Religious Freedom or the American Taliban?

Suddenly for the GOP, religious freedom means imposing your religion on others, and declaring birth control unacceptable.

Of course all real Americans hate the intrusions of government. I am reminded constantly by my conservative and religious friends and relatives of how government is just too big, and is intruding into my personal life, and interfering with business, and telling businesses what to do, and stopping the 1% from doing their favor to America of creating zillions of jobs.

Socialism! Marxism! Kenyan witch doctor in the White House! (And did you notice he is BLACK??)

The GOP, in cahoots with the Catholic Church hierarchy, have suddenly decided that the most pressing issue today is their religious freedom, and their rights under that freedom to tell all Americans, of all faiths, just how to conduct their sex lives, and to put an end to that ultimate evil, birth control.


Because sex is such a personal and private matter, a profoundly intimate matter between a husband and a wife (not between unmarried people who are not doing it for procreative purposes, of course, that would be a sin; and of course ONLY between a man and a woman, anything else would be worse than wrong)…. and a matter between them and both houses of the United States Congress… and between them and the celibate pedophile old men who are the hierarchy of the Catholic Church… and between them and the Supreme Court and Virginia Legislature that just passed a law in one house demanding women seeking abortions have vaginal probes to show them what is up there, as if they did not already know… and between them and of course all the Republican candidates for president, who seem to have suddenly decided it is their God driven duty to end the practice of birth control in America.

That is why suddenly the GOP has decided that not only should insurance provided by employers to their employees not have to offer birth control, but heck, why not go for broke, the GOP will just declare that birth control should be outlawed because it is against God’s will anyway, and besides, girls should just hold an aspirin between their knees to solve the need for birth control.

These are the same people trying to define life as beginning at conception. The radical right wing in multiple states have been trying to pass what is clearly unconstitutional law to this effect over the past couple of years. And that does not even begin to address the fact that there is absolutely no scientific basis for declaring that life begins at conception. But then, science is just another enemy to religion, as far as these people are concerned.

All of this, anyway, is just another attempt by those who completely oppose abortion at any stage or for any reason to try and get around current law, under which the Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that abortion is in fact legal and not to be legislated to forbid it completely.

Of course I always have to ask, if all eggs and zygotes are sacred and must be considered viable life, how about all those sperm? Shouldn’t they also be making laws forbidding masturbation? After all, everyone of those wasted sperm in one single act are another zillion lives aborted prematurely. I mean, if you are going to take this to its logical conclusion, why stop with the women and their eggs?

Of course this is also part of the raging War on Women by the right wing in America. In Congress, Rep. Issa rushed to hold hearings on the birth control insurance issue. Of course, he invited not one single woman to testify. But of course, for him, and all those men he invited, that is the point. Women are not supposed to have any rights, especially not the right to speak up on behalf of their rights to control their own bodies. The Democrats later tried to hold a hearing on the issue at which women would be invited to speak. So the Democracy loving GOP in control of the House turned off the TV cameras so it could not be broadcast.

That is what the GOP and these right wing evangelicals want for women. They want them barefoot, pregnant, and back in the kitchen, keeping their mouths shut, and obeying every order of their paternalistic male authority figures.

But let’s address that whole “religious freedom” phrase that is being thrown around by those insisting that is the reason employers should not have to offer insurance policies that cover contraception.

Here is the bottom line. Religious freedom means you have the right under the Constitution in this nation to freely believe whatever you want. You can believe in the God of the Catholic Church. You can believe in the God(s) of the multiple Protestant denominations. Heck, you can even believe the wild con artist writings of Joseph Smith, wear funny underwear, and if you are a man, expect to get your own planet in the after life, with all the wives you can handle. You can, if you are really a total idiot, even join the Church of Scientology, founded by a science fiction writer, L. Ron Hubbard, and worship the God Mammon, because money and your personal success is all that matters in that particular religion.

But what “Religious Freedom” does NOT include is giving you the right, either as an employer or as an individual, to force your beliefs on another person, and intrude into the realm of secular law in this fashion.

And that is why this whole effort by the radical right and the Catholic hierarchy and the GOP is the most insane bit of irrational double-think and double-speak I have seen since the Terry Schiavo madness infected this nation’s discourse a few years ago.

You do not get to tell your employees who to vote for. You do not get to tell them what to read. You do not get to tell them how to dress when not at work. And you sure as hell do not get to tell them how to practice their sex lives. You do not own your employees. They are not your slaves. They are not your chattel. At least, that is and will remain the case as long as we can keep the GOP and the Catholic Church from gaining total power of our government and lives.

If you personally do not want to practice contraception, fine. Don’t. If you do not want to practice abortion under the legal guidelines now in effect, well, fine. Don’t. That is your right. That is how you can practice your religious freedom to engage in behavior consistent with your beliefs. No one is stopping you. No one is stopping your employees. If your employees also believe this, then you can trust in their decisions to practice their religion.

But you do NOT have the right to tell them what they can and cannot do with third parties, which includes the provision of medical care, and insurance for medical care.

You do NOT have the right to tell your employees what medical procedures or what drugs they are going to take, for any reason whatsoever. That is between them, their doctors, and their own religious beliefs, and their own consciences. You do NOT get to limit the health care choices of your employees based on your religious beliefs.

What happens when your religion determines that for some reason treating ingrown toenails is an act against God? Do you get to forbid that procedure? Where do you draw the line?

That is the point. You DON’T get to draw the line. And that is the beauty of religious freedom and the separation of church and state embodied in our Constitution, and what it really means.

The ultimate hypocrisy of this position becomes crystal clear when you ask these right wing Catholics and evangelicals how they feel about then allowing the same principles to apply in cases in which the employer might be a Muslim, practicing the religion of Islam. Ask them that, and step back and watch them start frothing at the mouth about how America must not let Sharia law (the definition of which they obviously have not a single clue) into American law and life.

What’s the difference between Islam and the groups within in it which impose their religious law on their secular laws, and what the Christian religious right and the Catholic hierarchy are trying to do in this case? That’s right. There is no difference.

FWIW, it is also impossible to write on this topic and resist pointing out to the Catholic hierarchy who have fomented this madness that 98% of Catholic women in America ACTIVELY PRACTICE BIRTH CONTROL.

There is a very famous aphorism often attributed to Sinclair Lewis: “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross”.

Per Wikipedia, other variants that can be matched to sources offer similar sentiments:

“If fascism comes, he added, it will not be identified with any “shirt” movement, nor with an “insignia,­” but it will probably be “wrapped up in the American flag and heralded as a plea for liberty and preservati­on of the constituti­on.””

“When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled “made in Germany”; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, “Americani­sm.””

But you get my point. The GOP, in the current GOP primaries being RickRolled by a leader of the American Taliban movement, who wants women back in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant. Even the GOP is waking up to the fact that the monster of ignorance and bigotry and intrusion by the government into people’s private lives that they have created is out of control. Over the past few days, right wing leaning web sites and blogs and news outlets have begun attacking Rick Santorum as “too extreme” for the positions he is taking in his campaign.

Is this insanity what America has come to?

It is time to stop this nonsense. And that means throwing every politician who is espousing this crap out of office in the next election cycle. Whatever party. Whatever stripe. And whatever religion.

They are destroying America, and have absolutely no idea what the Constitution and the Rule of Law mean.

And they sure as hell have no clue what “Religious Freedom” means.

The fundamental principle in the Constitution of separation of church and state is being trampled in the dust. The GOP and the radical conservative right seem intent on turning this nation into a Christian theocratic dictatorship. The American Taliban is here.

If the churches, both Catholic and the evangelical churches, are going to turn their churches into active political advocacy platforms, which is precisely what has happened over the past 20 plus years, then it is time to end their tax exempt status. They are no longer eligible. That status is rooted in the very basic principle that the churches are not directly involved in political activism and advocacy. The IRS should immediately end the tax exempt status of the Catholic Church over this most recent activity. The IRS should in fact launch an investigation of all churches, and any that are engaging in political activism and activity should have their tax exempt status immediately revoked.


Author: Ron