Saturday, April 23, 2005

Intolerant People Suck

(Political rant starting, so watch out.)

This week there was a lot of uproar over Microsoft withdrawing its support for a Washington state anti-gay-discrimination bill. You can read more about it in this article (somewhat biased) in our alternative newspaper The Stranger. I'm fairly apathetic when it comes to politics, but civil rights and abortion rights have always been of interest to me.

The fact that someone would oppose an anti-discrimination bill baffles me. I haven't read much about it, but I'm still astonished as to why the Equal Rights Amendment never passed. Some people argue these bills are "redundant" with other laws. So what? If some large group is feeling discriminated against, and there's sufficient evidence that it's true, why not pass the bill? Isn't voting against something like this in effect saying it's ok to discriminate against x kind of people?

I'm not sure why some segment of Americans (and in most cases it seems to be conservative, usually evangelical Christians) feels like they need to get up in everyone else's personal business. One of my favorite bumper stickers says "Against abortion? Then don't have one."

So if you read the Stranger article, it says Microsoft caved under pressure from this crazy preacher named Ken Hutcheson who has this mega church that meets in the Kirkland High School auditorium. I wish I could say this was somewhere rural, in the middle of the state, out in the backwoods. Unfortunately it's about 15 minutes from where we live in Redmond. And the congregation has several members who work at Microsoft. I know a company as large as Microsoft is bound to have a diverse collection of views and religious beliefs, so I guess I shouldn't be disappointed by that, even though my past experience has shown smart geeky people are usually pretty tolerant (or at least, apathetic) of people's differences.

The thing that gets me is this preacher. How can someone who claims to be doing "God's work" spew such intolerance towards others? And why does he use his position of authority to spread his intolerance? And why doesn't he just stick with preaching and charitable works, rather than meeting with business leaders to threaten them with boycotts so that he can spread his intolerance into our laws. And why does Microsoft give this guy the time of day? He got to meet with Brad Smith, our chief counsel, plus some other high level execs. Why are our execs wasting their time on this crap? In addition "Rev." Hutcheson demanded that two Microsoft employees who testified in the House in support of the bill be fired. (They were reflecting their own personal stance, not representing Microsoft.)

Steve Ballmer explained Microsoft withdrawing support for the bill yesterday in an email he sent to employees. He said they were planning to do it all along (Microsoft is officially "neutral" now) because they had to pick and choose their battles, as well as respect the wishes of *all* shareholders, including the intolerant homophobe ones. (Obviously I'm paraphrasing here.) I can understand not wanting to have a corporate position on this. He did mention that they did not cave in response to this preacher guy - the decision had been made long before that. And they are, of course, not going to fire those two employees. I actually felt better about the whole thing after reading this message. It seemed genuine and heartfelt (maybe his communications staff are just really good) but I didn't get the sense that "the man" was trying to spin the story. And that makes me feel good about working at Microsoft.

There was an article in Seattle magazine a few months ago about Rev. Hutcheson and it just made my skin crawl. He grew up playing football because it was the only way he could beat the crap out of white people. But apparently he changed his racist ways when he met his wife, who's white. I guess his viewpoint changes whenever it suits him (or when it comes to cute women). Plus, having a giant multiracial congregation is probably more lucrative for him anyway. They're saving up money to build one of those giant "megachurches" somewhere in the area. Maybe it'll have a McDonald's in it (see previous post about "Supersize Me") I can't believe this man has so many followers, in what I thought was a liberal city. I'm all for religious freedom but I do strongly believe in separation of church and state, and church and business. And it should stay the heck out of other peoples' (ie non-members) personal business.

Against gay marriage? Then don't have one.

6 comments:

  1. I understand it is tempting, but please don't label conservative Christians, or any other group, based on the actions of one idiot. Just because he's louder, doesn't mean he represents all of us. And your comment on wishing you could say it was somewhere "rural, in the middle of the state, out in the backwoods" shows exactly the same type of intolerance and misunderstanding you are railing on him for. Just a thought.

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  2. Thanks for the comment, but at least have some courage and don't make it anonymous.

    I think it's typically true that large urban areas (like Seattle) are more liberal. So I don't think my comment about rural areas is intolerant.

    I am fine w/ conservative Christians as long as they keep their beliefs out of our laws.

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  3. I thought about that angle on the anonymous, but you know me and I didn't want to make you angry. :)

    I think that labeling rural and conservative areas as discriminatory and intolerant is completely offbase as a whole, and that's what I was trying to get at. It's judging just as what the idiot in Kirkland is doing is judging.

    As for keeping beliefs out of laws... I guess I don't see how keeping liberal views in the laws is any different than keeping conservative views in them. You want conservative Christians to keep their views out of the law, but your liberal views are fine. Kind of a double standard, imho. I'm not saying that the laws should solely reflect either value, but you can't exclude one without excluding the other.

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  4. I figured I might know you :) I'm sorry if I offended you, my post is targeting a very specific set of ppl, and as far as I know, none of my friends or relatives are those people. I'm really not hating on all Christians, to be clear.

    I thought about this some more last night. Why do folks need to legislate the behavior of others when it's clearly not hurting anyone else? Discrimination against gays, for housing, etc. Or even letting gays legally marry. If you don't agree with that lifestyle, that's fine. But why tell others what to do about it? How does two gay men getting married hurt you? (not you specifically, I'm talking about the people opposing these laws.) Why don't we have laws preventing divorce, if marriage is so sacred?

    The same could be true for drug laws and laws against prostitution. Yes, personally, I find these things morally wrong, and I don't participate in them. But why not let rational adults choose themselves? I think America is way behind on this. Why is alcohol legal but pot isn't? It's a drug too. Those who chose to use these things are hurting themselves, but as long as they're responsible about it, that's all they're hurting. (We still need drunk driving laws, etc.) I guess I'd prefer the government stay out of people's personal choices.

    I guess what I'm getting at is that if some people don't like a certain behavior, why try to pass laws restricting *anyone* from doing it? Why not just uphold your own morals for yourself and don't try to legislate what others can do?

    And I think you misunderstood about the rural area thing. I would expect rural areas to be more *conservative* and possibly more *religious* but I'm not saying they're all intolerant. There are 3500 people who belong to Hutcheson's church, and that does surprise me, to have that many people right smack in the middle of hippie Seattle, who espouse his intolerant views. That's all I'm saying.

    And I do appreciate the discussion :).

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  5. Not to argue, but being a Christian, I must uphold the views that are stated in the Bible or I couldn't call myself a Christian. Now the bible comes down pretty hard in the book of Romans ch 1-2 about homosexuality and hypocrisy. Also check 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 for futher references to homosexuality as a sin. As far as sin is concerned we all have inherited it from Adam and Eve who were the first sinners. Rom 3:23 says, "All of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory". I, a Christian, stuggle against lust and the Devil tries to tempt me everyday to commit adultry against my wife. Christians are not perfect, we just try to live in a way that honors Jesus since he himself came down from Heaven and died on a cross, took the punishment for our sins, so that we might be with him in heaven, and live with him in paradise forever. Jesus loves us. I will not tell you that you should go here or there or to this website, All I will say is go to the source, Jesus is real, He will communicate to you through his spirit (the Holy Spirit) He will talk to you through his word The Bible. And He will save you from sin and the punishment for sin. God is a God of love, but if he didn't also punish wrong doing he would not be a truly a God of Love. He must punish sin. How would you feel if someone stole from you and the police said that all people are accepted because they are Police of love. No there must be punishment, and Jesus took our punishment for our sins (stealing, lieing, lust (Jesus said in Matthew 5:28 that even if you look upon someone and lust after them you have already committed adultry in your heart)). Please turn to Jesus today and accept his forgiveness, none of us are perfect and none of us will be till the day we go home to Heaven. Please commit your lives to him today. Read the Bible and find out the truth for yourselves. And if Jesus leads you to go to a church, please go, wants the best for you. But I would be doing you an injustice for not warning you that Christians are not liked by non-christians. Even Jesus was killed for what he proclaimed. Christianity is not what many TV preachers tell us it is about (getting rich and blessings, blah blah blah). People die for believeing and following Jesus and I don't want you to be blind to this. Now in America we don't have to suffer as many Christians in the past and even present in other countries do. But be warned it is not an easy road. But believe me it is worth it. There is no greater life than to live for Jesus. He is Lord.

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  6. @swgreenway. Um, yeah. Did you cut and paste that for every blog you read? Stupid.

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