The war on secularism has hit my home state, and soon, it’ll be coming to yours, too, in the wake of the November Republican sweep.
My state was the birth place of the Republican party, back when they were the good guys — back when they were the party of anti-slavery, when they had a progressive wing that included presidents like Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. Michigan has always been seen as a blue state, but the truth is much different: we’re mostly Detroit, Ann Arbor, Bay City, and to a lesser extent, Flint, surrounded by the very worst of Mississippi.
And the recent house legislation is proof of that. Envious of what their hero Putin’s been able to pull off in Russia, the theocratic Republican party has been pushing the claim that they have theocratic authority over anyone and everyone who’s not interested in playing along with their warped religion hard. House Bill 5958, the ominously named Religious Freedom Restoration Act, is a bill that authorizes Christian extremists to discriminate based on their stunted and atrophied conscience. It grants them free reign to breach the law and the social mores they never respected, giving them the legal room to refuse service, housing, and violate other citizen’s rights, any rights, if the theocrat feels it violates their “religious freedom” or objects on “religious ground.”
The real dangerous part of this law is one that I’ve seen before: the so-called “conscience clause.” According to The New Civil Rights Movement:
Supporters of these bills claim they allow people of faith to exercise their religion without government interference, but in reality, they are trojan horses, allowing rampant discrimination under the guise of religious observance.
For example, under the Religious Freedom law, a pharmacist could refuse to fill a doctor’s prescription for birth control, or HIV medication. An emergency room physician or EMT could refuse service to a gay person in need of immediate treatment. A school teacher could refuse to mentor the children of a same-sex couple, and a DMV clerk could refuse to give a driver’s license to a person who is divorced.
I have no idea why they call this a “conscience clause.” Calling this a “conscience clause” is like calling Pol Pot’s regime “pro-Western education.” They two aren’t just diametrically opposed; they occupy different realities.
But apparently “pro-lifers” have no problem establishing a law that lets them legally kill people they disagree with. That’s the real purpose for this bull; it lets them punish people they desperately want to punish for defying their warped little religion, and for mocking their sad little God.
This bill was fast-tracked by James Bolger, the Speaker of the House, and passed with a vote of 59-50. It’s modeled after the Federal RFRA, which the Supreme Court has said shouldn’t be applied at the state level, meaning this abomination probably won’t hold up in court. Bolger couldn’t resist pinning himself on a cross, though, when he was celebrating:
“I support individual liberty and I support religious freedom,” Bolger said today. “I have been horrified as some have claimed that a person’s faith should only be practiced while hiding in their home or in their church.”
Your own Book says that, you moron. Bolger is a Roman Catholic, like a majority of people in this state. It must be nice to conveniently forget the discrimination Catholics have suffered at the hands of Protestants, but I haven’t; I’m reminded almost every day of it. The right-wing Protestants I know refuse to consider Catholicism a form of Christianity and they’re most certainly going to consider “Papism” the wrong religion. Good job, Bolger. Maybe you should change your name to Quisling.
If it’s any consolation, this bill contains similar language to what got shot down in Arizona after George Takei threatened to lead a boycott the state. Tourism is a huge draw for Michigan, so perhaps it’s time for a boycott of the Great Lake State.
h/t Addicting Info