Pubblicato da: rainbowman56 | 8 gennaio 2012

Renaming Discrimination as “Religious Freedom

Journal Entry: Sun Jan 8, 2012, 11:55 AM

From the blog of Michael in Norfolk

“I find many things that the “godly Christian” set engage in to be annoying at best and outright deliberate lies at the extreme end of the spectrum. But one of the biggest lies is the new trend of equating anything that restricts anti-gay bigotry and discrimination as a “treat to religious freedom.” While the lie was started by some of the usually suspects within SPLC registered hate groups such as Family Research Council, the U. S. Catholic bishops – Archbishop Timothy Dolan in particular – have jumped whole hog onto the band wagon. It’s a topic that I write about in the print edition of the January 15, 2012 issue of VEER Magazine and that I think must be rebutted and condemned forcefully and frequently. Sarah Posner looks at this effort to conflate discrimination and a denial of civil rights as religious freedom in a column in Religion Dispatches. Here are some highlights:

Four days before Christmas, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops paid for a full-page advertisement in the Washington Post, co-signed by dozens of leaders of Catholic institutions. But the ad offered no holiday cheer. Instead, it aggressively highlighted the Bishops’ pointed confrontation with the Obama administration: either amend a regulation requiring employer health insurance plans to provide contraception without a co-pay, or stand accused of religious discrimination.

At the Bishops’ annual meeting in Baltimore this past November, Dolan took his charges into conspiratorial territory, telling reporters that “well-financed, well-oiled sectors” were attempting to “push religion back into the sacristy.”

Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution last October, Bishop William E. Lori, chair of the Ad Hoc Committee, described LGBT equality and access to reproductive care as “serious threats to religious liberty,” that “represent only the most recent instances in a broader trend of erosion of religious liberty in the United States.” The problem, he went on, is like a disease that must be treated immediately, . . .

Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, sees the Bishops’ framing as “significant,” noting that, “They’re really trying to put a spin on what’s happening, and they’re hoping that they can convince people that their rights are the ones being violated.”

This argument is “not true as a matter of constitutional law on religion,” Melling added. “It masks entirely what’s going on… what they’re really asking for is to use religion to discriminate and they’re asking that they not have to comply with laws at the expense of peoples’ health and equality and well-being.”

With the USCCB and the religious right both framing these issues as dire religious persecution, and given the potency of the issue for Republicans on the campaign trail, 2012 is shaping up to be a banner year for conservative assaults on laws and policies they see as infringing on their religious freedom.

Herb Silverman [president of the Secular Coalition for America], said, “it’s frightening to see that at least half of the [GOP presidential] candidates don’t have a basic understanding of the principle of separation of church and state on which our country was founded.” The group singled out Gingrich in particular, noting that his statements demonstrate “hostility toward secular Americans and an unwillingness to separate his religious beliefs from his previous and prospective roles as an elected official.”

The National Organization for Marriage, the anti-LGBT group that has pressed the argument that same-sex marriage amounts to religious persecution of Christians, put out a “marriage pledge,” which was subsequently signed by both Gingrich and Perry, in addition to Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Mitt Romney.

Gingrich and his allies talk about threats to religious freedom, but what they really want is the right to use government to shove conservative/fundamentalist/ultra-orthodox social views down everyone else’s throats.” The investigations have already started on Capitol Hill, where Republicans’ ears are cocked for controversies they can gin up to paint the Obama administration as anti-religion. In his Congressional testimony, the USCCB’s Lori laid out a list of grievances, nearly all related to reproductive care access and LGBT equality

In an equally hyperbolic statement, USCCB president Dolan has charged that the administration’s decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court could “precipitate a national conflict between church and state of enormous proportions.”

Constitutionally speaking, though, the Republican claim that the HHS action amounts to religious discrimination is “very weak,” said Marci Hamilton, First Amendment expert and a professor at the Cardozo School of Law. “There is no constitutional right to have government funding tailored to your religious requirements.”

What’s more, the notion that the federal government has somehow discriminated against Catholics is rendered even more absurd by the hard numbers: in 2011 alone, according to the federal government database at, Catholic Charities received over $753 million in federal funding. . . . It seems that there is a more compelling argument to be made that federally-funded religious groups are actually given a license to discriminate by the government, not that they are discriminated against.

[T]he Bishops’ religious liberty campaign is the latest evidence of the strengthening of the alliance between the Catholic Church and the evangelical right, whose precepts were laid out in the 2009 Manhattan Declaration.

[D]on’t be surprised if the “religious freedom” argument finds its way into conservative arguments about “big government” in 2012. It’s not just for the religious right anymore.

Note how the Catholic bishops view gay rights and reproductive rights as a “disease.” I’d argue that the real disease is ignorance embracing religious based hate and discrimination. The “godly Christians” continue to make Christianity into something truly ugly. They – not gays and women who want control over their own bodies – are the real threat to religious freedom.”

How right! Religious freedom is freedom to practice your religion (or one) respecting other’s freedoms and human right, no else! Thpse liars are demonic doyuble-speakers, and have nothing to do with Christ message of love and charity!


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