With Trump in the White House, religious right groups such as the Family Research Council and figures like Franklin Graham and Fox News personality Todd Starnes are eager to get certain goals accomplished.
High on their list is a dehumanization of the lgbt community under the seemingly innocent courtesy of “religious liberty,” or allowing entities and people to discriminate against queers under the guise of “personally held religious beliefs.” It’s been a goal they have been working on for a long time and with Trump as president, they hope to reap benefits for all of the stories and hype they have spun about bakeries and florists “forced” to accept money from queer customers for their services, government employees like Kim Davis “forced” to do their jobs, and religious groups such as Catholic Charities with its adoption services which are “forced” to say no to government money because they refuse to not discriminate against lgbts.
They imply that it’s all about preserving the integrity of the “faith” of groups and people supposedly targeted by lgbts with a huge phone book, an obscene amount of Facebook friends, a pipeline to a secret worldwide organization not unlike the one James Bond has fought against, and long list of IOUs to cash in for being denied the right to supposedly “flaunt” their lifestyle or “pervert” marriage all of these years.
Okay, I am exaggerating a little bit, but the gist of what I said is true. And so is my next statement. Like so many times before, the entire truth about “religious liberty” is a world of difference from what is fed to us by the religious right. Unfortunately, the terms of this debate are usually dictated by them because they appear to have the loudest megaphone and the most access to the media, even if what they say isn’t necessarily true
Here is a fact about the “religious liberty” argument which is generally not talked about but needs to be moved in the midst of the discussion. The argument as it is presented now is degrading, embarrassing, and simply hurtful. It’s yet another attempt by the religious right to put us on the defensive and make us have to justify our existence and our right to respect and dignity.
And when it comes to the desire to give government money groups and individuals while simultaneously endorsing their homophobic discrimination, the situation gets more infuriating.
Just what gives organizations and entities the right to take tax monies while discriminating against taxpayers? What gives government employees, whose salaries come from tax dollars, the right to discriminate against taxpayers? The last time I checked, queers pay taxes. We work hard for our money, which we give a portion to the government as loyal Americans. But religious right groups and personalities feel that certain entities (i.e. the Catholic Charities) as well as government employees (i.e. Kim Davis) have a right to help themselves to our money while refusing us service and without acknowledging the fact that we are taxpayers or even human beings. That’s not a healthy relationship. That’s a prostitute/pimp relationship. At the very least, it’s stealing. This isn’t complicated. It’s not rocket science. If your religion precludes you as a group from offering me services, then you don’t have a right to my tax dollars. If your religion precludes you as a government employee from treating me as a client, you don’t have a right to my tax dollars. You should be in another line of business. I personally don’t care if you have the power to walk on water or heal the sick with a simple touch. If your religion says you can’t accept me, that should include all of me, especially my tax dollars.
The sad thing is that “religious liberty” as it defined now by the religious right wouldn’t fly if one substituted the Jewish community, the African-American community, or any other community for the queer community. No one feels that entities or government employees have a right to tax dollars while simultaneously practicing racial, ethnic, or religious discrimination. So why is it okay to take queer tax dollars while practicing discrimination in against queer people? It’s a good question which neither the Family Research Council, Graham, Starnes, nor the rest will answer. In fact, they generally avoid the question
It is way past time that we stopped letting them avoid the question.