My Twitter followers often ask me why religious-slash-conservative politicians do what they do despite the potential negative effect on so many Americans. Why, for example, do they persist with their War on Women? Why do they insist that a zygote is a child and force closures of women's health clinics, putting existing lives at risk? Why do they claim they are "pro-life" as they scream their heartless, vicious verbal attacks at-- and put the fear of their god into-- child refugees who are escaping from rape, violent abuse, and death? Why do right wing extremists allow these atrocities to continue? Why are they willing to potentially end lives in the name of their god? My answer is an abbreviated (it is Twitter, after all) one-size-fits-all reply: Power and money.
Power and money are strong motivators. Tossing red meat to rabidly hungry political donors and like-minded voters goes a long way to securing state and federal lawmakers' positions. And by keeping their jobs, they get to extend their influence. It's all about self-interest.
Hypocrisy is an ingredient of Theocratic Stew, too, but that doesn't answer the Why. Besides, some outwardly religious zealots may very well believe their own fevered, ill-conceived blather.
The Hobby Lobby case allows bosses to control and exert their influence over women, women who may hold different beliefs (or disbeliefs) than the corporate "person" that pays them. Rather, they claim it's about their beliefs. Some of us see it differently.
Today on her radio show, Nicole Sandler played an interview with David Silverman. Silverman is the president of AmericanAtheists.org. He was discussing conservatives and their heavy-handed religious policies, but made a very important distinction. To quote Silverman, "It's not conservative, it's theocratic." Bingo.
Which brings me to today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because, believe it or not, our voices matter:
That's rich, a Christian activist law firm calling itself the Becket Fund for Religious Freedom. Equally Orwellian phrasing titles the constitutionally dubious Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which the Becket firm has cited to obtain ill-considered U.S. Supreme Court decisions favoring Christianity over sound public policy. ("Law firm in Hobby Lobby win is playing key role in religion cases," July 19)
For truth in advertising, how about "the Becket Fund for Denying Nonbelievers' Rights to Freedom from Religion"?
So what if this firm advocates a Muslim prison inmate's right to grow a beard. That ploy likely will prevail as a bone thrown to non-Christian detractors, but its narrow application betrays the firm's ulterior motive: to set up more far-reaching court rulings to favor the Christian majority.
Edward Alston, Santa Maria
The lawyers for Hobby Lobby don't seek religious freedom. As with the recent Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, they seek the right to extend their religious beliefs to apply to everyone else.
All over the world, it's common for those who practice a particular religion not to be satisfied with their own personal religious freedom. They are not happy until their faith has more influence.
In Iraq, this conflict gets people killed. In the U.S., the Supreme Court allows businesses to force employees to comply with owners' religious beliefs.
The freedom of religion in the 1st Amendment prevents the government from establishing a religion. Once the immense power of government assists one religion, all others suffer.
Norwood Price, Burbank