Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Radical Religioius Right, exercises in Hypocrisy: Having it both ways, or Screw the Golden Rule

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. - Matthew 7:12

I'm giving you a new commandment…to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.   John 13:34

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:20

Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Galations 5:14

I could quote a couple of dozen or more similar bible quotes that refer to variations on the proverbial golden rule of treating others as you would be treated that is common to all of the great religions in some form.  But it is clearly a core premise, a foundational tenet, of Christianity.

And yet, we see over and over again that our radical right wing Christians, the same ones who like to wage culture wars, and who seek to ensure to themselves the rights to bully others and harm other through discrimination over matters of individual differences like sexual orientation, utterly trample the Golden Rule.  It is the most appalling and offensive hypocrisy.

Nowhere in those Bible verses does it say - "so long as they agree with you or seem to be like you, without identifiable differences".  Rather the right seeks to coerce and act punitively to create conformity to their beliefs, right or wrong.

For example, via the Daily Kos, Amanda Knief of American Atheists was denied the services of a Notary PUBLIC, who was also a member of the bank management:

BREAKING: An important message from American Atheists Managing Director, Amanda Knief:

I was just refused service -- because I am an atheist. It was embarrassing, humiliating, and pissed me off.

A notary at a local bank, where I have gone more than a dozen times to have work documents signed, asked me to explain what we were having notarized. The documents were charitable organizations registrations for American Atheists in several states. So I told her what AA is about. She looked down, then looked at me and [American Atheists President] Dave Silverman and said she couldn't sign the documents because of "personal reasons" and went to find another notary who was eating his lunch to come do the authentications.

I have been called names, threatened, hated on and all manner of ridiculed because of my atheist activism, but I think sitting in a bank and having another professional refuse to do business with me because I am an atheist was the worst slight I have ever received.

In New Jersey, notaries are not required to abide by any code of conduct or ethics that prevents them from refusing service to people based on "personal reasons." Even though we had a valid, legal document and valid, legal identification--she was legally able to refuse me service.

Time to write legislation that won't let this happen to anyone else. Fuck this.


The bank is question was the TD Bank in Cranford, New Jersey (where American Atheists national headquarters is located).

This is completely unacceptable, and far from over.

- Your friends at American Atheists

Can you imagine the full-throated outrage, real or fake, and the right wing hysteria if this had been reversed, and it was an atheist denying service to a conservative Christian?

As with the attempted legislation in Arizona that would permit Christians to discriminate against LGBT couples in selling services they provide to everyone else, or the efforts to create a state religion, or the efforts to make it legal to provide creationist answers to science tests instead of factual answers, Christians on the radical right seek a privileged status over others who believe differently. 

But if someone fails to acknowledge their privileged status, for example by wishing Happy Holidays to those who celebrate a range of mid-winter holidays, then they claim some sort of silly war is being waged against them, and against religion generally - but they pretty clearly mean ONLY against Christians.  I have yet to hear a Christian on the religious radical right argue that any wrong is done if someone doesn't wish someone Happy Hanukkah when that holiday coincides with the advent season.

This is the case as well, in a different format, where employers - like Hobby Lobby - want their beliefs to be given more importance than the beliefs of those who they employ.

For those on the radical right who decry the nanny state, is this not an even more egregious example of a paternalistic state? One where authorities, be it right wing legislators, or corporations, know what is best for you, whether you agree with it or not, and demand the power to force it on you - even if it is factually wrong? 

Corporations are not people, and sincere belief - by people, including those running a corporation -- do not justify enforcement and does not merit respect when those beliefs are wrong, or wacky, or factually in error.  We were told we had to respect the erroneous belief of the religious right that two parents of different genders were better than two parents of the same sex.  We are being asked to affirm the same thing - that factually inaccurate sincere belief trumps fact -- in the litigation against contraception in front of the Supreme Court.  Screw facts if they don't conform to the radical religious right, and screw whatever anyone else believes, or their liberty to act or believe differently.

John Stewart hit it in the episode of the Daily Show on March 27th:

The Christians on the radical religious right are hypocrites who do not follow the core tenets of their own faith.  If they don't take their own religion seriously enough to conform to it - why should we take them seriously. 

But most of all, let us not create the legal fiction that corporations are people, when clearly they are not.  Let us not give preferential treatment to the radical religious right just because they will whine and litigate and generally behave like assholes; not only does right not make right, but sheer bloody-mindedness by them certainly does not.

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