I am having a strange moment of cognitive dissonance right now. I’m supposed to be getting Tolkien and Batman ready for later in the week on the other blogs, but there’s a knock-down, drag-out legislative battle going on around me over Mississippi Senate Bill 2681, which would allow people to assert religious freedom as a way of discriminating against non-heterosexual people, and would also, in my opinion, open the door to all kinds of other mischief.
Since I’m too stirred up to write about books right now, and I’m waiting on my social media to tell me what to do next, I thought I’d come here and express my feelings about all this. So here’s how I feel.
First of all, we need to get away from the business of prescribing sexual norms to consenting adults. Sexual prescription is one of the hallmarks of authoritarian societies, and I think the Western world has had enough authoritarianism to do us until the end of time. Everything else I say here really flows from this first point. Non-violence is a theological principle for me which I will not compromise. The belief that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights is something I take for granted, so you can see why my patience is running out with people who want to make sexuality criteria for legal discrimination, and use religious freedom arguments to back it up.
Second, I am embarrassed for Mississippi, because this is not how we really treat people. Our legislature is pandering to the 60-and-older crowd with a few fundamentalists thrown in. Young Southern people are different than the way Southerners are portrayed in the media. They have interracial relationships. They have differently-sexual relationships. They’re friendly to first-generation immigrants.
Third (and now we might be getting somewhere) I’m a little pissed off about the fact that I feel compelled to participate in politics all of a sudden. Because I swore off participation the minute I actually felt competent to understand it.
Politics is nasty business. It gives people an excuse to destroy one another, and mostly, the destruction is over nothing. It makes me sick to look at it. But at the same time, it affects peoples’ lives. And I’m talking about real people – sons, daughters, parents, wives, husbands, cousins. Homeless people and rich people.Politics is important, whether I like it or not. I do understand it, and I’m good at it. You know what that means.
So I don’t know what to do, as I sit here and wait to see what the next move is, except write this, and publish it even though it’s really not up to snuff, and hope that this time — just this once, my side wins.