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    • Maya Stiles Parsons Spier

      Columnist, Editor-in-Chief
    • March 30, 2015 in Columnists

    Whose religious freedom is it anyway?

    Religious tolerance is something we should all practice; however, there have been more persecution and atrocities committed in the name of religion and religious freedom than anything else.
    Walter Koenig

    Religion is like a pair of shoes…..Find one that fits for you, but don’t make me wear your shoes.
    George Carlin

    We’ve all by now heard that Indiana has signed into law a bill that promotes “religious freedom,” allowing businesses to refuse service to people who abrogate what they consider their personal religious principals.

    Most of us already know how heinous this is, but I would like to take this question a little further – just whose “religious freedom” are they going to protect?

    My guess is that it isn’t going to be anybody’s but Christians’ religious freedoms. In an excellent article on Salon.com, Amanda Marcotte discusses how the Satanists have had a little too much fun with this – citing religious freedom when the Christians began squalling over their activities (http://www.salon.com/2014/09/26/how_satanists_exposed_the_christian_rights_core_hypocrisy_partner/) . It’s quite the delicious demonstration of just how hypocritical this all is.

    It amazes me endlessly how it never occurs to these people that they offend us. It’s like one of my husband’s best jokes, which we call “The Cry of the Sociopath” – “I FEEL my PAIN!” They feel their own offense deeply, but the thought never enters their heads that they might be absolutely offensive to anybody else. After all, just ask them – their truth is the only truth.

    But every truth is objective to the believer and subjective to everybody else. The fact is, if I don’t believe what you believe, secretly and quietly, you think that what I believe is hooey and I think the same of what you believe.  Neither of us is being cruel, dismissive or insulting. That’s just how it works. And if we don’t tolerate (at the very least) not only what the other believes but that we don’t believe the same thing the same way, it gets ugly – think the Holocaust or Kosovo or ISIS or any of a myriad of other evils humans have perpetrated on other humans for differences of thought or belief.

    So, frankly, Christians of this ilk – and other people who hate gay people (homomisiasts (haters) not homophobes (fearers)), people of other faiths, anybody who steps outside your paradigms – you are abrogating my religious freedom by insisting that your right to hate be upheld in the name of religion. By insisting you have this right, you are abrogating my religious beliefs that if there were supposed to be gay people – or any other sort of people you now want freedom to oppress or exclude – all those people would, in fact, exist.

    Oh, look! Gay people! Queer people. Transgender people. People who aren’t Christians.

    If I come in wearing a prayer shawl and a yarmulke, is it now your right to refuse me service? Are you going to refuse service to black people because some Christian sects think they bear the mark of Cain and thus must be oppressed and reviled? What about if I’m a Wiccan? Or an actual Satanist? Or anybody?

    If it’s possible for a group to be hated, I’m pretty sure I can find you a religion that hates it. Shall I convert to a faith that despises straight, white Christians and then post on the door of my establishment that I will not serve them?

    Under this law, that should be perfectly legal. Or, I can make up my own religion with whack-job rules which, under the rules of our Constitution, I can legally do – and then start refusing to serve whatever people my new faith reviles and get away with it!

    If that’s the case, I want to start a faith that reviles all politicians and corporate stooges and declare as a tenet of my faith that none are allowed to be seen on the pages of a newspaper, magazine, blog or website. If they are shown or mentioned anywhere they can be seen in Indiana, then you have abrogated my religious freedom and I will sue. Just watch me – and if this law is followed as designed, I will win and I will win big, because politicians and corporate stooges are freaking everywhere.

    Of course this is absurd – but how is that different from what Indiana has just enacted? If you have a better explanation, I’d love to hear it, but it had better be good…

      • Jesse Loren

      • March 31, 2015 at 8:40 pm
      • Reply

      I can hardly wait for some uber Muslims to move in and demand Sharia Law on women and start cutting clitorises and flinging them onto the Christians for breakfast. All manner of ungodly bigotry dressed in the flag and dangling crosses will emerge like lice. It’s happening.

        • Maya North

        • March 31, 2015 at 9:40 pm
        • Reply

        Or ultra-Orthodox Jews demanding women be covered head to toe and sit in the back of the bus and be allowed a divorce only if the husband initiates or permits it or ANY of these people reinstating the “rule of thumb” which allowed a husband to beat his wife as long as the stick wasn’t bigger than his thumb and on and on and on and on…

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