Warning: Graphic image.
Since 2010, I’ve been closely monitoring what’s been happening on a local, state, and federal level regarding ‘religious freedom’ legislation to undermine the rights of gays and lesbians and women’s health care and reproductive rights, while significantly cutting the most effective anti-poverty programs for children and mothers.
In 2011 and 2012 there was an unprecedented rise in the passage of provisions related to women’s health and reproductive rights from religious conservatives. In 2011 alone, State legislatures across the United States introduced approximately 1100 provisions. Why is there such a push to deny women necessary reproductive healthcare options, when we have significant evidence regarding the harm to women, their children, and society?
And what about same-sex marriage and raising children?
Live Science: “Pope Benedict called gay marriage a threat “to the future of humanity itself,” citing the need for children to have heterosexual homes.” A threat to humanity? That’s not what the research shows. Statements like that can promote fear and bigotry, and incite hate crimes against gays and lesbians.
Below is a chart showing the percentage of people who say gay marriage goes against their religious beliefs:
For those who’ve not been keeping up with the proliferation of ‘religious freedom’ legislation (at the enormous cost to American tax payers), there are several states that have proposed bills that would allow business owners to discriminate based on their religious convictions. Arizona is one such state.
Shortly after the bill was sent to the governor, the state of Arizona was informed that the NFL would move the 2015 Super Bowl to Tampa if the governor didn’t veto the bill. Jan Brewer vetoed the bill.
“Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake publicly urged Brewer to veto the measure, citing worries about the economic impact on the state’s businesses.”
The Arizona SB 1062 bill would have offered a legal defense for individuals and businesses facing discrimination lawsuits if they could prove they acted upon a “sincerely held religious belief.”
If this is really about their “sincerely held religious beliefs”, then businesses can technically deny services to people of different faiths, those who use contraceptives, have had an abortion, committed adultery, got divorced for any other reason besides adultery and/or abandonment, couples living together, those who’ve had sex outside of marriage, atheist and agnostics, and/or anyone suspected of committing one or more of the 7 deadly sins listed in Proverbs 6:16-19.
So I ask: who is responsible for the rise in hate crimes against homosexuals, not just in the U.S., but globally?
“A young Chicago lesbian couple was violently attacked and beaten up by a mob of 10 men on the evening of July 6, prompting gay groups to call for more attention to hate crimes.”
“We see cases like this all the time, all over the city and all over the state,” said Rick Garcia, policy director at The Civil Rights Agenda. “It shows that animosity toward lesbian and gay people is just below the surface. We think we’ve made such big gains, but right below the surface we see this animosity and violence.”
Business Insider reported that New York’s police commissioner Ray Kelly said anti-gay hate crime in New York spiked 70% in 2013. It further stated that the violence is due to the fact that gays have made unprecedented political gains.
“Fanned by Western evangelicals, homophobia has spread across the African continent voraciously in recent years, including Uganda, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the point that the European Union’s highest court last week ruled that fear of imprisonment [and death] for homosexuality in African countries is grounds for asylum in the EU.”
Gay Person Burn Alive In Uganda By Anti-Gay Mob
“If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” Leviticus 20:13
Tweet from the president of the Family Research Council (FRC) in America
BTW, did you know that the upcoming Supreme Court case could impose Arizona’s discrimination bill on the entire country? Here’s a wake-up call. Should the SCOTUS decide that corporations are people of faith, they will be giving power to those who are at the greatest risk for abusing their power.
“So if the Supreme Court agrees with the plaintiffs in these cases that corporations aren’t just people, but they can also be people of faith, the outcome will be very similar to what would happen if Congress had taken the bill Brewer just vetoed, passed it at the federal level and then President Obama had signed it into law — except, of course, for the fact that no one on the Supreme Court was actually elected to make law.”
What are the implications of these cases?
“Denying birth control to your workers because of your own religious objections to it superimposes your own personal beliefs about conscience and faith onto your employees. So does refusing to serve a gay person due to a religious objection to their sexual orientation. If the Supreme Court winds up holding that one person’s faith can impose itself on another, which is exactly what the plaintiffs in Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood want them to do, then all the nightmare scenarios imagined in the debate over the Arizona bill could become very real — at least at the federal level.”
There will be little end to business owners’ ability to immunize themselves from the law should the SCOTUS allow corporations to be considered people of faith. This move, under the guise of “religious liberty”, could expedite 3rd World country status. Since August 2013, lawmakers in at least 13 states have introduced legislation similar to the controversial Arizona bill.
On a personal note, I am a heterosexual woman. Since 2010, I have experienced bullying by male heterosexuals (devout Catholics and Christian evangelicals). I’ve been called a feminazi lesbian while peacefully advocating for pro-choice, the banning of corporal punishment on children, the rights of LGBTQ, and spreading awareness about religious trauma, where women, children and homosexuals are especially affected. Research shows:
From PBS Frontline:
“[…heterosexism is not just a personal value system, it is a tool in the maintenance of gender dichotomy. In other words, through heterosexism, any male who refuses to accept the dominant culture’s assignment of appropriate masculine behavior is labeled early on as a “sissy” or “fag” and then subjected to bullying. Similarly, any woman who opposes male dominance and control can be labeled a lesbian and attacked.
The potential of being ostracized as homosexual, regardless of actual sexual attractions and behaviors, puts pressure on all people to conform to a narrow standard of appropriate gender behavior, thereby maintaining and reinforcing our society’s hierarchical gender structure.”
And there is a serious problem with Christian fundamentalism in the U.S. military:
Center for Inquiry, Office of Public Policy, Washington, DC — James A. Parco, PhD —> Key Findings
And what about American evangelical’s influence in Europe?
“And as evangelical Christianity and other conservative religious movements gain force in Europe, the American right is finding more allies on the Continent. Cumulatively, their victories may be changing the global climate on some of the biggest social issues of our time. “We have a conservative period now in history — a substantial movement to the right around the world,” says James Paul, executive director of the Global Policy Forum in New York and a prominent thinker on the globalization of the Christian right.” Source
From the Christian Science Monitor: “US evangelicals aim to influence European law”
From the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA):
“Vision 2020 is the product of EEA’s reflection on religious liberty trends over 19 years, learning from our members, partners and political experiences. It has an ambitious goal – to pave the way for far greater Gospel impact in Europe by 2020 – because we have changed attitudes towards religious freedom, and because we have renewed Evangelical confidence in the Gospel and in our ability to share it, no matter what happens. Europe’s Evangelicals will be effective Good News People.”
Effective Good News People?
“At present, raising questions about toxic beliefs and abusive practices in religion seems to be violating a taboo. In society, we treasure our freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion. Our laws and mores reflect the general principle that if we are not harming others, we can do as we like. Forcing children to go to church hardly seems like a crime. Real damage is assumed to be done by extreme fringe groups we call “cults” and people have heard of ritual abuse. Moreover, religious institutions have a vested interest in promoting an uncritical view.
The important thing for us to realize is that Religious Trauma Syndrome is real. While it may be easier to understand the damage done by sexual abuse or natural disaster, religious practices can be just as harmful. More people are needing help and the taboos about criticizing religion need to be questioned. […it cannot be overstated that mental health professionals need to recognize the seriousness of Religious Trauma Syndrome. Religion can and does cause great personal suffering, fractured families, and social breakdown.
We need to let go of making religion a special case in which criticism is taboo. It is our ethical responsibility to be aware and our human obligation to be compassionate.” ~Dr Marlene Winell
See Religious Trauma Syndrome — published in the British journal, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Today, Nov. 2011:
We have every reason to be concerned about what’s happening to America, and globally, under the guise of religious freedom. As noted by Dr. Winell, It is our ethical responsibility to be aware — that religion can and does cause great personal suffering, fractured families, and social breakdown. Imagine the implications should the predominately conservative, Catholic Supreme Court of the United States decide that for-profit corporations are people of faith.
Free Stock Image (header) courtesy of Morguefile.com