Corporate Activism and the Religious “Freedom” Movement: On the Use of Deplorable Equivalences

by Keith Taylor

North Carolina’s Republican Governor and Legislature have received enormous pushback in the form of corporate activism for their roughshod passage of the aptly-named “bathroom bill,” HB2. HB2 is a blatant attack on the civil liberties of the LBGT community with emphasis on trans-folks. HB2 plays up on one of the worst myths about LBGT folks, namely that they are sexual predators necessitating segregation from cisgender folks (never mind that LGBT folks are more likely to be victims -not perpetrators- of sexual assault).

What are defenders of HB2 saying? You might surprised that instead of defending the substance of the bill, they are instead going after the right-side-of-history corporations. An exemplary quote from commentary by the Republican Washington Times:

Whether it’s Apple opening stores in Saudi Arabia or American Airlines looking to dominate the Cuban travel market, many of the companies that have threatened to cut business ties to North Carolina over its bathroom bill are eager to do business in countries with regimes far more repressive of gays (and everyone else).

What are HB2 supporters telling us? Let us parse this out, shall we?

  1. The bill is acceptable. That means they support the discrimination of an entire class of their fellow American citizens. History will not look fondly upon this,
  2. The most egregious inference here is that “hey, we let other countries oppress folks! Why can’t we?!”

Ya, that’s right. Remember in high school social studies when your teacher would talk about American civic virtues and living up to higher standards? Remember all that claptrap about American “Exceptionalism” which is in part supposed to be about American equality, liberty, and democracy? Apparently the champions of American Exceptionalism -adults, elected to represent the fundamentals of American Constitutionalism- believe we should lower our standards because “…hey! They allow this in theocracies!”

I don’t know about you, but I like to promote my democracy and civil liberties, and encourage others everywhere to embrace liberty and equality for everyone. Myself, I care not to compete with Saudi Arabia human rights.

One would think the North Carolina Republicans -and their supporters in the media- were better than this. Apparently Saudi Arabian values trump American values.

At least they’re on record.