Monday, March 30, 2015

George Takei's Truth on Indiana's "Religious Freedom Law"

George Takei poses for a portrait during the Sundance Film Festival, on Jan. 18, 2014 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP)

If you don't follow George Takei on either Facebook or Twitter, then I ask what rock are you living under?  The former Star Trek actor, who just happens to be a P.L.U. (people like us!), has made quite a name for himself as one of THE masters of social media.  With all sorts of funny posts, thoughtful commentary and a great sense of humor, George Takei is one most followed person on the Internets.

So when George Takei has something profound to say, many listen, and today he's come out in a big way to share his thoughts on Indiana's new so-called "Religious Freedom Law."  For him, as for many of us, the mere existence of this issue is somewhat shocking given the inroads we've made in the last twenty years or so.  Yet there is still much work to be done, and a lot of hate to wash away, and George is certainly doing his part...

...Gov. Pence shamelessly pandered to the right wing of his party, perhaps because he is eyeing a run for the White House, or perhaps because he simply does not understand that bigotry, cloaked as religious protection, is still bigotry...

...I myself am a Buddhist, not a Christian. But I cannot help but think that if Christ ran a public establishment, it would be open to all, and He would be the last to refuse service to anyone. It is, simply put, the most un-Christian of notions.

...So let us be clear what this is really about: divisive politics. The far right has lost the war over marriage equality, and quickly. It now has staked out a new ground and shrouded itself ostensibly within the ambit of the First Amendment – for who can deny that we ought to give religious freedom its full and fair due? It seeks refuge in the recent, and regrettable, U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Hobby Lobby, which appeared to open the door for exceptions to “government regulation” in the name of protecting religious beliefs...

With all of the controversy that's been surrounding the passage of this law in Indiana, all sides are weighing in, but I think that George puts the truth out very succinctly in that last paragraph.  In this day and age, when we've come so far in learning that diversity is a good thing, there is still plenty of bigotry to go around, and politics obviously panders to that bigotry.  If you don;t see that, well then go back under that rock.

Check out the entire transcript of George Takei's op-ed on MSNBC.  He also appeared on this evening's episode of The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on the same station.    

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