Friday, April 8, 2016

Religious freedom run amok

As predicted, the backlash against LGBT people is raging, under the cover of "religious freedom".  States in the South particularly are busy passing laws that enable people to refuse service to gay people (and in some cases, anyone else!) against whom they have any religiously-motivated bias.  

Outdoing itself in a race to the bottom, Mississippi's bill considers that protected actions
include "guiding, instructing or raising" a foster child in accordance with those three beliefs; refusing to give counseling, fertility services or transition-related medical care; declining to provide wedding-related business services; and establishing sex-specific dress codes and having sex-segregated restrooms and other facilities. (NPR)
"Sex specific dress codes".  Some hard-right Christians don't think women should wear trousers or short sleeves.  Better be careful if you wear jeans.
The sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions protected by this act are the belief or conviction that: 
(a) Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman; 
(b) Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; and 
(c) Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual's immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.

So you can also discriminate against unmarried cohabitants.

The winning meme over and over has been some strange idea that allowing trans people to use the bathroom empowers pedophiles.  So, a trans man with a beard is supposed to use the ladies' room?

Leave aside for the moment that "anatomy and genetics at time of birth" often don't match (just for starters, there are XX men, there are XY women, and there are intersex people...I can explain these in the comments if you want).

The LGBT community and allies have not come up with an effective way to fight this other-ing of trans people.

John Pavolovitz writes, 
God help us, we just cannot stay out of people’s bathrooms and bedrooms. 
....Somewhere along the way, so much of Evangelical Christianity began to fixate on sex for the same reason the porn industry does: it gets people excited and it generates lots of money.
Exactly.  Nothing riles up the faithful like the specter of people different from them.  Ka-ching!

Pavlovitz continues,
The more Christians fixate on trivial crusades about sex and sexuality, the more we cheapen the Gospel, the more we distort the life-giving message of Christ, and the more we alienate the watching world who sees this all too clearly. 
Just once they’d like to see us claim “religious liberty” compelling us to feed children or curb gun violence or combat Cancer—or anything remotely life affirming. Instead we use it to withhold wedding cakes and police public toilets. 
When the Church has its eyes squarely on Jesus it will find itself seeking the hurting and the needy and the forgotten, and abandoning its lazy battles and desperate witch hunts. 
Not any time soon, at least in the South.

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