This one’s not about my work. It’s about other people’s work. Specifically, the desire of some people who are, broadly speaking, members of one flavor or another of the majority religion in this country, using their religion as justification for not doing their jobs.
Warning: I’m going to get ranty. Feel free to skip it if you wish.
I am so fucking tired of all these people who call themselves Christian and use that as justification for discrimination, who bleat about how since such-and-such practice is an abomination in their holy book, the practitioners of said practice are therefore pariahs and the good upstanding religionists shouldn’t have to sully themselves dealing with those people.
This is disgusting. If you can’t do your entire job for all the people who might come to you for whatever your job provides, then find another job. And if you work for the government and your job is to serve all the people within the jurisdiction of that government, and you don’t feel you can in good conscience serve ALL the people? Then FIND ANOTHER JOB. Because to say you will serve some of the constituents, but not all of them, is de facto discrimination, and the government should be above discriminating against its own citizens.
What set this off? Well, along with the sudden uptick in states passing discriminatory laws that either implicitly or explicitly restrict the rights of their LBGT citizens, I saw something today that put me right over the edge: a bill passed the Tennessee house today and went to the governor’s desk — a bill that would allow mental health professionals to deny services to people on the basis of religion without fear of civil or criminal repercussions. Because apparently when the American Counseling Association adopts a code of ethics that explicitly states
Counselors do not condone or engagein discrimination against prospective orcurrent clients, students, employees, su-pervisees, or research participants basedon age, culture, disability, ethnicity, race,religion/spirituality, gender, genderidentity, sexual orientation, marital/partnership status, language preference,socioeconomic status, immigrationstatus, or any basis proscribed by law.
and you feel you should be able to discriminate because your religion says you can, then obviously the thing to do is change the law rather than, oh, I don’t know, opening your mind and leaving your damned prejudices and bigotry behind. That’s too hard.
Every single one of these laws is likely to be challenged in court because they are so blatantly discriminatory, and the ones using religious belief as their basis for discrimination are also highly likely to be unconstitutional on their face. The time and energy and money the states will waste defending these laws against the inevitable challenges is obscene to me — there are so many better things to be doing with it.
And the reason I mentioned Christians in my opening paragraphs is that most of the people supporting these things seem to claim an affiliation to one or another Christian denomination. And you know what? I’ve read the book, cover to cover. Can’t quote chapter and verse, but then I never felt the need to. A couple of things do stand out for me, though, that are germane to the subject.
One is that bit about loving your neighbor as yourself. That’s all it says. It doesn’t say you shall love your neighbor as yourself only if your neighbor is a carbon copy of you with all the same beliefs and prejudices. It doesn’t say you shall love your neighbor as yourself only if your neighbor is someone you think you could be friends with. Hell, it doesn’t even define “neighbor” as a person who lives in your local community. Which, to my way of thinking, means my neighbors aren’t only the people next door, they’re also people living on the other side of the world and who I am therefore unlikely to meet in my lifetime.
How is forcing a trans person to use the bathroom that no longer fits their gender identity loving your neighbor? How is refusing counseling services to someone because they don’t share your belief system loving your neighbor? How are any of these laws put forward by people who claim to follow the teachings of the one who said they should love their neighbors as themselves demonstrating love for anyone?
Answer: they’re not about love.
Oh, and the other germane bit? “Judge not lest ye be judged.” All these folks appear to be doing an awful lot of judging to result in these laws, but for some reason this passage never comes up.
For those who want to point a finger and accuse me of being judgmental? Damned right — you act like a racist, sexist, homophobic, bigoted dipshit, and I will judge your ass from hell to breakfast, grateful all the while for the people I know who don’t just talk the Christian talk, but walk it, too. I know not all Christians are like these sorry jackasses, and I know that being religious does not automatically make someone either good or bad.
Which leads to the last germane bit:
By their fruits shall ye know them.