Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Over the last few weeks, we have been inundated with "religious freedom" legislation and/or conduct.  However, it should actually be called "religious compulsion" because that's what it really is.

Consider Hobby Lobby, that wondrous store based on religious principles - that according to the owners, of course. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments today. Hobby Lobby doesn't want the Affordable Care Act to force them to provide employee health insurance that includes contraception coverage.  In other words, Hobby Lobby owners believe they should make medical decisions for their employees ... based on their religious beliefs.  If the SCOTUS decision favors the oh-so pious Hobby Lobby owners, that will open the floodgates.  How about denying insurance coverage for blood transfusions?  Immunizations?

Do you want YOUR employer making medical decisions for you based on his/her religion?  That would be religious compulsion.

Weeks ago, Arizona's GOP-controlled legislature passed a bill that would have allowed businesses to discriminate against anyone as long as that discrimination was based on religious beliefs.  Of course, these oh-so wise lawmakers didn't really think it through.  How about a Jewish deli that would have been able to deny service to Christians?  Or a boutique owned by a straight woman that would have been able to deny entrance to lesbians? (Actually, we all know that this last example is exactly what the legislature had in mind.)  Fortunately, Governor Jan Brewer vetoed this obnoxious legislation ... but the Christian right group that wrote the bill is already planning a comeback for next year.

The question you should probably ask yourself:  When might be the target of discrimination based on religious belief?  You know, you could ... depending on who you are.  Again, religious compulsion.

Now let's take a little trip to that oh-so tolerant state of Tennessee.  Again (what a coincidence!) the legislature is controlled by Republicans.  The House and Senate sent a bill to the Governor's desk that would allow students to use religion in any manner they choose.  And, guess what ... that includes bullying.  These lawmakers are on a religious mission and to hell with anyone who is the target of bigotry and hatred.  They want to protect religious freedom, don't you know!  Of course, just like the Republican legislators in Arizona, they didn't think this through to the end.  But then, that's nothing new.

This Tennessee abomination will also force students of all beliefs to be subjected to the proselytizing by Christians ... that's really the group the legislature wants to protect because what do you think will happen when a Muslim student gets up and starts quoting from the Qur'an? He'll be suspended in a heartbeat and you know it.

The religious right - masked as thinking Republican lawmakers - are calling their actions "religious freedom" yet it's anything but freedom.  It's religious compulsion.

noun: compulsion; plural noun: compulsions
the action or state of forcing or being forced to do something; constraint.

Hobby Lobby wants all its employees forced into abiding by the owners' religious beliefs.  Arizona lawmakers wanted to allow discrimination based on religious beliefs - the underlying belief being Christian - and if you don't conform, oh, well.  The state of Tennessee wants to allow students do behave any damn way they choose, based on religious beliefs and that forces all students to fall under the Christian thumb.

This kind of reminds me of a Sunday School song I learned long, long ago.  The chorus goes like this:

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

 In the above cases, the light is shining bright ... on the bigotry and hatred running rampant throughout this country.  The attempt to hide it under the guise of "religious freedom" is a huge FAIL because most of us see it for what it is.

It's religious compulsion and it needs to stop.  The only way it will stop is at the ballot box.  It does no good to complain and then go vote Republican simply because you are a registered Republican.  You need to ask yourself if you want to be the target one day (and that could well happen). If the answer is no, then do us all a favor and vote against the GOP candidates ... or just stay home on election day.  We'll all be better off for sure.

No comments:

Post a Comment