I live in Kansas, the land of state-sponsored ignorance.

In fine print: "...if you are narrow-minded and hateful."

In fine print: “…if you are narrow-minded and hateful.”

It’s been difficult for thinking, rational people to live in the state of Kansas for a very long time. Today I am more ashamed of my state government than I have ever been in the 40 years I’ve lived here. And we’re the state that led the pack in trying to remove the teaching of evolution in our schools in favor of creationism…so that’s saying something.

Today the Kansas legislature passed bill 2453. This bill allows any business in the state to refuse service to any LGBT person, provided the refusal is based on “sincere” religious grounds.

Let’s bypass for a moment the obvious unconstitutionality of this bill, shall we?

Instead, let’s imagine all the people I could refuse to serve, should I choose to start my own business. My pretend business does not have to serve

+people who disagree with infant baptism
+people who believe one must be baptized in order to receive communion
+people who believe it’s their job to “save” others
+people who are quite certain they think and speak for God
+people who think that God would ever create someone who God didn’t think was perfect exactly the way God made them

I sincerely believe in infant baptism, in communion for all, in the immensity and unfathomable-ness of God, in God’s absolute, crazy love for every single human being on this earth. But, in reality, I would never refuse to be in community with (or refuse to serve) people who do not agree with me. Because you know what else I believe? I believe that God loves people who I think are COMPLETE MORONS, and so it’s my job to care for them just as much as I care for people who agree with me.

The argument being used for the validity of bill 2453 is that it protects “religious freedom.” In other words, privately held religious opinions trump the constitution and the law of the nation. If we follow this line of thinking to its natural conclusion, what would we have? Businesses that serve “Muslims only.” “Jews only.” “Christians only.” “Christians that think exactly the way I do only.” Oh – this one might sound frighteningly familiar: “Whites only.” There was a time when certain white people used their religious beliefs to validate their discrimination against and persecution of black people. In the state of Kansas, that’s where we’re headed.

I am proud, though not surprised, that our son has already written to our congressman to protest this bill. He has posted on Facebook a link to the website that provides names and addresses of congress men and women from each district, urging his friends to speak out. Not for the first time, my kids are pointing me in the direction of the right thing to do.

I fully expect the next bill introduced in Kansas legislature to decree that women may no longer vote or own property. Which is pretty darned unfortunate, because if this bill isn’t halted in is tracks, this woman will soon be on the lookout for property in a nice, intelligent blue state.


11 thoughts on “I live in Kansas, the land of state-sponsored ignorance.

  1. You may not want to move to the deep south. There are people here who won’t allow anybody different than them into their house. This includes anybody of a different race, religion, or sexual orientation. Heaven forbid they eat with the same utensils their family eats off of.

    I write many letters to my state representatives, as well as the White House. I get a lot of emails to vote to save the wolves of Montana–or some other type of mission to save something–in states where I can’t vote.

    I usually received standard, “thank you for your comment” responses. I even received one from the White House. Yes, it was one of those too. Do we have to bring back sit-ins?


    • I’m sure living in the deep south is even worse. It’s so hard being a fish out of water…on election night 2012 we spent the evening watching the returns at the home of our son’s girlfriend’s family – a little group of liberals in a sea of right-wingers. My husband likened it to the early Christians meeting in secret to escape prosecution.


      • I have a friend who lives in Texas. She likes to refer to herself as a blue dot in a red state. I am pretty open minded, but I have met some of those extreme right-wingers that make me just want to shake my head. However, I’ve lived in an area with extreme leftists too. Not that I think they balance things out, but it makes us sensible people pay attention, and hopefully get out and out vote the extremes.


  2. You have such an amazing way to write your blog posts and get your point across. I have only lived in Kansas for a short time but I am shocked to hear that such a bill would even exist. Every person deserves to be treated equally and with respect.
    Good job sharing this story!


    • Thank you, April. It was a relief to find out that the Senate won’t pass the bill as written, but still disturbing that they think there’s any merit in the bill at all, and that a compromise re-write could save it. If I didn’t love my local community so much I would seriously consider leaving the Midwest.


  3. This worries me that things have started getting to this stage. I can only think this fear of others is linked to the economic turn down. Here the Swiss have just voted on immigration to keep funny foreigners out. Unfortunately this isolates them on so many levels as it breaks all EU agreements. At the end of the day we are all human beings and life is too short.


    • Yes, I heard a report about that Swill vote on our National Public Radio. So sad. I would like to believe that the blll passed in Kansas is due to the economic downturn, but I’m afraid our state has been overwhelmed by extremely backwards people for a very long time. Thank you for reading and commenting! -Amy


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