Once upon a time there was a nation founded with religious freedom granted as a natural right. For about 200 years in America religious freedom meant exactly that; the freedom to worship, pray, sing Psalms, believe in loving air-fairies and evil fire-gnomes, and frequent whatever building one wanted to praise some kind of man-made god en masse. However, about 35 years ago when extremist Christians needed an emotional lure to garner electoral support for the Republican Party, Catholic Bishops taught them how to morph religious freedom into unchallenged power and authority to force a bastardized version of Christianity down the throats of every man, woman and child in the United States – according to “the Christian’s conscience.” It was a power Republicans were more than happy to grant their reliable voting bloc as remuneration for flocking to the polls with bibles in hand to keep the GOP in power.
Part and parcel of the GOP Christofascist cult’s religious freedom is more than just imposing their religion on the entire population, that isn’t nearly enough dominion for the tyrants working in their “god’s name.”
What Christofascist Republicans intently lust after is controlling the entire population and denying them their 200-plus year-old “god-given” Constitutional rights; including the freedom not to be controlled by barbarically savage evangelical fundamentalists. For an idea of what Christians really want, just imagine ISIS or the Taliban without the “righteous killing” in god’s name; something that is not that far off if the evangelical right gets any more religious freedom.
Yesterday in a biblical Appellate Court ruling, Republicans in the most “Christofascist” state in the nation won the right to deny other Americans’ basic human and Constitutional rights because it is what Mississippi Republicans believe religious freedom entails. Mississippi’s religious Republicans awarded evangelical theocrats the unchallenged right to legally discriminate against any state resident according to their newly-granted religious freedom.
The Appellate court ruling gave religious Republicans the license to discriminate exactly as the bible thumping cult has demanded for decades. Now in Mississippi, state-sanctioned discrimination is the law of the land and freedom from religious persecution was stripped from any non-compliant citizen. It is a giant step towards Christian “Sharia” in America.
Now with a theocracy-driven cabal running the federal government, that evangelical version of Sharia will spread throughout Republican-Dominated states just ahead of its imposition nationwide by a Republican-dominated federal government.
Yesterday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a challenge to Mississippi’s bible-based legislation, HB 1523. The theocratic legislation was signed into law by religious Republican Governor Phil Bryant about a year ago. In a gross understatement, HB 1532 was labeled “the most extreme anti-LGBT bill introduced anywhere in the nation,” but it impacts more than just LGBT Americans. The Court said that the Constitution loving plaintiffs were not “personally harmed by the law,” so they had no right to bring a challenge to the religious law.
Writing for the majority opinion, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jerry E. Smith said:
“Under this current record, the plaintiffs have not shown an injury-in-fact caused by HB 1523 that would empower the district court or this court to rule on its constitutionality. We do not foreclose the possibility that a future plaintiff may be able to show clear injury-in-fact … but the federal courts must withhold judgment unless and until that plaintiff comes forward.”
The ruling fulfills extremist evangelicals’ ultimate fantasy and likely gave them massive wet dreams. Now the Christofascists have the legal right to discriminate based on their belief that marriage is between one man and one woman, that sexual relations are biblically reserved to such a union, or that “male” and “female” refer to someone’s “immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.”
The theocratic law also grants legal authority to any individual, business, government employee, nonprofit and any other possible entity to discriminate against not only LGBT people, but also same-sex couples and anyone who has ever had extramarital sex; all according to the Christian bible’s Old Testament edicts.
It is noteworthy that last April (2016) a federal Judge, Carlton Reeves, called HB 1523 exactly what it is; “state-sanctioned discrimination;” Judge Reeves refused to allow Mississippi Christofascists to enforce the biblical law. In fact, about a month later Judge Reeves prohibited the Mississippi theocrats from attempting to impose the edict again. In his ruling he actually addressed the “religious freedom” issue for the bullshit it really is. He wrote:
“HB 1523’s absence does not impair the free exercise of religion. In addition, issuing a marriage license to a gay couple is not like being forced into armed combat or to assist with an abortion. Matters of life and death are sui generis. If movants truly believe that providing services to LGBT citizens forces them to ‘tinker with the machinery of death,’ their animus exceeds anything seen in Romer, Windsor, or the marriage equality cases.” (author bold)
Judge Reeves is right, of course, except he didn’t add that “their animus” is purely religious hatred, not just “hostility.” And it is worth mentioning that if Mississippi residents believe the evangelical extremists will limit their religious hostility to the gay community, unmarried cohabitants, or the sexually adulterous crowd, they are stupider than they appear.
Remember, that phrase “based on their deeply held religious beliefs” will allow untoward acts, save paying taxes, against anyone if a person “claims” someone else’s actions violate their “deeply held religious beliefs;” even if they aren’t religious or affiliated with any religion and their deeply held beliefs are founded in bigotry. Now, no-one is safe in Mississippi. Because not only are they unfortunate enough to live in the most “Christian” state in the Union, those Christians now enjoy state sanctioned discrimination as the law of the land.
H/t New Civil Rights Movement