A Pause to Reflect: Hearing on Add the Words Legislation

Okay this is really a vent post.  It was a facebook status but I decided to post it here as well.  Its not a typical post (but just as wordy as I usually am). Feel free to pass on reading it because its long, snarky, stream of consciousness, not as invitational of dialogue as I usually try to be, and generally more about me than you… buts its my reflections after sitting listening to two and half hours of testimony at the House State Affairs Committee hearing on House Bill 2: Add the Words.  Its very tough for me to sit and listen and not get to engage.  I listened.  I am listening, but in between a little speaking some parenthetical thoughts as we pause in hearing more testimony:

– If in a hearing full of testimonies you get up and say there have been no substantiated cases of discrimination you cannot also claim to be listening to the people whose stories of discrimination you are invalidating with that “substantiated” word.

– There is a little thing I like to call the separation of church and state and it is actually a necessary part of your religious freedom (I may repeat this one 55,000 times since so many people seem to have missed that day in history/government 101.

– That you have, or had, a gay friend (or 50) doesn’t mean you understand what it is like to be gay nor does it give you authority to discriminate “nicely.” Corollary: that you were discriminated against once and survived it doesn’t mean its a worthwhile goal to make others buckup and find a way to grow from being mentally and physically abused.

– There is a little thing I like to call the separation of church and state, heard of it?

– No seriously you have haven’t you? The whole point to granting freedom of religion is that the government doesn’t prescribe a certain religious point of view allowing you to have your own. So the argument that a law runs counter to your perspective of the immutable law of God is…. not on point.

– Also religion is not some immutable trait of your being you were born with, you do realize people convert religions (or leave it behind) all the time making it a faith – even a life-style – choice?

– When you keep hounding the argument that you cannot legislate morality and that people will discriminate regardless of the law (with strong implication that you are talking about yourself) you are saying that because you aren’t a law abiding citizen than there should be no laws. I call that anarchy. Hobbes calls it life being “nasty, brutish and short.” I would not suggest actually trying it. (Also I don’t actually suggest reading the Leviathan because its really long but that is where that quote comes from if you are interested.)

– Let your yes be yes, and your no mean no. This saying you don’t discriminate and then spending ten minutes showing just how much you do… yah, I would prefer a simple yes thank you. Trusting me enough to be honest does have an appeal.

– Calling some people a privileged class for asking to have their rights protected while claiming you feel your religious rights are under attack makes you… a privileged class seeking protections you want exclusive access to.

– If your religion needs to have the government (you know the same one you claim is always “overreaching”) to protect its ability to actively discriminate based on your strongly held religious convictions – than that same government needs to protect all strongly held religious convictions, even the ones that will be detrimental to you (again, see freedom of religion and the separation of church and state -> we are not a Christian nation, at least we aren’t supposed to be.)

– Some are pointing out the lack of any actual cases of discrimination filed and saying that shows we don’t need the legislation, others are pointing out the overwhelming number of invasive lawsuits that are occurring because of such legislation so we should fear the legislation…. um. which is it? One or the other of those may be an important conversation point – but raising them both is counter productive to your own case.

– Lastly, to all the people who point to the cost that legislation protecting people from abuse will incur (maybe) from potential trumped up lawsuits. You are putting a price tag on people’s lives.

The hearing this morning ran from 8 am – 11:30 am though many got there at 6 am and I got there around 6:35. It will continue at 5 pm tonight until 8 pm but I have a Session meeting I have to moderate so I will miss the evening session and they will probably call me to testify now that I am not there. 🙂  They aren’t giving time limits (yet) so it will likely run into tomorrow and maybe more. I will give the committee this: they are giving the hearing its full due. Thank you for that.  It is noted and appreciated.

Now let’s add the words: no more, no less.

About Andrew Kukla

I am the proud father of four wonderful children, loving husband to Caroline, brother to three mostly wonderful sisters, and son of two parents that gifted me with a foundation of love and freedom. I also am a Presbyterian pastor and former philosophy major with a love of too many words (written with many grammatical errors and parenthetic thoughts), Soren Kierkegaard, and reflections on living a life of discipleship that is open to all the challenges, ups and downs, brokenness and grace, of a chaotic and wonderful life founded upon the love of God for all of creation.

Posted on January 26, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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