‘First Amendment Defense Act’ Uses Religion to Discriminate

‘First Amendment Defense Act’ Uses Religion to Discriminate

Yesterday marked the one month anniversary of the Orlando nightclub shooting, where 49 people lost their lives and 53 others were injured. But instead of allowing the CDC to conduct research on gun violence, Republicans in Washington held a meeting to discuss HR 2802, which is being referred to as the “First Amendment Defense Act” (FADA).

With Congress having a history of giving legislation misleading titles (I’m looking at you, Patriot Act), you probably know where the “First Amendment Defense Act” is heading. If you guessed the continued persecution and segregation of the LGBTQ community, congratulations!

HR 2802 would make it legal to discriminate against those in same-sex relationships, when that relationship conflicts with the religious belief of a person, business, or government employee.

The bill says it:

Prohibits the federal government from taking discriminatory action against a person on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.

It also claims that:

Laws that protect the free exercise of religious beliefs and moral convictions about marriage will encourage private citizens and institutions to demonstrate tolerance for those beliefs and convictions and therefore contribute to a more respectful, diverse, and peaceful society.

This makes absolutely no sense. This is literally saying that allowing people, businesses, and the government itself to discriminate will create tolerance, and will lead to less discrimination. Using this logic, if everybody is allowed to rob banks, eventually we would all realize that robbing banks is wrong. Or, if murder was legal, we would all realize that murdering people is not the best thing to do.

Not only that, but the legislation also suggests that two people should be married before having any sort of sexual relationship.

There is no data offered in the bill to support the claims it makes. There is nothing in the bill explaining how they came to the conclusion that legalizing discrimination will ultimately result in less discrimination.

It’s no surprise that of the 171 co-sponsors, 170 are Republicans. Republicans have a record of continuously attempting to insert their religious ideology (specifically, their version of Christianity) into legislation.

The Religious Right loves to portray themselves as the “good guys” in arguments like this. After all, they’re “good Christian people” (whatever the hell that means?), and they are allowing their religious beliefs to guide their legislative efforts. In doing so, they are restricting the freedoms of others based on nothing other than their belief in an invisible sky wizard.

In their minds, if you’re not “one of them,” then you’re evil. For a group of people that touts its ‘goodness’, this certainly doesn’t seem like a good way to think.

What the Religious Right needs to realize is that they do not have a monopoly on values in our country. They simply are not the authority on what is right or wrong, especially when they are the ones attempting to legalize discrimination.

Think about it. If they’re arguing that they’re “good” and “moral,” then why are they openly willing to discriminate against others under the guise of religion? As atheists, we’re the ones being inclusive and calling for equal rights, not the “good” Christians.

They’re also hypocrites. When convenient for them, they pretend to care about the LGBTQ community. Some of the bill’s co-authors (Mark Walker, Tom Marino, Scott Perry, and Chris Stewart, to name a few) tried to align themselves with the LGBTQ community after the Orlando shooting, an act of two-faced fuckery which is apparently permitted due to their religious beliefs:

Actions speak louder than #ThoughtsAndPrayers, Congressmen.

What can you do? Contact your local representative. Tell them that you are against legislation that continues to marginalize the LGTBQ community.

Make phone calls and write letters to your representative. I’ve already done it, and you should too. Find out who your representative is here.

Feel free to use this text, or edit it to make it your own words:

I am contacting you as a constituent concerned about the “First Amendment Defense Act” (HR 2802). This legislation is unnecessary, and would allow for members of the LGBTQ community to continue being marginalized due to religious beliefs. Freedom of religion allows us to believe what we want, but it does not allow people to force their beliefs on others by means of legislation. I, along with the Supreme Court of the United States, support same-sex marriage. Please join me on the right side of history and oppose the First Amendment Defense Act.

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