Watching sausage being made–a rant

20 Jun

I went to a professional organization meeting a week or so ago. The speaker was an employment law attorney who, as it so happens, had recently provided some expert testimony at one of the seemingly endless City Council meetings held to debate the merits of banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The attorney used a familiar analogy–watching elected officials in action is like watching sausage being made.

I watched sausage being made yesterday. The City Council’s Recreation, Community Development, Public Health and Safety Committee held a public hearing. It is good the public can (and does) come out to express their opinions, but the committee let the clock run out without voting. This makes it unlikely the bill will be voted on during next Tuesday’s council meeting, which means it all sort of starts over again when the committee chairs change next month.

One of the most vocal opponents of the bill  is Councilwoman At Large, Kimberly Daniels. I know it is unseemly to resort to name calling in a political debate, but those who disagree with Ms. Daniels sometimes call her “a crack whore.”

That would be ruder than it is, except Ms. Daniels admits that she, indeed, used to be a crack whore. But she found God and became a minister and now she doesn’t use drugs. As for the other word, well, it was her decision to become a politician, so if the shoe fits…

Ms. Daniels’ life story is one of redemption. I love stories of redemption. What I don’t love is when someone like Ms. Daniels insists that people like me are irredeemable. She, and many others, send this message when they insist that any law that protects the rights of LGBT people, encroaches on the First Amendment rights of “people of faith.”

The message is, “I am a person of faith. You can’t be a person of faith, because you’re gay.” I have received that message from a relative recently. I admit my perspective is skewed, but the rest of the message I hear in this is, “I am superior to you.”

There is no meeting of the minds, no middle ground, no hope for compromise or amity, when you believe the other side is not only wrong, but beneath you.

One of the speakers yesterday blathered on with statistics she had gotten from somewhere. Her bottom line was–there are tens of thousands of people in Jacksonville who go to church but only an infinitesimal number of gay people, so it would be wrong to stomp all over the rights of the church goers in favor of the gays.

Because if gays are granted rights, they will block all the roads to the churches?
Just for the record—gay people are people of faith too. Gay people go to church too. There are plenty of heterosexual people of faith who do not believe that discrimination against gay people is sanctioned by God.

Every time someone frames this discussion as a fight between “people of faith” and the LGBT communuity, he or she is saying, “God is on our side and he is not on your side.”

What teaching of Christ are they using as a template for this rhetoric and behavior?

While I am ranting, let me just put this out there–stop calling my life a “lifestyle.”

Anyone who knows me, knows that my life is many things, but it is definitely not “stylish”.

Lifestyle implies a fad, something ephemeral and less than valuable. It is a put down. They might as well say, “your little gay life” when they say “your gay lifestyle.” You are less than. My life is a real life. Your life is just a lifestyle–life-lite.

I didn’t have to watch sausage being made to know that, for the most part, I am better off not eating sausage in the first place. I cannot, however, work around the political machinations of the city in which I live. I can choose not to watch the process, but I cannot escape the results of that process.

I am, after all, a tax payer and a citizen.  I matter.

Happy Wednesday

2 Responses to “Watching sausage being made–a rant”

  1. Pamela N Red June 20, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    This country was founded on the freedom of everyone and had nothing to do with religion but that’s the first thing zealots bring up when faced with giving rights to people they disagree with.

    America is not a christian Country but a Country Based on Freedom of Religion and Freedom From religion and Separation of church and State. John Adams was adamant about that.

    Whether or not LGBT people are Christians or go to any church is irrelevant to their rights as Americans. Being American gives you the same rights as anyone else in this country and someone needs to hire a good attorney and make sure that happens.

  2. Mary Atwood June 20, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    Yeah, what is up with the whole “lifestyle” thing? As in “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous?” or what? I know some “people of faith” whose lifestyle is nothing to admire, what with all the stone casting.

    And yes, Jacksonville is well rehearsed in the art of putting off until later what needed to be done yesterday.

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