February 22, 2014 by gregrabidoux2013
Late Thursday the Arizona State Senate rolled up their collective sleeves, took a brief time out from its notorious crackdown on immigrants (remember SB 1070?) and tackled the real issue facing Arizonians. That’s right, apparently, many business owners who are also “deeply religious” like their Governor, are also sick and tired of having to sell food, drink, clothing, cars, shoes, fine china, and anything wicker from the Pottery Barn to any Arizonian who dares to carry his or her six-shooter on the wrong side of their belt. In Arizonian parlance that means gay, pardner.
That’s right, (so to speak), as Arizona prepares to showcase its sunny, yet clearly at times, cold, state to the world in hosting this year’s Super Bowl, there are many pressing issues to resolve. And, praising the Lord and passing SB 1062, is on the top of their “Super Bowl To-Do” shortlist.
What next, banning the possession of Richard Simmons’ “Sweating to the Oldies” videos within state borders?
But lest we rush to judgment, let’s recall that the next step in this populist gem of a bill is to shimmy its way to the AZ Governor’s mansion. There, incumbent Republican Governor Jan Brewer, herself, a “deeply religious, deeply conservative, former business owner” must decide either to sign the “I don’t serve Gays” bill into law or veto it back from the fiery depths from which it was conceived.
What will she do?
Well, she may draw inspiration from one of Arizona’s most colorful and controversial politicians, former US Senator and presidential candidate, Barry “In your heart, you know he’s Right” Goldwater. He was fond of saying “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”
And, apparently, Arizona is determined to add “Gay” to the shortlist (No, Shoes, No Shirt) of reasons that businesses across its fine state can refuse to take the money from those that um, don’t shoot straight, for goods and services.
But why this bill, and why now?
Ms. Cathi Herrod, head of the Center for Arizona Policy, one of the chief architects of this bill, believes that Americans must be free to “live and work according to their religious faith.” And one of the more outspoken legislative supporters for this piece of Americana, AZ State Representative John Allen (R-Scottsdale) argues that “The world is on its ear” (I suppose he could have said its back), and that Americans must be able to reflect their religious faith in their business.
Well, striking just the right balance between religious freedom and political policy is always a messy and frequently, inexact science. And who among us of religious faith hasn’t at some point felt that the “balance” in some way, shape or form was out of whack? And that “we” were on the short end of the “Separation of Church and State” stick?
On the other hand, setting aside one’s sexual orientation and ability to order a fabulous Frappuccino or not, wouldn’t this bill send an incredibly chilling message to any of us, gay or straight?
“I hear you might prefer half and half cream in your coffee, you warped fiend…find somewhere else to buy your AAA batteries, friend. Your kind is not welcome here.” Or, “You strike me as a Miley Cyrus fan, get out now before I get my Barry Goldwater Model Assault rifle.” Or, how about, “My religion disapproves of marriage out of wedlock, go buy your illegitimate baby formula somewhere else.”
But, maybe it will never get that far. Maybe, the AZ State Legislature will feel satisfied that they have done right to all Arizonians of faith and not be tempted to identify more “types” of Americans not worthy of engaging in commerce within their state that businesses can choose to discriminate against.
Me, I have my doubts.
Mr. Goldwater, any thoughts that could help Governor Brewer in her upcoming decision?
“You don’t have to be straight to fight and die for your country,” said Barry G., “You just need to be able to shoot straight.”
Just make sure you buy your gun and ammo in California. I hear they are more welcoming to folks like you.