It is sobering to read the hateful and contemptuous comments from so many of my Facebook friends about the legislators of Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina, Mississippi and other states that have either passed or have tried to pass laws allowing citizens to opt out of the cultural freight train that gives them the option of boarding or getting crushed. Whether these are “religious freedom” laws or “bathroom laws,” aimed at transgendered interlopers in the once orderly realm of public bathrooms, or whether they are designed to fight for the definition of marriage as “between a man and a woman,” these laws, every one of them unwise and unethical, and probably unconstitutional too, need to be regarded as the inevitable and predictable result when human beings are forced to absorb cultural shifts in a matter of years or less that properly would evolve over generations
Culture–what any society, country, region, religion, business, organization, club, family, secret society or tree house agrees over time as how they do things, think about things, what is right and what is wrong, what is remembered and what is forgotten–is a constantly evolving process. Efforts to freeze it inevitably fail, because human beings as a species can’t stop themselves from learning. Efforts to rush the installment of major changes, however, can be disastrous, even when there seems like no alternative but to rush.
Laws don’t automatically change culture. They are part of the process, both reflecting and facilitating cultural shifts, as well as institutionalizing them. They do not even mark the end of such shifts. Nobody should be surprised, angry or abusively critical when those who have been raised to believe in certain values and practices feel betrayed and mistreated, and see the need to resist when their sense of what is right is suddenly proclaimed as not only wrong but the sign of a character deficiency and a cause for denigration and disrespect. Continue reading
[I am tired, having engaged in a knockdown, drag-out session on legal ethics with a lively group of Federal bar practitioners. This was not the issue I wanted to come home to for the last post of the day. In fact, I gave up and am posting it this morning. Funny, the issue isn’t any easier now than it was yesterday.]
Charles Taze Russell, founder of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and still getting kids killed since 1879.
A pregnant woman who was a Jehovah’s Witness checked into a Sydney, Australia hospital suffering from leukemia. She directed the staff that her treatment could not include blood transfusions, as her religious beliefs forbade them. She suffered from acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), which is treatable, and often successfully. According to The American Cancer Society, “more than 90% of patients with APL go into remission with standard induction treatment.” Pregnant women with the cancer have an 83 percent remission rate, and their babies have a high rate of survival when their mothers are diagnosed in their second or third trimesters.
In the end, the fetus and the mother died for want of proper treatment. “Staff were distressed, grappling with what was perceived as two ‘avoidable’ deaths,” doctors at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Australia wrote in a letter published this month in the Internal Medicine Journal.
Well, they should be distressed: they aided and abetted negligent homicide. Continue reading
Indiana State Rep. Vanessa Summers. (All right, not really, but I couldn’t resist. Read the story and you’ll get it.)
Can it get worse than this? During the debate in the Indiana House over the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, state Rep. Vanessa Summers, (D-Indianapolis) rose to set a new record in outrageous race-baiting.
“I told [Republican colleague] Jud McMillin I love his son, but he’s scared of me because of my color.”
Responding to a rumble of protest from her assembled colleagues, Summers insisted, “It’s true.” When challenged on the assertion later. she defended her accusation, saying:
“He (the eighteen-month-old child) looked at me like I was a monster and turned around and cried. And I told him (McMillin) you need to introduce your child to some people that are dark-skinned so he will not be scared.”
There are so many take-aways from this episode that it’s difficult to know where to begin, or where to stop.