Tag Archives: religious beliefs

Who works for whom?

I need help with this one.

State Rep. Molly White, a Republican from Belton, Texas, has refused to meet with constituents who want to complain to her about some legislation she’s proposing.

Why? She says it’s a waste of her time and she won’t talk to — that’s correct — her constituents.

The issue is gay rights. Rep. White calls herself a Christian who follows God’s word. The legislation she’s backing would allow businesses to deny service to Texans on religious grounds. She also wants to exempt the state’s ban on same-sex marriage from court rulings.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/04/texas-lawmaker-refuses-to-meet-with-constituents-who-dont-share-her-views-staff-says-it-is-a-waste-of-time/

“Marriage is a Holy union of one man and one woman created and ordained by God. There is no other definition. As a Christian, I am guided by God’s Word,” White explained in a statement.

Some folks in her Texas House district disagree with that and want to talk to her about it.

White will have none of it.

Hmmm.

OK, I now will try to explain briefly why this is wrong.

In a representative democracy such as ours, the people who hold public office work at the pleasure of the people they represent. They don’t work only for those who vote for them, they answer to all the people in a governing subdivision, in this case a Texas House of Representatives district. Therefore, if someone wants to gripe at a lawmaker, they are entitled to do so.

And the lawmaker, it seems to me, is obligated to give them a fair hearing. They can argue face to face. They call each other names if they wish. The lawmaker, though, doesn’t have the liberty of stiff-arming a constituency group merely because they disagree with his or her point of view.

As the Rawstory reported: “Janet Adamski, a political science professor at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, noted that lawmakers are not required to meet with their constituents, but refusing to talk to a constituent because of their views runs contrary to the purpose of being of representative.”

Put another way: Rep. White works for them, not the other way around.

 

State using religion to discriminate?

Indiana seems like a nice enough place, with nice people motivated to do nice things to and for others.

Why, then, does the state’s legislature send to Gov. Mike Pence a bill that allows people to possibly concoct a religious belief in order to discriminate against others?

Pence this past week signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prevents someone from suing, say, a business owner from doing business with you based on the business owner’s religious beliefs.

Pay attention here: The bill is aimed squarely at gays and lesbian who could be denied service from those business owners.

http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/03/29/abcs-stephanopoulos-grills-gov-mike-pence-on-an/203077

Reaction to this law has been furious. Business owners across the nation have declared their intention to cease doing business in Indiana as long as the state sanctions discrimination against their employees. With the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four tournament set to be played in Indianapolis, there could be a serious backlash that inhibits the money the state hopes to earn.

This law looks for all the world — to me at least — as if the state is using “religious freedom” as a shield to protect those who wantonly discriminate against those who have a certain sexual orientation.

What we have here looks like a misuse of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, which guarantees the right of those to hold whatever religious belief they wish. The state is suggesting the First Amendment takes precedence over the 14th Amendment, which guarantees all citizens “equal protection” under the state and federal laws.

Imagine a couple wanting, say, to buy a home. Can a lender refuse to loan the couple the money to buy the home simply by pulling the “religious freedom” statute out of thin air — or out of some bodily orifice, for that matter? The law, as I understand it, prohibits the gay couple from suing the lender because the law protects the lender from being hassled over his or her religious beliefs.

The appearance of using religious liberty and freedom as a pretext to allow overt discrimination is a disgrace.