Religious Conservatives Are All About Special Rights–For Them

Gay Marriage Obama ProtestThe more the religious right loses on LGBT issues, the whinier it gets. This subset of believers want to wrap themselves in the cloak of martyrdom, but in fact don’t really want to be martyrs. They want to get a free pass for their discrimination and also complain about how they were wronged. After years of complaining that LGBT rights were “special rights,” conservative Christians are now the special rights caucus.

The latest case in point is the proposed law in Kansas that would allow anyone who objects to marriage equality on religious grounds to refuse services or, in the case of government employees, refuse to fulfill their duties. It’s just the logical conclusion of the religious right’s argument that they are the real victims. The all-purpose phrase that they like to use is “religious liberty,” which is code for the special right to ignore laws that you don’t like.

The Kansas bill was apparently too much even for some Republicans. The Kansas Senate President, Susan Wagle, killed the measure because of the provisions related to government employees. “I believe that when you hire police officers or a fireman that they have no choice in who they serve,” Wagle said. “Public service needs to remain public service for the entire public.”

The fact that such a basic concept of democracy has to be restated shows how far from the mainstream the religious right has wandered. What’s sad is that the corollary, that individuals and business can’t choose which laws to obey, is still being argued. In fact, opponents of LGBT rights have been introducing bills right and left (well, more right) to ensure that the marriage equality laws in particular don’t apply to them.

These are just a few examples. Fueling the special rights argument are the contraception requirements in the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), which the Conference of Catholic Bishops has closely linked to marriage equality. 

What’s frightening is that the Supreme Court is considering a case that could essentially codify these special rights on a far greater scale than most conservatives have imagined. Instead of granting exemptions to bakers and photographers, the Court is looking at the case of a corporation–Hobby Lobby chain stores–that objects to the contraception provision in Obamacare. The corporation wants to ignore that provision on religious grounds.

Columnist Josh Barro, who proves you can be gay, conservative and smart, nails the reason for this phenomenon. “Social conservatives have a reason for seeking these special privileges: the America they knew is falling away from them, and that change is mostly about social attitudes, not law,” he writes. “Legal freedom won’t be enough to protect people’s ability to be loudly and proudly anti-gay; the government will have to create special rules barring private action against the anti-gay.”

In other words, let us ignore the law and then pass a law to protect us for ignoring the law.

Now if that’s not special rights, what is?

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  • robirob

    It’s only entitlement when others want something, but it’s your god given right when you want something. Typical.

  • Mezaien

    Obama, my president! you know what to tell them all! send them to suck eggs. PS, Christianity in a mental illness.

  • Dakotahgeo

    Christianity has nothing to do with these KS jackalopes. They America’s christian Taliban, and they’ve been soundly put in their place, for now. I live in this republican ghetto state and thank God the conservatives only have sway for a short time. Even the Republicans are now seeing the error of their ways and we expect big changes this year and 2016! This was sort of the straw that broke the camel’s back and, if passed as law, would have gone straight to the SCOTUS and soundly rejected as unconstitutional! Whuwudda guessed?!
    One Very PO’d Democrat/Independent!

  • tdx3fan

    I would love to see a gay business refuse service to a Christian and see how well that goes over. That being said, I do believe that any business should have the right to refuse service to any person or any group for any reason. If you want to refuse to serve black people because you are racist… go for it. It should not be illegal if you are a private business. However, if something were to happen to your business, because you were found to be an absolute bigot, then their should be no legal repercussion for you to pursue.

  • Cam

    The obvious difference also is….

    Gays want to live their lives.

    Religious conservatives consider it a breach of their rights if they are not allowed to force others to do anything the religious conservatives tell them to.

    Then, if religious conservatives are not allowed to force others to live in servitude to their demands is seen as an attack.

    So THEY aren’t attacking gays by trying to force them to do everything the religious right tells them, have them arrested and outlaw their life.

    But disagreeing with them causes them to scream that they are under attack and their rights are being breached.

    Ok, got it.

  • DCFarmboi

    Let’s be clear what was going on in Kansas. For the most part, the gay reaction was overdone as the law had no impact. You can’t give a carve out to discriminate based on a religious objection if there is not a general anti-discrimination law in place. And Kansas like most states has no law banning anti-gay discrimination.

    So we had a generally meaningless law being proposed. However, the right wing turned on a dime when they realized the only part of the law that would have a practical impact was that it gave employees the right to refuse service even in contradiction of their employer’s policy. Well WHOA COWBOY. Now we are getting to what the GOP is really about. “Freedom” for anti-gay bosses to discriminate is all well as good. But letting workers have the same right?

    No, homophobia is all fun and games for the GOP until some rich guy get hurt. Then it stops dead in its tracks.

  • Black Pegasus

    LOL It pleases me beyond words to see how painful the new world has become for these extreme religious nuts. Can you imagine waking up each day in a world that has passed you by?

    1.A Black President of the United States.
    2.A Black Attorney General.
    3.Homos getting married.
    4.Health Care for ALL people.

    This is what these bigots experience every time they turn on the TV or open a web browser. The world as they once knew it is NO MORE.
    Fortunately, there’s a way for them to ease the pain for good. They can simply kill themselves!

  • tohe

    This is not just a gay issue. All Americans should be alarmed at the erosion of the separation of Church and State.

  • Tracy Pope

    My grandfather, a Christian minister, worried about this very problem. He’d tell about the “Sunday Laws” and how they wrongly put Christians on a pedestal.
    There used to be smart Christians like that. Ones who knew the separation of Church and State inferred in the First Amendment was for ALL Americans.

    Then the truly crazy ones took over.

  • Dakotahgeo

    @Black Pegasus: Hee hee hee… my heart is strangely warmed (at least the Methodist part of my heart) when I read your comments and actually experience these phenomena, knowing it will get even better. This fact alone scares the Bejesus out of these conservative bigots, realizing they are fundamentally on the back burner of life and peoples’ concerns. One just has to be happy about these turns of events! Kudos.

  • Cam

    The funny thing is, that by pushing these laws, they harm conservatives and religion.

    The numbers of people labeling themselves as conservative have dropped ESPECIALLY among younger voters because they perceive that label to mean bigoted and intolerant.

    Religions are losing numbers and when interviewed younger folks say it’s because religions are intolerant and too engaged in politics.

    So these burned out old bigots are actually hastening their groups own demise by pushing things like this.

  • BigWoody


    Yesterday, as I was shopping for groceries, I was offended when a man approached me and handed me a business card. He smiled and said, “someone loves you, and his name is jesus”. I flipped the card back at him and said “fuck you!”

    I refuse to allow these evil recruiters to assault my intelligence.

  • Dakotahgeo

    @BigWoody: Your generous reply to that person proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you have, and had, no intelligence! Asimple “No thank you would have made more of an impression. Now he’s praying for you… and you asked for it!

  • SteveDenver

    Deny religious tax exemption except for DIRECT SERVICES: food, housing, disaster relief services, education that complies with state-accredited standards, and let all the bookstores, record companies, academies, colleges, golf ministries, missionaries to Hawaii, TV broadcasts, gigantic church properties and commercial property holdings be TAXED. Then lets see how popular Jesus is.

  • BigWoody

    @Dakotahgeo: I understand that you are a biased follower of the mythology of christianity. Here is my response as an unbiased non-believer of any of the current mythologies.

    Religious fables created long before judaism and up until the present day, have been used to control the masses. The worship of these gods in the sky have been the cause of death for millions of non-believers for thousands of years.

    The man who handed me the card was older that my 54 years, and the card was from a conservative church. I don’t believe a simple “no thank you” would have made an impression on him. The goal of my harsh response was to shock and embarrass the fool so that he thinks twice or thinks about me the next time he tries to recruit to his cult of mythology.

    If I were a follower of Gandhi or Buddha I may have had an intelligent response. Alas, I chose the more radical, unintelligent response which gave me great satisfaction.

    Here’s an unintelligent statement for ya: When the pagan Romans crucified jesus they should have continued and eliminated all christians and jews. Then islam would not have branched off from the others. Think of what a different world this could have been.

    Far into the future, people studying the mythology of life today, will wonder how we could be so unintelligent as to believe the books of fables that we follow.

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