Radical Religion Rears Its Ugly Head Once Again

partnersDeja Nicole Greenlaw at a former Pride celebration circa 2012.
Photo: TRT Archives

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Religious right using legislation to curb LGBTQ rights; what radical religion accomplishes

By: Deja Nicole Greenlaw*/ TRT Columnist—
In the name of religious freedom, or, “conscience rights,” the Trump administration has provided legal sanctuary for religious groups from the federal government with the creation of an oversight entity within the Department of Health and Human Services. This new entity will be called the “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division.”

This entity will review cases of people who legally refuse to comply with laws and regulations that violate their religious beliefs. This will allow doctors to refuse to perform abortions, gender confirmation surgeries, and other procedures. I’m not certain what the other procedures are, and I don’t really know how far some religious people may take this. It’s already bad enough as is, but hopefully it won’t spread to the point where people can refuse to deny you their services, whether it’s a person who works in a pharmacy who refuses to sell you your meds or a server in a restaurant who refuses to wait on you because of their religious beliefs. It is not in the nation’s best interest to allow people to discriminate against American citizens. It is simply un-American.

This new addition to the Department of Health and Human Services may legalize discrimination against Americans, specifically women and trans people.

Now, I realize that some people truly love their religion and that they think that they are following their religious beliefs, but they cannot circumvent the rights of other Americans because of it. Once again, I believe that it is mostly the radical Christian element, which is pushing this agenda. I remember within the past 10 years attending hearings and votes in the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Connecticut and the State House in Massachusetts on trans rights and the opposition was always composed of far-right Christians. I did not notice any Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, or any other faiths, just Christians.

Where do these radical Christians get the idea that they can deny services and rights to other Americans? I’m not completely sure, but I am willing to guess that they are following their version of selected passages from the Bible. They may think that the Bible is the word of God. I would like to point out that God did not write the Bible. The Bible was written by men, not women, but men, hundreds of years ago. Now, whether they were “inspired” by their God is questionable. I personally have my doubts.

If religious people can legally discriminate against women and trans people, who else could they discriminate against? Muslims? Jews? Black people? All three of those groups have gotten a bad rap from extremist Christian interpretations of the Bible. I remember hearing radical white Christians expressing Islamophobia, dislike of Jews, and somehow rationalizing that black people are inferior to white people. It boggles my mind to think that true Christians could possibly think like this. Would Jesus preach fear of the Muslims, dislike of Jews, (by the way, wasn’t Jesus a Jew?), and claiming that black people are inferior to white people? (By the way again, wasn’t Jesus black or brown?)

I can’t help but think that radical Christians are twisting select verses from the Bible to support their own prejudices. Haven’t far-right Christians always done this? Think of the white slave owners who whipped their slaves into submission or religious men who oppress women. I’m sure you can find many other examples of Christians doing horrible things to other humans if you study history.

So, what can we do about this? Contact your lawmakers, both state and national, and let them know that discrimination by radical Christians is not allowed. This is the United States of America and we cannot let a religious minority set their own rules for discrimination.

*Deja Nicole Greenlaw is retired from 3M and has 3 children and two grandchildren.

 

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