The Supreme Court’s Conservatives Are Abolishing Anti-Discrimination Laws

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Although America was founded on the brilliant, but false, premise that all citizens are equal, it has taken the course of the nation’s history, a Civil War, and several hard-fought civil rights battles for most Americans to realize a semblance of equality. Obviously, most Americans either could not comprehend, or adamantly opposed, the idea that social equality means every citizen has the same status and equal rights under the law, or that true equality requires the absence of legally enforced boundaries and government enforced discrimination; precisely what the 14th Amendment to the Constitution guarantees all Americans.

One would think most Americans support the 14th Amendment’s prohibition of unequal treatment under the law unflinchingly. Unfortunately, the religious right is intent on abolishing the concept of equality and rejects the idea that no American, or government entity, has the right to abridge any other Americans’ right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Now, they are using the Hobby Lobby decision to attempt to establish Christianity’s prohibition against gays as a government policy as a jumping off point in the rush to government by theocracy.

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According to a noted constitutional lawyer, Edward Tabash, the High Court’s conservatives failed to reconcile the two religious clauses in the First Amendment and decided that by merely professing a religious objection, someone can establish their religion as law and over other Americans by constitutional fiat. Tabash explained the Establishment Clause as ensuring that believers and non-believers were equal before the law and that no branch of government can favor one religion over another religion, or no religion, and the free exercise clause ensured that because of someone’s religious views they can not suffer lesser rights. By butchering the Free Exercise clause, the Court gave Christians special constitutional rights over the law and other Americans that conflicted with the Establishment Clause. It is that new interpretation of the Establishment Clause that religious leaders are beginning to use to force the government to establish the Christian right’s objections against anti-discrimination laws such as the 14th Amendment’s as government policy. The conservative Court effectively gave fundamentalist Christians the right to establish their religion on the government and the people, and it is why an expanded consortium of faith leaders are demanding that President Obama use taxpayer funds to legally discriminate against gays in direct conflict with the 14th Amendment.

The newer, stronger, demand from religious leaders is that taxpayer-funded government contractors have religious freedom to hire only “people who share the employers’ faith.” The faith leaders, now including megachurch preacher Rick Warren and Catholic Charities CEO Rev. Larry Snyder, want the federal government to legally discriminate against gays according to Christian’s newfound religious liberty. The Vice President of the Human Rights Campaign disagreed with the Christians and said rightly that “Taxpayers’ dollars should not be used to discriminate,” and it was a valid statement before the Hobby Lobby ruling. Most federal contractors already have employment policies barring anti-gay workplace discrimination, but that was before the conservative Court rewrote the Establishment Clause to empower the Christian right’s supremacy over the law.

The idea of abolishing anti-discrimination laws, including the 14TH Amendment, began taking shape in earnest in 2009 when a confederation of Catholics, Southern Baptists, and evangelical fanatics devised a theocratic manifesto known as the Manhattan Declaration. This column has warned that the Declaration’s signatories, including Hobby Lobby’s legal team, were on a crusade to abolish anti-discrimination laws and establish Christian prerogatives as government policy, and on the heels of the Hobby Lobby decision, it is coming to pass. According to the theocratic manifesto, its purpose is to impose “a truly consistent ethic of love and life for all humans in all circumstances.” However a reading of the document informs a truly consistent ethic of hatred of equality, America as a secular nation, and anything not supported by the religious right.

For example, the Declaration’s signatories condemned hate crime laws, civil rights laws, and anti-discrimination laws as attacks on their religious liberty. They also claim that the concepts of “liberty, autonomy, and choice” are responsible for America’s demise into a secular nation, as well as religious persecution they suffer at the hands of that secular government; particularly with an African American man as President. Part and parcel of what they call persecution and tyranny against “Christians,” and what they vehemently condemn as an abomination against god’s authority over America, is divorce, marriage equality, promiscuity, television programming, single-parent families, women’s reproductive choice, the entertainment industry, and secular government they claim are gross violations of their First Amendment “freedom of religion” and affronts to their almighty and loving god. The document also claims current conscience laws, such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, are under attack like their religious liberty and are inadequate to afford Christians the right to “render unto god what is god’s;” supremacy over the law and other Americans the High Court just granted them in Hobby Lobby.

It is likely why yesterday, in light of the Hobby Lobby ruling, Utah’s Mormon governor and attorney general are appealing directly to the Supreme Court to rule that the state’s Mormon majority can legally exercise religion to discriminate against gays who married the person they love. If any American truly believed the Hobby Lobby case and subsequent decision was solely about providing contraceptives in health plans, the push to force the government to use taxpayer funds to discriminate against gays and violate an obsolete 14th Amendment guarantee of equality under the law should disabuse them of that fallacy.

No American should think for a second that they are protected from the Court’s new interpretation of the Establishment Clause, or the Free Exercise Clause; including Christians opposed to evangelical fanaticism. President Obama, a Christian sworn to uphold the Constitution, is being besieged by Christian “friends of the White House” to defer to the Christian prerogative and use taxpayer funds to discriminate against gays. Even a cursory reading of the vile nine page Manhattan Declaration informs that no American, or segment of society, is safe from the religious right’s newfound “religious freedom.” The document is rife with condemnation of every segment of American society that does not conform with evangelical Christianity’s worldview and now that the Court gave them religious supremacy over every other American and redefined the Establishment Clause, no religion, secular institution, or government entity is safe from what is arguably an all-out-war on America as a secular nation.

Because the Court legalized freedom of religion as a tool for Christian domination, and established religious supremacy over the law and other Americans’ rights, this country faces the real prospect of living under a version of Christian Sharia Law. Republicans, whether they are religious or not, will take advantage of the conservative Christian’s religious fervor to garner electoral support and dutifully repay evangelicals when they propose new legislation in Congress and state legislatures. It is true the Hobby Lobby ruling will mobilize Democratic voters in November, but now that the religious right has been awarded the religious liberty they have lusted after for thirty years, they will turn out the vote to accomplish what the Founding Fathers never intended; America as a Christian nation. By eviscerating the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause, the Supreme Court’s conservatives effectively nullified the Establishment Clause and hastened America’s march toward theocracy.

 

 

17 Replies to “The Supreme Court’s Conservatives Are Abolishing Anti-Discrimination Laws”

  1. I’m guessing it’s going to be one bloody fight before all is said and done. The overwhelming majority of the people in this country don’t share their beliefs or opinions. You can legislate, and decree court orders all you want but that won’t control the masses.

    This country was founded on insurrection. We have always been a country that fights for it’s beliefs. They’re making a big mistake if they think people will sit idly by. Most people don’t pay attention until it affects their life.

    As the SCOTUS keeps trying out their pseudo religious social experiments. As the corporations vie for supreme control. As the fundies try impose their will upon society. So to the people quietly sharpen their pitch forks.

  2. As Justice Ginsburg said, the conservatives on SCOTUS opened a minefield. Even though they said Hobby Lobby was a narrow decision, I believe they knew exactly what they were opening and that it would lead to more Christians asking for more exemptions based on their religious values, as is happening.

    The trap they fall into, is when they deny a non-Christian religion an exemption to provide services based in their religious values, they will telling the Americans and the world that America is for Christians only.

    Our Founding Fathers knew a country based on the separation of church and state was one of the best foundations for a new country. Too bad the conservatives on the Court, don’t understand that.

  3. The five conservative justices are the most corrupt and misdirected justices in American history, their antics will not go unnoticed in history.

  4. Very very soon a suit brought by a muslim(s)demanding their version of sharia law to “protect their religious sensitivities” will be in front of SCOTUS. Good for the goose, good for the gander… The conservatives on the court will rue the day they gave Hobby Lobby the green light.

  5. Don’t you love the fact that 5, rich, old, white guys can decide that a bunch of religious fanatics can tell women what to do with their bodies. This case should never have been heard.

  6. Unfortunately, pitchforks aren’t going to do the trick. Don’t forget, the fundies are busily arming themselves with assault weapons and are happily holding raffles to give them away to their members. I shudder to think what may happen if our present SCOTUS continues on their path of destruction of the basic fundamentals this country was based on.

  7. The term pitchforks is a metaphor, as when the villagers brought out the torches and pitchforks for Frankenstein. Make no mistake, I am a liberal, as many others, and a lot of us are ex military, well trained, and armed liberals. Being a liberal and being a push over are not mutually exclusive.

  8. these 2 guys, among many others are complete waste of good oxygen.

    if nothing else they should be prosecuted for polluting the air that the rest of us have to breath.

  9. Where’s a good assassin when you need one? Where are all the gun-toting wacko liberals? Historically, revolution starts from the right and we are seeing those seeds sown as we attempt to combat theocratic radicalism with fact and logic. Soon we will be the ones defending America with guns and tanks instead of words and compassion.

    Please, educate your neighbors and children, the dangers are real. Take the Koch brothers and the Greens and their ilk to the public squares of America and practice some of that “old time religion” on their asses.

    I, for one, am sick and tired of the RRR (Radical Religious Right) wielding the power in OUR country. Time for the IRS to step up to the plate and revoke the tax exempt status of any currently exempt organization that preaches politics. NO EXCEPTIONS!

  10. I couldn’t agree more. I’m sick of these Christians – in – name – only too. Obviously, they don’t even know who Jesus Christ was, let alone what he preached. I don’t even claim to be a religious person any more, and that’s because I couldn’t stand these hypocrites for another second.

    Christ preached love, but these people only hate. Not a pretty sight.

  11. So what you are suggesting is that religious minorities have no rights in this country that the majority are bound to respect? Wow — that is what the Supreme Court ruled about blacks in the Dred Scot case, that blacks had no rights that whites were bound to respect. Of course, if such an analogy offends you, I could always point out that your position that Christians should shut up and follow the law no matter what their faith teaches is identical to that held by the leaders of Rome in the first through the fourth centuries, and led to the persecution and martyrdom of those who refused to burn incense to Caesar or otherwise conform to the laws of the state.

  12. I guess this is another thing that we have to thank our revered Republican Presidents for: three of these conservative Klowns were appointed by Reagan; 2 by Bush. When will American learn the really important considerations when voting for a President.

  13. I would love to see the day that Clarence Thomas enters a business in the redneck South or Midwest, whether a cafe or a retail outlet or shop, and is refused service because he is black, and the he has no legal leg to stand on because those anti-discrimination laws that used to be on the books were dismantled by a decision either he made or concurred with. What a fine day that will be when he is physically escorted from the premises and tossed into the street. I think that when Clarence Thomas looks in the mirror, he sees a white man.

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