Monday, July 06, 2015

The GOP's "Religious Freedom" Laws Will Hurt More Than Gays

While the current Christofascist conniption fits over the gay marriage ruling on June 26, 2015, provide the immediate impetus for falsely named "religious freedom" laws being pushed by Christofascist sycophants in the Republican Party, the targets - or should we say victims? - of such laws are far broader in scope.  Indeed, many of such proposed laws would grant Christofascists the right to selectively ignore any number of laws so long as they could make a claim that obedience to such laws burdened their deeply held religious beliefs.  Anti-woman bias, anti-Muslim discrimination, discrimination against the divorced, etc., etc., would all suddenly become allowable to the "godly folks."  It is a recipe for chaos and is the antithesis of the language of the U.S. Constitution.  A piece in Huffington Post looks at the much wider group of targets for Christofascist bigotry.  Here are highlights:
Did your parents or grandparents ever use the term "hissy fit"? If so, you know you've been witnessing a bunch of them from Republican presidential candidates over the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

For all the candidates, these references to religious freedom were also references to fundamentalist Christianity. The so-called religious freedom laws Republican wannabees seek are fig leafs for discrimination against gay couples. But should such laws become reality, they would go far beyond the ability of a Christian business to refuse to cater a gay wedding. Adherents of other religions would by definition be accorded equal rights to discriminate based on their beliefs, which go beyond anti-gay tenets.

For example, Orthodox Jews do not believe women should wear pants. So could a woman be fired for wearing pants to work in a business owned by Orthodox Jews?

Would that mean a Mormon-owned business could refuse to hire women at all, because they shouldn't be working?

The Catholic church condemns birth control. Could a Catholic-owned business fire a woman if she was found to be using contraception?

Equally scary are hard-line Muslim views of women. Females are not to go out without a male relative, and must be covered head to toe at all times. Could a Muslim-owned business refuse to serve any woman without a headscarf, or one not accompanied by a male?

Far fetched? Couldn't happen in the U.S.? Don't be too sure.
Hobby Lobby, the Christian business that has already been blessed by the Supremes when they granted the company the right to discriminate against women by refusing insurance coverage of birth control, has quickly backed the candidates.  

Effects on gay couples and women aside, the so-called "religious protections" for business owners the candidates are advocating would also cover those who believe the races shouldn't mix.

Segregated lunch counters anyone?

Religious freedom only extends to (i) being able to belong to whatever faith/church one wants, (ii) being able to hold whatever religious beliefs one wants, (iii) not being forced to support a denomination to which does not belong, and (iv) not having one's faith bar you from civil rights.  It does not extend to the market place and apply to businesses serving the general public.

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