When you look at US Congressman James Lankford (R-OK) and read some of his tweets and Facebook updates, you may understand why I cannot stop fancying him as Kenneth the Page or reading him in his voice. He looks like if somebody tried to dress up Kenneth Parcell from 30 Rock to look like a grown-up and failed. Lankford doesn’t write much smarter than Kenneth, either. But as I continue to read him, I can see past his folksy, gosh-darn-swell-ain’t-America-and-hog-beauty-contests-great ways to the crafty, tricky, and manipulative fox that Kenneth Lankford is. Since some of his anti-woman and anti-poor bills seem to be getting traction in the House of Representatives, I think we should probably start paying attention to this Lankford. Particularly when it comes to his form of religious persecution.
Some fools at USA Today decided he needed some space along with the anti-LGBTQ/anti-woman Family Research Center’s Liar-in-Chief Tony Perkins to spread some of their down-home bile. This time, Lankford and Perkins argue how the fine, outstanding Christian multi-millionaire Green family of Hobby Lobby are being religiously persecuted by the secular baby-killing Obamacares. See, the Greens are the victims because they’re rich, God-fearing, capitalist bosses who should be able to enforce their religious beliefs down all their employees throats – but aren’t allowed to.
And when we say “religious beliefs”, we mean decisions made to uphold patriarchy and framed as religious so as to ignore distractions like facts and science. Not that religious belief is necessarily patriarchal or anti-science, but much of what the Religious Right pursues in regards to Reproductive Rights has not only nothing to do with science, but is geared towards controlling women’s lives and bodies.
The HHS mandate requires employers to fully pay for contraception coverage in their health insurance plans, which includes potential life-ending drugs. The Greens do not object to birth control, but they do have a religious objection to providing coverage for drugs and devices that can cause the death of newly conceived human embryos, specifically two types of IUDs and the drugs known as “Plan B” and “Ella.” [Emphasis mine]
So here he leaves misconceptions about the so-called Morning After pills, Plan B and Ella – alleging that they kill life. This is more anti-choice rhetoric that doesn’t match reality, of course. However, neither Morning-After pills cause abortions. And it gets really tiring hearing the same deceptive (lying) and violent rhetoric tossed about day after day by the same anti-women forces – one that rhetorically calls any person who takes the pill a murderer or an accomplice to murder.
But let’s take a wild and fabulous ride into the Religious Right’s fantasy world and pretend Plan B did cause abortions. Abortion may be against the Greens’ personal religious beliefs, but do they have the right to coerce their religious beliefs on to their employees – or anyone else? Let’s note that employees are not slaves, are not living extensions of the company or employer’s will. Workers have worker’s rights, and that includes the right for self- and bodily autonomy.
To force religious beliefs and practices on others is religious persecution, James Lankford.
But let’s also talk about how far religious liberties extend for regular tax-paying citizens.
My form of Christianity precludes all elements of war and greed, but I still pay taxes which go to the US military and help cover tax breaks for multinational corporations and profitable businesses. It kind of comes with the territory of the social contract of paying taxes. And while I can object to half my federal income tax dollars going toward the military and its weapons of warfare, I can’t very well refuse to pay taxes because it violates my religious principles. I won’t receive a religious exemption here. Can I claim religious persecution?
But Congressman Lankford and AFA President Perkins are undeterred.
Every American, including family business owners, should be free to live and work according to their religious beliefs.
And while this is true, it should also be true of family business employees. Employees should be able to decide which religions and religious practices they wish to follow and should be given the freedom to not practice any and allow that to be honored. We would call this the First Amendment. The government cannot favor one religion (or lack thereof) over another. For a religious institution or individual to force his/her/its/their beliefs and practices upon others is not only infringing on another’s First Amendment rights, it’s also asking the government to establish the offending religious institution. Again, religious persecution.
My rights end where they come in conflict with your rights. Most US citizens understand and agree with this, except for Lankford, Perkins, the Greens, and the sponsors and supporters of the anti-gay laws sweeping the nation. They seem to believe it’s their moral obligation to oppress the working class, LGBTQ people, and women.
It’s here that the Religious Oppressors want to remind us that it’s not just about greed.
Without a positive result from the Supreme Court, the Greens will be forced to pay millions of dollars in federal fines if they maintain their convictions.
Hobby Lobby’s Greens here are almost to be commended. After all, most businesses would give in with the threat of million dollar fines, but not the Greens. The Greens have scruples! Yet it’s not as if we have to applaud them. After all, what they are very deeply invested in is their cause of making sure that their female employees don’t have religious freedom. Because that would include them having personal and sexual autonomy. And women having sexual autonomy messes up the patriarchy.
And Kenneth the CongressPage doesn’t want that.