Saturday, July 9, 2016

H.R. 2802 is un-American

Next week in the U.S. Congress the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is scheduled to hold a hearing on the First Amendment Defense Act, H.R. 2802. Among other things the bill would allow retailers, restaurants and even government employees to discriminate against anyone whose marriage or sex life they claim offends their religious sensibilities.
The bill says the federal government can take not action against those who discriminate “…on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.” While it is clearly aimed at allowing discrimination against same sex marriage participants the language is so broad that also includes those who: divorce and remarry, have a child out of wedlock and sex outside of marriage.
Do you have family or friends who could be discriminated against if this bill passes? Keep in mind that this bill authorizes federal employees to refuse to process applications for Medicare or Social Security benefits, or VA benefits. It would allow the local restaurant to fire a waitress if the management thought they were having sex with their boyfriend. The pharmacist could refuse service to a pregnant woman known to be unmarried. The Catholic grocer could refuse sell you groceries if you’ve divorced and remarried.
171 House Republicans are co-sponsoring this bill, with 23 of 25 Texas Republicans participating. Discrimination isn’t what the First Amendment was written to protect. Just the opposite, it was written to allow anyone to practice their religion not forcing others to practice it. The First Amendment’s clause on religion says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. H.R. 2802 would let a government employee use the power of federal government to deny the rights of others thereby violating the very Constitution that House Republicans claim they are protecting. How very Orwellian of them to use such double speak when describing their bill.
When it’s time to vote this November just remember that one of the consequences of a Republican president is that this bill would likely be signed into law. What would our country be like if that were the case? What would Seguin be like if local businesses decided that they should operate as bedroom police?
On the positive side the Supreme Court overwhelmingly threw out the Texas legislatures’ attempt to ban abortion by regulating them out of existence. The five member majority made it clear that they could see through the lies used to in an attempt to justify the measures as designed to protect the health of women seeking an abortion. It seems that since Republican politicians are unable to attain their goals by telling the truth they’re more than willing to lie and cheat to do so.

Why is it that the religious principles Republican politicians seem so intent on “protecting” all have to do with what other people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms?

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