Petulance

Mixing Religion and Politics

The author of this meme neglects to provide any specific examples of government intrusion upon his/her religion, so I took to the Internet in search of supporting evidence.

According to Bishop David O’Connell in an NJ.com opinion piece: the “Health and Human Services mandate forcing nearly all private health plans to include coverage for all FDA-approved prescription contraceptive drugs and devices, including abortifacients and surgical sterilization” constitutes an attack on the liberties of religious objectors. Yet Rev. O’Connell acknowledges in the next paragraph that President Obama extended an exemption to those same objectors, so that their organizations would not be required to cover the hated drugs and procedures, but it’s still not good enough. Apparently, Rev. O’Connell is incensed that the government allows anybody to make choices with which he personally disagrees. The government’s willingness to facilitate differing viewpoints must certainly be a sign of its gradual erosion of religious liberties, right?

But that’s just one person’s opinion. Are there others who think the government’s will is blocking their spiritual path? Oh, you bet.

Paul Roy wrote in The Guardian Liberty Voice that the recent Supreme Court case of Town of Greece v. Galloway was a classic example of religion under attack. The case was passed up from a lower court which had declared that the town of Greece, New York, could not open its legislative sessions with a (predominantly Christian) prayer. Although the case had not been decided when Roy wrote his piece, the SCOTUS eventually voted 5-4 that the town could permit volunteer chaplains to issue a prayer. Naturally, the religious right was ecstatic – they hailed it as a victory for religious liberties – but that hasn’t stopped them from grousing about government intrusion in other arenas.

Erik Stanley writes in speakupmovement.org – a website dedicated to “protecting and promoting” the rights of churches – that Washington state’s acceptance of same-sex marriages poses a threat to religious freedoms. Although the law does not require religious officials to solemnize any particular wedding, according to Stanley, wording in the bill (in Section 7 (PDF)) would require that if any church rents its facilities to non-member heterosexual couples for the purpose of getting hitched, it would be required to rent its facilities to same-sex couples.

While that may sound awfully intrusive – particularly if you’re a religious conservative – keep in mind that an open rental policy exposes the church to a lot of people with whom the church may not agree: atheists, pro-choicers, etc. When you open your doors to the public, you always take that risk. The solution is simple: either accept that your facilities will occasionally be rented for purposes with which you don’t agree, or don’t rent to non-members. Problem solved.

So is the government intruding upon our religious rights? In each of these cases, some layer of the government was trying to make our nation more inclusive, and in each case religious conservatives fought back vociferously. To the maker of this meme: it seems to me that the government isn’t intruding upon your religion. The people are asking you not to impose your religious beliefs upon others, and you are perceiving that as an intrusion. What does that say about your religion; or more directly, what does that say about you?

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4 thoughts on “Petulance

  1. Thank you! Inclusion! It’s in our nature to judge, although I feel it’s distinctly using it socially to be “right” or infringing on the basic equalities of others (when ‘others’ aren’t hurting anybody) that creates these dangerous or unhealthy ideals. What’s it they say? Seek first to understand…
    To play off a comment from a different post: white, straight, female… trying to abolish my own idealism. Love the meme commentary, glad I found this blog! 🙂

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