N.B.A. Punishes N.C. Bigots and Moves All-Star Game

*The following is an opinion column by R Muse *

There are always consequences when masses of decent people suffer from the actions of a government entity, and they are not always physical in nature. North Carolina Republicans likely never believed that passing a decidedly religious law that legalizes discrimination against over half the population would result in any untoward consequences, because American neo-Christians have a serious entitlement disorder leading them to believe the U.S. Constitution doesn’t apply to them or is subservient to their religious rule book’s Old Testament.

After intimations that they would take corrective action to protect their fans and players from blatant discrimination, the National Basketball Association (N.B.A.) announced yesterday that next season’s All-Star Game would not be held in Charlotte, or any city in North Carolina. It is, as the New York Times said one of the most “prominent consequences from state legislation that eliminated specific anti-discrimination protections for lesbians, gays and bisexuals,” among numerous other unconstitutional equal rights violations.

However, although it is the most well-known aspect of the theocratic legislation, the HB2 mandate that transgender people use toilets Republicans say are permissible according to North Carolina’s evangelical legislature and governor is the least impactful part of the religious law.

Despite a monumental and immediate backlash from decent Americans, high-profile entertainers and corporations, North Carolina held firm and likely doubted the speculation that the N.B.A. would follow through on its threats to move the game. The league incentivized the theocrats to repeal the seriously discriminatory racist and religious law saying it “hoped to hold the 2019 All-Star Game in Charlotte,” but only after changes to the discriminatory and bigoted legislation were made.

No-one in theocratic North Carolina can dare accuse the N.B.A. or corporations or entertainers of being high-minded enough to think they can impact what kind of bigoted laws Republicans pass, but as Republicans they should certainly comprehend the power of capitalism and money. Part of the official statement read:

While we recognize that the N.B.A. cannot choose the law in every city, state and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created [by the current law].”

The announcement, although not a surprise, drove lying theocrat Governor Pat McCrory (R) into an apoplectic fit.  Instead of even considering that maybe the evangelical bigots, racists, and anti-women Republicans had overreached in their religious tyranny crusade,  McCrory did what theocrats and Republicans are wont to do when their actions result in adverse consequences; he went on the attack and feigned persecution.

McCrory lashed out at the “elites” in the N.B.A. and went the typical evangelical persecution route claiming the professional sports league’s actions were one larger-than-life personal affront to the good religious and right honorable citizens of North Carolina by misrepresenting what is clearly a bigoted theocratic law.

After assailing the “the sports and entertainment elite” who McCrory claimed “misrepresented our laws and maligned the people of North Carolina,” he said major corporations, businesses, entertainers and now the National Basketball Association were punishing North Carolinians “simply because most people believe boys and girls should be able to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the opposite sex present.”

Now, as this column noted a couple of weeks ago, the entire transgender part of the North Carolina license to discriminate law (HB2) is but one tiny aspect of a much larger and much more expansive legalized discrimination law that affects nearly every North Carolinian that is not a white Christian male. Remember, the “toilet’ law also allows workplace and consumer discrimination based on being a woman, being a single mother, being a person of color, being non-Christian, cohabiting while unwed, and not being in a heterosexual relationship.

And just for some extra nastiness the Republicans inserted a section forbidding any locality from passing future anti-discrimination protections and expressly overturns and eliminates “all existing local authority to observe minimum wage standards for workers, eliminates any future, and all existing, local ordinances enacting family leave policies, child welfare protections, limits on consecutive hours an employ can be forced to work without any kind of break.”

The travesty for the people of North Carolina, besides having to live in a severe theocracy, is that the economic consequences of voting for religious extremists has already affected jobs, revenue, and whatever reputation this author’s birth state once may have held. Within a month of the law’s signing and enactment, various media reports revealed the state has lost, conservatively, close to a billion dollars and 5,000 jobs to other non-bigoted states. Also, the state’s disaster relief fund lost $500,000 to the religious Republicans’ legal defense fund to fight to preserve the patently unconstitutional religious law in the courts.

If any American believes losing what will end up being billions of dollars, thousands of jobs, and revenue from corporations fleeing the theocratic state and high-profile entertainers refusing to set foot in a discriminate-against-everyone state, they don’t comprehend the disease of religious fervor. Despite warnings over the past three months, religious Republicans “had signaled repeatedly that the N.B.A.’s misgivings were unlikely to persuade the law’s supporters” to abandon attempting to govern by bible. Now that the N.B.A. followed through on its “misgivings” and pulled the All-Star game out of the state, there is even less chance evangelical Republicans will falter. According to one state representative, and Republican Baptist minister Phil Shepard,

Our values are not shaped by the N.B.A. or Bruce Springsteen or some opinion poll. We’re standing strong.”

Shepard’s values as a Baptist minister are obviously shaped by an ancient Hebrew text that may work well in his church job and running his family’s lives; that’s apropos for any religion. However, they have no place in secular America where the nation’s Founding Fathers wrote in the law of the land that no laws can be passed with the regard to the establishment of religion; particularly a religion founded on bigotry and hate. North Carolina Republicans passed HB2 that is solely founded on evangelical extremism and it is precisely why high-profile entertainers, major corporations, thousands of jobs and now the National Basketball Association have fled a burgeoning theocratic state doing its best imitation of Afghanistan under Taliban theocratic rule.


Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion. Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn't look good. Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.

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