Thursday, April 7, 2016

Commonweal Editor Matthew Sitman on Mississippi and North Carolina Anti-LGBTQ Legislation: "Freedom for Me But Not for Thee"

Commonweal associate editor Matthew Sitman on the "freedom for me but not for thee" approach to religious freedom of the new anti-LGBTQ legislation in Mississippi and North Carolina:

What the conservative position on LGBT rights and religious freedom, exemplified in the Mississippi and North Carolina bills, amounts to is this: they want maximal ability to opt out of any and all situations that might involve doing business with LGBT people or treating them in minimally considerate and decent ways, but then rail against others for not going along with it. They want the state to sanction their own discrimination, but then are horrified when others freely choose to follow a different, better path. They want their freedom, but despise the free choices of others. 
Anti-LGBT conservatives, in other words, want to live in a world made over entirely in their own image. Freedom means getting their way, all the time. The future of religious liberty in this country will be a perilous one indeed if it becomes associated with such nonsense.

And that seems precisely right to me, as someone who has lived in both the states of Mississippi and North Carolina and knows the culture of those states — which is very similar to the culture of my home state of Arkansas — as something of an insider. As a not-in-the-least-unrelated addendum, note this recent story at Hermant Mehta's Friendly Atheist blog, to which Fred Clark provided a link with a succinct summary — "religious liberty" — on Sunday: Mehta reports that, after renting a space to them in his RV park, Gene Baker informed Erica Flores Donahoo and her husband Stanley Hoskins that he could not let them rent space in his park.


"Oh, it’s a big problem with the members of my church, my community and my mother-in-law," she [Donahoo] quoted him [Baker] as saying. 
"They don’t allow that black and white shacking." 
"We’re not shacking. We’re married," she replied. 
"Oh, it’s the same thing," she quoted him as replying.

This took place in Mississippi. 

I find the graphic with the Orwell quote at many sites online, and am not certain of its origin.

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