Cold shoulder

Talking Politics
By AL DIAMON  |  August 1, 2012

Dazbog is a wedding photographer. He'd live in Portland if he existed, which he doesn't because he's a fictional character being used to make a political point. To that end, I'll give Dazbog a comfortable home, a loving wife, and two teenage kids (who huff glue while he's off shooting weddings on weekends).

Dazbog is also deeply religious. But his is not your ordinary, everyday religion with prohibitions against stuff like eating bacon or drawing pictures of its prophet or going to Sunday baseball games or drinking beer.

What Dazbog's religion teaches is that people who live in very cold places like Antarctica are morally deficient. Reprehensible. Disgusting affronts to the almighty.

Why? Well, for much the same reason that other spiritual traditions believe women can't be priests or it's sinful to drink beverages containing caffeine or cows should be able to wander wherever they like without human interference. It's because Dazbog's god says so. It's not subject to negotiation.

Fortunately for Dazbog, his great grandparents moved to the United States many decades ago to avoid persecution. He enjoys a constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion. As a consequence, his life is swell.

Or it was until one July morning, when a couple walked into Dazbog's shop and announced they were looking for someone to take photos at their wedding. Dazbog could tell immediately that something about them wasn't right. For one thing, even though it was 80 degrees outside, they were wearing heavy-duty winter parkas, thick gloves, and insulated boots.

"You ... you are from Antarctica!" Dazbog cried out in horror. "You've come here to try to force me under Maine's same-climate marriage law to take part in your godless ritual defiling the traditional nuptials of two people from temperate climates in defiance of holy scripture!

"Get out of my store, you ... you ... Ants!"

(For the record, "Ants" is an actual ethnic slur against people from Antarctica. As far as I can tell, it's the only one.)

The two people were naturally taken aback by Dazbog's outburst.

"You've got us all wrong," said the woman. "We're not Ants. We're Oxycodone addicts, and we're here to rob you so we can buy drugs."

Upon hearing this, Dazbog was greatly relieved that he wouldn't be forced to choose between his irrational beliefs and the possibility he'd be sued for discrimination. He cheerfully handed over the contents of his cash box and submitted without fuss to being tied up in his back room. Dazbog didn't even care when the two junkies stole all his camera equipment, because neither riches nor possessions was more important than preserving the purity of his immortal soul from the sin of associating with Ants.

While this little fable has a happy ending, the folks at Protect Marriage Maine (warning: Some words may appear to be out of order) are insisting that won't be the case if voters approve the same-sex marriage question on the November ballot. They sent me an email that claimed that if this proposal wins, "Citizens, small businesses and religious organizations would not be allowed to let their beliefs and traditions determine their decisions, and they would find themselves in legal trouble if they do not comply with the new law's heavy-handed mandates."

Scary. And false.

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  Topics: Talking Politics , United States, Politics, Antarctica
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