"I can deny you service based on my religious beliefs."
This is, essentially, what a law passed in Arizona last week states. It (and those on other state ballots' that are just like it) is intended to allow small business owners the right to refuse service to gay couples.
Get ready, ladies and gentlemen, because we are turning back the clocks.
First, we'll dial them back to around the mid 1900s, to an era during which there were laws in place that allowed white business owners to deny service to black patrons simply because they were black. We are returning to a time when we wouldn't allow white schools to educate black children. When blacks could not drink out of the same water fountain as whites or sit in certain seats on public transportation. When it was legally okay to judge a person by the color of his skin.
Next, we'll go back a bit further to the early 1900s, when we couldn't POSSIBLY grant women the right to vote because, well, they were women! What did they know about politics? What did they know about the needs of this country's citizens? We go back to a time when no man would dream of hiring a woman to work in his company. Where women belonged at home, in the kitchen and with the children. When it was legally acceptable to deny women equal rights because they weren't seen as equal beings.
We'll step back once more to when our ancestors first came to this country -- in many cases specifically seeking religious freedom. Not religious freedom as is portrayed by these current laws, but freedom FROM oppression. They sought opportunity. They sought freedom to be accepted for who they were and how they wanted to live their lives. They sought not to be bound by the constraints of others' ideals, but to live under the assumption that all men were created equally.
Enough reflecting? I think so.
Now, let's head back into the present day. Does anything look different to you? It shouldn't. Instead, it should look much like it has in the past: with a set of laws and regulations meant to make a certain group of people feel inferior to others. It looks like everything our ancestors fled by coming to this country. Under the guise of "allowing religious freedom," here we are with yet a new set of rules that actually remove far more freedoms than they intend to allow.
Let's face it, America: you are like my toddler. You don't learn from your mistakes. You slip, fall, and bump your head from running in the house. You cry about it. And then 10 minutes later, you do the same damn thing all over again -- without any recollection of what happened 10 minutes prior. The only difference is that I hope my toddler grows up and, within a reasonable time frame, learns the consequences of her actions. You, on the other hand, haven't learned much in the last 200+ years. You're still defying the face of reason and tripping over your own two feet.
This isn't the beginning. These aren't the only set of laws created in the last few years that chip away at basic human rights. But as these laws become more open, more blatant, it's time that we take a stand to avoid heading further down the rabbit hole that is inequality. Let's stop moving backward to move forward. Let's stop hitting rewind. No one wants to replay the bad movie scenes. No one wants to relive the dreaded past. And, frankly, I don't think any of us want to watch you trip and fall a million times in a row, either (all while saying, "I told you so").
It's sad, I know. We shouldn't have to be parents with our government leaders. But if they are all going to run around and act like children, I guess I don't have much of a choice.