"Stampeding cattle... Through the Vatican!"
There aren’t a lot of good things I can say about the Ku Klux Klan – except perhaps that they’re the people to talk to if you want tips on what sort of bleach you should be using – but I really do have to applaud them for at least owning up to the terrible things that they believe. Anybody in 2014 who still puts on a uniform that represents 150 years of intolerance, racism, and terrorism isn’t going to try and walk back their ideology to save face.
Believe me, I’d much rather the KKK just not exist. But since they do, I at least appreciate the fact that they’re up front with this stuff so that everybody knows what they’re about.
I can’t say the same for Kansas’ Republican-controlled House of Representatives, which has been hard at work safeguarding the principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism by overwhelmingly approving a bill that will allow any individual, group, or private business to refuse service to gay couples or individuals if “it would be contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.”
This broadly written bill would make it legal for pretty much any state employee – from a justice of the peace to a police officer – to refuse service to gay people if they feel that rendering that service goes against their religious beliefs. The bill would also make it legal for restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, and just about any other business to deny service to gay people, or even prevent them from entering the property, leaving them to conduct their business at some separate (but presumably equal) institution.
If federal-level politics are the NFL, then state-level politics is college football – everything there moves faster and is more interesting because about half of the people in any given state legislature are certifiably insane. That explains how a bill legalizing discrimination and clearing the way for segregation got passed in America in 2014.
The author of this bill is state Representative Charles Macheers, a self-proclaimed Reagan Republican with a degree from the self-proclaimed second best law school in the country.* And nobody in the Kansas House of Representatives is more concerned about discrimination than he is.
*Rankings not compiled by the dean of the school, on the other hand, are a little bit harsher.
Says Macheers, “Discrimination is horrible. It’s hurtful … It has no place in civilized society, and that’s precisely why we’re moving this bill. There have been times throughout history where people have been persecuted for their religious beliefs because they were unpopular. This bill provides a shield of protection for that.”
You see, Macheers’ bill, which makes it legal to discriminate against any gay person purely on the basis of who they want to have sex with, is actually intended to prevent discrimination against Christians, who as we all know are often the target of considerable prejudice in this country, particularly in places like the Midwest.
By making it legal for Christian businesses to refuse service to gay customers without fear of being sued for discrimination, Macheers’ bill supposedly aims to allow Christians to freely practice their religion – a core tenet of which appears to be, “THOU SHALT NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES RECEIVE MONEY FROM GAY PEOPLE.”
The bill has drawn national attention, and Macheers has taken to the Internet to reassure everyone that if any anti-gay discrimination happens as a result of this bill, it’ll be a completely unintended side effect of his attempts to protect Christians in a country with 44 consecutive Christian presidents and a paltry 477 Christians in Congress.
Now, it goes without saying that Charles Macheers and his buddies in the Kansas House are a bunch of old, dimwitted crackers, at least a few of whom doubtless have a stack of carefully hidden men’s fitness magazines in their attic. It also goes without saying that if your religious convictions prevent you from doing business with a certain group of people, you probably shouldn’t be in business in the first place.
But that’s not really what pisses me off. What pisses me off is that in the face of rapidly growing support for LGBT rights, conservative opponents are too chickenshit to even own up to what they're doing anymore.
Charles Macheers disguises his anti-gay bill as a pro-Christian bill. A coalition of religious organizations files a brief opposing gay marriage but insists that it is “False and offensive” to suggest that they are anti-gay. 13 conservative groups urge the RNC not to drop its opposition to gay marriage but “Deeply regret the insinuation that we have treated homosexuals unkindly personally,” even when three of the groups are classified as anti-gay hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Here’s a hot tip, social conservatives: If it really hurts your feelings that much when people call you a bunch of crusty, ignorant old bigots, maybe you should quit trying to deny millions of Americans rights that they’re guaranteed under the 14th Amendment.
You have every right to try and advance your backward, prejudiced agenda, but you don’t get to have it both ways. Either join us here at the “Marry Whoever You Want, It Doesn’t Matter” party or keep fighting to have a 21st century democracy play by your idiotic Biblical-era rules; you can’t act like you’re totally fine with gay people so long as they aren’t getting their fag cooties all over the precious, totally infallible institution of marriage. Nobody buys that line anymore.
The Ku Klux Klan’s brand of hate, while equally despicable, is at least ideologically honest – they aren’t trying to strike some moderate tone to avoid public backlash while quietly pushing the same prejudice as before. They proudly, unabashedly believe the shitty things that they believe, and while that’s not necessarily deserving of respect, I wish all of this country’s other bigots would at least take notice.
Whoops! Hold the phone. Turns out the KKK isn’t a racist group anymore; now they’re just a bunch of white guys who like to hang out and adopt local highways.
Truman Capps is still pretty happy that today's hate groups are less violent and more whiny.