Anti-gay backlash: Christian Republicans fight for right to discriminate against LGBT people. Across the country conservative Christians are introducing legislation to provide legal protection to people who wish to discriminate against others based on their “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Currently Oklahoma is one such state where conservative Christian Republicans are trying to make it easier for businesses and individuals to opt out of serving gay couples on religious grounds, effectively offering bigots a license to discriminate.
State Sen. Joseph Silk is the Republican sponsor of a bill aimed at giving Christian extremists the right to discriminate against LGBT people.
Silk, speaking for many conservative Christians frustrated with the fact that LGBT people must be treated with decency and respect, told the New York Times:
They (gays) don’t have a right to be served in every single store. People need to have the ability to refuse service if its violates their religious convictions.
Silk claims the LGBT movement is “the main thing, the primary thing that’s going to be challenging religious liberties and the freedom to live out religious convictions,” adding “I say that sensitively, because I have homosexual friends.”
With friends like that, who needs enemies?
Let’s be clear, Silk and politicians like him want to make it possible for Christian extremists to demean and disadvantage members of the LGBT population under the guise of religious freedom.
The legislation being sponsored by Silk is but one example of the anti-gay hatred and bigotry so often expressed by conservative Christian lawmakers.
Late last year, Republicans in the Michigan House pushed through a draconian measure that would allow individuals to discriminate against gays and others based on “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
A similar anti-gay bill was passed in Mississippi last April legalizing discrimination against the LGBT community. The Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows businesses and individuals to deny services to anyone, if serving that person or organization would “substantially burden” the individual’s “religious exercise.”
Similar legislation was also proposed in Arizona last year.
And earlier this month, the Republican controlled Indiana state Senate passed a measure that would allow employers to discriminate against gays and others who refuse to follow the religious tenets of their employer.
For the conservative Republican lawmaker “religious freedom” has become nothing but a lament for the “good old days” – a bygone time when anti-gay bigots felt free to intimidate and harass those that dared challenge their narrow and mean-spirited world view.