Conservatives have a serious problem adhering to the Constitution as a matter of course, but especially when the Supreme Court issues a ruling that is contrary to their twisted ideology. There are still a substantial number or Republicans who categorically state the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional despite the conservative high court ruled it was Constitutional. Christian conservatives are no better, and despite rulings such as Roe v. Wade, prayer in public schools, and Lawrence v. Texas (sodomy laws) among many others, extremist Christians seek ways to circumvent any law or ruling that is contrary to their interpretation of the bible. When the Supreme Court ruled that California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act discriminated against same sex couples, the Christian right and their cohort in Congress and the states went ballistic and threatened to fight on to impose their religious beliefs on every American that marriage is defined as between one man and one woman.
On Thursday, a group of House Republicans announced their intent to propose legislation to give conservatives groups legal cover to continue discriminating against same-sex couples because in their dysfunctional minds, the bible overrides the Constitution, Supreme Court rulings, and any law they happen to disagree with. The legislation that Representative Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) intends to introduce is titled the “Marriage and Religious Freedom Act” that he says “ensures that any religious institution, organization, or church that believes that marriage should continue to remain between one man and one woman will not be discriminated against by the federal government.” The proposal is saying, in effect, that DOMA is still the law of the land and that the Supreme Court or the federal government has no right to say otherwise.
Labrador claims the legislation will allow groups such as the Boy Scouts of America, Catholic Charities, and conservative organizations to continue discriminating against same sex couples without losing their tax-exempt status. According to Labrador; “we have already seen the increased attack and discrimination of institutions at the state level, and we just want to ensure that it does not happen at the federal level. I believe the Constitution protects these institutions and I just want to make sure that it’s in the law, that it’s 100 percent sure, that people have no question about it.” What Labrador’s legislation really means is it will be perfectly withing their rights for any organization to discriminate against same-sex couples with the federal government’s blessing.
Although Labrador failed to cite how states attack and discriminate against opponents of same-sex marriage, it sounds suspiciously like a refrain from extremist Christians who decry the loss of religious liberty because the Constitution prohibits them from imposing their bible dogmata on the people. The phrase they are being “attacked and discriminated against” is right out of the National Organization of Marriage’s presidential pledge that requires signatories to appoint a commission to investigate and take action against same-sex marriage advocates because supporting marriage equality is tantamount to vicious attacks on religious freedom.
Besides giving legal cover to discriminate against same-sex couples, the Human Rights Commission said Labrador’s legislation is intended to allow “federal employees, contractors and grantees to refuse to do their jobs or fulfill the terms of their taxpayer-funded contracts because they have a particular religious objection about certain lawfully married couples, and then sue the federal government for damages if they don’t get their way.” The Christian right continues to get their way and rejects following the Constitution or the law of the land primarily due the political power they amassed since Republican man-god Ronald Reagan opened the door and allowed them to shape domestic policy. The idea that Christian conservatives believe they are above the law is in part because Republicans unquestionably do their bidding in Congress, and in part because the government subsidizes their efforts to fund campaigns and legislation to impose their ideology on the people.
There is a solution to neuter the religious rights’ inordinate power over the government; end their tax exempt status forthwith and with extreme prejudice. Politicians are terrified of challenging the religious right because with their unlimited taxpayer-funded entitlements and subsidies coupled with their captive Sunday morning audiences, they control a powerful voting bloc. Not only do churches rake in untold fortunes from their mesmerized devotees and unwarranted tax-exemptions, the federal government hands them free taxpayer dollars for unconstitutional “faith-based initiatives.” It is really unclear why when every city in America is desperate to fund services such as police protection, fire fighters, schools, roads, and healthcare facilities, churches are allowed to avoid paying a cent in property tax on top of their IRS tax-exemptions and faith-based initiative payments.
It is obvious that Christian conservatives are never going to accept the law of the land, and last month the Alliance Defending Freedom published an article that sums up their long-term strategy to subvert the Constitution and transform America into a Christian theocracy. The article, “Step By Step, Small Cases Regain Legal Ground For the Gospel,” describes the thirty-year campaign to use the courts and legislation to gain control of the government to impose their religious ideology on the people, and explains they can use friendly Republicans to propose legislation to force their gospel into law. Unfortunately, they are under the impression that because government gives them taxpayer money for nothing, they are free to exercise their religious liberty on the people including continuing to discriminate against same-sex couples with impunity.
The religious right and their conservative sycophants in Congress promised they would fight the Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA, and Labrador’s legislation is proof they were serious. It remains to be seen whether or not House Republicans will be able to push the Senate and President Obama to support legislation striking down the Supreme Court’s ruling that DOMA is unconstitutional, but at the rate they are giving religious organizations unlimited free taxpayer dollars, it is likely they will give them legal cover to discriminate against same-sex couples. After all, the Constitution’s separation clause forbids the government from interfering and controlling religious organizations and churches, but it does not forbid conservative Christians from interfering and controlling the government, or receiving taxpayer funded entitlements and subsidies.
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.