Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
This article can be found at:
Latest Posts

Did the Arizona Legislature Just Legalize Sharia Law?

Jim Burroway

February 22nd, 2014

That’s what it looks like to me.

Arizona Republican lawmakers thought they were striking a blow against gay people when they voted to approve their right-to-discriminate law. But they know the Constitution and Romer v Evans well enough to know that making a law which comes right out and says that you can discriminate against gay people to your sincerely-held-belief’s content simply won’t pass muster in the courts. And, of course, they don’t want the words “discriminate” or “discrimination” anywhere in the bill either. Those are political red flags. So to get a law to do what they wanted to do, they had to open its wording up this way (Uppercase are additions, strikeouts are deletions to Title 41 of the existing code):

Section 1.  Section 41-1493, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:

41-1493.  Definitions

In this article, unless the context otherwise requires:

1.  “Demonstrates” means meets the burdens of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion.

2.  “Exercise of religion” means the PRACTICE OR OBSERVANCE OF RELIGION, INCLUDING THE ability to act or refusal to act in a manner substantially motivated by a religious belief, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.

3.  “Government” includes this state and any agency or political subdivision of this state.

4.  “Nonreligious assembly or institution” includes all membership organizations, theaters, cultural centers, dance halls, fraternal orders, amphitheaters and places of public assembly regardless of size that a government or political subdivision allows to meet in a zoning district by code or ordinance or by practice.

5.  “Person” includes a religious assembly or institution ANY INDIVIDUAL, ASSOCIATION, PARTNERSHIP, CORPORATION, CHURCH, RELIGIOUS ASSEMBLY OR INSTITUTION, ESTATE, TRUST, FOUNDATION OR OTHER LEGAL ENTITY.

6.  “Political subdivision” includes any county, city, including a charter city, town, school district, municipal corporation or special district, any board, commission or agency of a county, city, including a charter city, town, school district, municipal corporation or special district or any other local public agency.

7.  “Religion‑neutral zoning standards”:

(a)  Means numerically definable standards such as maximum occupancy codes, height restrictions, setbacks, fire codes, parking space requirements, sewer capacity limitations and traffic congestion limitations.

(b)  Does not include:

(i)  Synergy with uses that a government holds as more desirable.

(ii)  The ability to raise tax revenues.

8.  “Suitable alternate property” means a financially feasible property considering the person’s revenue sources and other financial obligations with respect to the person’s exercise of religion and with relation to spending that is in the same zoning district or in a contiguous area that the person finds acceptable for conducting the person’s religious mission and that is large enough to fully accommodate the current and projected seating capacity requirements of the person in a manner that the person deems suitable for the person’s religious mission.

9.  “Unreasonable burden” means that a person is prevented from using the person’s property in a manner that the person finds satisfactory to fulfill the person’s religious mission.

Sec. 2.  Section 41-1493.01, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:

41-1493.01.  Free exercise of religion protected; definition

A.  Free exercise of religion is a fundamental right that applies in this state even if laws, rules or other government actions are facially neutral.

B.  Except as provided in subsection C, government OF THIS SECTION, STATE ACTION shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.

C.  Government STATE ACTION may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it THE OPPOSING PARTY demonstrates that application of the burden to the person PERSON’S EXERCISE OF RELIGION IN THIS PARTICULAR INSTANCE is both:

1.  In furtherance of a compelling governmental interest.

2.  The least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

D.  A person whose religious exercise is burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, and obtain appropriate relief against a government REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT IS A PARTY TO THE PROCEEDING.  THE PERSON ASSERTING SUCH A CLAIM OR DEFENSE MAY OBTAIN APPROPRIATE RELIEF.  A party who prevails in any action to enforce this article against a government shall recover attorney fees and costs.

E.  In FOR THE PURPOSES OF this section, the term substantially burden is intended solely to ensure that this article is not triggered by trivial, technical or de minimis infractions.

F.  FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, “STATE ACTION” MEANS ANY ACTION BY THE GOVERNMENT OR THE IMPLEMENTATION OR APPLICATION OF ANY LAW, INCLUDING STATE AND LOCAL LAWS, ORDINANCES, RULES, REGULATIONS AND POLICIES, WHETHER STATUTORY OR OTHERWISE, AND WHETHER THE IMPLEMENTATION OR APPLICATION IS MADE OR ATTEMPTED TO BE MADE BY THE GOVERNMENT OR NONGOVERNMENTAL PERSONS.

The meat of the changes are in two places. In the first section, the legislature changes how the entire Article 9 of the Arizona Statute covering “Free exercise of religion” interprets the word  “person.” Before, the free exercise of religion statutes protected religious assemblies or institutions. You know, churches, synagogues, mosques and the like. Now, the definition has been expanded to include any legal entity, including individuals, businesses, and tax-exempt charities.

Then in section two, the legislature changes “government” to “state action,” which opens the applicability of the free exercise of religion statute to “any law, including state law, ordinances, rules, regulations and policies.” And the definition applies regardless of whether the enforcement is being made by the government or by “nongovernmental persons” — that would be you or me if we were to try to sue for being fired on discrimination grounds. And if you or I were to sue and lose, which this bill seeks to make inevitable, we would be on the hook for attorney fees and court costs.

So, notice what the bill does. It exempts anyone from having to follow a whole host of state laws, ordinances and regulations if they conflict with an individual’s religious belief. This would mean that a Muslim landlord could forcibly evict single women or a convert to Christianity, since either action would be covered by Sharia law. It would also allow a Muslim employer to treat his non-Muslim employees with the same rules as his Muslim employees. He could compel non-Muslims to work longer hours at lesser pay and reduced rank.

But here is where things can get really chaotic. Because “state action” includes anything that is “statutory or otherwise,” it includes regulations, court decisions, and legal contracts, and it goes way beyond anti-discrimination laws,which aren’t mentioned anywhere in this bill. This means a self-proclaimed Muslim could refuse to pay interest to his mortgage company, which goes against his sincerely held beliefs. A divorced Muslim could refuse to pay his alimony obligations. Or, conversely, he could prevent an ex-wife from seeing their children.

In reality, I suspect that there would be exceptionally few, if any, Islamic adherents who would jump to take advantage of Arizona’s new law. Muslems tend to fall into two groups: either they are Americans who converted to Islam or they are immigrants and descendants of immigrants who came here because they value American principles of equal opportunity and freedom. Right-wing paranoia to the contrary, I don’t see any significant movement anywhere in the country to elevate Sharia into a state-valued place in our civil codes. And yet the Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature has done precisely that.

Now, all of these so-called freedoms would be available to anyone claiming a violation of their religious beliefs, not just Muslims. Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Hindus, Buddhists, Pagans, Wiccans, Scientologists, Satanists, Zoroastrians, Moonies, Astrologists and Trekkies would all be able to line up and claim special rights against all sorts of laws, regulations, court rulings and legal contracts. And while they celebrate their newfound freedoms to discriminate, they can all find themselves on the receiving end of discrimination, also in the name of “religious freedom.”

But hey, as long as they can stick it to gay people, who really cares about a little collateral damage?

Comments

POST COMMENT | COMMENT RSS 2.0

enough already
February 22nd, 2014 | LINK

Anderson Cooper’s interview with one of the haters behind this law yesterday was a hoot.
Rep. John Kavanagh flat out stated the aim of the bill was to make it possible for Christians to discriminate against Teh Gayz.
I give this bill 2 seconds before the 9th district – 2 seconds only because the conservative justices are going to need that long to assume proper demeanor.
Frankly, I hope the Nazi Gau-Leiterin does sign it. Nothing, but nothing better shows Christian hatred towards us gays than these bills. The animus is so clear, it might just lead to the Supreme Court finally granting us full human status.

Hue-Man
February 22nd, 2014 | LINK

If Sharia law, can we expect amputations, beheadings, stonings, etc. in AZ? For example, you sole from my Islamic Sweet Shoppe.

Is it time for “be careful what you ask for”?

enough already
February 22nd, 2014 | LINK

Hue-Man said:
If Sharia law, can we expect amputations, beheadings, stonings, etc. in AZ? For example, you sole from my Islamic Sweet Shoppe.
end quote

I’d say ‘unintended consequences’ but the truth is, these religious fanatics really have more in common with the worst extremists in Iran than with anything Islam really stands for.
Or, Jesus said. He, of course, was a Jew, so I guess His opinion doesn’t count.

This law is dripping animus. The sooner it is signed and put before a court, the better.

Ben In Oakland
February 22nd, 2014 | LINK

“Rep. John Kavanagh flat out stated the aim of the bill was to make it possible for Christians to discriminate against Teh Gayz.”

If that isn’t a statement of pure animus, I can’t imagine what is.

Pliny
February 22nd, 2014 | LINK

I’m still waiting for the some Arizonian Pastafarians to pronounce a Fatwa against providing services to Gingers as we all know they have no souls.

Ben In Oakland
February 22nd, 2014 | LINK

Here is the obvious solution to the problem, and ought to please everyone.

Businesses that provide goods or services, and wish to discriminate against people either on the basis of religious belief or sexual orientation by denying them those goods and services, may do so. However, to legally get away with it, they must prominently display in their place of business, or on their display window, if they have one, where every potential customer can see it, a sign:

We are members of the (__________) faith. We reserve the right to refuse to provide goods or services to anyone because of their sexual orientation or religious beliefs, whether real or perceived.

I can guarantee that one of three things will happen, and probably within 6 months. 1) They will be flooded with business from the people who think just like they do. 2) They will become smarter business people, learning that there are many ways not to do business with people they don’t want to do business with that don’t involve being rude, insulting, pretending to moral and human superiority, or painting themselves as obvious bigots, whether antigay or religious or both.

Or, 3) They will be out of business and deservedly so, because decent, kind, compassionate, intelligent people don’t want to do business with obvious bigots.

Let the market decide!!! Gay people don’t give bigots their money!!!! Everyone wins!!!

Merv
February 22nd, 2014 | LINK

Good observation!

Another thing to notice is that the definition of “person” does not exclude government employees. This opens the door to government employees refusing to perform their duties if they claim a religious exemption. Since they are government employees, supervisory action is, by definition, “state action,” so it would be difficult or impossible to discipline them.

Victor
February 22nd, 2014 | LINK

“What Price, Religious Liberty”?

Allowing anyone’s declaration of faith prerogatives to trump uniform enforcement of basic civil interaction will never, ever withstand constitutional scrutiny, for three reasons:

1) If the law is defined too narrowly (i.e. focusing on gay marriage) like Kansas’s effort, it will be struck down on equal protection grounds;

2) If it is defined too broadly, like Arizona’s, it leaves open such a wide range of refusals that, literally, one religion or religious sect, could deny services to another (i.e Baptists vs. Mormons, Christians vs. Muslims). In that event it would be struck down because the constitution forbids the drafting of statutes which lead to the imposition of religion on the uniform application of civil laws; and

3) Now that it has been decided that the constitution applies to LGBTs, too, it will not be possible to convince anyone that animus against this particular class of people is not what is at the root of these stupid laws – no matter how they are written.

I acknowledge that a rapidly shrinking minority of society may have a problem with gay people (married or not) but allowing faith constructs (which are entirely a matter of choice AND can be arbitrarily changed at will if the person is sufficiently motivated) to destroy the basic equal protections of a secular nation will lead to far greater problems than gay wedding cakes. One need only look at the struggles between Sunni and Shiite Muslims to see what happens when a state allows religious rivalry to gain a toehold in the law.

Because it is a slippery slope, I cannot foresee any scenario under which SCOTUS would permit such a thing. But that is not the point of these laws. They are proposed by cynics who see yet another way to drive Christian conservatives to the polls. The damage to society or the pain inflicted on real flesh and blood people on both sides of the issue are secondary to the politics of wringing 2-5 years of electioneering out of the debate.

But try as they might, Straight Supremacists who hide behind religion will have no more success than their White Supremacist counterparts. The arc of history bends toward progress and enlightenment will ultimately prevail. The real question is what will happen to society’s perception of organized religion once it has finished its devolution into Fascism?

Gay people will survive – we’ve survived everything else – but I’m not so sure about the Church. Every poll released shows that young people are racing in exactly in the opposite direction of these laws. Does anyone think those who already dismiss the Church’s relevance are going to be suddenly persuaded to reverse course by enshrining the bigotry in “special rights” to discriminate for religious reasons?

As a Christian – who believes the world needs REAL Christian values now more than ever – seeing politicians set in motion the Final Solution to the problem religion has become in America is heartbreaking.

Ben In Oakland
February 22nd, 2014 | LINK

Victor, I understand your concerns. One need only look at how gay marriage has fared throughout catholic Europe, and the fleeing of these societies from religion, to know that the association with fascism ultimately means a loss of religious influence.

That being said, I don’t see it as gay people’s problem, or even in particular gay Christians’ problem. For those of us who are not religious, we frankly don’t care or cheer it on. For those of us who are– well, they will be religious no matter what.

It is simply a problem with Christianity in general, and the failure of moderate and liberal Christianity to stand up all that much to the religionists and the christianistas. You’ve– and this is a generic you– certainly been around for the forty three years I’ve been out, and gradually, coming over to the light. But you don’t speak particularly loudly or often, as far as I can tell.

The United Methodists are still wavering over which is more important– the United or the Methodist. Moderates like tutu speak out in Africa, but our illusionary moderate pope does not step in at all.

If I believed in souls, at least souls of the Christian variety, I would say that moderate and progressive religion has been locked in a battle with the regressive and troglodyte religionists for decades for the soul of the church, but in your effort to be nice– which I consider a cardinal virtue– and not to cause a ‘scandal in the church’– which is something you desperately need more of– you have failed to speak up enough.

Believe me, I appreciate how far progressive religion has come since I was a lad, but by not making yourself known, you’ve allowed the Christianistas to define you.

TampaZeke
February 22nd, 2014 | LINK

What are “Real Christian Values”(TM)?

Enumerate some of the real Christian values that are exclusive to Christians/Christianity. I’m sick to the teeth of Christians trying to act as if they invented decency, morality and ethics. There are no “Christian values”. That myth came from the same well as “America is a Christian nation”.

tim lusk
February 22nd, 2014 | LINK

I am a main line Christian and some of the front line folks on the streets protesting this bill had clergy collars on their necks. Many mainline Protestants have been on the front line of GLBT issue for quite some time….they just don’t get the media attention because they are not as controvercial as the right wing folks. The Episcopal Church of which I am a member, has taken huge criticism from the broader Anglician Communion but has been at the front line of support for our cause. Our AZ bishop came out very within hours of this bill’s passage to condemn it. In the end…try as the legislatures try, this is not a religious issue…it is equal protection under the law. No one is trying to force anyone into giving up their bigotry for what ever reason…by the way GLBT persons are not a protected class in az, you can still be fired for being gay and there is not legal recourse.

Neil
February 22nd, 2014 | LINK

As far as I can tell, especially since viewing the Anderson Cooper interview with Arizona Stae Rep., John Kavanagh, all this is motivated to ensure businesses have the opportunity to withhold goods & services from same sex weddings.

It’s traditional at a wedding to throw rice but it seems the legislature in Arizona is insisting you should also be allowed to throw spanners, as long as you’re sincere about it.

Jim
February 22nd, 2014 | LINK

Forget about Sharia; there aren’t many Muslims in the US pushing for its implementation.

What Arizona has done is (1) legalized pot, for Rastafarians and anyone who wants to claim to be one; (2) legalized polygamy, for Muslims, fundamentalist Mormons and traditional African religions; (3) legalized animal sacrifice, for practitioners of Santaria, Voodoo, Satanism, etc.; (4) given everyone days off work for religious holidays (employers cannot force employees to work Sundays if they claim to be Christians).

I really hope people rush out to take advantage of these new freedoms, to show how silly the law is.

dave
February 23rd, 2014 | LINK

If I lived there and owned a business, the first thing I’d do is get a list of the laws supporters and when they came into my business I’d refuse to serve them because they are gay! I’m sorry governor but I refuse to serve you because you are gay! I can see that in the paper, governor refused service because owner says he’s gay. See how they like it! If he says he’s not, I’d tell him, “That’s what they all say!” They want to give me the power to judge, I’ll judge! Bastards!

Charles
February 23rd, 2014 | LINK

I truly don’t think that people should be forced to be part of same-sex marriages if they feel uncomfortable or object on religious grounds. Gays and Lesbians should just simply employ someone who is gay friendly. That said, this law is deeply flawed and I hope that the governor will veto it.

Corey Mondello
February 23rd, 2014 | LINK

(First, forgive me for grammatical errors, the lack of knowledge of, or understanding of, and the use of correct words when speaking/writing like a legal scholar, and the lack of any understanding of the legal system, I am just a layman with thoughts)

I want to find out what percentage of my taxes in my state are put into a pool that is then distributed around this country, that allows other states to create laws that allow people to use their religious beliefs, to partake in behavior that is otherwise illegal.

I believe I have a right to not fund laws that support religious beliefs that go against mine, even if that is not a law in my own state.

It seems illogical that, one state is allowed special rights, priveledges, and protection like this. I believe this tactic was used when ” inter-racial” couples started to get married, states did not want to allow their marriage to be recognized, because of their religious belief.

Shouldn’t I be exempt from paying into their funding?

From what I understand, it was Thomas Jefferson, one of our Founding Fathers who was quite distressed when he learned that the Puritans were forcing Quakers to fund their churches, even though Quakers had different religious beliefs, and did not attend services at those churches, and were legal banned from employment by law, by the same Puritans.

From what I understand, this is not an American ideal most of our Founders wanted for this new country, therefore it was stopped. Though one could argue, no church has ever been completely free of government resources, this is true, however, those resources are not coming from one group or community in United States.

So how does this negatively effect me, specifically?

I cannot travel to states, or have any form of commerce with states that have used resources from the government to create laws that allow them to have special rights and priveleges, that allow them to partake in a behavior that would be illegal for all other Americans.

You can argue that these states aren’t targeting just one specific group, like the Puritans, but as it turns out, Puritans treated all other groups the same way, not just the Quakers. So that argument does not hold water.

There are a few present examples that I could argue, support my belief that, public funding for specific religious belief does not have support if only one group has special rights and priveleges.

In Boston and NY, the St. Patrick’s Day parades are no longer funded by the government in any way, though one could argue, they do effect local business and traffic, but permits cover those issues. These are sovereign, private entities that can legally use their religious beliefs in ways that would be illegal if others did the same.

To forgo the law that states they cannot do this legally, they forgo funding from the government; as long as they pay for everything themselves, which I think includes police and clean-up, unless they are some how part of the permit which allows anyone who gets a permit to have the ability of the government to pay for the general safety and clean-up of the area.

If a private entity, that is so well-known, it gets national, if not international acknowledged, it should be able to be used as example when trying to make my point.

I would like anyone who has a any education in law, who lives in my state, Massachusetts, to help me present a legal argument, with wording obviously better than my own, and of legal accordance, and accuracy, that I could present to a LGBT organization, or any other for that matter, to see if I have any rights or “standing”. To bring this to court.

I can see this as being more “do-able” than trying to stop my taxes from going to the military or Uganda, because they are considered sovereign nations, and the US has much interest in having a presence in the area. Though states in the USA are also sovereign, they are not so sovereign, having the Federal Government to answer to. This is the cost of being part of the United States of America.

If the “law of the land” is not to be able to legally use religious belief in a way that would be illegal if all others do, how can any state be allowed to do this?

I can’t refuse to serve a Christian, Muslim or Jew, even if I know that some would like to see me dead, and this is obviously against my deep rooted “religious” belief and belief in what the US Constitution States says. (Article 4. Section 2, and Bill of Rights; Amendment 10, Amendment 14.*)

People who are religious, are protected already, legally, from me or anyone else saying our beliefs support any behavior that is deemed illegal towards those of other beliefs.

I need to have the same rights. We all deserve to have the same rights. We all need to be able to act in accordance with our personal beliefs, legally, without fear of retribution. This is about equal rights.

Again, anyone who would like to give this a try, feel free to contact me: cpmondello@gmail.com
Corey Mondello
Boston, MA

* US Constitution
Sept 17, 1787
Article 4. Section 2

“The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.”

* The Bill of Rights
Constitutional Amendments 1-10
Passed March 4, 1789
Ratified December 15, 1791

Amendment 10:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Amendment 14. Section 1:
Passed June 13, 1866
Ratified July 9, 1868
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;
nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;
nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

(Source: http://www.archives.gov/)

Victor
February 23rd, 2014 | LINK

@TempeZeke: My use of the term “REAL Christian Values” seems to have touched a nerve, which is understandable. The values to which I allude – charity, humility, kindness, sympathy, empathy – are not unique to Christianity. Christians – not even Christ Himself – “invented” these things, nor were they undiscovered and unuttered before the establishment of Christianity. They are universal values shared by countless faiths for thousands of years and embraced by people with no religious inclinations whatsoever. I never meant to suggest they were the sole province of Christianity. I only assert the existence of “REAL Christian Values” as being something “the world needs now more than ever” to remind folks that the philosophy of non-judgmental human worth and compassion which underpins genuine Christian morality has been driven from any discussion of “Christianity.” What is commonly thought of as Christianity in the contemporary zeitgeist is not a faith, but a political construct suffused with judgment, inhospitality, lack of charity, lies, the selective quotation of Bible verses, and outright cruelty. No one is more aware of this than those of us who timidly peak our heads out and quietly declare their Christian faith in the last 2% of a pro-LGBT screed.

Victor
February 23rd, 2014 | LINK

Which brings me to @BenInOakland… Since you have not known me all these many decades it is understandable that by my defense of “REAL Christian Values” (see above) you might conclude that I am somehow among those quiet progressive Christian types who have “allowed the Christianistas to define you.” Fair enough. There would be no way for you to know otherwise. I have been an “in the trenches” gay activist for about 37 years. For most of that time I have rejected the Christian faith I was raised in precisely because of the way it had been distorted. I have angrily protested outside of churches, avoided setting foot in a church unless absolutely warranted by family obligation, and written scathing rebuttals of church-lead activity during the seven years I wrote a column for the local gay press back in the day. It has been easy – very easy – to excoriate “Christianity” for its hypocrisy and its cruelty. But your statement reminds me of what one straight relative said to me many, many years ago once it was commonly known in my family that I was not only gay, but an activist during the heyday of activism. He remarked “I understand what you are up against with AIDS and everything, but really the way you all act at the gay pride parades and all those drags queens and guys in their underwear and ugly mannish women all walking around… fulfilling every stereotype out there… you all really should do something about that. It is hard to take you seriously with all that crap.” In one statement I (as a universal representative of presumably moderate-looking, and therefore acceptable homosexuals) was being held accountable for the entirety of gaydom by this one well-intentioned, if hopelessly ignorant, straight relative of mine who was clearly trying to learn how to negotiate his brave new world now that he had to accept that an actual gay person – whom he’d known for decades already – was in it. He did so by deciding I was one of the “good gays” and really needed to get the “bad gays” to shape up and stop making the rest of us look so bad. I explained to him that, contrary to what he apparently believed, gay people did not meet weekly as a big group and vote on who would be allowed to do what in public; that gay people did not have any ability (or responsibility or right) to dictate to each other how to act. I conceded that some gay folks antics did make me wince some times (I would have been lying if I’d denied that) but that it was unrealistic for him – or anybody – to judge all of gaydom based solely upon footage of the gay pride parade. To illustrate my point I asked if all Irish people (he was Irish) wore kilts and played the bag-pipes all the time – because I saw that in footage of the St. Patrick’s day parade so surely that must be what all Irish people do, no? He paused, considered it, and I guess got what I was talking about. I invoke this story only to assert that I – nor any moderate or progressive Christian – can be expected to control what Christianatics do and say; no more than I could be expected to control how all gay people acted. As @TimLusk stated, moderate and progressive Christians have been on the front lines along with gay activists protesting all of these laws for decades. They are easy to ignore if the fact that they are there is not important to your worldview of Christianity as an entirely regressive political construct and nothing more. I have no idea if this is actually how “Ben In Oakland” feels, but that is certainly suggested by what he wrote.

Victor
February 23rd, 2014 | LINK

And one last thing before I shut the f*ck up… the only reason why I have even brought “REAL Christian Values” into this discussion of those seeking to enshrine “religious liberty” above equal protection under the law is that over these many years I have watched the transformation of my family. After decades of having an openly gay uncle, cousin, brother, son in its midst, it is those “REAL Christian Values” which have survived my family’s journey from unquestioning Right Wing sycophants to progressive Left Wing Christians. (And I am certainly not alone in both observing and inspiring such transformations.) In good conscience when I speak of Christians I must also consider my own family – and the values I share with them – before lumping everybody in with the Christianistas of whom Ben In Oakland writes. I don’t expect anybody to turn away from the enmity Christianity has earned for itself, but I do ask that you try to remember that there are more allies out there than you think – and many of them are horrified by what has been done in the name of their faith. These individuals are despised as traitors. The last thing they need is to be summarily dismissed by the people whose plight has caused them to re-evaluate their entire upbringing. Just try to keep an open mind and figure out a way to welcome – not discourage – any ally – especially one with the temerity to actually claim being both pro-LGBT and Christian. Throughout all of this there is an undercurrent which denies that LGBT people have a right to exist and, therefore, our right to share in human experience (like marriage) same as any other people is forfeit. Progressive Christians, however obscured they might be, reject this for the horrific of abrogation of “REAL Christian Values” that it is.

RexT
February 23rd, 2014 | LINK

@Victor, Thank you for taking the time to provide insight into the expression of ‘real’ as it relates to ‘Christian Values’ – and actual Human Being Values shared without the constraints of religiosity. For you. And, no doubt for many others. @TampaZeke & @BenInOakland both express my thoughts, often, on this subject or these subject matters, perfectly. Frustrating – this is, extremely frustrating this righteous movement from a minority of those who state, ‘I am a Christian.’ Which, means nothing without additional information in todays world.

Your points are well stated, and you no doubt share the same level of frustration those of us who have chosen life outside of the constraints of religiosity, call it whatever. There is, has been for a very long time, a core of those within ‘Christianity’ determined to drive a cultural stake deeply into the ground we all share. And, damn anyone who gets in their way. Including others who also say, ‘I am a Christian’ who are not of this ‘core’ value of power and animus towards others.

It’s mind boggling, legislation such as this being produced by a group of elected individuals, completely tossing the essential values of our country out the window. With a Cross on their shoulder as the most definitive reason and justification.

Ben In Oakland
February 24th, 2014 | LINK

Victor, I hope you understand that I wasn’t attacking you, and that I really do appreciate how far progressive Christians have come, and what they’ve put out into the world.

John
February 24th, 2014 | LINK

Unless I’m mistaken, the only time the issue of “religious freedom” is invoked is when it comes to LGBT issues.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.