Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Legalizing hypocrisy

I cannot stomach pious hypocrisy.

Unfortunately, that's all we're being served by Congress at the moment with respect to providing protection to LGBT individuals.  Only days after one of the worst mass murders of gays and lesbians ever, the House of Representatives voted to block a bill protecting LGBT employees of federal contractors.  The sponsor of the bill, Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, thought it'd be a no-brainer.

"It’s hard to imagine that any act that is so horrific could lead to anything positive," Maloney said.  "But if we were going to do anything, it would be a very positive step to say that discrimination has no place in our law and to reaffirm the president’s actions in this area.  Seems to me a pretty basic thing to do."

Seems so to me, too.  The House disagreed.  So do the majority of state governments, apparently.  At the time of this writing, less than half of the states in the US (22, to be precise) have anti-discrimination laws that address sexual orientation.  Only 19 specifically address gender identity.

Instead, many states are now moving toward passing laws legalizing discrimination against LGBT individuals based on "deeply-held religious ideals."  Three -- Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee -- already have such laws.

You know what?  If your religion impels you to discriminate against a minority, you need to find a different fucking religion.

So the pious hypocrites keep pretending to care, while simultaneously sandbagging every piece of legislation that might actually make a difference.  And the toll keeps rising, not only because of well-publicized events like the Orlando massacre, but because of the ongoing pressure on LGBT individuals to hide and/or deny who they are.  No surprise, is it, that suicide rates are four times higher among LGBT youth than straight ones, and nearly a quarter of transgender individuals have attempted to take their own lives?

Oh, but never mind all that, because House Rules Committee chairman, Representative Pete Sessions of Texas, said his "thoughts and prayers" were with the people of Orlando after the attack.  That should be enough, right?  Then he turned around and joined the others in voting to block the anti-discrimination bill, and when interviewed about it all, even denied that Pulse was a gay nightclub. "It was a young person’s nightclub, I’m told," Sessions said.  "And there were some [LGBT people] there, but it was mostly Latinos."

Because "Latino" and "gay" are apparently mutually exclusive categories.

So to Sessions and his colleagues, I have the following to say: you can take your thoughts and prayers and stick them up your ass.  Sideways.  Your thoughts and prayers accomplish nothing.  Your actions, on the other hand, perpetuate prejudice and discrimination.  You and and the rest of Congress had the opportunity to make a difference.  Instead, you chose to side with the bigots, all the while uttering mealy-mouthed platitudes designed to feign a stance of compassion.

Well, you're not fooling anyone.

Nor are the powers-that-be in North Carolina, where there's been an ongoing battle over the law prohibiting transgender individuals from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identification because of some bullshit argument about protecting women from attacks, and yet which authorized the destruction of 72 rape kits containing genetic evidence from open/unsolved cases of rape and molestation.

Right, North Carolina officials.  Explain to me again how much you care about attacks on innocent women and children, and how the bathroom bill was totally not about discrimination against LGBT individuals.

And the right-wing media continues to misrepresent the situation, and people continue to be suckered.  Just a couple of days ago, I saw a post on Facebook from a friend of a friend that might be the most vile thing I've ever seen on social media.  This woman went on for paragraphs about how sick she was of the liberals destroying the moral fiber of America, and how she was furious that "gays and lesbians now have more rights" than she does, and how there's an agenda to take away all of the rights from straight white working-class Americans.

I felt physically ill after reading this.  More rights?  Such as what?  Such as the right to walk down the street holding hands with the person you love without being afraid that you'll be harassed, attacked, perhaps killed?  The right to ask someone out in a bar without having the nagging fear that if you guess wrong, it might be the last mistake you'll ever make?  The right to marry, the right to expect service in a place of business, the right to hold down a job and not be the subject of discrimination over something you can't control?

At least if you're going to hold these sorts of beliefs, then be up front about the fact that you're espousing a doctrine of hatred against an entire sector of our society.  Don't try to hide behind a pious shield of false and twisted morality.  Maybe you're the ones that need to re-read a few passages in your favorite book, most especially Matthew, chapter 23:
[T]hey say, and do not.  For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers... Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.  Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

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