Sorry, I do know better than to write when I’m angry, but I’m angry and I’m writing, so here goes.
The concept of “religious liberty,” as continually used by those on the extreme right to defend their archaic discrimination, is complete trash. It’s a farce to think that these people—or any people—can use a belief or set of beliefs to get their own interpretation of the laws. We are one nation, not those who follow the laws and those who interpret them however appeases their beliefs.
“Religious liberty,” my ass, I say!
Today, a whole big group of Catholics, Orthodox, and Evangelical Christians produced The Manhattan Declaration (read the full document and see the signers at G-A-Y). It is the most petty, sophomoric, and offensive attack on human rights I have ever read. I mean, if you thought last week’s Catholic threat to pull out of DC charity services (CNN report) if same-sex marriage is legalized was bad, this blows that out of the water. Basically, all these delusional Christian leaders gave the finger to women’s rights and LGBT rights. In the name of “justice,” they demand not just privilege, but in fact, special privilege. Here is the offensive concluding paragraph:
Through the centuries, Christianity has taught that civil disobedience is not only permitted, but sometimes required. There is no more eloquent defense of the rights and duties of religious conscience than the one offered by Martin Luther King, Jr., in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Writing from an explicitly Christian perspective, and citing Christian writers such as Augustine and Aquinas, King taught that just laws elevate and ennoble human beings because they are rooted in the moral law whose ultimate source is God Himself. Unjust laws degrade human beings. Inasmuch as they can claim no authority beyond sheer human will, they lack any power to bind in conscience. King’s willingness to go to jail, rather than comply with legal injustice, was exemplary and inspiring.
Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.
And Dr. King started a-rolling in his grave.
All that they are saying is that their ignorant beliefs are more important than any law. If they can’t do their “good works” in their preferred discriminatory way, they won’t do it at all! The truth comes out!
If this isn’t evidence that religious groups use charity work to gain power over society, I don’t know what is. They decide what we get to do with our bodies, and if we don’t like it, then they won’t do shit for our society. All or nothing. Their way or the highway.
“Religious liberty,” my ass!
I’m all about religious freedom. I think religious freedom is the bee’s knees. I think anybody should be able to believe anything. But that freedom does not get to trump the progress of our society or the rights of all people as determined by the representative governing body.
Part of me kind of hopes these groups hold true to their promise. Sure, it’d be a huge problem at first if hospitals and other services we depended on vanished, but I’d rather worry about replacing them with new services than cater to this crap. You don’t want to obey the law? Then you don’t get to paint yourselves as all good! Because guess what? If you’re this petty, you’re not.
A doctor doesn’t want to perform an abortion? Then get the hell out of the way so that a real doctor can take care of the patient. A doctor wants to deprive an individual of the right to die? Then get the hell out of the way so that a real doctor can help end the terminal patient’s suffering. You don’t want to marry all couples? Then you don’t get to marry anybody! Heck yeah, let’s start holding these groups to standards! Either eat your cake like everybody else or you don’t get cake!
I’m sorry Christian groups, but you don’t live in your own universe, regardless of what you believe belongs to Caesar or God. You can either grow up and play along with the rest of society or get out of the business of trying.
Frankly, we’d be better off.
Charity work is great. Blackmail isn’t. If you can’t do one without the other, you don’t have a whole lot of honor to begin with.
“Religious liberty,” my ass!