Religious Freedom Laws-My Thoughts

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Posted

With the passage of the Religious Freedom Act in Indiana, more questions have been raised than resolutions. when all this was becoming a topic, the question that kept buzzing in my head was how does one of calls themselves Christians and say they love God discriminate against people who God also created? An oxymoron if you ask me. The scripture says that if you claim to love God and hate people then you are a liar (The bible says it; not me).

I don't believe that Governor Pence thought that he would get as much backlash as he did. The governor in Arkansas backed off of signing a similar bill in his state. Florida and Texas are also considering religious freedom bills. I believe that one should be able to defend your beliefs and explain what they are.I certainly haven't seen this in evidence.

I also believe that Governor Pence wants to try to legislate morality and one that is discriminatory. This is a slippery slope if you ask me. Another point is that in the past many churches and religions had it all wrong in regards to slavery, women, indigenous people, gays and lesbians, and other groups. Discrimination is wrong and I don't care what type of packaging they want to wrap it in.

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Posted

how does one of calls themselves Christians and say they love God discriminate against people who God also created?

Gennee, I think their position, which I recall from the anti-gay days, is that it's a lifestyle choice, not that we are born with it, which is why they also think that one can be deprogrammed (or something). That said, I doubt they can be convinced otherwise, so for now the best result for us is that they are not allowed "legal discrimination."

They also say something to the effect of, "Why should I be forced, due to anti-discrimination legislation, to provide service for a wedding that goes against my beliefs?" (As if this has really happened...) But this is a specious argument. As a practical matter I'm not going to pay for service to anyone who doesn't like me or want to do business with me. If I was gay or lesbian I would think that in the community we would quickly learn with whom we want to grace with our hard-earned money.

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Posted

I mentioned out a different forum that abuse is trying to make someone that they are not. That's the aim of conversion therapy; to make someone straight. It has caused more damage and some have ended up committing suicide.

:(

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Posted

Agree completely, and hope you didn't interpret my writing to imply that I believe in conversion "therapy" whatsoever. I certainly DO NOT and agree that it is 100% abuse and cruel. There is nothing that substantiates this "therapy."

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Posted

No not at all, Emma. I understood your post.

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Posted

I am trying to figure out how religion is getting all mixed in politics - what happened to seperation of church and state? How does a politician legislate, using religion as a basis for the law? Seems to me any law that is rooted in religion (such as these RFRA laws springing up everywhere) could easily be struck down by the courts.

If you want to ban gay marriage, then any logical and rational reasoning for banning it should be anything except "God said so." If you don't want to cater a gay wedding, or rent your venue to a gay wedding party, you should be able to do so legally - but only by some logical and rational reasoning other than tying it to some flimsy reason about it being against your religion... because you think "God said so."

If you want to to discriminate against TGLB people, then it should be for any logical and rational reason other than because one thinks "God said so."

Millions of people have suffered at that hands of those who claimed "God said so." How many more people must suffer before those who inflict injustices under the guise of piety wake up and stop using God for all their misdeeds?

-Michael

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Posted

I believe that there's an awful lot of confusion about the notion of separation of Church and State.

When I was in school it was my understanding that the intent of first amendment of the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution was to protect our religious liberties from attack by persons and governments.

The first amendment reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The folks who are going to their state legislatures are not trying to establish a government-sanctioned religion. All they want is to protect their religious liberties from mob-rule intimidation by those who would take those that liberty away from them.

I've read it a lot, and I don't believe I recall the phrase "separation of Church and State" in the US Constitution.

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Posted

Daniella, I agree that there is no specific language in the Constitution about separation between church and state and also, that the intention of the first amendment was to protect religions from government-sponsored manipulation or worse. What's your point?

I suppose, though, in this case we're talking about separation between "state and church" (reversing the order of the words) where it seems clear that there are people with deeply held religious beliefs wish to enact and support legislation to legalize their discrimination.

What kind of "liberty" are you talking about here? The "liberty to discriminate"? Is that a liberty that you believe in?

All they want is to protect their religious liberties from mob-rule intimidation by those who would take those that liberty away from them.

Casting the people who are against legalized discrimination as "mob-rule intimidation" doesn't mean anything. When the "mob" is the religious right, it's okay to have mob-rule?

I really don't care about anyone's religions. They can believe what they want, worship whatever they want. It really doesn't bother me one bit. What I don't like is for anyone, religious or not, to try to enact legislation or anything else that supports discrimination.

Emma

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Posted

I will admit I do not know exactly how any of the intent of seperation of church and state is worded, but I thought I understood that part of what the so-called founding fathers intended was that "the church" (religion) would not rule the country. I believe another big draw of this country in it's infancy was freedom of religion - a person could believe (or not) as they so chose. And if one chooses not to believe in any particular god or religion associated with that god, they'd have a pretty tough time here if this country was being run by a religious institution.

Being that you are relatively new to the forums, you probably don't know that, while I might rant and rail on occasion about religion, I am neither atheist nor agnostic, though I do not go to church regularly anymore. I was raised Episcopal - about as close to being Catholic as you can get without actually being one, and there was a time when I was a good little Episcopal - attending midnight mass at Christmas and mass on Easter Sunday morning (that's an Episcopal inside joke). My mum was raised Catholic, and most likely the church still "owns her," as to the best of my knowledge she's not been excommunicated.

That said, I respect religion and the religious as long as they respect me and try neither to cram it down my throat, nor use it to suit their own "agendas."

I agree, "the folks who are going to their state legistures are not trying to establish a government-sanctioned religion." Seems to me that instead, they are trying to establish a religion-sanctioned government.

-Michael

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Posted

Michael,

"Separation between church and state" was all about freedom of religion, to be Puritan, Catholic, Quaker, Protestant (such as Episcopalian; I was also confirmed in that)... or Church of England, which is what, coincidentally, you were supposed to be if you were English. If you were not? Well, discrimination, hate, all the sorts of crap (and worse, certainly) that the Religious Freedom folks would promote with their legislation.

So in a broad sense, the religious right would have us return to the kind of government they had in 17th century England in that one could legally follow the precepts of their religion, and on that basis, do what they want, service who they want, etc.

I still say that although I don't in any way condone discrimination, if I were gay and getting married, I am sure I would quickly learn which florists and bakers provide the best service to my friends, and those are the ones who would receive my patronage. The Free Market would, for all intents and purposes, give them what they want.

Emma

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Posted

The US Constitution is fine, yet the business ethics involved in church & state that are falsified.

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Posted

If it is a constitutional right why do we need a law passed for such freedoms.

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Posted

If it is a constitutional right why do we need a law passed for such freedoms.

To keep those who will try to deny any person or group a constitutional right.  By creating a law, a person will face consequences if s/he insists on trying to do so.  And we all know there are always people ready to deny other people the same rights.  In most cases, their reasons are well steeped bigotry.

-Michael

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Posted

How is this for an after thought, from England :- The American coin's have on them :- "IN GOD WE TRUST" !  Do The American's still Believe that ? Sorry, I could Not resist that !  Seriously though. Discrimination of any sort, is still Discrimination. It Is Wrong, Totally Wrong. I have said Before, and I Will say it again. I Am Not Worried about a Person's Race; Creed; Colour; Religion; Gender; Sexuality ! I take each and every Person, as an Individual !  Here at TGGuide, I have been made to feel very Safe, and very Comfortable.  I hope, that I have been able to do the same in return.  I would Never Knowingly Discriminate against Anyone. If I were to ever accidentally do so, I would have no hesitation, whatsoever, in Apologising.  This is because, I Do believe, that Discrimination of any sort, is wrong, so wrong ! 

  

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Posted

If it is a constitutional right why do we need a law passed for such freedoms.


This is prime reason within a set of rules there  are bylaws or double standards that don't go  checked or get promoted in the wrong way in certain laid back communities which need to be transparent manner rather ambiguous.

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Posted

Let's note that the 'IGWT' thing was added our paper money in...'54 or maybe '56.  In other words, it was certainly not dumped on us by the founding fathers.

On a different note, you might like to listen to XTC's "Dear God" for a different spin...here's the lyrics :

 

    "Dear God"
 

, hope you got the letter, and...
I pray you can make it better down here.
I don't mean a big reduction in the price of beer
but all the people that you made in your image, see
them starving on their feet 'cause they don't get
enough to eat from God, I can't believe in you

Dear God, sorry to disturb you, but... I feel that I should be heard
loud and clear. We all need a big reduction in amount of tears
and all the people that you made in your image, see them fighting
in the street 'cause they can't make opinions meet about God,
I can't believe in you

Did you make disease, and the diamond blue? Did you make
mankind after we made you? And the devil too!

, don't know if you noticed, but... your name is on
a lot of quotes in this book, and us crazy humans wrote it, you
should take a look, and all the people that you made in your
image still believing that junk is true. Well I know it ain't, and
so do you, dear God, I can't believe in I don't believe in

I won't believe in heaven and hell. No saints, no sinners, no
devil as well. No pearly gates, no thorny crown. You're always
letting us humans down. The wars you bring, the babes you
drown. Those lost at sea and never found, and it's the same the
whole world 'round. The hurt I see helps to compound that
Father, Son and Holy Ghost is just somebody's unholy hoax,
and if you're up there you'd perceive that my heart's here upon
my sleeve. If there's one thing I don't believe in

it's you....


 

 
 
 

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Posted

I see a lot of different  issues that are in this thread. I do not think that the Religion Restoration Act should not be nessary. Given the times, it does not surprise me. I also agree that  there should be a separation of church and state. But for mutual protection, we all can see the protect of the state. In the argument of the church's defense, take a look at the church of England during the  reign of King Richard during the establishment of the church. He established that church so he can devorce in the manner he wanted. In this country there was no controversy about this issue until 1947 with the Supreme Court case of Everson v Board of Education. In this case an artificial wall was created to assult he church.

Besides in this case, I am in complete agreement with Emma sweet. I do not get why someone would want to force commerce onto someone else.The will of the individual needs to be respected. In this way we can see who shares our values and who does not. So we can support those that share our common values.

In response to Michael's question on how religion and politics. I will say this politics are a reflection of the person's faith/philosophy. 

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Posted

The thing is poeple in this country have forgotten the difference between practicing thier religion (Living according to your faith, making your personal decisions based on that faith, etc) and forcing their religion on others (treating each other poorly because their decisions arent' according to that faith, legislating for or against things that fit your faith but force others who dont' follow your faith into doing or losing access to a choice, observing your faiths religious holy days as a nation but not theirs, etc). 

And then there is the fact that we live in a nation that is supposed to be equal for all.  Not just equal for Christians.  No one should have to spend their lives exhaustingly researching what pizza places, what bakeries, what stores, what salons, what banks, what fire stations, what police stations, etc. etc. will treat them professionally or cruelly.  People are supposed to be equal and treated equally in this country, and if we do NOT protect that equality, we risk loosing it.  They nearly made a constitutional amendment stating specifically that marraige was between a man and woman only.  

They nearly codified sexual orientation discrimination into the constitution.  If we start allowing discrimination in a widespread way, and not saying that it's NOT okay even in a business sense of pizza and wedding cakes then you allow the idealogy behind that discrimination to spread.  You said 'hey, its okay to be cruel to this group according to your beliefs' vs 'hey, it's okay have your beliefs, but you do have to treat them like human beings in the business and public settings'.  Everyone agreeing that it's awful that gay people just want to be treated like everyone else and buy a wedding cake or pizza and their religion disagrees is how we ended up nearly getting that amendment on marraige.  Everyone agreeing it's awful that transgender people want to use the bathroom of their internal gender and their religion disagrees  is how we get bathroom bills.  It's ALL related. 

Just like our Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native, and Middle Eastern citizens didn't get to choose their bodies physical apperance when they are born, neither gay nor transgneder people get to choose their sexual and gender orientations (except the very rare full 50/50 bi-people, but most trans or gay people fall more strongly one way or the other on the spectrums).  Religion IS a choice, the rest isn't.  And the rest of the country shouldn't be discriminated against, treated poorly, harmed, or in any other way forced into something for the mere facts of their existence by someone else's choice. 


Commerce bills may seem unimportant, just go to another store!  But that is how equality starts to erode.  It's not as simple as let the market correct it, especially when you are dealing with a minority/majority issue.  When you stop protecting the rights of that minority, you start to normalize discrimination against them.  And that starts to snowball outward into legalization against them.  These aren't simple issues of I just wont take my business there.  It's a broader issue of what country do we want to be?  What rights to do want to just give away? 

Look at the post election period.  Trump won on hate, and a rise of violence against gay, trans, ethnic minorites, and women has occurred.  Some physical violence, and a lot of emotional violence.  Because they got confirmation that that behavior is okay!  IT's accepted in America!  before that there was a clear message sent that it is NOT okay, and it was slowly starting to dwindle down with time and reinforcement. 

And if we allow businesses to turn away patrons based on their sexual or gender orientation, how do we then argue not allowing them to turn away patrons based on their religious choices?  Muslims and Jewish not served here!  And then what about race?  Then women aren't welcome and shut out again?  Only white christian males served here, no one else!  It's a dangerous slope that must not be skiid upon.  We must ALL defend each other rights equally, or we all risk losing them.  And it's all connected, not in obvious ways, but in the ways the human psyche and group social dynamics work. 

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Posted

Briannah, I know exactly what you  mean by when people say that they are of one faith and not live that way. I personally I don't like it. 

Another thing we can agree on someone else's veiws, faith, etc. should  never be forced onto someone else. What we disagree is that force should be used so the minority can have their way, the only thing the will succeed in is creating resentment. If you want a case in point look at MLK, Ghandi, etc. That is how you create lasting change. Anyway I am getting sidetracked. When you frame the argument that way, the question becomes whose rights gets to be ignored/overridden. Both parties needs to have their rights observed. That is why it is important to support those who we have common values with. It's just in this argument is commercial. Bottom line is this, what are you willing to tolerate/support?

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Posted

In my belief, both parties have their rights.  The religious who disagree with homesexuality and transgender or other religions or minorities have the right to live their life according to that.  They have the right to only enter into a marriage of man/woman, they have the right to live as they are born, they have the right to worhsip at the church in the faith of their choosing (within reason, adults do not have the right to force children into abusive cults).  No one is forcing them to invite those people into their private homes for evening supper.   No one is forcing them to choose those people for their bff's.  Even with abortion  laws as they are now they have the right to never have one, no one is forcing pregnant pro lifers into clinics against their will, that's a crime and should remain so.  However, they are trying to force other woman out of them for example.  I have had to corss thos picket lines or bleed to death, and it was ugly, nurses had to come out and shield me into the clinic.  It was terrifying to have total strangers grabbing at me and convinced they knew better than me why I was there and what I should do, which according to their opinions, was apparently to die a slow unpleasant death.  They are losing NO rights in their lives, choices, and practice of faith.  What they do NOT have and SHOULD not have is the right to force others into these choices in order to gain basic rights such as shopping, walking down the street with your so, the right to make the best decisions for your family and body in the case of abortion, etc.  They do not have the right to take rights away from other people.

Allowing others to make their own choices and not forcing those choices on them doesn't take away others rights to make their personal choices on their faith for their lives.  But if we really truly believe in equality for all, then public rights must be maintained for all.  We can't claim to live in a country that is based on that ideal and allow any groups to be discriminated against.  You don't have to join in the lifestyles you don't agree with, but yes, you have to serve them a pizza.  Just like I had to serve chicken to jerks telling me how stupid I am because I work in retail, or had to be polite to coworkers making fun of me and telling me I'll burn in hell forever for not being a christian.  Selling a wedding cake isn't supporting any lifestyle other than the baker's own, as the money goes to HIS lifestyle.  

:My bottom line?  I'm willing to tolerate everyone making their personal decisions for themselves.  I will never be willing to tolerate them forcing them on others in legislation or by shunning/discrimination.  One can practice their religious ideals without harming others.  It's because many religious Americans have gotten this idea that their religion is the 'right one' and only they know what is right for others and they are ENTITLED to force what is acceptable behavior onto others through laws and discriminatory behavior in public.  And it's not okay.   Real people are getting hurt. I will never be okay with that.

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Posted

You are absolutely right these thugs in the clinic story did not have license to violate your right to be seen. Especially when they either assulted or threatened to assult you. That is wrong on many levels. And should be arrested. I can not and simply refuse to defend someone doing that period. 

I am sorry that you had to serve people that were hostile to you. You should be able to refuse to render service in those situations without fear of reprisal.  Personally retail is equally as important as any other sector of the economy, it's kind of hard to do my job without it. Just to flip your wedding cake argument. Could legally force someone to buy from you? If not, why not? Remember you need to be able to going both ways or it won't be equal protection. 

I am assuming that you told your coworkers to politely to knock it off, they have the responsibility to back off once you tell them to. In that case, I am siding with you. Because, they are violating your will and rights. I can understand why they are doing that, but they are not doing themselves or me (with respect to proselytizing)  any favors by ignoring your will. I can only do that if you are willing. Otherwise no attempt should be make, your rights and will needs to be respected. And given your past I can't  blame you, and expect you to want it. At least until you experience otherwise, and I won't try until you ask me. 

My last counter point this you will find schmucks in every group. But those schmucks will NEVER be entitled or have license to violate the rights of others. 

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Posted

They were doing that becuase they CAN.  Because the culture and their interpretation of their religious rights let them.  That's why they do that, it's human nature.  And human nature is why we need laws to ensure everyone's rights.  Your counterpoint that you will always find schmucks is WHY we need equality laws.  Because without those laws, they DO have the rights to behave that way to others.  And the laws are only the first step, also.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is against the law.  The laws DO stop some of it, many people think twice before engaging in the behavior becuase they don't like the consequences.  And yet, you'd be hard pressed not to find a woman whose suffered it at some point.  And quite a few men also, but it is more unlikely for a man than a woman at this point in cultural history.  But it still happens.  It's hard to prove, because most do it in one on one situations where unless workers start wearing wires, it becomes a person A says - person B says, and society often backs up the perpetrator, not the victim.  "If they didn't dress like that, if they didn't act like that, too much make up, etc. leads to what did s/he expect?"   And defending your right can lead to job blacklisting, you can destroy your life because you are a victim. 

But a great many also have successfully defended themselves, because of those laws.  And slowly, we're starting to move away from victim blaming.  We're not there by a longshot, but less people are joining in the 'victim brought it on themselves by wearing blank, going to blank, drinking blank, etc'.  And they're doing that becuase the law clearly doesn't recognize these things as a mitigating factor, and slowly people are adjusting to that. 

You're reverse isn't accurate.  No store can legally force anyone to buy from you, it has nothing to do with discrimination (although it does still happen with monopolies in anywhere).  A more accurate reversal would be: "if you were wrong, and the atheists are right and there is no god to please, are you okay with treating other people as subhuman who don't deserve the right to an attractie wedding cake they can afford your prices for?"

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Posted

Are you saying that there are provisions within the law stating that certain  groups are exempt from certain laws? For example,  Christians are allowed to fire bomb abortion clinics, harass people that outside of  their faith, etc.? Because, that is the  message I am receiving. If so, that is not right and I can not  tolerate it. I am an avicate of equal justice (and equal rights and protection). Personally, I think that we should seek out laws and regulations that block individual rights and get them repealed. So that there is true equality. Can we start a conversation there? 

You and I can agree that blaming the victim and letting the offender off scott free is flat out wrong. Just for the discussion, how could you mount a defense while respecting the victim. I am only saying this because of the ramifications of false accuations. This is me strictly being devil's avicate. 

Lastly in the response to your wedding cake argument, why would you want force your business on someone else? I refuse to see anyone as "subhuman". Can I ask where that came from?

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Posted (edited)

It's not my business, it was a well known example of a baker refusing to sell cakes to gay couples.  He was all freindly until the moment he found out the cake was for a gay couple, then it was get the hell out of his business.  Fawning over one couple because they are a man and woman and throwing a same sex couple out is treating that same sex couple as subhuman, less than 'good decent folk' and throwing them out, even though both couples could afford the cakes.  The same as the days as when black people weren't allowed to use a water fountain, becuase they were seen as subhuman, less than white folk and somehow sharing a drinking fountain would taint the white people.  

While the laws don't allow christians to fire bomb, they DO allow them to terrorize clients and workers currently.   And if the laws aren't enforced, like my experience when I complained to the police about being grabbed by total strangers, which is assualt and against the law, I was told it was thier right to protest and the cops wouldnt' follow it up, telling me I brought that on my self.  :(  So becuase I had an aborition I gave up my right to physical safety?  That is another example of treating people as subhuman, removing my equality and rights as a human being.

You say 'force my business on someone else', I say going shopping.  And by the way, my business is welcome, I'm a cisgender hetero married woman as far as any shopkeeper can tell.  But I absolutely don't stand for discrimination and fully support all laws that defend that.  How is a business that is open to the PUBLIC refusing part of the public based on something they were born with okay?  What do people in small towns with only one baker, one photographer, one or two venues, DO in that case for example? 

A law requiring public shopkeepers to treat all customers equally is supporting true equality, not blocking it. 

Edited by UsernameOptional
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Posted

I think we finally understand each other now. If I am understanding you correctly, we have common values. It's just we disagree in tactics. To use history as an example the differences are like Malcom X and Martian Luther King Jr. I stand on the side of MLK in this analogy. I am not saying that you are advocating violence here. The picture I am trying to paint is hard approaches vs. soft approaches. Hard approaches can give you a immediate effect you are looking for at the expense of long term goals. With soft approaches, it may take a while to get the effect you are looking for, but what you get in return is your long term goals will be achieved. That's why I favor a soft approach. 

You have my sympathy with respect to the cops. It sounds like they should be held accountable for derelocation of duty. In turn, giving the effect of what you are talking about. Which is flat out wrong. If you want a silver lining here progress is being made. Want proof? Look at me, I was sympathetic toward the opposition, now I am learning how to defend the very people I was willing to resist. Isn'the this ironic. Potentially making me one of most effective advocates in the community. If you do not mind me tooting my own horn. I am fully aware that there is a lot of learning to do on my end, along with understanding the knowledge.

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