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Archive for the ‘Gender Issues’ Category

Tomorrow the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on same-sex marriage.  It is expected that by late June, it will render its decision declaring whether or not same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states.  A lot of experts are saying it will rule in favor of same-sex marriage, but I am not so sure.  I never try to figure out how 9 people will rule on any issue.  I hope they rule in favor of same-sex marriage, but I won’t hold my breath.

According to last weeks ABC/Washington Post survey, a full 61 percent of Americans favor legalizing same-sex marriage.  That is the largest margin in favor of the subject in history.  Republicans like to say that they only support “what the people want.”  Yet, the vast majority of Republican Candidates are opposed to same-sex marriage.

I have never understood the reasoning behind their utter hatred for the matter.  They often come out with ridiculous commentary about how same-sex marriages will “ruin the very fabric” of America.  Just how two people who love each other getting married will “ruin the very fabric” of America seems to escape me.

They claim their opposition is religious.  They cite the bible as the reason for their hatred against homosexuals.  Yet, in the New Testament, the testament that is supposed to be the one that Christianity is based on, has no such discriminatory language against homosexuals.  It takes some real “poetic liberty” to claim that any passage in the New Testament says homosexuals are “sinners.”

Besides that, this was the same type of argument that was used in order to ban bi-racial marriages in the past.  The haters then claimed that the bible said that blacks and whites were not to be married.  In truth, the whole Jim Crow laws were based on this false claim of biblical justification.

These candidates also say that our country was founded on the Judeo-Christian values.  That is not true.  The mere fact that the founding fathers needed to include the “separation of church and state” in the constitution says that they intended this to be a secular country that allows religious practice no matter what your religion is.  That is a far cry from being a Judeo-Christian country.

One of the funniest arguments to me is that same-sex marriage will destroy traditional marriage.  No one on that side of the argument has ever pointed to one definitive fact that makes this claim even remotely plausible.  I am still waiting for that nice Christian family to have a divorce because a same-sex married couple moved into the area and that caused their marriage to break-up.

I believe that if you really look closely at the demise of the “traditional family” values in America, it isn’t because of homosexuals and their desire to be married.  It is due to the simple fact that over 50% of marriages in America end in divorce.  The number one cause of divorce in America isn’t the homosexual “agenda” it is infidelity!  On top of that, many of the fighters against same-sex marriage have been married multiple times.  Isn’t that something that is against religious beliefs?

The purveyors of this hatred towards homosexuals has nothing to do with religion.  It has to do with politics.  Pure and simple.  According to Ted Cruz, if same-sex marriage is legalized in all 50 states, “religious liberty” will absolutely go away.  His stupidity is based on the fact that he thinks anyone who favors same-sex marriage is part of the “fascist liberals” who hate Christianity.

Of course, Ted Cruz’s idea of “religious freedom” is that you are allowed to discriminate against anyone you don’t like, as long as you can say “the bible tells me so.”  He constantly talks about the constitution, yet he continuously puts his interpretation of that book ahead of the constitution.

This hatred towards homosexuals, as I said, is pure politics.  In that survey I mentioned above, a full 70% of conservatives are opposed to same-sex marriage.  Since it has become necessary to gain the conservative support in order to win the Republican nomination for president, it is no wonder this topic is front-and-center in their debates.

I don’t know which rings more hollow.  Ted Cruz and his opponents ramblings about “religious liberty” or Ted Cruz’s comment that he would love his daughter just as much if she came out as homosexual.  That, at least to me, was a stunning comment on his part.  He may love his daughter as much if she were homosexual, but he would still fight to place her in a second-class citizenship position without all the rights of everyone else who isn’t homosexual.

Even if the Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage, this hatred will not go away.  You will see Cruz and others on his side of the aisle try to pass a Constitutional Amendment that would outlaw same-sex marriage.  Of course, they will be doing this in the name of “religious liberty.”

The term “religious liberty” has been dusted off by today’s conservatives in order to sway you into believing that discrimination is “constitutional” in America.  They want you to believe that they are the only people who are “smart enough” to decide who shall benefit from civil rights.  You simply have to sit back and let them make the rules, even if you don’t agree with them.

And, that is the definition of fascism!  In spite of what Mr. Cruz says, there has never been a “liberal fascist” regime in the world.  Even the Communist regime in Russia and China were not based on liberalism, it was based on conservatism.  Liberalism is allowing people to live their lives with civil rights protections so they cannot be discriminated against because they are different.

I am not a member of any religious group or sect.  Yet, I do not favor the idea that the state should order religions to perform same-sex marriages.  That should be left for them to decide.  There are Christian churches that do recognize and even perform same-sex marriages.  That is true “religious liberty” that is protected under the Constitution.

On the other hand, I do not believe that any religion has the right to impose their religious beliefs on everyone else.  That is not “religious liberty,” it is “religious dictatorship.”  In its Citizens United ruling, the Supreme Court opened up our electoral process to the highest bidder.  Something that Campaign Finance Laws were intended to prevent.

What will be the fallout should the Supreme Court uphold the bans on same-sex marriage?  Which “different” group will be next in the crosshairs of the conservatives?  Will it be immigrants?  Will it be women?  Will it be blacks?  Will it be Catholics?  Will it be Muslims?  Will it be Methodists?  How soon will it be before only “White Conservative Evangelical Christians” are the only group protected by the Constitution?

If you wish to scoff at these questions, you are probably part of the problem.  If you scoff at these questions and are not part of that “White Conservative Evangelical Christian” group, you will not scoff for long.  A ruling against same-sex marriage by the Supreme Court will mark the opening of further legalized discrimination laws in many states.

When the haters win, society loses.  When haters win, the end of our democracy isn’t far behind and the beginning of Christian Sharia Law with its terrorism will follow quickly behind!

 

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Tennessee obviously want to lead the way in the anti-woman agenda bill competition.  Of course, just passing such anti-woman bills is not enough.  They also have to call women liars and cheats.  Then the get to call doctors as money-grubbing sloths only interested in the abortion “business” for money only.

This all started with HB 977.  In this bill, the GOP wants to make women wait 48 hours and attend “counseling” before having an abortion provided.  This is simply another attempt by a GOP controlled state to make women go through nonsensical non-scientific “counseling” before having the abortion they, their families, and doctor have all agreed to.

See, women are not allowed to make up their own minds on such subjects.  The GOP obviously believes that women are simply too stupid to make any decisions by themselves.  No, once they make their decision, the GOP must abuse them with “counseling” that is ridiculous and meaningless.  Unless, of course, you want bully a woman into changing here mind.

Still, Rep. Craig Fitzhugh (D) proposed an exemption for victims of rape or incest.   Needless to say, GOP lawmaker is Sheila Butt went bonkers.  According to Rep. Butt, this is just a political stunt.  She said:

This amendment appears political because we understand that in most instances, this is not verifiable. Let’s make sure these women have the information and the understanding to act.

This nice “Christian” lady from Tennessee believes that you cannot verify that a woman was raped or a victim of incest.  Apparently, every time a woman claims she is a victim of one of these horrendous crimes, she is simply lying in order to get around this abysmal law.

Fitzhugh then had the unmitigated gall to suggest that women are actually able to comprehend both the magnitude of deciding to terminate a pregnancy and the gravity of rape and incest.  He said:

I just don’t think women take something like rape or incest lightly. And I can’t imagine any person would take advantage of that type of situation. Fortunately or unfortunately, it may not happen much. But it is certainly a condition that women need to be protected from, and that we should not give them a more burdensome process because their pregnancy is a result of one of these two actions.

Unfortunately, Rep. Butt and the other GOP butts in the house voted to “table” Fitzhugh’s amendment.  So, it won’t be part of the bill which is surely going to be signed by the state’s biggest GOP butt, the Governor.

But, don’t think that his is the only instance of Rep. Butt showing off her ignorance.  Earlier Fitzhugh offered a different amendment.  He wanted allow doctors to exempt patients from the 48-hour waiting period for mental health reasons.  Rep. Butt once again showed her “Christian Charity” on this matter.  She said:

Putting this psychological harm bypass into the bill is really a loophole for the abortion industry. It allows someone who is going to profit from abortion to get the waiting period waived.

Just to be clear about all of this.  According to Rep. Butt, every woman who claims to have been raped or a victim of incest is a liar.  Every doctor who wants to grant an exemption to this “waiting period” is simply out for the money.  It is really nice to see just how sympathetic this woman is to other women.

Bills like these are simple attempts to legislate specific religious beliefs into law.  They serve no other purpose.  Other than attempting to control the lives of women.  It is open season on women across the nation.

As I wrote yesterday, none of this nonsense being vomited up by conservatives has anything to do with religion or religious beliefs.  It is all a simple way to keep women down and under control.  And it stinks.  And it is wrong.  In my humble opinion, the GOP is using “terrorism” against women to deny them their civil rights.  But don’t worry, even if you believe they are correct, once they get women “back in their place” they will come after you, too.

 

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It is very easy for people on the left to poke fun at our conservative brothers.  It seems that almost every day some conservative says something that most rational people would consider inappropriate.  It also is true that almost every day a conservative controlled state passes another law that infringes on the rights of its citizens, all in the name of “liberty.”

There has been a lot of talk about these so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, anti-abortion bills, one state even passed a law that allows for carrying concealed guns without a license!”  Conservatives are continually railing about the “red menace” still threatening our way of life.  They argue the Iran Nuclear Deal is “giving in” to Iran.  They continue to harp that the ACA is bad for your health, although they don’t have any alternative to offer.

Conservatives deny that climate change is real.  There are states like Florida that actually ban public workers from using the words “climate change.”  They claim that man has had no influence on the weather.  Texas conservatives are hugely against doing anything about “climate change” all the while the western end of their state is getting hotter and drier by the day.

But, rather than poking fun at these conservatives, I think it would be better to try to understand them, just a little.  That is the only way to really fight back and gain the support of the American People.  See, conservatives are really living in the past.  Conservatism by definition favors the status-quo and hates progress.

Face facts, do you really think that all of the crying about evolution and not teaching the bible in school has anything to do with religion?  No!  It has to do with the fact that conservatives want to remain in a time when bad things that happen like drought, tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes could all be handled by saying it was “God’s will.”  If you allow science to teach something other than “God’s will” you don’t have any basis for your fantasies.

As I said once before, the phrase “it’s God’s Will” is a convenient excuse to believe that nothing is really anyone’s fault.  That explains their consistent denial about climate change.  They want you to believe that man is not helping the climate to get warmer, it is “God’s Will.”  Therefore we just have to put up with it.

Conservatives use the abortion battle to say “life begins at conception.”  But what they are really saying is that they want to be able to tell women what they are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to do.  The last thing a conservative wants is for women to decide for themselves or for that matter even think for themselves.  In our days of yore, women were subjugated to the will of men.  That is how they want it to be in the future.

As a result of their backwards thinking, they have nothing to offer America except fear.  The Red Menace is still a threat.  ISIS is coming to America to kill us all in our sleep.  Gay couples are destroying the American family and the institution of marriage.  None of this is true, but they do make for great headlines.  Especially aimed towards other conservatives who are afraid that tomorrow will be different from today.

So, how do we fight against such backwards thinking?  We need to call them out for their stupidity, yes, but we also need to educate the populace on how this kind of backward thinking is ruining our economy, defense, and country.  Let’s look at climate change as an example something the DOD even says is a threat to national security.  See, everyone who is fighting the conservatives on climate change are making the wrong arguments.  If you really want to see a change in our energy policies, you need to hit them where it will hurt the most.  People’s pocketbooks!

Those who are arguing that fossil fuels are hurting the planet are correct.  But, they don’t take the argument far enough.  They only talk about how climate change is changing our planet.  That is serious enough, but if you want to get everyone on board, you need to show that changing our energy policies to renewable energy will actually create a boom to our economy.  You need to show that these conservatives are really stopping the creation of millions of jobs that cannot be outsourced.

Using renewable energy, like wind and solar power, helps reduce the costs of energy for every single American.  It reduces energy costs for manufacturing and other businesses.  It creates jobs that cannot be outsourced.  It creates education opportunities so people who currently work in the fossil fuel industry, like coal miners, can learn a new trade and secure economic stability in the future.

I don’t know a single business owner who would not like to see their electric bill cut.  I don’t know a single person who wouldn’t like to see their heating and air conditioning bill cut.  This can happen if we stop using fossil fuels whose costs are subject to the whims of Wall Street.

Of course changing our energy policies costs money.  We need to rebuild our energy infrastructure.  We need to upgrade our electric producing plants.  We need to reeducate our workers so they can benefit from the changes.  However, in terms of return on investment, we would probably recover these costs in less than 20 years.

It doesn’t matter to me if the rest of the world is going to follow us or not.  In my opinion, they will be forced to follow us because using renewable, cheaper energy will make America more competitive in the global market.  It will allow us to restore our manufacturing base at a lower cost, thus creating even more jobs.  More people working at livable wages means more tax dollars coming into the Federal coffers.  More money in the treasury will help pay off our debt.

The conservatives want to eliminate things like SNAP, WIC, and welfare.  What better way to eliminate the need for these programs than to create an environment where people can actually get a real job that cannot be given to someone in China?  What better way to help the poor than teaching them a trade that they can earn a livable wage with?

But no, conservatives would rather fall back on their tried and true method of claiming that climate change is “God’s Will.”  They are not interested in creating a better future for our country.  They are not interested in creating a better future for our children.  They are only interested in living in the past.  That is where they feel safe.  That is where they feel in control.

It isn’t hard to show the economic benefits that the average American can acquire if we change our policies.  Just look at what we gained from NASA and the space program?  Hell, we never had Tang before the space program.  We didn’t have personal computers either.

The benefits of changing energy policies would have just as much benefit to the average American as the space program had.  Maybe even more because these policy changes would put money into people’s pockets.  It would create job security.  It would return our manufacturing base.  It would create more research into things like cars that don’t need to burn gasoline or be limited to a few hundred miles on a battery charge.

It is time we show the American people that conservatism is holding back our economic growth.  It is holding us back from a future that would be far better than the present.  Be honest, you are not going to win the argument by telling people that New York City will be underwater in 100 years.  The people today won’t be around then, and frankly don’t care.

But, if you tell them they will gain economically by a shift in energy policies, if you show them that their children will have a more secure lifestyle, they will listen.  It doesn’t matter if you earn $1 Billion per year or $10,000 per year.  It is all about personal economics.  That is where we need to take the battle.

Naturally the conservatives will use the argument that it will “cost too much.”  But, the American people have shown in that past that if they benefit from changes, they won’t care how much it costs.  They will want it.  That is how you beat conservatives and take our country into a better future for our citizens.

 

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We have seen the headlines and we have heard the radical right claim that there is a war on Christians.  What better way to deflect your war on democracy than to put the blame on democracy?  If you really pay attention, that is exactly what is happening in this country right now.

A term you have probably never heard before, I am willing to use right now.  Our country, our very democracy, is under attack by a “Radical Christian Agenda!”  Yes, you have all heard a similar phrase used by the right against gays, blacks, liberals, etc.  As in “Radical Homosexual Agenda.”  The truth is, Radical Christians are the real villains who have a radical agenda that will fundamentally change our country.

The other day, Mike Huckabee told an Iowa news radio station the “military is waging war on Christians.”  Really?  The military is probably the most secular organization in the country.  Yes, there are homophobes, Islamaphobes, and pure xenophobes who are in the military.  But, as an organization, the military does not force anyone to believe in any religion.  That is the problem as Mike Huckabee sees it.

The self-anointed prophet, Bill O’Reilly, has been crying about a “war on Christians” for years now.  He started with his ridiculous “war on Christmas” and it has just gotten worse over the years.  He claims Christians are the truly “moral” people in the country.  Sorry Bill, I was taught that purposefully lying is not “moral.”  Quite the opposite.  So, until you fess up to your deliberate lies over the years to make yourself look good, keep quiet about morality.

All of these so-called “restoration of religious freedom” bills around the country really have nothing to do with “religious freedom.”.  The people who are introducing these bills in the various states don’t give a rat’s ass about religious freedom.  What they really want is the right to discriminate against, segregate, and even kill those who don’t believe in their radical Christian beliefs.  If you think I am exaggerating, look at the proposed ballot initiative in California that calls for the “putting a bullet in the head” of homosexuals.

The real goal of this Radical Christian Agenda is to eliminate our democracy.  They want to establish a dictatorship in America that would rival the most gruesome dictatorships in history.  Their goal is to establish a society where their group are the only ones who can say what is civil rights and what is not.  They want to be able to determine that discrimination can only be defined as you not following their radical Christian beliefs.

If you desire to “fit in” you will have to adopt their beliefs.  You will have to accept that same-sex marriage is illegal and homosexuals need to be “eliminated.”  You will have to accept that abortion is illegal and that your belief otherwise will just get you put in jail.  You will have to accept that only white evangelical christians will have the right to vote.

In order to justify their goals, they are quick to point out the atrocities that ISIS is committing in other countries.  What they fail to tell you is that is exactly what they want to do right here.  Only it will be the Christians who are committing the atrocities.

They want to shut down our border with Mexico.  They want to eliminate immigration to any group other than “white European Christians.”  As far as these people are concerned, White Christians, especially White Evangelical Christians are the “supreme race” and therefore are the only people who deserve rights.

The election in 2016 will be a turning point for our country.  If the Radical Christian Agenda wins, it may be the last general election we ever have.  If you don’t believe me, just listen to the wonderful “candidates” the Republicans are fielding.  Listen to Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Scott Walker and you will hear this Radical Christian Agenda being spouted daily.

The only real “attacks on Christians” are the backlash you hear when someone tries to use their “religious beliefs” as an excuse to discriminate against someone.  That is not an attack against “religious beliefs,” it is an attack against bigotry!  If your religion tells you it is okay to be a bigot, I suggest you find another religion.

On the other hand, you see these Radical Evangelical Christians attacking homosexuals, women, blacks, Latinos, and non-Christians.  These same-sex marriage bans, anti-abortion bills, anti-immigration bills, and voter suppression bills all show who the true attackers are and what they are after.

They attack science and education.  They hate evolution and want to ban it from our schools.  They hate America’s true history and want to ban all of the “bad” stuff from history classes.  They want to keep women subjugated to the will of men.  In their eyes, women are only around to have babies, and nothing more.

Anyone who stands up for the rights of others is not a “true American.”  Anyone who stands up for peace and negotiated treaties to maintain that peace is a “supporter of terrorism.”  They are the only ones who are allowed to determine what the truth is.  Your truth is wrong.  Your beliefs are wrong.

There is nothing in the teachings of Jesus that says it is okay to discriminate against anyone.  In fact, just the opposite is true.  He preached peace and harmony among men.  He told you to “love your neighbor as yourself.”  He told you to “turn the other cheek.”  The ministry of Jesus was love, not hate!

You can mark my words here.  If you are not part of the Radical Evangelical Christian cult, you will be persecuted as much as the rest of us should they gain power.  You will discover that their meaning of “religious freedom” is that you must follow their religion.  Otherwise, you will be considered an “outsider” too.

As the campaign season starts ramping up, please listen to these preachers of the Radical Christian Agenda carefully.  They are lying to you and believe you are stupid enough to buy into their hatred.  History is full of examples of what happens when the public swallows these kinds of lies.  We must fight to ensure America is never included in that horrible history!

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We have heard all the comparisons that the Republican Party led by their radical Tea Party Movement make about the President being similar to Hitler.  They are usually written off as lunatics, which they are.  However, they have also been quietly working behind the scenes to give us an example of what fascism in America may look like.  That window has opened quite wide in Wisconsin.

For a little background.  In Wisconsin, Justices for the State Supreme Court are elected.  The Chief Justice is not appointed, per se, but gains that title by seniority.  There have also been laws on the books in Wisconsin that explicitly defines when a jurist must recuse himself/herself from a case.  One example is when a group contributes to the campaign of the jurist, and a case involving that group comes before the court.  The jurist must be recused and not involved in the case.

This has led Wisconsin in becoming known for its fairness and jurisprudence.  Keeping potential conflicts of interest away from the courts has served Wisconsin extremely well in the past.  But, all that is changing with Governor Scott Walker.

As you may know, there has been an ongoing investigation into Scott Walkers campaign to fight off his recall a few years ago.  The complaint is that his campaign and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC), among others directly coordinated in the campaign.  That is a violation of the law, even for conservatives.

There has been a case working its way through the courts that would stop the investigation.  If Walker’s campaign and these groups did violate the law, that wouldn’t make Walker’s presidential run very effective.  The case will come before the Wisconsin Supreme Court soon.

So, not wanting to take a chance of the investigation going forward and putting Walker in a bad light, he has quietly worked to change the law about the Supreme Court.  And, he is diligently working to make sure that the current Chief Justice, Shirley Abrahamson is removed as the Chief Justice before the case gets to the court.

How is this possible?  One of the first rules for conservatives is to make sure than any referendums or amendment to the constitution is put to the vote during times when no one is paying attention and you can expect low turn-out.  For example, most of the state amendments that banned same-sex marriage were passed in off-year elections when turn-out is traditionally low.

These types of laws or changes are never placed on the ballot during a Presidential election because turn-out is high and people actually pay attention.  One such period just came and went in Wisconsin.  On Tuesday, there was a “spring election ballot.”  Walker and his allies added a referendum that changed the way the state’s Supreme Court got its Chief Justice.

This referendum says that the Chief Justice will now have to be voted on by the court members.  The court in Wisconsin has shifted to a conservative majority, and Chief Justice Abrahamson is considered as a liberal.  This conservative shift is mostly a result of groups like WMC having poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into these elections.  That means she is sure to be voted out as Chief Justice.  She is suing over this change, and we will have to wait to see what happens on that.

However, not wanting to wait, Walker and his pals are trying to get her off the court completely.  She is 81 and they are trying to get a mandatory retirement age of 75 passed.  Remember, Justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court are elected.  Abrahamson was just re-elected to another four-year term.  Walker doesn’t like that, so he wants her out and is willing to change whatever law he can to ensure it happens.

If you think that is fun, the conservative majority on the court lowered the court’s conflict-of-interest standards. They approved changes in requirements for when justices must “recuse” themselves — that is, decline to participate in a case. Now special interests can appear before judges to whom they’ve made campaign contributions — and they can give money to judges even as those judges are presiding over cases to which the donors are parties.

Which brings up the investigation into Walker’s campaign practices.  A majority of the justices received big campaign contributions from Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.  However, since they changed the rules on conflict-of-interests, they can now sit in and help decide whether or not the investigation can proceed.

If you are looking for the icing on the cake, the conservative majority decided that there will be no oral arguments. The justices will meet and decide in secret.  Okay conservatives, how is that for transparency!

In a recent report, the Huffington Post said:

As he ramps up for a potential presidential run in 2016, Walker is using his executive budget to take control of judicial salaries; disband the independent council that advises all branches of state government on court practice and procedure; and weaken the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, the state body charged with investigating judicial ethics violations and recommending discipline.

So, as you can see Scott Walker is laying the ground work for what fascism will look like in America.  You have to be honest here.  Any executive who erodes the powers of the courts is creating a fascist state.  The best way to stay in power and establish your dictatorship is to eliminate the separation of powers in government.

That is exactly what Scott Walker and his cronies are doing in Wisconsin.  If there was anyone in this country that can be realistically compared to Hitler, I think Scott Walker is the man.  Remember, he wants to be president, and people like the Koch Brothers and WMC are willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to make that happen.

If his nightmare of being president should ever come true, I hope we will be able to say more than “well, democracy was nice while it lasted.”

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I know I have written several times about these laws being discriminatory.  However, as you all know, when I discover I made a mistake, I am willing to say so.  Maybe, I have made a mistake here.  Maybe we should be thanking Indiana and Arkansas for pointing out just how much our religious liberties have been trashed by governments everywhere.

At first I always wondered why it was okay for a baker, for example, to refuse to serve same-sex couples and still serve adulterers.  A florist in Georgia set me straight on that one.  She said it was okay because “they were different kinds of sin.”  Wow, I never thought of that!

Apparently, I never picked up on the lessons in religion where we are allowed to choose which sins we won’t tolerate to honor “Jesus who died on the cross for us” as the same florist says.  Somehow, I came out of those classes believing that sin was sin.  I also remember those teachers telling me that you can go to hell for lying just as much as murdering someone.  Maybe they never heard that we are allowed to choose the sins we don’t like either.

But, even more importantly, these laws do open up a whole lot of things that have been considered taboo in this country.  For starters, what about polygamy?  Both the Mormons and Muslims believe that men are allowed to have more than one wife.  The Muslim faith says a man can “have no more than four wives.”

The Mormons don’t put a number on how many they can have.  And, remember, according to Mormons, they are the only ones who will be able to have sex in heaven.  The rest of us are out of luck on that one.

When the backlash to these laws started, conservative critics said that we need to know what is in the law.  Both laws say “the state shall not substantially burden a person or business religious practice unless it can prove that doing so “(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.”

I don’t see how a government can prove a compelling governmental interest in outlawing polygamy.  If all parties are adults and agree to polygamy, that should be enough to allow it.  Besides, most of the characters in the Bible that Christians like to honor had multiple wives!  Polygamy was a fact of life in those days.

Even abortion is now covered by this law as being legal.  If a woman states that her religious beliefs say it is okay for her to have an abortion, and the doctor providing it can say his religious beliefs say it is okay to provide the abortion, what possible “compelling governmental interest” is there to stop the abortion from taking place?  That would be placing a “substantial burden” on the individual’s religious practices.

Almost all religions that I have studied say the marriage is for life.  Remember those religious vows that you take that say “until death do us part?”  According to these laws, anyone who disagrees with divorce and remarriage will have the right to deny service to anyone who falls into this category as well.  That is very unlikely because if florists and caterers and bakers exclude divorced people, they would probably go bankrupt since that is the majority of their wedding business.

Even same-sex marriage is now legal in these states no matter what the Supreme Court finally rules.  If two people believe that their religious beliefs do not prohibit them getting married, then the state has no “compelling governmental interest” in refusing a marriage license to them without creating a “substantial burden” on their religious practices.

These are just four examples to show just how liberating these laws really are.  We didn’t even know that we have had our religious beliefs trampled on.  We never knew that an ardent catholic could refuse to take photos at a wedding of a divorced person before.  We never knew that the ban on polygamy was really our liberties being trampled on.  We never knew that bans on abortion were trampling on our religious liberties.  We never knew that it was always illegal for the government to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages.

These laws, like so many around the country, are a godsend.  Now, we can do whatever we want in the name of “religious liberty” and the government has no right to “substantially burden” us with any law that disagrees with those beliefs.

So as you can see, we should be thanking the legislatures and governors of Arkansas and Indiana for their bravery in opening up this whole new world full of liberties we never knew we had.  On the other hand, how much do you wanna bet that the Christian Cult who introduced these laws never thought of all of this!

 

 

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Arkansas passed a bill similar to the Indiana bill that has drawn harsh backlash.  Both bills would, in most people’s opinion allow businesses to discriminate against someone based on the business owner’s “religious beliefs.”    Indiana Governor Pence has asked for another bill that would take the possibility of discrimination out of the original.  Arkansas Governor Hutchinson is calling for a similar follow-up bill.

Both states argue that their bills mirror the 1993 Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  But, that really isn’t the case.  Just a little history here.  The federal bill came about from “liberals” because two native-Americans were fired from their jobs in Oregon as Drug Counselors because they used drugs in their religious ceremonies.

The Federal Act was intended to protect people from being fired from their jobs because of religious beliefs.  That is a very sound thought.  On the other hand, Jesse Helms, one of the most staunch conservatives in the Senate at the time, fought the federal act tooth-and-nail.

How did this become a rallying cry for conservatives all of a sudden?  You only need to look at SCOTUS ruling in the Hobby Lobby case.  That opened the door for discrimination to be based on religious beliefs.  By allowing Hobby Lobby to ban certain contraceptions from the health insurance, they allowed anyone with “religious beliefs” to believe they can discriminate on the same principle.  Funny thing about Hobby Lobby.  Before it was mandated by the Affordable Care Act, Hobby Lobby covered the very prescriptions for contraceptions they now claim violate their “religious beliefs.”

Both Governors Pence and Hutchinson claim their bills were not intended to allow discrimination based on sexual orientation.  Yet, both states refuse to add LGBT protections to their civil rights bills.  As a matter of fact, after a couple of municipalities in Arkansas added LGBT protections to their municipal civil rights bills, the state passed a law that prohibited any municipality or county to add LGBT protections to their civil rights bills.

Both states refuse to even add protections to keep LGBT state employees from being fired simply because they are LGBT.  If you are LGBT and work for one of these state governments, you can be fired simply because you are LGBT.  With track records like that, how can anyone really believe that these bills were not intended to discrimination against LGBT people?

These bills are so bad, even Wal-Mart is against them!  Imagine, a conglomeration like Wal-Mart who uses the Federal Government’s social safety net more than any other company to keep their employee’s pay below the poverty line, actually doesn’t like these laws?

The reason these two Conservative Governors are backtracking is simply because they face an “economic” backlash.  They don’t give a damn about a social backlash.  But, when their states could lose millions of dollars in revenue because companies refuse to do business in their state, that is something that will get their attention.  That is how we must keep the pressure on against these discrimination laws.

So as Easter Week progresses, we get another law designed to allow discrimination.  I’m still looking for that asterisk behind the quote: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Would a Conservative Christian Cult member please tell me which Bible it is in?

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