Remember planning your child’s birthday party when they were in grade school? My two kids and many of their friend’s parties happened at the bowling alley where everyone donned the oxford style blue and red leather shoes and frantically searched for the perfect size and weight (color!) bowling ball to complete their ensemble. And then there was picking teams…
This weekend it was the adults turn to do the same. And oh, what a night! Our good friend was turning 50-something and her husband enthusiastically threw her a bowling/pizza party! I was looking forward to this event all week as it had been years since I’d entered the dark recesses of a bowling alley, and I was ready.
I quickly laced my size 8.5 leather shoes and sprinted off in search of that oh, so special bowling ball that would roll me to a personal best. It was orange…I wanted green…green was too heavy and although it complimented my outfit I knew I had to forfeit it for the lighter, contrasting colored ball. I quickly got over my disappointment when I saw the other girls and boys gathering for teams. One of the husbands began typing in our names, randomly picking us out of the crowds in which we were huddled. Immediately we began yelling out who had to be on which team and please take so and so off because he is on two teams! And we couldn’t have all girl or all boy teams…Eventually we were four mixed teams, couples split up, the ‘pro’ bowlers sprinkled amongst us other fun-loving participants and all seemed content to have fallen where we did.
WE!HAD!FUN! We bowled for two hours and caught up on each other’s kids, jobs, parents and of course vowed to do this again for our friend’s next birthday celebration. We then headed back to the birthday girl’s house for pizza, beer and (absolutely no) presents! More time to catch up with the friends who were not on my team. One such conversation I had focused on the recent laws passed in North Carolina and Mississippi, USA, declaring that if, based on one’s religious beliefs regarding marriage and gender, that individual has the right to deny services to the ‘offending’ customer who might patronize their establishment. Stated another way, if one does not condone LGBT lifestyle, one can deny his or her services to the LGBT customer standing before him.
The three of us discussing this issue shared our disbelief and wonderment about how a law such as this could pass in 2016. We touched on the issue of faith and how all are entitled to hold closely our convictions. We also took our emotional selves out of the topic and addressed this as a legal piece giving an individual the right to his or her beliefs. Having said this, what I wonder is this:
1) Is it now ok to impose (i.e. force) one’s beliefs on another and 2) do we need a law stating it is ok to do so?
Our country began righting this sort of wrong in the 1960’s and here we go instating legislation allowing us to digress. I do hope some of you reading this will weigh in on the topic as it saddens me to think of the ensuing hurt, not to mention the violent situations that may arise from these recent legal transformations in North Carolina and Mississippi.
While it was a delicious treat to digress in the bowling alley where I released all my adult worries down the 60 feet of highly polished wood in lane #6, I refuse to digress in real life to a time where law says it is ok to mistreat someone just because they are not like me. I have friends who come in all flavors and I cannot fathom treating any one of them any differently than the next. Hopefully at next year’s celebration we will be talking about the repeal of this law and wonder how it ever came to breathe constitutional air in the first place.