There is no greater threat to this nation than that of church-based hatred. We see it every day on the news, and in the streets, from large cities to rural backwoods, there's no escaping intolerance in the name of the Christian God.
SB180 is a new bill of evil that was just passed in the state of Kentucky, and may very soon become a law. In short, SB180 would allow business owners to refuse business to not just people of the LBGTQ community, which has seen no end to the senseless attacks against them, but to interracial couples and to those who are of mixed-race heritage as well.
But here's the stickler. Let's say you enter the local McDonald's, and are refused business either because of who you married, who you are dating, or just how you were born. Not only is that McDonald's allowed do kick you out without granting you access to a Happy Meal, but under the law, you would be banned from ever suing the establishment. You would not be allowed to obtain a lawyer to fight it, and phoning a police officer for help will grant you a night in jail for Religious Discrimination.
In short, the bill, which is sponsored by several churches and has been paid for by a highly Christian based GOP, would ask you to lie down, take it and like it. You would be raped of your rights, and expected to be grateful for it. Similar bills have been on the table in most of the southern states. In certain areas of Tennessee, it's still considered to be perfectly fine to deny service to interracial couples and the LBGTQ community, with no sign of slowing down.
Aside from this nonsense being a blatant slap in the face to basic, American rights, the constitution, which the Christian based GOP only favors when they want to buy unnecessary guns after every school shooting, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and to supporters of Love vs. the State of Virginia, the bill has set me off on a personal level.
I am mixed-race am in an interracial marriage. I am White, Black, Cherokee, Chippewa, Iroquois and up the line, Lebanese and Chinese. I also have Jewish blood. Since the majority of my DNA is White and Black, I am predominantly a Quadroon, the product of a Mulatto mother and a White father. My husband is White and Lakota, but most just pass him as White.
It's enough when you have had a lifetime of strangers ~ all adults ~ questioning you. I am frequently amused by the disgusted stares after I answer my favorite question "WHAT are you?" implying that because I'm not 100% White or Black, I must be an animal. Most people like to place everyone they meet inside of a cubby hole, a category that comes with an easy to type tag on a Facebook photo. But when you are Mixed, you don't have that luxury. Depending on your ability to pass for White, you are either forced into a cubby tag that only describes a fraction of your DNA, or you check the box that reads "other" and watch in frustration as potential employers shred your application, because they can't figure out how to address you without feeling safe behind a tag they can label you.
But it's more interesting being in an interracial marriage. You will always have friends and co-workers giving you a half-sad, very weak smile, while they ask "so… what's it like for you two to be… YOU KNOW… because you're not really… well… you're different from him…" it's like they can't just say "is it any different from marrying your OWN kind?" so they try to find a more politically correct term, and in doing so, offend you more, because now you're not even a human being in love, you're a science experiment.
"Well what if you have kids? Won't they be… CONFUSED?? It's for the best to only be with your own kind." Funny, I am Mixed race, and yet I've never once been confused about my identity. In fact, I embrace being this way. I'm not the one who is insecure.
And yes, the straight up attacks are more plentiful when you marry outside of your race.
My husband used to be a wrestling promoter. One of our ex-employees would pretend to be like a sister to me on Facebook, but to her friends and in interviews, I was referred to as a "Fro Fro Side Piece" in reference to my "bushy, nappy" hair. My husband's ex-girlfriend texted him "I hop u dye in a care crash u stupied niger luvr" message, after she realized we were an item. And on a daily basis, I've noticed that certain female co-workers will talk to us both when he's in the room, but as soon as he leaves, I return to being the Invisible Woman. The dismissed housewife that people can talk about behind her back… only … in front of her face… because even though eyes are locked on me and I'm within arm's reach, they don't see me as being "there" in the physical world. So maybe, just the day to day intolerance has me steamed at SB180, which with careful re-wording, might just grant people like these the Congressional Medal of Honor in intolerance, In God We Trust.
Or maybe another reason why SB180 is angering me, is because I realize that in 2016, I just picked up my grandfather's fight.
Growing up, my grandfather told me horror stories about living in the 1960's. Perhaps one of the worst ones took place shortly after the Civil Rights Act was signed into law.
He said that one day, he opened the shutters to his apartment to find a riot in the streets. Blacks and Whites were in a fisticuffs with police officers, as the local "Bible Thumpers" were outside, screaming that blending the races was against their God's plan. The fact that both sides had a week earlier been to the same churches with the same copies of the same Bible didn't even phase the rowdy crowd. And yes, children were caught in the crossfires.
Realizing that some of the people below knew he is Black, knew where he lived and knew he was at the time, married to my grandmother ~ an immigrant from Germany who grew up in the Jewish Garment district of Berlin and had narrowly escaped capture by the S.S. ~ and that they were raising their Mulatto daughter, he panicked. And in fear, he locked my mother inside a kitchen cabinet, and stuffed my grandmother cramped inside a taller cabinet, and told them both to stay quiet until the fights were over. But more disturbing than hearing my grandfather having to pull an Anne Frank on his own wife and child, was hearing that this was a common occurrence for them. That even years after they broke up, both of my grandparents had to endure racial violence, just because they had my mother. That in 1974, my grandfather had to wait for the State of Indiana to approve a mixed marriage when they blocked him from wedding his second wife, because she was White.
And at every turn, the riots, the fighting in the streets, all of it started with a Bible. And here we are, some fifty two years past the Civil Rights Act becoming a law, and we still have a Christian based government, trying to pass clear and obvious discrimination laws against interracial couples, based off of religious ideology, rather than from the standpoint of basic human rights. The phrase "Love Thy Neighbor" no longer means acceptance, as Jesus Christ might have preached, considering the Middle-Eastern Jew had a litany of friends, including alleged "whores" and leapers, but now the "Love Thy" hashtag means that you show your "love" for people, by stripping them of their human rights, ridiculing them in the streets and taking an eraser to any American privilege that might offer them the chance at a wholly normal life.
SB180 mimics another problem my grandfather had to face. Jim Crow laws, the very same that segregated everything from boxing arenas to bathrooms and public water fountains. SB180 not only would re-open segregation laws, but would grant you a pat on the back for the use thereof.
Let's be clear. SB180 like Jim Crow, is an act of terror. It's not here to "protect" your right to pray to a sky God, it's here to terrorize everyday Americans and divide The Great Melting Pot of our nation. And if this is where we are heading in society, then we are no better than the terrorists on 9/11, who committed their heinous acts in the name of a sky God, and expected a reward for it.
Koriander Bullard is an author, cartoonist and human rights advocate. Keep up with her on Facebook!