Michigan License To Discriminate A Portent Of Impending Theocracy  


There has been no dearth of news stories, reports, and commentary over the past few months on the epidemic of racists, whether in law enforcement or the general population, either inflicting or attempting to inflict, punishment on African Americans for being African Americans. As noted here on Tuesday, “there are certain groups who are adamant that as superior human beings they have authority to mete out punishment for violations of their beliefs that are usually borne of religion.”

Despite protections in the U.S. Constitution and federal and state laws, the past six years have seen an increase in religious fundamentalists claim they have theocratic authority to punish women, gays, and any American unwilling to comply with their theocratic edicts. It is apparent that Americans have no more constitutional protections from religious tyranny than unarmed African Americans have from racist cops shooting them with impunity. It is astonishing, but the extremist Christian fundamentalists are basing their punitive power on the religious freedom guarantee in the First Amendment; with Supreme Court approval.

Before becoming one the Supreme Court’s Papal-5 imposing the Vatican’s edicts in the Humanae Vitae on America’s women, Justice Antonin Scalia firmly believed the Constitution’s Framers did not define “religious freedom” as the right to violate state or federal laws. In fact, in writing for the majority in Employment Division v. Smith, Scalia said that the First Amendment freedom of religion does not allow individuals to break the law: he said, “We have never held that an individual’s beliefs excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the state is free to regulate.” He said it would be “courting anarchy” to create exceptions every time a religious group claims that a law infringes on its religious freedom.

Around the nation over the past few years, Republicans have not “courted anarchy” in creating religious exceptions to established constitutional laws, they attempted to impose evangelical tyranny under the guise of “religious freedom.” There has been so much attention on trigger-happy cops exercising their racist freedom to shoot and kill unarmed African Americans recently that pundits overlooked biblical Republicans exercising religious freedom to impose theocracy on Michigan residents.

The latest religious tyranny is Michigan House Bill 5958, The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that legalizes a Christian extremist’s religious freedom to discriminate, among other atrocities in an alleged civilized society. But even that description understates the abomination about to be forced on Michigan residents as a prelude to the theocracy about to be unleashed on America. The law makes it legal to refuse service, deny employment, housing, and violate other citizens’ rights, any rights, if a theocrat claims it violates their religious freedom and objects on religious grounds. The bill’s proponents cried foul and claimed H.B. 5958 is not a “license to discriminate,” but a Democratic representative proved it is that and much more.

The Democratic representative, Jeff Irwin, was concerned the RFRA was more than protecting religious freedom so he introduced an amendment to the legislation that explicitly stated that RFRA would not permit evangelical actions such as putting up a sign that says, “No Christians will be served.” Obviously, a bill that was not a license to discriminate would not necessitate such an amendment, and to prove the religious Republicans were lying, the amendment was rejected out-of-hand by the majority Republicans who would not countenance language that explicitly forbid discrimination masked as “religious freedom.”

However, as atrocious as legalized discrimination may appear, and it is an abomination, it is the legislation’s other uses that should terrify Michigan residents. For example, as the ultimate “conscience clause,” an extremist Christian in the healthcare industry can put a stop to medical care if they claim their objection is founded on religious beliefs. Under the legislation, a healthcare provider would be obliged to send a patient away. It is bad enough that religious pharmacists refuse to fill prescriptions if they “think” a person is gay, a woman is a single mother, or the patient is the “wrong religion,” but that is just the beginning. A first responder, whether law enforcement, fire protection, or ambulance personnel can use “religious objections” to refuse to provide service to a person or group they feel violates their religion’s tenets.

Americans just cannot accept that their freedoms, all of their freedoms, are under siege by a small majority of religious extremists. It is important for all Americans to comprehend that in Iraq and Syria, brutal Islamic extremists in ISIS are a small majority and yet they are wreaking death and destruction on the region. The extremists in the Christian Right, as author Chris Hedges explains and the fundamentalists admit, adhere to an ideology that calls for the “eradication of social ‘deviants’ including gay men and lesbians, Muslims, liberals, feminists, intellectuals, left-wing activists, undocumented workers, poor African-Americans and those dismissed as ‘nominal Christians’—meaning Christians who do not embrace this peculiar interpretation of the Bible—will also be ruthlessly repressed and quickly eradicated. That also includes ‘deviant’ government (secular), ‘deviant’ media, ‘deviant’ schools, and ‘deviant’ churches that will be crushed. In their place “all institutions will propagate ‘Christian and ‘family values, and all education (indoctrination) will be handed over to the church.

None of those prospects are imaginary, or overstated by any means, and any American that believes that because they claim Christianity as their faith, or live under a founding document that protects them from religious tyranny are safe, they are deluded. Americans likely believed the days when white law enforcement officers could murder African Americans with impunity were over; recent events prove that is  not the case. Americans also likely believed that their Constitution protected them from religious imposition, or guaranteed their equality under the law; that is also no longer the case after the Supreme Court deconstructed and demolished the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses in the First Amendment.

The Michigan RFRA is a product of a lazy apathetic population that just cannot comprehend that elections have consequences. Subsequently, now that the religious right controls both houses of Congress, there is nothing except President Obama to stop them from passing personhood laws the House has passed every year since 2011. Senate Republicans introduced the same “life begins at intercourse” legislation as well, but they were thwarted because they did not have the majority; that ends next month. The recent midterms put more right-wing religious extremists in the House and  Senate than the 2010 elections, and now that they are in power, the Michigan RFRA will look tame compared to what men like Ted Cruz have planned for the people who will wish that a “license to discriminate” was their only worry.


43 Replies to “Michigan License To Discriminate A Portent Of Impending Theocracy  ”

  1. These slithering ChristoLizards will not be satisfied until their hissing hatreds have irremediably poisoned the well of Constitutional Democracy.

  2. All the ignorant lazy unhinged wingnuts deserve all that the geopigs and fake christians do to them.

  3. The “new American Puritans have arrived on our shores”. Prepare to see the rise in witch trials, slavery, the Alamo, robber barons etc, etc, etc,…….

    Actually they have always been here but we have been to busy to notice. Sad prospects ahead.

  4. I have been “preaching” for years that the right wing crazies, starting with Lord and Savior Reagan, were intent on leading us into a theocracy. They have stealthy bought the government, brainwashed the unwashed and have led us down a road to a dire existence. When the 1% becomes the .25% and the middle class is permanently eliminated, and when there is bread only for the upper tier will the ignorant realize they’ve been duped. Legislating discrimination is but another step toward their goal of total control.

    A few Supreme Court suicides would be a good place to start reconstructing the government. The Congress will take care of itself once people have to fight for a roll of toilet paper as they now do in Venezuela.

    The intent of the RW wackos is to tax the poor into total submission and kill the economy. They’re doing it with the blessings of the electorate.

    The US experiment will be shown to be an enormous failure. Very, very sad.

  5. Just wait until they turn our great nation into a theocracy. They will begin to turn on other Christians who are not “real Christians” and purge themselves.

    So the people of the valley sent a message up the hill,
    Asking for the buried treasure, tons of gold for which they’d kill.
    Came an answer from the kingdom “with our brothers we will share.
    All the secrets of our mountain, all the riches buried there. ”

    ‘Now the valley cried with anger, “mount your horses, draw your swords”
    And they killed the mountain people, so they won their just reward.
    Now they stood beside the treasure, on the mountain dark and red.
    Turned the stone and looked beneath it; peace on earth was all it said.’

  6. I’ve been saying this since Reagan, but I hope this next two years will finally wake people up to the importance of voting, and to the true intentions of the right-wing in America. The next two years are going to be a tumultuous time in the U.S.. I hope we get through it without too much pain.

  7. I wash my hands of Michagan, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. If voters in those states prefer being red states, more power to them. Whatever happens is what they voted for. They will receive no sympathy for me.

  8. I consider myself to be an innocent bystander in these matters. I voted and I didn’t vote for them. I see non-voters as complicit.

  9. Unfortunately Maxie, Democrats live there too, and I feel for them for what they have to go through. I wish we could just isolate the GOP voters and make them live with what they voted for while the rest of us get on with life enjoying their absence.

  10. I live in Michigan and have worked against these loons and voted against them also.

    I sure as hell don’t prefer Michigan turning red, or any of the legislation being proposed by the sociopathic republican legislature.

  11. I live in WI & if I had my own way I would be gone. Our state has turned so red. It’s a shame that people believe Walker & his lackeys. You’re right the people did vote & what they voted for will take everything we have & they will be the first to bitch but they’ll turn around & vote for them again.

  12. My ancestors were Roman. They hunted and sacrificed Christians as an integral part of their religious beliefs and practices.

    That cool?

  13. I was 17 back in 1975 and wrote a paper on this very subject and predicted this very usurping and the denial of the rights of Americans who won’t carry the cross or cross those who demand it. But they will lose because they always do, they have a fantasy to build ON, WE have Humanity to build WITH.

  14. Fine with me. Of course that was a long time ago and it really doesnt matter today what anyone thinks about it

  15. Don’t wait too long to leave. I left Indiana in 1996 and don’t regret it in the least.

    Sometimes you have to leave, like West Virginia, or be stuck in a sea of stupidity.

  16. Great question. I know under Title IX they can lose funds for education but other than that I don’t know

  17. Soon these far right wing “Religious Freaks” will be chaining “All” of us “nonbelievers” up and then start feeding us to the lions and burning us at the stake for our “SINS” (to scare the weak among us into “submission”). No one will ever be “safe” being “themselves” in the U.S.A. again if this kind of pure “ANTICHRIST” EVIL (in my opinion) is not STOPPED IN ITS TRACKS. “GOD BLESS THE U.S.A.” “IN GOD WE TRUST”. BULLSHIT…

  18. May the wisdom of our ancestors may save us from the religious nuts in all camps.

    In the city I live, the university bus route goes around campus to collect the students, an islamic bus driver was hired, and went around his route, but refused to stop for the co-ed “not wearing appropiate dress” for his standards.
    Then, a cab driver, refused to take bar-hopping customers since he “does not approve of drinking”.
    Then a mosque was built next to the university, now the islamic group wants the students to “reform”, quit playing music and dancing next door, as it bothers them!
    Freedom from religion PLEASE!

  19. I do too, ibwilliamsi
    These Nazis can only win absent vigilance and vote.
    The Press has failed us.
    Now, voter turnout fails us.

    We are doomed.

  20. My dad, (who is 90), and my mom, (who just turned 87), live in Wisconsin and have voted for Democrats all their lives. I worry about them surviving the idiot Walker and the rest of the pathetic Republicans who were elected.

  21. Problem is Ridi, your ancestors became the Christians that we suffer today. Obviously they didn’t do a thorough job…not that anyone advocates killing them now. However, we’ll entertain ANY plan to re-integrate them back into the human race. Nothing is as dangerous as vicious beasts posing as humans.

  22. First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.
    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    Need any more be said?

  23. If only we could get the GOP base to understand that, because I seriously think it applies to present times. They may not be coming to transport people to camps, but they do intend to make themselves the masters, and the rest of us their servants.

  24. That’s probably the intent. They have been shutting down schools left and right here in Michigan. This state is really fold up in many ways. The only thing that keeps me here is the weather and geography. Half of the people are just plain stupid and very rude.

  25. We have St. Ronald Reagan to thank for this influx of fundamentalists in the USA, when he warmly welcomed the [ir]religious right with open arms.

    Without a doubt, he was the worst “president” our country ever had … he was an actor playing the biggest role of his life assisted by Nancy.

  26. It’s called the New World Order and it has been on the right wing political agenda since St Ronnie took office. When the middle-class wingnut lemmings wake up, it may be too late but they will eventually rise up. With the military police state firmly in place, the thinning of the herd designed in the PNAC/NWO will commence. The vote won’t mean ANYTHING then; just a mere formality of pretense to the rest of the world.

  27. Fundamentalists of any religion are potential terrorists. It doesn’t matter if they protest, assault and intimidate persons attending a family planning clinic.

    If given a chance, they will lop off the head of anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs.

    Our founders had sense enough to recognize this and sought to control it. But, given the religious makeup of the Supreme Court, Catholic Canon Law preempts constitutional law. Our civil rights of religious freedom have been seriously compromised.

  28. We are becoming the country ruled by the Catholic Church during the days of the Roman Empire. Let the Inquisitions and the Crusades begin.

  29. Helen – you’re thinking of Christianity in Western Europe 1100- 1800. Rome was dead and gone when the Byzantine Empire settled on Christianity as the State religion.

    ‘Jesus’ is strictly a European construct.

    Europeans fled to America in the 16/1700s to escape the noose, the rack, priests, kings, lords and random slaughter for Jesus.

    The American rebels were terrified of what religion + state did to humans. As a result, under our constitution, no American can be forced to bow to a ‘Lord’ – visible or invisible. Except in a closet, like Jesus directed.

  30. “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.”
    — Sinclair Lewis, 1935

  31. if you live in Michigan and dont agree with this.. buy yourself the biggest legal gun you can and learn how to use it

  32. I’ve warned for years now that the U.S. is turning in a theocratic direction, mostly because there are too many Roman Catholics on the SCOTUS and the Republicon Party has made itself an object lesson on the truth of Seneca’s observation that wise men think religion false, slow men think it true, and leaders make use of it. By currying the votes of the lowest of the low — evangelicals in particular — the Republicons will ally themselves even further and reinvent the Constitution, so nicely portrayed in your illo as hiding her face in shame.

  33. The right wing extremists who have taken to legislating these preposterous matters upon the population seem to forget they’re on our payroll. The upkeep of the facilities they practice in is paid for by us and the buildings themselves belong to us because they were constructed and put into use at the cost of the taxpayer.

    We are currently suffering under the exact thing that caused the original Tea Party to occur in Boston Harbor. We cannot accept that these people are using our tax dollars to turn this nation into a corporate run nation.

    What we are witnessing is the rise of the Fourth Reich. When I ask my representatives why the creators of the Tea Party haven’t been arrested and charged as traitors, all I get as an answer is silence. It appears nearly everyone who is on our payroll wants nothing to do with saving us from corporate/fundamental christian rule. Perhaps we the people should close down the government this time and hire civilians to work for us.

  34. Oops, looks like the fab 4 plus one on fox snooze will have to lower their hem lines. Oh dear what’s a lady to do???

  35. Think you are correct about Reagun. If I’m not wrong I believe he was instrumental in brining about the Nat. Day Of Prayer. Which now has so much influence that a congress man OR congress women (DARE not ATTEND.) The family and Reagun brought this about. The beginning of complete Domionism control in our country. This Congress will do it’s best to complete the job, with the help of the Supreme Court!

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