Deeply Held Religious Beliefs
Obergefell v. Hodges is a month old now, and predictably all hell has broken loose; fundamentalist Christians are demanding that they be exempt from serving the demon LGBT community, saying their “deeply held” or “sincerely held” religious beliefs protect them from dismissal or legal action. Republican presidential hopefuls are whipping up a frenzy, demanding legislation to protect the right to discriminate. Personally I think we’re going about this all wrong; we need to pass legislation allowing discrimination based on deeply held beliefs, religious or otherwise. But we need some guidelines, and I propose the following (as talking points, of course):
First, we can’t have any litmus test for blasphemy or hypocrisy. Most religions teach that judgment is a right reserved for God, and it’s sinful and arguably blasphemous for people to demand authority reserved for God. As far as hypocrisy goes, “born again” county clerks who have been divorced, wear any jewelry or outfits with two or more materials really shouldn’t be judging anyone at all (yes, all those are in the Old Testament – I’m not sure on the two or more materials, does that mean it’s an “abomination” to wear a cotton shirt with wool slacks, or does it also outlaw cotton/rayon blend blouses? Maybe – probably both.). Can’t enjoy shellfish either, eating shrimp is an “abomination”, and anyone enjoying a lobster dinner to celebrate the successful persecution of a lesbian, or would enjoy a nice bowl of clam chowder on a cold winter day, wouldn’t be given the protection of a “sincerely held religious belief.” Christians and Jews can’t eat pork or touch a pig’s carcass either (that’s in Deuteronomy). So, born agains don’t have to issue marriage licenses to LGBTs, especially if they find out shrimp cocktails or ham would be served at a reception. By the way, evangelicals, you might want to think twice about that Easter ham tradition, and on days when you’re going to discriminate based on your beliefs, you probably shouldn’t have that sausage McMuffin on the way to work.
We can’t stop with the above, we’re just getting warmed up! Firefighters and cops won’t have to help anyone they deem “unworthy” in their definition of God’s eyes. If a paramedic sees someone in the agonizing throes of a heart attack and that person has a tattoo, they’re as good as dead. Yep, that’s in the Bible too. Muslim county clerks won’t have to issue marriage licenses to gays or lesbians, Islam is homophobic too. But Muslim clerks can issue marriage licenses to one man and as many four wives, Islam allows that, and the Old Testament doesn’t place any limit on the number of wives and “concubines” a man can have. The hell with secular law, the Bible rules supreme, doesn’t it? Or in some cases the Quran.
Maybe we should codify who can do what to discriminate (hate) whom. Mormons can hate Catholics because they use wine in the sacrament. Catholics can hate anyone they want, they can cover themselves with confession and acts of contrition, and they’re absolved. All self-professed Christians can be intolerant with Mormons because of false prophets and the Book of Mormon. Mormons also have that whole history thing with polygamy (technically “polygyny”) but we’ve resolved that; it’s cool. We can all discriminate against Jehovah’s Witnesses because of that door to door thing with “The Watchtower”; ever notice how the timing is always terrible? It pisses me off if I’m just sitting down to eat and they ring the doorbell, or there’s a really close sporting event that I’m watching. The worst timing is when I’m enjoying something intimate with someone (likely considered “perverse” or “sinful” by one religion or another, or more than one). And we should all discriminate against Scientologists, that religion is as bat shit crazy as its founder.
We have a place to start; eventually we can get around to repealing suffrage (most religions relegate women to quiet, subordinate roles), and we can do away with child abuse laws for parents; according to the Old Testament, disobedient, disrespectful children should be stoned to death. So should adulterers – does that apply to divorce and remarriage? So we’ll have years of legislative fine tuning and a whole new area for lawyers; “deeply held” religious hate crimes. For now, maybe it would be a good idea for businesses who don’t wish to serve the entire public to post signs at the entrances; “We endorse the Westboro Baptist Church”. Or maybe, “Go Taliban!” I see strong similarities, hate and intolerance being the common element.
I find myself in the fortunate position of not being able to avail myself of the proposed religious non-freedom proposed above; I’m an “unwashed” (never baptized or christened) heathen and I don’t follow any religious doctrine that involves judging others, or hating anyone for our different beliefs. I’m neither atheist nor agnostic, I just think God is too busy to micromanage our lives, She’s interested in really big things like managing a universe that’s around 14 billion years old, and coming up with really neat stuff like gravity and inertia and black holes – how cool are those?! Even cooler, from a human perspective – hearing a child laugh with delight at learning something new and knowing children are born without hate, and the amazing feeling of loving someone who loves us back, regardless of gender or genital equipment – or number. And when God is really in a playful mood She gives us really bizarre shit like the duck-billed platypus and Donald Trump. I guess I’m a Contrarian, I say and believe things that generally piss off religious fanatics. And I know that means that according to most beliefs I’m going to hell. Who isn’t? According to just about everyone else, if you don’t believe as they do you’re evil, and you’re screwed. Heaven is probably reserved for really good folks like the Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Gandhi, people who really tried to get us to accept each other and work on our own shortcomings without judging and hating everyone else for theirs.
So bring it on, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry, and all the other 87 or so Bible-beating current and possible Republican presidential candidates; keep telling the “big lie” that Christians are being persecuted, they’re actually inflicting the persecution; keep insisting there’s a sinister progressive/liberal/socialist/LGBT+Q and P conspiracy. That “conspiracy” consists of nothing more than wanting to be free to live life as we choose, to stand equal before the law and in society. We are not the enemy, you are with your bullshit religious war.