The Religious Test for S. 1598 and H.R. 2802
There are many right-wing Christian thinkers in America who support the Republican congressional bills S. 1598 and H.R. 2802, which would allow a government worker to use the power of his or her office to withhold services and legal rights from people, so long as the government worker proclaims that s/he “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.”
This is a test for supporter of these bills. The test has two questions.
|Question 1: Would you support a bill that was otherwise identical but changed the italicized text to “believes or acts in accordance with any religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of two people of the same sex, and that sexual relations are properly reserved to those outside marriage?” yes no
Question 2: Would you support a bill that was otherwise identical but changed the italicized text to “believes or acts in accordance with any religious belief or moral conviction at all, including Buddhist beliefs, Unitarian beliefs, Islamic beliefs, Pastafarian beliefs, Humanist beliefs, and Church of Satan beliefs?” yes no
If you are a supporter of these bills and your answer to both of these questions is “yes,” then you are at least abiding by the principle in the U.S. Constitution (Amendment XIV, Section 1) of equal protection under law as applies to government workers in this bill. Unfortunately, you would not be abiding by the equal protection clause of the Constitution as applies to the people subject to the whims of government workers — because those people would be subjected to tests of agreement with the religion of the particular government worker they came across.
- Agree with the government worker’s religion? Congratulations, you get your legal rights and your access to government services.
- Disagree with the government worker’s religion? You lose. You don’t get rights, you don’t get government services.
This system rewards religious and moral majorities, punishes religious and moral minorities, and converts the government into an arena in which religions compete to stuff their adherents into government positions so they can impose their provincial religious laws upon various jurisdictions. This corrupts governments, promotes the emergence of religious migration and balkanization, and is a prelude to religious war.
If you are a supporter of these bills and your answer to either of these questions is “no,” then you fail the equal protection test in all counts because you fail to support the rights of all government workers to discriminate as they choose on the basis of whatever religious or moral convictions they might possess. As a consolation prize, you pass the theocratic bigot test, seeking to empower government workers to violate the law and discriminate against people under their control, but only when they agree with your particular religion.
Supermajorities of members of the Republican Party in the U.S. Congress have signed on in support of this bill that, through its exclusion of non-right-wing religious beliefs, takes the second path. Unequal protection under law appears to be a plank in the platform of the Republican Party.