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Hillary Clinton is running for president. Watch the video and share it with your friends. #Hillary2016
As with all two term Presidents here in the US, Barack Obama, continues to be an incredibly divisive figure. Some demonize him while others build him up. I fall into that second category. There are many reasons I view Obama fondly but perhaps none have been more influential than his decision to finally “come out” in support of LGBT rights. Obama took that message of acceptance and equality on the road this past week when he visited Jamaica. The Advocate has a great article Obama Isn’t Quiet About LGBT Rights, Even in Jamaica Trip.
One of my favorite blogs, OMG Blog, was one of many to share the funny photograph from Obama’s visit to Jamaica. I’ve posted the photo above, with the OMG Blog’s headline, Obama recognizes LGBTQ advocates in Jamaica and then shoots rainbows from his hand. Let’s hope Obama’s words will help reshape the dialog in Jamaica. I would some day like to visit that island but it is one of many destinations I will avoid both for personal safety reasons as well as to boycott because of how they treat their LGBTQ community.
The conservative Christian base of the Republican Party clearly wants to have a fight over what it calls “Religious Freedom” in the upcoming election cycle. No longer able to defend their flawed logic on why same sex couples will destroy the institution of marriage they’ve moved on claiming their 1st Amendment rights are being infringed.
I’m not going to address that equally flawed logic in this post, but I am going to share that I was happy to see the results of last Thursday’s Reuters/Ispsos poll, which found that a majority (54%) of Americans believe businesses should not be allowed to refuse services based on their religious beliefs. I believe this trumped up issue of “religious freedom” is going to be repeatedly used by conservative Christians to shape the Republican primary in an attempt to dupe the public into thinking the community that is being discriminated against (the LGBT community) is somehow at fault.
Earlier this week I wrote a post, Why the “Religious Freedom” discussion is both disingenuous and dangerous. Considering the fact that those most obsessed with the need to protect “religious freedom” are also some of our country’s most homophobic political leaders should make you think. Couple that with the fact that the discussion is a reaction to marriage equality laws and one need not be Sherlock Holmes to read these clues.
This latest debate on ‘religious freedom’ is nothing more than an escape clause for homophobic business owners to refuse service to the LGBT community. If Christian business owners were really concerned (for their immortal soul) about having to serve people who violated their religious convictions then why are they serving customers who are divorced, practice a different religion, known adulterers or liars (and the list continues)? Why is it that only the LGBT community that seems to be causing this crises of conscious? It is because they are bigots using religion as a shield to disguise and and confuse the debate.
Did you know that divorce is identified as a sin approximately two dozen times in the Bible? By contrast homosexuality is discussed less than ten times so why is divorce not considered twice the sin of homosexuality? These devout Christians should be focused on all the divorcées in their community who have made a mockery of “traditional marriage”, which they supposedly hold so dear.
The Bible is riddled with all sorts of “sins” like getting your hair cut, eating shellfish, getting a tattoo, etc… yet these behaviors don’t seem to offend the supposedly ‘devout’ Christian business owners. It seems to me if religious freedom is being called into question then only business owners who truly observe every tenant of their faith should be allowed to claim this need for an exemption. For all those who are picking and choosing their religious convictions, it sounds more like an excuse to get the government to approve discrimination – and that is unconstitutional.
Much thanks to Jordan for sharing.
Moral Majority – Family Values – Religious Freedom
What do the above phrases have in common with each other? They are all catch-phrases employed by Republicans looking to redefine social discourse. In the 1970s Nixon often referred to the “Moral Majority” to appeal to white, Protestant voters since racially divisive language was no longer acceptable. Two decades later “Family Values” was often cited as a way for Christian Conservatives to deflect criticism for insisting upon the need to legislate their religious beliefs.
Let’s be clear the reason every conservative is suddenly claiming the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) doesn’t go far enough to protect “Religious Freedom” is more of this same bullshit. Conservatives recognize that just as using racially charged language is no longer acceptable it is no longer acceptable to use homophobic slurs so they’ve modified their language to drum up outrage and portray themselves as victims.
When you hear someone talking about “religious freedom” stop and engage them immediately. Don’t wave it off or ignore this language, because it is code for discrimination but presented in more palatable messaging. American’s believe in religious freedom just as much as individual liberties and the LGBT community must push back and ask what exactly about serving our community infringes upon their religious freedom?
We know that silence creates a vacuum and in that vacuum this conservative messaging will thrive. Ask intelligent questions and start a dialog with anyone you hear talking about how their religious freedoms are being infringed. There is a similar parallel to the lack of substance behind the anti-marriage equality argument – but absent your dialog – Americans will come to accept and believe religious rights are being compromised and need to be protected; at the expense of your rights.