Herd Mentality

The N.C. House overrides McCrory's veto on same-sex marriage


McKay Savage via Wikimedia Commons

A few hypotheticals:

A man takes a job as a city water treatment plant supervisor, neglecting to mention that he’s a fundamentalist Jainist who believes strongly and sincerely in the sanctity of all living things, including insects and microbes. He orders his staff not to treat the water.

A police officer, responding to a call, encounters a group of 10 people seated in a circle in a public park and hallucinating on psilocybin mushroom tea. The group’s leader explains, with some difficulty, that they’re engaged in a religious ritual and offers the officer some tea. The officer, a libertarian, leaves them alone.

A highway patrolman encounters a herd of cattle blocking a busy highway and holding up traffic. The patrolman is a devout Hindu. He instructs the horn-honking motorists not to disturb the herd and to wait until the cattle clear the road safely.

These all seem ridiculous because water treatment plant supervisors, police officers, and highway patrolmen serve the public interest. They swear oaths to uphold the law regardless of their personal convictions.

Surely, if any of these absurd examples played out in real life, you’d be outraged, wouldn’t you? You’d call for immediate firings and point out, rightly, that if these individuals’ convictions were that strong, they shouldn’t have taken public jobs in the first damn place?

Now, maybe, you understand why it’s such an abomination that, this morning, the North Carolina House of Representatives made it legal for magistrates to refuse to perform same-sex marriages if they believe their religion tells them they shouldn’t.

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Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

Charlotte had a Democratic mayor that got rebuffed by a Democratic majority council before the president appointed him to his cabinet; a former mayor in the Governor's Mansion after an oh-for-infinity streak; membership in a state that sees Charlotte as, well, another state; a neighboring state where public officials do very, very silly things (and sometimes go "hiking"); and a county commissioner who specializes in insulting constituents yet can't seem to get himself unelected. Sounds interesting to me, so I write about it and other matters public. Hashtag #nestpoke. You want to yell at me, email nestpoke@gmail.com.

About Greg Lacour

Greg Lacour spent nearly 10 years as a reporter for the Observer, where he covered Charlotte and Mecklenburg County government, including the infamous Nick Mackey for Sheriff farce of 2007-08, which made him simultaneously homesick for his hometown of New Orleans and hopeful that Charlotte might yet attain "world-class" status. He has written several features for this magazine and took part in the Hurricane Katrina coverage that won The Sun Herald of Biloxi/Gulfport, Miss., another former employer, a Pulitzer Prize. Lacour is single and lives in NoDa.

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