Thursday, March 06, 2014

149.6 - Update: Bogus "Religious Freedom" Bills

Update: Bogus "Religious Freedom" Bills

One other update: I was, I think, two weeks ago when I spoke about the Kansas state House of Representatives passing bill to allow both public and private employees to refuse "any service" to gay or lesbian Americans, so long as they claim it is because they oppose marriage equality. After that passage drew national attention to the matter, it quickly died in the state Senate.

Meanwhile, the Arizona legislature passed a similar bill. It was vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer after lots of opposition from business, the tourism industry, and even some state GOPpers, including three who voted for the thing in the legislature but then, apparently, changed their minds. The veto proved to be a popular decision: According to a poll, 72% of the state supported it.

But this is another fight long from over. One way you can tell is that it wasn't just Kansas and it wasn't just Arizona: Over the past several weeks, similar bills had been introduced in Idaho, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Hawaii, Ohio, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Georgia, and Missouri.

The good news is that all of these bills are dead, moribund, or in serious trouble with the exception of the one in Missouri, which was only introduced on March 3 and hasn't even been scheduled for a hearing but is already facing opposition.

But it's still important to address this and to be aware of it - because these bills were, are, just a way for the wacko right-wing religious nuts, the wacko fundamentalist, to carve and exception to civil rights out for themselves, to enable themselves and their kindred souls to continue to be bigots and continue to discriminate against the LGBT community.

And why should they be able to do that, according to them? It's religious freedom! It's their religious freedom to discriminate, to be bigots because, as someone put it, they are apparently practicing their religion when they bake a cake or rent out a room in a hotel.

They're oppressed! Oppressed! I say. They are under attack because they are Christians! It's an attack on Christianity itself! And yes, Christianity - not just their little flaky corner of Christianity, but all of Christianity! Because, apparently, they speak for all Christians! Including those Christians who support same-sex rights and who aren't bigots.

Let's be honest here: This has nothing to do with religion, nothing to do with religious freedom, nothing to do with Christianity. It has to do with using religion as a cover for bigotry. It's happened before - slavery is the obvious example - and now it's happening again.


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