So, the governor off Indiana has signed a bill that permits the discrimination against gays and lesbians, and people are in an uproar about it.

State actions like this are not totally new, however I think part of the outrage is because it is a northern state. Or is it just the timing and the speed at which the governor signed the legislation? This article includes a map that details the state of things across the country. On the one hand, this appears to be a religion-generated fear-base backlash, but at the same time, it seems much like the progression of animus against African Americans following emancipation. One blacks started to have rights, the status quo powers that existed did whatever it could do to keep blacks as “less than” equal. And in that case, like now, religious convictions played a crucial role in justifying the discrimination. If you have any doubt, simply look up the KKK and how much it justified (and still does) itself as a Christian organization.

Before I go too far, I want to highlight this from Katherine Cross post:

So, where to now for LGBT politics? First and foremost, this is a profound wake up call about the naïveté that has long surrounded the debate on same-sex marriage. Important as that right is — and much as I should like to marry another woman someday — that right requires far more meaningful socio-economic scaffolding than most American LGBT folks currently have access to. The right to work without being discriminated against, for instance, or economic security and access to healthcare, social welfare, and other services, all should be seen as meaningful pre-requisites to even beginning to have the kind of life where long-term partnership is possible and not riven by quests for mere survival.

There have been bloggers like me who have taken a lot of heat for saying that the push for same-sex marriage, while reasonable, stands as a hindrance to more needed rights like non-discrimination protections. If there is anyone who still thinks that the Supreme Court ruling on the right to marriage will solve everything– you folks need to wake up and see the light. And now, we are seeing how these dominos continue to fall.

Cross, rightly points out the way the Far Right is shifting strategy to hinder full equality, and her ideas about that are worth serious consideration. But there is another aspect of this that we have to consider. Is it possible that these efforts will back fire in the long run and be the last nail on the coffin for Christianity? Christianity isn’t in any way a religion of discrimination. Indeed, many theologians will see these types of efforts as the exact opposite to the Gospel of Christ.  This is not to say this type of discrimination will end tomorrow, but in the long run it cannot survive, really.

There will clearly be gay, lesbian, bi, and trans persons who are harmed because of laws like this. But unlike the situation for African Americans, today’s LGBTQ and today’s world are not alike. A larger community of people as well as institutions, organizations, and businesses want to see full equality come into being. Consider articles like this,  “Outraged Billionaire Investor Marc Benioff” to pull money out of Indiana. Or this call to pull all Professional Sports events out of Indiana. Or, the efforts of Salesforce, a large high tech company.

And we cannot attribute the anti-gay efforts to all religious people. There is conflict and some devout religious persons are protesting this new legislation.

For me, the most problematic aspect of these laws is that they supersede local non-discrimination protections. These efforts have the possibility to harm the GOP in huge ways, as the Far Right religious aspect of the party overrules the more libertarian portions of the party who wanted smaller government. The GOP cannot continue to claim it is a libertarian party– they must begin to accept that they are the big brother party trying to legislated morality and force Christian beliefs onto everyone.

And not every gay, lesbian, bi, trans will be affected by efforts like this. For many of us, we will simply look for bakers, florists, restaurants, etc that welcome the LGBTQ community. But in many smaller towns across the country, there are queer people who haven’t that level of options and choices.

Time will tell how these laws pan out. Some believe they will be ruled unconstitutional, others see a very long road ahead to undo the damage they are now doing. Time will tell.

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