Gay marriage and other political links

Slacktivist looks at a recent Christianity Today article insisting that refusing to serve gays is nothing like refusing to serve blacks 60 years ago—that was racism and hate, anti-gay stuff is about staying true to Biblical principles. Except, as noted at the link, segregationists were very clear that black and white were separated by God (Jerry Falwell, one of the landmark leaders of the religious right, got into politics because of integration. He was against it).

This ties in, at least in my eyes to the Christian Science Monitor’s series on the clash between Christian wedding vendors and gay couples. It includes quotes in various segments from Southern Baptist spokesperson Al Mohler and a spokesperson for the United Pentecostalist Church on the importance of religious freedom and not forcing people to compromise their beliefs. Even though I don’t agree with this, I don’t think is an unreasonable stance—but it sure is similar to the arguments made under Jim Crow and even today against desegregating (a friend of mine was warned by her pastor that dating across the color line was absolutely anti-Bible).

And while Mohler and other members of the SBC are quoted about rights and diversity, they don’t have any respect for either. Mohler (and the SBC) have opposed same-sex marriage, regardless of whether florists and bakers are forced to provide services; the SBC last I checked doesn’t support any rights for gays (to have sex, to serve, etc.). That doesn’t invalidate their support of the wedding vendors, but I think it’s important to remember the only religious freedom they’re fighting for is that of people who believe like them.

It’s particularly telling in the arguments that county clerks shouldn’t have to issue licenses if they personally don’t accept same-sex marriage due to “sincerely held religious beliefs” as in one proposed Mississippi bill. For the life of me I can’t see any excuse for refusing to do the duty your taxpayers are paying you for. And why single out same-sex marriage over all the other things people might object to (interracial, Catholic getting a second marriage, marriage outside your faith, atheist marriage)? As I’ve said elsewhere, religious freedom doesn’t guarantee your right to get out of anything you object to.

All that being said, death threats against businesses that refuse to provide wedding services are not an acceptable political tactic.

In other news:

•Police shoot a number of mentally ill people every year because they’re often the first responders called in to deal with the problem. Slacktivist looks at possible solutions. And in response to the Charles Kinsey shooting last week, slacktivist suggests police give mandatory first aid to anyone they shoot.

•Conservatives are shocked and appalled that anyone would make jokes about abortion on the pro-choice side.

•Some members of Congress are wondering about the impact of AirBnB and whether it squeezes out regular renters.

•I’ve blogged before about the news reports that most farm-to-table restaurateurs in Tampa are lying about their food. I’m not surprised this is common elsewhere.

•The CDC reports a growth in drug-resistant gonorrhea.

•Although Ohio is an open-carry state, protesters at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland will not be allowed to carry toy guns or umbrellas with sharp tips, just real guns.

•Shell-shocked anti-Trump Republicans begin reconciling themselves to the candidate. I particularly liked one suggestion that Republicans should back off calls for tax cuts for the rich, but only temporarily.

•There’s a push for Uber drivers to unionize. Sounds good to me. And despite it’s success, it’s currently bleeding money (one suggestion in comments at the first link is that they’re waiting until self-driving cars let them dispense with the human factor).

•Paul Ryan didn’t roll out his “Better Way” at a country club so (according to the Wall Street Journal) he must be serious about helping the poor. Think Progress mocks the people who think Ryan is a serious-policy guy.

•There’s dying for honor and then there’s honor killings in which someone else makes the call for you (and by “you” I mean women).

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