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we have stopped talking

I fear that we have stopped talking. What I mean is, no one is talking any longer. And as the immortal words lilted from the radios of old, ‘nobody’s right, if everybody’s is wrong’ — for what it’s worth.

Just a couple of hours ago I was flipping through shorts on YouTube, looking for things that might be Huge, if true or funny cat videos or maybe a grizz eating popcorn in bed, when I was slammed by a short claim that an Oregon Woman Denied Cancer Treatment For Criticizing LGBT Flag — that was the title. The message came across enthusiastically harsher.

With a voice brittle enough to cause me concerns about exploding teeth, the story was blurted out and then the short vid was over. Stunned I sat for a long moment. It didn’t make any sense, really. We don’t even do that with the national flag. The stars and stripes. Why would the rainbow be flirting with manslaughter? This being a volatile story, I first decided to confirm that someone other than a content producer on YouTube knew about this story.

That didn’t take long. Both Newsweek and the Oregon News had features on the event. The stories bounced out of the monitor strong enough to nearly trip on the one while almost breaking my ankle on the other. Eager. That’s what those stories were, eager to be out and prancing. 

From the Oregon news article: “Richmond employees have endured countless threats of harm, racial slurs, anti-LGBTQIA+ hate speech and more, with little to no recourse,” wrote Michael Stewart, president of the union Oregon AFSCME, in an email to the thousands of OHSU workers it represents. “As one person put it, ‘Richmond staff have been sharing that they’re worried something like this would happen for a long time now, and now their fears and suspicions have been confirmed.’”

From the Newsweek article: The LGBTQ+ community has become a culture war battleground in the United States with a record number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in state legislatures this year. Attacks against members of the LGBTQ+ community are also on the rise. There were over 350 cases of vandalism, assault and harassment against members of the LGBTQ+ community from June 2022 to April 2023, according to a report from the Anti-Defamation League and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).


But wait, there’s more. 

I also discovered that: South Carolina became the seventh state last month to pass laws that permit health care providers to decline to serve people if they feel doing so would violate their religious beliefs.

As a result, more than 1 in 8 LGBTQ people now live in states where doctors, nurses and other health care professionals can legally refuse to treat them, according to the Movement Advancement Project, an LGBTQ think tank. In addition to South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Ohio and Illinois have similar measures in effect.
…this from NBC news. 

But again, no one is talking. They are embattled. 

My first question was to wonder if the LGBTQ+ flag had been taken down? Why? Well, why is it up? It is a hospital. A culturally and historically safe, neutral ground which even curbs their enthusiasm with religious idols decorating the halls. In San Diego, I remember Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest, a Catholic owned and operated facility, use to have crosses on every patient room wall. They stopped that a long time ago. Their purpose, was to heal — like Christ and all that. First thing Jesus did was heal lepers. Just went out there touching lepers. At that time, doing that was a stoning offense, because of the risk you would bring to your neighbors. But he did it. Healing was more important than being offended. 

Does the flag heal? Does it belong in a neutral safe place where all come for relief? Is there any other flags hanging around?

Of course this doesn’t speak well for the eight states and their religions too. 

All of this over the possibility of being offended — when no one has that right. Not even old white men. You do not have the right to not be offended. Anywhere. Not even in your home — though you have more means to defend at home. And such a law could not be enforced, legally. Not with the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press and the freedom of religion on the books. You would have to give at least two of those up to protect from being offended. The Bill of Rights is a legal document which guarantees you will be offended. Daily. 

There are societies which have and protect that right. Modern ones, which are alive and functioning today. One is called ISIS. 

The state actions remind me of the Sharia Law flurry that occurred a few years ago. Suddenly there was fear and trepidation that the Muslim traditional religious laws, known as Sharia, were going to some how superseded the US Government laws:

Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Alabama have "banned sharia,"i.e., passed foreign law bans. In 2010 and 2011, more than two dozen states "considered measures to restrict judges from consulting Shariah, or foreign and religious laws more generally".

Which for me, caused much mirth and humor. Because in order for those laws to be legal, they had to be against all foreign laws and systems, not just the Sharia laws. Well, the Bible was not written in the United States, I don’t care how white they make Jesus. 

None of these actions concern me much. They are for the most part, inevitable. But we have stopped talking. Finding exception and insult is supersedes finding solutions and ways.

Something that does bug me, is the knavery of some of the messages. The story about the southern states and their new Religious Protection laws.  The way it is written, and it is written carefully, no one has actually been affected by the laws at all — and I personally doubt many will — since most doctors actually believe in the oath they took. But the stories are written to imply thousands are being tossed into the streets and dumped from wheelchairs and room windows. 

If we want to be treated with respect, we must first be respectable. Respect is not a right. Respect is a gift.



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