Dispassionate objectivity is itself a passion, for the real and for the truth.
– Abraham Maslow
Over the past several days, the governor of Indiana has been defending his decision to sign into law a bill delivered to him by the state legislature. Perhaps most remarkable about his comments are these:
- The religious people of Indiana are under attack. They are hospitable Hoosiers and this just isn’t fair.
- The bill he signed is in defense of religious beliefs, not against anything or anyone.
- People are distorting what the legislature and he mean by this law that takes effect in three months, despite the fact that the law follows a commitment that he made a decade ago to enforce his own type of sharia law.
The problem with these statements by the governor is that they are not literally true. Further, since his arguments expressed in these points were all made when he was asked directly several times if it were permissible to discriminate against gay people in Indiana, the statements are not even real – not real in the sense that they were not responses but a smoke screen. The governor did ask one good question in return: Why is Indiana getting all this heat when similar measures in other states did not?
Of course, there are technical, legal, and temporal reasons that the situation in Indiana is different, but his point remains. Why have we been so disinterested in the erosion of constitutional protections for persons for the past 20 years? From these bogus current “protections” of religion to the erosion of voter rights, we have watched in a detached way, leaving it to smaller and smaller groups of advocates to preserve our rights, possibly even getting annoyed with them for blocking traffic or adding overtime expenses to local police budgets or interrupting the latest news about the Kardashians.
Even the way the Indiana legislation is commonly characterized prompts disinterest. At least a dozen times a day I have heard the example that same sex couples may be denied the right to buy their wedding cake of choice. I want to scream.
This is not about wedding cakes or photographers or reception halls any more than it is about protecting religion. It is about parity, inclusion, and representation. It is about full participation in civil society. It is about what used to be called common courtesy, but which is increasingly uncommon.
Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson