Top Of The Ninth: Secularism 2, Religious Fanaticism 0

It’s getting late in the game. As same-sex marriage bans fall, jurisdiction by jurisdiction, the religious reactionaries are swinging for the fences and, as the governor of Indiana is now discovering, whiffing.

When it is all over, even the most zealous Religious Right Republicans will finally have to admit that this is not a Christian nation. America is becoming, day by day, ruling by ruling, boycott by boycott, a secular country, at least when it comes to our laws regarding discrimination.

Mike Pence Surrounded By Bigots When He Signed SB101 Into LawDemocratic strategist Richard Socarides said last night on MSNBC that Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s problem is that “he was lying through his teeth” when he denied that the now infamous Indiana law, disguised as an effort to protect religious liberty, was really about allowing what I call Bible-based bigotry to have its way. The law most certainly was designed to allow discrimination against gays or quasi-gays or anyone who doesn’t have sex the way, presumably, Governor Pence and his evangelical friends do.

Richard Socarides finally said out loud the truth about what the evangelical-influenced legislature and governor in Indiana were trying to pull off. That they weren’t able to pull it off, that they weren’t able to lie their way to a victory for discrimination based on an ancient set of manuscripts, is wonderful news.

Meanwhile, in Arkansas, where trees on the Ozark Mountains cover a multitude of reactionary sins, conservative lawmakers passed a similar “religious freedom” bill that even the CEO of Wal-Mart—who could only manage to express himself in a tweet—found so offensive that he urged the Republican governor, Asa Hutchinson, to veto the attempt to put gays in their rightful, hell-bound, place.

No matter what one thinks of Wal-Mart, that is progress.

Last October I wrote about “The Slow Triumph Of Secularism.” That was just after the Supreme Court had then decided not to decide the issue of gay marriage and let stand a lower-court ruling that entitled gay citizens to the same matrimonial bliss, or non-bliss, as those who have sex in the Religious Right sense. Things look even better now, what with a groundswell of negative reaction to what happened in Indiana and what is happening in Arkansas.

So, the game is almost over and the forces of secularism, which demand that the rights of LGBT folks are respected as much as anyone else’s—as much as any pew-renting patron of literalistic religion—are, with success, ridiculing the forces of reactionary politics, with the help of Wal-Mart and, uh, believe it or not, NASCAR.

There may be a setback before it is over—the governor of Arkansas may ignore Wal-Mart and NASCAR and every other objector and sign the discriminatory law passed by his legislature—but I can confidently say that secularism will win this important game.

And, as I said back in October, that means the American experiment is working.


[photo credit @seamonkey237]


  1. Ben Field

     /  April 2, 2015


    Be careful not to poke the fundamentalists! They are desperate and could possibly form a new state, ala ISIS. It would be horrible if this occurs and we are forced to battle against countrymen as well. CACA (Christians Against Consenting Adults) might utilize social media and barbarism against those who interpret Christianity different than them as well.


    • Earlier this year there were some members of a county Republican Party in Idaho that wanted to pass a resolution defining Idaho as “a Christian state.” Reuters quoted a member of the party committee as saying:

      “We’re a Christian community in a Christian state and the Republican Party is a Christian Party.”

      I think there are some folks around here, particularly in Jasper County Republican politics, who would find very attractive the idea of officially defining the entire country as a Christian state. Thank God, or Allah, that our Christian statists have been so tamed that none of them would impose their form of Christianity on the rest of us via weaponry. I think most forms of even fundamentalist Christianity have evolved past that stage and, if the world is to ever rid itself of gun-toting fanaticism, then fundamentalist Islam has to quickly move in that direction, too.


      • Ben Field

         /  April 5, 2015


        Here are the top ten incidents of Christian terrorism:

        Take a look, and give your opinion.


        • Ben,

          Thanks for linking to that story. I had forgotten some of those events, and I don’t think I ever heard that outrageous Coulter quote before. I don’t know how that one got by me but what a piece of work she is.

          There is undoubtedly a relatively active movement among anti-choice Christians to take matters into their own hands through terroristic methods. I think the reason that movement has seemed to settle down a little bit is because of the success Republicans are having in taking away reproductive rights through legislation at the state level. But there remains a core group of radicals who justify violence the same way ISIS or al Qaeda justifies its violence, or the way Ann Coulter justifies her callous disregard for the life of Dr. Tiller by her “203rd trimester” comment.



  2. For what it’s worth, I sent this letter-to-the-editor to the Tulsa World today. Don’t know if it’ll be published. We’ll see.

    LGBT’s and Religious Freedom?

    So we have this big fuss over the so-called “Religious Freedom” laws in Indiana and Arkansas. Apparently the intent is to allow “persons,” which include for-profit business enterprises, to exercise their religion free from undue government interference. So, businesses, regardless of their form of organization, can incorporate their religious beliefs into their operations.

    And those organizations that have some objection to members of the LGBT community due to religious reasons, can refuse them service. And besides, they argue, LGBT members are not a protected class under civil rights laws.

    However, the 14th Amendment gives us all “equal protection of the laws,” which the legal dictionaries say is “the right of all persons to have the same access to the law and courts and to be treated equally by the law and courts, both in procedures and in the substance of the law. It is akin to the right to due process of law, but in particular applies to equal treatment as an element of fundamental fairness.”

    So, under the Religious Freedom laws, for-profit businesses can do an end-around, under color of religion, and avoid the 14th Amendment.

    I don’t know the demographics of Indiana or Arkansas, but I’m guessing the vast majority of their populations is Christian. Now, Christianity is all about forgiveness, loving your neighbor, tolerance, and not being judgmental or discriminatory.

    Therefore, given the constitutional protections and the Christian ethics, the LGBT community should have nothing to worry about in Indiana or Arkansas in spite of the Religious Freedom Laws.

    Herb Van Fleet


    • Most folks won’t get it, Herb. You wrote:

      Now, Christianity is all about forgiveness, loving your neighbor, tolerance, and not being judgmental or discriminatory.

      That pretty much defines what fundamentalist Christianity, the kind that produced such laws as those in Indiana and Arkansas and elsewhere, is not all about.



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