Minnesota had a coagulation of reactionary Republicans at our capitol last week. Their goals were clearly stated, and were thoroughly repugnant, but at least they also had a small turnout.
The Minnesota Family Council, EdWatch, Citizens’ Council on Health Care, and Minnesota Majority (formerly Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage) came to the Capitol Thursday to advocate “less government, less taxes and less government spending” and to oppose legislation for domestic-partner benefits, medical marijuana, stem-cell research and comprehensive sex education.
I struggle to understand how people take those positions. I think government is a good thing; it’s what gives us schools and roads and security. I don’t personally enjoy paying taxes, but I see the connection between taxes and schools, roads, and security, so I’m content to do my share. Opposing domestic partner benefits is just vile — what right do we have to deny some people the right to live their lives together as equal partners? I think it’s also vile to deny sick people the palliative effects of a drug like marijuana. Stem-cell research is an important tool for medical and scientific progress, and the opposition there is all irrational and emotional attachment to the nonexistent personhood of single cells. As for sex education — more education and less ignorance will always be my goal. It wasn’t mentioned here, but EdWatch is also a group that opposes the teaching of evolution, and you can imagine what I think of them.
Weird. I essentially oppose, completely and without exception, everything these groups stand for. It’s like they are the anti-me and I am the anti-them. What could possibly account for our profound differences?
Senate Minority Leader David Senjem discussed the importance of hard work and of using the Bible to make and pass laws. “The good book is important and we need to lead our lives according to the teachings of the good book. OK, we’ll say it. The Bible…It’s our job, I believe, to legislate by the teachings. The teachings are really all we have in terms of guiding our legislative life and certainly our personal life.”
It’s always nice to see a single simple causal mechanism underlying many differences. I don’t see the Bible as any kind of good book at all — it’s historically inaccurate, morally inconsistent, and an offense to reason. If that’s the foundation for their political positions, no wonder they’re all wrong.
The kind of people who use the Bible as their moral center are free to engage in this kind of behavior.
Last Thursday night, openly gay Minnesota State University-Moorhead student Paul Marquardt was walking across campus around 11:30pm after leaving the school library when he was accosted by a group of men who began yelling anti-gay slurs at him.
And then they beat him unconscious and gave him “a concussion, a separated shoulder, a broken wrist, and possible spleen damage.”
It happened here in Minnesota, a progressive, liberal state … at least, that’s what we say. Maybe we could even live up to that ideal if we could convince the bible-thumpers to confine their inanities to the churches, and keep them out of government, and if we could do a better job of making “faith” a term of opprobrium.