Saturday, April 11, 2015

How to destroy religious freedom | GOPLifer

How to destroy religious freedom | GOPLifer
by Chris Ladd
"Originally, ‘States Rights’ was a dry Constitutional premise explaining the shape of our federal system. After long misuse as a political subterfuge it has been redefined as a byword for racial discrimination. 

 ‘Patriot’ was once among the highest complements we might pay to a distinguished citizen who had sacrificed deeply for our nation. Like ‘hero,’ it was a term one would seldom dare apply to oneself. Increasingly, in common usage, a ‘patriot’ is a paranoid gun fetishist with a stockpile of preserved food in his trailer who probably won’t blow up a federal building, but you can’t be too sure. ‘States’ rights’ is an arcane legal principle whose importance is largely technical. 

Patriot was a great word, but perhaps we can coin new terms to take its place. Religious freedom is a concept so central to the meaning of the Republic that it was enshrined in the first sentence of the first amendment to our Constitution. 

Some of us, particularly in the Republican Party, are determined to make religious freedom an excuse for imposing miserable oppression and harassment on a group of people they choose not to understand. 

Perhaps the only way to destroy religious freedom in America is to convert the term into a dog-whistle used to rally bigots. Please, please do not do this."
Now, in the late stages of the fight for basic civil rights in America, we have a waning opportunity to define for history what Christianity meant to the movement. Religious fundamentalists are determined to define Christian faith and practice in a manner that sets it irrevocably at odds with basic human liberty. They are campaigning to define “religious freedom” as “state-enforced Christian cultural supremacy.”
Republicans should not help fundamentalists strip the gravity from the term “religious freedom.” We need not become the subject of our grand-children’s’ apologies.
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