Setting the norm

April 10, 2012


To the editor:

I was disappointed to read of Lance Kinzer’s, R-Olathe, Preservation of Religious Freedom Act in the Journal-World on March 29. Rep. Barbara Ballard and others are correct to worry that this bill is antagonistic to Lawrence’s anti-discrimination ordinance; it opens the door to discriminate against others (e.g., those of the LGBT community) with impunity if this discrimination comes from conviction associated with one’s religious identity. This bill comes on the heels of similar measures (e.g., Michigan) that protect a child who bullies peers who are presumed to be gay, if the perpetrator is doing so out of religious conviction.  

My disappointment turned into disgust when I flipped the page in the very same issue to read about Eva Edmands’ experiences with persecution in 1938 Vienna; it seems the 8-year-old Eva was bullied by her peers because of her faith. The Viennese children adopted adult norms and laws as their own. It was open season on Jews in a way that was protected because this hostility arose out of “deep moral conviction.”

Therein lies the danger. Ordinances of a community become norms of the community, and norms by definition normalize behavior and attitudes. People eventually come to adopt these attitudes as their own and perform these behaviors without conscious consideration.

State and city laws should normalize the acceptance of all of its residents. It is our duty to protect the vulnerable and speak out against rights violations. Thank you, Ms. Edmands, for taking this lesson to our local school children. Now, please take it to our state Capitol.


Paul R Getto 5 years ago

Watch what the Republicans do and ignore what they say. "Smaller government" types like local control until they decide they don't, usually--as in this case--for magical reasons driven by their ideologies and not a desire for good public policy.

Darrell Lea 5 years ago

What on earth are you going on about? You make no sense.

tomatogrower 5 years ago

What she is saying is get out of other people's bedrooms and lives, if you want to do business in the United States. If you are doing business, just do business. Quit worrying about who is sleeping with whom, what that person's religion is, where that person's family is originally from, what the color of their skin is, what their disability is. If they have the money to do business with you, then take care of business only. You do not need a personal relationship with your customers. If you can't do that, move or work for someone else. Or go off and be a hermit. I will do business with anyone, even if they are a pompous, holier than thou religious fanatic, who hates people of color and gays.

I'm a business person, not a monitor for other's personal believes and behavior. If you are a student in a school, don't talk to any student who is not like you. Ignoring someone is not calling them names and bullying them. It's none of your business if they are gay, unless you are interested in them sexually.

You are not responsible for other people's souls, but you are responsible for your own behavior, and renting to a "good" Christian married couple, who tear up your house and don't pay the rent, is not more desirable to renting to a gay couple who maintain your house as if they owned it, and pay you on time. But I guess if you are that stupid, you get what you deserve. It's called karma, and I see it coming back to bite people all the time.

tomatogrower 5 years ago

My rant was aimed at Consumer1, a supposed conservative.

Ragingbear 5 years ago

Then they came for the gays, and I didn't speak out because I was still in the closet. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because Mel Gibson and Rush Limbaugh said they are the ones responsible for the bad economy. Then they came for the blacks, and I didn't speak out because I don't like Hip Hop. Then they came for the Latinos, and I didn't speak out because those lazy Mexicans are coming to America and doing ten times the labor for one tenth the pay. Then they came for me, and I found out that I was the only Gay Jewish Liberal Black Mexican Hip Hop Artist remaining.... learn from my story.

(The above post was made in jest. If you are offended by it, I suggest you grow up.)

verity 5 years ago

Ms Hawley has it covered very well. Thank you for a coherent and well-written letter.

aryastark1984 5 years ago

So, the logic of this bill is that it is OK to discriminate, as long as you can justify your bigotry on religious grounds? What could possibly go wrong? (insert eye roll here).

Paul R Getto 5 years ago

Pastafarians will not talk to people who do not know what "al dente" means. We also hate those who wear plastic colanders to services instead of the required metal kind (better reception.) Settles that part, doesn't it?

Paul R Getto 5 years ago

May both of you be blessed by his/her noodly appendage. Shanti.

Flap Doodle 5 years ago

Isn't the Church of the Goreacle is the only acceptable religion to disappointed progressives? (from a source)

jonas_opines 5 years ago

(from a source)

Babelfish disgruntled conservative to English translation:

(from my posterior)

edited for content

yourworstnightmare 5 years ago

"Therein lies the danger. Ordinances of a community become norms of the community, and norms by definition normalize behavior and attitudes. People eventually come to adopt these attitudes as their own and perform these behaviors without conscious consideration."

This is their very point. Don't be fooled that people like Kinzer are unaware of this tenet. It is their desired outcome.

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