I believe in Freedom of Religion as defined by the First Amendment to our United States Constitution. This includes both the right to practice religion and the right to apostasy.
by Jill Richardson CounterPunch edited by O Society May 14, 2019
A bill in Texas would allow professionals of all kinds — doctors, pharmacists, electricians — to deny services to LGBTQ customers on religious grounds.
This comes alongside the Trump administration’s rollout of a rule that would allow health care providers to actually deny service to LGBTQ people on religious grounds.
I’m sorry, but I don’t care if you have a strongly held religious conviction which says I’m going to hell, or I’m not worthy of being treated like a human being, because I’m gay.
If that’s the case, you can go ahead and stay far away from me, and you can hate me all you want. Or you can love me and hate my “sin” of being myself and loving who I love, and then you have the right to tell yourself it’s not hateful.
But you don’t have a right to legally discriminate against me or anyone like me. At least, not outside of your own church — though even there, is it really necessary?
First off, several sources say the passages in the Bible that condemn homosexuality are mistranslated and misinterpreted and misapplied. A more accurate reading, this position goes, finds homosexuality isn’t an “abomination” after all.
Even if one believes the Bible is literally the word of God, God didn’t give this word to humans in English. Humans translated it into English. Humans are fallible.
Second, even the most devout Jews and Christians don’t literally follow every single word in the Bible. This isn’t possible. So instead, we all cherry pick and choose.
If one follows every commandment in the Leviticus to the letter, the result would be gruesome murders, a theme the book The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo explores in grisly detail:
For instance, Deuteronomy 21:18-21 says children who disrespect their parents should be stoned to death. If anyone actually follows this, few children would live long enough to get their driver’s licenses.
But you know what? Nobody follows it.
Because we shouldn’t. Because it’s murder.
And although our Constitution protects religious liberty, if someone stones their disrespectful child to death out of sincerely held religious conviction, they still go to prison for murder — rightfully.
I support religious freedom.
However, when people pick and choose which (possibly mistranslated) commandments we want to follow — and we choose ones to discriminate against a group of people for the “sin” of loving — I don’t think it’s reasonable to say a “right to discriminate” is more important than a homosexual person’s (or any other person’s) civil rights.
Go ahead and do what you want inside your own church. You have that right, you know, until we get to the human sacrifice and polygamy parts.
LGBTQ support groups are filled with the fallout of anti-gay church teachings — people who’ve lost their entire families, their friends, and their faith. Plenty believe they’re going to hell for being LGBTQ, while others even entered into doomed heterosexual marriages, which fell apart when they couldn’t hide their true selves any longer.
Our community has a lot of trauma in it, but I suppose you have the religious freedom to keep heaping more trauma on us — within your own home and your own church.
I support religious freedom, which I guess means I support the right of any faith to exclude LGBTQ people based on a cherry-picked misinterpretation of scripture, if they wish to do so. But this right does not extend to discriminate in a non-religious workplace, emergency room, or anywhere else.
Half a century ago, some people claimed a deeply-held religious conviction supporting racial segregation. Our government passed civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, even if it’s based on religious conviction. We shouldn’t allow people to deny services to LGBTQ people either.