An Incident In New Orleans Shows How Religious Freedom Can Become Religious Tyranny



Freedom is defined as having the power or right to act, worship, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint, and in America it is regarded as a sacred and Constitutional right. As Americans have witnessed over the past few years, freedom, particularly religious freedom, is reserved exclusively for evangelical Christians who drove home the point this week that their religious freedom supersedes every other Americans’ liberty, and empowers them to barge into a place of worship, interrupt a sacred service, and demand repentance and compliance to evangelical tyranny; with praise from city leaders.

This week evangelical anti-choice activists congregated in New Orleans to protest a woman’s right to choose, and took their religious tyranny into the sanctuary of a church, interrupted a service, and loudly informed congregants they do not worship according to the “true faith” and warned them to repent; all during a moment of silence for a recently deceased church member. It is the new definition of religious freedom Americans better get used to and understand that religious tyranny is entering a militant stage.

The group responsible for what can only be labeled religious terrorism is Operation Save America; the group tied to the assassination of Dr. George Tiller during another church service. The group targeted the First Unitarian Universalist Church in New Orleans because it regards it as a “synagogue of Satan” and warned worshippers to “repent” and worship according to the “true faith;” Christian fundamentalism. If the language sound like that expressed during the Crusade and Inquisition, it is because that is precisely where evangelicals are taking America. This is America’s new religious freedom, and if any American thought Taliban-like militants abridging other Americans freedom to worship would never happen in america, what happened in New Orleans should disabuse them of that idea.

Displaying decidedly Christian tolerance, the guest speaker at the Church service, the Reverend Deanna Vandiver, lovingly invited the evangelical interlopers to either join the worship service respectfully or do what other evangelicals do; stand on the outside and scream at worshippers from the sidewalk. Reverend Vandiver said she was not completely sure why the evangelical terrorists interrupted the worshippers, but it is certainly because the Unitarian Universalists believe a woman’s reproductive rights are not the purview of evangelical and Catholic fanatics. In fact, the Unitarian’s official position is opposing “any attempt to enact a position on private morality into public law” that is contrary to evangelical Christians, Republicans, and conservatives on the Supreme Court concept of “religious freedom.”

In a post appealing for tolerance from evangelical terrorists, Reverend Vandiver wrote that “We have a lot of different opinions in this country about family planning. However, there is a moral consensus about religious terrorism. NO ONE should invade the sanctuary of another’s faith to terrorize people as they worship. I call on everyone of every faith tradition and no faith tradition to stand with on the side of love and resist the evil of the week of hate being visited upon the city of New Orleans.” Vandiver’s account of the religious terrorism was; “Into that sacred silence, a voice began to speak, and it began to speak about ‘abominations’ and shouts that the church was not a true faith. Literally in our most tender and vulnerable space, religious terrorism began.”

Operation Save America (OSA) viewed their religious assault on worshippers differently and celebrated their victory in a proclamation. “At the Unitarian Universalist “church” in New Orleans, we presented the truth of the Gospel in this synagogue of Satan. As God would have it. According to Rev. Flip Benham, the team presented a ‘dynamic witness’ during an open “meditation” time. When the female “pastor” took issue, she was reminded that, “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” (Luke 17:2). In violation of their “sacred tenants” of peace and tolerance, Deanna (lead terrorist) and others were summarily escorted out of the service. Other saints stayed until the conclusion of the service and created no small stir. Our brethren defended the faith.” The second millennium religious Crusades were confident, aggressive, and Papal Christian-led religious wars to “defend the true faith” and they are beginning in America.

Curiously, New Orleans’ mayor Mitch Landrieu issued an official proclamation welcoming the evangelical tyrants including a signed certificate thanking the Christian extremists for their “service” to the city.The mayor’s welcome prompted residents to sign a petition asking the mayor to reconsider. “Regardless of personal ideologies, most Americans agree that harassing women and threatening doctors is extreme behavior that should not be welcomed by the mayor’s office. The certificates signed by you gives them a legitimacy that they do not deserve.” The conservatives on the Supreme Court would disagree and remind decent New Orleans’ residents that OSA’s legitimacy was validated in the Hobby Lobby ruling.

The mayor’s office attempted to downplay the “certificate” and issued a statement saying, “It is routine for the City to provide standard proclamations to visiting non-profits, faith-based organizations and conventions that request them. As this group exercises its constitutional rights, the NOPD is executing a robust security plan to keep the peace.” First, a city should not need a robust security plan to protect residents and worshippers, especially during a church service, from religious extremists terrorizing other church-goers. Second, it is likely that New Orleans’ law enforcement is as mortified of Republican and High Court repercussions for “violating the religious freedom” of evangelical terrorists as Republicans, teabaggers, and Supreme Court conservatives are religious about defending them.

Americans are witnessing, whether they want to believe it or not, the early stages of religious tyranny under the banner of religious liberty, religious freedom, or free exercise of religion according to conservative Christians’ beliefs. If they think it will stop at disrupting worship services over a woman’s right to choose their own reproductive health, they are tragically deluded. When the conservatives on the High Court effectively neutered the Establishment Clause by elevating evangelical Christians’ rights according to their distortion of the Free Exercise Clause, they empowered religious extremists to fulfill the mission of the Manhattan Declaration and Christian Dominionists; impose a Christian theocracy in America.

In a nation founded on religious freedom and liberty for all citizens, the idea that a band of religious terrorists could disrupt a church service with impunity is an abomination most Americans would attribute to the Taliban. However, now that a small number of Christian fundamentalist extremists were granted supremacy over the freedom of every other American by judicial fiat, Americans should prepare themselves for a 21st Century Crusades by evangelical terrorists “defending the true faith;” the one thing the Founding Fathers knew was the greatest threat to liberty and would hasten the demise of a nation founded on freedom.



28 Replies to “An Incident In New Orleans Shows How Religious Freedom Can Become Religious Tyranny”

  1. I have several friends who are Unitarian.
    If this bunch entered their church I would hear about it. As I am not religious I don’t attend services there but I guarantee you my response would not be gentle.

  2. Well, we can stand our ground against the SCOTUS, or churches can start shooting terrorists as they barge in.

    Cause if they dont, the terrorists wont stop

  3. Conservatives control this group and the stunts are planned according to the conservative agenda. I think they are now trying to provoke violence in our churches, anything they can exploit to further the drama of pretending Christians are being persecuted.

  4. Lessee… A bunch of people barged into our church and started shouting. I saw the flash of what I thought was a gun and felt threatened, so I pulled out my concealed (permitted conceal) S&W 45 and shot the SOB dead. That sort of ended what ever they thought they were doing.

    I know, I know… That’s just escalating the problem but at some point bullies have to be confronted with more than words.

  5. Conservatism: The fear that somewhere, some happy, progressive-thinking person might be out there having fun.

  6. The Flip Benham involved in this latest POS incident at the Unitarian Church in New Orleans is the father of the twins whose show was cancelled on the HGTV network. Once HGTV discovered how offensive the twins were in regard to LGBTQ Americans and women’s health rights, the network cancelled their contract. Once I read about the connection between the twins and this dude, it explained a lot about why they are so extreme in their religious views–the apples didn’t fall far from the tree in this case. Dad is a nut and so are his twin sons.

  7. Forget about asking Mitch Landrieu to “reconsider” – they should be demanding his RESIGNATION! Is NOPD going to be expected to escort these religious terrorists to assist them in their terrorist attacks on churches they disagree with? How long before crosses are burning and churches are bombed? At a minimum they should have been charged with trespassing. I’d rather see them arrested for domestic terrorism.

  8. Important to note that this group is headed by Philip Benham, father of the infamous Benham twins, current riding the martyr train because their TV show concept was dropped after their homophobia was exposed.

  9. Also: Conservatism is the dread fear that somewhere, somehow, someone you consider your inferior is being treated as your equal.

    To such people, nothing they have is a blessing unless they can deny it to another, nor can they enjoy a right unless it is their exclusive right.

  10. A think tank wanted to study inequality. It couldn’t get conservatives on board.

    The Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a fairly new economic think tank, decided to throw a bunch of money at economists to work on economic inequality issues. Being intentionally centrist, it wanted to give out these grants along a fairly wide ideological spectrum, with plenty going to conservatives. One problem: not a single conservative even applied for the money.

  11. Umm, this movement is certainly not “Papal” led. That would be the Catholics, who don’t do that sort of thing.

    Thise fanatics deserve to be in jail for attempting to deprive people of their first amendment rights to worship as they desire.

  12. According to Rev. Flip Benham, the team presented a ‘dynamic witness’ during an open “meditation” time. When the female “pastor” took issue, she was reminded that, “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”

    I’m not religious, but if someone said that to my pastor, I’d climb over benches to punch him in the nose. Threats of violence should be met with violence, plain and simple. An eye for an eye, dickweed.

  13. Rev.”Flip”? They are tyrants barging into a Religious Service to tell them that they are in the wrong faith and not saved. Didn’t know Jesus,God,Mohammed,or whoever left “Flip” or any of his kind in charge of moral judgment. They are the ones taking away religious freedom from everyone. They are the American Terrorists. Start taxing these fake groups and let them pay their share so they can be true Americans. Let them just have 1place of worship that is tax deductible,not every single building and homes they own. They have run amuck with tax free status.

  14. Hmm, thanks for the ID of the Benham pastor, I thought that name sounded familiar. In keeping with their religious faith and intellectual vacuum, they spelled tenets incorrectly. Jesus wept.

  15. “The second millennium religious Crusades were confident, aggressive, and Papal Christian-led religious wars to “defend the true faith” and they are beginning in America.”

    Excuse me, please print a correction. I realize this is just poor writing. But as far as I know, Pope Francis is NOT leading some kind of religious war in america. I am as liberal as they come. But next thing you know, catholics will be persecuted by liberals. Catholics are some of the most liberal people you would ever meet. Yes, they are anti-abortion. But are active promoters of the leftist agenda. Don’t make enemies out of your friends with poor gramar.

  16. All you need to do is look at the catholic immoral mafia on the SCOTUS to see how they are using their strict doctrine to replace the Constitution with religious dogma.

  17. The right to peaceably assemble is one of the five freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment, but that freedom does not necessarily extend to private property. The 1980 U.S. Supreme Court case Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins said the U.S. Constitution does not give individuals an absolute right to enter and remain on private property to exercise their right to free expression.

  18. Excuse me, but are you being deliberately obtuse? I believe the author of this post was certainly not referring to Pope Francis leading any crusade. He was referring to the Crusades started by Pope Urban against the Muslims in 1095.

    And I have to agree that there IS a crusade, attempting to turn this country into a fundamentalist Christian country.

    The Hobby Lobby decision was not based on the Constitution, but on the religious beliefs of the 5 male judges. Anti-abortionists are not only allowed to burst into a church and interrupt that church’s service, but are patted on the back for doing it.

    Apparently there is only freedom of religion for those who have the “true faith”. The rest of us had better fall in line or else….

  19. I have been making this point for years that:”once one allows religion into politics abd they get power these guys would go to war with each other over who is the new ruler of the nation.” What happened here is a good example of what is to come.

  20. “Conservative Christian”… could there be a greater oxymoron? Conservatives, in their present incarnation, would actually hate what theJesus (according to the Bible) would have had to say. “Love thy neighbour” Never. “Feed the poor, heal the sick FOR FREE”? Blasphemy…

  21. These people are entirely ignorant of the fact that the First Amendment was designed to protect us all from any one religion taking hold as an official state religion. They had a long history of religious persecution to judge by, including pogroms against Jews, Islamists, heretic of all sorts, witches, &c. as well as persecution of Christians at various times during England’s history. The First Amendment sharply divides church and state. The evangelicals should get this through their skull and cease trying to turn the USA into a theocracy.

  22. Sure, in a broad context, this is about religious freedom and tyranny. But when the terms freedom of religion and speech are invoked, we should remember that the Constitution prohibits the state from abridging those freedoms. From one citizen to another, I owe you nothing. This story is about trespassing (and maybe disorderly conduct).
    However, as a Unitarian Universalist, I am strengthened by the pastor’s repsonse. When we welcome all, we open the doors to saints and sinners alike. Our repsonse (our behaviors) in the face of these assaults is our chance to put our principles into action. Restraint and love in the face of hate are difficult; but I believe they are the path to a better community. (Even though I really want to kick this guy in the junk.)

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