John Lennon’s “Imagine” is an overrated song worshipped by faux star children and people who — despite listing “philosophy” as an interest on dating websites — would need a backhoe to reach the intellectual depth of someone who bought rubber testicles for their truck.
That being said, sometimes it’s nice to consider some of Lennon’s imagines scenarios. What would it be like if certain people or concepts just didn’t exist?
For example, what if all the wonderful people in Indiana who feel their religious beliefs preclude them from being active members in greater society could have it their way? What if all the rest of us — people identifying with LGBTQIA, people sympathizing with people in LGBTQIA or just people who try not to incorporate institutional hate into our daily dealings — just vanished?
In the beginning, it would be good. All God Rock all the time, grape juice and bakery stocks shoot through the roof and Veggie Tales finally is mainstream enough to warrant the theme park it truly deserves.
But then the cracks in the foundation start to spread. Infighting begins. Is speaking in tongues a gift of the Spirit or is it a cry for attention? Can women lead a Bible study? Are you a Calvinist or an Arminian?
Damn those differences. “Why can’t everyone be the same?” they’d ask themselves. Before long, some majority would be wishing away those pesky dispensationalists and the culling of opposing thoughts would begin anew.
Luckily — barring the implementation of some secret sanctified super weapon in development by bigots in Indiana — the scenario where everyone good and decent and different disappears will never happen.
The people in support of Indiana governor Mike Pence’s discriminatory law may be celebrating now, but introducing this kind of legislation is the perfect open door for all sorts of weird practices that probably won’t jibe with the bigots’ narrow view of proper Christian morality.
Monday, the Washington Post reported one of the first instances of unintended consequences after the passing of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The act prohibits the government from forcing people to act in any way they feel inhibits their ability to express their religious beliefs. Bill Levin, a consultant in Indianapolis, recently set up and was approved to run the First Church of Cannabis. You can imagine what their denomination will be up to.
Smoking pot. They’ll be smoking pot. That’s for the people with garbage imaginations.
The First Church of Cannabis uses the smoking of marijuana as a part of their “religious ceremonies,” something specified in their application for church-hood. That’s probably not the paperwork’s technical name.
More important than paperwork titles is the fact that marijuana use and possession is illegal in Indiana. Yet with the passage of the RFRA, the church can practice their skunky sacrament with impunity. Hallelujah.
While the cannabis church’s existence is the only good thing to come out of the RFRA and is worthy of a good “point and yell haha idiots” at the Indiana legislatures in support of the act, people shouldn’t forget that more nefarious ideologies than the church of future munchies may take advantage of the law.
How would the Indianan devout warriors of religious rights react to a Sharia-following Muslim storeowner refusing service to women unless they were covered and accompanied by a man?
What’s to stop everyone identifying as Jewish from taking Saturdays off in Indiana from here on out? It’s not like their employers could stop them thanks to RFRA.
Or how about a liberal Christian storeowner refusing service to military veterans because they feel the whole “Thou Shalt Not Kill” and Jesus stopping Peter from killing the centurion things aren’t optional readings in the Bible?
The RFRA fans would be furious in all of these situations. Yet all of these situations are now legally protected.
Indiana’s next law should be legislation forcing all people who voted for the law to actually act in accordance with the faiths they profess.
We all know the stories, whether Christian or not, about how Jesus hung out with sinners and drunks, not because he was one but because those were the people he was most interested in engaging with.
Jesus didn’t make people jump through hoops to hang out with him. You didn’t have to be a Christian to hang out with Christ.
The people who support the RFRA would probably really hate Jesus — the long hair, the sandals, the questionable parentage. Plus he’d be a minority, so that’s another strike. He’d be all “Love your enemies and pray for them” and RFRA goons would call him a liberal wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing and Matt Walsh would write a blog post on The Blaze decrying his socialist tendencies and penchant for healing people without pay.
Yet despite hating the guy, they feel like they can mistreat LGBTQIA people — and who knows who else as the RFRA continues to exist — in his name.
I’d like to think if Jesus ran a joint sandal repair shop/seafood restaurant in Indiana, he’d refuse service to anyone who voted for the RFRA on the grounds that people who hate others violate his religious beliefs.