The sudden eruption of anti-gay legislation nationwide is not a coincidence

Readers of this blog know well that 2013, and the first month or so of 2014, have been quite good for gay rights, especially marriage equality rights.

As the saying goes, for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. I think none but the most self-deluded believed that homophobic bigotry was dead, or that the bad guys would simply sit back and let gay people have lives of happiness and equality.

As John noted in his article about Arizona this morning, in the past few weeks there’s been an eruption of anti-gay measures in state legislatures across the country. And it’s not a coincidence.

Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah have seen efforts — always introduced by Republicans, mind you — to pass laws they claim are to “protect” the free exercise of religion. (I was going to say “radical conservative fundamentalist Republicans” — but I’d be repeating myself.)

From Mother Jones:

Republicans lawmakers and a network of conservative religious groups has been pushing similar bills in other states, essentially forging a national campaign that, critics say, would legalize discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Republicans in Idaho, OregonSouth Dakota, and Tennessee recently introduced provisions that mimic the Kansas legislation. And Arizona, Hawaii, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Mississippi have introduced broader “religious freedom” bills with a unique provision that would also allow people to deny services or employment to LGBT Americans, legal experts say.

Some of them, such as the proposals in Nevada and Ohio last year and the new one in South Dakota, came right out and specified that the reason was so conservative fundamentalists could discriminate against gays and lesbians. All three of these measures, by the way, appear to be dead.

The bills that have been under consideration now… oh boy. And there are a lot of them:

  • January 16: Kansas, introduced by Republican state Representative Charles Macheers
  • January 28: Idaho, by Rep. Lynn Luker (Republican, obviously)
  • January 30: South Dakota, from a ‘coalition’ of Republican senators and representatives
  • February 5: Tennessee, Rep. Bill Dunn (R) and Sen. Brian Kelsey (R), as well as other GOP co-sponsors

They just don’t stop at anti-gay bigotry

God Hates Fags home page

GodHatesFags.com home page of Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church.

I’ll be honest here and admit I don’t know what the hell these homophobic Republicans are thinking now though, because these newer measures, all of which have similar language and rationales, state they want to make it legal for people to discriminate on the basis of religion.

Not ‘discriminate against gay people’ but simply ‘discriminate.’

And by the way, there’s a reason why the bills are all similar, often with the same language and all promoted with the same homophobic concern-trolling talking points. “Oh how horrible it is for that poor baker to be FORCED to use her artistic skills to make a cake and write, in buttercream frosting, ‘Best Wishes to Cindy and Eve on the joyous day of their Wedding’! Oh the humanity!”

The Arizona state Senate just passed a bill with the following provisions:

1. Expands the definition of exercise of religion to specifically include both the practice and observance of religion.

2.  Expands the definition of person to include any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, estate, trust, foundation or other legal entity.

3.  Changes the terminology within the prohibition of burdening a person’s exercise of religion to apply to state action instead of government.

4.  Defines state action as any action by the government or the implementation or application of any law, including state and local laws, ordinances, rules, regulations and policies, whether statutory or otherwise, and whether the implementation or action is made or attempted to be made by the government or nongovernmental persons.

5.  Specifies that a free exercise of religion claim or defense may be asserted in a judicial proceeding regardless of whether the government is a party to the proceeding.

Translation: Anybody who wishes to discriminate against someone for any reason need only state it’s because it’s in their religious beliefs. According to an earlier passage, it doesn’t even matter if that belief is “compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.”

For example, let’s say you’re a Catholic, and identify as such. Catholicism has nothing in its tenets about racial discrimination. Doesn’t matter — you can still discriminate against African Americans or Hispanics if you feel like it, and say it’s because God’s Holy Trousers told you to.

Shorter translation: The Arizona bill attempts to nullify all civil rights legislation ever passed, including federal laws, regardless who is being protected.

Here’s a few scenarios for you:

  • Don’t feel like paying women a wage equal to men? Or hiring women at all because in your religious opinion, all women should be housewives? No problem.
  • Hate people of color? You don’t have to hire them or rent to them or anything. If you own a store, you can dust off that old “No Coloreds” sign and put it back in the window. Go ahead and add “No Gays” if you like. And according to the law, you can also re-add “No Chinese, Jews or Irish either” like they used to have in the olden days. Just have an asterisk — “* = The Lord My God Commands It“.
  • Let’s say you’re an EMT. And you come across a gay person bleeding out after a traffic accident. You don’t have to treat them if you think they should die. Same thing if you object to people being Jewish or Romani or ginger.
  • Or let’s say you’re a cop answering a domestic abuse call. You see a husband beating his wife. You’re free to say, “Fine — it’s there in the Bible, men are allowed to beat their wives. Sweetheart, you need to submit to him. Call me if he uses a stick larger in diameter than his thumb.”
  • Or a state-employed poll worker who believes that only white men should be allowed to vote, for people of color bear the Mark of Cain…

There literally is no limit. I saw one wag quip in a comment section, “Yay! Human sacrifice and slavery are back, baby!”

godhatesfags6 phelps westboro

From Westboro Baptist Church, Fred Phelps klan (with permission)

The South Dakota bill had an extra-special F.U. to gay people built into it. If you were discriminated against for being gay and filed a lawsuit to challenge that discrimination, not only would your case be thrown out, you yourself would be fined not less than $2,000 in punitive damages for bothering the courts with your, um, ‘gayness.’ (Status: The bill was just killed by the state Senate judiciary committee.)

The Idaho legislation would have prohibited the state from denying professional licensing to anybody who wanted to discriminate. Doctors, hairdressers, employment agencies, funeral directors, home inspectors, notaries public, real estate agents, car dealers, and taxi drivers — and much more, all would’ve been permitted to discriminate at will by the Idaho measure, against anybody, as long as it was justified by a claim of religious exemption. (Status: Returned to committee and probably will not pass this session.)

The Kansas bill was more straightforward in its anti-gay animus, although the GOP Teajadis were loose enough in their language — perhaps to try to make the gay-hating not quite so obvious — that they would’ve made it legal to discriminate against anybody on the basis of their relationship or living situation. Single mothers, divorced persons, hetero couples who want to live together but not marry, all eligible for discrimination. Want to discriminate against an interracial hetero married couple? Go right ahead.

Most infamously, the Kansas bill extended discrimination privileges to both private and public employees. So yes, a police officer could refuse to intervene in the beating of a gay person, even if it was happening right in front of him. A doctor could refuse to treat a gay person suffering from a heart attack. A schoolteacher could refuse to teach girls if he believed women should not learn how to read. (Status: Stalled and might not pass due to the uproar, but anti-gay bigots vow to keep trying to pass the measure.)

The Tennessee bill is very similar to the one Kansas was/is considering, and just as bigoted and intolerant:

According to the bill, no person or religious and denominational organization will be required to perform a laundry list of actions “related to the celebration of any civil union, domestic partnership, or marriage not recognized by the state, if doing so would violate the sincerely held religious beliefs of the person or religious or denominational organization regarding sex and gender.”

This includes providing services, facilities, counseling, employment and employment benefits.

(BTW, they also made sure that it was 100% okay to discriminate against transgender folks. That’s in there too.)

The problem is that word ‘celebration’ might mean something to one person — like let’s say a wedding reception. But put yourself in the mind of a bigot. (Don’t worry, we have plenty of brain bleach on hand.) The kind of bigot who thinks that two people walking down the street, holding hands, are ‘flaunting’ their relationship. (Only if they’re gay, of course.) Such a person can and will easily redefine “celebrate” as “merely existing and being visible where I can see them.”

In case you think I’m reaching, consider that second sentence up there. “This includes providing services, facilities, counseling, employment, and employment benefits.”

Can any of you recall the last time you attended a wedding with an officiating couples therapist? Or an in-church Job Fair?

It’s for damned sure they’re not just looking out for the homophobic florists and wedding cake bakers. Anyway, once again, it looks like the public shaming is still working. The status of the Tennessee bill is it just lost an important Republican sponsor, State Senator Brian Kelsey, and was sent back to committee where it’s expected to die. This time.

Sadly though, the Arizona House passed the bill, intact, and it’s now on Governor Jan Brewer’s desk, waiting for her signature. She vetoed a similar bill last year as part of a budget disagreement, but has said nothing in objection to this blatantly unconstitutional measure. Most of the reports I’ve seen predict Brewer will sign this hateful mess into law.

The fact there are so many of these homophobic laws being introduced is no coincidence

By now you may be wondering why the same types of bills are popping up in GOP-controlled legislatures all over America now. Well, just like it was with the “gays are bad for children” talking points cropping up all over the globe, originating with bogus BS ‘studies’ published by Regnerus, Marks and others and funded by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), this effort is being coordinated, too.

As reported by Al Jazeera America:

Cornerstone in Idaho, the Kansas Family Policy Council, and the Center for Arizona Policy, which supports the bill there, are all part of a network of 38 state “family policy councils” pressing for these laws under the umbrella of Citizen Link, the advocacy arm of the conservative Christian powerhouse Focus on the Family.

The religious right Phelps clan protesting outside the Supreme Court during the DOMA and Prop 8 oral arguments.  © John Aravosis 2013

The religious right Phelps clan protesting outside the Supreme Court during the DOMA and Prop 8 oral arguments. © John Aravosis 2013

Focus on the Family is James Dobson’s hate-mill, by the way, now headed by Jim Daly. Another backer is the American Religious Freedom Program, headed by Brian Walsh — who disingenuously claims these efforts are nothing more than trying to ensure that priests and florists don’t have to participate in Big Gay Weddings. And the ARFP sounds familiar, that’s because it’s part of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think-tank and lobbying organization run by Ed Whelan, former Reagan official in the DoJ and also former clerk for Justice Scalia.

The fact that it’s legal to discriminate against LGBTs in many states is nothing new. Twenty-nine states already have some form of ‘religious exemption’. But now this AFRP group has drafted its wide-reaching bill, and according to reports in the Wichita Eagle, has been shopping it around to state legislatures around the country.

Brian Walsh, executive director of the ARFP, which supports religious freedom measures, acknowledges that his group consulted with the legislators on the bill, but he says that lots of other groups did as well: “We gave them suggestions and they took some of them.” Walsh says that ARFP was contacted by legislators who wrote the Tennessee bill and that the group frequently talked to legislators in South Dakota about “religious freedom” but not the state’s specific bill. Julie Lynde, executive director of Cornerstone Family Council in Idaho, one of many state groups that are part of Citizen Link, a branch of Focus on the Family, told Al Jazeera America, “We’ve been involved in working on the language” of the Idaho bill. Another member of Citizen Link, the Arizona Policy Center, has been active in supporting the Arizona bill.

Why the sloppy “discriminate against anybody you want” language in these bills?

I’ve long been of the opinion that along with bigotry goes ignorance, and quite often stupidity. Some, for sure, have the thuggish cleverness of the bully, coming up always with new ways to make people they perceive as weaker than them suffer. Indignities to be visited upon their victims — and I feel certain that most of these homophobes take a cruel glee out of the idea of ruining what’s often touted as any couple’s “happiest day,” their wedding ceremony and celebration.

That’s why I think that many of these Republican state legislators falling all over themselves to enshrine anti-gay animus in their state laws and constitutions probably don’t even think through the consequences of their hateful actions. A lot of them seem to be sincere when they say they’re only trying to protect those oh-so-suffering Fundamentalist Christian florists and caterers.

I look instead toward where this is all coming from: The Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Religion is the excuse. Gays, lesbians and transgender folks are the wedge issue. Hate-groups like Focus on the Family, NOM, FRC, and the rest are the foot soldiers. State legislators are the true believers, the paid-for enablers, and the useful idiots.

What is the actual goal?

In my opinion, Whelan’s organization didn’t write a sloppy bill to shop around. I believe the bill does exactly what it means to do, which is something the far-right conservatives have been itching to do ever since the first sweeping civil rights bills were passed in the 1960s: Repeal them.

Not just some, and not just to enable anti-gay and anti-trans discrimination, but all of the equal rights laws. Using ‘religious freedom’ as the cudgel to roll back women’s reproductive freedoms is just another prong of the attack.

After all, let’s not forget how their vision of America’s Golden Age is the fictional white-bread Ozzy & Harriett 1950s, when discrimination of all kinds was legal and segregation the norm. The time when the phrase “That’s mighty white of you” didn’t draw stares. When women held positions of employment no higher than secretary and abortions were almost universally illegal. And when gay people, of course, were reviled and shunned.

That, I believe, is the bigger picture.

In some respects, I take heart from these flailing efforts of theirs, because it reeks of desperation. Just as with women’s rights and reproductive freedoms, religious conservatives are trying to carve out special rights for themselves, exemptions from the movement toward full equality for all LGBT Americans. Plus, as I said, I do think the big enchilada is to try to repeal or overturn all the civil rights laws.

I’m glad to see the bigots on the defensive, I really am. But with the mid-term elections coming up and the relentless nature of the forces of hatred and intolerance, and especially given how radical they’ve become, complacency is one attitude we absolutely cannot afford right now.


Published professional writer and poet, Becca had a three decade career in technical writing and consulting before selling off most of her possessions in 2006 to go live at an ashram in India for 3 years. She loves literature (especially science fiction), technology and science, progressive politics, cool electronic gadgets, and perfecting Hatch green chile recipes. Fortunately for this last, Becca and her wife currently live in New Mexico. @BeccaMorn

Share This Post

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Well golly gee, a racist and bigot rolled into one. Who would have “thunk” it?

  • Nigeria Goldfinger

    When the blacks fought for rights they as the most dignified race to grace the earth were to be recognized as a nation and race deserving the fullest and greatest rights to be ascribed to them short of the heavenly divine family of God itself. This was different with feminist rights as females were only to be given not rights in the fullest sense but ‘their’ rights. The Gay movements pleading for rights today however can only be seen as an off the wall affair in the light of the right to be wrong or a plea for slack to feel stupid and to be stupid. The affair can probably end much more the tragedy the far right religious warn and I tend to believe this to be seen in the light that man kinds latter day fall has already precipitated and is gathering rapid speed.

  • tamy

    This country was founded by pilgrims escaping from a religious monarchy. They sought out freedom for religion. Now I understand that they wera ALL christians, however they believed in religious tolerance. Tolerance people. How can we possibly pass into law something that takes our founders beautiful idea of liberty and turn it into a tool of discrimination. We all practice our own beliefs with the understanding that if im catholic and your jewish and we have different ideas we tolerate and accept those differences. We dont say Im sorry my religious beliefs prevent me from performing surgery or serving food to you because you’re a homosexual or you practice voodoo oh or you’re a single mom and practiced premarital sex. This bill goes against every belief that founded this country. It doesn’t promote religious freedom. It promotes religion as a tool for intolerance. It’s hypocritical to practice your own religion and not tolerate others beliefs or serve or help our fellow americans because they don’t see eye to eye with you. Be a patriot. Practice tolerance and acceptance. Please like and pass on if you agree.

  • https://twitter.com/TheDanLovingood Dan Lovingood

    These immoral bills written in the name of religion will fail. They are all unconstitutional on their face. Woe be to those who legislate immorality and bigotry in the name of religion and justice. The Seal of the Great State of Georgia, America’s 13th Colony, my state, the state that I love, bears these words: #Wisdom #Justice #Moderation. The immoral #TeaParty and its ideologically brainwashed, religious extremist, miscreant followers believe they can change these words to #Insanity #Bigotry #Extremism and it will be okay. Well, it’s very much NOT okay and America will not let it happen. #gapol #gadem #gagop #tlot #tcot

  • Philip Marks

    FWIW I think Jan Brewer is what passes for a moderate R these days, I think she realizes how disastrous this will be for Arizona (regardless of what’s been said, say goodbye to the Super Bowl) and though she signed SB1070 it was a major key in her election strategy. This bill will cost her more votes than she could gain (though she’s ineligible to run she seems to be anyway), and I do think she will veto it. She extended Medicare and pressured the legislature into authorizing it…

  • Philip James

    A majority of GOP voters are voting for the legislators who are trying to vote these bills into law. So, it’s not a small sect. It is Republicans “in general”– that is the majority of Republicans in these states.

    No excuses.

  • Philip James

    Wow– we run Hollywood? Why isn’t there more gay porn in action movies? Brad on Tom kissing would get me to more movies that’s for sure.

  • Philip James

    As you imply– this is backlash. They are cornered. Their last arguments are now fully exposed because the light is shining on the reality of how “ruling” white Christian male society treats their “lessers”– read women, ethnic groups, LGBT, etc.

    They are on the run. This won’t be their last stand, but the full force of society (the rest of us who now realize we have the power) is upon them.

    Signed, a (formerly Catholic), white, older, male who happens to be gay.

  • Warren

    … better that reality than living in fantasy having been brainwashed and deluded by the Republican party and Fox news.

  • Walter E Curtis

    People sometimes forget that Jesus discriminated, too, … between government and God (we could say worship or religion). It’s the classic separation of Church and State. “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” Within the realm of faith, you may believe as you will. But within the realm of civics, of dealing with government and citizens thereof, the rules are different. Jesus did not intend for faith to detract from good citizenship. If citizens feel that a government is gone too far wrong, they should work directly to change the government, rather than legislate within their government(s) to limit the freedoms of those who believe differently than they do.

  • Crysta

    Um, I dare you to share a few stories about being evicted, fired, assaulted, or even KILLED for being christian (America only please) Guess what, when you are in America, and serving the PUBLIC, you are required to DO YOUR JOB and serve ALL THE PUBLIC, not only the ones you want to… Your only legal excuses, is if you are already busy with your job elsewhere or you are literally physically incapable of doing that job when it applies to the person asking…

    Also, I would love to hear about a story where someone who hated someone else purely on how they were born, was by any stretch of the imagination “normal”. For example, go into the city, and yell out “those need to die, because they are unclean, and an affront to the natural order of god!” (Insert whatever bigoted term you want, there’s a bunch of em to choose from!)

    And no, kids don’t need “a mom and a dad”… What they need is parental figures in their life, and appropriate role models to guide them, and keep them on the path to being responsible, caring, and open minded members of the human race, regardless of their gender identity, race, sexual orientation, affluence, intelligence, or age.

  • Anonymous

    Reading your history it seems you do nothing besides troll, and given your knee-jerk reaction to things and name, I’m assuming you’re a nerd in your 20s with mental issues who lives with mommy. So just piss off.

  • Anonymous

    They don’t care about human rights, just breeding for their own gain. Whether it’s religious, political or military power.

  • Anonymous

    No, it’s not a side issue, dumbass. It’s a major issue in today’s world. In Africa, the Middle East, and many other places. Before abortion was even legal, holy wars were killing millions. Genocide of religious minorities was common. What was the explanation THEN? If abortion stopped then suddenly there would be no holy wars? Give me a break! And conservatives support it too…just ask their mistresses!

  • Anonymous

    Yeah and the Fundamentalist Taliban is so forgiving.

  • Anonymous

    Really, why does it “need” to be? Enlighten me. Christian fascism always has the funniest explanations. It was the “most just empire” yet religious minorities couldn’t have rights. Ok, explain that one…GO! Let’s see if I can understand the doublespeak of your idiot kind.

  • Rolando Rmn

    You fail to realize that not everyone is a christian… therefore the laws cannot be based in order to support one single belief system. Also there is no unbiased study that PROVES that a mom AND a DAD are 100% essential for the well being of a child. Some kids don’t have a mom, some don’t have a dad, other don’t have either on… the only thing they need is someone to support them and give them all the love they need and deserve. But you have that bible of yours so far up your ass you fail to realize something as simple as that!

  • Rolando Rmn

    You really are a stupid close-minded bigot… Stop being such a homophobe and realize that gay marriage is not a special privilege… it’s an EQUAL human right!

  • Rolando Rmn

    You’re an idiot… I guess I should’ve noticed that from your first post… I was expecting some form of intelligence from you… alas, there was none!

  • Rolando Rmn

    Please, change you username… you are not a freethinker… you’re just as close minded as the bigots mentioned above!

  • Rolando Rmn

    Those that do approve of it are simply because they are smart enough to understand that no one should be judged or mistreated simply because of who they love. The act of sex itself is something that belongs in private, showing your appreciation and love for the person you ove doesn’t necessarily has to be the same. Two men or two women have the same right to hold hands in public than any “straight” couple!

  • pgriffy

    Umm. Didn’t Jesus promise you would be persecuted for following Him?

  • mark_in_toronto

    After 9 years, I think the “let’s see” part is over.
    We’re doing quite well, thank you.
    How are you doing?
    The whole world is watching and laughing.

  • Laura Hurt

    For someone with the name True Freethinker you’ve got some really weird ideas…A real ‘True Freethinker’ would accept that other people have different opinions and would not feel the need to try to put them down as being brainwashed…
    And approving of other people, even those that are not the same as you, is the decent thing to do. I

  • LanceThruster

    And yet they’d balk at creating a new religion (like Joe Smith) and just start pulling nonsensical ‘sacred precepts’ out of one’s backside.

    Freedom OF religion requires freedom FROM religion to have any real meaning. ~ LT

  • Michael Destefanis

    Exactly.

  • BigBadWade

    First it was Russia, then Uganda, now Arizona. The fact the republicans are following Russia and Uganda tells you all you need to know!

  • Michael Destefanis

    Yet these same pro-lifers will throw a tantrum about providing foodstamps to households with children, particularly in the long term. Abortion can happen nature in various species but the more common way to handle sick or u wanted babies involves either a parent or pack leader killing them after birth which is quite bloody and brutal as you hear them basically being eaten alive. I argue that abortion is far more humane than that.
    Human beings arent much different at the core no matter how much you might want to think otherwise. I would rather unprepared parents or a child that has no chance at a good quality of life be aborted than to be born into suffering or poverty if the mother decides that’s what is best. Its easy to say that someone will adop the kid but there are millions still in orphanages and foster homes who must take priority given they are already born and in dire need of a home where they wi be truly loved. Don’t try to downplay religious bloodbaths by weaponizing aborted fetuses to shift attention elsewhere. Playing on people’s sympathies by trying to tug on the heartstrings of people by trying to shift the focus away from religious violence to aborted fetuses. Shame on you.

  • Michael Destefanis

    Well the extremely religious are notorious for interpreting doctrines in ways they see fit as well as cherry picking. They do that with the bible all the time. It makes sense they would try with the Constitution. Its like how they say we are founded as a Christian nation with Christian principles despite Treaty of Tripoli Article 11 stating otherwise. Also, the 10 commandments those types are rather fond of, only 3 of them (by the duh factor, not specific Christia. mortality) are in our law. Lands ruled and based on religion exist and tend to be shitty places to live if you do not believe as those in power do. They also not surprisingly tend to be nations where human rights laws are blatantly ignored when it conflicts with their religion. These extreme “Christians” are following their own interpretation of Christian doctrine by cherry picking out the parts they agree with and disregarding the rest.

  • Michael Destefanis

    e.And yet homosexuality has been observed in non-humans throughout nature so your argument that homosexuality goes against nature is invalid especially in the scientific community. We have two sexes to allow for reproduction. Not everyone holds that biological fact important or practices it. It’s not even required for the survival of our species given there will always be heterosexuals and bisexuals and sperm doners to keep things going.

    Ironically the same argument was used against interracial marrige and false studies that “proved” offspring of interracial parents were inferior. You speak of “special privileges” over one’s sex life but its very evident you do not understand gays. These special privileges you speak of are the exact same rights you, an obvious heterosexual, take for granted. If the shoe were on the other foot and heterosexuals were the ones having to fight for the basic rights of being treated equally, and you can deny this all you wish, but you would be right there calling foul. This has nothing to do with science and nature. This is purely about sanctioning religious discrimination under the guise of religious freedom. Sadly, these types of devout followers are exactly what’s wrong in the world today. They were the core cause of slavery. They are the reason why Sharia Law exists in the middle east and why 9/11 even happened. It was the basis of any sort of ethnic clensing that has gone on in the world. People of course must be free to believe as they see fit but absolute freedom to practice (actions based on belief) religion is dangerous and has an extremely long track record throughout human history of violence and discrimination and must be regulated.

    However, regulating the practices naturally has the devout claiming oppression. But hey…at least the laws only limit the practices, we haven’t executed them for being different unlike Muslim extremists or the Chriatians of the crusades. ;)

  • SharonB

    Oxy moron True Free Thinker = a troll’s troll.

  • Darthkuriboh

    of course they do. They have an absolute right to practice biblical Judaeism. Not Talmudic, because the Talmud is false. However, it needs to be like it was in the Byzantine Empire.. where Jews were not permitted to have any power. The Byzantine Empire was also known as the most just Empire in the history of man.

  • Badgerite

    Wish that were true. But it isn’t. At the very least the GOP are enablers.

  • Badgerite

    Good link. I also tend to think that this law could be appropriated by just about anyone who claims a religious usage of drugs. Rastafarians. Indian mysticism and peyote rituals.
    How, exactly, does one define a ‘religious belief’ and who does the defining? Who ends up defining what is a religious belief. The Government? The Courts? With these laws, John is not kidding when he says that a ‘religious belief’ could be based on the fact that “God’s Holy Trousers told you so”.

    And if the Courts and the Government are then called on to define what is a ‘religious’ belief so closely, is it not likely that they will cross the line into establishing religion or an unacceptable governmental entanglement with religion. Which religious belief is Constitutionally OK and which isn’t. I mean, if one’s religion says you can and should have four wives, ( or maybe a sheep as a spouse – snark) , at some point the SCOTUS must say, yes you can have four wives and smoke peyote if you want because that is your ‘religious belief’ or they have to say that is not a VALID ‘religious belief’ OR they have to adhere to the current constitutional standard that legitimate policy objectives of the state in criminal and civil law that do not seek to discriminate must be adhered to by all citizens regardless of their religious beliefs.
    Those are the choices. There are no other options.

  • Badgerite

    I think your assessment of the stakes involved in terms of all civil rights, not just LGBT civil rights is right on the money. This is why I think the left can no longer pretend that who wins the White House and who makes nominations to the SCOTUS is a political afterthought. Lord knows the far right has known since Brown vs Board of Education how important the SCOTUS can be. This particular consideration has to be central to any political movement that values the progress of civil rights in the US over the last half century.
    I also think this shows the futility of the SCOTUS approach in the recent Windsor and DOMA cases, that seemed to be based on the idea that if they did not ‘force’ equal rights on the country, the backlash in certain ‘pockets of resistance’ would be less pronounced and there would be a natural progression toward greater civil rights for all. And that it would further the interests of comity in the Union. Au contraire.

  • Sweetie

    peddle your lies somewhere else

  • False Enslavedthinker

    “‘Straight’ is a description of a behavior that belongs in private.”
    Apologies, my wife is a bit of an exhibitionist. Let me put her back in the kitchen for you.

    Oh? You have four wives? Well, you’re either the luckiest s.o.a.b. or they really care for you and you them. Now, kindly, will you turn off the telly? Bido-Bido’s brain is turning into mush.

  • ChainUp

    Discrimination is discrimination and will not be tolerated.

  • http://americablog.com magster

    DIdn’t have time to go through whole comment thread, but there was an excellent post at Think Progress about how the Hobby Lobby supreme court case this summer can stop these legislative efforts in their tracks (or, conversely allow them to flourish and be upheld).

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/02/21/3317071/good-come-arizonas-awful-license-discriminate/

  • http://atheismexposed.tripod.com/ True Freethinker

    The Phelps clan also picket both Catholics and even Evangelicals with signs saying that all Christians outside their own family will burn in hell. Anyone who brings the Phelps family into a debate is really on to a loser.

  • http://atheismexposed.tripod.com/ True Freethinker

    Its conservatives who stopped ObamaHitler from attacking Assad. Assad is a conservative and conservatives love him!

    Nearly ALL media outlets are owned by liberals except Fox News which is owned by warmongering neocons, not anti-war paleocons. So paleocons own nothing out of the major networks. Liberals constantly push gay rights and general promiscuous hedonism.

  • http://atheismexposed.tripod.com/ True Freethinker

    Who’s defending people being beaten, tortured, raped, stoned etc.? Talk about a side issue to deflect. More children have been murdered by abortion in America alone than all ‘holy wars’ put together!

  • http://atheismexposed.tripod.com/ True Freethinker

    Gays were imprisoned and executed in Russia under atheist Communism. Now they’re left alone to do whatever they want in private, they’re just asked to leave the children alone and behave themselves in public.

  • http://atheismexposed.tripod.com/ True Freethinker

    That’s what democracy is all about. Let people do things differently in different places. Let Canada have gay marriage and see how it works. Let America do its own thing and prevent gay marriage if it wants. Diversity is good.

  • http://atheismexposed.tripod.com/ True Freethinker

    Gays are not denied the right to marry. You can marry someone of the opposite sex like anyone else. Marriage involves one person of each sex. I’m sorry that you disagree with science and nature, but we belong to two sexes for a reason.

    Being harassed, fired, assaulted, and sometimes even murdered is already against the law and those guilty should be prosecuted fully regardless of motive or the sexual orientation of the victim.

    You can do anything you want in the bedroom, but you shouldn’t get special privileges in law for your sex life.

  • http://atheismexposed.tripod.com/ True Freethinker

    The reality is that you have been brainwashed and deluded by the gays that run Hollywood and TV and the music industry.

  • http://atheismexposed.tripod.com/ True Freethinker

    Gay is a description of a behaviour that belongs in private. No one should be discriminated against for what they do with consenting adults in private, but don’t expect everyone to give you approval. Those that do have been brainwashed by Hollywood and TV as even Joe Biden admitted recently.

    I demand ‘equality’ for my right to marry four wives.

  • Matt

    Its ok, its my religious belief republicans are subhuman, thus i wont be serving them. And Christians too!

  • DesertSun59

    You’re clearly not paying attention.

  • DesertSun59

    There is LITERALLY no limit. It will give anyone any right to discriminate for any reason. All you have to do is STATE that you have a ‘sincerely held religious belief’. Since it’s a belief, no one can force you to prove it is or is not religious in nature. The law, as written so far, is quite clear that you don’t have to prove anything. You only have to state that it’s part of your personal belief system.

    The irony of this law, as written so far, is that it hasn’t in any way whatsoever, stopped any Republicans. It has FED their street cred and caused donations to POUR into their coffers for election and re-election. The nation has become so deluded by Bronze Age mythology that it has infected an entire swatch of American voters.

    The FB meme that is going viral is absolutely accurate. This is how it started in Nationalist Socialist Germany. Of course, those who adhere to the intention of this law are totally and completely unaware of what the National Socialist Party was, what happened in the run up to WWII or that their religion is an infection based on willful ignorance.

  • FUFatherEisenman

    I agree with the unknown number, but as for now, businesses can discriminate against gays and I feel they need to be outed. That was my point.

  • Anonymous

    They are insecure, otherwise they’d rely on their abilities rather than group affiliations.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for that last detail, o wise one. More Christian oppression? Please tell us again how “your people’s” religious rights are being violated while spouting anti-Semitism. And there are more conservative media outlets than FOX. Ever heard of The Wall Street Journal, Drudge Report, Daily Mail, etc etc? No, of course you haven’t. Apparently you only know of FOX, which makes a lot of sense as it’s doubtful you watch anything else.

  • benb

    The Republican Primaries for 2014 are coming up this Summer (http://www.fec.gov/pubrec/fe2014/2014pdates.pdf) and, since it’s an off year election and voting falls to levels that make the crackpots’ influence significant….well.. it’s time to blackmail any Republican in office who doesn’t bend to the will of the few crazy in that party.

    Whether one is Republican, Democrat, or Independent, we need to remember that the extreme elements will VOTE EVERY SINGLE TIME. Democrats need to vote and get their Republican friends to vote. All Republicans need to vote and they need to get their friends who are Democrats to vote. Some of my Republican (and Democratic) friends claim their vote doesn’t matter…but they fail to see that their vote dilutes the vote of the shrill, inflexible voters that are imprevious to influence by Reason.

    Yeah, this anti-Gay stuff is nothing more than a threat to reasonable Republicans running for re-election.

  • Matt Rogers

    That I would go along with.

  • EdA

    Yes, and it’s really mean of us Jewish bigots to persecute fundamentalist Christianists by refusing to be converted. And Jordan Davis was trying to persecute Michael Dunn by forcing Dunn to go out of his way to murder him.

    I have no idea why you think that normal people are homophobic, still less why you think that homophobes are normal people.

  • aspromised

    You’re missing the point. It has an totally unknown number of applications, it’s simply hiding behind “anti-gay”.

  • MJL

    can you go away? Like I know they already got rid of you before but can you just go away again?

  • 2karmanot

    Maybe Urban meant that Phelps is an ass.

  • 2karmanot

    It is clear you have never been to a carnal orgy. Next…..

  • 2karmanot

    Russia is a third world country with a handful of skyscrapers in major cities and continues to be mired in medieval religious superstition and its own sewer of nationalist hate. The Russians don’t need American bigots to support what is an indigenous genius for scapegoating.

  • 2karmanot

    Next

  • Feeling stuck in a nightmare

    http://www.eppc.org/fellows-scholars/brian-w-walsh/

    Brian Walsh traces back to the Heritage Foundation, where he was Senior Legal Research Fellow in former Attorney General Edwin Meese’s Center for Legal & Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. I don’t see that a mere coincidence. I would love to know if it is really just another arm of the original under different names.

  • 2karmanot

    Which means that business’s may now discriminate against Brewer’s son, who has a felony history of violent physical abuse of women.

  • 2karmanot

    ‘Royal’ patriots —-there fixed it.

  • 2karmanot

    ROTFL

  • Matt Rogers

    Well, if I understand the Arizona bill correctly, it would allow any law to be violated by reason of sincere religious beliefs. So go for it — as long as you’re not an atheist.

  • Matt Rogers

    Thank you for showing how sweeping these proposals are, especially the Arizona bill. CNN.com portrayed the latter as a bill that would allow businesses to discriminate against gay people, and it’s much more than that. Journalists need to read and understand the bills they report on, especially if the alternative is to accept the interpretations of right-wing politicians.

  • Matt Rogers

    Wow, what a misleading post! While Phelps supported Bill Clinton’s election, he opposed Clinton’s re-election because of the administration’s support for gay rights. The entire Phelps clan picketed Clinton’s inaugural ball and denounced Vice President Gore as a “famous fag pimp.” They picketed the funeral of Gore’s father, screaming vulgarities at Gore and telling him, “your dad’s in Hell.” With Saddam Hussein’s permission, they stood on the streets of Baghdad holding signs that condemned Bill and Hillary Clinton, together with anal sex. Phelps believes that President Obama is the Antichrist and that he will form an Unholy Trinity with the Catholic Church and Satan. To say that Phelps is a life-long Democrat and leave it at that is uninformed at best, and dishonest at worst.

  • Matt Rogers

    Do you think gay Christians who stand for faithfulness, purity, and honor deserve the same rights as heterosexuals who fit the same description? If not, your issue isn’t Christianity, faithfulness, purity and honor, but bigotry.

  • Matt Rogers

    How are Christians being “persecuted by LGBT bigots”? I can tell you how LGBT people are being persecuted: they’re harassed, fired, denied the right to marry, assaulted, and sometimes even murdered because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. How does that happen to Christians because of their faith?

    Heterosexuals aren’t called “homophobic” unless they’re really bigoted against gay people — and your assertion that children need opposite-sex parents isn’t backed up by empirical evidence.

  • Darthkuriboh

    CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, all owned by liberals. Fox is owned by conservatives. They’re all owned by Jews.

  • Todd20036

    You realize you just damned yourself.

    “Normal”? My sister and her husband divorced. Should they both lose custody of the children so they can be raised by a “mom” and a “dad”?

    Allowing businesses to discriminate against gay people helps children, how exactly?

    And how do you feel about gay children? Do you throw them away?

    Can I, seeing as how I hate Christians, not do any work for Christian people?

    You really are an ignorant hypocrite, you know that?

  • Todd20036

    You left out human sacrifice. Hey, if Christians can eat their prophet, I can burn a few humans to the great death God Anubis.

    All’s fair in Arizona, right?

  • Todd20036

    Unless you were in a coma for the last 20 years, you are gullible enough to donate money to the Catholic church.

    Republicans stopped believing that crap as soon as Reagan took office, and they pretty much killed any notion of believing that when W (2 unfunded wars, a trillion dollar tax cut, a brand new agency called Homeland Security) became the President.

  • Darthkuriboh

    you mean loyal patriots

  • Very Rev. Daibhidh Loggins, AC

    But American Hate groups such as NOM and the others have been going to Russia to help promote the discrimination agenda.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Thanks for that laugh.

  • Samuel

    Please note that it isn’t Republicans doing this. Republicans believe in small gov, fiscal responsibility, crap like that. This is the work of a small sect of far-right conservatives. Not Reoublicans in general.

  • BloggerDave

    Now you’re speaking my language…

  • Casey Lark

    The Honorable Janice K. Brewer
    Arizona Governor
    Executive Tower
    1700 West Washington Street
    Phoenix, AZ 85007

    Dear Governor Brewer:

    I am absolutely appalled by the supposed “religious freedom” law that would allow business people in the great state of Arizona to refuse to serve homosexuals. This is an abuse of religious freedom of the very worst kind, using religion as an excuse to legalize persecution.

    Are you going to have “Straights Only” lunch counters and restrooms so we don’t get their cooties? Are you all busy sewing rainbow-colored stars for all the gays to wear, so that we can know who it is that we are not supposed to treat the way Jesus treated everyone?

    What color stars will the lepers wear? How about the adulterers? And the tax collectors? And the prostitutes? What about those who have been convicted of a crime? Smokers? Speeders? Really fat people? How about women who have had abortions? Muslims, Catholics, Jews, and atheists? Will these people be allowed to get a burger and fries in Arizona, regardless of whether they live according to someone else’s religious beliefs? Ans just what is the name of this religion that I have never heard of, the
    one that preaches “Thou shalt not help anyone whom you suspect may have
    violated your own religious beliefs”?

    If Arizonans in the private sector are allowed to discriminate, then why not those in the public sector—they have religious beliefs, too. Will hospitals, teachers and firefighters in Arizona refuse to serve gays? Will professors at Arizona State University exercise “religious freedom” by banning gays from their classes?

    Please send me the name of the business person in Arizona who is qualified to throw the first stone so that I may congratulate—no, bow down to worship this person.

    This disgusting legislation is nothing but an attempt to justify hatred and hypocrisy by institutionalizing it. It makes the fine citizens of the great state of Arizona look small and mean. Please save Arizona from this very unfair and inaccurate characterization, and stand up against this legislation in the name of everything decent.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,

  • Erica Cook

    I bet these exemptions only apply to Christians. I bet if I said Christians need not apply because I said I thought they were unjust to other groups by the edicts of the wiccan reed they would say it was unlawful.

  • mark_in_toronto

    I’m so glad I don’t live there anymore!
    It seems for every baby step forward, there’s always 5 steps backwards.
    How the Great American Experiment has turned into this is unimaginable to me.
    WTF happened?

  • samiinh

    The way this law is written, anyone can discriminate against anyone else if it offends his sincerely held religious conviction. A gay atheist baker could refuse baking a special gay for a right-wing conservative christian if he wished by claiming christianity offends his own belief system. Someone working at Walmart could refuse to sell condoms to a heterosexual couple based on his religious belief that using birth control violated his sincerely held religious beliefs, or because his beliefs are offended if the couple were bi-racial, say, or unmarried.

  • Claire L Swinford

    Do you perchance have something on topic to say? Or do you just respond without actually reading? And, sorry, it’s not a Christian thing… anyone who thinks they have the right to dictate the terms of another persons life, is an idiot. Practice all the glorious Christianity you want, it phases me not. But, please explain how my life choices have a gad damned thing to do with it?

  • Eugene Koshanof

    I think time for TRUE EQUALITY needs to come, and Christians who are persecuted by LGBT bigots need to have the right to freedom too. We need to stop calling normal people ‘homophobic’ and understand that children need a MOM and a DAD.

  • Eugene Koshanof

    Indeed. Now that polygamy is also proposed, and people want to have whatever carnal orgies with whatever amount of people in a ‘marriage’, Christians who still stand for faithfulness, purity and honor will be considered as idiots, I understand

  • BloggerDave

    It’s not only you, it’s all of you… When all of you get as involved as the teabaggers are, you will see the results you seek in your second paragraph….

  • Patti Lipsig

    the irony of course being that the best way to secure the most religious freedom is by -having- that wall securely in place.It might look great if one’s own religious view is the same as those in power, but what happens when the power shifts to an opposing religion? Even a cursory glance at the past 500 years of history in the British Isles, from the establishment of the Church of England by Henry VIII through “The Troubles” of the late 20th century tells us the answer to that one.

  • grannieannie2

    That’s why I call them Talibangelists. Saves typing.

  • grannieannie2

    And the gay-bashing laws in Russia and globally are the offspring of religious idiots here in this country whose toxicity is contagious.

  • MJL

    that’s the only benefit to this law

  • FUFatherEisenman

    If the anti-gay law is signed in AZ. I do hope that the gay community finds a way to let us know which businesses discriminate so that they can be “outed” and brought to the front. Word of mouth can make or break a business. Hopefully, they can break some of these bigots.

  • FUFatherEisenman

    That is a great question.

  • FUFatherEisenman

    Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms and Trent Lott were Democrats at one time too. Phelps may be registered democrat (and hasn’t voted in 20 years), but his actions are clearly out of the republican playbook. The tie has been made

  • MJL

    If you’re talking about getting involved in politics more, YES. I DO. unlike many in my age group, I realize that while the president has a lot of individual power, he doesn’t have all of the power in the country and that allowing all of the others congressmen and senators, governors, etc to go ignored is foolish. the 2012 election woke me up to that fact once I came back home. I also try and talk to my peers about the importance of voting in every election so that we stop ending up with these idiots in power.

    but thank you for assuming that I’m just a lazy do nothing with a mouth :)

    but even with that difference, it doesn’t change the fact that can’t trust every person who steps up to the podium and says unlike their opponent, they have no intention of violating your civil rights. sure, you don’t have to worry about that guy violating your right to work or marry, but can he still be trusted if he’s willing to give CEOs a tax break? or back a law that could actually harm middle and lower class citizens? or if it takes funding away from schools and public assistance to fund something that the people neither want or need? I can never support a republican for anything but should I trust a democrat simply because they aren’t the christian taliban? NO. that’s the main point

  • MJL

    No one wants him

  • Buford

    Seems pretty clear… they try to make public policy align to their religious beliefs, and when that understandably fails, they pass laws that say they don’t have to follow man’s laws because their religion trumps public policy.

  • Buford

    You’re correct – the point here is that they demand the right to legally discriminate against things they don’t like because they ‘think’ their religion forbids those things.

    The REAL problem here is that they are not forced to prove that the discrimination is a tenet of their religion. These laws need to require a burden of proof on the religious… explain how your religion requires you to refuse service to a gay couple, and we’ll support your right to discriminate against gay couples.

    THAT’s a legal argument I’d love to witness.

  • Buford

    That sign is clever, but it makes a great point. As an employer, can I legally ask a job applicant about their opinions on gay marriage, and then refuse to hire them if they are anti-equality because my religious beliefs teach me to surround myself with love, not hate?

  • Sweetie

    I am surprised, too, that you didn’t connect the dots to Russia.

    The climate of gay-bashing created by Russia (given the worldwide embrace of that country vis-a-vis Sochi) is definitely lubricating the hate agenda here.

  • Sweetie

    Too bad we don’t have a federal constitution that says in the 14th amendment that no state can rescind a citizen’s right to equal protection and that says in the 1st amendment that the government can’t be theocratic. Oh wait…

    Of course, who actually cares about the constitution? Clearly, a lot of delusional people think it provides states the ability to pretend it doesn’t exist.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder how many conservative cowards have the gall to look at what they do to the world. They will put a pic of an abortion on a billboard, but they don’t look at pics of holy wars. I guess all the people being beaten, tortured, raped, stoned etc. for “religion” are too much for them to bear? How about the wars we start brashly with little provocation, do Mitt Romney or Bush meet with wounded soldiers? Disgusting people…

  • Anonymous

    It comes down to their sense of entitlement. They live in a bubble which gives them strength in numbers. Unfortunately we will have to take it as it is, and handle them with kid gloves. Can’t hold them at the standard of…well, intelligent people. They are a bit behind.

  • Anonymous

    The wingnuts look at theocracies as a justification for everything. They’re moral relativists. They are always yammering about how other countries are worse so they look tolerant. Similarly, they yammer about words they don’t understand like “communism” and “socialism.” I bet post-Soviet and Latin American countries appreciate some spoiled Americans talking about these forms of government.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t even want to rip the lid open on the shit people say online. It’s just a sad consequence of free speech and human rights. In a way I think global consciousness of these issues can help, but it will take time. It’s good that we monitor it, bad that we have to read it. Shit, there’s only so much the human brain can take before overloading. We need a mass effort to triumph over idiocy, and we aren’t there yet. But we’re starting to delve into it, I think…we aren’t apathetic, and that’s good.

  • Anonymous

    If you have no talent, no brain, no life and no aspirations…there’s always “Heaven”

  • Anonymous

    I find it hilarious that wingnuts are always spouting that Democrats pay for some kind of influence. Well duh, everyone does. MOST media outlets are owned by conservatives. They don’t complain about that. Conservatives actively take donations and give foreign aid to countries that will enact their agendas. Yet again, they only complain when Dems use their power and influence to do so. Why not focus on the Kock brothers, Murdoch, the neocon stranglehold over the Defense budget, etc.

    Why did we start wars over “terrorism,” killing many more than did the terrorists, and why isn’t FOX News implicated in outright lying about the reasons? Why are conservatives complaining about Obama’s wars, why do they defend despots like Gaddafi but hate Assad? They are clouded by their own idiotic wedge issues; they lack critical thinking skills. Their opinions can be swayed with the wind.

    I could go on, but they contradict themselves and always have something negative to say about others. “Personal responsibility” is a farce when it comes to conservatives. They are a burden on this world, do not even believe in their own radical ideas, and if they are allowed to follow their emotions we’ll have complete discord. Intolerance and lack of intelligence are NEVER a good idea. We took a long time to evolve, we are not going to undo it. No biases, no unfairness and no bullshit. They will not inflict their emotional impulses on the world.

  • http://TopRightNews.com/ John Urban

    Fred Phelps is a lifelong Democrat. Pathetic to try and tie him to Republicans.

  • pappyvet

    There are several tents in Afghanistan that would welcome you with open arms. And when you tire of the food , try Russia.

  • Moderator3

    Bye bye

  • Moderator3

    Bye.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Enjoy your visit. It will be brief.

  • disqus_vXiMsmmoqo

    Being a huge asshole shouldn’t be either.

  • Tony Capo

    there is no constitutional mandate to protect sodomy. The founders certainly never imagined such a thing and if they did they would have never signed. Homosexuality was and always will be a crime agaisnt nature, and God.

  • Tony Capo

    As has been stated. the bill only re-enforces the laws already standing. Freedom of conscience thought and association are inalienable rights. fudgpacking isnt.

  • Tony Capo

    Wrong! freedom to live according to the dictates my your conscience means that I cannot be forced to participate and approve of your abomination.

  • Tony Capo

    Sodomy is not a civil right.

  • Tony Capo

    LGBT = Leprosy, Gonorrhea, Bacteria, and Tuberculosis.

  • Tony Capo

    sexual perversion is not a civil right. God set the standards and all the homosexual propaganda will not change it. It is still an abomination.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Not really, no, I can’t name any, and you’re missing my point.

    Democrats in favor of TPP, Keystone XL, and Chained CPI are against me. The ones who took impeachment for war-crimes off the table are against me. The ones who voted with the Republicans for the Iraq war are against me, as are the ones who keep voting for the Patriot Act and ever increasing defense and national security budgets.

    But like I said, you missed my point: Republicans now have absolute litmus tests. They nominate nobody who isn’t a radical far right conservative, at least not wittingly. They might let a few Dem-nominated semi-moderates through, but an actual progressive or liberal? They consider that to be an absolute no-go.

    Democrats, on the other hand, seem only to nominate center-right moderates along with conservatives. Sometimes it’s because they actually prefer the conservatives, sometimes because the Republicans demand it in exchange to let those aforementioned moderates through.

    A GOP president who nominates a far-right Supreme Court justice, where that justice is deemed flawed in some way doesn’t then nominate a moderate or centrist in order to get past Democrat opposition. They just nominate another, ideologically pure but perhaps with even less of a track record.

    A Democratic president starts by nominating a center-right moderate.

    The result has been a steady rightward ratcheting of the judiciary.

  • Tony Capo

    The more the deviants push the more they will find that people will push back. Sexual perversion is not a civil right.

  • BloggerDave

    That “difference” you cited in your last sentence, makes all the difference in the world… You should try it sometime and THEN you can talk…

  • MJL

    but that still doesn’t erase the fact that our “Democratic” president is still playing nice with these people and allowing more far-right shenanigans that should not be tolerated. along with enacting some questionable actions that equal out to what you expect from a far-right president.

    the reality is that like Republicans, Democrats are politicians that cannot be taken at face value. period. the only difference between the two is that Republicans have a section of far-right cultists that are more involved with politics than most of the country.

  • nicho

    It’s a race to the bottom between Christians and the Taliban.

  • pappyvet

    The Christian Taliban is sure jealous of all the fun that the Muslim Taliban is enjoying.

  • pappyvet

    Absolutely. Sickening

  • Stev84

    “Free exercise of religion” really was mostly meant the freedom to worship. Before that you could be punished for simply believing the wrong thing. It wasn’t supposed to be a license to do whatever you want on those beliefs. And of course it can’t be.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Aye…

    BTW folks, careful with that link. The content might trigger PTSD for those who have experienced sexual abuse.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I love that sign.

  • Bose

    It is 100% legal and available to business owners who would prefer not to serve LGBT people to say so. They can use signage, websites, Facebook, any/all of their marketing materials. But they don’t want to post signs in their shops or banners on their sites that they are proud donors to anti-gay orgs and campaigns.

  • nicho

    Yeah, Mormons have their own hate group going on in SLC.

  • Strepsi

    It’s terrifically prescient. I put it in the Top 3 Canadian novels of all time.

  • Strepsi

    Great article! I like that you connected the dots. WHat is absolutely grotesque is that the outright hate groups Focus on the Family and Family Research Council have a direct line to Republican legislators’ ears!

    Last election only ONE of the dozen Republican contenders refused to attend the Christianist hate-fest “Values Voters Summit”… Mitt Romney.

  • Strepsi

    ANd you are right that the organizational brains know this and plan to eliminate all civil rights. But the truly ignorant batshit Christian Tea Baggers… and there are shockingly many who managed to get elected — truly only think about Christians.

    I always remember that idiot, Louisiana State Rep. Valarie Hodges — who thought “religion” meant only “Christian”!

    “I actually support funding for teaching the fundamentals of America’s Founding Fathers’ religion, which is Christianity, in public schools or private schools,” the District 64 Representative said Monday. The school funding mechanism, however, did not come up for a vote until the end of the session. By then, a Muslim-based school had applied for support through the new voucher system.

    “Unfortunately it will not be limited to the Founders’ religion,” Hodges said. “We need to insure that it does not open the door to fund radical Islam schools. There are a thousand Muslim schools that have sprung up recently. I do not support using public funds for teaching Islam anywhere here in Louisiana.”

    http://pamshouseblend.firedoglake.com/2012/07/06/zoinks-louisiana-legislator-thought-state-voucher-program-for-religious-education-meant-only-for-christian-schools/

  • emjayay

    I’m wondering if they would put banners on their internet listings “No Gays”. Otherwise if you are gay do you call each one and ask if they will deign to sell a service to you? I mean, they used to label restrooms and waiting rooms so you knew without asking. And had a Negroes Sit Behind This Sign for bus seats.

  • BloggerDave

    Part of your despair, Becca, is that you seem to live in a world where the Democrats are also against you. That is not reality. Surely even you can name a judge that was appointed by a Democrat who you approve of…

  • nicho
  • pappyvet
  • nicho

    I’m not sure any readers of this blog are going to rush over and join WBC just because they saw those pictures on this site.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    We are winning, but the war is far from over.

    There are those who believed that Roe v. Wade was the end of the war for women’s reproductive freedoms — and look what’s happened.

  • nicho

    Throughout history, religion has always been about “us vs. them.” Love was just a cover story. The Christians of the Middle Ages burned each other to death out of “love” — really.

  • nicho

    Concern noted.

  • Drew2u

    I would imagine that if that were the case, then new legislation would be passed to allow for only christian dominionist objection and not other religious objections. But with that said, I don’t know if that ever has been the case, anywhere.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I find myself wondering how many of them even imagine a scenario where according to these laws they’re passing, it would be legal for a Muslim or Hindu restaurant or gas station owner to turn away a Christian.

  • 2karmanot

    And WE are wearing the ruby slippers.

  • Drew2u

    The funny thing about South Dakota’s bill is SB 128 was a reaction to the outcry over SB 67 that would have allowed religious objection for ANYTHING. Don’t want to serve Jews? You got it. Want to deny that Muslim family gas or food? Just cite SB 67’s Religious Objection.
    So with that bill pulled, SB 128 was introduced to SPECIFICALLY target gay people. Thankfully that stunk so bad that it was eventually voted down. I just hope that the smell will stick to those that sponsored those bills in the first place.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    We needed something to break up my long wall of text and in any case, those photos don’t link back to their hate-site.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Unfortunately, we keep getting this:

    Republican president: Nominates all the radical far-right judges he likes and nearly all of them are confirmed.

    Democratic president: Nominates several far-right judges as part of negotiations just to get a few center-right moderates confirmed.

  • dcinsider

    I always feel bad when my civil rights interfere with people’s ability to hate me.

    Seriously, this crap is going to happen from time to time, and we will win most and lose a few. While we should not be silent, and we should make AZ pay for their stupidity, in the end, they are shoveling sand against the tide.

    It is good to monitor this stuff, and important to fight it, but we need to be calm and recognize that our enemies have lost the war, but there are still a few thousands left on that island in the Pacific who have not gotten the word.

  • HolyMoly

    Agreed. I seem to remember Bush insisting on provisions in the new Iraqi constitution that would provide for equal treatment under the law for members of ALL religions and the prevention of theocratic, fundamentalist rule of the government — a wall of separation between religion and government, if you will. It’s funny how the American concept of religious freedom as embodied in our own Constitution is considered to be sacrosanct, but only when applied to conquered nations whose predominant religion is something other than Christianity. Here? Not so much.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    In short, their religion isn’t about love, but fear, and they’re not happy unless they see someone who isn’t them being oppressed.

    That way they can feel special, superior, and chosen.

  • jomicur

    All of this strikes me as the logical conclusion of a movement we’ve seen growing ever since the LGBT movement first started getting traction. The right-wingers always try and claim their first amendment rights are violated, and in a good number of cases the courts (not just the ones with Republican judges) have been willing to agree with them. Actually getting laws passed to sanction their claims was only a matter of time. Until we start getting courts with progressive judges–not just Democratic but progressive–we will not see an end to the insanity that holds that freedom of religion trumps every other right guaranteed to American citizens by the constitution.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    It seems a dead certainty their goal is to eliminate the proverbial ‘wall between church and state’ — but only for conservative fundamentalist Christians. They’re quite open about this being their ultimate intent.

  • Teatime

    This —-> “Shorter translation: The Arizona bill attempts to nullify all civil
    rights legislation ever passed, including federal laws, regardless who
    is being protected.”

    And unfortunately, this will not be the last of it. Gay rights legislation will follow a similar path as AA’s civil rights; just substitute ‘marriage’ for the word ‘vote’. First AA’s could not vote, then intimidation, then Jim Crow laws and other structural barriers. Currently voter id laws.

    This is the reason constant and consistent push-back is needed and required.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I was thinking more like Sinclair’s “It Can’t Happen Here”, but that works, too.

  • Bose

    While the advancement of the right-to-discriminate bills is very public, it strikes me that they’re really hoping for a right to discriminate quietly, privately, desperate to avoid being noticed. Those that really want to discriminate seem just as upset by losing revenue as they are about complying with the law. The business owners aren’t clueless. They recognize that if 20% of the bakeries in town are known to discriminate, it’s not just the gay wedding cake revenue that will go to the other 80%, it will be a large block of customers avoiding the discriminators.

    That’s what is going to get crazy in the interim years between passing these bills and them getting shot down by the courts. States will be ponying up big bucks for years of doomed appeals. Christian businesses will lose revenue. And they’ll claim victimhood because after they marched Jim & Bob out, J&B’s coworkers, families and neighbors take their business elsewhere.

  • 2karmanot

    Children of the corn have rights too!

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Aye… I spent a fair amount of time digging for the various reports and statements from these legislators, and two assumptions keep coming up:

    1. That it’s conservative fundamentalist Christianity that’s being ‘protected.’
    2. That the only intended target for the ‘religious freedom’ laws is LGBTs.

    Gays and Transfolk are the only examples they ever talk about. And the entire context is always conservative Christians who believe it’s morally wrong to be LGBT.

    Yet none of them appear to notice that the plain language of the bills in most cases enables discrimination against anybody, and that yes, you don’t even have to be a member of an organized mainstream religion to exercise the right to discriminate. That’s why I raised the possibility that this vagueness is actually a feature and not a bug or sloppiness in the crafting of the legislation.

    While it’s true that many of the efforts do appear to be targeting LGBTs specifically, the clear trend in the legislation over the last month has been more generalized application, as if they are indeed going after ALL anti-discrimination protections. Like John said in his post, a kind of ‘Citizens United’ attack on civil rights laws.

  • HolyMoly

    The First Amendment clearly states that the free exercise of religion cannot be completely taken away (abridge), but it CAN and should be limitable (prohibit), in such cases where one person’s free exercise infringes on the rights of another. Thomas Jefferson elaborated on this point (and here I paraphrase): There are no laws against the slaughtering of animals (the U.S. at the time was populated primarily by farmers who regularly slaughtered animals), therefore a religion that calls for animal sacrifice will be free to do so. There ARE laws against killing another human being, therefore a religion that calls for human sacrifice can and should be forbidden to do so. Free exercise of religion depends entirely on whether such free exercise contravenes civil law. A case in point would be “Reynolds v. U.S.” (1878): Religious belief does not excuse violation of law.

    These new “laws” being introduced around the country have no understanding of the First Amendment. Either that or they DO know, but figure if they hammer away at it, they can revise history and redefine our Founders’ original intent. Prepare yourselves for the coming Supreme Court cases. Let’s hope that the right-wingers on the bench don’t seize this opportunity to overthrow the First Amendment.

  • 2karmanot

    Time to dust off that old copy of ‘The Handmaiden’s Tale.’

  • MileHighJoe

    Your religion does not place you above the law.
    Period.

  • Monophylos Fortikos

    I contest this facile interpretation of history. Yes, it’s indisputable that the Muslim world preserved and translated for later use a great deal of the old Hellenic knowledge–but the reason they were able to get hold of that knowledge in the first place, or at least of a good chunk of it, was because of a group of Nestorian Christians in Jundi Shapur with a big collection of Greek manuscripts.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    You’re welcome. And thanks Jim.

  • Steven Jaeger

    What is it about Arizona and it’s desire to pass blatantly unconstitutional laws. Some of the anti-immigrant laws, some of the prison laws.? huh?

  • nicho

    “Mankind will only be free when the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.”

    During the Dark Ages, the Muslim world was a beacon of light and provided leadership in art, poetry, mathematics, science, medicine, etc., etc. Then, the fundamentalists took over. That’s worked out well.

  • Indigo

    If we follow the money behind these initiatives, whom do we find? I assume we’ll find the Koch brothers and some of their cronies along with Mormon and Catholic focus groups.

  • Monophylos Fortikos

    *sighs*

    I’ve been avoiding stories about this nonsense because really my mood hasn’t been good enough lately to deal with much unpleasantness, but…ugh. So, basically, the logic seems to be: “Being forced to deal equitably with people who do things contrary to my religious bigotry is an infringement on my freedom of religion.” Yeah.

    Nobody is forcing the God-botherers actually to do anything they consider sinful. Marriage equality is an act of civil law, not of religious law; if the Jesus freaks’ church wants to cast out its gay parishioners and spit on them, it’s still free to do so. But of course that’s not really what’s going on.

    Here’s the problem: evangelical nutcases’ religious faith really isn’t a very solid thing. It requires constant protection and nursing along. All society must help to prop up that shaky faith. Supposedly God will reward the faithful and punish the sinful, but apparently God needs some help with that task, because the sinful are inexplicably not wallowing in misery. That must be a painful thing for a fundie to witness: despite their godliness their lives still suck, while sinners prosper. That’s not right. So clearly society is obliged to do what God doesn’t seem able to do on His own–punish folks who have the wrong sort of sex.

  • FLL

    The new laws that you’re reporting on could work to the benefit of some quickly growing religions whose focus is white nationalism. I’ll give you a modern-day example from the Pacific Northwest. From the 1970s through 2001, Aryan Nations was active in Hayden Lake, Idaho and described themselves as “white Christian separatist.” They fell apart after a lawsuit in which they lost most of their assets. The current epicenter of white nationalism is Kalispell, Montana, an hour or so north of Missoula. Kallispell has a community of well over 100 white nationalists, although they no longer live on any specific compound. They simply move to the area as anyone else would, which is a strategy called PLE (Pioneer Little Europe).

    You might guess that the new wave of younger-than-40 white nationalists gravitating toward western Montana and adjacent areas are Christian… and you would be wrong. The majority of younger white nationalists follow the more racially based forms of Norse/Germanic paganism, that is to say, “folkish” (named after the 19th-century racial-nationalistic völkisch movement in Germany). For better or worse, Christianity has pretty much died out among the skinhead crowd and even more educated white nationalists. Racially based Odinism is tailor made to benefit from the new set of laws that you are describing in your post because folkish Odinism is freed from the injunction of most major religions—such as Christianity, Islam and Buddhism—to accept people of all racial backgrounds. So there is your poster child for the new laws allowing religiously based discrimination.

  • bkmn

    As sloppily as these bills have been written it wouldn’t surprise me if they had the “crack” legal team at Liberty Council help them out.

  • BlueIdaho

    Luker is a mormon (of course) and only took his bill back to committee after he was forced to. I suspect we will see this legislation again, in some form, if not this year then next year. The tea party terrorists here don’t usually take no for an answer.

  • Jim Olson

    Once again, thank you, Becca.

  • John De Salvio

    Why are you posting the images of Fred Felch’s Wetboring Burpist Church? You’re just giving him what he wants: Publicity.

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