Religious Belief and Civil Rights At Odds in Iowa

I feel a bit silly having to write about this in the year 2010, especially when this ground has been gone over time and time again by pretty much any intelligent person that has an opinion on the simple idea such as the separation of church and state.  However, this does need to be said and not just for political purposes or to try to change anyone’s mind about how to vote or whatever.  It needs to be said because there are people, a lot of people, and some of those people have a lot of power, because there are people that simply believe that the morality and laws of their particular religion can trump the laws and morality of others simply because they wish it to be so.  The latest issue to hit us here in Iowa is the retention of the three Supreme Court justices.

Now for most Iowans this is a simple issue, I mean, we are one of the few states that allows equal protection under the Constitution and Iowans don’t want to be the state that roasts those unafraid to challenge the status quo.  But yet we have people that are organizing against these justices.  Read this from one of our Congressmen:

Hi. This is Congressman Steve King. I was an author of Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act, which by law defined the covenant of marriage to be exclusively between one man and one woman. Last year, the Iowa Supreme Court defied our Constitution and the will of the people by imposing same-sex marriage on Iowa. In their decree, the judges actually admitted they had created a right that was unimagined in the Constitution that they and I have sworn to uphold. When judges confer unimagined rights, it’s time to remove them, because judges with the audacity to create unimagined rights will also take your rights away. These activist judges even threaten your constitutional right to remove them. On November second, flip your ballot over, vote “no” on Judges Ternus, Streit and Baker. This election, send a message against judicial arrogance. I’m Congressman Steve King. Enough is enough. Vote no, no and no.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with Steve King’s politics or are religious or whatever, it is obvious to anyone with an elementary understanding of the Constitution that the law applies equally to everyone.  Furthermore, a good few minutes of critical thinking on the issue of throwing out judges because you disagree with them will show exactly how harmful it is to attempt to replace a judge every time you disagree with them.  Is Steve King and others like him advocating throwing out judges and replacing them with ones they do like, simply because they (correctly) interpreted the Constitution?  Shall we throw out the judges that ruled “Separate but equal is inherently unequal” or throw out the Fifteenth (right to vote based on race) or Nineteenth (right to vote based on sex) simply because they were unpopular at the time?  Perhaps if Congressman King were alive then he would try to, but that doesn’t make it any more correct.

So what does all of this political mumbo jumbo have to do with an atheist blog? Well this issue has a lot to do with it.  For starters the only reason that anyone could possibly work up a coherent framework wherein people that are of the same sex should not have equal protection under the law is when they take up a religious one.   That is where this entire issue stems from: religious fear and an attempt of a religious group to persecute a perceived minority.  In order to do so this loud and irrational minority is attempting to co-opt Iowans into effectively repealing the 14th Amendment.

If you were to ask a person why they wish to remove judges that extend rights to all Iowans the only thing they can reply with is “marriage is between a man and a woman”, you’d ask them why or how, and then we get the god word again.  There is no rational and coherent measure by which you can justify denying the rights of all Iowans, and our state is worse of because of this religious fervor, not better.  This kind of nonsense is not only directly caused by fundamentalist religious beliefs, but is actually a symptom of such blind devotion to such an archaic frame of mind. Keep this in mind as religious groups attempt to strip the rights away from others, and see how this is as definitive of religion as anything can be, and catalogue this as yet another negative aspect of religious faith.

 

Jason K.

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30 comments on “Religious Belief and Civil Rights At Odds in Iowa

  1. Dan Reed says:

    Great piece! That is exactly it. If we throw judges out for this, that same line of thinking would have us throwing out judges for having given more rights to minorities or women. Unfortunately, I think that the rhetoric for this election is to get rid of everyone and replace them with someone new, regardless of what they may be unleashing upon our political system. While this may be a good idea in some cases, it may not be in others. I am highly skeptical that the american people at large will have gone out and researched the issues and candidates enough to make smart decisions. Including – the removal of three judgements for giving people the right to live their lives the way they want – without harm to those who disagree in any way.

  2. Mike says:

    The right and ability given to Iowans to remove judges who do not rule on law, but make law, is one that I totally agree with. More judges today need to be ousted for not upholding the Constitution they swore to defend, as well as those who have taken on the duty of the legislature rather than the judicial. I do agree that many people do not take the time to research candidates, and vote because they like their smile or looks. But that is the non-rational world we live in.
    Homosexuality is not a civil or constitutional right, anymore than murder, theft, polygamy, incest, et al. Once you open the door to the ungodly behavior of one, then it must be opened to all others as well.

    • jastiger says:

      The fact that someone like you is allowed to vote, quite frankly, disgusts me. You are basically saying “People that do not follow my religion should not be allowed to have rights”. Do you understand how horrible and regressive that kind of thinking is?

    • Dan Reed says:

      “The right and ability given to Iowans to remove judges who do not rule on law, but make law, is one that I totally agree with. More judges today need to be ousted for not upholding the Constitution they swore to defend, as well as those who have taken on the duty of the legislature rather than the judicial. I do agree that many people do not take the time to research candidates, and vote because they like their smile or looks. But that is the non-rational world we live in.
      Homosexuality is not a civil or constitutional right, anymore than murder, theft, polygamy, incest, et al. Once you open the door to the ungodly behavior of one, then it must be opened to all others as well.”

      This is solely the opinion of an obvious bigot. Women didn’t have the right to vote until the constitution was AMENDED, do you disagree with this as well? There is a process for amending the constitution mostly because the founders of this country had to know that they couldn’t forsee all possibilities, and left the power to modify the document in the hands of the government. Just because you don’t “like” homosexuals or their lifestyle, does not mean it is unconstitutional, anymore than marriage between a man and woman is. The court overturned this “definition of marriage” as unconstitutional because it is! This Steve King, who is obviously a poor excuse of a congressman – is just as awful as he claims the judges are for having the audacity to write a law excluding people with a different sexual orientation than him(though this has not been proven…) from having the ability to marry if they wish. Because it got overturned he whines and moans about the evil judges, and you – like all the other sheep, swallow it up without using the brains your GOD gave you to think about it.

    • Dan Reed says:

      One More reply Mr Mike because you really got me ticked off. I too thought just as you, just a short few years ago, until I started opening my mind to other possibilities than the religious attitudes and thoughts that were implanted into my head as truth from a very early age.

      You are a bigot on the scale of the Westboro Baptist Church, which is just a stones throw away from the attitude and opinions you believe and portrayed here. Take some time to look them up if you don’t know who they are, read what they do, what they say, and realize that the beliefs you hold and the ones they hold are one and the same. I wouldn’t want to be equivocated to them in any sense – disgusting bigotry without really using your own brains to decipher between right and wrong. You appear capable of only using just what you have been taught by your sunday school teacher, your mom, pops, and Pastor.

  3. Harry says:

    No state of the United States denies gays the right to marry. What most deny all of it’s citizens equally,is the right to marry a person of the same sex. Marriage is of value to the collective society because it is perceived as providing the stable relationships needed for procreation and raising children. Benefits are granted by the collective society to encourage this behavior. There is no reason why any rational society should extend these benefits to same sex relationships, because they are of no particular value to the collective society as a whole.

    • jastiger says:

      If the value of a marriage is based purely on the idea of procreation, can barren women not be married? Sterile men? Widows? Women who have has vasectomies?
      This entire post is a smokescreen and a desperate attempt to mask homophobia on the part of Harry. There are far more benefits to society besides simply procreation; stable families, tax laws, medical benefits, PERSONAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS, a separation of church and state. To say that same sex marriage has no value to society is not only wrong, but very telling of your opinion of equal rights and the respect of your fellow men and women.

    • Dan Reed says:

      “No state of the United States denies gays the right to marry.” How do you figure?

      Also on a side note – population pressure is already growing in the US, not to mention the rest of the world, maybe homosexuality is evolutionary population control?

      “There is no reason why any rational society should extend these benefits to same sex relationships, because they are of no particular value to the collective society as a whole.”

      What particular value does the heterosexual marriage that does not bear children bring? That is the value you would find in homosexual marriage. How would gays being allowed to openly marry truly affect you personally? Try to answer without any religious pre-conceptions….I dare you.

    • Mike says:

      thank you Harry for your discerning observation.

  4. Jacob says:

    You know, Mike, there was a time when blacks didn’t have rights and women were thought to not have the right to vote and some activist judges came along and messed that up, too. Don’t say they’re not the same – they’re nearly identical in every important way, *especially* in the presence of your religion fighting tooth and nail against them using many of the same tired arguments.

  5. Mike says:

    No Jacob, they are apples and oranges. “My” religion as you say DID NOT fight against them. Denominational Christianity did – not true New Testament Christianity – there is a big difference. It is interesting though, how no one will address the fact that homosexuality, beastiality, incest, the Man-boy club and others are all the same degraded attitudes which should all have the same rights according to your logic. You all want to separate one and exclude the others – why? If it’s all about civil rights – then come on, lets be fair and let everyone have their way. What about the civil rights of murderers, theives, etc. In fact, let’s just close down the prisons and jails and let law enforcement go all together. There is no right or wrong, what may be right for me, might not be right for you, but who cares, lets just all do as we please. that is the type of world you are all looking for isn’t it?

    • Dan Reed says:

      You are a complete imbecile. I am surprised you managed to find the power button on your computer, let alone the right combination of keys to type that rant with. You’ve lost all sense of “common sense” and have absolutely no critical thinking skills. You are thinking 100% out of religious bigotry and there is no point in even arguing with what you say, it is so damn near clouded with misperceptions and null intelligence.

  6. jastiger says:

    How do you equate allowing same sex couples to marry with letting murderers go? Can you please give me a concrete relation between the two.

  7. Mike says:

    Dan,

    Thank you so much for all your encouraging words. It seems that when a person has no logical platform to defend, they must always turn to name calling, and demeaning of others, which only goes to prove the exact opposite of what you say, with the fingers pointing back at you my friend. There has not be one ounce of “critical thinking” anywhere on the posts that I have seen. Just a bunch of childish non-sense by individuals who wish to have their own way without any consequences.

  8. Mike says:

    Jason,

    Let me see if I can put it in terms that a “critical thinker” can understand. You wish to legitimize homosexuality as a “civil” right. A lifestyle that has been understood as depraved and unhelpful to society for centuries. Sense our country was founded upon a supreme standard of morality, and homosexuality, like murder (among other things) is immoral, then it is the case that if you are going to make a “civil right” out of one immoral act, then you must also do it for every other immoral act, otherwise you are being a hypocrite, or at the very least a bigot. I hope I didn’t use too many big words.

    • jastiger says:

      Well if what you say is true, you have to admit homosexual is immoral. Even if I do accept everything you say there, and I don’t, I negate it by saying that homosexually is NOT immoral. So there you go. Now you have to show me how homosexuality is immoral and worthy of being lumped in with murder.

      As far as homosexuality, its been with our race since it began. I don’t know where you get this idea that its always bee depraved and unhelpful when some of the founders of democracy and science were homosexuals.

      Also stop being an asshole to Dan. Actually just stop being an asshole.

      • Mike says:

        Jason, there is no need to get nasty. But again, that’s all anyone has who doesn’t have the truth to back them up.

        You don’t want to lump homosexuality in with murder. Homosexuality is not immoral. Would you say that murder is immoral? Would you say that theft is immoral? Is there any action in your eyes that is immoral, or should we just open the jails and shut down the courts?

        • jastiger says:

          Murder is immoral. Theft is immoral. Homosexuality is not immoral.

          Please tell me how homosexuality is immoral like theft or murder. If I have sexual relations with my fiancee and you are sitting in your home sipping a coffee, how are you effected whether my fiance is male or female?

        • Dan Reed says:

          “Jason, there is no need to get nasty. But again, that’s all anyone has who doesn’t have the truth to back them up.

          You don’t want to lump homosexuality in with murder. Homosexuality is not immoral. Would you say that murder is immoral? Would you say that theft is immoral? Is there any action in your eyes that is immoral, or should we just open the jails and shut down the courts?”

          Yes, all of us here are immoral and we should just let all prisoners out to rape and plunder the commonfolk. Seriously? Taking things to extremes like this show me that you have nothing with which to backup your hatred and your bigotry. “It’s wrong because God said so!”

    • Dan Reed says:

      “Dan,

      Thank you so much for all your encouraging words. It seems that when a person has no logical platform to defend, they must always turn to name calling, and demeaning of others, which only goes to prove the exact opposite of what you say, with the fingers pointing back at you my friend.”
      It proves…nothing. You didn’t respond to any of my points before because you know you have NOTHING to base your opinions here on except your belief that homosexuality is wrong. Where does that belief come from? What kind of “logical platform” is that?

      “There has not be” you mean ‘been’ right?
      “one ounce of “critical thinking” anywhere on the posts that I have seen.”
      If you are talking about your own posts, then I wholeheartedly agree.
      “Just a bunch of childish non-sense by individuals who wish to have their own way without any consequences.”
      That is quite funny actually, because that is exactly what I see when you post opinions here without any evidence or even any inkling of Reasoning to explain what brought you to that opinion, other than your religious belief that homosexuality is wrong. You can’t claim to be a critical thinker when you don’t do any critical thinking! Not even enough to come back at me on a forum post properly.

      “Jason,

      Let me see if I can put it in terms that a “critical thinker” can understand. You wish to legitimize homosexuality as a “civil” right. A lifestyle that has been understood as depraved and unhelpful to society for centuries.”
      Prove this statement without using religious doctrine. Once again I would dare you, but you know that you are wrong, you only know what you believe, you don’t know WHY you believe it, and are not able to rationally justify the belief. 100% opinion, and 100% bullshit sir.

      “Sense” I assume you meant ‘since’ our country was founded upon a supreme standard of morality, and homosexuality, like murder (among other things) is immoral,” Again, prove to me that Homosexuality is immoral, ‘like murder’ as you put it. You know what you believe, yet you have no idea WHY you believe it.

      “then it is the case that if you are going to make a “civil right” out of one immoral act, then you must also do it for every other immoral act, otherwise you are being a hypocrite, or at the very least a bigot.”
      Let’s break this one down shall we…. You haven’t even made a true case here that homosexuality is an “immoral act”. It may be according to your mores, but it is not an immoral act by any rational progressive morals that are not based on religious doctrines. This in effect negates your entire argument, because you are arguing as if speaking to another religious bigot…not free thinkers.

      “I hope I didn’t use too many big words.”
      Don’t worry…when you start using big words properly we’ll let you know.

      And Jason – thanks for the support on this one, I am starting to see why you lean towards militancy.

      • Mike says:

        Ok Mr. “FREE” thinker – define for us what would be considered an immoral act – IF as a progressive you believe that there is such a thing. Let’s start with a baseline so that we can go from there. I understand that there are actions that you see as ok and I don’t, so please tell me if there is such a thing as right and wrong, and what actions you would consider wrong.

        • Dan Reed says:

          The way I am raising my children – by the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Just like I would want someone calling me out as a religious bigot and an idiot if I was spouting off rhetoric that followed that course, so I do unto you. Would I murder someone? no Would I not murder someone because it says not to in the bible? No, I would not murder someone because it would harm them, and I couldn’t stand to see harm come to me or mine, so I don’t. Would I tell someone what they can or can’t do sexually in the privacy of their home? Would I threaten and look down on their choice of lifestyle they display in public? No.

          My wife and I have long talked about how we want to raise our children and we both are in full agreement that we don’t want to raise them with blinders on. They need to know WHY they are good people, not just because “God said so”. They should always be questioning the status quo.

          To get back to your baseline – an immoral act is one which does harm to another. Easy enough for you to understand I hope?

          I do not consider being homosexual, gay, or lesbian to be wrong, and I do not consider it to be wrong because it does NO HARM TO ANOTHER. I understand the feelings of hatred that religious doctrination can bring to the table when discussing homosexuality. I used to think that way until I opened my eyes, my heart, and my mind.

          What I am telling you, Mr. Closed minded religious bigot is that you may know what you think, but you don’t know why, or if you do know why, the answer is faith, belief in what is being taught to you, what you have been indoctrinated with. I pity you, and those like you. My grandfather is a Baptist preacher, my Fathers whole side of the family is full of preachers and missionaries. So believe me, I know where you are coming from – and I pity you.

  9. Mike says:

    Dan, please don’t pity me, because I know where you are coming from – I stood in your shoes at one time in my life, that is until I opened my mind to rational thought. You can assume all you want to that I am indoctrinated, and I guess in a way we ALL are indoctrinated to something. You too have ‘faith’ – it is a blind faith, but it is still faith.
    So you want to raise your children to “do unto others.” UMMMMMM I wonder where that comcept came from? Sounds a little hypocritical that someone would hate the person who gave us that concept, but then want to live by it. But that’s the nature of the beast you find yourself following.
    Whether you or anyone else with your mindset wants to admit it or not, the only reason you have any sort of idea that wrong exists, is because of the standard set by a supreme being who is the epitome of what is right.
    I know, you will have a very hard time wanting to accept that, but thats the way soiled little children are, they only want to accept certain rules that appeal to them, and all others are moot. It is you who should be pitied my friend.

    • Dan Reed says:

      “Dan, please don’t pity me, because I know where you are coming from – I stood in your shoes at one time in my life, that is until I opened my mind to rational thought. You can assume all you want to that I am indoctrinated, and I guess in a way we ALL are indoctrinated to something. You too have ‘faith’ – it is a blind faith, but it is still faith.”
      Although I am very cynical, I have faith in the basic goodness of mankind. I have faith in my family, faith in my wife, faith that I will wake up tomorrow and be free because of the men and women serving in our military. Nothing about my faith is blind, it is purposeful, and it is reasoned through. Religion, God, Jesus have done nothing for me, there is no faith there for me anymore – not until I get proof one way or another. Believing where there is nothing to prove a reason to believe – that is blind faith.

      “So you want to raise your children to “do unto others.” UMMMMMM I wonder where that comcept came from? Sounds a little hypocritical that someone would hate the person who gave us that concept, but then want to live by it. But that’s the nature of the beast you find yourself following.”

      Many of the ideas that come from religion are basically good, Of COURSE I would hold onto those. That is not being a hypocrite, that is taking genuinely good ideas and using them in my life. And who said I hate God or hate Jesus? That would be like saying I hate the tooth fairy for all I know. nonsensical. The idea that one MAN, part of the “holy” trinity came to earth and died for MY sins? Many more men have died fighting for our country so that I am free today, who gives a *$## about one man dying for all of our “sins” given that he even WAS God, which is unproven – as is God’s existence.

      “Whether you or anyone else with your mindset wants to admit it or not, the only reason you have any sort of idea that wrong exists, is because of the standard set by a supreme being who is the epitome of what is right.
      I know, you will have a very hard time wanting to accept that, but thats the way soiled little children are, they only want to accept certain rules that appeal to them, and all others are moot. It is you who should be pitied my friend.”

      Very eloquent, but so very wrong. The “Only” reason I know the difference between right and wrong is because of God? It didn’t have anything to do with the way I was raised by my parents, the society I grew up in, or the indoctrination I went through as a child. No, couldn’t have been any of those. You hold onto myths, that is all they are my friend, I do pity you your blindfold, but I also admire your convictions, based on blind faith as they are.

      • Mike says:

        Faith is built upon evidence.

        You can’t prove that God does not exist. For some reason only you know, something happened in your life that caused you to turn your back on God. I can assume that it was the Baptist Church and all its inconsistencies, but I don’t know that for sure.

        This is one of the problems that God warned about, that there would be men who would cause many souls to fall, and such is the beast of denominationalism. It see it more and more every day, as people question what they have been taught, because of the hypocritical things done in their churches.

        I feel sorry for you. But I also know where you are coming from, for I too was once there. My mind was as closed as yours, until one day I chose to open it, and just read for myself what the Scriptures had to say. It took me a few years, but I finally saw for myself what true Christianity was about, and it was not denominational.
        I will keep you in my prayers.

  10. jastiger says:

    So, what about people that live in New Guinea or the Yukon? Are they immoral simply because they don’t know who Jesus is?

  11. Mike says:

    Jason – It’s interesting how you don’t want to remain on target, but instead want to throw other things into the mix. Thats quite a big leap of faith to say that people in such countries do not know about Jesus.

    • Dan Reed says:

      Mike – I think we went off topic long ago, mostly because you would not respond to my arguments.

      1. You are a bigot.

      2. You cannot and do not have a rational reason for your belief, all you have is faith.

      3. Homosexuality does not harm others.

      4. Jasons question – “Please tell me how homosexuality is immoral like theft or murder. If I have sexual relations with my fiancee and you are sitting in your home sipping a coffee, how are you effected whether my fiance is male or female?”

      5. My pointed questions – “What particular value does the heterosexual marriage that does not bear children bring? That is the value you would find in homosexual marriage. How would gays being allowed to openly marry truly affect you personally?”

      6. Jasons question – Would a people that don’t know who jesus is be immoral?

  12. Mike walker says:

    The facts are, gays are here to stay. They are together and have families. The only thing the christian community is stopping is the right for gays to have their unity be legalized, and have benifits of marriage. They will be raising children and be useful members of society. It must be wonderful for you christians to protect something that fails over 50% of the time.

  13. Mike says:

    Mike, no one ever said that Christianity was perfect. Your rationality is like saying we should just throw away ALL laws, shut down law enforcement, jails and prisons, because it doesn’t stop crime. Just let everyone do as they please.
    The fact is, despite having rules, there will be men and women who chose not to follow them. God gave us a choice in the matter. No one has to believe or serve Him, anymore than they have to obey the law, just be prepared to suffer the consequences.

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