Current Events –
Religious Freedom: The New Hypocrisy
“RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: We don’t serve gays… but adulterers, divorcees and out-of-wedlock parents are all welcome!”
It’s being called the biggest hypocrisy of the century: Religious Freedom. Americans have found a clever way to justify discriminating against those they don’t like — all in the name of supposedly “Doing God’s will.”
Discrimination under the guise of “Religious Freedom” is nothing new. In fact, it’s been going on for more than a century. It’s the same argument the Ku Klux Klan used when they lynched black men and women who dared to think they were equal. It’s also the argument whites used when they didn’t want black men marrying their white women and creating “mulatto” babies.
Now, “Religious Freedom” has once again reared its ugly head in the 21st Century, with laws being created in states like Georgia, Indiana and North Carolina to give citizens a legal right to discriminate — all while hiding behind the safety of the bible.
Let’s be clear: Religious Freedom is not what it seems. It’s merely a cute little moniker like “Pro Life” or “Pro Family” that has a much deeper meaning behind it. Religious Freedom is simply another way of saying “Anti-Gay,” particularly since its only target is homosexuals.
Homosexuality is a hot topic among many Christian circles. Bible-Thumpers are quick to elevate the “sin” of homosexuality and condemn it with every fiber of their being, then go home and fornicate, lust, have pre-marital sex, or even engage in adultery. In other words, being gay is an abomination, but the rest is ok!
In their futile quest to halt homosexuality, so-called “Christians” did everything within their power to stop same-sex marriage — all while themselves marrying and divorcing multiple times and/or frequently cheating on their spouses. When their scheme didn’t work, they quickly segued into Plan B: Refuse to serve gays and use the bible as ample excuse.
In Arizona, legislators attempted to pass SB 1062, which gave businesses the right to assert that their religious beliefs superseded the necessity to provide service to gay and lesbian customers. Critics of the bill argued that the language would allow discrimination against any group of individuals for any religious reason.
Result: Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the bill on Feb. 26, 2014
Arkansas hoped to pass HB 1228 in order to fight back against the legalization of same-sex marriage. Critics of the bill saw it as a move toward legalized discrimination of LGBT individuals.
Result: Gov. Asa Hutchinson initially refused to sign the bill as written. However, the legislature submitted compromise SB 975 which was passed immediately into law on April 2, 2015.
Indiana wanted to pass SB 101, a “religious freedom restoration” bill that gave individuals and companies the right to usurp state laws that conflict with their religious views. Critics of the bill saw it as targeting LGBT individuals, as well as others who may be discriminated against under the guise of religious beliefs.
Result: Gov. Mike Pence signed the bill into law on March 26, 2015. After a sea wall of criticism against the bill and the state, Pence signed an amendment to SB 101 on April 2, 2015, which provided protections for LGBT customers.
Georgia aims to turn into law HB 757, a “religious freedom” legislation that would legalize pastors’ rights to refuse to perform same-sex marriages and allow businesses to deny service to individuals whose lifestyles conflict with their religious beliefs.
Result: Pending. Georgia’s legislature approved the bill on March 17, 2016, leaving the matter in the hands of Gov. Nathan Deal, who has until May 3, 2016, to decide on the bill.
In North Carolina, state lawmakers hope to pass HB 2, which will prevent cities and counties from making their own rules with regard to anti-discrimination. The law was spurred after the City of Charlotte voted to protect transgender individuals who sought to use restrooms in alignment with their gender identity. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory called it a “breach of basic privacy and etiquette” and freedom of religion promoters stepped in to use the bible against such activity.
Result: McCrory signed the bill on March 23, 2016.
As more Americans are waking up to reality, the move to discriminate in the name of religion comes with a price. Indiana’s law was enough to make the NCAA reconsider it’s college basketball tournaments. The law in Georgia is forcing the NFL to reconsider hosting the Super Bowl there, as well as television and film companies to move their productions elsewhere.
As the North Carolina House voted 83-25 last week to negate all local LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances in the state and ban transgender people from certain restrooms, citizens were in an uproar. Protesters packed the city’s center Thursday evening, saying they were angry, shocked and embarrassed over the state’s new anti-LGBT law.
“I’m angry. I’m mad as hell. I’m heartbroken,” said speaker the Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, director of the Asheville-based LGBT advocacy group Campaign for Southern Equality which spearheaded the protest.
“And I am also full of resolve. I know the resilience in our community,” he added while vowing to find a way to override House Bill 2. Beach-Ferrara is expected to be Buncombe County’s first gay commissioner after winning a March 15 Democratic primary.
The NBA’s Charlotte Hornets also spoke out against the discriminatory bill, issuing the following statement late Friday:
“The Charlotte Hornets and Hornets Sports & Entertainment are opposed to discrimination in any form, and we have always sought to provide an inclusive environment. As has been the case since the building opened, we will continue to ensure that all fans, players and employees feel welcome while at work or attending NBA games and events at Time Warner Cable Arena.”
Is there any justification to these legal acrobatics clearly aimed against the LGBT community? Is it OK for states to allow gays and lesbians to be legally turned away under the guise of “religious freedom,” while other “sinful” groups and individuals are given a free pass? Or is this discrimination, plain and simple?
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