I am officially over the self-identified “Christians” whose definition of “liberty” is freedom to pick on and marginalize anyone their crabbed version of God disapproves of. (And yes, I ended that sentence with a preposition. So sue me.)
America is deep, deep into indignant, knee-jerk reactions to a legal and social attitude change that these holier-than-thou hypocrites consider heretical: the proposition that other peoples’ life choices and beliefs–or lack thereof– are entitled to equal respect under the law.
So Tennessee makes (a Christian version of) the “holy bible” its state book. North Carolina and Mississippi enshrine ugly anti-LGBTQ bigotry in state law. In Maine, a ballot initiative proposes to strip gay rights out of the state’s Human Rights Act. And don’t get me started on Indiana, where–in addition to keeping gays second-class citizens and women barefoot and pregnant– a state trooper named Brian Hamilton remained in the employ of the Indiana State Police until yesterday.
Hamilton was sued previously for using traffic stops–traffic stops!–as an opportunity to preach about Jesus and “being saved.” Despite losing that suit, he is being sued yet again for the same behavior.
The lawsuit alleges Trooper Brian Hamilton of the ISP Pendleton post pulled the woman over for speeding and gave her a warning. He then asked her what church she went to and if she was saved. Documents said Hamilton invited Pyle to his church and even gave directions.
A Google search will provide you with literally hundreds of additional examples of what I can only call religious chutzpah–the incredibly arrogant and ahistorical belief held by far too many people in and out of government that their beliefs are entitled to primacy, that this is their country, and the rest of us are here on sufferance, and that any law or court ruling that suggests otherwise is unAmerican and illegitimate.
When historians point to evidence of the Founders’ very purposeful separation of Church and State, the David Bartons and Ted Cruz’s of chutzpah world rewrite history.
When Courts apply longstanding First and Fourteenth Amendment precedents, the American Taliban attacks the judges: in states that elect jurists, they elect crackpots like Roy Moore; when the federal courts are the offenders, Senate theocrats stamp their feet and refuse to fill judicial vacancies.
When some poor shopkeeper has the temerity to wish them “happy holidays,” they scream that there is a “war on Christmas.”
When their efforts to retain privileged status are unsuccessful–when they aren’t able to disadvantage gay people or Muslims or atheists or Christians who disagree with them– they can can be counted on to whine about being victims.
Religious believers–all religious believers, whatever their faith– are entitled to equality before the law. No less, and no more.
No matter how convinced these odious folks may be of the superiority of their particular theologies, they are not entitled to dominance. They are definitely not entitled to use the power of the state to disadvantage people whose beliefs differ.
Unfortunately, they are legally within their rights to annoy the hell out of the rest of us.