Christian Teapublican Jody Hice, who is running for Rep. Paul Broun’s seat in Georgia, believes that the government has no right to dictate anything to organizations receiving federal money, specifically, federal contractors.
The Raw Story reports that Hice is outraged over Obama’s mandate that federal contractors can’t discriminate against members of the LGBT community anymore. He calls that a violation of the First Amendment.
Of course, the Establishment Clause doesn’t mean that businesses can do what they want, when they want, without repercussion. Or it shouldn’t; the Supreme Court’s 55-gallon drums of worms (Hobby Lobby and Citizens United) may change how people see the Establishment Clause.
Hice just sees “literally tons” of organizations that do business with the federal government who’ve had their religious rights stripped away from them, because they can’t discriminate against anybody who’s part of the LGBT community solely on that basis.
Hice is another one of the evangelical Teapublicans that suffers from distress of the privileged. Ideals that were once “right, good and true” are seeing ever greater challenges today, and that’s frightening to these people, the way it would be frightening to anybody that fears change. But what’s needed is a more open mind, and an understanding that society changes, and that all people deserve equality and justice.
On his radio show, Hice said specifically:
“Are these organizations going to have to shut the doors or are they going to have to somehow sneak around or find other avenues to provide their services? Or are they going to have to forsake their religious convictions and kiss the ring of the federal government in order to keep doing what they do? There is no doubt that our federal government has no business forcing religious organizations to adherer to what the federal government wants them to adhere to theologically. Is this not precisely what our founders feared when they wrote down the first amendment and acknowledged it as an inalienable right?”
Hice’s, and others’, problems have to do with the fact that there’s no religious exemption for this particular order. An article in the Los Angeles Times says that the mandate continues an exemption from the Bush era, which allows religious organizations to only hire people of their own faith, however, doesn’t allow them to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, except for when it comes to hiring ministers.
Hice has a history of preaching theocracy. A story in Think Progress in July saying that Hice believes the U.S. is “a distinctly Christian society.” Reclaiming the country means ending all abortion and preventing marriage equality from ever happening anywhere. He also wants to repeal hate-crime protections, and thinks that ending the separation of church and state is what will end mass shootings.
This man also thinks that political endorsements in churches are merely Biblical truths. To retain tax-exempt status, though, tax law prohibits official endorsements, electioneering, and the like on the part of those organizations, including churches. Hice specifically endorsed John McCain for president back in 2008, from his pulpit, according to ABC News. One has to wonder how he’d feel if he heard about a different religious establishment endorsing a candidate, particularly if they endorsed a Democrat (oh noes!).
But Hice would have the government violate the First Amendment to endorse his religion, and allow him to force Christianity on the rest of us. It’s perfectly okay to do all of that that as long as Christianity is the favored religion. When the government tries to enact equality for a group of people the religious right won’t even attempt to understand, then suddenly it’s a violation of the First Amendment and must be stopped at all costs.
The people we need in Congress are people who don’t think this way. Listen to Hice’s full comments, below: