North Carolina state legislators introduced what was described as an anti-Sharia law bill this week. The concern was a religion would trump our laws -- threaten our constitution. This religion, they fear, would dictate our rights and punish dissent. It would blur the lines between church and state! Women would be subjugated! This is such a threat North Carolina lawmakers must act posthaste!
Then with absolutely zero appreciation for irony, the state senate amended the bill to quickly and somewhat secretly restrict access to legal and constitutionally-protected abortion.
Why? Their religious convictions.
Nice tactic: Scare people with the specter of Islamic totalitarianism and then pass a bill that would make Pakistan pause.
I see what you did there.
Religion is the sand you throw in someone’s face before you rob them. Disorient the target to reach your goal faster.
Christianity has been used to justify everything from the crusades, sectarian wars and inquisitions, to witch burnings, cross burnings and Christian rock. The idea that it would be a better basis for a free country isn’t supported by history.
Theology makes for horrible government. (See: every theocracy ever.) No matter how wonderful it seems, in theory, for everyone to be of the same religion -- praying the same way to the same god --it never ends with expansive human rights for all people.
Religion is subjective, selective and discriminating -- it’s the opposite of democracy.
Which is why the U.S. Constitution is the framework for a secular government. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, secular government is the worst form of government except for all those other ones that have been tried.
This week in the trial of George Zimmerman the jury watched the exclusive interview he did last July with Sean Hannity of Fox News. When asked if the 28-year-old regretted killing a teenager, Zimmerman said it was God’s plan and he wasn’t going to second guess him. God wanted an innocent unarmed 17-year-old to be shot to death by a wannabe cop?
Indefensible acts have a defense in religion. And that’s a rickety basis for a government.
An overlooked but compelling factor in the ousting of year-long Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, was that his denial of "democratic freedoms" in the name of religion left him with few supporters. Two weeks ago, Morsi, a leader in the Muslim Brotherhood called for a holy war in Syria.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (not a champion of human rights by any stretch) said: "The summary of what is happening in Egypt is the fall of what is called political Islam."
Add that to the list of why my religion, your religion, or anyone else’s religion shouldn’t be imposed legislatively.
Lutherans and Methodists can’t agree on confessionals--which version of Christianity is the one you want writing laws?
The answer: None of them.
On the home front, Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) called a special session this week to yet again try to pass a bill that would essentially shut down most women’s health clinics in the state. This fundamentalist-fueled pro-birth zealotry is sponsored by state lawmaker Jodie Laubenberg (R), who claims rape kits in ERs are "where a woman can get cleaned out." Which is like saying a breathalyzer test will sober you up. Mind-bogglingly stupid.
But this battle is not about facts; it’s about ending what Governor Oops thinks is objectionable based on his religion. No room for science. No room for data. No room for sound public policy based on egalitarian principles. God’s will -- women are public incubators. Our private parts are up to public approval. Our reproductive ability trumps our constitutional rights.
In Texas they want to deregulate everything except the womb. Why? Because religious fervor is being selectively applied to reproductive rights.
And this fervor is subjugating women, punishing dissent and blurring the lines between church and state. But at least it’s not Sharia!