The argument behind Arizona's latest cutting to the front of the crazy line is that the proposed Gays Have Cooties, Are Icky And Aren't Welcome Here legislation will pass constitutional muster, because everyone gets a chance to think anyone else is icky and gross and must go. And that's actually its biggest danger to everyone in the room.
Making this about anti-gay discrimination actually hides most divisive, destructive effects of a bill that basically gives out universal discrimination rights, on any topic, against any segment of persons (or just someone you don't like that day), because freedom.
Let's work through a few contrasts. Some might seem laughable out of scope...except people talk about doing some of these very things - and loudly - from time to time.
You might just happen to think that a company firing all its registered Democrats is really cool... until the water to Republican-dominated neighborhoods is shut off.
You might think kicking gays out of restaurants is awesome until Catholics are no longer allowed in public schools in a given school system.
Maybe ERs no longer accepting indigent patients is full of win from where you are sitting...until a cop decides that interfering with a man's dominance over his wife and kids is against his understanding of the Epistles of Paul, at which point it's the morgue not the emergency room that's receiving visitors that night.
Now let's get to the really fun parts of this law: corporations are people too, with religious values, under this proposed legislation.
What happens when the corporation decides that paying taxes is sharia law and no darn way we're gettin' our Islam on? Or feels deeply bound by faith that honoring safety regulations while the wrong party controls the White House is a fast track to hellfire? Or that not paying people - or not whipping them if their production is low - is how God would want it done?
Yeah, this is a rather open-ended cluster, people. This is that instance where something somebody imagined was a good idea, because Gay People Have Cooties, is a ticket for social, economic and political chaos.
Seriously, all of the above NOT happening is placing a big bet that people in general aren't reactive, take abuse sitting down and never retaliate.
By the way, keep in mind we are talking about Americans here. We are not a passive, nonviolent society. We are proud, quick to befriend and just as quick to anger.
And just imagine what you will feel like the first time someone you happen to care about is turned away from a store, or out of their apartment, or from their job, because of someone else's religious freedom to think they were icky.
If it were only one state experimenting with this, it might be safe for the rest of the Republic to sit back and watch the cautionary tale play out.
But it's never a good idea for government to willfully step aside and let harm be done to their citizens. And that's exactly what this bill proposes to do: Make harming others cool, and then surrendering all responsibility to do a damn thing about it.
And that's not cool.
UPDATE: Never mind my rant. Go check out Americablog's Opus Magnus on this very thing.