Some Rambling About Freedoms

Posted: April 2, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

Long ago I swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States and during all my years in uniform I, like the hundreds of thousands of others who served with me, did our best to do so.  Unlike many of the sheep in this country I never really needed anyone to interpret the meaning of it for me.  I always felt that it was written in pretty plain language and it was done so in order to protect the rights of us citizens from the tyranny of government, and that we as citizens would have a foundation for which to fall back on when citizens have felt that they have had enough of intrusion, mismanagement, and people who rule with the sole intent of amassing power and money rather than honoring their solemn oaths to represent the people of this country and their ideals and needs.

I am a firm believer that the Constitution does not need a whole lot of clarification or additional laws added to the books to fill in any perceived gaps that out Founders conveniently left out way back in the day.  We have given up their plain language for interpretations heavily influenced by which side of the aisle you sit on from a political perspective and whether or not said politicians are influenced from lobbyists, who in my mind operate in direct contradiction to what the Founders intended when writing the Constitution.

The issue I take with Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act is less that it is heavily influenced by the evangelical misconception that America is a Christian nation (see the snippet of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution above, i.e., The Bill of RIghts) than it codifies in law the inability of the people to determine how they deal with things such as: what is a marriage; how do you deal with a business owner who denies a transaction based on their own prejudice; or, in general, takes away the ability of the people to determine what they think is either moral or ethical.

I have had this argument before with many people and it is not very popular.  My contention however is that it is not up to me, or the government to determine right and wrong (I do not mean in regards to violence or anything of a true criminal nature).  I find it hard to believe that our two parties who seem to work under their own agendas rather than that of those they are elected to represent, could actually make a coherent argument on moral or ethical grounds.

What I find wrong with RFRA is not that (using the same tired example as everyone else) a baker can refuse to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding, in all honesty that is the right of the business owner, because, if that is their opinion and how they choose to run their business, then it should be up to the people to determine how long they stay in business.  What RFRA does, in my mind, is it takes the ability of the people to determine how that business is affected and allows by the the ability for that business to run and profit via discriminatory practice, as is their right as a business owner, without the ability of the people to influence that, as is their right under the Constitution.

The purpose of the Constitution is to give everyone an equal shot on the playing field.  It is not however, contrary to popular belief, not there to guarantee that everyone will actually get an equal share of the pie, just that they have the opportunity guarantee to the to try.  The Preamble, to paraphrase a little, goes on about Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happyness, it never says that you are guaranteed to get it.

Using the example of the baker again: if said baker refuses service to a same-sex couple, as a business owner they should make that decision understanding that the will of the people will determine their future profitability rather than hide behind protections, codified in law, that are in direct contradiction to the Constitution.  Don’t believe that can be the case?  Take a counting daily of the number of apologies issued by businesses, reporters, public servants, etc. as a result of hurting someones’s feelings.  You cannot go a day without hearing about an apology being issued for someone saying or doing something, most of the time in a hypocritical fashion, because the apology is done without conviction or remorse, but simply as a a matter of doing business, so they can get back to business.  Laws like RFRA give cowards with a little money, influence or power something to hide behind when they allow their true natures to come forward and affect their decisions.  They are better worded, carefully crafted restructurings of Jim Crow laws from the 50’s brought into our supposedly enlightened time in the 21st century.  Despite all the means we have available to us to communicate and educate ourselves, we constantly use them to further ignorance as a country and bury our heads in the sand even further.

I am no Constitutional scholar, nor am I some talking head with a platform available to me to influence the world. ,Maybe we need less of that in our country and more people speaking up directly.  People who, regardless of their belief structure, are concerned with betterment, betterment without affecting the liberties of others.  Our Founding Father’s, even with all the flaws they may have had were not Constitutional scholars either.  They wrote the first one, the only one we have ever had.  They were prescient enough to provide a means to alter the document as well, because even they knew that they could not foretell where this experiment of a country would end up.  I am not into the big Fed, stepping in to State’s rights and attacking the laws they create.  I am in favor of the people of this country exercising their rights guaranteed by the Constitution to say they think something is totally fucked at any level of the government.  Acts like the RFRA take away the ability to do that because it makes the erroneous assumption that when people speak out against a perceived discrimination or institutional prejudice that it is somehow infringing upon the religious freedoms of those perpetrating them, when in fact it is more about people sticking up for the rights of others against people who are hiding their shitty natures behind words from a book originally intended to provide a framework for goodness, but rewritten through the millennium by leaders who used it as a means to instill fear and rule absolutely because of it.

This is not an attack on religion or religious belief.  I honestly could care less about that.  What it is an attack on is the ability to hide behind law because you are a shitty person with shitty prejudice, and do so in the name of your professed morality and righteousness, based upon how you choose to worship.  Laws like RFRA in Indiana are the reason behind the erosion of the moral fiber of this country because they allow prejudice to foster rather than die at the time and choosing of the people.  It is a violation of the Constitution of this country because it takes away the ability of the people to say what they feel.  Debate should be vigorous and passionate and like it or not for either side of it, the outcome should be decided by the majority and the effect, not the politicians looking to maintain distance between the masses, further empowering them and those who lobby them.

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