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Congressional Bill Creates Special Right to Break the Law and Persecute Others, Only for those with Right-Wing Religion

60% of the Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 69% of the Republican members of the U.S. Senate are acting to narrowly protect people who use hold religious beliefs and use a combination of those religious beliefs and their government positions to persecute others.

I’m not making this up. Go read the text of S. 1598, a bill in the Senate. Go read the text of H.R. 2802, its identical companion bill in the House of Representatives.

These bills, if passed, would allow government workers to decide arbitrarily to stop obeying the law simply because they decided one day that their personal religion let them break the law. The bills, if passed, would allow government workers to deny other Americans their legal rights, simply because they decided one day that their personal religion insisted that they persecute others. You couldn’t fire these government workers for failing to do their jobs.

You couldn’t dislodge them from their offices for persecuting other Americans and denying those Americans their rights. You couldn’t send such people to jail for using government power to violate the law or take away others’ others’ rights. You couldn’t take them to court for oppressing other people in the name of their religion — and if you tried, you’d have to pay the government-employed religious persecutors’ attorney fees.

And I haven’t shared the kicker:

If their bill passes, it won’t be ANY old person with ANY old religious beliefs who can hold these special rights.

No. If their bill passess, the only government workers who will be granted the special right to engage in government-based religious persecution are government workers who hold the same religious beliefs as right-wing Republicans. It says right in Section 3, Subsection A, that the only government worker who will be provided the ability to persecute others and break the law is a government worker who “believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.

Let’s sum it up. If this bill passes, then:

  • If you are a government worker with the same religion as a right-wing Republican, you get special rights to break the law and take away other people’s rights with impunity.
  • If you are a government worker with a different religion from a right-wing Republican, you don’t get those rights.

If that’s not government establishment of religion, expressly forbidden by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, then I don’t know what is.

The people who are trying to accomplish this constitute large majorities of the Republican Party in Congress.

The Republican Party controls both houses of Congress.

This is why religion needs to be kept out of government.

This is why the Republican Party must be stopped.

24 thoughts on “Congressional Bill Creates Special Right to Break the Law and Persecute Others, Only for those with Right-Wing Religion”

  1. Charles Manning says:

    The bill is obviously designed to prohibit the kind of action taken against Kim Davis, the clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. However, the broad provisions of the proposed law would legalize many other kinds of discriminatory acts against gays.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say the Republican Party must be stopped. It’s conservatives who must be stopped, whatever their affiliation. But we must respect their humanity — if we had been raised the same way, we might be afflicted with the same moral blindness.

    I go back to a point I’ve made before: when people say it’s not about sex, it’s about sex. Some people just can’t accept the idea of homosexual conduct. We see that kind of prejudice all over the globe. The most prominent recent examples are several African countries and Russia, and of course ISIS metes out capital punishment for homosexual conduct, or even just being gay without any conduct. Do you think ISIS would incorporate this kind of law into their Sharia legal system? Or is it already there?

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Charles, thanks for writing. I agree with you — when I say the Republicans must be stopped, I don’t mean that individual people must be destroyed or their rights to be conservative are taken away. I mean that we must act to stop the violence of what the Republicans are doing to other people.

  2. ella says:

    I disagree with the premise of this article.

    S.1598 is a Bill designed to protect the religious rights and beliefs of those whose religious beliefs include that marriage is between one man and one woman.

    The details follow:

    “SEC. 3. PROTECTION OF THE FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND MORAL CONVICTIONS.

    (a) In General.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.

    (b) Discriminatory Action Defined.—As used in subsection (a), a discriminatory action means any action taken by the Federal Government to—

    (1) alter in any way the Federal tax treatment of, or cause any tax, penalty, or payment to be assessed against, or deny, delay, or revoke an exemption from taxation under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 of, any person referred to in subsection (a);

    (2) disallow a deduction for Federal tax purposes of any charitable contribution made to or by such person;

    (3) withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, or otherwise deny any Federal grant, contract, subcontract, cooperative agreement, loan, license, certification, accreditation, employment, or other similar position or status from or to such person;

    (4) withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, or otherwise deny any benefit under a Federal benefit program from or to such person; or

    (5) otherwise discriminate against such person.

    (c) Accreditation; Licensure; Certification.—The Federal Government shall consider accredited, licensed, or certified for purposes of Federal law any person that would be accredited, licensed, or certified, respectively, for such purposes but for a determination against such person wholly or partially on the basis that the person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”

    AND TO PROTECT them from persecution by the government for having said religious beliefs, H.R.2802 states: (I apologize for using so much space, but it is the way the section of law reads.)

    “SEC. 3. PROTECTION OF THE FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND MORAL CONVICTIONS.

    (a) In General.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.

    (b) Discriminatory Action Defined.—As used in subsection (a), a discriminatory action means any action taken by the Federal Government to—

    (1) alter in any way the Federal tax treatment of, or cause any tax, penalty, or payment to be assessed against, or deny, delay, or revoke an exemption from taxation under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 of, any person referred to in subsection (a);

    (2) disallow a deduction for Federal tax purposes of any charitable contribution made to or by such person;

    (3) withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, or otherwise deny any Federal grant, contract, subcontract, cooperative agreement, loan, license, certification, accreditation, employment, or other similar position or status from or to such person;

    (4) withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, or otherwise deny any benefit under a Federal benefit program from or to such person; or

    (5) otherwise discriminate against such person.

    (c) Accreditation; Licensure; Certification.—The Federal Government shall consider accredited, licensed, or certified for purposes of Federal law any person that would be accredited, licensed, or certified, respectively, for such purposes but for a determination against such person wholly or partially on the basis that the person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”

    CLEARLY, these Bills are to protect the rights of the persons’ religious beliefs, even from Government persecution.

    1. Charles Manning says:

      Ella, you didn’t copy the whole thing, and repeated Section 3.

      I was interested in this, from Section 2: “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.” If gays have a religious belief that the right to gay marriage is sacred, why wouldn’t people who favor same-sex marriage be entitled to the same legal protection as people like Kim Davis?

    2. Jim Cook says:

      Ella, you said it yourself: “S.1598 is a Bill designed to protect the religious rights and beliefs of those whose religious beliefs include…” ____. This is not a bill to protect the religious rights of all people with religious beliefs. This is a bill to create special religious rights for people who think the way right-wing Republicans do, at the expense of everyone else. That’s bigotry. That’s religion taking over government.

      These bills are designed to allow people holding positions of government power to use that power to screw around with other people’s lives, even breaking the law to do so, and not be subject to any punishment.

      1. Dave says:

        Jim, I think you’re making a big assumption here, that is, that there are no people in the Democratic Party who hold these views. I personally know plenty, though they are in the minority. Logic would hold that the bill protects a particular body politic, regardless of party affiliation.

        Also, it seems that you’re looking at this as a bill that’s all about Kim Davis, but it seems to me that its intent has more to do with protecting not-for-profit status of persons or institutions who hold traditional views of marriage. This is what happens when courts legislate; we end up buried in legislative remedies.

        1. ella says:

          The wonderful thing about this, is that at least now there is legislation present to call law. Before there was only the Court legislating a law.

        2. Jim Cook says:

          There may be occasional citizens in the Democratic Party who hold these views. There are indisputably a few right-wing Democratic theocrats out there, thinking the way Republicans do. These views, as the cosponsorship lists show, are concentratedly, disproportionately Republican, and I don’t think you’d dispute that. I also don’t think you’d dispute that in the U.S. Congress, support for the bills is 99.5% Republican. Outside the Congress, the views in the bill are held by an increasing minority among the populace, which is why even before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, popular vote after popular vote knocked down legal discrimination against same-sex couples.

          Do you think that Brown vs. Board of Education was a bad ruling? Do you think that the U.S. Supreme Court should not have “legislated” to remove forced public school segregation in law against black people for the color of their skin? Do you think that under the U.S. Constitution equal protection clause it is acceptable for town governments to build unequal white and black schools and forcibly separate people by race? Because that’s what happened until “courts legislate,” which has been an entirely acceptable activity of the United States Supreme Court for 212 years since Marbury v. Madison.

          Logic doesn’t have anything to say about providing special rights to any particular body — and that’s what this bill does.

          I didn’t say that this was a bill all about Kim Davis, and I don’t think it’s a bill all about Kim Davis. I think it’s a bill about Frank Simpson and Charlene Harris and Bill Sutton and 14,000 other government bureaucrats who would be enabled to use their government position to make others live according to their private right-wing religious beliefs, even breaking the law to do so, and who couldn’t be fired or fined or disciplined for violating the terms of the jobs because RELIGION. I think it’s a bill about Lucy Jefferson and Cleo Wright and Mike Fitzkowski, who have different religious views than the Republican congressional majority and who therefore wouldn’t have the special rights that someone like Kim Davis would have, all because they have a religion that Republicans have legislated into a second-class religious status. I think it’s a bill about tens of thousands of non-religious government workers who wouldn’t get the same right to make other people live by their beliefs. I think it’s about a horrible idea to pick out just one religious splinter and give that religious splinter group the special, exclusive right to persecute everybody else and break the law. See “Government Establishment of Religion”; see also “Amendment, First.”

          To the extent this bill is about non-profits (and it’s not JUST about non-profits, it does cover government workers), it’s about enabling non-profits to take government dollars to carry out government programs and then using that government money to squeeze their way into people’s marriage certificates and bedrooms and enforce a personal right-wing Christian shariah law. For intance, once a medical non-profit got a government grant to carry out a government program, its grant could not be revoked if it used the government grant to deny government-funded medical treatment, for instance, to women with venereal diseases who weren’t married. That’s what this law allows. Absolute untouchability and unaccountability, but only if you have the specific religion that right-wing Christians like. This is a religious war bill.

          1. ella says:

            Are you a Jihadist?

          2. ella says:

            You are spreading disinformation concerning tax law.

          3. Jim Cook says:

            Eyeroll to both comments. I am not a Jihadist, but unfortunately Christian Jihadists are seeking the right to impose their will over all others by hijacking government power. I am not spreading disinformation about tax law. I am pointing out that this law carves out a new special right for right-wing government employees (and only right-wing government employees) to obstruct law and legal rights in the carrying out of their duties in a manner that persecutes American citizens under their jurisdiction. Thanks to Section 3, such persecuting individuals, like a thousand Kim Davises, would be exempt and immune from government action to correct this abrogation of professional duty and violation of legal rights.

      2. ella says:

        “you didn’t copy the whole thing, and repeated Section 3.”

        I realized that after I posted it but for some reason could not get the other to post. Sorry.

        “SEC. 3. PROTECTION OF THE FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND MORAL CONVICTIONS.

        (a) In General.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.

        (b) Discriminatory Action Defined.—As used in subsection (a), a discriminatory action means any action taken by the Federal Government to—

        (1) alter in any way the Federal tax treatment of, or cause any tax, penalty, or payment to be assessed against, or deny, delay, or revoke an exemption from taxation under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 of, any person referred to in subsection (a);

        (2) disallow a deduction for Federal tax purposes of any charitable contribution made to or by such person;

        (3) withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, or otherwise deny any Federal grant, contract, subcontract, cooperative agreement, loan, license, certification, accreditation, employment, or other similar position or status from or to such person;

        (4) withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, or otherwise deny any benefit under a Federal benefit program from or to such person; or

        (5) otherwise discriminate against such person.

        (c) Accreditation; Licensure; Certification.—The Federal Government shall consider accredited, licensed, or certified for purposes of Federal law any person that would be accredited, licensed, or certified, respectively, for such purposes but for a determination against such person wholly or partially on the basis that the person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”

      3. ella says:

        Jim Cook “…even breaking the law to do so, and not be subject to any punishment.”

        Please offer the quote that supports that premise.

        1. Jim Cook says:

          Section 3, subsection b. It’s the Kim Davis provision. Kim Davis twisted and changed the law through her own personal religious fiat and took away people’s legal rights as a result. If this bill had been in force as law, then there would have been nothing anyone could have done to stop her from using her government power to take away people’s rights.

          1. Dave says:

            Section 3, subsection b. It looks like tax stuff to me, not a license for individuals such as Kim Davis to change policy. Maybe, just maybe “otherwise discriminate against such person” could be construed in the manner you describe. There is no doubt in my mind that this bill was drafted partly as a result of the recent events, but overall it is addressing the larger issue that non-profits face. I don’t see anything here that will create thousands of Kim Davis’s. The language of the bill is decidedly private sector.

            I don’t agree with Ella; non-profits are not facing a Jihad. It is an inquisition.

          2. Jim Cook says:

            Em. Ploy. Ment.

          3. Jim Cook says:

            Inquisition? Really? Who’s been tortured? Oh, wait, you mean taking government money and using it to exclude people from government programs. While remaining tax free and having pastors with private jets. Oh yes, what hardship! What privation! What inquisition.

          4. Dave says:

            Going off point here but following your lead. According to tithing.com the list of pastors with their own private jets amounts to 10 pastors. The churchladyblogs.com lists 21. Using the larger number, divided by the number of religious congregations in the U.S., 350,000, the result I get is .00006 percent. Is that really relevant?

            Corporations, private businesses, Hollywood moguls, entertainers, golfers often have their own jets. Every mile they travel is a tax write-off. Shall we find out where they all stand on certain issues before granting them the deduction?

            !..! no eyerolls

          5. Jim Cook says:

            The private jet choice of a noun was hyperbole to point out the real act of churches not paying taxes and accumulating wealth in material objects.

          6. Jim Cook says:

            If a golfer gets a federal grant and then uses that federal grant to promote a religious agenda, that would be government support for establishment of religion and should be investigated.

            Hypothetically.

            Back in the real world, I don’t think they offer federal grants like that to golfers. Churches take that sort of grant and action all the time.

  3. ella says:

    Jim Cook, in this instance you are jumping blindly at a law intended to grant Christian,s and others who have specific religious beliefs, relief from the bigotry of those who wish to impose their private, personal lives on the public, and government at large. If everyone is allowed to practice their personal religious beliefs, and keep their personal private lives to themselves, the stress of being forced by law to allow a person of different beliefs, to ram it down their throat like a spoiled bully, will be prevented in the future. It also prevents the government from using the tax codes from punishing religious institutions and individuals through taxation or relief from taxation.

  4. John says:

    Oh knock it off already!!!! Aren’t you happy enough that you got the definition of marriage changed already? Quit trying to twist what this bill is really about. It’s giving people who don’t agree with other people’s beliefs the ability to “opt out” of participation in blatant sin according to their God. Ok so if this bill passes, all that will happen will be that whatever office deals with any issue like this has some employees of both parties working there. And if your gay guess what? Go get in the line with the woman (who could be a transgender) that doesn’t have a problem totally destroying an institution that WAS MADE HOLY BY OUR GOD THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO! See it’s simple. Quit trying to push people out that don’t hold your beliefs. Or maybe the Christians will get tired of it and instead of trying to change the definition of homosexuals, they might just push to have the official nomenclature changed to WHINERsexuals!

    1. Jim Cook says:

      “Whinersexuals.” That was so cute. I also like the assumption that if I’m in favor of government employees not breaking the law, I must be gay.

      1. John says:

        “That was so cute” is your response, and your going to try and tell me your not gay? I would put a $20 bet down for your gayness. Not that there is anything wrong with being gay. As long as your not trying to push your gay agenda onto me or my family. Sin is a slippery slope my friend. God doesn’t want us doing certain things for OUR BENIFITS. We were not created to sleep with the same sex. One day you will stand before God and your own conviction will judge you. God won’t even have to, I’m not trying to say that i don’t sin because I’m probably the worst, but what i am trying to say is that I’m not trying to push my sin into someone else’s face and make them change the true definition of an institution that was established by the One True God, the father of Jesus Christ, and the worst part about it is that you don’t even acknowledge His existence!!!!! So yes as lame as my word WHINERsexuals was, so too is that a minority group of people have decided to go against their own natural order, and then brazenly fight to contaminate/defile the majorities most sacred institution instead of just realizing if they want to create a new institution, or modify the original so that is in direct opposition to its intended creation, they should do just that and create a new institution!!! Your not going to understand until the pedophiles want to group them selfs in with the gay and lesbian and transgender group and then they will be using the same insane rational that you people are using to force your lifestyle agenda!!!!

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