone that devotes entirely too much attention to other people's sleeping arrangements.

Michael said...

So, the whole premise of the RFRA essentially was to protect individuals from being forced to do something they objected to without a "strong state concern", right?

Maybe it's okay for a person to freely decide whether they're going to do business with someone or not as long as it's not based on those icky Christian principles? Does the libertarian creed specifically exclude those ignorant God-botherers from the same personal freedoms everyone else should have?

Let me quote something someone wrote several years ago. You may recognize it:

"You're surrounded by persons just as real -- and just as opinionated -- as yourself. Normal life involves interacting with them and accepting that they're not just clones of you. If you want to dictate how they should act and react, you might want to take a closer look at your own philosophical premises: you might not be a libertarian."

B said...


Why do I have to accommodate you (or anyone else) in any way? Why do I have to be "squicked"? Where are my rights, as opposed to the other person. Why don't business owners have First Amendment rights?

Make no mistake, in my business, we accept anyone, as long as they are paying. I don't discriminate, as long a I get your money. To suggest therwise would mean that I care enough.

What if someone wanted a NAMBLA cake? One celebrating the deflowering of 10 year old girls ny adults? Is that all right too? Is it protected? How about someone celebrating the fact that another person had died or was murdered? Where is the line?

If there can be no discrimination of any group, then that is fine, otherwise then you create a protected class. Who decides who is protected?

And, again, why must I accommodate anyone? And again, if the gay couple had not insisted that the Christian baker make them a wedding cake (just to make a point), and instead found another baker to do the work, then this (poorly written) law would not have been necessary. Instead, they forced a man to do something he didn't want to and was not comfortable doing, just so they could become a "protected" class. They seek validation, rather than protection.

And again, just to be clear, I really don't care who or what or how you do with another adult.

Tam said...


"Maybe it's okay for a person to freely decide whether they're going to do business with someone or not as long as it's not based on those icky Christian principles?"

Not according to RFRA. It's the RELIGIOUS Freedom Restoration Act; says so right on the package.

Nonbelievers still have to, as the supporters have been describing it, "bake cakes at gun point."

So... Are you being disingenuous? Or are you illiterate? Pick one.

Given that I keep pointing this out, and the SoCons keep ignoring this factoid and asking me to carry their water for them, I'm going to go with "disingenuous".

I'm done with this particular discussion. I've seen your true colors. "Freedom for me but not for thee" indeed.

Roberta X said...

I keep explaining that for places of public accommodation, the issue was settled in the 1960s. Nineteen. Sixties.

At the time, religion was not a huge part of the fight, though you could find plenty of people claiming being separate from some other folks was God's Will.

If you have a *business* open to the public, the law says it's got to be open to all the public. And LGBT people are, increasingly, defined as part of the public."

I'm not sure what kind of effed-up religion makes you turn your back on fellow humans, but you're going to need to do that on your own time, not when you're running or working in a place of public accommodation. That's the clear intent of the law. It's also common decency.

Roberta X said...

B: also, several of the cakes you describe are in celebration of *illegal* activities.

"Illegal" is not the same as "proscribed by your religion."

B said...

Hey, I don't discriminate.

Well, yes I do, actually. I only do business with people that can pay.

So if I come to you, as a baker, and ask you ton decorate a cake saying "I am happy he is dead" so I can take ti to a funeral, can you, as a baker, refuse me? If so, please explain why that is ok, but cakes for gay weddings are not. If you can't refuse me, then please explain why not?

What saddens me the most is the fact that all this hubbub is over a very vocal, but very small minority (3%? 5%?).

And a distinction: Bakery christian dude didn't refuse to serve the gay couple any cakes, just refused to make a wedding cake. They were not refused business. SO, again, where is the line? Celebrating an abortion? Is that protected speech?

Again, why must it be the business owner whose rights are smashed? Why must *his* first amendment rights be subordinate to the customers?

Roberta X said...

Because -- I'll say this reallllll slowly for you -- THE BUSINESS OWNER IS RUNNING A PLACE OF PUBLIC ACCOMDATION.

He's also refusing a *class* of persons if he won't bake cakes for same-sex weddings.

"I'm glad so-and-so is dead?". Singular and obnoxious. Possibly refusable on good-taste grounds. Wedding cake showing the happy couple doin' the nasty? Probably refusable. Wedding cake that says "Bill and John" instead of "Jill and John?" This is sooooooo repugnant to the Baby Jesus that a good, God-fearing baker dassen't do it?

Bullshit. I'm sure sorry that Jeez-O-Nazis are getting butthurt over this-- No, wait. I'm not. Dammit, you bitched when they were trading handjobs in the park in the dark and now that we have a chance to haul 'em into mainstream society and make them behave as quiet, sober citizens, you're bitching about that. Doesn't leave the poor bastards any option but the camps, does it? Consider carefully just what you are enabling.

B said...

Public accommodation was on racial and (get this) religious and gender grounds. THat was in the 60's. Nowhere does it say gender identity, nor who sleeps with whom. Yer stretching to include same sex marriage cakes in that.

And, again, I actually really don't care, except that I CAN discriminate against some people in my business (I don't) but not others. Your argument fails in the details. No one said "You can't buy cookies because you are gay" they said 'I won't put "COngratulations John and Paul"

And again, to bring this to a close (I believe you are wrong, and while I respect you a lot, you are stretching one argument into another) the original statement was that the LAW in indiana was put into place only because some exteminsts had to push to far in Colorado. ("We're here, we're queer, WE ARE IN YOUR FACE!!!")

THis wouldn't have been needed if people had just taken their money and found a place that DID want to serve them.

Michael said...

Well, I don't know Tam, maybe you're being illiterate... or disingenuous.

My point, if you had quoted the rest of the paragraph, was kind of pointing out the hypocrisy of some folks who ascribe to the principles of libertarianism.

You seem to be critical of the apparent loophole that "nonbelievers" aren't able to "opt out", if you will.

I'll take that to mean your evident disapproval of the law is because it doesn't go far enough. Bravo.

Roberta X said...

B, Michal, you make me sorrowful.

I keep seeing crosses burning. Damn right I think affectional wetwiring oughta be included under the law -- more to the point, I think using it as the sole basis for *exclusion* is just more of the same old same old. (In fact, I'd like to see the law turned inside out, extending special protection to all law-abiding people, without regard to race, religion, ethnicity, sex, gender or consenting partnership.)

No court or legislature can make your church perform an interracial marriage (or any other of which it disapproves). No law or ruling can force it to hire unbelievers.

A bakery or a florist or a bar or butcher shop is NOT a church. It's a place of public accommodation -- all of the law-abiding public.

A L L. I'm sure sorry you feel all ooky about the queers -- but I have worked with too many people, mostly men, *good* men, *decent* men, who were closeted and terrified they'd be found out and hounded out of their jobs. I have the misfortune to be highly observant and, when I was younger, I had very good hearing.

And by God -- in the very name of God! -- you want to keep 'em just as locked out as the law will allow? What, they're not miserable enough to make your God happy? (And yet many of them are religious, too, most of them Christian. What's next? Shall the Quakers be read out, 'cos they'll marry same-sex couples? How come should the law favor *your* church's vision over the Quakers?)

Yet there you go, wearing clothing woven from two kinds of fiber, making fires on the Sabbath, fibbing, lusting in your heart, breaking every other rule in the Book and still buying wedding cakes just like you were as good as a white man, so as long as he's not queer.

Your attitudes sadden me.

Roberta X said...

Michael: You seem to think religion should get a special break, and LGBT people should not be treated the same as heterosexual citizens if such treatment is claimed to be on religious grounds. Why is that? Where's the Bible verse that says its okay to sell a one dyke a cake, but not write "Hooray, Debbie and Sue!" on it for two dykes? --Or is it only really wrong if it's for Bill and Joe?

How come it's okay to make a nice wedding cake for Stanley and Jane, even if we know Stanley beats the crap out of her every time he gests liquored up? What if he doesn't, but they're known to be vocal atheists? What if they're colored? ...How much special permission to discriminate does your Jesus say you've got to have?

And how many LGBT kids are gonna get into trouble, growing up with the sure and certain knowledge they'll always be second class citizens? Don't they have as many rights as your hypothetical bakers and florists? (Seriously, there are straight florists? Really?)

LCB said...

No court or legislature can make your church perform an interracial marriage (or any other of which it disapproves). No law or ruling can force it to hire unbelievers.

Given some of the rhetoric coming from the rabid part of the LGBT community, the ones who disrupted Catholic church services several years ago, there is fear in many churches that the government will try to do exactly this. And given how both parties love to pander for votes I wouldn't put it past either one of them to try some day. Wouldn't work...but I've given up thinking that anything is beyond Washington.

Roberta X said...

LCB: Riiiiiiiiiiight. That's happened so often here in the U.S., with so much case law undermining the First amendment rights of churches...except not. Quite the reverse.

This is why your white-supremacist churches are, at least on paper, churches: 'cos otherwise they'd get shut down *long* before they get brought down on conspiracy to violate civil rights or bombing or murder charges.

You wanna know what has an overpowering and dominant majority in this country, so strong a grip on public opinion that you generally can't hold office without making at least token but visible nod to it? Religion. The Abrahamic religions in particular. Yet you people get pissy that the law doesn't pay special favor to even the most irrational restrictions some of you read into your holy book.

Color me unimpressed.

Roberta X said...

Say bye-bye, now. Bye-bye! Bye-bye!

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