WASHINGTON — The Trump administration announced on Thursday that it was expanding religious freedom protections for doctors, nurses and other health care workers who object to performing procedures like abortion and gender reassignment surgery, satisfying religious conservatives who have pushed for legal sanctuary from the federal government.
“President Trump’s promises are becoming a reality,” said Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council. “Americans should not be forced to choose between their faith and their desire to help patients.”
It has been a bugaboo in the religious wingnut community for 20 years now that someday a gay-hating pastor would be forced to marry two dudes. Like two dudes, who want to get married, are hunting around for an officiant, and are gonna walk into the Westboro Baptist Church and be like “I know your sign says ‘God Hates Fags’ but WE WOULD LIKE TO GET VERY GAY MARRIED HERE PLEASE.”
Because that’s a thing that happens a lot.
The gay-hating pastor would refuse, of course, because of JAYSUS, and the two would-be grooms would then sue, claiming their rights had been violated. Churches would be shut down, religious leaders imprisoned, dogs and cats living together, etc etc. All the gold crosses would be melted down to make into urinals to install at The Man-Hole.
This is the nightmare with which wingnuts whipped up their flocks in the early 2000s and its the nightmare they expanded in recent years to predict anti-abortion doctors sued for refusing to provide abortion services, and anti-birth-control pharmacists forced to handle the unholy demon Pill.
It’s not just the backwoods snake-handlers claiming this. I once sat at lunch and listened to a now-deceased Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago proudly declare to a roomful of rich bigots that he was prepared to go to prison rather than marry a same-sex couple. He got a standing ovation, because everybody’s ready to climb up on the cross until they see the box of nails.
Now our great religious leaders themselves know no such thing is about to happen, because they understand the difference between the First Amendment and the shit they put in their sermons. They’re not idiots and they have entire legal departments advising them for a reason, and those lawyers are not earning their cash if they’re not saying, “Your Eminence, no way in FUCK is anybody ever going to make you hitch ’em. Nobody wants to get married by a sour-faced old prick what don’t wanna be there.”
Their followers, though, accustomed as they are to respecting the church’s authority and taking what their spiritual leaders say seriously? (Which by the way, I don’t actually think is a terrible thing in the absence of this kind of bullshit?) Those followers believed it, and spread the word, and pretty soon we were one performative atheist protesting a city hall Nativity away from a full-on religious war.
Now we’re expanding the nightmare scenario yet again. Now a doctor who doesn’t want to provide surgeries for transgender people is somehow going to be forced to do so.
Never mind that Jesus says exactly nothing in the Bible about gender transition and somehow this all got lumped into that one bit of Leviticus which bans same-sex blowies but also seems to prohibit football and polyester. Never mind, also, that to provide these types of surgeries you have to volunteer to be trained and then receive extensive training in, you know, how to actually do the surgeries in question. Never mind all that.
Just for funsies, let’s take the bigots at face value and play their little scenario out here.
You, a person who wishes to have genital sex-reassignment surgery: “Hello there, I would like you to operate on me please.”
A doctor who has Sincerely Held Religious Beliefs: “I am against such a thing and will not do it as it would violate my contract with God. I am strongly opposed to doing this. You are an abomination.”
You, an idiot: “I can think of no better person to be my surgeon for this insanely expensive, not-at-all-fraught, difficult operation than a person who hates the very idea of it, me, etc. I DON’T CARE IF YOU REFUSE, YOU’RE HIRED!”
Like in what universe do we imagine this is a commonplace occurrence? A doctor is out there advertising he or she will provide this surgery and then when an actual person comes in to request a surgery the doctor says LOL JUST KIDDING? Do religious conservatives think you can get these services at the Kwik Trip, like walk into any small-town ER and be like, “Time for my surgery now, Unlucky Intern on Duty!”
And don’t throw the bakery thing in my face unless you really want a lot of bad frosting analogies regarding the difference between purporting to offer services to the public and then gotcha-ing unsuspecting members of that public.
Forced. I mean.
What these jackholes really think is that they’re being forced to consider the lives of people not like them. They’re being forced to realize that where they are is not all the world. They’re being forced to justify the way they live based solely on the way they want to live and not on the absence of difference, and being forced to stand on their own ground and make their own arguments scares the shit out of them.
And that’s something they should very much be FORCED to do.