Sunday, February 14, 2016

"Religious Liberty" and the Anti-LGBT Right

While on the topic of hypocrites, few achieve the level of hypocrisy of the Christofascists and professional Christian crowd who whine and shriek about "religious liberty" even as they strive to deprive it from others.  Few are more selfish and bigger purveyors of lies and untruths than the "godly Christian" crowd.  The Southern Poverty Law Center - which monitors hate groups, including the KKK and Neo-Nazi groups has a report on some of the leading champions of the dishonest campaign to protect religious liberty for the extreme few while trampling on the rights of others.  The report can be viewed here.  Among the hate groups profiled are the following:

  • Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF)
  • American Family Association (AFA)*
  • The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
  • Family Research Council (FRC)*
  • Focus on the Family (FOTF)
  • Liberty Counsel*
These are truly dangerous groups who need to be exposed for the hate and bigotry that are their stock in trade.  Here is how SPLC describes their campaign for special rights while destroying the rights of others: 

In recent years, the LGBT rights movement has witnessed a sea change in American attitudes toward the gay community and, along with it, a series of dramatic policy and legal victories — most notably marriage equality — that would have seemed unthinkable just a decade ago.

Yet, while the majority of Americans support LGBT rights, these gains have produced a strong backlash.

The hardline religious-right groups that have long relied on the use of demonizing falsehoods to justify discrimination against LGBT people have not simply folded their tents and walked away.

Rather, they have used their large megaphone to create a dangerous new narrative that portrays Christians who object to homosexuality on biblical grounds as victims of religious persecution. This idea is particularly compelling to millions of evangelicals who see themselves and their values as being under siege in a rapidly changing society.

Across the country, these opponents of LGBT equality are working to persuade state legislatures to pass laws known as Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs) — statutes that ostensibly allow individuals to deny goods and services to LGBT people on the basis of their religious beliefs.
They are named and loosely modeled after the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

But that law was intended as a shield to protect religious liberty. These new laws, such as the one enacted and then modified under intense public pressure in Indiana last year, are intended as a sword to promote discrimination against the LGBT community in the public sphere.

The new RFRAs are being championed by extreme religious-right groups that — as these profiles reveal — want to reverse the recent progress toward equal protection under the law for the LGBT community. If they had their way, the country would return to the era when gay people remained in the closet and the government claimed the right to say what could go on between consenting adults in their bedrooms.

These groups are clever — and cynical.  They know that, as Americans have grown more accepting of LGBT people, they can no longer rely on discredited stereotypes to stymie the march toward full equality. So they have wrapped their bigotry in the cloak of religious freedom.

The public should not be fooled.  Religious liberty is a cherished constitutional value, enshrined in the First Amendment. But, as earlier efforts to offer biblical justification for slavery and Jim Crow segregation have taught us, religious liberty should not be used as an excuse to discriminate.

The danger of these laws goes far beyond the way in which courts may ultimately balance them with statutory and constitutional protections against discrimination. The peril also lies in the atmosphere of bigotry and discrimination that will be created by legitimizing the very idea that LGBT rights threaten religious liberty.

The reality is that few cases of discrimination will ever find the ear of a sympathetic lawyer, and even fewer will find their way into a courtroom.

Most people who face discrimination on a daily basis have nowhere to turn. That’s why we must push back against these laws and this false narrative.

It’s why we must expose them for what they are — excuses to discriminate against other Americans for who they are and who they love

And, it’s why we must expose the groups behind these laws as extremists that despise the LGBT community.

No comments: