Donald Trump’s administration and transition into said administration has been such an unmitigated shit show that it’s sucked all the air out of the room in terms of what else is going on in our government. One story that seems to be percolating just below the surface, waiting to explode like the verbal diarrhea that flows so freely from religious conservatives’ mouths is the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act” that social conservatives and Christofascists like Ted Cruz plan to try and ram through Congress and onto President Fuckwit’s desk, and as anyone with even a passive knowledge of Republican hypocrisy might assume, the law would do the utter opposite of what its title indicates.
Advocates for LGBTQ quality have called FADA “devastating” to their cause, should it pass through Congress and get signed into law by Trump. FADA would allow states to ignore the Supreme Court and lower bench rulings that make discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender illegal, and keep right on being hateful, ignorant shit heads, only also with the full blessing of the federal government.
The reasoning that Cruz and other Christian Dominionists give for this law is that the First Amendment protects religious freedom, and to many religious Americans gay people are icky and transgender people are clearly the sexual predators, despite the Religious Right voting for an actual, admitted sexual predator, and that those beliefs totally should be allowed to be codified into law if a state’s voters so choose. Cruz often argues that it’s Christians who are dominated and tyrannized over their religious beliefs, because to him unless Christians are allowed to do and say whatever the fuck they want in the name of Jesus Christ, they’re being oppressed.
Bullshit. Total and utter, completely fabricated bullshit.
What’s next? Is Ted Cruz going to tell us we have to let states draft Jim Crow laws if they want, provided the good, clean, ammo-hoarding patriots in said state believe that black people are inferior as part of their “deeply held” religious beliefs? The First Amendment doesn’t just religious freedom; it covers the very concept of freedom itself — expression. And nothing is a more personal expression of freedom than who we choose to fuck or which gender — if any — we choose to self-identify as.
The more you think about it, though, no one should be all that surprised that Cruz and the Religious Reich are trying to get FADA passed. These people propagate their way of life by playing the victim card every chance they get. I guess it shouldn’t really shock us that sycophantic devotees of a religion whose spiritual centerpiece was a literal martyr (if you believe he existed) would twist, bastardize, and misinterpret that dude’s teachings so they can nail themselves up on metaphorical crosses every chance they get.
Every American should be offended by FADA, no matter what they believe. Because all it does is make it so that you can pick on people who are different than you are, provided they are in a minority group. It’s a naked attempt to not just roll back the last couple decades of LGBTQ+ acceptance, tolerance, and protection, it could set off a chain reaction that allows states to roll back abortion protections — because after all if religious zealots believe abortion is murder, why shouldn’t they get to tell a rape victim she has to carry her rapist’s baby to full term? It could, as mentioned before, open the door to racial discrimination being legal again.
It’ll never cease to amaze me that religious conservatives truly don’t get how the First Amendment works. They are correct that it protects their right to believe anything they want, and they’re even right when they say it protects their right to say anything they want. I’m one of those liberals who wants to put a really high bar on the threshold for “hate speech” because of how much I value and cherish what freedom of expression means, so by all rights Christofascist assholes do indeed have a right to spout and spew their nonsense.
But what evangelical Republicans and Trump lovers consistently ignore is that the First Amendment doesn’t just protect them, it protects us from them. Until they can produce evidence that LGBTQ Americans are conspiring to overthrow our government or murder us all in the street, they’re just trying to use their religious beliefs as a weapon against their fellow Americans. Which is literally what the First Amendment was written to stop — theocracy.
And besides all that — FADA is FADA-king stupid, and here’s why.
Religious freedom is religious freedom is religious freedom. So let’s just say that they get their way, and conservatives get FADA past. In their cream dream worlds, that would then open the door for them to ban gay marriage in Arkansas again. Yay them, right? Well, the two-way street of religious freedom could then mean I, as a devote follower of the First Church of Latter Day Jambos could declare my home a sanctuary city, and I could house as many undocumented people as I want. Or a bunch of religious liberals here in California could pass a law giving doctors permission to speak to teenagers about abortion if they turn up in their offices pregnant.
If I believed in their intellectual honesty, I might be inclined to think religious “Constitutional” conservatives might be okay with letting the states decide all these issues themselves. I might believe that they’d be totally cool with gay marriage in Massachusetts and California as long as they didn’t have to adhere to that crazy libtarded view of the world that states love is love and doesn’t have anything to do with gender. But considering they fought progress in the states before the landmark marriage equality decision in the Supreme Court, why the hell would I actually believe they’d be cool with what they’re proposing?
In the end, we know that conservatives won’t be happy to just let individual states be hate-filled bastions of backwards antipathy. They’ll want to ban it nationwide. They’ll want to simply be given permission to be repressive dickheads and they’ll want to do it using the First Amendment.
You don’t defend the First Amendment by shredding it. Which is exactly what using it to attack one group specifically, just because they don’t adhere to your personal set of religious dictates, is precisely that — a wholesale immolation of freedom of expression, speech, and religion.
Follow James on Twitter @JamboSchlarmbo.