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Big Bible vs. Big Business

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  • “This historic week made one thing clear. There is a new American coalition for equality emerging. It crosses party lines. It touches all sectors of society – from businesses to faith leaders, to elected officials. It is fundamentally reshaping our national politics. And no state legislator peddling a two-bit piece of bigoted legislation is going to fly in our country anymore.” --Chad Griffin, The Human Right’s Campaign
  • 'Religious Discrimination' Laws Have Nothing to Do With Religion
  • Indiana, Religious Liberty, and Religious War

Wayne Besen, Truth Wins Out

separation-of-church-and-hate-1.jpgApril 7, 2015 | The battles in Arkansas and Indiana over two bogus “religious freedom” bills, that were thinly disguised vehicles for anti-LGBT discrimination, exposed a major rift within the Republican Party. It came down to Big Bible vs. Big Business – and the concerns of social conservatives were swiftly dropped like a bad stock. (* “Big Bible” does not mean ALL Christians. Just the intolerant ones who reject separation of church and state and have shamelessly built a lucrative industry distorting the Bible to justify discrimination)

With major corporations like Wal-Mart and Apple loudly condemning these bills, Republican lawmakers quickly retreated. Amended bills were passed that explicitly banned these controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Acts from being used to discriminate based on sexual orientation. This, of course, undermined their original purpose, which was to allow business owners to cite their faith to deny services to LGBT people. (and anyone else they morally objected to)

Wayne Besen is the Founding Executive Director of Truth Wins Out and author of “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth” (Haworth, 2003). In 2006, Besen was recognized in the Advocate Magazine’s “People of the Year” issue. In 2009, he was named in Instinct Magazine as a “Leading Man”.

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Related:

'Religious Discrimination' Laws Have Nothing to Do With Religion, Julian Bond, Advocate.com

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  • Julian Bond was at the forefront of the civil rights battles of the mid-20th century. He says the 'religious discrimination' bills now cropping up all over the nation are a return to the institutional intolerance of those days.
  • Flipping the Script on Religious Freedom

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Indiana, Religious Liberty, and Religious War, Steven Jonas, Planetary Movement

What Republican state legislatures are doing now would establish one religion as supreme over all of the others, with the power of the State to determine which is which.  Above and beyond discrimination against one or more targeted groups of individuals, this is a recipe for a Second Civil War, not only about race, but now about religion. 

'Religious Discrimination' Laws Have Nothing to Do With Religion

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  • Julian Bond was at the forefront of the civil rights battles of the mid-20th century. He says the 'religious discrimination' bills now cropping up all over the nation are a return to the institutional intolerance of those days.
  • Flipping the Script on Religious Freedom

Julian Bond, Advocate.com

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JULIAN_BONDX400.jpgJulian Bond (left) and Luci Baines Johnson, daughter of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, at the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin last year. 

March 31, 2015 | The value of religious freedom is paramount in our country — that’s why it’s enshrined in our nation’s Constitution. Let there be no doubt: People of faith and their right to exercise their closely held religious beliefs are fully protected. Most unfortunately, a select group of insidious activists and elected officials is pretending those protections don’t exist and is threatening the civil rights of LGBT Americans.

Legislators in states such as Indiana, Arkansas, and Georgia are busy pushing bills that purport to further protect religious believers from the so-called scourge of government intrusion. But these bills aren’t about religious belief at all: They’re about discrimination, pure and simple.

Julian Bond is a civil rights leader and former member of the Georgia legislature. He is the founder and president emeritus of the Southern Poverty Law Center and served as chairman of the NAACP from 1998 to 2010.

Full story …

Related:

Flipping the Script on Religious Freedom, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 

  • separation-of-church-and-hate-1.jpg“It is absolutely hypocritical for Pence to claim that Indiana’s Christians need legal protections, while its LGBT citizens are left to depend on ‘Hoosier hospitality.’
  • Part 1: Part 1: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Fails Miserably On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos
  • Part 2: The Awesome Response to Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act
  • California Attorney-General Fights To Void Deadly Anti-Gay Ballot Initiative

Indiana, Religious Liberty, and Religious War

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What Republican state legislatures are doing now would establish one religion as supreme over all of the others, with the power of the State to determine which is which.  Above and beyond discrimination against one or more targeted groups of individuals, this is a recipe for a Second Civil War, not only about race, but now about religion. 

Steven Jonas, Planetary Movement

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separation-of-church-and-hate-1.jpgApril 2, 2015 | So the Indiana Legislature passed and the Governor signed a law that, claims to the contrary notwithstanding, as Frank Rich and many others have noted, surely seemed intended to permit persons operating public accommodations and publicly licensed and/or per-mitted businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ persons, based on their sexual orientation.  Certainly the list of organizations which sponsored the legislation in Indiana (and have done so in many other states) have not been shy about saying that that’s what it is all about.  Those organizations include the American Family (sic) Association (state and national), “Advance America,”  the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Heritage Institute, and the Family (sic) Research Council.  

Of course, one wonders just how Indiana businesses which want to discriminate against LGBTQ persons would pick out the discriminatees.  Since most LGBTQ persons look just like everyone else, would there be a law in Indiana requiring the known among them to line up to receive, let us say, a Pink Triangle?  Now it is true that that was the insignia the Nazis used to identify homosexuals, starting just after they took power in 1933, two years before they came up with the Yellow Star of David to identify the Jews.  So there might a problem in that.  Perhaps someone in one of the organizations listed above could give it some thought and come up with a better one.

Steven Jonas is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at the School of Medicine, Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 30 books on health policy, health and wellness, and sports and regular exercise. In addition to being a Trusted Author for OpEdNews, Dr. Jonas is a columnist for BuzzFlash.com/Truthout.org, Managing Editor and a Contributing Author for the Political Junkies for Progressive Democracy; a Senior Editor, Politics, for The Greanville Post; a Contributor to The Planetary Movement; a Contributor to Dandelion Salad, and a Contributor to TheHarderStuff newsletter.

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From the Archives | Easter Messages, 2014

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  • Jesus was killed because he was a speaker of God’s truth. He was an unrelenting advocate of justice. The resurrection stories make a profound declaration: Truth can never be killed and the truth-teller can never be defeated. 
  • Part 1:Telling the Truth about Easter
  • Part 2: Misunderstanding Jesus’s Execution

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1:Telling the Truth about Easter

Jesus, a radical preacher who advocated for the poor, was crucified for turning over money tables at the Temple and other insurrectionary acts. His body was likely left to wild animals, but his chroniclers sought to glorify his ending with myths about a resurrection.

Howard Bess, Consortium News

Depiction of Jesus’s Crucifixion by 16th Century artist Mathis Gothart-Nithart.jesus-crucifixion-Mathis-Gothart-Nithart-222x300.jpg

April 19, 2014 | On Easter morning, at 6:30 a.m. when sunlight is just beginning to glow over the mountains to the east of Palmer, Alaska, I will, as is my custom, arrive at a sunrise Easter service to celebrate the resurrection of my Lord. I have already checked the lectionary and reread the resurrection story as recorded in Matthew 28:1-10. Millions of my Christian brothers and sisters will be reading the same ten verses.

Millions of sermons will be preached based on the Matthew account of the resurrection, but very few preachers will make mention of the history and background of the passage. A typical minister will not share what he/she learned in theological seminary about the resurrection passages.

Rev. Howard Bess is a retired American Baptist minister, who lives in Palmer, Alaska.

Full story … 



Part 2: Misunderstanding Jesus’s Execution

jesusmoneychangers-300x244.jpgFrom the Archives (Originally published April 23, 2011): Over the centuries as Christianity bent to the interests of the rich and powerful, the story of Jesus’s fateful week in Jerusalem was reshaped to minimize its pivotal event, overturning the Temple’s money tables, a challenge to religious and political power.

Howard Bess, Consortium News

April 13, 2014 Christians have special celebrations for the key events of Holy Week, but they often overlook one of the most important.

Palm Sunday celebrates the entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem. Maunday Thursday is a solemn replay of his last meal with his disciples. Good Friday takes us through his mock trial and his death of horror on a Roman Cross. Easter is the Christians’ triumphant celebration of Jesus’s resurrection from the dead.

Rev. Howard Bess is a retired American Baptist minister, who lives in Palmer, Alaska.

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California Attorney-General Fights To Void Deadly Anti-Gay Ballot Initiative

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  • There is nothing religious about hate or about mandating the mass killing of people belong to an identifiable group.  To suggest otherwise is sophistry at its worst.
  • Flipping the Script on Religious Freedom

Adalia Woodbury, PoliticusUSA

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Saturday, March, 28th, 2015 | The far right’s war on the LGBT community took a variety of turns this week. Indiana’s Governor signed a law that confuses bigotry with religion.  Arkansas’ legislature passed a similar law on Friday.  A similar bill was tabled in Georgia. California’s Attorney-General is trying to void a ballot measure that seeks to kill all Gay people.

RFRA and “Super RFRA” laws are under consideration by state legislatures in Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Texas West Virginia and Wyoming.

As disturbing as these laws are, a ballot measure that California’s Attorney-General, Kamala Harris, asked a court to void is even more disturbing.

The so called Sodomite Suppression Act seeks to kill Gays and Lesbians “by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”

Adalia Woodbury is the Senior legal analyst for PoliticusUSA. Adalia comes to Politicus with a background in politics and law. Adalia’s primary interests are advocating for civil rights and combating hate speech.

Full story … 

Related:

Flipping the Script on Religious Freedom, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 

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  • “It is absolutely hypocritical for Pence to claim that Indiana’s Christians need legal protections, while its LGBT citizens are left to depend on ‘Hoosier hospitality.’
  • Part 1: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Fails Miserably On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos
  • Part 2: The Awesome Response to Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act

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