Explaining Arizona: An SB1062 tutorial on the Arizona psyche

 

photo credit: mediabistro.com

photo credit: mediabistro.com

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The SB1062 boondoggle is finally over. But all over the country people are still wondering, what’s wrong with Arizona? Are Arizonans really a bunch of angry redneck bigots without good excuse for obvious discrimination? As an Arizona native, married to a 4th generation Arizonan, who has lived in rural, suburban and urban Arizona, let me attempt to give my friends in other parts of the country some context…

Let me say at the outset: I did NOT support SB1062. But although I opposed the bill, I honestly do not believe it was birthed in hate and bigotry. I believe that because I know too many Arizonans across a broad spectrum of political and religious persuasions. I know very, very few Arizonans driven by hate. Then how, you ask, could our legislature come up with such a horrible thing?

Simple – SB1062 was the product of the Arizona psyche. The Arizona psyche is the reason Arizonans voted “no” on MLK day twenty years ago, and why we keep re-electing a crazy Sheriff.*  It also explains why our legislature dreamt up such a poorly thought through bit of legislation as SB1062.

As hard as it is to believe if you live outside of Arizona, the Arizona psyche is not hateful. O, like everywhere else, we have a few haters. But what drives Arizonans is not hate, it is an independent, oppositional, and reactionary personality. Arizonans are Westerners – fiercely independent. There are two qualities to the Arizona psyche. First, we dislike being told what to do…and we dislike anyone else being told what they must do, either. It’s a cowboy thing…which, come to think of it, explains our weird gun laws. Second, Arizonans abhor bullies. We nearly always rush to the aid an underdog. There is a good reason John Wayne had a ranch in Arizona: He fit in here.

Let me give an example of the Arizona psyche: Back in 1990 Arizona was one of the few states actually putting the MLK Day issue to a popular vote. At the time I lived in the town that reportedly voted against the MLK holiday with the highest margin in the state. I knew at least 50 people who were going to vote “yes” until the NFL said publicly that they would pull the Super Bowl if we voted against it. Those people, many of them Democrats, walked into the voting booth and punched “no.” For months afterward I heard ordinarily progressive Arizonans complain, “Who does the NFL they think they are? They can’t tell us what to do.” Arizonans dislike folks telling others what to do.

Second, Arizonans despise bullies.  I was once watched as a neighborhood changed sides and petitions multiple times in a dispute between neighbors over an out of code home remodel. Every time one of the parties got the 34 neighbors names on their petition they ran, not for reconciliation, but the courts. As their chosen mediator, I told them both several times, “Whoa, the neighbors aren’t saying they like you more than him, they just didn’t want you to get messed with. They are on your side because, in their mind, your neighbor is messing with you. If you try that, you become the bully. They will change sides. Fast.” They were transplants and didn’t understand why the neighbors wouldn’t stick with their “side.” Arizonans side with the perceived underdog.

SB1062 was a bad bill. It was so broadly constructed as to have virtually no boundaries. Corporations (Coca Cola or Apple for instance) would have become “individuals” under the law…and with the same Constitutional protections as an individual, with all the terrifying implications inherent in that. It was intended to stop the flower lady from being forced to participate in someone’s same-sex wedding. No. Arizona does not have same-sex marriage. But it will. And everyone knows it. Our legislators are merely doing their cowboy best to keep “outside forces” with social-change agendas from coming onto our range and pushing people around. 

And, yes, those who supported SB1062 did look dumb in interviews. Why wouldn’t they? Anderson Cooper and other media folk were asking questions our legislators never thought to try to answer…the reason they appeared confused when newscasters asked them, “Why do you want to discriminate against Gay people?” is that they were confused. They genuinely didn’t understand the question – they were supporting the flower lady against what appears to them to be a legal juggernaut that wants to push her around. When dealing with Arizonans, keep in mind that we are reactionaries, not haters.

Arizonans are big on independence. And this isn’t about Gay/Straight. Arizonans generally don’t need to agree with a neighbor to ride to their aid. But we do need to know that the neighbor isn’t going to try to take over all of the water holes. And I can tell you this, for a big swath of Arizonans the LGBT community doesn’t come across as what they are, a small and beleaguered neighbor who has always had a little spread over by the Mesa asking to be left alone. To many Arizonans the LGBT community comes across as the new rancher with a lot of money and Eastern friends with political connections riding roughshod into our little town and trying to take over…Yeah, like the sophisticated newcomer bad guys who show up in dozens of the Duke’s old movies.

Ironically, if supporters of same-sex marriage want to speed up the passing of same-sex marriage in Arizona they could use the Arizona psyche to their advantage. The LGBT community could say, “We have told you that our marriage in no way will affect yours. We mean that. We understand that you are nervous about the lawsuits in other states, but we meant what we said. We mean it so much that we will help write a better version of that bad bill if you feel you need it. All we are asking for is the right to live our lives as we see fit. We support your right to live yours as you see fit too. And, to be honest, who wants someone working their wedding that doesn’t want to be there?” That would take the fear out of the folks who feel the need to propose such knee-jerk legislation. Or the LGBT community could beg the Governor to reconsider and sign the bill. The fastest way for the LGBT community to get same-sex marriage in Arizona would be to pass SB1062 and watch Arizonans rush to change sides to defend the new underdog when the few haters acted on their newfound powers of discrimination.

So remember, if you find yourself dealing with an Arizonan and wondering how we will react just ask yourself, WWJWD? What Would John Wayne Do? Like John Wayne, you can assume we have good intent. You can assume we won’t take kindly to attempts to boss us around. You can expect we will ride to your defense if it appears that someone is doing the same to you. You can assume we will probably throw a right cross first and ask questions later. Yes, we tend to be high on loyalty and low on sophistication. But, in the end, we stand with folks right to live their lives as they see fit, whether we agree with them or not. And, yes, like John Wayne, many of us are packing heat.

john_wayne

Now I change gears to talk to my fellow Arizonan Christians. The saddest part of this whole thing to me was the response of most of the Christian community. I get your nervousness as a citizen, but surely Christ is a higher allegiance than culture? Regardless of whether or not you think that a same-sex relationship is sinful, surely you acknowledge the neither Jesus, nor any other New Testament writer gives Jesus’ followers any directions on the treatment of our LGBT friends and family members outside of loving them. Is that LGBT person a brother or sister in Christ? Then love them. Are they an unbeliever? Then love them. Are they a neighbor? Love them. An enemy? Same deal. So regardless of how we over-react as Arizonans, if you claim the name of Jesus Christ, kindness and care to all are Jesus’ call.

We can do better, friends.

*Among other things, Sheriff Joe keeps our prison industrial complex running by charging inmates for parole, returning them to prison for the inability to pay for their freedom after they have paid their debt to society. He also staged document checks on the steps of churches as parishioners exited.

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28 thoughts on “Explaining Arizona: An SB1062 tutorial on the Arizona psyche

  1. Matt, I always appreciate your blogs, but this one is full of it. What’s the difference between “reactionary” and “hater” from the perspective of the person being oppressed? None. What’s the difference between “don’t like being told what to do” and “ignorant of the larger issues and world views?” None. If Arizonans stick up for the little guy, how come they don’t stick up for the lgbt community, the smallest of groups being picked on the most? I don’t buy your case my friend. You are trying to provide a psychic frame or explanation for attitudes that are closed minded. I believe the Scriptural word would be “stiff necked” and that’s never a virtue. By the way, would this “Arizona psyche” apply to those who aren’t white? I doubt it.

    • Hi Paul. I think you didn’t read carefully to the end. I say very clearly why a small and beleaguered minority gets a knee jerk reaction from many Arizonans.

      Most Arizonans that I talk to, and I have a very broad group of friends don’t want to get in others business. The few haters prey on that and whip up support.

      • Sorry if I missed the point. Historically speaking the argument that “this is our culture/psyche” has been used to justify the refusal of women to vote, slavery, and now gay rights. I thought I heard you trying to “explain” why Arizonans are the way they are. I was thinking, “this explanation is irrelevant” because the end result is still oppression of LGBT’s. What you are calling the “Arizona psyche” I would call “arrested development” similar to that of a five year old who doesn’t like to be told what to do, or an adolescent who also doesn’t like to be told what to do. It’s not noble, cute, or admirable. Americans often like to talk of their “independence” yet what they really mean is “don’t take my point of privilege away from me”. I bet the Arizonan psyche isn’t averse to taking their Medicare and Medicaid payments, or their federal highway infrastructure funds and so much more. In other words, the “don’t tell me what to do because I’m independent” attitude is an illusion. We cannot avoid but being interdependent. It’s an organic, human community fact.

        One other thing. If your friends don’t want to get involved in other people’s business then their sin of omission for not challenging the hateful minority is as much a commission of sin. Yet, I must confess I have been silent on many things over the years, that I probably should have spoken up about. So, mea culpa as well.

        Well, that’s probably more than you wanted from me. Like I said, I heard you writing an apologia for something that should not be explained of or approved of. Especially from the Christian lens.

        • Thanks, Paul. I agree totally.Having lived in the south during the Civil Rights Movement, if we buy this, we would never have done away with slavery. This is just an excuse to let Arizona and other states excuse their ignorance.

  2. I am intrigued as I sit, watching the comments between Matt and Paul fly back and forth. (a little like a table tennis match!) Both are saying valid things. Yes, yes, yes, and yes. However, I do have my own two cents’ worth to pitch in.

    My dad, a man of scrupulous integrity and honor, always rooted for the underdog. (Hey, we live in Chicago–take a look at the long-term history of Chicago sports teams.) Seriously, he taught by example. I am still shocked by people who carelessly or flagrantly trample on others’ rights–whomever the ‘other’ may be. And yes, like Paul, I admit to being silent on many things over the years. (Mea culpa, too!)

    But at the same time, I–like Matt–can appreciate Jesus’ command (given in John 13, in the Upper Room Discourse, where He said some of the most important things of His life and ministry) to love one another as He has loved us. That wasn’t with ANY caveats, parentheses, or footnotes attached. Simply “love one another as I have loved you.” I think that means don’t exclude anyone, don’t be unkind to anyone, don’t screw anyone over–for any reason. Even if I think I have a justifiable or righteous reason. Go back to Jesus’ big command: “love one another as I have loved you.” Period.

    And this is not only in the gay/straight area, but the area of race (ANY racial difference), the area of ethnic background (again, ANY ethnicity, or multi-ethnicity), or rich/poor, upper/middle/working/lower class, or ANY other ‘other’ we might think of. I know SO well that I fall down on the job of loving, often. But I pick myself up, and go back to Jesus’ big command: “love one another as I have loved you.” Period.

    • Hi Liza, great comments. In our tit for tats, know that Paul and I are friends, and have a great deal of respect for one another. Any shots I take from Paul Hill are the faithful wounds of a friend.

      • Hey all you guys, Amen to all of the above. First of all, for those who don’t know, I’m always bragging Matt up and his blog. So, this conversation is not a table tennis match, it’s better understood as two friends drinking beers and having some fun dialogue. I feel very safe pushing on Matt because he knows I think he’s an amazing Christian voice worth hearing.

        Secondly, until tomorrow Matt is technically my boss. He’s on the board of Vibrant Faith Ministries, and tomorrow I step down as executive director. So Matt, fire me if you have to. :)

        Third, I am an ELCA pastor, so I’ve been down the road of the question of sexuality through our denomination. To my own shame, I did not get into the “fight”. In fact, I came late to looking more openly at the issue. I regret that and am not proud of it. And frankly, I’m flat out embarrassed by the Christian voices of bigotry heard often in this country around this issue. Bigotry is bad enough, bigotry in the name of Jesus is even worse.

        So Matt, keep throwing stuff out there! And blessings my friend.

  3. I think, like so many others you completely missed the point of this legislation. It is not anti-gay or anti anything but simply an attempt to protect their freedom and rights not to have an obviously sinful abomination forced on them against their religious beliefs. Could it have written better? probably. But was there any help to do that from the other side? There was not. All they had to offer was a full frontal attack of lies and deceit. And by your view point you are condoning it. If you don’t believe this to be a sinful abomination then you must be reading a different bible than I do. As far as Jesus not dealing with homosexuality, please show me an instance where Jesus gave a wink and a nod to sin just to avoid offending someone. Now I’m sure I’ll be labeled as a “hater” for my views, that’s your choice, I hate no one. In fact my heart cries for those who are so lost in sin that they don’t even realize that they are and I pray for them. Jesus is a “hater”, He hates sin because of what it does to us.. But you know, none of this really matters much in the whole scheme of things. Homosexuality is a major player in this epidemic called sin which WILL eventually consume this world. How can any one claim to be a Christian an not be troubled by such willing sinfulness that condemns a soul to hell. Obviously our points of view are very far apart and I consider your views on this subject as heresy and I have no intention of partnering with such. So please take me off your mailing list. Lord Jesus please take the blinders off our eyes and let us see the truth. Amen.

    • Good morning, Ray.

      Thank you for expressing your views.

      Much like my progressive friend and colleague, Paul, who led off the comments on this post, you have surmised that I am not a mouthpiece for your views. He was bugged from the Left and you from the Right. Paul is a man who loves God deeply but disagrees with me from the other end of the spectrum (It might be a good exercise of you to read his comments, not to disagree with him, but to see how unacceptably conservative he found my article.) With all of the shrill dialogue out there one my purposes is to stand in the middle and help people from the “camps” engage with one another. Anathematizing each other is not helpful and, I might add, is a game that conservatives are losing quite badly. Knowing lots of people from both sides (and, yes, I realize how unhelpful the polarities are), I believe that when we engage in relationship with one another we can acknowledge one another as God’s creation, find where we agree, and then disagree fundamentally but respectfully.

      By the way, Ray, I think you are wrong about me missing the point, brother. Did you actually read the post? It is about neither condoning nor promoting same-sex relationships. The post is describing Arizonans to the rest of the country, so that they would have an understanding as to how our legislation could pass such a bill, in a state where we have NO Human Rights legislation that forces people to violate conscience. So, in regards to the now dead bill…
      #1 it was unnecessary, no one is forced to violate their religious convictions on homosexual relationships in Arizona. You may refuse service to whomever you choose.
      #2 That bill turned corporations into “persons” under the law…do you really want your employer deciding that they have “a conviction” that you should have a 60 hr work week?
      #3 That bill gave cover to anyone playing the religion card any time they wanted to…for any issue. Here is the text:

      “”Exercise of religion” means the PRACTICE OR OBSERVANCE OF 9 RELIGION, INCLUDING THE ability to act or refusal to act in a manner
      10 substantially motivated by a religious belief, whether or not the exercise is 11 compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.”

      That bill was beyond poorly written. It was dangerous…and unconstitutional.

      But again, the actual bill was not the point of my article, I was explaining to the world why, despite appearances, Arizonans really aren’t hateful yahoos. Ray, you and I live in a world where traditionalists who follow the historical-grammatical reading of the Scriptures and homosexuals (many of whom also claim Christian faith) not only exist, but have to co-exist. We can act like the stereotypical grimacing and potentially dangerous, Bible-wielding extremists. We can keep whining for an America that is gone, or we can realize we lived through the end of America as a Christian nation and go back to what the church was really great at: Being a beleaguered minority that conquered the world through love, service to others, integrity of life and, when necessary, martyrdom. Was not love and lives attractive in their holiness and service to others how 12 scared dudes conquered a far greater empire than America in three centuries? It is no longer a question as to whether or not America will be a “Christian nation,” but a question of how Christian should live in a non-Christian one.

      You can stop receiving emails from me, but you have to opt yourself out, unless you know more about how WordPress works than I do. As far as I can tell I do not have control of that list, subscribers do.

      I understand that you, like many, do not like my position in the center and in dialogue with both groups. I know that going in. As the old saying goes, “Bridges get walked on.” Since I can tell you that I get just as much heat from those on the Left as those on the Right, I would suggest that staying attached to this blog might actually be a good idea, as contrary to your beliefs, I am as just as problematically sold out to the other side to my liberal friends. I think that actually makes me a potential point of understanding for you with the group that is now clearly in control.

      Ray, traditionalists can either be in dialogue with progressives and work with them where we can, making deeply held disagreements known and asking for room for conscience and “free exercise” rights, or we can continue to look like Jihadists with Bibles and cause them to continue to knee-jerk against us with “Human Rights” legislations. Either way, since you obviously claim Christ as Lord, I must ask, Is the way forward with the Gospel for you really legislatures and courts rather than with the proclamation of the Savior in the highways and byways? (Rom 10:9-14, Acts 4:12)

      Ray let me, in gentleness and love, remind you that you are a citizen of another, higher country (Phil 3:20). America is not our home. People who call Jesus Lord have a longing “for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (Heb. 11:16)

  4. The question in my mind is whether the government should be able to force a person/business to do something that they find wrong because of religion.

    I don’t have to agree with the baker who doesn’t want to make a same-sex wedding cake. The point is that he, already on the federal level, has a constitutionally protected religious reason to deny service. The Arizona law was just trying to make sure that the same protection was available at the State level.

    Christians can draw lines in different places regarding the denial of service. If I were a baker, I might go ahead and serve the couple and take the opportunity for interaction. However, it’s entirely reasonable for another person to feel REALLY uncomfortable making that cake…to the point of which it would be wrong for them to make the cake (don’t violate your conscience…1st or 2nd Corinthians).

    Regardless, the government should not be coercing an individual or business into violating their religious beliefs – whatever they might be. And yes, Matt, that allows individuals to play the “religion” card – so what? That’s missing a larger point about individual freedom. Last time I checked a phone book, (they still have those right?) there’s was no shortage of bakers, photographers, and other retailers.

    • Hi Jim,
      That is not only a fair question, but, I think, a really good one lost in all of the rhetoric. Someone remarked above that businesses in the Bay Area regularly have signs in their windows that say, “We reserve the right to refuse service.” The SF Bay is anything but the home of a “vast right wing conspiracy.” Somehow those folks avoid lawsuits such as reported in Washington and New Mexico. I do not know the details on those lawsuits, however, I cannot conceive of a world in which someone would want to coerce the involvement of someone in their wedding who objected to it, regardless of the genders involved. That whole thing seems to have an insanity of its own…not to mention that it makes one wonder about the future of a relationship in which the parties taking vows want politics to upstage their big day. I know a great number of L/G couples, and I cannot imagine any of them wanting to take part in that.

    • So slavery was OK, then, because some people defended it on the basis of their “religious beliefs”? Polygamy is OK, because it’s a “a constitutionally protected religious” right?

      Is it OK to “deny service” to interracial couples? Many people believed the Bible taught that the races were to remain separate. (And if this is NOT OK: why the double-standard?)

      And if “conscience” is the basis for doing or not doing something, then I shouldn’t be paying taxes that are used in any number of ways.

      And I have to wonder why anybody thinks “conscience” is involved at all, when it comes to cake. It’s a party food, after all; how does anybody justify not serving certain people with sugar?

      • Hi Barbara. You’ve made a strawman argument. Nobody is arguing that slavery is right b/c of someone’s religious beliefs. The bible does not condone slavery. However, the bible does explicitly prohibit homosexuality and therefore a Christian may, rightly or wrongly, decide that , as a matter of conscience, it’s wrong for them to participate in a wedding by making the brides or grooms a cake. These two issues are not the same.

        On the matter of conscience. As Paul explains in 1 Cornthians 8, two Christians can have different opinions on the same topic – eating meat that was sacrificed to idols. Paul says that for one, it is right to eat – b/c their conscience has been trained properly. For another it is wrong to eat, b/c their conscience is weak. However, the principle is that we ought not to violate our conscience.

        And now, this is where our friend Matt comes in. It’s his job, as the church, to properly train people’s consciences. The church needs to think critically about these issues, as they are clearly not going away, and give its people a good framework to deal with them – Biblically. Not out of fear or knee-jerk reaction-ism.

        And yes, I agree with you, just because my conscience says it doesn’t make it right. What makes it right is when my conscience lines up with God’s word.

        We should all eat more cake.

        • Jim brings up an important element in biblical interpretation: the difference between prescription and description. Because something is DEscribed in the Bible does not indicate its being PREscribed. If I tell you what bad behavior my next door neighbor exhibited last week (description), that is different from a text in which I teach MY children how they should behave (prescription), perhaps, even while watching my neighbor behave badly. :-) The Bible never prescribes slavery. It does describe it, and prescribes limitations on slavery, with both the Old and New Testaments being considerably more humane than the surrounding cultures.

          The Bible does, in seven places, condemn sexual contact between two men and one time between two women. That IS a difference, and one that is overlooked by many Episcopalians as textual knowledge and hermeneutics are not the strong suit of most of our seminaries. On the other hand, if you want to learn church history and liturgics, our seminaries are unrivaled.

  5. The real base of the problem is that a few people use scripture to justify their position and ignore the rest of God’s word. Arizona has become a state that does not enforce the laws, ( consider illegal immigration , Sheriff Joe has been maligned, made subject to law suits because he enforced the law. Speeding, 70% of those caught speeding on camera did not pay their fines. No one suggested that the cars be impounded until the fines were paid). Jesus came to save those who believe and many forget the depth of the grace we receive in Jesus.
    We argue over little things and take our eyes off of Jesus and His continuing love and grace that is freely given.
    My apologies for adding the political part, but it does indicate where this nation is going.

    • Hi Harold,

      Thanks for commenting. You have gone three different directions pretty quickly. I’ll add my dialogue to yours…

      On the issue of the Scriptures we have a very uneven hermeneutic at play on both sides. On one hand we have progressives saying, “Love God and love your neighbor, nothing else matters.” This feels like a very hollow sort of a faith – One in which anything I can possibly package as “love” is fair game. Which ironically stops being fair game as soon as someone’s version of “loving acts” involves disagreeing with them. Then we want those people coerced in the name of freedom. On the conservative side we have people using seven passages as some sort of unpardonable sin. We need a more faithful way to read the Scriptures than either ignoring it or elevating bits.

      Sheriff Joe is a different story for me. I have watched as inmates were arbitrarily denied visits at Christmas just to provoke prisoners. I have spent 3 hours standing in a line of one for a 30 minute visit to an incarcerated person…incarcerated on extremely slim rationale. I have watched people baited by officers in order to justify aggression. I have friends who were carded on the way out of church to see if they are “legal”…not enforcing laws but seeking people to deport. I saw two brand new Christians, teenage boys who did not ask to be brought to the US, deported for stopping a gang rape at a high school party. So, for me, Sheriff Joe doesn’t represent “enforcement” as much as “abuse of privilege.” We have many fine law enforcement officers in our state who would enforce laws without abusing his privileges and spending his time trying to stay on TV.

      As for your conclusion, “Jesus came to save those who believe” and “many forget the depth of the grace we receive in Jesus.” I could not agree more. I give you a hearty, “Amen and Amen.”

  6. My question is, ” Who other than Sheriff Joe has enforced the laws on immigration ?” Amnesty in 86 was given to about 600,000. Between 85 and 95 , 11 million to 15 million illegals entered the United States. Our problem started when lawless went unchecked and there is no easy answer to correct the problem. My second question is ” what laws do we not enforce next? “.
    This really has a lot to do with the Christian response to ” Obey the governing authorities ,etc .
    Grace received requires a response of adoration and gratitude to our God and Savior Jesus Christ.
    We need an attitude of gratitude to receive more and more grace from Jesus.
    My life was filled with almost daily abundant grace where the Lord spoke to me ,gave me formulas and procedures in my every day work along with along with answers to problems far above my abilities. So, I say Grace be unto you and Peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ and a prayer for all to see what God sees in His son.

    Harold

    • Hi Harold.
      Grace and peace to you as well.

      The problem for me with Sheriff Arpaio is not that he wants to enforce the law, but that he has every appearance of doing it selectively as a grandstanding racist.

      There is a huge difference between an ID check at a routine stop and hunting people down – closing off neighborhoods and job sites and lining people up to card people who look “illegal.”

      I previously shared stories of churches being targeted and students deported for stopping a heinous crime (against a drunk White girl at a teenage party). Sheriff’s officers stopped a van full of Holbrook kids (who were Native American, btw) on a church retreat. Because they could not produce ID (What high school kid without a driver’s license can?) They wanted to hold them over night. One of the kids said, “Hey, you look pretty White to me. My people were here centuries before you. I want to see YOUR id.”

      Then there is the intentional frustration of prisoners and the charging of parolees to keep prisons full. And the squandering of taxpayer money in tanks and political vendettas against his opponents…that is a pretty long list for a guy like me, who barely pays attention to politics, who votes pretty moderately and who, when he studies for an election, is concerned with school boards and town council people-the folks who directly impact my life.

      So this isn’t about enforcement. Every country has to have enforceable borders, and every law enforcement officer has to enforce laws. My issues with Sheriff Joe are about behaving very badly with one’s badge.

      When more people recognize your Sheriff than any other elected official in your state, it is a good indication that he isn’t enforcing the law as much as building brand “Joe”.

      Thanks again for commenting so faithfully. On Joe, we disagree. As someone who ministers in a neighborhood in which people have to deal with him, I have a much different view of our Sheriff.

      • No one can win an argument, so I will not try because I hate arguing. Reread my reply. I think you read it too fast.
        Thanks for your opinion.
        Harold Cool

        • Hi Harold, I am not trying to argue, simply telling you my issues with our Sheriff. I will re-read your post. I really am grateful that you are willing to interact. :-)

  7. While I don’t think everyone who supported SB 1062 desired to be hateful or bigoted, it is certainly true that many of those who sponsored or lobbied for the bill have a history of opposing any kind of legal recogntion of the LGBT community. CAP, for example, opposes even basic employment protections or benefits, and the bill would most definitely have allowed businesses to discriminate against mainline denominations that allow same-sex unions such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Episcopal, Presbyterian USA, and Unitarian churches. However, thank you for trying to help AZ save face, and thank you for opposing the bill!

  8. Matt,

    While I think your piece elucidates some truth, I take issue with the perspective that it is taken from regarding both SB1062 and the historical issues regarding Arizona’s ratification of MLK Day. What sits at the heart of both issues is the most privileged i.e. white heteronormative masculinity making decisions on or about issues pertaining to those minority voices who sit at the fringes of society. Whether it’s the passive aggression of a bill that is “not discriminatory towards members of the LGBT community” or it’s the recognition of a holiday that centres on a person of color it’s a continual dictating of what is considered valid or invalid by white heteronormative power whose opinion is hypocritically the standard bearer of what is normalised and accepted within western society and culture. Everyone else is left to fight for their voice and place at the table.

    I find your assertion that the creation of this bill and the initial denial in regard to the ratification of the MLK Day holiday as simplistic and it flies in the face of the complex issues regarding race and sexuality not just in America but in Arizona historically and contemporarily. Your argument simply chooses to ignore history. I also find deep irony in the fact that a state that you say “hates bullies or being told what to do” has continually and overwhelming voted for and elected a bully in the form of Joe Arapaio who has acted with impunity, committing all types of offences and abuses against the most vulnerable members of the community- voted in by a white majority and supported, indeed, lauded by that majority and the white power structure.

    I find your argument that the LGBT community should appeal to hetero-normative white masculinity to ease their (irrational) fears about the advances in equality for the LGBT citizens to be representative of the significant power imbalances that reside in American governance as well as an example of the continual hypocrisy and prejudice that lies within the country’s implentation of its founding documents that have since their inception secured rights that have been considered inalienable for white hetero-normative masculinity while leaving everyone else to “show thy self approved”, having to appeal to it in order to validate/earn their place and rights within the framework of society.

    For what reason should the LGBT community have to ease the “fears” of white masculine hetero-normativity? How is it that the safest and most secure group in America has more to fear than those who represent members of one of the most vulnerable groups in society and most preyed upon, the bill itself only serving as a example of that predation. Oh the irony.

    Furthermore, I find your logic that “ ‘the fastest way for the LGBT community to get same-sex marriage in Arizona would be to pass SB1062 and watch Arizonans rush to change sides to defend the new underdog when the few haters acted on their newfound powers of discrimination” to be completely illogical from the perspective of an oppressed person, in this regard LGBT persons. Using your logic,they are supposed to simply trust in the good will of the people of Arizona to defend the underdog after agreeing on a bill that goes against their best interests? Already having used the continued election of Joe Arapaio as an example, I ask what other evidence do LGBT people have that would allow them to enter into such an illogical pact? The state’s continued fight for the underdog as represented by other marginalised groups? Hardly. To enter into such a pact is the equivalent of fool’s gold or as the saying goes, “I have some prime beach front property in Arizona to sell you”.

    Any fears that may exist on the part of Arizonans in regard to the LGFBT community isn’t representative of something that the LGBT has to do but the lack of intersectionality that hetero-normative Arizonans fail to do. If the majority of Arizonans believe as your stated “To many Arizonans the LGBT community comes across as the new rancher with a lot of money and Eastern friends with political connections riding roughshod into our little town and trying to take over” that is indicative of their lack of engagement, their failure to understand the issues at hand, and their privilege in that they don’t feel they NEED to understand because if they did they would go and seek understanding instead of making them up as represented by your aforementioned statement that I just quoted. Those who want to understand seek understanding. They don’t go out and create “passive aggressive” bills under the false premises and irrationality of fear and “freedom of religion”. The questions that should be asked should be “who is suffering or marginalised”, who benefits from their suffering, who enables it and who accepts it? And then you go from there. I hardly think those questions where asked because if they were that bill would never have been proposed in the first place.

    Lastly, an explanation of the bill from someone who is least affected by the bill is not relevant to the conversation because it matters little in regard to how they perceive it because they are the least affected by it. The only thoughts that matter concerning the bill are from those people who are most affected by it. Anything else is a means of explaining away and rationalising a bill that is clearly discriminatory in nature to members of the LGBT and should be to any other members of marginalised groups with their eyes open. Any other voices that attempt to explain what the bill was for and how it would impact those who would be most affected by it , no matter how well intentioned, represents the continued marginalisation of those voices that sit at the fringes of society by those who sit at the center of it. Furthermore, it is paternalism by proxy that states that somehow those at the center know more about life on the fringes than those on the fringes do because in America , white hetero normative masculinity is by far the most secure position in American society yet positions itself to speak for and have the answer for everyone else’s experiences. That is to say, they arrogantly know the reality of those who are “othered” better than the “othered” know it for themselves and like that bill it represent the inherent prejudice in its variety of forms: sexism, racism, homophobia, that exists at the heart of American society and in this regard Arizonan society.

    In essence, love you friend, but I disagree in your explanation of Arizona and Arizonan reasons for this bill.

  9. The LGBT COMMUNITY can have almost all of the rights as any other Arizonan with a simple Revocable Trust, which can be written by any person for about $ 30.00. Buy the book which includes all of the forms and helps to write it, I wrote my brother’s trust and it sailed through with no problems.
    With a trust one can leave an estate to anyone in the trust, have power of attorney including medical POA, right to visit that person in any medical facility. They will need, as all Arizonans do a mental health POA in the trust. What they cannot do is have espousal rights in IRS matters and in State IRS matters.
    I may have left out something that can be covered. I am not trying to write a trust, only to point out what everyone should have.
    So, what is all the concern about, just taxes?

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