Republicans in Virginia, North Carolina and Texas say Religion means you don’t have to Do Your Job
[A tip of the pen to DocDawg, whose blog post on the situation in North Carolina got me all riled up.]
Republican party officials love to proclaim that theirs is the “party of hard work”, that the GOP stands for the idea that Americans should stop whining, show up to work and get the job done. It sounds so butch, doesn’t it? You can practically feel the chaps on your legs as you contemplate the thoughts. You can just feel the lasso in your hand and the cowboy hat on your head. Hard! >>!grunt!<< Work!
But all that posing doesn’t match what Republican politicians across the country are standing for. In North Carolina, Texas and Virginia GOP state legislators have introduced legislation that would allow local magistrates and county clerks to stop doing the job they were hired to do: marry people. All these government workers have to do is proclaim that according to their religion, they don’t like some kinds of people getting married, and — just like that! — they don’t have to do it any more.
Wouldn’t you like to have that kind of provision for the work you do? I sure would. “Gee, boss,” I’d say, “I’m not a subscriber to the Norse religion, so I just don’t feel comfortable working on Woden’s tag or Thor’s tag or Freia’s tag. I will come in every Monday, though.” But unlike the members of the Republican Party, I recognize that when I applied for a job, I kind of agreed to suck it up and do it.
It is the job of a local magistrate or county clerk to marry people who are legally permitted to be married, whether the magistrate or clerk likes those people or not. That’s what these local officials signed up to do. But now they want to slack off, and the Republican Party wants to help them.
Oh, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “that’s too general! This is only about the gays!” I have to admit that in Virginia, that’s true. In the Virginia bill, the Republican Party would only let government representatives stop doing their jobs if they have a problem “with respect to same-sex ‘marriage’ or homosexual behavior.” (Did you catch how they put the old air quotes around that word?) But in the Texas and North Carolina bills, any religious belief at all, on any subject, can be used by a government worker to slack off on the job and stop performing marriages. As DocDawg points out, that means the Republican bills empower racists to stop performing inter-racial marriages and religious purists to stop letting Jews and Atheists get hitched. Their work stoppage doesn’t have to make sense. It doesn’t have to be logical. It doesn’t need any kind of justification at all. All a person’s got to do, if these bills get passed, is say “my religion tells me I don’t have to do my job,” and guess what? They don’t have to. And in two out of the three states, there’s absolutely no provision for anyone else to step in and do the work that these people have shrugged off.
“Party of hard work,” my tush. The next time someone starts to tell you what the Republicans are the party of, channel your inner cowboy, stop ’em in mid sentence and let the spittle fly: The Republicans are the Party that Coddles Mealy-Mouthed, Lazy-Ass Whining Bigots!