Far Right Religious Organizations vs. Individual Freedoms

This article was written by Cath Kestler, a Silver Creek resident.


By practicing what we advocate and with any kind of acceptance that we expect from others, let’s stop being so damn judgmental and crucifying everyone who doesn’t fit in to our boxed-in perception of what is right.  ~~    Kemmy Nola

Society as a whole has become more accepting of gays and lesbians than they did just ten years ago.

CHURCH+STATEA central tenet of the American way of life is individual freedom.  All of us should be able to make our own decisions about our private affairs without interference from far-right religious organizations that seek to impose a narrow interpretation of the bible on everyone.

Religious Right groups do not support personal choice. Instead, they oppose church-state separation and seek political power to mandate their doctrines.

The hostility towards the LGBT Americans is well known.  For years, these groups have spewed hateful venom toward LGBT people and used the proceeds from their multi-million dollar operations to try to gain “dominion” over the government.

It is difficult just to “come out”; the LGBT community has come a long way in the past ten years, including the equality of the choices to marry.  The LGBT community continues to struggle for equal rights.

In many states, you do not have the right to protection from harassment and discrimination.  A majority of the states can deny you job security; you can be fired just for being gay.

A Rowan County clerk in Kentucky has denied granting same-sex couples marriage certificates three times, citing it being against her religious beliefs.  This has been happening since the Supreme Court decision that was brought forth two months ago.  This clerk continues to deny issuing licenses.  As of 8/26/2015, she has been ordered by the court to start issuing marriage certificates as of Monday, August 31, 2015.  Unbeknownst to the clerk, she issued a license to a transgendered man and a pansexual woman based on appearances.

There are also bakeries that refuse to bake cakes for LGBT couples—it never occurred to me that baking a cake was considered participating in the marriage.  Restaurants have been reported to refuse reservations for receptions to LGBT couples.  I’m glad to see that small businesses can afford to turn away good paying customers based on religious beliefs.  I certainly wouldn’t patronize an establishment with the criteria to refuse serve to law-abiding citizens.

These appear to be close-minded people that fear the unknown; or unfamiliar and that is what the LGBT community is to them.  Love is what we are born with.  Fear is what we have learned here.  The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and the acceptance of love back into our hearts.

While speaking to friends and family regarding LGBT issues, my cousin, Bobby was very forthcoming and willing to answer a few questions.

Bobby took a few days and really put thought into his answers; I first asked him what was the most difficult thing to deal with as a LGBT man?  ‘Opposition that comes from close family and relatives can take an enormous toll out of someone’s life.  It is the most difficult to see parents who deny their children the right to live with their own individuality, so far as to completely shut them away until there is no more light left to be seen.  Another answer for it:  to this date, the most ridiculous notion we must deal with in the LGBT community is whether or not this life we live is chosen or genetics.  This is so absurd because when you are bullied so severely throughout your entire life for this, and to the point of wanting to commit suicide, don’t you think that most of us would have considered “choosing” a different avenue than continuing to be tormented for it?’

He continues to go on, ‘Acceptance is amongst the one most important point in the LGBT community.  The general public should understand that being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender is just something special that a person is born to be.  It’s not a chosen factor that a person decides to do one day, and we would see a real positive change if our world was able to accept LGBT as just another personal identification, rather than a stereo-typed group.’

The one thing the LGBT community wants to see come out of the Supreme Court ruling?  ‘The biggest step we could take as Americans is getting past this whole “religious freedom” facade that many on the opposition of the gay rights movement use in order to continue treating us with inequality.  If we were able to get to a place where we can recognize each other as diverse humans beings living in this world together, rather than with a closed or judgmental mind set, then he believes we could reach true success on the forefront of equality amongst our people.’

My Golden Rule: treat others as you would want them to treat you.  If we all could take this into consideration, life would be much, much easier.  Don’t you agree?

Cath Kestler, a Silver Creek resident

About pystew

Retired Teacher, political science geek, village trustee. I lean a little left, but like a good political discussion. My blog, the New NY 23rd (http://newny23rd) is about discussing the issues facing the people of our new congressional district. Let's hear all sides of the issues, not just what the candidates want us to hear.
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11 Responses to Far Right Religious Organizations vs. Individual Freedoms

  1. Barbara Griffin says:

    Totally agree.


  2. josephurban says:

    Keep in mind that the payoff to the far right religious groups has been substantial. President GW Bush, by executive order (not an act of Congress) established “faith-based” payoffs, funneling tax dollars to “religious” groups. In one year alone over 2.2 BILLION was transferred. I guess it was not considered a”redistribution” of tax dollars by the Congress. And I don’t recall anyone calling him a “dictator” for this unilateral action.
    The rewards to the GOP have been substantial. They have a solid right wing religious constituency that they can depend on…as long as the dollars keep flowing. And Mr Obama seems not to have the political will or power to change that system significantly. He could do so with an executive order himself.


  3. Deb Meeker says:

    Good points!


  4. Deb Meeker says:

    Some are calling for churches and religious groups to lose tax exemption status, especially if they push political affiliation on their members in literature and from the pulpit.
    “In order to maintain tax-exempt status, churches, like other 501(c)(3)
    charitable organizations, must forego certain activities. Specifically,
    501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from engaging in excessive political
    lobbying and any political campaigning. According to the IRS, Sec. 501(c) of the IRS Code requires that a tax-exempt religious organization “may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate at all in campaign activity for or against political candidates.”

    The LGBTQ populations have never fully received their Constitutional rights in this country. There will always be groups ready to use their misguided “religious” fervor to keep the ‘sinners of the day’ – Native Americans, Blacks, always women, and LGBT persons – in lower social status, with fewer protections under the law.


  5. whungerford says:

    The author writes that “a central tenet of the American way of life is individual freedom.” She goes on to explain that we should be able to make decisions about our private affairs without interference from religious organizations. Doubtless she is right, but I am uneasy about celebrating individual freedom without linking it with “justice for all.” It isn’t enough that parents are free to put their children to bed hungry in a land of plenty. Indeed, the question of private interests vs. the public interest is at the heart of political struggle today.

    I am also uneasy about the characterization of religious groups that seek to impose their beliefs on others as “far-right.” If far-right implies ultraconservative–extremely resistant to change–this may be accurate in some cases. Still, I think it might be better to replace far-right with intolerant which has a clearer meaning.


  6. whungerford says:

    Perhaps we should drop the requirement that churches stay out of politics. This rule is seldom enforced. Given “Citizens United,” the influence of churches is likely inconsequential. I think the rule was based on fear that church authorities could compel parishioners to vote as the authorities wished. This is not likely true.


  7. Deb Meeker says:

    Speaking for myself, not the author – when I read ” far right religious groups”, I read: those of a religious ideology that would work to remove or prevent MY individual Constitutional rights; those who work to ensure THEIR religious tenets to be forced on all people. For example, as a lesbian, my right to marry whom I choose, my right to procreate or not, my right to equal pay for equal work, my right to be treated fairly under the law in general – is anathema to those groups who would be seen as “God’s Army in Love”. In the cases of outright unlawful discrimination, up to and including death for those labeled ‘sinners’ – it’s touching on cult-like more than religion.
    Where in the US Constitution is intolerance enshrined?


  8. BOB McGILL says:

    ” All of us should be able to make our own decisions about our private affairs without interference from far-right religious organizations that seek to impose a narrow interpretation of the bible on everyone.”
    SO HOW IS A PARADE DOWN MAIN STREET A ” PRIVATE AFFAIR ” ? Perhaps if they were not so forceful and kept it a little ” MORE PRIVATE ” THEY WOULD BE MORE SUCCESSFUL, and not subjected to so much discrimination. Maybe people just don’t like the ” IN YOUR FACE ” approach. Lots of people have been gay for hundreds of years and it worked just fine. You might think differently if you had one STALK AND THREATEN YOU.

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  9. catkestler says:

    I simply chose not to use the word intolerant because far right religious groups has the right connotation I was reaching for. It hits home to those who I wish to see this as what it is. Practicing intolerance on a daily basis to whomever they set their sights on.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. josephurban says:

    The term “far right” has come to mean those who seek to impose an authoritarian , Old Testament doctrine on the rest of us. It may not be the proper term (technically speaking), but it has acquired that meaning. Intolerance is one of the characteristics. But some people on the left are also intolerant so that word by itself does not work to describe only the fundamentalists..


  11. BOB McGILL says:

    About 37,900,000 resultsSexuality of Jesus – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Bob Goss the author of Jesus Acted Up, A Gay and Lesbian Manifesto and
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