The Christian Right Hates Everyone Else’s Freedom!by jason on Oct. 14, 2011, under Abortion, Arizona Families, AZ Politics, Biblical Inerrancy, Christian Self-Righteous Arrogance, Christianity, Clarity, Conservatism vs. Liberalism, Critical Thinking, Education, Ethics, Faith, Fundamentalism, Gay Marriage, God & Bible, Government, History, Logic, Mormonism, Reason, Religion, Responsible Government, Sanity, Separation of Church & State
This comes to us from Jim Wilson:
The Christian Right Hates Everyone Else’s Freedom
I agree with Jason’s recent piece concerning the New York town Clerk who runs the risk of loosing her job over her refusal to grant marriage licenses to same sex-couples (If it had been couples of two different races she would have been fired and this would not be an issue). Anyway, I think you should be free to have whatever crazy beliefs you want, but if they interfere with you doing the work you are hired for, your boss has every right to dismiss you.
What really troubles me more is that a Conservative Christian Organization, from my state of Arizona is trying to turn this into a show case and get this woman a special exemption from having to do the job she was hired for, while still getting paid with her fellow New Yorkers’ tax money. I want to make it clear, that while this organization claims to be concerned about protecting our first amendment rights, at best they do so on a very selective basis and the overall goal of the majority of its founders and current leadership is to erode religious freedom and personal freedoms of all non-Christians. In plain English, they hate the personal freedoms of everyone who does not think like them. That is my problem with the religious right in general: They want the state to specifically promote their version of Christianity, force everyone else to conform to their religious prohibitions, and have the government to use our tax money to do this.
The scum-wads who compose the leadership of the Christian right want to make it hard to buy alcohol on some days of the week, get contraceptives, get a divorce (prolonging abusive marriages in the process), buy sexually explicit publications, and prevent couples that don’t fit their preconceptions from adopting children (contributing to the number of children without loving homes). They want sexual minorities to be demonized and forced out of visibility, or in some cases forced into cruel attempts to alter one’s orientation. They oppose the freedom of loving couples of the same sex to not only marry but even have any of the same benefits as married couples.
In the eyes of the religious right, tax-payer funded public schools should be turned into religious indoctrination centers (Or done away with entirely as some members suggest, but that’s a whole other topic). They want students to: listen to teacher led prayers (Note, I have no problem if students wish to pray in school on their own, and part of me agrees with the notion there will always be prayer in school so long as there are tests), to be taught Christian creationism as science (which really highlights their opposition to science in general), to be taught a fictional U.S. history in which America was founded as a Christian nation, and the uglier sides of it’s past are white washed (not to mention that they wish to exclude the works of important nonbelievers like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Payne and Mark Twain).
Then there is the truly distorted and perverse attitude these people have about human sexuality (This merits a blog post in and of itself). It essentially stems from a notion that sex is dirty or sinful and no one should be able to enjoy if their intention is not making more little Christians. They want schools to provide misinformation about or entirely refrain from teaching about human sexuality. They want students to be taught misinformation about contraceptives if taught at all about them (this may be part of why more religious parts of the country have higher instances of unintended pregnancy). The overall attitude is that anything other than reproductive sex is bad, because god says so, so therefore anything that removes the risks from engaging in sex without the intention of reproduction, should be fought, tooth and nail. Essentially they want to force women into unwanted pregnancies, and force everyone who does not want to reproduce to abstain from enjoying their sexuality. This is made apparent by these people’s simultaneous opposition to both contraceptives and abortion. You can take whatever ever stance you want on the abortion issue, but it is clear that sex for pleasure without the fear of an unanticipated pregnancy is not something the religious right wants people to experience. With all this, I cannot help but be reminded of a bumper sticker, that defines puritanism as the fear that someone, somewhere is having a good time.
Personally I think people should be able to make up their mind about how they want to express their sexuality and any medical advances that rid us of the unintended consequences of doing this should be welcomed, rather than fought. I am of the opinion that demonizing sexuality and forcing people to deny it or confining the expression of it to times when they wish to reproduce is a denial of our nature, our basic biology and is detrimental to sound mental health, not to mention a full happy life.
Since I already mentioned the abortion issue, I’ll cover it, and invite a little bit of everyone’s grief. My first issue is that though the religious right is dead set on banning abortion, I have yet to meet anyone from this movement that has the slightest idea what they think the penalty should be for awoman who gets one. Seriously people, if you want to outlaw something you should have some idea what you think is an appropriate penalty. When pressed pro-lifers are likely to pause for a while and suggest any thing from the death penalty to “just pray for them”. All this seems ridiculous.
It’s like pro-lifers think that just by passing a law people will stop engaging in an activity. Go ask your kids how well that’s working with marijuana, or your grandparents how well it worked with alcohol. The truth is prohibitionist policies create ugly black markets for what is being prohibited, and no one wants to see a return of the coat hanger. And like all prohibitionists, pro-lifers want to attack the symptom rather than the underlying problem. They have little interest in attacking underlying causes of abortion like poverty, lack of medically correct information about sex, and lack of contraception or understanding of it. Frankly, I’m convinced that Christian conservatives cease caring about anyone at the moment they are born. To put it all in perspective, I don’t think any of us want abortions to take place, but I accept that if they must take place, they should take place in an environment that is safe for the women involved, and at a point in the pregnancy where the embryo or fetus is as far from being a sentient fully developed human as possible, and I honestly see prohibitionist policies doing the exact opposite of this.
Anyway, that’s a good introduction to what I’m against, but to end on a positive note, I’ll tell you what I want, and why I think it is more conducive to freedom for everyone, than the religious right’s vision. I personally favor a government that is neutral to religion. A government that as stated in the constitution: “make[s] no law respecting an establishment of religion” or “prohibiting the exercise there of”. Thomas Jefferson, one of the most brilliant visionaries of the American revolution, put it best when described it as creating a wall of separation between church and state. When the United States was founded, it was the most secular country in the world, and I would like to see it maintain this legacy.
Despite my many problems with religion I think people should be free to believe as they wish without the state telling them what to think. I think people should be free to exercise their religious beliefs, to the extent that doing so harms no one else, without interference or assistance from the government. I think that religious organizations should be required to follow the same laws as the rest of us, without special benefits or exemptions (often times Churches run like businesses and openly push for political candidates, and as such should not be qualifying for the tax-exemptions they get). It is only in such an environment that a free market of ideas can actually take place, and if your beliefs are competitive on a free market of ideas, you should want this too.
Note this is not an atheist position I am expressing. One of the most vocal proponents of a religion-neutral government is the Reverend Barry Lynn, who is an ordained minister with the United Church of Christ. Reverend Lynn sees that mixing Church and government corrupts both. He believes that one’s religious beliefs should be between the believer and God. He does not want the state in any way telling him what doctrines his church should have to accept, nor does he want his churches to develop the types of conflicts of interest that intermingling with government tend to create.
Christians who argue against church and state separation seem to think the result will be the government working on behalf of Christians who think like them, but there are thousands of different varieties of Christianity alone, with all sorts of bizarre beliefs and prohibitions, not to mention countless other religions. Any of these could exercise undue influence over the population if our first amendment protections are eroded. The sheer amount of political influence of the Mormon church as things currently stand, should be enough for any non-Mormon to want to do everything to strengthen government neutrality to religion.
So, to all you Christians out there, don’t be haters, and support the freedom of all of us to pursue our own beliefs on the free market of ideas without getting the government involved.