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I Want My (Liberal, Loving) Religious Liberties Upheld

by Alex Iwashyna

in Christianity, God (spirituality and religion), Progressive Politics

ITrustWomenI am a tax payer and have been since my first job as a camp counselor at 16. I don’t begrudge my taxes because I know that roads and schools and hospitals and military need money to run, and I don’t believe those entities should rely on fundraisers to exist.

I believe in freedom of religion. People should be able to practice their faiths without rancor or belittlement as long as the faith is not into human sacrifice and child brides.

But what people are calling religious liberty in reference to contraception requirements and Catholic-based charities, the Virginia bill so politely deemed the Conscience Clause, which allows faith-based adoption agencies to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples, and the multiple anti-abortion bills and laws in Virginia and throughout the United States, forget that I have religious liberties, too.

I understand that contraception, abortion and homosexuality are problematic to some versions of some faiths. I may strongly disagree with these stands, but I respect the right to hold religious beliefs outside of my understanding of God.

However, I do not respect the government’s right to use my money to fund organizations that discriminate against people who use contraception, who are homosexual or who have abortions.

I do not believe that homosexuality is a sin. I think literal translations of the Bible are convenient ways of ignoring the true nature of God. But my tax payer money will go to adoption agencies in Virginia who practice their faith by discriminating against loving couples who happen to be gay.

I do not believe that contraception is against God’s plan for women. God does not view women as baby-makers and sexless creatures. I think he had a good idea when he took Adam’s rib and made sure there was a clitoris, and I certainly don’t believe God wants women to die because of child-birth. But my tax payer money is given to Catholic charities and institutions to support anti-contraceptive propaganda.

I do not believe shaming women is within God’s plan, and requiring a medically unnecessary ultrasound before an abortion, as Virginia’s HB462 bill will and seven other states do, is about coercion, not science, medicine or a woman’s well-being. My tax payer dollars can’t go to the abortions, which, while difficult medical decision, I support women making that choice, but my money will go to upholding this law. My money also goes to faith-based institutions that routinely misinform women about abortions.

Why is no one worried about my religious liberties? And let’s not forget that non-religious people have liberties as well. We would all like to opt out of discriminatory acts, but we can’t because we pay taxes.

I would be more than willing to support the religious liberty of these groups if they would stop taking money from the state. I believe that Catholic Charities do good work despite certain beliefs, but their argument is: Leave us alone and leave the wallet. And that’s not how faith, democracy, separation of church and state and money works.

As long as faith-based organizations are taking my hard-earned money, I will fight to have my religious and moral liberties upheld as well as the millions of women and gay and lesbian friends who have the right to love and live and pay taxes that don’t go to groups who treat them like God makes mistakes.


Colbert’s hilarious take on the contraception crusade:

The Colbert ReportMon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Contraception Crusade
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

 

Also, a friend in Richmond started the Facebook page, I Trust Women, to upload photos in support of letting women make the best decisions for themselves and their families regarding their health. The I Trust Women image in this post is from that page and available to share.

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

patience salgado February 22, 2012 1

thank you A….thank you.

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The Many Thoughts of a Reader February 22, 2012 2

Word.

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Jackie February 22, 2012 3

I read your posts everyday in my email but I rarely comment but I had to today because this is amazing.
Everything about it true… well written… and needs to be seen by the masses.
That said I love that you were brave enough to write and post this!

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Jenn February 22, 2012 4

You = amazing. I love this post and am so happy someone has the courage to say what many are thinking. Thank you Alex!

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Teresa February 22, 2012 5

I have been waiting to see your liberal, faith-based response to all this nonsense. You didn’t disappoint. I have nothing more to add to this. Thanks.

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Late Enough February 23, 2012 6

I was nervous to delve in at first and even sat on this post for a night — your comment makes me so glad that I went ahead with it (although I’m also glad I took another night because the edits I made in the morning were needed to both be closer to what I believe and to make sense to others. also, now I’m babbling)

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Denise February 22, 2012 7

What a great post. The whole thing is crazy to me. I grew up in VA and I’m now in MD and the differences in legislation gong on right now are like night and day. Thanks for your awesome views.

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Stephanie February 22, 2012 8

A lot of what I’ve been reading about mandatory vaginal ultrasounds and all-male panels discussing birth control…it’s really, really frightening. I’m not in the US, but I’m close enough and realistic enough to be nervous when things like that happen so close to home.

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Anne at Always Half Full February 22, 2012 9

I think the most important point out of this is no matter what anyone believes (religious or otherwise), you are right that faith-based organizations shouldn’t be taking taxpayer money if they don’t want to follow the Constitution and numerous other laws put into place to protect ALL people. Plain and simple.

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Dazee Dreamer February 22, 2012 10

I completely agree with you. And last I heard, the gay and lesbians pay their taxes too. They have just as many rights and any other couple.

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Linda February 22, 2012 11

You have so eloquently stated a position that I share. Yeah!

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Leigh Ann February 22, 2012 12

I don’t delve into a lot of politics, Alex, but everything you write is exactly how I feel. No matter how much I went to church or studied the Bible, I would really have a hard time discriminating against someone because of their sexual preference and deny then basic human rights. It just doesn’t FEEL right to me to do that, and I have a hard time understanding why some do.

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Late Enough February 23, 2012 13

My friends refer to that as the “god spark” or that instinct where we know something isn’t right no matter what is popular or understood at the time. Of course, I always have to run my ideas by others since sometimes my “god sparks” are just alex wanting her way and wanting god to want alex’s way — but that’s a different post.

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Adrienne February 22, 2012 14

Exactly. Life in a republic is about balancing rights and needs, and this debate so far has been seriously out of balance.

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Carolyn West February 22, 2012 15

Alex… I can’t say I always agree with you 100% (except this time I absolutely do), but I always appreciate reading your arguments (for and against) because you are educated and eloquent and extremely passionate about the topics you write about.

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Late Enough February 23, 2012 16

I’m so glad you don’t agree 100% but still feel comfortable being here. Plus, how boring would I be if I was right all the time?

Thanks for your kind words — they mean so much.

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Marsha Haley February 23, 2012 17

I’m a relatively conservative Christian, but I have trouble understanding these crazy ideas that are being proposed regarding childbearing/childraising. Why aren’t people spending time focusing on the things that are truly deleterious to society, like crime, injustice, poverty, etc.?

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Rob R February 23, 2012 18

Nothing, I mean nothing boils my blood more that watching these crusty old Repiblicans try to take us back to 1955. I told my wife that if we didn’t need the money Id quit my job and work 24/7 to destroy the GOP. Perhaps in another life.

Anyway over at my humor blog The Mainland http://themainland.net I did some political cartoons on the very subject.

And in a few weeks I am moving to my own host and will be selling tshirts with My Uterus Supports President Obama on the front.

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Jim W. February 23, 2012 19

oh my. . . that IS a funny take on the whole contraceptive issue. Heh. . . issue.

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Jessica February 23, 2012 20

So well said. It truly is amazing to me, the things we are still fighting for in the year 2012. I hope that some day people look back and are shocked at what unfairness went on during our time.

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Skye February 23, 2012 21

Sometimes I don’t comment because I can’t think of anything meaningful to add. That happens way too often with your thoughtful political/opinion posts and then I feel bad! I just want to say I love this post and I love when you eloquently speak out about your liberal beliefs. You provide the words to explain how I feel. You rock.

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Late Enough February 23, 2012 22

Thank you for letting me know — taking the time to comment helps me to keep writing.
And just so you know, eloquence is never a requirement on this blog. Wait, that doesn’t sound right…

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Elspeth February 23, 2012 23

As I have read all of the articles around Personhood and trans-vaginal ultra sounds, I have felt a series of strong emotions about my home state, ranging from shame and embarassment to anger and frustration. Reading your post reminds me of all the reasons that I miss Virginia and the people in it. Thank you for your strong and graceful testament, Alex. I may not be able to put my feelings about all of this into words very well, so it is relieving and exciting to read the way you summed it all up exactly right.

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Karen Henry February 24, 2012 24

As a published author (wink), one would think I would have eloquent words to add, but simply, all there is is thanks, Alex, thanks.

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Melonie February 24, 2012 25

*clap clap clap*
Standing O, baby. Thank you. So well spoken.

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Katie February 24, 2012 26

bwhahaha…sorry. I am all distracted by Stephen Colbert. “cock blocking God” and “Bishop Bucks”. bwhahahahaha!!!

No seriously. Yes. I have no fricking idea how some people rationalize this crap. It seems to go against ALL forms of logic, yet there are people who find that THIS is logical? Ugg.

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Pish Posh February 26, 2012 27

I’m with you 100% sister. Well written and thanks for writing it!

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