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Religion and the Power of Choice

Religion has always been a little bit of a running gag in my consistently Seinfeld-esque daily activity. You see, my mother was raised Catholic and had nothing but despicable experiences to speak of in regards to nuns and rulers. My father was raised Jewish in Great Neck on Long Island. I have never been baptized nor had a Bar Mitzvah, I am not an atheist in any semblance of the word, but I do have a somewhat oscillating view of the way in which the blue sky above should dictate human ideas.

Jake Nelson
Business Manager

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy: Elizabeth Flores/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT
Photo Courtesy: Elizabeth Flores/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT

Religion has always been a little bit of a running gag in my consistently Seinfeld-esque daily activity. You see, my mother was raised Catholic and had nothing but despicable experiences to speak of in regards to nuns and rulers. My father was raised Jewish in Great Neck on Long Island. I have never been baptized nor had a Bar Mitzvah, I am not an atheist in any semblance of the word, but I do have a somewhat oscillating view of the way in which the blue sky above should dictate human ideas.

Retrospectively, upon enrollment in sixth grade, I should not have been surprised at how overwhelming the religious-ness of La Salle Institute in Troy, N.Y., was.

La Salle was founded in 1850 and is part of the very large network of Christian Brother Schools that take on the mission of educating young men around the world in the model of founder St. John Baptist De La Salle.

I remember getting detention in the sixth grade for not saying the prayer before math class. It wasn’t a refusal, it was just that I was about a month into a new school where I legitimately hadn’t known anyone before going there, and on that day I decided I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to say the prayer, so I didn’t.

I remember listening to my African American military science teacher, days before President Barack Obama’s 2008 election win, succinctly outline to our class exactly how he agreed with all of Obama’s policies in comparison to John McCain’s except for one.

Obama was pro-choice and McCain was pro-life. A black man who had beaten the odds of a poor southern upbringing, worked his way through the army, and had achieved a life he never dreamed of as a kid was openly telling a class of 16- and 17-year-olds that he wasn’t voting for a man he believed in because of one discrepancy.

The exercise of free religion bill in Arizona is drawing quite a bit of media attention this week. My Twitter and Facebook feeds are filled with commentaries and statements of condemnation about the state of Arizona and blah, blah, blah.

The majority of our nation has been trained to be reactionary, meaning that they hear something or read something and automatically assume it to be true because it has come from the prescient milk of the screen in front of their eyes.

What is there to do in these times of utmost crises? Well…take to social media, of course, fume for a few minutes, maybe text someone, and then forget. This is easier to state while living in the Northeast, a considerably more liberal place than the aforementioned Arizona, but it’s entirely true.

I just wonder how many people, whose complaints I have read – and again this is biased because I live in the Northast and most here would be bold to voice support if they were in favor –  know what happened in Arizona as recently as 2008. We are talking about a state that constitutionally outlawed gay marriage in that year.

So…well…just…how is anyone surprised at a state who constitutionally outlawed gay marriage a decade ago considering a bill of this nature? I don’t support the bill and I’m also not sure how much I care if it goes through or not.

I say this because as the law stands in Arizona currently, this bill isn’t even needed to enact the “religious freedom measures” it talks about.

These are namely businesses denying consumers of homosexual orientation, or even divorced women, the right to purchase their products.

We’re living through arguably the most turbulent political age, in both micro and macro scales that our nation has ever seen. Issues like this, while they are certainly tough to think about, shouldn’t come as any surprise.

It isn’t necessarily right or wrong; it is change, and positive change does not come without periods of pain.

Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan T. Cathy was slandered in June of 2012 after making public comments opposing same sex marriage. There were also rumors floating around that his family-owned, charitable organization had donated millions to organizations in opposition of LBGT rights. Chick-Fil-A doesn’t open on Sundays.

We’re talking about a company that did $4.6 billion in sales in the same year, leaving one day off its operating calendar every week. This information is more than public, but it’s surprising that the CEO is in opposition of same sex marriage.

It’s honestly idiotic. Just because he thinks homosexuals shouldn’t have the right to be married doesn’t make him a horrible person, possibly a fool, but one shouldn’t waste their breath.

If he openly denied service to homosexuals, that would be a different issue entirely, but alas, he’s a capitalist and is not nearly that stupid.

That is precisely why the Arizona bill, while offering further head shaking in regard to the mental health of this country (both in support of it and in oppositional responses) is nothing but a laugh.

We do not live in a communist nation. The state legislature of Arizona is not able to physically force all business owners in Arizona to deny business to homosexuals and divorced women. If business owners choose to do as much, well, they’re idiots, because they’re going to lose quite a bit of revenue.

I don’t understand the proposal of the bill because quite honestly it’s really stupid both in human nature and economically speaking. I don’t know much about the demographics in Arizona as they pertain to homosexuality, but it doesn’t really matter.

Whether it goes through or not won’t make much of a difference to anyone. A sentient business owner isn’t going to take time out of their schedule to make sure you’re not a homosexual or divorced woman before agreeing to do business with you. The choice to oppose is a two way street.

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