Here’s what we know so far:
1. Indiana has passed an anti-LGBT religious freedom bill in their own form of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
2. Indiana politicians, some of whom are extremely anti-gay, say it is within their right to do so because of “freedom of religion.”
3. Some of these politicians have openly admitted that part of the purpose was to disenfranchise the LGBT population.
I wonder what our Founding Father James Madison would have to say about such a law. You see, one thing that the right loves to do in their quest to promote bigotry and homophobia is cite the Founding Fathers and the Constitution and all their rights guaranteed to them in the First Amendment. If all the Founding Fathers, not just James Madison, had altered the First Amendment just a little bit, these RFRA laws wouldn’t even be on the books.
The original draft to the First Amendment, debated by Madison on May 25 1789 in the first session of Congress, went as followed:
“The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience, be in any manner, nor on any pretext, infringed.”
The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship. Had that text been included in the Constitution, imagine how vastly different this country would be. No RFRA laws. No Hobby Lobby decisions in the Supreme Court. No elections based on which candidate supports abortion rights or not.
If that is not enough proof to show the right wing “patriots” that the real patriots were anti-Christian establishment, here are some other quotes from Founding Fathers that tell our citizens to check their Christian privilege:
“In regard to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practiced, and both by precept and example inculcated on mankind.” Samuel Adams, The Rights of the Colonists (1771)
“We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this Land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition… In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man’s religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States.” George Washington, letter to the members of the New Church in Baltimore, January 27, 1793
“We should begin by setting conscience free. When all men of all religions shall enjoy equal liberty, property, and an equal chance for honors and power we may expect that improvements will be made in the human character and the state of society.” John Adams, letter to Dr. Price, April 8, 1785
“I am for freedom of religion and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.” Thomas Jefferson, letter to Elbridge Gerry, January 26, 1799
It seems our Founding Fathers had a broad consensus view on how religion was to play a role in our society. Perhaps the right wingers should abandon this façade they put up in trying to act like them. For when they do so, they ignore history. But is anyone really surprised by that?