Rewire has a feature called “Gavel Drop,” with brief descriptions of recent lawsuits involving religion and the First Amendment, and providing links to longer descriptions of the parties and issues involved. This particular issue highlights the current (sad) state of “faith-based” America.
Allow me to share a few of the featured entries.
The Alliance Defending Freedom is now arguing in federal court to allow homeless shelters to deny services for transgender people. Downtown Soup Kitchen in Anchorage, Alaska, filed the religious freedom lawsuit against Anchorage earlier this year over the city’s nondiscrimination law; a case had been filed against the center after it denied a transgender woman admission to its shelter. The shelter director said that the woman was denied because she appeared drunk, but also that it would never accept a “biological man.”
In the linked article describing the lawsuit, ThinkProgress points out that ADF’s claim for relief isn’t simply a request to allow this particular discriminatory act; it is a demand that the court overturn the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance in its entirety. It’s part and parcel of the Christian Right’s persistent attacks on any and all LGBTQ protections, in the name of “religious liberty.”
If a homeless transgender woman has to be thrown out into the cold Alaskan street in order to show proper deference to the religious sensibilities of the “Christians” who run the shelter, well, those are the breaks.
Speaking of religious liberty, the Gavel Drop also reported on this lawsuit from Illinois.
Illinois’ Fourth District Appellate Court upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit challenging a state law that provides funding to Medicaid and state employee health insurance plans that cover abortion services. Anti-abortion groups, represented by the Thomas More Society, are planning to appeal the case to the Illinois Supreme Court.
I note that, for these “good Christians,” religious liberty goes only one way: their way. Adherents of religions that permit abortion are to be denied the liberty to follow their beliefs.
Nothing more clearly demonstrates the hypocrisy of the “religious freedom” movement as piously promoted by people like Mike Pence and organizations like ADF and the Thomas More Society than this insistence that “liberty” means their right to have government impose their beliefs on everyone else.
The theologies of these “Christian” plaintiffs prohibit abortion (for them and for any of their neighbors); but those theologies evidently do allow flat-out lying in service of their “godly” goals. Their argument against the law included the repeated accusation that the measure promoted taxpayer-funded abortion services.
“Taxpayer-funded abortion” is a myth pedaled by abortion-rights foes that feeds on public ignorance about abortion funding. Two-thirds of the public is unaware the federal Hyde Amendment prohibits paying for abortions with federal Medicaid dollars, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll.
Also among the lawsuits listed in the Gavel Drop was yet another effort to have government endorse Christianity by displaying a cross on public property.
The city of Pensacola, Florida, is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene and allow a large memorial cross to remain standing on public land in Bayview Park. Earlier this month, the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court judge’s ruling that displaying the cross on publicly owned land violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The city of Pensacola is represented by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
These public monument cases are brought repeatedly, and just as repeatedly dismissed under a long line of precedents invoking the Establishment Clause. Not only do I fail to see how moving the cross to private property violates anyone’s “liberty,” I fail to understand why the Christian Right is so dead-set on having the government endorse their brand of religion.
Okay, that’s a lie. I do understand.
They’re theocrats, just like the Taliban. They want government to post their symbols in order to remind the rest of us that this is their country, and the rest of us are just here by virtue of their forbearance.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I really get tired of these people.