The Left is wrong about AZ’s proposed law, but religious freedom supporters might have to boycott the Super Bowl to make that point

Gay marriage wedding cake photo by Giovanni Dall'Orto, 26-1-2008.I’ve mentioned gay marriage once already today as the latest non-issue to roil the left even as the world around us crumbles (a la the 1930s), the American military is reduced (a la the 1930s), and tyrannies are rattling their sabres (a la the 1930s).  Overnight, the same liberal who have been remarkably quiet about the Obamacare debacle, uprisings in Ukraine and Venezuela, the flat economy, etc., have found a new cause:  Arizona, they scream, is poised to enact the next generation of Jim Crow laws, in the form of Senate Bill 1062, an amendment to Arizona’s existing Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

This Jim Crow claim, which gained instant traction amongst America’s Progressive class, is flat-out wrong as a matter of law and fact.  Nevertheless, presumably in the foolish hope that it can appease the Left into backing off from its ongoing effort to destroy football, the Super Bowl committee is using economic blackmail against Gov. Jan Brewer, promising to pull the upcoming Super Bowl from Arizona if she signs the bill.  To the extent that the Left is using the Super Bowl as a cudgel against religious freedom, it may be time for supporters of traditional marriage to use their own economic pressure against the Super Bowl.

Better people than I have examined the proposed law, so I won’t rehash it.  Without addressing the proposed law’s specifics, though, it’s still possible to show the falsity of the Jim Crow comparison.

First, no mainstream American religion has ever had racial discrimination as a core religious doctrine.  All traditional religions, however, have heterosexual marriage as a central tenet of the faith.  To the extent Southern racists claimed Christianity as their justification for separating the races, all that they could point to was their own twisted interpretations of the Bible, a document that never concerned itself with racial discrimination.

Heterosexual marriage, however, is something quite different.  The Catholic Church elevates it to one of the seven sacraments, and all other traditional religions enshrine marriage between a man and a woman (or several women).  What this means is that the Southerners in times past who asserted their right to Jim Crow laws had no protected First Amendment right.  The contrary is true today:  Those people who will benefit from the proposed Arizona law have a strong First Amendment right that cannot simply be thrown aside.

Second, the Jim Crow laws were actual laws, relying on the state’s coercive power.  In other words, they represented government action discriminating against American citizens.  The Arizona law, however, does  not advocate any type of segregation or discrimination.  It simply says that Arizona’s government cannot use economic coercion, not to mention the threat of imprisonment, to force Arizona citizens to engage in religiously offensive activity.  There are also safeguards is the act:  The protesting citizen must show that he is acting consistently with his faith and that he has a track record of being faithful.

Jim Crow laws meant that the government was discriminatory and coercive in a matter that did not implicate religion.  By contrast, the proposed Arizona law narrows the range of situations in which the government can be discriminatory and coercive against people of faith.

Third, the Jim Crow laws mandated that Southern citizens refrain from providing goods, services, or jobs to blacks, or they mandated that those goods, services, or jobs, if provided, must be provided in the most limited, demeaning way possible.  The proposed Arizona law not only does not mandate any conduct, it’s also extremely narrow in scope.  It says only that genuinely religious people cannot be forced to participate actively in a specific event that clashes with their faith.  It’s worth keeping in mind here, as Eidolon so beautifully explained, that up until just a few years ago, every mainstream Democrat politician in America (including Obama and the Clintons) rejected gay marriage, a position consistent with all known human history.

Super Bowl ArizonaI have no doubt that Gov. Brewer is going to cave to Leftist pressure because of the economic risk that the Super Bowl will pull out of Arizona.  That seems to be the ultimate leverage, right?  But supporters of traditional marriage — or supporters of a religious individual’s right not to participate in a ceremony that mocks his beliefs — actually have an even bigger stick than the Super Bowl.  Just as the Super Bowl can boycott Arizona, believers in religious freedom can boycott the Super Bowl.  I mean, it’s a great game, but sometimes we have to subordinate pleasure to principle.

America’s lousy media and lousy sense of proportion

A couple of days ago, I wrote a lengthy post in which I argued that, during Democrat presidencies, the media constantly elevates non-essential information to top status, thereby keeping America’s attention away from the fact that things are going badly wrong.  During Republican administrations, the press focuses exclusively on hard news, always reported to the administration’s detriment.

Today’s Drudge Report perfectly exemplifies what’s roiling the world (Putin) and what’s roiling the media and the Left (a proposed Arizona law that would allow people who practice traditional religions to refuse to provide their services to gay weddings, which they see as a direct affront to their faith):

Drudge 2-26-14

The bizarre juxtaposition is even more apparent if you look at the Drudge Report on a smart phone:
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They’re rattling sabres in a way that presages another Cold War or, worse, a hot war, while our chattering class is incensed that traditional religionists don’t want to be driven into bankruptcy because, while they do not want to be active participants in what is to them a deeply offensive event.

The American media has found its fiddle, even as the world burns down around our ears.

Monday Mish-Mash (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesIt rained here yesterday, an event that was much more exciting even than the Super Bowl.  We probably got just a quarter inch of rain, but for a drought-stricken region, even that is thrilling.  There are storms lined up along the California coast . . . but that damned high pressure system refuses to let them pass.  The lizard part of my brain, the one taken up with magical thinking, keeps hoping that one of these storms will batter the high pressure system so hard that it breaks.  I know weather doesn’t work that way, but most days lately that fantasy is the best that I can do.

Still, and thankfully, there’s always blogging.  I’m sadly lacking in original thought at the moment, but others do have interesting stuff to say:

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Apropos yesterday’s Super Bowl blowout, I learned two things about Seahawk’s coach Pete Carroll:  He’s quite possibly a 9/11 Truther and he graduated from Redwood High School in the heart of Marin County.  Hmmm.  I wonder if the two are related?

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The IRS is planning on formalizing its persecution of conservative and Tea Party groups.  Until February 27, however, you can have a say in the matter.  At American Thinker, Sylvia Bokor mourns the fact that only slightly more than 20,000 people have weighed in, out of an American population greater than 300 million.  I’m not surprised.  First, most people truly don’t care; second, those who do care now have reason to worry that if they comment on the proposal, they’re basically signing on to the IRS’ future target list.  Chilling, that’s what it is.

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Daniel Greenfield, aka Sultan Knish, takes on the belief fostered in every school child since about 1968 that, by signing on to the right (er, Left) charity, you too can save the world.  To him, this is the idiot stepchild of free enterprise and Leftism:

The West can’t fix Africa no matter how much of the price of a cup of coffee it donates. By attempting to fix it,  Africa and the West become entangled in each other’s problems, each worsening the problems of the other instead of solving them.

No one can save Africa except Africans. No one can fix Detroit except the majority of the people who live there. Social problems aren’t solved by nationalizing them or internationalizing them. They aren’t solved by engaging and guilt tripping those who have already solved those problems and live thousands of miles away but by engaging the people who live right there and are part of the problem.

If a man is drowning, you can toss him a rope. But if a man jumps into the water, tossing him a rope doesn’t accomplish anything. A physical problem can be solved by applying the right resources, but a human problem can’t be solved except when the affected humans change their attitudes or behaviors.

I am grateful to him for articulating something I’ve always felt in my bones, but couldn’t put into words.

Consider boycotting Super Bowl advertisers to show your support for the Second Amendment

NFL super-bowl-2014

Commercials — they’re big money in America and they’re super-dooper big money at the Super Bowl.  For the upcoming Super Bowl, advertisers are paying $3.8 million dollars per 30 seconds of air time for commercials.  You know what commercial you won’t see, though?  One supporting the Second Amendment.  Here’s the ad that the NFL refused to show:

Mulling over the NFL’s craven retreat from supporting a core constitutional right, my first thought was “Hey, we ought to boycott the Super Bowl.”  Only a second’s reflection made me realize that there was no way Americans would refuse to watch the Super Bowl over something like this, even pro-gun Americans.  It is, after all, the Super Bowl, and it will take a bigger insult than a banned commercial to make people abandon one of the year’s great pleasures.

When I heard yesterday about the price for advertising on the Super Bowl, however, it occurred to me that Americans can take a stand without sacrificing their viewing pleasure:  Second Amendment supporters should let it be known that they will boycott any service or product advertised during the Super Bowl.  After all, while you and the players focus on the game itself when you think of the Super Bowl, for the NFL honchos and the advertisers, it’s all about the money.

According to Forbes, the following companies have already signed on to those exorbitant ad rates:  “Anheuser-Busch InBev; Butterfinger; Chevrolet; Doritos; GoDaddy.com; Hyundai; Intuit; Jaguar; Mars; Oikos; PepsiCo Beverages; and Wonderful Pistachios.”  There will eventual be

None of those are essential products that people must have in order to survive.  If you’re a Butterfinger or Mars fan, consider the fact that a boycott will help you with that diet you’ve been meaning to start.  Same goes for the Doritos nibblers among us, the soft drink consumers (PepsiCo), or the beer drinkers.  And honestly, as a luxury car, aren’t Jaguars just the slightest bit, well, old fogey-ish?  If you’re looking for a luxury car, pick one that isn’t giving almost $13,000 per second to an organization that considers the Second Amendment controversial.  I’m willing to bet that, subject to a few exceptions, every single advertised product will be something that you can do without.

I’m sure there are those among you who will say “It’s just a commercial” or ask “Why is one commercial such a big deal?” or something like that.  In years past, I might have agreed.  But this year is different.  This is the year in which Organizing For America is telling Americans to have Sandy Hook anniversary gatherings in order to fire up anti-gun sentiment.  This is the year that children across America were attacked by school authorities for chewing pizza into gun shapes or pointing their fingers at each other and saying “bang.”  Moreover, this is the administration that has been open about its desire to ban guns in America and that has at least another year to pursue that goal.

In other words, this is a year when Americans cannot afford to sit back and say “whatever” when a major American institution cries craven on the Second Amendment.  So please, think about making a fairly painless, but very principled stand against an institution that refuses to accept a very low-key commercial celebrating a constitutional right.