“Religious Liberty”

Lately there’s been a spread of some odd laws in the United States. These laws are typically named “Religious Liberty” laws, or something like that. This post is going to be talking about these laws. (Also, Jessica and I are still doing the accent challenge tonight!)

I wrote about these laws in a few of my other writing accounts/ groups I post on, because these laws are important. And stupid. Mostly stupid. But important, BECAUSE of the level of stupidity involved in them.

These laws basically protect the “right” to discriminate even in the workplace where protections have been granted that overwhelm hate speech and acts of hate/discrimination. Think of these laws as overwhelming other laws which help to ensure that individuals who are homosexual, members of the LGTBQ community, non-religious (or not of the religion of the person whose going to invoke the act as the excuse for discrimination), can and will be victims of religious discrimination.

Part of the tricky thing here is that these laws are usually “religious liberty” laws, but it isn’t “religious liberty”, it’s a result of a very distinctly “Christian Persecution Complex” attitude, which has contributed to a rise of individuals who claim things like “Christianity is Under Attack!”. These laws can and hopefully will be used by individuals who aren’t Christian, because that is a clever tactic which will help to ensure these laws are destroyed as quickly and as suddenly as they appear. I sincerely hope that Pagan, Muslim, Scientology, Buddist, Hindi, groups use these laws, because if they do I can guarantee you that these laws will be repealed faster than you can blink.

This notion of Christianity being under attack, and things like Religious Liberty, like so many things endorsed by Religious conservatives can be traced back to a dark place in our nation’s history. There’s a misconception among many people that the modern religious right-wing came together as a result of Roe v. Wade, which was certainly an event which helped to unite many of them, but the real birth (the beginning) came about as a result of a university you may never have heard of. Bob Jones University.

Bob Jones University was a university which stalled in its desegregation process, and because of this was stripped of its tax exempt status. This was a Christian University which refused to desegregate. It even had sent pamphlets to students about segregation being invented by God, and that opposition to segregation was opposition to God (according to some sources this practice continued until the 1980s). This event was possibly the most influential event which enabled Christian conservatives to get to the polls, because of a motion by many influential conservative pundits who called for action. This unity later helped to ensure that there was a ready force to act against abortion, because these individuals were already ready to pounce on any polls which were about issues for or against their religious beliefs.

We can thank religious liberty for a host of evils, but the fact that it is attempting a resurrection now that many people have either forgotten it, or weren’t aware of its existence in this context is something that should shock modern Americans. We cannot forget our own history. We cannot forget the evils born out of “religious liberty”.

But getting away from the history of religious liberty, part of my issue with its present is this: who is under attack? Christians who give out marriage licenses aren’t acting out of Christianity. They are empowered by a government which claims it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) favor any religion over another. They aren’t being empowered by “God” while handing out marriage licenses which are not given by the church, but by the state government. Same thing with doctors. The religious beliefs of a doctor, or fireman, or any public service official, should not be ground to justify discrimination. It’s that simple.

Sources:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd/2014/10/republican-state-senator-in-nc-introduces-bill-that-would-allow-magistrates-to-refuse-gay-couples/

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/05/29/the_religious_right_formed_around_support_for_segregation_not_against_abortion.html

https://docs.google.com/a/uncg.edu/file/d/0B6A7PtfmRgT7Q1kzZEVXUThMLWc/edit

http://www.drslewis.org/camille/2013/03/15/is-segregation-scriptural-by-bob-jones-sr-1960/

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/03/18/the-religious-liberty-bullies-and-their-fight-against-lgbt-equality.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/18/pediatrician-refuses-lesbian-mothers_n_6710128.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/mar/17/aclu-blasts-religious-liberty-acts-as-licenses-to-/?page=all

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/02/26/3333161/religious-liberty-racist-anti-gay/

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“Religious Liberty”

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