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GOP Anti Religious Freedom Agenda

Stephen Foster over at Addicting Info points out the GOP’s very disturbing (yet not surprising) religious freedom hypocrisy.  It seems the radical right loves freedom so much that it needs to be curtailed in order to maintain its preciousness.  To that end, these fiscal conservatives will, if elected, waste taxpayer dollars on a McCarthy-like witch hunt, specifically designed to silence those that don’t subscribe to their Chistofascist religious dogma.

You see, for these “small government” fanatics, government does have one important role:  Enforcing their personal brand of bigotry as “religious freedom”.  And anyone who opposes them is persecuting them, so they need special protections in law.  The libertarian concept that their rights stop where the rights of others start does not apply in the realm of fringe religious belief.  To them, their bigotry should be enshrined as government policy and the law of the land.  Despite their small government rhetoric, they are ready to put the power of the state to work to ensure that every American is denied the religious freedom so clearly spelled out and guaranteed in the Constitution.  Because other people’s religious freedom itself literally denies them their own religious freedom.

Religious freedom to the GOP translates into freedom for them to use government offices to force you to observe and practice their religion of choice, not your own.  If you dare to exercise any rights other than those they say you are entitled to, you need to be silenced.  As you can see from the actual pdf’s of National Organization for Marriage “pledges” signed by investigate-congress-for-being-anti-American “conservative” Michelle Bachmann, “corporations-are-people” crusader Mitt Romney, jelly enthusiast Rick Santorum, and secessionist Governor Rick Perry, they seek to use the heavy hand of state action to chill activism pointed against their personal brands of bigotry.  These hypocrites have proven, by applying their signatures to this despicable document, that they want—and will use the power of the government—to intimidate people into silence and conformity.

It is particularly interesting that in the second paragraph of the pledge, they talk about what the founders would have wanted, and then in the fourth paragraph, they talk about proposing “new protections”.  Which way do they want it?  Do they want what the founders gave us or not?

It is a deep-seated part of their fundamentalist religious preference (yes, religion, unlike sexual orientation, is a choice) to force you to believe as they do.  If you reject the beliefs they are trying to foist upon you, you are persecuting them.  And if the government doesn’t create and enforce policies that force you to at least act like you believe their personal convictions (i.e. public displays of piety, restricting access to science-based education, etc), then the government is violating their freedom of religion.

Isn’t that neat the way that works?  By you not believing as they demand, and the government not forcing you to believe as they demand, their religious freedom is destroyed.  They cannot practice their faith if you don’t abide by it, so your freedom must be limited.  Some of them have even gone to court to force military families to observe Christian customs when burying their war dead—because they want it recognized in law that their religious preference is more important than the preferences of the deceased and their families.

The most frustrating part of it for them, though, must be that the law of our land presents several steep uphill battles—that they are sure to lose.  The courts have already repeatedly ruled against NOM’s attempts to protect the identities of those who donate to their anti-freedom cause.  Their chief argument is that the information could lead to boycotts, picket lines and online product-review downgrades.  To the fundamentalist anti-freedom God-Money warriors in the GOP, economic boycotts are harassment, and need to be prevented (or “investigated”) at all costs, lest there be consequences for covert bigotry.  In their world, activist bigots are victims of intolerance because people are, well, intolerant of bigotry.  Therefore, people trying to codify their personal prejudices need state-sponsored special protections that don’t currently exist in law.  Or to use one of their own favorite catchphrases, they seek “special rights”.

While we should be alarmed at the bald-faced Anti-American stances of people campaigning to run our government, we don’t need to be worried about a new Hitler forming.  We may have to contend with violence due to their hate-filled rhetoric from mentally ill lone-wolves and right-wing militias who believe their time has come—all of which can only be met with the measured force of a strong rule of law—but the United States is not early 20th Century Germany.  We don’t have to worry about gangs of teabagging thugs roaming the streets in brown shirts—not yet anyway.  While well-meaning people may cast a vote for a GOP government-out-of-commerce/government-in-your-bedroom politician, this country is not going to follow Michelle Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry—or even Rick Santorum—down the destructive road to their obvious desire for full despotic Christianity.

The obvious questions are:  Do they actually think the American people will follow them in this?  Do they actually think that Americans will join their cult and fight for these outlandish—and un-American—beliefs?  Will Americans accept a military draft to fight for a Christian America here and abroad?  But those aren’t the right questions.  We need to know:  Who will stand up to them?  We know demonstrably that the Democrats can’t withstand any concerted attack which uses right-wing talking points, as they habitually accept whatever framing the right-wing chooses to use for an issue.

The GOP has completely gone off the rails and is now openly advocating restricting the freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution and the Democrats are too feckless to do anything about it.  Is this the best Americans can do?  Are we willing to look beyond the false focus-group tested choices and do what needs to be done to take back our self-governance?  Or will we literally start singing from government-published hymnals?

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About Gary S. Barkley