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Christian Fundamentalists Fight for the Right to Discriminate Against People Whose Sex Lives They Don't Like

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The words "religious freedom," in the mouths of social conservatives, mean protecting the right of fundamentalist Christians to persecute others.

Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check

Conscience clauses. They practically have the term “slippery slope” built right into their definition. Anti-choicers started by pushing the idea that pharmacists shouldn’t have to sell contraception if it somehow violates their heartfelt repulsion to what they believe is unapologetic sluttiness.  But did anyone think it would stop there?  Once the idea got loose that you have a right to not do your job if you disapprove of a client’s sex life, the doors were thrown wide open to all sorts of discrimination against customers, followed by a bout of acting like a martyr if you were pushed to do your actual job.

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Well, the movement towards discrimination based on sexuality took a blow last week, when a federal judge ruled in favor of a counseling program that ejected a student who refused to do her job if her clients are gay. To no one’s great surprise, conservative pundits are telling their followers that this means that students in general are now subject to being expelled for holding bigoted beliefs they excuse through Christianity.  This argument is, of course, nonsense. People are allowed to believe whatever bigoted things they want about their fellow human beings. What they aren’t allowed to do is act in bigoted ways contrary to their profession and expect to keep their jobs, a much different thing. A counselor who privately believes homosexuality is a sin but who manages to treat gay clients with respect and according to science-based guidelines (i.e. doesn’t try to convince clients they can change sexual orientation) would have no problem with these restrictions.

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The Right's Shameful Muslim-Bashing

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  • "If the prospect of losing our Constitution to religious government frightens you, don't worry about the tiny Muslim-American minority. Worry about the anti-mosque majority Gingrich is working to mobilize." --Slate Magazine's Will Saletan
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  • Zero Tolerance
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The Progress Report

Six days after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, President Bush delivered a speech at the Islamic Center of Washington, DC, making clear his belief that the Islamic radicals who attacked America did not represent all Muslims. "The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam," Bush said. "That's not what Islam is all about." In recent months, however, Bush's message of tolerance has been increasingly rejected by key conservative leaders, many of whom have begun to irresponsibly cultivate fear and hostility toward American Muslims. Journalist Michelle Goldberg wrote that "the hysteria over the Cordoba Initiative" -- the Islamic cultural center to be built in lower Manhattan -- "has marked a tipping point.

Recently, conservatives, including conservative politicians, have indulged in the sort of full-throated, shameless anti-Muslim prejudice more typical of the European far right." While it was tasked with protecting the country, the Bush administration seemed to recognize that alienating Muslims worldwide was a bad idea, even if its actual policies of war and occupation ended up doing just that. Now, however, unmoored from the responsibilities of governance, the American right is unabashedly embracing a platform of blatant fear-mongering and Islamophobia, and promoting a deeply divisive discourse of war between America and Islam.

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Related:

Zero Tolerance, Progress Report, in Newsvine.com

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  • Debate Over Ground Zero Mosque Is About American Values
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  • Right-wing Freak Out
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  • Mainstreaming Bigotry
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  • Mayor Bloomberg Delivers Teary-Eyed Defense Of Ground Zero Islamic Center
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Men Who Think They Should Control Their Girlfriends' and Wives' Bodies

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Some men think they should control their partners' decision to have a child, a dangerous attitude bolstered by the Christian Right's "reclaim masculinity" crusade.

Brett Copeland, RH Reality Check

Recently Gary Bauer, the GOP 1992 “also-ran” presidential candidate and current president of American Values wrote a column for the Christian Science Monitor <http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2010/0618/The-abortion-debat... that asked “what about dad?” Bauer focused his column on one of the Christian Right’s favorite missions: inciting men to reclaim their “lost masculinity.” Bauer declared that society must acknowledge a third group of “abortion victims.” This is another thinly-veiled call-to-action to the lone wolves that regard their sexual partners’ abortion as a threat to their masculinity.

It’s nothing new—in an age where men and women are moving closer to equality, the traditional gender-inequality holdouts are positioning themselves as the ones who will “make men, men again.”

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Ironically, Bauer’s column accomplishes this through a non-aggressive touchy-feely approach. He disguises his real purpose by camouflaging it under the guise of caring about men’s mental health. This is the first time I’ve heard the anti-choice-created “post-abortion syndrome used as a male ailment, but when you’ve made up an illness you can infect anyone you want to.

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Masses find religion a bit less soothing

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It's less a crisis of faith and more a crisis of confidence in the organizations.

Leonard Pitts, Jr., Miami Herald | FL

"Today, I quit being a Christian."

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With those words last week (Jul 25-31) on Facebook, Anne Rice delivered a wake-up call for organized religion. The question is whether it will be recognized as such.

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"I remain committed to Christ as always," she wrote, "but not to being 'Christian' or to being part of Christianity. It's simply impossible for me to 'belong' to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For 10 years, I've tried. I've failed. I'm an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else."

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A gathering storm for hope

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  • Bishop Zavala's presence felt like a breath of fresh air to those of us in New Mexico who've been speaking out for disarmament for years. Not every day does one hear a Catholic bishop speaking clearly and eloquently about this crucial matter -- especially here, where nuclear weapons were first built and a new generation of them is in the works, thanks to Obama. Bishop Zavala's presence heightened our hope.
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  • Living by the Sword, Dying by the Sword
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John Dear SJ, National Catholic Reporter

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Steve Clemens

"Tonight's theme is the momentum from a gathering storm for hope which I believe will one day bear fruit in abolishing all nuclear weapons." That's how Bishop Gabino Zavala, President of Pax Christi USA, launched our two-day observance last weekend (July 31 - August 1) of the 65th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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He went on and offered us his clear-eyed view. "April of 2009 represented a sea change from the former administration," he said, referring to Obama's speech in Prague. "It clearly laid out our president's vision and commitment to nuclear disarmament," toward "a nuclear free world."
But then Obama's glaring contradiction. The bishop took him to task for allocating more national treasure for nukes than his predecessor. In many documents over the past decades, the bishop reminded us, nuclear weapons have inspired official condemnation from the Catholic Church. And he urged us to take it seriously, to keep building our grassroots movement. Make your hopes for peace come true, he concluded.

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Related:

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Living by the Sword, Dying by the Sword, Gary G. Kohls, MD, Evergreene Digest

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  • For the past 17 centuries most Christians, contrary to the way of Jesus, have been disobediently and faithlessly trying to live by the sword, and it hasn’t worked out so well. Jesus showed us the way to live. Let us follow that way. Amen.
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  • Repenting of the Annihilation of Nagasaki Christianity by American Christians on August 9th, 1945
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