Sunday, September 13, 2015

GOP Anti-Gay Bigotry Threatens First Amendment

As I have noted so many times, there is no apparent limit to the extent that the majority of Republican office holders will go in order to prostitute themselves to the Christofascist element of the party base. Perhaps the foulest example is the misnamed First Amendment Defense Act which would grant special rights to Christofascist while effectively eliminating First Amendment rights for everyone.  These political whore refuses to concede that freedom of religion does not mean (i) the right to force one's religion on others and/or (ii) special exemptions from the general laws. The New York Times slams the GOP threat to the U.S. Constitution in a main editorial  Here are excerpts:
This past June, in the heat of their outrage over gay rights, congressional Republicans revived a nasty bit of business they call the First Amendment Defense Act. It would do many things, but one thing it would not do is defend the First Amendment. To the contrary, it would deliberately warp the bedrock principle of religious freedom under the Constitution. 

It is being hawked with the specter of clergy members being forced to officiate such marriages. This is a ploy, as the bill’s backers surely know: There has never been any doubt that the First Amendment protects members of the clergy from performing weddings against their will.

In reality, the act would bar the federal government from taking “any discriminatory action” — including the denial of tax benefits, grants, contracts or licenses — against those who oppose same-sex marriage for religious or moral reasons. In other words, it would use taxpayers’ money to negate federal anti-discrimination measures protecting gays and lesbians, using the idea of religious freedom as cover.

For example, a religiously affiliated college that receives federal grants could fire a professor simply for being gay and still receive those grants. Or federal workers could refuse to process the tax returns of same-sex couples simply because of bigotry against their marriages.

It doesn’t stop there. As critics of the bill quickly pointed out, the measure’s broad language — which also protects those who believe that “sexual relations are properly reserved to” heterosexual marriages alone — would permit discrimination against anyone who has sexual relations outside such a marriage.
This bizarre fixation on what grown-ups do in their bedrooms — which has long since been rejected by the Supreme Court and the vast majority of Americans — is bad enough. The bill makes matters worse by covering for-profit companies, which greatly multiplies the potential scope of discrimination against gays and lesbians.

These are radical proposals, but they are accepted without question by many in today’s Republican Party. In its current form, the bill has 148 co-sponsors in the House and 36 in the Senate — all Republicans but one,
Thankfully, the bill’s chances of passage are low. Even if it were to get through Congress, President Obama would surely veto it. Still, its symbolic power will embolden those looking for a legal justification to discriminate . . .

Many religious leaders and clergy members are themselves deeply disturbed by the proposed legislation; more than 3,000 signed a letter opposing it on the grounds that genuine religious liberty “does not allow us to harm or discriminate against others.” The supporters of this bill, who are so eager to talk about religious freedom, would do well to listen to the people they claim to represent.
The GOP has become a radical sectarian party and its extremism seems to only be growing as the party relies more and more on dwindling numbers of angry, ignorance and bigotry embracing "conservative Christians" for votes.  The GOP needs to be destroyed in its present incarnation and the religious extremists it panders to need to become political and social lepers.  If one wonders how elements within Islam became so toxic, look no farther than what the GOP and Christofascists are doing to Christianity.

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