Sunday, April 5, 2015

Weaponized Religious Exemptions

There is no fundamental difference between the original Indiana freakazoids-can-hate-on-the-gays law and Kentucky's hate law and every other state and federal hate law.  They all accomplish the same thing. 

The sole purpose of these religious freedom laws - including the federal RFRA that idiots keep pointing to as an example that supposedly does not allow businesses to discriminate - is to give freakazoids and bigots a legal excuse to treat anybody they don't like as sub-human shit.

Want proof?  The Hobby Lobby case, which allowed a private company to break federal law in order to deny birth control to its employees - a new low in misogyny - was decided on federal RFRA law. Ask Antonin Scalia if he thinks RFRA bars private discrimination.

The Supreme Court may force every state to recognize gay marriage, but the actual result is going to be a flood of hate legislation so vicious that businesses will not only be allowed to discriminate against gays (and minorities and muslims and atheists and liberals and fuck why not Democrats), but will be forced to do so.

There was no connection between their status as a religious group and the nature of the particular exemption they were seeking; in essence they were arguing that the RFRA gives them license to avoid a law they found inconvenient. (Hypothetically, if a religious organization sought an exemption to historic zoning on grounds that their religion prohibited worshiping in buildings over a certain age for ceremonies, this case would have more merit.) Turning religious exemptions into a license for religious groups to evade general laws when inconvenient seems entirely deserving of pushback.
But this is only a partially weaponized use of religious exemptions; they’re being used as a weapon to advance the Church’s goals, but not striking against their political enemies. The quintessential case of a weaponized religious exemption is, of course, Hobby Lobby; Obamacare was to be the subject of a blitzkrieg, to be hit with any and every weapon imaginable, and that’s what the RFRA provided. Their efforts to make the claim appear credible could hardly be lazier or more half-assed. One possible check on weaponization, in a better and more decent society, could conceivably be a sense of embarrassment or shame; exposing one’s religious convictions as a cynical political tool to be wielded against one’s political enemies might be hoped to invoke enough embarrassment that it might be avoided, but we were well past that point. A remarkable document of this trend is this post from Patrick Deneen–fully, openly aware of the fundamental absurdity of Hobby Lobby’s case, cheering them on nonetheless. I mean, you’d think they’d at least have found a company owned by Catholics.

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