James, the Jihadist

James, the Jihadist
James, the Jihadist

James, the Jihadist

I have argued that allowing gays and lesbians to be discriminated against in business transactions is wrong and poor business ethics. I have advocated that this legislation be changed before enactment and if enacted to be repealed. In this, I have acted inside the bounds of political activity traditional in this nation. At no point have I advocated violence against any religious establishment.

Nevertheless, people who agree with me and have made similar public comments have been described as “Jihadists” by Presidential candidate, Ted Cruz. A Jihadist? I don’t think I qualify. I am not currently involved in a Jihad, have not advocated violence against anyone over this legislation, and look ridiculous in a burnoose. I personally am a Christian and I am not part of a conspiracy to wage a Jihad against my own religion. I would find that personally divisive.

Being accused of being a Jihadist is not the only insult that people who share my beliefs have received on this issue. According to former Presidential candidate, Newt Gringrich, we are part of a lynch mob. And he backs up his claim, by explaining that people like me have to be deluded because the bill is “exactly the same as in Connecticut.” I believe he is implying that the bill is like the one in many states and the one passed by the federal legislation during the Clinton Administration. That’s a lie.

It’s not a little lie. It’s a giant hulking monstrous lie. As an attorney, I am well aware that adding a single comma can change the intent or the effect of legislation. The Indiana bill contain two entire clauses not in other bills save for the one in Texas. But the Texas bill has a civil rights exception that protects gay and lesbians. The Indiana bill doesn’t. The Indiana bill was designed like a laser beam to hit a single target, gays and lesbians in the market place. The foundation of the bill was in the fact that neither Indiana nor the federal government has legislation protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination. All the other groups, women, minorities, etc., were protected by previous laws. Gays were the only people without cover The new clauses and the absence of a civil rights protection made the legislation dramatically different from what had been passed before. The bill does look similar to the bills passed before but if it walks like duck, quacks like a duck and has dripping fangs as well as razor sharp teeth, it’s not a duck anymore.

That the bill was identical with other state legislation and therefore did nothing new was a great talking point but that doesn’t make it true. No matter how loud or how often a lie is said does not make it reality.

But there was still more, I am not only described as a Jihadist and a leader of a lynch mob, I also lack perspective. According to Tom Cotton, the new Senator from Arkansas and famous letter writer, I lack perspective because, “In Iran they hang you for the crime of being gay.”

No, that’s not how it works. If I point out that a man is starving, and you point out that another man up the street is also starving but that I wasn’t paying attention to his problem – a point has been made. But Cotton’s argument is too distant in nature and form from the situation in Indiana. As an American citizen I can have little effect on the law in Iran. But as an American citizen, in this country, I have both the right and the responsibility to participate in the affairs of the nation. I cannot and will not close my eyes to injustice that I can do something about. And that is where Cotton’s argument fails. However much I may lament the actions of people in other nations, I live here and what happens affects me directly.

Why are the first two criticisms so bizarre? It seems pretty obvious that group of citizens, newspaper writers, politicians and leaders in business are neither Jihadists nor part of a lynch mob. These two criticisms have no connection with any objective reality but they are designed for use. There will be radio shows, television pleas and letters, literally millions of letters, saying this –

HOMOSEXUAL JIHADISTS ARE PLANNING THE DESTRUCTION OF CHRISTIANITY, YOUR CHURCHES WILL BE DESTROYED, YOUR BIBLES BURNED AND RELIGION AS WE KNOW IT WILL CEASE TO EXIST!!

CAN YOU SEND $100, $50 OR EVEN AS LITTLE AS FIVE DOLLARS TO SAVE THE WORD OF JESUS CHRIST FROM BEING WIPED OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH BY THE GAY LYNCH MOB?

And then they’ll talk about this being a critical point in American history and the need to act now, right now, and how sending them money will allow brave men (insert current anti-jihadist fund raiser) to act on their behalf to defend American values.

I’ve seen fund raising letters like these dozens of times; the writing is usually in all caps, although usually the lead statements are in giant blood red letters that virtually scream crisis off the page.  How many of you remember the letters sent out charging that if John Kerry won the Presidency, bibles would be banned? That was in the 2004 campaign but these kinds of fund raising appeals are made constantly preying on those who would believe the worst of their fellow Americans.

To me, it seems obvious that the Jihad and lynch mob lines are set-ups for fund raising letters and Senator Cotton was just commenting. After all, you can’t really do much with a “lack of perspective” charge in a fund raising letter.

In conclusion, there is no Jihad, period. There is no lynch mob. And there is plenty of perspective.

What happened was democracy in action. I wasn’t pleased with all of it, but businesses, individuals, and elected officials stepped up publicly and opposed the legislation and it was changed. That is how things are supposed to work.

I participated in that as an American citizen as is my right under the law. And that is just what I am, an American.

James Pilant

(Below are my sources and the quotes I drew from for the above article. jp)

Senator Says Critics Of Indiana Should Get ‘Perspective,’ Be Thankful State Doesn’t Execute Gays

Appearing yesterday on CNN, Senator Tom Cotton (R) urged critics of Indiana’s “religious freedom” law to get “perspective,” suggesting the treatment of LGBT people in Indiana compared favorably to countries where gay people are executed.

“I think it’s important we have a sense of perspective,” Cotton said. “In Iran they hang you for the crime of being gay.”

http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2015/04/02/3642060/senator-says-critics-indiana-get-perspective-thankful-state-doesnt-execute-gays/

Newt Gingrich Slams ‘Lynch Mob’ For Opposing Indiana Religious Freedom Law

The fact is, for example, the governor of Connecticut announced he wouldn’t send people to Indiana. Well, Connecticut has exactly the same law. They adopted it 20 years ago. The head of Apple announces that he’s deeply disappointed. Apple sells cell phones in Saudi Arabia, where being homosexual is a death penalty. The level of selective outrage, the opportunity to pick a fight — the news media couldn’t help themselves.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/01/newt-gingrich-lynch-mob-indiana-religious-freedom_n_6986808.html

Ted Cruz: ‘Jihad’ Was Waged Against Religious Freedom Bills

“We look at the jihad that is being waged right now in Indiana and Arkansas going after people of faith who respect the biblical teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman,” Cruz said during a panel moderated by conservative radio host Steve Deace on Thursday. “We need to bring people together to the religious liberty values that built this country.”

via Ted Cruz: ‘Jihad’ Was Waged Against Religious Freedom Bills.

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