In a sermon to his father John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church on Sunday, Matthew Hagee took on the recent set of videos falsely claiming that Planned Parenthood sells “baby parts” for profit and the controversy over the killing of a well-known lion in Zimbabwe, saying that the teaching of evolution in schools is to blame for both legal abortion and the uproar over Cecil the lion’s death.
“God help a country that is more concerned about a lion in Zimbabwe than we are about 55 million children that we’ve murdered in a senseless, senseless fashion,” Hagee declared.
“How did we do it?” he asked. “I’ll tell you how. We taught ourselves to do this. We went to classrooms where they didn’t tell us that we were made by God our Creator. They told us that we were the highest form of a scientific process called evolution. ‘There’s just one little chromosome between us and Cecil the lion.’ Thank God for that chromosome, because it gave me a finger and I can use it to pull the trigger!”
“We didn’t teach people that you were a human being fearfully and wonderfully made as the handiwork of God Almighty,” he lamented. “We just said that you were a bunch of cells that got mashed together and you’re here by accident. Evolution is a lie from the pit of Hell itself, and it has cost us 55 million Americans.”
In a 2006 interview with far-right radio host Kevin Swanson, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore — who was then between his two stints on the state Supreme Court — lamented that public schools were teaching students about Islam and the theory of evolution, saying Christian parents couldn’t “justify sending their children to schools where they teach that they weren’t created in the image of God, that they evolved from monkeys.”
Moore also repeated his insistence that that Rep. Keith Ellison, who had just been elected as the first Muslim member of Congress, should not be allowed to take his seat in the House if he swore his oath of office on a Koran, saying that such events were leading to the “destruction of our society and our nation from within.”
Asked by Swanson about Ellison’s election, Moore responded that it was “a very bad indication of where we are going” and claimed that the congressman-elect was “known to associate with groups that actually oppose the Constitution.”
“This Ellison wants to swear on the Koran and basically swear that his law supersedes the Constitution of the United States, and he shouldn’t be seated,” he said.
Swanson agreed, saying, “If we begin to bring humanist socialists denying the existence of God or Muslims denying the word of God, the Bible, that is the foundation of this country, I think we’ve got tyranny to look forward to. I’m not sure if it’s the Muslim kind or the socialist kind, but either kind is bad.”
“Either kind is bad,” Moore replied, “and you’re right, when we start doing that, we’re basically looking at the destruction of our society and our nation from within. We’ve never been defeated by a foreign power and we’re asking to be defeated by our own actions here.”
Later in the interview, Moore lamented that Ellison’s election shows the American people’s “ignorance” of the divine origins of the U.S., as also exemplified by the fact that on Thanksgiving “they teach in school it’s thanksgiving to the Indians and not to God.”
Citing a lawsuit over one California elementary school’s Islamic studies program, Moore claimed,“California schools are teaching Islam in their schools. They’re teaching the kids how to pray, when to pray and how to go to Mecca, and that is going to spread across our country if we don’t wake up.”
“I think that we’ve got to recognize that the state’s role is not to teach our children,” he told Swanson. “That doesn’t mean you can’t send them there if you want, but if you do, you’ve got to justify that some way. And I don’t think Christians can actually justify sending their children to schools where they teach that they weren’t created in the image of God, that they evolved from monkeys.” (This, incidentally, is not actually what the theory of evolution teaches.)
When Swanson asked Moore what God thought of all of this, Moore responded, “I think that when He sees us welcoming in gods that are not the God upon which we were founded, we’ve got trouble.”
Citing a passage from Chronicles in which God tells Solomon that He will uproot his people and destroy their temple if they start worshiping other gods, Moore warned, “That’s what we’re doing and that’s what’s liable to happen if we continue to do it.”
RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.
This week, the far-right still cannot let go of Jade Helm 15, the ever looming rapture, the true origin of racism, and a children’s movie gets political.
5. Belief In Evolution Causes Racism
We have found the culprit for racism, and his name is Charles Darwin.
Alex McFarlan, host of an American Family Radio program, recently appeared on TheDove TV to explain to those who trust the lies of science that belief in evolution is the root cause of racism in America today. Because the Bible teaches that the only race is the human race, it logically follows that racist individuals are getting those ideas elsewhere, McFarlane explained. “Evolution,” he said, “for about 75 years, has had a stranglehold on American education, and so the number one reason for racism is belief in evolution.”
McFarlan, apparently forgetting such things as the history of slavery in America, claimed that the Founding Fathers clearly knew all men are created equal and blamed “150 years of Darwinian evolution” for ruining this core American principle.
4. The ‘Lego Movie’ Is ‘Insidious’ Propaganda Against Business Owners
Apparently, a concerted leftist propaganda effort has shifted cultural attitudes toward believing that “government is good and business is bad,” and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., is not going to stand for it.
The latest evidence for this effort is, according to Johnson, “The Lego Movie,” in which a Lego businessman is a bad guy attempting to destroy the Lego world for profit. But don’t let yourself think this is any innocent children’s film. According to Johnson, “That’s done for a reason. They’re starting that propaganda, and it’s insidious.”
Johnson continues with a heart-wrenching story of some leftist indoctrination of children he heard about while fundraising. He apparently “called a gentleman, it was a couple months ago, he was so upset, he took his children to an animated movie, six-andseven-year-old children, to an animated movie – and guess who the villain was? Evil Mr. Businessperson. It’s insidious. That propaganda starts very early.”
After a number of media outlets reported on Johnson's comments, he responded that he was surprised that people had “never encountered the idea before.”
3. Jade Helm 15 Evolves
The anti-government militia group Oath Keepers published an article on its website this week that offers a fresh take on the Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theory. The U.S. government, argues AltMarket.com journalist Brandon Smith, created ISIS in order to manufacture a threat that will allow them to impose martial law.
Smith argues that “the organization known as ISIS has long been a collaborative creation of the U.S. government and its allies,” which will at some point attack the U.S., giving the government a “rationale” for imposing martial law, which they are preparing for with Jade Helm 15:
With at least 45% of Americans concerned that open domestic military exercises are a precursor to greater federal control over states and more than 62% convinced that government power is suffocating individual liberty, it is only a matter of time before the government spin doctors create a semi-believable rationale for such endeavors as Jade Helm. I believe that ISIS could be their perfect rationale.
As public concern is amplified and evidence indicating that the Department of Defense is lying about the purpose of JH15 is more widely recognized, the DOD may very well admit that the operation is not for training in foreign theaters. Rather, they may argue that JH15 is in fact training designed to protect Americans on American soil from widespread terrorist threats. That is to say, the new spin will be that Jade Helm is meant to save us all from the psychopathic child killing cannibal monstrosity known as ISIS.
Smith notes that this is all very similar to the plot of the 1985 Chuck Norris movie “Invasion U.S.A.”
2. The Rapture Is Near (Again)
The Rapture is here (again), and according to anti-gay Religious Right commentator Larry Tomczak it will look strikingly similar to the new blockbuster disaster film “San Andreas”.
Tomczak explains that “San Andreas” acts as a prophetic warning of the End Times, and is only a small portion of what humanity should expect to experience soon.
“Jesus gave warning also about pestilence and diseases," Timczak says. "Think about airborne Ebola and the porous southern border. Is it going to take another stock market crash, global economic collapse? All of these things are present day realities. Do we see the handwriting on the wall that we are at an apocalyptic unprecedented tipping point?”
Apparently this knowledge comes straight from the Bible. Tomczak adds that "the Book of Revelation, in chapter 9, says there will be a cataclysmic event that will kill a third of mankind. Now Jesus Christ predicted fearful events, a time of punishment, men's hearts failing them with fear and maybe believe 9/11 was our wake up call, but we've hit the snooze alarm." For Tomczak, "we need to awaken to the reality that America has forgotten God. We've drifted and it's time to turn back to him. The clock is ticking."
Tomczak is not alone in thinking this, as last Friday Anne Graham Lotz appeared on CBN to discuss her courageous efforts to save America from God’s judgement. Lotz explained that terrorism, natural disasters, economic problems, and social unrest are all warning signs from God that the return of Jesus Christ will happen within her lifetime.
Lotz, like Tomczak, believes, “with deep conviction, that it's my generation, I believe that in my lifetime, if I live out my lifetime, a natural lifetime, I believe I will live to see the return of Jesus in the Rapture when he comes back to take us to be with himself. Which means, preceding that, there are going to be some signs, there are going to be some warnings".
These signs will look much like the movie “San Andreas,” so beware.
1. Texas Flooding Due To Flood Of Gays
Texas is flooding. And Bryan Fischer knows where the blame lies: with those who are bringing “witchcraft and sodomy” into the state. Fischer agreed with a caller on his radio program yesterday who said that the only parts of Texas that are underwater are the parts “that are overrun with witchcraft and sodomy,” such as Houston, which has a “sodomite mayor.”
The caller claimed, "If God is judging Texas, it's because of the witchcraft and sodomy that we've allowed to run rampant,” and Fischer agreed that that was a very plausible explanation.
"If you're going to attribute the flooding in Texas to some kind of supernatural cause, you can make a geographical connection between the flooding and the practice of the occult and witchcraft and the embrace of homosexuality,” he said. “That's where the disaster is being felt the worse.” Just like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, which was also a localized natural disaster that "just wiped out those two cities where homosexuality had been embraced.”
So, “if you're going to make a case that there is some supernatural origin to this natural disaster that would probably be the place to look."
Yesterday on “Washington Watch,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins blasted President Obama and Hillary Clinton for “evolving” on the issue of marriage equality, prompting one listener to chime in and tell Perkins that he doesn’t believe in the theory of evolution anyway.
Perkins agreed with the caller’s take on evolution, stating that “the evidence is overwhelming” that evolution doesn’t occur. However, since Obama and Clinton believe that “we are constantly in this state of evolution,” Perkins said, then they should oppose gay rights.
“If you logically game this out, the idea that somehow same-sex marriage or same-sex attraction, homosexuality, could be the advancement of evolution,” he said, “well, it would be the end of the road. It is a dead-end street. You’re certainly not going to reproduce.”
While promoting his book “Darwin Day in America,” West told the audience that proponents of evolution seek to “muzzle” and “silence” Intelligent Design supporters.
West, who concedes that he is not a scientist, also lashed out at Neil deGrasse Tyson’s reboot of the television program “Cosmos.” He criticized President Obama for filming an introduction for the first episode of the series, claiming that the Obama administration has joined scientists in promoting “totalitarian science.”
Rick Wiles invited conservative pastor Laurence White onto “Trunews” yesterday to answer the question: “Is America repeating Germany’s path into Nazism?”
Unsurprisingly, the two agreed that America is moving in the direction of Nazi Germany, which they blamed in part on pastors who do not vocally denounce abortion rights, marriage equality and evolution, which White said is “not science but religion.”
White said questions posed to politicians like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker about whether they believe in evolution come straight from Satan: “They’re trying to make conservative, Bible-believing candidates look foolish because the Devil is the Father of Lies and he’s good at it.”
Pastors, according to White, must “lead our people to be able to discern what is actually going on in this country, that collision of two religions: one pagan, one Christian. And until they recognize that, they’re not going to understand the nature of the spiritual warfare in which we are engaged.”
Earlier this week a South Dakota state senate committee tabled a bill promoted by the “intelligent design” group Discovery Institute that identified "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, [and] human cloning" as scientifically controversial areas and, in the words of the National Center for Science Education, "would, in effect, have allowed public school teachers to miseducate their students about science — and would have prevented state and local educational authorities from intervening."
Although the bill didn’t make it out of committee, it had some high-profile backers, including a state representative of Concerned Women for America and a representative from the South Dakota Family Policy Council. In addition, the Discovery Institute flew in a spokesman, Casey Luskin, to testify on behalf of the bill, which seems to have been loosely based on the Institute’s model legislation.
Luskin told the committee that while in the days of the Scopes trial teachers were persecuted for teaching evolution, today teachers are being “persecuted” and “censored” for dissenting to “Darwin’s theory and other controversial scientific topics.”
“The old Scopes trial stereotype of teachers fearing persecution for teaching the evidence for evolution has been overturned,” he said. “Today, it’s the teachers and students who are raising questions about modern neo-Darwinian theory who are being stifled.”
In a “Faith & Liberty” interview posted last week, potential GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson discussed his rejection of the theory of evolution, arguing that the science of evolution is a sign of humankind’s arrogance and belief “that they are so smart that if they can’t explain how God did something, then it didn’t happen, which of course means that they’re God. You don’t need a God if you consider yourself capable of explaining everything.”
He claimed that “no one has the knowledge” of the age of the earth “based on the Bible,” adding that “carbon dating and all of these things really don’t mean anything to a God who has the ability to create anything at any point in time.”
Carson pointed to the “complexity of the human brain” as proof that evolution is a myth: “Somebody says that came from a slime pit full of promiscuous biochemicals? I don’t think so.”
He said evolution is unable to explain the development of an eyeball: “Give me a break. According to their scheme, it had to occur over night, it had to be there. I instead say, if you have an intelligent creator, what he does is give his creatures the ability to adapt to the environment so he doesn’t have to start over every fifty years creating all over again.”
Carson also said he hopes God will intervene to expose the truth about Obamacare.
Arguing that Obamacare will lead people to lose their health coverage — even though the opposite is happening — Carson said he has “prayed to God that he will expose even to people of low information what is going on. Sometimes things have to be so blatant, it’s like hitting them over the head with a two-by-four, before people wake up.”
Carson ended the interview by warning that Christians in America are facing widespread persecution and religious hostility.
On Sunday, Rick Joyner presented new proof that the theory of evolution is “not only ridiculous, it’s impossible.”
He claimed that there is no evidence of an entire species evolving: “You can mix a donkey and a horse and get a mule, but mules cannot reproduce. They can only reproduce after their own kind. We have no species change.”
“Why would a whole theory, everything taught in our schools, be based on something that is something that is so outrageously not only ridiculous, it’s impossible,” he said.
In keeping with the group’s apparent mission to be so extreme that it will never attract any mainstream support, Deace invited Michael Peroutka, a regular guest on his radio show, to give an opening speech to Personhood Iowa activists.
Peroutka — who recently declared that the Maryland General Assembly is no longer a valid legislative body because its passage of marriage equality violated “God’s law” — told the Iowa activists that everything from seat-belt mandates to the progressive income tax to Obamacare to Roe v. Wade are not valid laws because government only has the authority to uphold what he deems to be “organic law.” In fact, he said, all of these things are “pretended legislation,” a term used in the Declaration of Independence to refer to acts of Parliament governing the American colonies.
Peroutka also presented the audience with a contrast between what he sees as the “biblical worldview,” which he says is based on the idea of literal biblical creationism, and the “pagan worldview,” which he says is based on the theory of evolution.
The theory of evolution, he claimed, was responsible for the Columbine school shooting and the Holocaust, yet is still being taught through “the tragedy of public education.”
Bob Frey, a Michele Bachmann ally and Republican candidate for the Minnesota House of Representatives, wants public schools to teach students that humans and dinosaurs lived together.
Frey, who also has his ownbizarretheory about HIV/AIDS, alleged in a 2004 appearance before the Minnesota State Senate Education Committee that the fossil record proves that “dinosaurs have always lived with man,” and such “real science” should be taught in public schools.
Religious Right activists just can’t seem to get enough of movies about the purported persecution of Christians in America, churning out movies such as “God’s Not Dead,” “Uncommon” and “Persecuted.”
Answers In Genesis, the Young Earth Creationist group behind the Creation Museum, released a trailer yesterday for its very own persecution tale, “A Matter of Faith.”
The movie appears to center around a father who is upset that his daughter’s college biology professor isn’t giving equal time to “biblical Creation as a plausible alternative” to evolution. Like in “God’s Not Dead” — in which a student debates an atheist professor played by Kevin Sorbo — the worried father ends up debating the biology professor in a fight for his daughter’s soul.
AIG has routinely warned members that public schools and universities are leading young people away from Christianity by teaching them the science of evolution. As AIG head Ken Ham argues in his book “Already Gone,” schools and churches which don’t teach biblical accounts like Genesis as literal texts have led young people astray.
In a radio interview on Friday, Creation Museum founder Ken Ham attacked evolution as a “religion” that has “brainwashed” its adherents into thinking that they are observing a scientific theory.
Ham, a Young Earth Creationist, criticized Christians who believe in evolution by touching on the Creationist talking point that the Bible is the only eyewitness account of the history of the world.
“A lot of these Christian leaders, when they say the word ‘day’ [in Genesis] can’t mean an ordinary day because of science, it’s not observational science they’re referring to, it’s man’s historical science. In other words, man’s beliefs about evolution and millions of years,” Ham told VCY America’s Crosstalk.
“They’re taking man’s religion of millions of years and saying, ‘That’s why you can’t believe what the Bible says.’ If the word ‘day’ in Genesis 1 means an ordinary day and you say it can’t because of what man is saying, then you’ve just said God’s word is fallible and it’s man’s word that is infallible. No, it’s the other way around.”
“Don’t put your children in the enemy’s re-education camps where they’re taught they evolved from slime and their nearest relative is down at the zoo and that’s why they like bananas on their cereal, and where they don’t learn the real history of America,” Thomas said before charging that the “government education system” is state-imposed Unitarianism that unfairly demonizes the Pilgrims as people who “hated the Indians and deprived them of their land.”
Later in the interview, Thomas said the theory of evolution will inevitably lead to the murder of “the elderly and then, soon after that, the handicapped, the unwanted, the mentally unfit and the rest” while Obamacare will establish death panels that will decide “who gets care” based in part on “how much you’re contributing to the tax base.”
“I spent a lot of time in the UK and I studied the NHS and I hear these horror stories. This is coming to America. You’re going to have — now Sarah Palin called them death panels, the left didn’t like that— but there will be bureaucrats deciding who gets care, who gets surgery and who doesn’t based on your age, the cost of the procedure and a lot of other factors, how much you’re contributing to the tax base,” he said.
“It’s coming and the reason it’s coming is we’ve devalued human life among the unborn. It will now be attacked at the other end of life among the elderly and then soon after that the handicapped, the unwanted, the mentally unfit and the rest because once you decide that we’re evolutionary accidents, we weren’t created in the image and likeness of an objectively existing God who endows us with a right to life, then all bets are off.”
Host Joni Lamb then asked Thomas and Ralph Reed, the head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, “Twenty years ago, could you have ever imagined that America would have deteriorated in its moral values to the degree that we have here in 2014?”
“No, I would never have thought that it was possible,” Reed responded.
But Thomas said that Jesus “foresaw everything that was to come,” including the apparent collapse of America.
Religious Right activist Frank Turek claimed yesterday that Thomas Jefferson would lead a second American Revolution against the teaching of evolution.
In an interview on Washington Watch, Turek told the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins that by proscribing Creationism, public schools have effectively declared “that the Declaration of Independence is unconstitutional.”
“If [Jefferson] were to come back to America today and find that his tax dollars were going to pay public school teachers to teach his school children that his Declaration of Independence was unconstitutional, I think he’d start the Second American Revolution,” Turek insisted.
Perkins agreed: “I think you’re right.”
Turek: If these bureaucrats are going to say that we can’t mention Creation anywhere in school, I ask them this question: Are you telling me that the Declaration of Independence is unconstitutional? Because the Declaration of Independence talks about our Creator, it says we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, it says that we were created. Please don’t tell me the Declaration of Independence is unconstitutional. I think I know what Thomas Jefferson would do, the man who said that taxation without representation is tyranny, if he were to come back to America today and find that his tax dollars were going to pay public school teachers to teach his school children that his Declaration of Independence was unconstitutional, I think he’d start the Second American Revolution.
Dr. John Morris of the Institute for Creation Research explains that sickle cell anemia, a blood disorder that affords a selective advantage against malarial infection, demonstrates that evolution, unlike Creationism, is fundamentally flawed.
“Evolution says that beneficial mutations have occurred trillions of times, but their best example is the fatal disease,” John Morris said in a radio bulletin today. “The point is, they’re grasping at straws; the Creation story, like we’re told back in Genesis, it’s much more credible.”
Let PBS explain how this case actually proves that evolution occurs:
A gene known as HbS was the center of a medical and evolutionary detective story that began in the middle 1940s in Africa. Doctors noticed that patients who had sickle cell anemia, a serious hereditary blood disease, were more likely to survive malaria, a disease which kills some 1.2 million people every year. What was puzzling was why sickle cell anemia was so prevalent in some African populations.
Researchers found that the sickle cell gene is especially prevalent in areas of Africa hard-hit by malaria. In some regions, as much as 40 percent of the population carries at least one HbS gene.
It turns out that, in these areas, HbS carriers have been naturally selected, because the trait confers some resistance to malaria. Their red blood cells, containing some abnormal hemoglobin, tend to sickle when they are infected by the malaria parasite. Those infected cells flow through the spleen, which culls them out because of their sickle shape -- and the parasite is eliminated along with them.
Scientists believe the sickle cell gene appeared and disappeared in the population several times, but became permanently established after a particularly vicious form of malaria jumped from animals to humans in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
In areas where the sickle cell gene is common, the immunity conferred has become a selective advantage. Unfortunately, it is also a disadvantage because the chances of being born with sickle cell anemia are relatively high.
For parents who each carry the sickle cell trait, the chance that their child will also have the trait -- and be immune to malaria -- is 50 percent. There is a 25 percent chance that the child will have neither sickle cell anemia nor the trait which enables immunity to malaria. Finally, the chances that their child will have two copies of the gene, and therefore sickle cell anemia, is also 25 percent. This situation is a stark example of genetic compromise, or an evolutionary "trade-off."
On this week's "Hagee Hotline," Matthew Hagee answered a question from a viewer who wanted to know if sex education was ungodly by explaining that things like sex ed, science, English, and math are only ungodly if they are not taught from the perspective that "God is the source of all knowledge."
Provided that those being taught sex ed are told that they were created by God in order be fruitful and multiply for His glory, then it is fine. But, Hagee said, if it is taught from any other perspective in order to "teach perversion," then it is ungodly, just as "whenever you use science to teach the deception of evolution, that's ungodly":
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council alleged yesterday that people who agree with the scientific consensus regarding evolution and climate change are actually out of step with modern science.
Perkins, who has previously professed belief in Young Earth Creationism (the belief that the earth is only several thousand years old), said on Washington Watch that “the theory of evolution just doesn’t work when you consider all the holes, look at the fossil record, the molecular isolation, transitional difficulties, irreducible complexity, cyclical change, genetic limits, there are just so many holes and flaws in the evolutionary theory.”
He later compared the supposed problems with evolution to the purported flaws in climate science: “I remember a few years ago, it might have been Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson, made a reference to a hurricane or a storm being an act of God — it’s interesting that’s how we refer to some of these things in our insurance policies — they were ridiculed, saying ‘how dumb can you be?’ Well, there’s more to back that up than to say what’s happening in our environment, our climate, is because of people driving Suburbans or coal-fired power plants.”
During the controversy over Hobby Lobby’s refusal to provide its employees with contraception insurance coverage and the outrage over Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson’s being denied his supposed constitutional right to appear on television, we witnessed conservative activists stretch the limits of the meaning of religious freedom.
As Justice Scalia put it in Employment Division v. Smith, such an exaggerated view of religious freedom serves “to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.”
The Religious Right has increasingly brought this religious freedom argument into debates over gay rights and the teaching of evolution.
In Missouri, Republican lawmakers contend that public school students should get an exemption from any class on evolution — the bedrock of modern biology — if they think learning about science amounts to an “infringement on people’s beliefs”:
Rep. Rick Brattin, a Harrisonville Republican, said forcing students to study the natural selection theories developed by Charles Darwin a century and a half ago can violate their religious faith.
“It’s an absolute infringement on people’s beliefs,” Brattin said.
“Even though what’s being taught is just as much faith and, you know, just as much pulled out of the air as, say, any religion,” he said.
“The bill is one of several anti-evolution proposals that have already appeared in statehouses across the country,” TPM notes. “The proposals would allow for a range of approaches to evolution, from presenting a ‘debate’ over evolution versus creationism to requiring that local school boards allow intelligent design to be included in biology courses.”
And GOP lawmakers in at least three states are now citing religious freedom to claim that anti-gay discrimination that violates civil rights laws should not face any legal consequences.
Now there is a push in states including Tennessee, Idaho and Kansas to allow for legally protected discrimination. Mark Joseph Stern writes of the Kansas bill:
When passed, the new law will allow any individual, group, or private business to refuse to serve gay couples if “it would be contrary to their sincerely held religious beliefs.” Private employers can continue to fire gay employees on account of their sexuality. Stores may deny gay couples goods and services because they are gay. Hotels can eject gay couples or deny them entry in the first place. Businesses that provide public accommodations—movie theaters, restaurants—can turn away gay couples at the door. And if a gay couple sues for discrimination, they won’t just lose; they’ll be forced to pay their opponent’s attorney’s fees. As I’ve noted before, anti-gay businesses might as well put out signs alerting gay people that their business isn’t welcome.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to barring all anti-discrimination lawsuits against private employers, the new law permits government employees to deny service to gays in the name of “religious liberty.” This is nothing new, but the sweep of Kansas’ statute is breathtaking. Any government employee is given explicit permission to discriminate against gay couples—not just county clerks and DMV employees, but literally anyone who works for the state of Kansas. If a gay couple calls the police, an officer may refuse to help them if interacting with a gay couple violates his religious principles. State hospitals can turn away gay couples at the door and deny them treatment with impunity. Gay couples can be banned from public parks, public pools, anything that operates under the aegis of the Kansas state government.
It gets worse. The law’s advocates claim that it applies only to gay couples—but there’s no clear limiting principle in the text of the bill that would keep it from applying to gay individuals as well. A catch-all clause allows businesses and bureaucrats to discriminate against gay people so long as this discrimination is somehow “related to, orrelated to the celebration of, any marriage, domestic partnership, civil union or similar arrangement.” (Emphases mine.) This subtle loophole is really just a blank check to discriminate: As long as an individual believes that his service is somehow linked to a gay union of any form, he can legally refuse his services. And since anyone who denies gays service is completely shielded from any charges, no one will ever have to prove that their particular form of discrimination fell within the four corners of the law.