“If You Don’t Agree, Unfriend Me”

I’ve heard sentences of the form “If you [don’t agree with the blindingly-obvious point that I just made], unfriend me” a lot lately. And while I sympathize with the sentiment, I have to disagree with the tactic.

The message is, if you can’t even agree that women should control their bodies / gay people should have as much of a right to marry as straight people / evolution and climate change are real / Obama is not a literal devil / whatever, then you and I have nothing to discuss because we can’t even agree on the basics; and also, you’re probably morally-deficient, so you might as well fuck off.

All of which is, unfortunately true. There are lots of morally-deficient people out there who’ll never see reason. Everyone’s favorite whipping boy stereotype Your Racist Uncle (YRU), springs to mind.

My only qualm is that if YRU unfriends you, then he won’t see your posts/tweets/stories/chats and will have one less opportunity to change his mind. Likewise, if you unfriend him, then yeah, his racist memes / hate-filled screeds / religious reposts won’t raise your blood pressure on a daily basis, but you also won’t know what he’s reading, saying, or doing.

The US is currently as divided as it’s ever been, as far back as I can remember. And part of the problem is that we don’t know each other, don’t watch the same news outlets, don’t start with the same basic assumptions. We live in separate bubbles, so not talking to each other seems like it can only exacerbate the problem, and dig a moat between the bubbles.

I’m not saying you have to agree with YRU, or respond to everything he says. But if you can keep him in your timeline, even if you never respond to him, then at least you can keep an eye on him. Call it reconnaissance if you like, keeping an eye on the opposition. The next time someone at your local Demo-Liberal Hippie-Love Eco-Tea-and-Greet suggests that the way to fix the country is a drum circle in front of the local GOP headquarters, at least you’ll be able to think, “What Would My Racist Uncle Do?” and be able to critique the idea effectively.

And if nothing else, maybe you can agree to keep the political discussions on Facebook, and not bring them to the Thanksgiving dinner table, so you can enjoy dinner en famille.

Church Graffiti: “Trump Nation, Whites Only”

(Update: WTOP and the Silver Spring Patch have the story.)

The Episcopal Diocese of Washington tells us that a banner at their church in Hillandale, MD was defaced last night:

Racist graffiti at the Episcopal church in Hillandale, MD, Nov. 12, 2016.

On the back of a banner advertising mass in Spanish, someone wrote “Trump Nation” and “whites only”.
Does it really need to be said that this kind of racism1 is unacceptable, especially in the 21st century2? Apparently it is. Apparently this crap isn’t confined to places like Alabama, or even rural America: the church in question is just a few hundred yards from the Beltway, right in my area.
I don’t know whether this is something new, or something hidden that the rise of Trump dredged up to the surface, but either way, I have to at least stand up and say that this is unambiguously wrong. That if you think this is an acceptable way to bring about change, then you can fuck off into a basement somewhere, and know that you’re just a step above literal neo-nazis (assuming you’re not already one of them).

1. Someone is bound to say that “Spanish” isn’t a race, so this isn’t racism. Those people can fuck off, and take the “false flag” crowd with them.
2. And someone else is bound to ask why what’s moral and immoral depends on what year it is. These people should also fuck off and ponder which years have the most hindsight to learn from.

Freedom of Religion = Freedom of Bigotry, Apparently

According to
today’s Post:

Faith organizations and individuals who view homosexuality as sinful and refuse to provide services to gay people are losing a growing number of legal battles that they say are costing them their religious freedom.

The lawsuits have resulted from states and communities that have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation. Those laws have created a clash between the right to be free from discrimination and the right to freedom of religion, religious groups said, with faith losing.

(emphasis added)

The article lists a few examples, such as a photographer who refused
to photograph a commitment ceremony, and doctors at a fertility clinic
who refused to inseminate a lesbian. The only one that I think I might
have a problem with is a student group at the University of California
that was denied recognition because of its views on sex outside of
“traditional” marriage, but the article is short on specifics.

What these people are saying, as I understand it, is that practicing
their religion requires them to regard certain other people as
inferior, and to deny them the services they offer to most people. In
short, they’re feeling butthurt because the courts are stomping over
their perceived right to bigotry.

"We cater to white trade only" restaurant sign
How exactly is this different from refusing service to blacks or Jews
because one’s religion says they’re inferior?

The law doesn’t say you can’t be a bigot and a homophobe. That would
be thoughtcrime, which would be unenforceable, apart from the very
abhorrence of the notion of crimethink. The first amendment even gives
you the right to tell that world that gays or blacks or lefties or
Mets fans are inferior. What the law does say, however, is that you
can’t necessarily act on your bigotry. “Your right to swing your fist
ends where my nose begins”, and all that.

IANAL, but as I understand it, if you run a business that purports to
be open to the public, that means you can’t just arbitrarily decide
which groups you will and won’t cater to. That’s probably a gift from
the civil rights movement.

Now, historically, religious groups have gotten a fair amount of
slack, from zoning law exemptions, to tax exemption, to drug law
exemptions. But the US constitution also includes the

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States

The whole point of the bill of rights, the foundation of the freedoms
that we Americans rightly pride ourselves on, is the idea that America
should be a land where everyone has an equal shot at happiness, and no
one is privileged by virtue of noble birth or preferential treatment.
And that means that your freedoms stop when they prevent others from
seeking life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

And if your religion requires you keep others down, so much the worse
for your religion.

(Photo credit: Image Editor at flickr.)