Sunday, June 19, 2016

California's state religion

In a state ruled by a former Jesuit, perhaps we should not be shocked to find ourselves in the grip of an incipient state religion. Of course, this religion is not actually Christianity, or even anything close to the dogma of Catholicism, but something that increasingly resembles the former Soviet Union, or present-day Iran and Saudi Arabia, than the supposed world center of free, untrammeled expression.

Two pieces of legislation introduced in the Legislature last session, but not yet enacted, show the power of the new religion. One is Senate Bill 1146, which seeks to limit the historically broad exemptions the state and federal governments have provided religious schools to, well, be religious.

Under the rubric of official “tolerance,” the bill would only allow religiously focused schools to deviate from the secular orthodoxy required at nonreligious schools, including support for transgender bathrooms or limitations on expressions of faith by students and even Christian university presidents, in a much narrower range of educational activity than ever before. Many schools believe the bill would needlessly risk their mission and funding to “solve” gender and social equity problems on their campuses that currently don’t exist.

The second piece of legislation, thankfully temporarily tabled, Senate Bill 1161, the Orwellian-named “California Climate Science Truth and Accountability Act of 2016,” would have dramatically extended the period of time that state officials could prosecute anyone who dared challenge the climate orthodoxy, including statements made decades ago. It would have sought “redress for unfair competition practices committed by entities that have deceived, confused or misled the public on the risks of climate change or financially supported activities that have deceived, confused or misled the public on those risks.”

Although advocates tended to focus on the hated energy companies, the law could conceivably also extend to skeptics who may either reject the prevailing notions of man-made climate change, or might believe that policies concocted to “arrest” the phenomena may be themselves less than cost-effective or even not effective at all. So, fellow Californians, sign onto Gov. Torquemada’s program or face possible prosecution and the fires of hell.

Read the rest here.


lannes said...

Why should anyone outside of that silly State care what they do out there?
The rest of the America is foolish to take its cues from them.

123 said...

"Unfair competition practices" focuses Senate Bill 1161 on organizations and corporations with an economic incentive in seeking to act fraudulently by deceiving, confusing, or misleading the public on climate change - as opposed to individuals simply not 'believing' in climate change and saying so. "Financially supporting" such organizations is where an average Joe could be in trouble, but again that would be because they would have been giving financial assistance to an organization guilty of fraud.

In any normal situation, the science on this issue rises to the level of proof - making anyone claiming otherwise either ignorant (even with the best of intentions) or fraudulent. However, the whole issue is discussed in terms of whether one 'believes' in (anthropogenic) climate change or not; lack of trust here is directly related to the critique by Thomas E. Mann & Norman J. Ornstein of the modern Republican Party being "scornful of facts".

That raises the question as to why normal fraud legislation can't already do the trick, of course.

123 said...

Crying the sky is falling for the second raises questions for me on the legitimacy of the sky falling on the first, as well. Ever since the Civil Rights Movement, drawing the line on public accommodations is difficult for some. If Christians would have been more generous in allowing more obvious rights for citizens who do not share the majority's (?) Christian beliefs, perhaps there would be less of a push for all they can get - just like Christians have had and enforced for so long. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, quite apart from one's views on gay marriage, etc.