Sunday, April 6, 2014

Another Puff on the Crackpipe of Bigotry

Already the most religious state in the nation, Mississippi recently passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or SB-2681 (which some are referring to rather unkindly as BS-2681). This legislation will not only add the words “In God We Trust” to the state seal, it will protect religious folks from … well, there’s the rub: The wording of the bill is so deliberately lawyer-friendly that only someone with a PhD in sophistry from Harvard Law could possibly fathom its real meaning.

Since it was sponsored by a Baptist preacher (Andy Gipson) and fawned over by the American Family Association and Tony Perkin’s Family Research Council (seems Mr. Perkins was invited to the signing ceremony with other “faith leaders”), it can’t be good for anyone they don’t like (which is just about everyone but themselves and their fan base, from what I can determine). It’s certainly not good news for Mississippi’s gay community and it’s hard to escape the conclusion that the bill was directed against them, as were similar bills in other states, including the one recently vetoed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

The official “title” of the bill states that SB2681 is:

An act to enact the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act; to provide that state action shall not substantially burden a person’s right to the exercise of religion; to prescribe the contents of the great seal of the State of Mississippi. 

We are left to believe that “religious freedom” needs to be “restored,” or that somehow or other the Christian denizens of the Magnolia state are being “burdened” by the government. Yet there are no documented cases of any church being shut down by the government and neither do we find any documented case of a believer forced at gunpoint to skip his Wednesday evening service. No pastor or priest has been jailed for speaking his or her mind and not one good Christian boy or girl has been tossed to lions and hyenas for refusing to sacrifice to pagan gods.

Religious freedom is very much alive and well in Mississippi and Christians enjoy first class privileges and rights. Every elected official, from the governor to the sheriff to the county supervisors to the dogcatcher, is Christian. They hold all the power in this state, make the laws, pull the strings. In fact, “No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.”

So, why the need to restore “religious freedom” in a state like Mississippi where all the government officials are Christian? Why ask long-suffering citizens to foot the bill to not only draft and pass this exercise in legislative pointlessness, but also defend it when challenges are inevitably brought against it?

Read the rest here

1 comment:

Benjamin J. Short said...

This is yet another example of Christianity in the South--or more specifically fundamental, American Christianity--destroying the message and work of Christ. The problem with bigotry and hate towards many is not the Bible, it's the ignorant and hateful people who use it to justify their own ignorance and hate. Perhaps fundamental Christians should start worrying a little less about their religious freedom and more about human freedom being that this is what Christ did and all.