On Friday, President Robert B. Sloan Jr., of Houston Baptist University, said gays and lesbians were like arsonists or alcoholics. Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who appeared with Sloan at “Faith in the Public Square,” and always in lockstep with religious extremists, asserted that Christians should not have to do business with gay people.
Everyone has to reconcile their own faith with how they interact with others, and that’s a choice you’ve got to make based on your understanding of biblical teachings and based on the best understanding you can come to it.
Raw Story has the video:
I’m very much a believer that the scripture teaches that you hate the sin and love the sinner, and so, you know, from my perspective I am perfectly willing to interact with anybody. Look, I work in the U.S. Congress. But at the same time, I don’t think the law should be forcing Americans to violate their religious faith.
Never mind that Cruz himself has already violated the religious faith of Americans with his anti-gay marriage bill, the State Marriage Defense Act of 2014, introduced in February. As one denomination has pointed out, banning gay marriages violates their religious freedom to perform such marriages.
If all this seems eerily and disturbingly familiar, it should. It was the Nazis who said, “Don’t Buy from Jews!” (Kauf nicht bei Juden!). The Religious Right is saying, “Don’t Sell to Gays!” But we’ll get to that later.
From here, Cruz launched into the popular Christians are being forced to pay for contraceptives meme:
The Obama administration is litigating against the Little Sisters of the Poor, trying to force them, trying to extract millions of dollars of fines to force them to pay for contraceptives and abortion-providing drugs for others.
Now, these Catholic nuns don’t want to do so, and the idea that the federal government would be going after Catholic nuns, trying to force them to violate their religious faith, really demonstrates how utterly unmoored we have come from the constitutional liberties this country was founded on.
Liberties which, apparently, require non-Christians to listen to Christian prayers at council meetings. Liberties which, apparently, give employers the right to make healthcare decisions for their employees, decisions which amount to a claim of ownership over those employees – slavery, in other words. Yes, that’s religious liberty.
The thing is, even though slavery is legal in the Bible (Old and New Testament), it is not according to the Thirteenth Amendment, and the U.S. Constitution, not the Bible, is – so far anyway – the law of the land. Your employer can no more own your soul or your mind than your body. But Hobby Lobby is arguing that it can. And the Republican Party, Ted Cruz not least among them, agrees.
Of course, the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby, are not paying for anything. They are incorporated. The corporation pays for the contraceptives. But the Supreme Court has already ruled that corporations are people and therefore have the same free speech rights as the rest of us. It does not seem much of a stretch given recent SCOTUS decisions, that corporations will be found to have freedom of religion as well.
Which means, by extension, a diminution of those rights for individuals.
The ironic thing is that free birth control leads directly to lower abortion rates. For a group that wants to do away with abortion to be so myopic in the name of ideology is truly staggering. And for doing something that will directly reduce abortion (as opposed to say, oh, the utter futility of abstinence education) President Obama is called the “abortion president.”
It really isn’t contraceptives or even abortion that these patriarchal fascists are concerned with, however, but with control. Control over women and their sexuality.
All of this is absurd, of course. What if a business owner suddenly decided he did not believe in the germ theory of medicine. Will his employees be forced to forgo all prescription medications? To have exorcisms instead for the little demons making him sick?
This is not a slippery slope, as has been suggested. It is a precipice, off which we may well be pushed by the Supreme Court when it makes its decision in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius come the end of June.
What Republicans want, in essence, as shown by the so-called “religious liberty” laws in Kansas and Arizona and elsewhere, but also by Sloan’s and Cruz’s speeches, are their very own Nuremberg Laws, which in 1935 essentially banned Jews from German civic life, much as the fifth century Theodosian Code banned Pagans from Roman civic life. Bryan Fischer is far from alone in insisting that “sexually immoral behavior” be against the law, and that such laws are justified.
In fact, a German propaganda tract from 1935, “Our Battle Against Judah,” sounds very much like Republican rhetoric about gays and gay-rights supporters:
There are two causes for the fact that the Jewish element is increasingly showing itself in public nearly everywhere. First, as already noted, the increasing activity of the Jewish element is undoubtedly the result of the patience the National Socialist state has shown to this foreign body amidst the German people. Second, one must also, unfortunately, conclude that the behavior of many people’s comrades had enabled or encouraged the Jews. True, the National Socialist state, its lawgivers, and the relevant offices have the task of keeping the Jews in their appropriate place through the appropriate measures, and they will fulfill this task, in as far as it is within their power. Such measures have already been taken in a variety of areas. One need only be reminded of the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, the Aryan Paragraph in the Wehrmacht and in sports, and the cleansing of the state, film, press, etc.
Justice substitute “gay” for “Jew” and “American” for “German.” How often have we seen Religious Right leaders and Republican politicians call for a “cleansing” of America? How often have you seen “gay sympathizers” blamed for the emboldening gays and lesbians to demand equal rights? Rafael Cruz, Ted Cruz’s father, a Cuban who asserts the U.S. is a Christian nation, has said that marriage equality is a government conspiracy, which reminds one of all the Nazi talk of Jewish conspiracies. No one has loved conspiracies more than Nazis – except for our current crop of Republicans.
In February, Cruz said,
They just want to use brute power to force the states to take down marriage laws that have been in place for centuries and that’s inconsistent with the Constitution, it’s not right and it’s heartbreaking.
He says marriage equality is inconsistent with the Constitution, but the Constitution does not mention marriage equality (or, for that matter, the Bible or Christianity or the Ten Commandments). Yet he says that that theocracy, which the Constitution DOES forbid, isn’t inconsistent with the Constitution.
To understand the absurdity – and danger – of the Republican position, think about their case put in reverse: non-Christians refusing to do business with Christians. Suddenly it is Christians who are second class citizens. Imagine storefronts: No Christians need apply. What if New Ages shops automatically directed anyone wearing a cross out the door? Or Muslim butchers or Jewish? Or atheist? What came out of Religious Right mouths then would be quite different than what we are hearing now.
That is because this is not about religious liberty at all, but quite the opposite. This is about theocracy. This is about bending the American people to their will and forcing their own distorted and demonstrably anti-biblical and anti-constitutional views on 300 million Americans.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.