Republicans, and all manner of conservatives, are fond of touting their uncontested love, devotion, and strict adherence to the United States Constitution even though they reject most of the document’s tenets out-of-hand. Religious conservatives, or Neo-Christians (N.C.), are likely most opposed to the Constitution save a distorted biblical reading of the 1st Amendment and the Amendment they claim their avatar of light Jesus Christ authored, the 2nd Amendment. The N.C.s love for the 2nd Amendment pales in comparison to their hatred of the amendment they despise above all others combined; the 14th Amendment. Republicans and religious conservatives detest the 14th Amendment for myriad reasons, but chief among them is the guarantee of equal rights for Americans not in the biblical mold championed by Neo Christians; single mothers, atheists, Muslims, non-compliant Christians, and particularly gays.
Over the past few years the religious right have made major progress using their newfound “religious freedom” to restrict other Americans’ constitutional freedoms with major assistance from Republicans and 5 bishops on the Supreme Court. Now that Neo-Christians have religious superiority to impose their religious liberty on women, religious Republicans are flexing their new-found power to abolish the 14th Amendment and deny other Americans equal rights; likely due to their devotion to the Constitution their “deeply-held religious beliefs” inform them is the Christian bible.
It has been less than six months since the bishops on the Supreme Court eviscerated the “free exercise and establishment” clauses of the First Amendment with the Hobby Lobby ruling elevating Christian’s religious rights over women’s right to medical care. Even before the ruling came down, many pundits and commentators warned it would only a be a matter of time before the high holy N.C.s turned their religious attention to the gay community. In Texas this week, another Neo-Christian state legislator introduced a constitutional amendment overriding the 14th Amendment giving evangelical Christians the legal and constitutional right to discriminate against gays.
The evangelical state senator’s constitutional amendment empowers Christian business owners to exercise their religious liberty to summarily fire LGBT employees for being gay, and throw LGBT customers and same-sex couples out of their establishments for violating their “deeply and sincerely held religious beliefs.” The follower of a loving and tolerant Christ, Senator Donna Campbell’s proposal strengthens existing biblical protections in Texas and gives the religious immutable “rights to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief.” It is religious legal parlance for a biblical “license to discriminate.”
This is the second attempt by Campbell to eviscerate civil rights due to “deeply and sincerely-held religious beliefs” of the anti-equality crowd. Her first attempt at a “legalizing discrimination” ran into opposition from N.C.s and particularly an evangelical commentator who cheered her proposal, but warned that as written, some evil person might claim their sincere religious belief included the right to an abortion or marry the person they love. The new proposal eliminated one key adverb that a lawmaker who helped pass the existing religious freedom law said made the discrimination law far too expansive; the new proposal only protects sincerely held religious beliefs, and religious liberty, of evangelical Christians
Since the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling gave religious superiority to evangelical Christians over the civil rights of American citizens, many religious Republican state legislatures considered enacting their own “legalized discrimination” laws. Similar proposals to the Texas biblical amendment ultimately failed in righteous states such as Kansas, North Carolina, South Dakota, Arizona, and Oregon, but a majority of states already have laws that make it perfectly legal to discriminate against LGBT employees and customers. In 29 states it is legal, although inherently unconstitutional and a violation of the 14th Amendment, to fire a person based solely on their sexual orientation or even thinking it is within their civil rights to marry the person they love.
Despite the constitutional and civil rights violation prevalent in evangelical-controlled red states, many holy conservatives complain bitterly, and are convinced, that their religious liberty to discriminate against LGBT employees, coworkers, and customers is under a ferocious attack. In fact, in 32 states it is still perfectly legal, and still unconstitutional, to openly discrimination against transgendered people. Although the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that passed the Senate last year would have corrected that discriminatory abomination, it languished on “official” Speaker of the House John Boehner’s desk. Even if Boehner had allowed a vote on the Senate’s bipartisan bill, it never would have passed evangelical hero Texas Ted Cruz’s House of Representatives.
Many progressive LGBT groups withdrew their support for ENDA due to the “law’s carve-outs” for evangelicals to continue discriminating under their “righteous and sincerely-held” religious beliefs. With a new, more religious, batch of Republicans controlling the Senate, ENDA is effectively dead in the water. The LGBT community can at least take solace in the fact that a real follower of Christ practicing tolerance for all Americans, President Obama, used his executive authority to provide workplace protections for LGBT federal employees as well as LGBT employees of a business under contract to work for the federal government. As a champion of civil rights over religion-based discrimination, the President did not provide even one religious exemption in his executive orders disallowing employers to exercise “legal discrimination” against LGBT Americans.
When the religious conservatives on the High Court empowered evangelicals with supremacy over the Constitution’s 14th Amendment with their repulsive Hobby Lobby decision, they opened the floodgates for legal discrimination under the guise of “religious liberty.” Now that Republicans control both houses of Congress beginning in January, there will be a rash of biblical laws passed such as criminalizing all forms of contraception with the annual spate of personhood, “life begins at zygote, laws that passed in the House and failed in the Democratically-controlled Senate. Republicans and their religious conservative brethren are wont to boast they are the ultimate champions of the U.S. Constitution, but with their newfound power to “freely exercise” religious tyranny and legal discrimination, they have revealed that they hate the document with religious passion and are replacing it with their bible and blessings of the 5 bishops on the Supreme Court.
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.