At America’s founding, Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” and it is the ultimate affirmation of equal rights. Although Jefferson’s words left little doubt that, indeed, all Americans were equal, ninety-two years later the 14th Amendment “required each state to provide equal protection under the law to all people within its jurisdiction,” and it made no provisions or exceptions to the rule. It has been 144 years since the 14th Amendment’s passage, and Republicans are still ignoring the Constitution when it contrasts with the Christian bible, and as is their practice, are seeking myriad ways to deny all Americans their constitutionally guaranteed equal rights.
On Friday, in the Republican-led House of Representatives, a provision banning same-sex marriage was added to the annual National Defense Authorization Act bill on its way to the Senate. One of the amendment’s sponsors, Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) said, “Liberals may have successfully ended ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ but they should not be allowed to force members of our military to give up their religious beliefs.” It is a tried and trusted argument that panders to the religious right but has nothing to do with forcing anyone to give up their religious beliefs and Akin knows it. Besides adding an amendment to deny gays equal rights, the $642 billion defense budget breaks the Republican’s agreement reached last year with the Obama Administration by increasing military spending by $8 billion over the agreed limit. The Republican practice of never honoring their agreements aside, their inclusion of the ban on same-sex marriage is a violation of the 14th Amendment and a trend the GOP is leading to deny gays equal rights.
There is no reason for anti-gay sentiment rampant in a bigoted segment of the population that does not have as its basis religion, and instead of admitting they are pushing for a theocracy, Republicans have used fear mongering and threats to incite opposition to gays. California residents witnessed a barrage of scare tactics funded by Mormons, Catholics, and evangelical Christian fanatics during the offensive Proposition 8 campaign to ban same-sex marriage in 2008. Four years later, Republicans and their maniacal Christian fanatics are at it again and some legislators have gone beyond denying same-sex couples the right to marry the person they love, and in one instance, seeks to give employers the right to fire someone for being gay.
Representative James Lankford (R-OK) expressed his firm belief that being gay is a bad choice that gives employers the right to terminate employment. Lankford is certain that the LGBT community should not be protected from workplace discrimination because being gay “is something they can change” in their behavior and preference unlike race or gender. According to the American Medical Association, the American Association of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association and all accredited medical organizations being gay is not a choice. Lankford made a distinction between racial and gender discrimination and being gay because race and gender is “something obvious” unlike being born gay. Regardless if being gay is obvious or not, a large percentage of the LGBT workforce experiences discrimination and many have lost their jobs based on their sexual orientation.
On Thursday on the Voice of Christian Youth America radio network, a Liberty Council attorney claimed that gay rights will bring about something akin to communist-era persecution against Christians who “speak the truth in love to a homosexual.” Harry Mihet related a story of how his father was taken by secret police in Communist Romania and interrogated for speaking the truth, and said “that is something we are determined to not allow to happen in the land of the free, and so I think that’s the urgency that we’re dealing with here and that is why it is so important for every freedom loving American to inform themselves and to equip themselves and to join us in this critical fight for freedom in this country.” It is interesting that Mihet assumes that speaking the truth to gays will destroy Christian’s freedoms, because the National Organization for Marriage’s presidential pledge contains a section requiring signatories to establish a presidential commission to investigate and regulate anyone who speaks out in support of same-sex marriage. Apparently, only anti-gay speech deserves constitutional protections and speaking out for equality warrants investigation and punitive action which is certainly not what freedom and equal rights entails, but then again, Republicans have shown their inclination to ignore the Constitution when it serves their purposes of installing a theocracy.
When President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage, it lit up the right and re-energized the bigots as if he issued an edict that criminalized traditional marriage. The issue is not religious freedom or marriage, it is about civil rights and Republicans have opposed every last attempt to give all Americans the right of equal protection under the law and it begs the question; why do Republicans hate freedom for all Americans? They opposed civil rights, women’s right to vote, gender equality in pay, and now gay rights. George Washington said “the foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age of Ignorance and Superstition, but at an Epocha when the rights of mankind were better understood and more clearly defined, than at any former period,” and here in 2012, Republicans are striving to drag society back to the “gloomy age of ignorance and superstition” and they have an entire religious movement supporting their drive to take America into the Dark Ages. Republicans and their teabag supporters claim their freedoms and liberties have been stolen by President Obama, but their radical un-American agenda of the bible as law of the land is the epitome of government repression over gays, women, the poor, and minorities.
Republicans are supporting government that dictates to Americans who they can love, when women have children, and giving employers and clergy rights of making healthcare decisions irrespective of a medical professional’s informed opinion. It is fascism in the guise of Christian liberty and the personification of what a theocratic government in America will look like if they accumulate any more power, and Americans are sitting idly by giving their tacit approval. If Republicans and their Christian fanatics had their way, segregation would still exist, abortion would be illegal, contraception use would garner prison time, and gays would be imprisoned or executed. Last year at a NOM marriage rally, a Christian preacher told several thousand people that “gays should die.” Last week, Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute said that “gays should be imprisoned before they can rape little kids,” and yet Catholic priests have been raping boys with impunity for eons, and it reinforces the contention that equality and freedom are reserved for adherents with a bible.
America has existed for nearly 236 years, and Jefferson’s proclamation that all men are created equal has never been in more jeopardy than today. The fascists who call themselves the Republican Party are on pace to obliterate the concept of equal rights for all Americans and their foundation is rooted firmly in Christianity’s fanaticism. Tragically, there are ignorant Americans who cling to their bible’s superstition and ignorant, Bronze Age, sensibilities who go along with the GOP’s agenda, and unbeknownst to them, they are co-opting their own executioners because history is replete with examples of so-called “good Christians” being burned at the stake, hung, stoned to death, and massacred en masse because an individual or group of frightened sycophants designated them as different or strange. The gay community is the target today, but it is a matter of time before minorities, women, Atheists, Buddhists, or any person who fails to comply with the conservative Christian’s edicts are fired from their jobs, imprisoned, and executed for the simple mistake of believing that the Constitution guarantees them equal rights.