Kansas, adoption, and the hypocrisy of ‘religious liberty’

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I guess I’m running out of patience for conservative worries about religious liberty.

In Kansas — and Oklahoma — religious liberty now means “the liberty to use state funds to discriminate against gays.”

If people decide their religious beliefs mean they can’t support same-sex marriage in their church or in their private lives, I don’t love it, but I accept it.

There has been an underlying conceit, in the religious liberty arguments by conservatives, that all they want is for the state and society to live and let live. You have your gay marriage, but we’re not going to celebrate it or accommodate it. The actions in Kansas and Oklahoma belie that reasoning; What religious conservatives still want, it seems, is to use official state power to discriminate and punish gay people for the crime of … wanting to provide a safe home to vulnerable children.

This is all the more infuriating, as C.J. Janovy notes, since anti-gay bias seems to be the last “sincerely held religious belief” conservatives hold to in the age of Trump: “How sincere those beliefs really are is a question, thankfully, this country might finally be serious about facing, now that we’re enduring the bizarre spectacle of Christian support for a president who violates commandments with his every waking breath.”

But let’s take them seriously: Even in the best light, what religious conservatives are saying is that their anti-gay biases are more important to uphold than to provide a safe home to a vulnerable child.

What would Jesus do? Seems to me he elevated mercy above his rules.

Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”

11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep!Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other.

I am running out of ways to believe religious conservatives want “liberty.” I think they want to recapture power, instead. I’m not sure they can tell the difference. The cost is paid in all the families that will never be.

Author: joeldermole

Joel Mathis is a freelance writer who lives in Lawrence, Kansas with his wife and son. He spent nine years as a syndicated columnist, co-writing the RedBlueAmerica column as the liberal half of a point-counterpoint duo. His honors include awards for best online commentary from the Online News Association and (twice) from the City and Regional Magazine Association.

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