Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Godly Rule

Boosterism is taking a back seat to Puritanism as politicos in many states pass laws denying civil rights to women and LGBTQ citizens.

Legislators are passing anti-woman and anti-LGBTQ laws by the bucketful in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The laws may seem godly, but those that permit overt discrimination are particularly scary to business executives, as customer-facing brands increasingly embrace corporate social responsibility.

George W. Bush's former media advisor, Mark McKinnon, has called his state's anti-LGBTQ "bathroom bill," for example, "divisive, discriminatory, and unacceptable to Texas businesses."

Lawmakers who pass such bills are beholden to backers whose religiosity outweighs their business sense.

"During my 40 years in Texas, if you were a Republican, you were most certainly a pro-business politician," McKinnon says.

"But today, many in the state's GOP leadership are moving away from, even ignoring, the business community. That is surely not their intention, but it surely will be the result."

History shows "godly rule" usually has unintended consequences.

In 17th century England, following its victory in the Civil War, a Puritan elite tried to impose godly ideals on the rest of the country.

The Puritans restricted alcohol and coffee consumption, dancing, and the wearing of colored clothing and makeup. They outlawed travel on Sundays, closed down fairs and festivals, and shuttered all theaters. They criminalized cursing, and banned gambling, soccer, horse races, wresting matches, and erotic art. They made prostitution punishable by flogging and deportation, and adultery punishable by death (but only for women). They removed Easter from the calendars. They even abolished Christmas.
But fun-loving aristocrats and commoners wouldn't have it. Parliament restored the monarchy after a decade of godly rule and scrapped the Puritans' laws.

To close the loop, the king commanded that the body of the Puritans' leader, Oliver Cromwell, be removed from its crypt in Westminster Abbey and put on trial for treason and regicide.

Cromwell's body was found guilty and hanged from the gallows. His head was cut off and put on display, and his body thrown into a trash heap to rot.

Pushback is inevitable.
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