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Returning To The Days Of Open Discrimination

By The Reverend Published: May 8, 2014

GOP Senator Ted Cruz....

“I’m very much a believer that the scripture teaches that you hate the sin and love the sinner, and so, you know, from my perspective I am perfectly willing to interact with anybody,” he said. “Look, I work in the U.S. Congress. But at the same time, I don’t think the law should be forcing Americans to violate their religious faith.”

Notice that Cruz slyly implies he works with fellow senators who he regards as "sinners." Humility is not his forte.

But the core of Cruz's argument is the same I hear almost daily from other conservative sources who are defending the right of Christian Americans to openly discriminate against certain other Americans. In context, Senator Cruz was defending the right of Christian business owners to discriminate against gay Americans and female employees who use certain forms of contraception.

It's been awhile, but I haven't forgotten the New Testament "accounts" of the man Christians claim as their god-savior. Jesus got into many disputes with 'church leaders' over the very issue of "loving the sinner but hating the sin." But the funny thing about those biblical accounts is how Jesus PREFERRED to associate with those the 'church leaders' shunned and condemned as, you know, "sinners."

Today, many followers of Jesus claim that they can't be faithful to their god-savior unless they disassociate themselves entirely from many of the same types of "sinners" Jesus regularly rubbed shoulders with.

The case that I hear the most from those defending open discrimination in the public marketplace is the gay wedding case. Many religious conservatives defend to the teeth the right of Christian wedding-business (photographers, bakers) owners to refuse to provide wedding services for gay the same way southern whites refused business services to black Americans during our evil Jim Crow era.

I've been thinking about the claim that a Christian baker must refuse to provide a wedding cake for a gay couple because that Christian baker would be violating his religious conscience if he did so. And I ain't buying it.

How, exactly, is a Christian baker's conscience violated by providing a wedding cake for a gay couple? I mean, how is a Christian baker's conscience violated, in any way, differently from a southern white lunch counter business person's conscientious refusal to serve blacks at his establishment? The lunch counter owner of the 50's also claimed he had the right to openly discriminate against "others" because that is what his conscience required. But the premise that business owners could simply reject whomever their consciences told them to turn away as customers......has been thoroughly and permanently rejected by U.S. society.

So, why go back and re-argue what is already settled?

For political survival.

If you've noticed, Republicans have been doing nothing but feeding their base voters with what they think those voters want to hear.....from the moment John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008. Even after a GOP autopsy report was released by Republican leaders after the 2012 election suggesting that the political party must become more inclusive.....nothing changed. Republican elected officials, apparently so deathly afraid of being primaried out by the conservative base, fell right back into their "feed the base" rut.

Republicans who advocate for separate and unequal status for gays and gay couples.....or denying employees their legal right to access contraception benefits in health a desperate attempt by GOP'ers to hold onto their base voters.

And that not only says something about GOP officials.....but the GOP base voter group as well. Republicans can't win elections without their base voters.....and yet GOP base voters do not represent the majority of America. It's quite a conundrum.

But it's the conundrum Republicans have chosen for themselves. And so, Republicans like Ted Cruz will continue to deal out the discriminatory cards to a small angry minority of white religionists hoping that a fictitious "religious liberty" war cry will resonate with redder state voters.

Sure, in local and state elections, especially in bible-belt least for the forseeable future.....messages of open discrimination will still win elections. But national elections? Like the one coming up in 2016? Ain't no way.

I guess that paradigm is acceptable to the GOP.

The GOP loved themselves some Tea Party back in 2009. Now the Tea Party has a national approval rating of 22%. That 22% is the voting base Ted Cruz was pandering to in his pro-discrimination message.

And that is a very sad commentary.



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