West Virginia Republicans are trying to squeeze a new through the state legislature that would literally eliminate laws if you can prove Jesus made you do it. That’s right, if they get their way, you’ll be able to cook meth, rob people, rape, pillage and murder if you can show that your religious beliefs, or more specifically your Christian beliefs, not only allow it but require it.
Imagine the chaos in the courtrooms of the Deliverance State (yes, I’m aware it was set in Georgia but stand by the analogy) when the judges have to start dismissing cases because lunatics have the right to be that way “because Jesus.”
“I cooked that meth because my church needed a way to stay up all night and worship Jesus, your honor. That’s what’s called ‘religious freedom.'”
“I had to kill my husband, your honor. He got a job at a bank as a money changer. He was an affront to God.”
“The Lord appeared to me and demanded I rape her, your honor. He says our child is the second coming of the messiah.”
Thin that sounds a little bit hokey? Think that wouldn’t happen? Think again. This is a deep-red state full of people who venture out of the mountains seldom. West Virginians aren’t exactly known for their progressive stance on…anything. According to Patheos:
Senate Bill 11 (SB 11) – also known as the “West Virginia Freedom of Conscience Protection Act” – establishes that only a “governmental interest of the highest magnitude that cannot otherwise be achieved without burdening the exercise of religion” can compel someone to obey the law if their religious beliefs come into conflict with it.
SB 11 defines of the exercise of religion thus:
‘Exercise of religion’ means the sincere practice or observance of religion or religious conscience. It includes, but is not limited to, the ability to act or refuse to act in a manner substantially motivated by one’s sincerely held religious beliefs or religious conscience, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.
Rachel Ford of the Friendly Atheist chimed in on the issue as well:
While the bill protects the discriminatory impulses of a handful of bigoted bakers and clerks, the fact is that, if passed, the state would have to prove a ‘governmental interest of the highest magnitude’ to enforce any law.
That’s a pretty scary thought. If that kind of law were to be made the law of the land, people like Charles Manson would walk out of prison tomorrow, as their followers declare their cult a religion and file the proper paperwork. Stonings could be reinstated. You’d be able to once again sell your daughter into slavery should you be so inclined, and anyone would be fair game for the next round of Salem witch trials.
Religious freedom: It ain’t like it used to be.
Featured image via yeshuaistheway.wordpress.com