The Religious Right’s Shadow Nation

From Truth Wins Out:

by Wayne Besen
July 5, 2011

Weekly Column

Lately, it seems Christian fundamentalists have campaigned to pervert the notion of “religious freedom” to mean they have the absolute right to control lives and dictate how other people live. If they are unable to coerce or browbeat non-believers into following their church’s rules in the public square, they falsely play the victim card and cry “discrimination.”

For normal Americans, religious freedom means the right to worship according to conscience. This most basic tenet of liberty is not enough for America’s predatory fundamentalists. They believe they are superior and have the God-given right to force society to play by their rules. This inability to co-exist is a divisive and destabilizing force that must be adequately addressed.

How far will these extremists go to get their way and claim special rights? Consider a new bill proposed by two Michigan state senators, Tupac Hunter (D-Detroit) and Mark Jansen (R-Grand Rapids) that would permit students in counseling programs to refuse helping clients with issues that conflicted with their “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.”

The Michigan Messenger reported this week that this ludicrous legislation was in response to an Eastern Michigan University student, Julea Ward, who was expelled from a counseling program after declining to counsel a gay student. According to the Messenger, Ward refused to offer relationship advice because she thought it was tantamount to cheerleading a “lifestyle” that she rejected.

Ward sued in federal court, but they have so far ruled that Christians are still part of society and not above the rule of law.

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