Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A gay free zone? Religious liberty, the Republicans, and the Christian Right

The Republicans are in agood position.  They can point fingers at the Supreme Court, but thanks to SCOTUS, they can complain about marriage equality without actually dirtying their hands doing anything to stop it.

 Ed Kilgore has a perceptive piece in TPM Cafe on how they are playing this into a "dogwhistle" that nevertheless keeps the footsoldiers of the Evangelical Christians in the tent doing the work (and the voting).   And it's all about "religious liberty" and the gay-free zone that they want:
["Religious liberty"] even more effective than opposing “judicial activism,” because it borrows the aura of an almost universally valued American principle. And it’s less aggressively theocratic, as well, insofar as its proponents do not (at least in this context) propose to ban same-sex marriage (or to ban abortions or contraceptives), but simply to create a zone in which gay marriages don’t have to be recognized (and abortions and contraceptives provided or subsidized). 
So far, claims that same-sex marriages will threaten “religious liberty” have mostly emerged from conservative Christian quadrants of the wedding industry, and proponents of giving them broad exemptions from laws they don’t like haven’t made a lot of progress (though less formally, opposing gay rights on religious grounds has been a boon for businesses like Chick-Fil-A and for careers like Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson). But as the “religious liberty” movement continues to develop, you could see it morph into the theoretical foundation for a parallel society in which the painful diversity of contemporary life, and its disturbing clatter of demands for “equality” and “non-discrimination” and “rights” (other than religious rights and the Right To Life, of course) is simply excluded, along with “government schools” and secular news and entertainment. 
And this is the goal of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and others -- to have the legal right to live in a "gay free zone" where LGBT Americans are legitimately denied services, employment, or recognition as fellow Americans.

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