Conservatives have taken up the mantra of “Religious Liberty” in order to gain control. They claim to have this belief that Christianity is “under attack” and needs to be protected. This myth has led to many bills passed in many states that basically allows discrimination based on “Religious Liberty.”
When people talk about these bills, they always point to the anti-LGBT laws that have passed in states like North Carolina and Mississippi. But, the problem goes much further than that. As a matter of fact, if one wants to stretch the limits, you could make a point that Voter ID laws are examples of “religious liberty” as well. After all, the majority of states who have such laws also have a racist past where segregation was legal because the “bible said it was okay”.
Under true “religious liberty” each person in this country is allowed to worship the god or gods of their choice. They are allowed to not worship any gods if that is their decision. It means that the state cannot tell you what religious beliefs you have to follow.
But, that is not what the conservative movement means by “religious liberty”. What the conservative movement wants is that you must follow their beliefs in order to enjoy “religious liberty”. That is why conservative controlled states pass these ludicrous laws.
Religion is a complicated mess. Even the talk about being “Christian” is not an absolute. If you identify as Christian, which sect of Christianity are you claiming? There are far more sects in Christianity than any other religion I know. And, they all have their own interpretation of the Bible’s so-called Christian Laws.
When people tell me they are “Christian” I always ask which form of Christian do they mean? I ask, because that is where this “religious liberty” runs into a problem. When conservatives pass anti-abortion, anti-LGBT or anti-Muslim laws, they are really defining which religion you are supposed to follow.
If you belong to a sect of Christianity that does not agree with the conservative’s ideas of what “religion” is, your rights are also being violated. You don’t have any “Religious Liberty” because you fail to fall in line with their beliefs.
The pro-life groups say that life begins at conception. That is a “religious belief” only. As a result, everyone does not follow along with their conservative beliefs. Many people believe that life begins much later. Meaning it does not go against their “religious beliefs” to have an abortion if that is what they think is best for them and their families.
Many Christian sects have no problem with same-sex marriage. They believe that love is love and we should not make laws to define love between two people. That is not good enough for conservatives because they only want the right to define love and who should get married or not.
The whole problem of inter-racial marriage was based on the same stupid principle of “religious beliefs” because the bible said “each shall seek their own kind”. Of course that was from the Old Testament and meant that Jews should not marry outside of their faith. Yet Bigots used it to deny white people from marrying black people.
The Constitution says that the government shall not name an official religion. We are continuously hearing conservatives say we should follow the Constitution to the letter. Yet, every time they pass one of these egregious laws, they are violating that very Constitution by claiming their “religious beliefs” as defined law.
Every time conservatives pass a law that restricts or abolishes abortion, they are really denying women their “religious beliefs” that they claim to want to defend. Every time they pass a law allowing “legal discrimination” against same-sex couples, they are denying that couple their “religious beliefs” as well. Every time a conservative says we should ban all Muslims from America, they are denying the “separation of church and state” clause of the Constitution.
That isn’t defending liberty, that is setting up a dictatorship based on their primitive beliefs. The only way to truly defend “religious liberty” is to defend every person’s right to follow their beliefs even if they are different from yours.
That is exactly what the conservative movement does not want. You cannot control a country if you don’t control the beliefs of the people who live in that country. And, that is what “religious liberty” is all about in the conservative movement.
As the election moves forward, we will hear about “religious liberty” from Republicans, especially at the Congressional and State levels. As you go to the polls, you must remember that unless your beliefs are the same as the candidates, “religious beliefs” your “religious beliefs” do not count.
If things keep going they way they are, one day you will wake up and discover that your Christian Sect, or some other religion, has been outlawed. What will you do then?
And, the “shirts” keep marching along!