The Tealiban strikes again in Brownbackistan
The depths of failure to which Gov. Sam Brownback is sinking is endless.
Today, by way of executive order, Brownback added upon the old Religious Freedom Restoration Act that he passed in April 2o13 with the new and improved Preservation and Protection of Religious Freedom law.
You really never can have too many unnecessary religious “freedom” laws.
In a statement Brownback said:
We have a duty to govern and to govern in accordance with the Constitution as it has been determined by the Supreme Court decision. We also recognize that religious liberty is at the heart of who we are as Kansans and Americans, and should be protected.
The Kansas Bill of Rights affirms the right to worship according to ‘dictates of conscience’ and further protects against any infringement of that right. Today’s Executive Order protects Kansas clergy and religious organizations from being forced to participate in activities that violate their sincerely and deeply held beliefs.
While we disagree with the decision of the Supreme Court, it is important that all Kansans be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.
The decision comes less than two weeks after the landmark SCOTUS ruling on June 27, making same-sex marriage legal in the U.S. The order is also suspiciously close to the state of Oregon’s ruling to fine Christian bakers $135k for denying service to a person based on their sexual orientation (which is illegal under Oregon state law).
Conservative politicians and states took the rulings badly, and while gay marriage was already declared legal in Kansas’ Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in November 2014, the recent federal ruling has many conservatives “afeared” that the government is now making persecuting Christians and churches.
So what’s a Koch-sucking conservative governor of a Tea Party nightmare state to do when his gullible base is driven mad by people gaining equal rights and needs pandering?
Enter Executive Order 15-05, stage right.
It should first be noted that in February 2015, Brownback rescinded laws that gave protected-class status for LGBT workers, effectively allowing employers to fire someone based on their sexual or gender orientation. It was the only protected-class status law for homosexual and transgender people.
The reason Brownback eliminated the protection law passed eight years prior by former Gov. Sebelius? He thought all workers should have equal status without adding “special” classes.
At the time he ordered away the protection, Brownback said:
Any such expansion of ‘protected classes’ should be done by the legislature and not through unilateral action.
Yet, today Brownback took unilateral action to add more protections to religious folks, and it’s not so much that the law protects them, but takes away the state’s right to pursue actions against religious people when they discriminate against LGBT people.
Order 15-05 reads:
The recent imposition of same sex marriage by the United States Supreme Court poses potential infringements on the civil right of religious liberty…
So while Brownback asked for “all” people to be treated respectfully and with dignity, his order specifically says this IS about the LGBT community.
The order continues:
Government actions and laws that protect the free exercise of religious beliefs 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.
In other words, Kansans have to respect Christian beliefs but Christians don’t have to respect LGBT lifestyles. And where is the clause that protects non-affiliated Kansas residents from religious superstitions?
The new order demands two things:
1. General protection of the free exercise of religious beliefs and moral convictions.
The adding of “moral convictions” means you don’t have to be religious to be morally opposed to same-sex marriage.
2. Specific protections for persons and religious organizations.
In case this all sounds vague:
The State Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a religious organization, including those providing social services, wholly or partially on the basis that such organization declines or will decline to solemnize any marriage or to provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods, or privileges for a purpose related to the solemnization, formation, celebration or recognition of any marriage, based upon or consistent with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction described in Section 1.
Now what is a “religious organization”? Shouldn’t that read “tax-exempt church”? No, he literally means anyone who has a religious business or moral convictions against the LGBT community can deny them services for their weddings.
Jesus declined to comment only bringing his palm to his face and sighing uncontrollably.
Featured Image via Gage Skidmore / Wikipedia