Sometimes the news hands me two stories that dovetail beautifully and create the yin and yang of a topic. This week gave me one such convergence and provided me with a perfect start to a new periodic feature I thought of called “Kiss On the Cheek and Kiss My Ass”. It’s sort of like Stephen Colbert’s “Tip of the Hat/ Wag of the Finger” only not nearly as funny because I, sadly, am not nearly as funny as Stephen Colbert. (I’m hoping that the lack of funny will let me slide under Comedy Central’s copyright lawyers’ radar. Because how could they claim a infringement when what he does is funny and what I do is sort of pathetic, right? Please don’t sue me!)
Today I want to start by blowing some kisses to the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Take a gander at this little beauty and keep it in mind as you read along:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
First, we head to the Supreme Court who put in some time this week standing up for the First Amendment. Normally, I’m all “Hells to the YEAH! Free speech, baby!” but the case that the Court ruled on was one that had me grinding my molars to dust because it pertained to the right of the freakshow known as Westb0r0 B@ptist Church to demonstrate outside military funerals. These inbred shitweasels think that some being they refer to as “god” has a grudge against America because there are gay people here. They feel the best venue for presenting their twisted ideas is at military funerals, their logic being…hell if I know. They’re totally screwed up and I don’t even want to try and understand them. Anyway, they got sued for invading the privacy of a grieving family and the case wound up at the Supreme Court. The question was, did they have the right to stage their protests? The answer is yes. As long as they obey local laws pertaining to property rights and permitting for demonstrations and such.
As detestable as I find everything about the Westb0ro-ites, I have to grudgingly allow that their right to assembly, their right to speech and their right to practice their abomination of a religion is protected by the First Amendment. They get to do this. So I offer a Kiss on the Cheek to the Justices for recognizing it because if they reinforce the rights of fuckwads of the first degree to shoot their mouths off, they’ll also stand up for the rest of us when we want to say our piece in public.
On the flip side of First Amendment rights we have some people in the Tennessee legislature who want to pass a state law banning the practice of Sharia law. Sharia is the set of core principals the outline Islam. It’s religious law, which, in this country, pertains only to the people who follow that religion. I don’t have to follow Sharia laws. I don’t have to follow Halachic laws. I don’t have to follow Dianetics, the Book of Mormon, or anything from Leviticus. The only laws I have to follow are US laws. And I think that’s just dandy. I’d be pretty darn pissed if someone tried to make me adhere to religious principals from a religion I don’t believe in. I’d be just as pissed if someone tried to tell me that I couldn’t follow the principals of a religion I DID believe in. Which is exactly what some people in the Tennessee state senate are proposing.
They’re all “Blah blah blah jihadists, terrorists, we don’t mean peaceful Muslims, my daughter went to prom with a Muslim, don’t call me a bigot, 9/11!” And I’m all “DID YOU MISS HISTORY CLASS ON THE DAY THEY COVERED THE FIRST AMENDMENT YOU IGNORANT YOKELS??????? You can’t DO that!”.
We live in the kind of fantastic place where we all have to swallow our bile and say “Yeah, ok, those Westb0ro losers are allowed to do their thing but you can’t make me like it.” That means we also live in a place where people of all religions get to practice their religions and you – and by you I mean absolutely everyone including state legislatures – don’t get to stop them. You can stop them if they start shooting puppies with a BB gun or running over little old ladies with a pick-up truck because those things are against the law. But following a set of religious principals is not illegal and the Constitution says it never, ever will be. And that’s why I’m telling the Tennessee state senate to Kiss My Ass.