Having lived in Florida while he was governor, I am no stranger to Jeb Bush. I’m actually quite surprised it’s taken him this long to make a move for the presidency. Though I can completely understand why he’s waited until the stink from his brother’s presidency has lifted. (Not that I think it actually has). No one wants to be associated with the guy who had some of the absolute lowest approval ratings in history. (He also had the highest. However, 9/11 gave him a big boost that almost any president would have gotten regardless of their policies.)
Jeb, I’m sure he’s fine with me calling him Jeb, in blatant preparation for 2016, is now running his mouth about marriage equality and the Supreme Court threatening people’s livelihoods if they aren’t allowed to use discrimination as a guide in their business practices.
“I don’t know about the law, but religious freedom is a serious issue, and it’s increasingly so, and I think people that act on their conscience shouldn’t be discriminated against, for sure,” Bush said. “There should be protections, and so, as it relates to marriage equality — and that may change, the Supreme Court may change that. That automatically then shifts the focus to people of conscience, and, I don’t know, have their faith make — they want to act on their faith, and may not be able to be employed for example.”
Jeb was responding to a question about whether he supported the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prohibits the government from “burdening” people’s exercise of their religious freedoms and which specifically states that “Laws neutral toward religion may burden religious exercise as surely as laws intended to interfere with religious exercise.” Further on it states, “Courts have consistently held that government has a fundamental, overriding interest in eradicating discrimination.”
In other words, laws that require marriage equality and do not allow people to discriminate based on sexual orientation infringe on people’s exercise of their religious freedoms and are thus discriminatory. Huh? I don’t really think that’s what the courts meant.
The law would allow clerks to not issue marriage licenses to gay couples. It would permit business owners to decline to sell or provide services to couples simply based on their sexual orientation. Basically, this is Georgia telling the federal courts (and possibly the U.S. Supreme Court) to go fuck themselves.
For Jeb to suggest that a Supreme Court ruling disallowing discrimination based on sexual orientation would stop people from being able to be employed is ludicrous. Someone who closes down their business because a gay customer may walk in is an idiot. Though I do appreciate his inflammatory rhetoric reminiscent of Hitler’s Germany. Should make it much easier to keep him from getting elected. (Fingers crossed.)
I also don’t understand how marriage equality impacts anyone’s religious freedoms since I can’t think of a single religion that requires its adherents to take action against someone simply because they’re gay. Since we’re talking about Georgia, we’ll assume for this conversation that the religion is Christianity. Nowhere in any Bible I’m familiar with does it state that if a Christian knows a person to be gay, they must shun them and shame them. Last I read and studied, it’s up to God to make those calls and it’s wrong for a Christian to judge another person. Jesus certainly didn’t shun those he saw as sinners.
The other thing the merchants and individuals who support Georgia’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act should consider is that while they’re free to believe whatever they want, so are the rest of us. I happen to think they’re a bunch of bigoted assholes who I would rather not support. If they’re so proud of their beliefs, they should put a big sign like this one
in their store windows, on their websites, and hell, even on their clothes so I know not to shop there, or, in this case, vote for them.
What size t-shirt do we think Jeb wears? Or maybe he’d prefer an embroidered polo?