Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Earlier this week I posted that Religious bigotry rears its ugly head in the Arizona Legislature. Arizona's most corrupt state senator, Steve Yarbrough (R-Chandler), is carrying this religious bigotry bill, SB 1062 (.pdf), for Mullah Cathi Herrod and her Christian Taliban at the Center for Arizona Policy (CAP). While the bill is ostensibly about "hatin' on the gays," Yarbrough "acknowledged there may be individuals who have religious beliefs about unmarried women, or even employing people who do not share their same beliefs."
Got that? If you are not one of the Christian Reconstructionists and Dominionists of the CAP who want to impose a Christian theocracy in the United States — which would include Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and the hundreds of other religious beliefs and sects, and non-believers alike, all of whom are protected by the First Amendment from state-sanctioned establishment of religion or interference with the free exercise of their religion — this bill would grant a "get out of jail free card" for compliance with civil rights laws based upon the mere assertion of "sincerely held religious beliefs," not just for a religious institution, but for individuals and corporations or any business (because "corporations are people my friend").
Apparently they never learned that "hate is not a Christian value." All the CAP does is hate.
As I pointed out, "This is a slippery slope which can easily be abused to discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, sex and religion simply by invoking the "magic words" that it is "my sincerely held religious beliefs."" It is a bald-faced attempt to eviscerate the civil rights acts hiding behind the gossamer thin veneer of "religious freedom" to be a discriminatory bigot. A nearly identical bill passed the Arizona Legislature last year but was vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer.
The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports that the religious bigotry bill has already cleared a senate committee. Religious freedom bill moves forward in Senate:
An Arizona Senate committee advanced a bill Thursday that opponents argue would invite discrimination based on religious beliefs.
Sen. Steve Yarbrough’s SB 1062 would expand the definition of a person in Arizona’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act – a law that protects the right to exercise one’s religious beliefs – to include corporations, churches, foundations or any business.
The Senate’s Government and Environment Committee advanced the bill on party lines – four Republicans voted in favor, while the two Democrats present for the committee voted against it.
Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, was absent from the hearing.
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[SB 1062] says that the longstanding Arizona’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act applies to any state action regardless of whether the government is a party… prohibited discrimination remains prohibited.”
The bill has the backing of the conservative Center for Arizona Policy, which argued that Democrats’ concerns of unintended litigation were unfounded.
“In America people should be free to live and work according to their faith, and this makes small and minor changes to ensure that’s the case,” said Josh Kredit, legal counsel for CAP.
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[I]f a problem were to arise if people cited religious beliefs as a reason for denying services, in many cases they’d have trouble hiding behind Yarbrough’s bill, said Joe La Rue, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom [another Christian Taliban organization, Alliance Defense Fund – SourceWatch]. “If my religion hypothetically required me to offer child sacrifices, I would not be able to assert a RFRA defense successfully because the government has a compelling interest in preventing me from murdering children,” LaRue testified.
Riiiight. There's nothing like making a reductio ad absurdum argument to hide your disingenuousness that you are actually seeking a "get out of jail free card" for compliance with civil rights laws based upon the mere assertion of "sincerely held religious beliefs."
And where were the progressive religious leaders of Arizona at this committee hearing? I am sure the GOP chair did not invite you to testify, but did the Democratic members of the committee invite you to testify? If not, why not?
I previously posted that Arizona needs a 'Moral Mondays' movement:
Here in Arizona, our Tea-Publican controlled legislature is intellectually bankrupt and pursues an immoral budget and agenda that benefits the rich and powerful and economically disadvantages everyone else. They pursue a radical right agenda that is out of touch with the vast majority of Arizonans. Where are the progressive religious leaders — and I know there are many of you out there — who are willing to lead a "Moral Mondays" movement at the Arizona Capitol?
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Actions speak louder than words of protest. With the right leadership and organizational infrastructure, this is a movement that can bring Arizona into the 21st Century and improve the lives of Arizonans. The time for action is now.
What are you waiting for? Get organized, and get yourself to the capitol. The Martin Luther King Day holiday on Monday would be the perfect time for the first Moral Monday.