I 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 Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
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.