Friday, June 4, 2010

Their Religion Is Politics

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) spoke up at at town meeting in Utah on the state of the GOP:

He said the Republicans need to organize and pull together just as unions, environmentalists, personal injury lawyers and gay rights activists do for Democrat candidates.

“Gays and lesbians don’t pay tithing, their religion is politics,” said Hatch.

Aside from the cultural stereotyping that gays and lesbians are not religious — a statement not borne out by the facts — he also assumes that all gays and lesbians are political; again, a statement not borne out by the facts. Not only that, Mr. Hatch is making this statement as a senator from the state of Utah, which is overwhelmingly dominated by a faith — the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, aka the Mormons — that is not only very powerful by its sheer numbers, it is deeply steeped in politics and the use thereof to get its way. The Mormons played a significant role in the passage of Prop 8 in California, rescinding the rights of same-sex couples to marry. So when Mr. Hatch speaks about tithing, he doesn’t seem to have any objection to the money going to a political cause that he supports.

It’s not just the Mormons. Religious leaders such as Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell have been the biggest mouths in leading the charge against gay rights and marriage equality, speaking out not on the basis of civil rights but on the imposition of their religious beliefs on the secular society. For these and a lot of members of the Religious Right, politics is their means of getting their religion into the laws and foundation of this country.

Mr. Hatch’s sweeping generalization about gays, lesbians, and faith and practice is just as odious as the prejudices that percolate about the Mormon faith. His assumption that gay people can’t be religious is on the same level that all Mormons practice polygamy, all Catholic priests are pedophiles, and all Muslims are terrorists. He’s also equating an innate trait — being gay — with a conscious choice of belonging to a religious denomination. Perhaps he believes that being gay is just as much a choice as being Mormon or Catholic, but even if he does, it shows a stunning ignorance that he would make the sweeping assumption that all gays are atheists and are out to win over the country by forcing their Radical Homosexual Agenda onto the nation. And even if they were, they have as much of a right to do it as the Mormons or any other group that wishes to make their voices heard.

Perhaps Mr. Hatch is envious of the organizations that the Democrats have aligned with them that support them and he wishes that the GOP wasn’t so self-destructive, i.e. the teabaggers that brought down Bob Bennett, his fellow Senator from Utah. Or perhaps he’s just a sniveling bigot who can’t pass up the chance to do a little gay-bashing.