In the real world, especially the criminal justice system real world, when a person concludes that the law does not apply to them and acts accordingly they are a criminal. In America, specifically in religious Republican America, when a person decides that the law, the U.S. Constitution, and a ruling by the nation’s highest court does not apply to them and acts accordingly they are just persecuted Christians exercising their religious freedom. Of course, if evangelical Republicans had their way, America would be governed by a Christian theocracy and despite the Founding Fathers’ best efforts to forbid a theocratic government, Republicans are pushing legislation to impose evangelical laws on the nation.
Even before the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal, civil, and due process rights applies to all Americans, evangelical fanatics and Republicans claimed they would never accept the High Court ruling according to the Constitution as law of the land; according to their special “religious freedom.” After the High Court’s ruling, the same evangelical fanatics and many religious Republicans lambasted the Court for adhering to the Constitution as judicial tyranny, and still claimed they would never accept that the 14th Amendment prevented them from discriminating against gays. Republicans and Christian fanatics were intent on exercising their religious liberty to discriminate against gays with impunity one way or the other, and they were very serious.
So what evangelical Republicans in Congress came up with this week is a “novel” piece of federal legislation that mirrors the rash of religious Republican state schemes to legalize discrimination against the LGBT community. The new legislation is a religious measure with one of those clever Republican titles, “The First Amendment Defense Act;” because calling it a Christian ‘license to discriminate” against LGBT Americans likely would not go over too well with anyone outside of their theocratic cabal.
The legislation originating in the House protects bigoted Americans who oppose same-sex marriage according to their religion’s dictates, and according to language in the religious legislation, that license to discriminate also allows evangelical bigots, including for-profit corporations, to fire any woman who gets pregnant without being married…to a man. The law specifically prohibits the federal government from enforcing the Constitution, or anti-discrimination laws, against any religious fanatic, including for-profit corporations, who cites immunity from the law based on religious grounds.
There is also a little section that forbids the federal government from revoking a non-profit’s tax exemption, or terminating any company’s federal contract for discrimination based on religious liberty. The specific language in the bill is written to protect evangelical bigots “who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman,” and that “sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.” Simply put, religious Republicans are Hell-bent on forcing the federal government to toe the theocratic line and legalize evangelical discrimination. The oath of office they took to support the Constitution as the law of the land be damned.
A legislative representative with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Ian Thompson, said that “in addition to targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, the bill clearly encompasses discrimination against single mothers.” As Thompson noted, the Republicans’ religious legislation specifically forbids the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) from protecting women from sex-based religious discrimination.
Thompson said the Republican bill is also a theocratic maneuver to “eviscerate anti-discrimination protections” for LGBT federal contractors that President Obama signed into law just last year, and “allows federally-funded grantees to turn away LGBT people from (taxpayer-funded) homeless shelter services or drug treatment programs.” According to Thomson who stated the glaringly obvious, “This bill is ‘Indiana’ on steroids” in reference to the so-called “religious freedom” bill in Indiana that incited a national and corporate backlash.
The Christian extremist who authored the House version of the theocratic edict, Representative Raul Labrador (R-ID), denied that the legislation has anything whatsoever to do with giving evangelical fanatics a license to discriminate against gays or unwed mothers. He lied like evangelical Republicans are wont to do and said oh heavens no, “It’s just allowing people to continue to believe the way they do.” One of his evangelical cohorts, Representative Bill Flores (R-Texas), said “We’re not going to try to dance on the head of a pin here. This legislation protects an institution (or for-profit corporation) based on its sincerely held religious beliefs from persecution.” It is, no matter how theocratic Republicans spin it, a religious license to violate the 14th Amendment.
Senator Mike Lee, another theocratic Republican from Mormon Utah, introduced a companion bill in the Senate and said that if a business or university fires an unmarried woman for having sexual relations out of wedlock, “they ought to be protected in their religious freedom.” Lee also said that there are plenty of businesses, colleges, and universities “that have a religious belief that sexual relations are to be reserved for marriage,” and Lee understands that as good Christians it is their religious right to punish any employee who fails to adhere to the employers’ religious beliefs.
The theocratic legislation is gaining momentum among Republicans who are mounting pressure on Republican leaders in Congress to call a vote on the evangelical bill this month; before Republicans have to face religious fanatics at home during their recess. Speaker of the House, opponent of same-sex marriage, and ‘devout Catholic, John Boehner said that “The Supreme Court’s decision on marriage raises a lot of questions and a number of members have concerns about the issues it raises. No decision has been made on how best to address these.” Boehner is a liar; the decision has been made to address the High Court decision with legislation to prohibit government from enforcing Constitutional anti-discrimination laws. The bill has been referred to the Oversight and Government Reform committee that should be a red flag to any American that “reforming government” into a theocracy is the primary goal of evangelical Republicans.
It is really unclear where in the Christian bible, or the U.S. Constitution, evangelicals find an edict authorizing them to punish Americans who fail to conform to their religious extremism. It is highly likely that they are adopting practices of Muslim extremists in the Taliban and ISIS who cite their “religious freedom” to punish non-compliant people. It is fortunate that Americans have a secret weapon to thwart evangelical extremists in Congress in President Obama’s veto pen, because it is apparent that they believe the U.S. Constitution does not apply to them and they are acting accordingly.
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.