Could Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto of the controversial anti-gay “Religious Freedom” bill, known as SB 1062, signify a turning point in the right wing evangelicals lunatics holding the Republican Party hostage? The religious liberty scams being pulled by people like Mike Huckabee and Rep. Michele Bachmann, is literally creating a huge problem for the Republican Party. The GOP is literally at war with itself. Well, the tide may be turning with Gov. Brewer’s veto.
Any political advantage the Republican Party hoped to gain by positioning itself as tireless warriors for the religiously devout is imploding. The efforts to apply the same religious freedom argument to anti-gay measures in states such as Arizona, Georgia and Mississippi, are being met with strong resistance. This is eerily reminiscent of the Civil Rights era, when blacks and many whites fought for racial justice and equality. Yes, against some religious scam artists. The fact is, SB 1062, and other similar bills, not only gained resistance from liberals, but from business leaders, Republican celebrities and GOP political officials. We are all collectively giving the religious right extremists a dose of their own medicine — the middle finger.
Republican Gov. Jan Brewer decided to buck the trend, despite the rallying cries from conservative windbag Rush Limbaugh, Rep. Michele Bachmann and many others, who felt that discriminating against the gay community was the right thing to do, for their own self-righteous sake. Gov. Brewer decided with whom she would stand and vetoed Arizona’s right-to-discriminate bill. She is now one of powerful group of conservatives who understand that religious freedom can’t be used as a tool for exemption from every law or issue conservatives don’t like. The threat to religious freedom can’t be imagined. It has to be verifiable. Gov. Brewer effectively admitted as such during her speech.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper had proven during an interview with GOP state senator Al Melvin, a supporter of SB 1062, that the freak-out from the religious right over discrimination because of their religious beliefs was imagined and not factual. Melvin could not provide one example of what needs to be protected.
The ‘Stand Your Religion‘ law is akin to the ‘Stand Your Ground‘ law that allows people in Florida and in other states where it’s a law, to shoot dead anyone who ‘threatens’ them. No matter if the threat is imagined. Michael Dunn shot an unarmed black teen, Jordan Davis, over an altercation about ‘loud music.’ He could have very easily moved his vehicle if the music was such a bother. No, the gun gave him a sense of invincibility. So, he decided to start an argument with the teen, ending in a fatality. Curtis Reeves fatally shot Chad Oulson in Florida, after the two argued about the latter texting at a movie theater. The threat to retired police officer Reeves was a bag of popcorn.
Brewer said, “Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona.” “To the supporters of the legislation, I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before. Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes. However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve. It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want. Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value, so is non-discrimination.” In other words, Gov. Brewer recognizes bullsh*t when she sees it. Namely SB 1062.
Brewer’s veto sends a strong message to the other states toying around with similar legislation. It’s not going to pass the smell test, much less be signed into law. There are far too many influential players on the sidelines in this dogfight. This uprising engineered by the right wing evangelicals is losing steam.
Of course, National Review editor Rich Lowry, is one of many Republicans who disagree with Brewer’s veto. He called it “foolish.”
A religious freedom statute doesn’t give anyone carte blanche to do whatever he wants in the name of religion. It simply allows him to make his case in court that a law or a lawsuit substantially burdens his religion and that there is no compelling governmental interest to justify the burden.
I have to ask Rich Lowry, should blacks have simply walked away from lunch counters where they weren’t welcomed to find other establishments? Or should they have found another means of getting to and from work after being told to sit at the back of the bus? The fact is, Gov. Brewer just sent the message that those days are over when the right wing thought it could push its agenda while hiding behind the claim of religious freedom.
In closing, let me address the Stand Your Ground law because there are some shades of Jim Crow laws evident. Jordan Davis is our new Emmett Till. Florida Gov. Rick Scott should make the same argument about his state’s controversial ‘Stand Your Ground’ law. He said he would have vetoed the Arizona bill. How many more people, particularly young men, need to be killed in Florida before he takes a stand and ends this law?