The “religion debate” in this country is one that drives me absolutely nuts. As a Christian, I’ve never understood why people feel the need to force their views on others, nor do I get why people seem to obsess about what other people do in their own private lives. It absolutely floors me how these folks who scream about “religious freedom” are usually the ones trying to restrict the freedoms of others.
Take this whole Kim Davis situation. Her claim that, as an elected official, she has the right to deny gay Americans their constitutional rights is entirely predicated on her belief that her “religious freedom” gives her the right to deny other Americans their freedoms.
If that sounds confusing, it should – because it doesn’t make any sense.
But Davis is just one fool amongst millions, mostly led by the evangelical right and supported by most aspects of the Republican party. These are the folks who believe their religious beliefs should give them the right to discriminate. It’s interesting because that’s exactly what bigots and racists said decades ago when they argued against desegregation and legalizing interracial marriage.
Well, during a Democratic National Committee LGBT event on Sunday, President Obama absolutely hammered Republicans who continue to try to use religion as a means to discriminate.
“We affirm that we cherish our religious freedom and are profoundly respectful of religious traditions,” Obama said. “But we also have to say clearly that our religious freedom doesn’t grant us the freedom to deny our fellow Americans their constitutional rights.”
And he’s absolutely right. If Americans were legally allowed to cite their religious beliefs to deny Americans their rights, then we would still have places where legal segregation existed and interracial couples were denied marriage licenses. If you use the argument that religion should allow someone to discriminate, then that argument is essentially limitless. After all, who is anyone to tell someone else what is or isn’t a valid “religious belief”?
For arguments sake, let’s say Davis “wins” (which I personally do not think has any chance at happening) and is allowed to deny gay couples their constitutional rights to obtain a marriage license based upon her beliefs as an Apostolic Christian, then why couldn’t a racist judge refuse to marry an interracial couple based upon their “religious beliefs”?
Like I said earlier, if you allow religion to be a valid argument for discrimination, that argument is nearly limitless.
But the president wasn’t done. He then called out Republicans such as Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz for using this sort of ridiculous nonsense to gain support from voters.
“Even as we are respectful and accommodating genuine concerns and interests of religious institutions, we need to reject politicians who are supporting new forms of discrimination as a way to scare up votes,” Obama said. “That’s not how we move America forward.”
Again, spot-on. I’ve always viewed most Republicans as nothing more than a group of people who use religion to manipulate voters into voting against their own best interests. They use issues like abortion and gay marriage to distract millions of Americans from realizing that their economic policies are absolutely screwing them over.
This is why we need a strict separation of church and state in this country. Religion and politics should never mix – especially in a country such as the United States where our Constitution clearly states that they shouldn’t.
If people want to be religious, that’s fine. They just need to keep their religion at home, among their friends or at their place of worship and out of the private lives of other Americans.
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