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On Inclusion

My kid’s baseball coach prays with the team after each practice and game. They all get in a huddle and hold hands while Mr.P intones the dumb kind of prayer that causes people to say “Yes, Lord” while he prays for the boys. My kid doesn’t even know to take his batting helmet off while they do their prayers. He just looks at me beyond the fence, and I know he feels ridiculous.

And, if I say something, he will be excluded. Because Mr.P isn’t going to stop his prayer-he’ll let my kid go home and every goddamned kid on that team now knows that Walter is different. I think it sucks and I barely know what to do. It’s county sanctioned ball, so I wonder if this is a freedom from religion case that I can pursue.

Well, that’s all depressing. I found some good news, that a New York planning board has cut the shit with saying the pledge of allegiance before it opens for business, and for all the right reasons:

The officials on the Planning Board in New Paltz, New York decided this week that they would no longer say the Pledge of Allegiance at meetings. It was a 4-3 vote to eliminate it.

This did not sit well with the god crowd:

We either have a country, or we don’t. It’s shocking that an elected official won’t take the 15 seconds required to put their hand over their heart and recite the Pledge of Allegiance,” [Andrew Heaney, a Republican candidate for New York’s 19th Congressional District] said.

Pray tell, how does not saying some bullshit equate to us “losing our country”?

Cooler heads prevailed:

“The reason I voted for us not to begin meetings with it is because a few members on the planning board felt strongly that they did not want to recite the pledge, and they didn’t want to be put in a position where they were sort of branded or singled out at every meeting,” said board member Michael Zierler.

If only my kid’s coach could see how freedom of conscience works.

Sad Little People

Some pigfucker in Tennessee is taking the anti-gay backlash in the wake of the marriage decision to a new level; he’s announced a no-fag policy in his shitty little business. To no one’s surprise, he invokes God to justify his homophobia:

“They gladly stand for what they believe in — why can’t I?” Amyx told WBLR. “They believe their way is right, I believe it’s wrong — but yet I’m going to take more persecution than them because I’m standing for what I believe in.”

So he placed a “no gays allowed” sign on the front door of his Washburn hardware store and said Monday that he would never take it down.

“A lot of people have called me and congratulated me,” Amyx told WATE-TV. “But other calls are on the other side of spectrum — people calling and threatening me, telling me I would regret this. No, I’ll never regret this.”

In lovely Tennessee, you see, it’s perfectly legal to refuse service based on sexual orientation. They and Arkansas are the only two states that ban nondiscrimination laws. Homosexuals have no specific rights to service at a place of business because so far we lack the courage to fold gay rights into Title II of the Civil Rights Act. It’s a shitty situation that needs attention, and it should remind us of the inherent wrongness of the lunch counter bans of the 60’s.

There is a small victory to be noted here. Even his paying customers were alarmed by the sign:

However, Amyx removed the sign Tuesday and replaced it with another one bearing a revised message at the urging of friends and customers who suggested he make it “a little nicer.”

The new sign reads: “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone who would violate our rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.”

Sadly, he can do that. It’s not against the law to be a horrible person in Tennessee. Until the federal government addresses this issue, there is no limit to jerkoff behavior in the smelly groin area of the United States.

Marriage equality has been achieved. But so much more remains to be done. I’m confident the side of tolerance and acceptance will win in due time. For now, we must take joy in their cries of persecution as the bigots realize that their right to religious belief stops at being able to abridge the fundamental right of any person to achieve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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