[politics|culture] Some more coherent thoughts on Kansas House Bill 2453

I am still wrestling with this whole Kansas anti-gay thing, their state House Bill 2453. Andrew Sullivan encapsulates a lot of what I’m thinking quite well in his comments here. But, still.

It’s like this. If a bunch of Christ-hating, liberal, atheist, Socialist, Pacific Northwest hipsters had sat down to come up with the worst example of the raging, paranoid anti-gay, Christian stereotype that drives liberals and progressives crazy, they couldn’t have done any better than good, honest religious conservatives in Kansas did all on their own in complete seriousness. It’s like one of those life-imitates-The Onion stories. That’s what I was trying to get at with my Poe’s Law comment yesterday. Heartland conservatives have managed to transcend parody, becoming cartoonish imitations of the worst version of their own public image.

This validates every liberal-progressive image of conservative Christians in America as oppressors, as persecutors, as unpatriotic and unConstitutional in their furious fixation on denying legal and civil rights to their fellow citizens. This is everything my conservative friends often take me to task for claiming to see in the American Right, everything my conservative friends label as paranoid liberal fantasies.

This is the real deal. Religious conservatives in their own words.

Nowhere in this country would you see a similar bill legalizing a wholesale denial rights to Christians. Nowhere.

Maybe I’ve missed it, but I haven’t seen any conservatives in my social media stream, or in the blogosphere, or in the media, or in politics, speaking out against the Kansas bill. A lot of silence, no one standing up for American values or the integrity of the Constitution. No conservative Christian standing up for basic Biblical principles, such as Galatians 5:14, For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Or Luke 6:31, in Christ’s own words, And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

I have a very simple question for my religious conservative friends. Is this how you want to be known, by your own worst stereotypes, as plainly expressed in the words and deeds of your fellow religious conservatives?


Note: Yes, I’m aware that the president of the Kansas senate walked this back. But if you read her actual statement, she only walked it back a little bit on procedural and legal grounds. She neither denied the bill’s basic intentions nor its objectives, merely raised an issue about accessibility of government services. She’s asked for the bill to be redrafted and sent back, still referring to it as an honest effort to protect religious freedom. This hardly represents redemption, or even an outbreak of common sense. It’s a recognition of the legal quagmire the bill opens, little more.

3 thoughts on “[politics|culture] Some more coherent thoughts on Kansas House Bill 2453

  1. Stacia says:

    I’m in Kansas so I’ve been talking a lot about this lately in a variety of places, but bookmarked none, so I don’t have a lot of links, but I can tell you 20 Republican representatives voted No on the measure. After it passed, some Republican senators spoke out about it to the press; Sen. Wagle from Wichita said that his constituents don’t approve of discrimination.

    Then Representative Macheers admitted he introduced the bill to the floor but didn’t write it and didn’t even know where it came from. That translates to “Koch-funded.” As the Wichita Eagle noted, it was written by the “American Religious Freedom Program, an organization based in Washington D.C. Similar bills are being considered in Tennessee and South Dakota.”

    I don’t think a lot of conservatives realize Kansas (and Tennessee, and South Dakota) are kind of a testing ground for extreme rightwing Koch-funded legislation, so they get quiet and pretend like these things are not happening, because they don’t agree but they also want to toe the party line. Their silence means they might as well agree, honestly.

    1. Jay says:

      In this context, silence really is complicity. It’s the same tendency in “nice” conservatives to hold their noses and go along with the crazies that’s been a dominant dynamic since the Reagan years. And yes, I don’t look at Kansas and think “pot full of crazies.” My mother and my sweetie were both born there. I do look at the Kansas legislature and think “pot full of crazies”, but that applies to more half the legislatures in the country. I always want to ask those “nice” conservatives what the hell they are thinking when they vote for loons.

      1. Stacia says:

        If the local newspaper forums are any indication, the nice conservatives vote along party lines and then later get embarrassed at what their elected representatives are doing… but then vote all Republican again, year after year. They’re too scared after years of bizarre rightwing conspiracy theories to vote Dem. Sometimes, they’ll vote 3rd party, but they always stay politely quiet. It’s so frustrating.

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