Bob Peters 61's Homepage

 Conservatives think their rights have to be your and my wrongs.

 

There exists in conservative ideology, at least in my lifetime (born when John F. Kennedy was President), this notion that for you and I to be free to live, believe and behave differently from them must somehow undermine conservatives'  freedom to live, believe and behave as they've been trained in their upbringing.

I caught on to this back in the 1970s when the big issue was teacher-led prayer in public schools.  When a very different Supreme Court than we have today ruled that teachers in public schools couldn't use their authority to impose their own religious observances on the students whose families are free under the First Amendment to raise them under different religious beliefs, all you heard from conservatives was, "They're kicking God out of the public schools!  What a disaster!"

Even though I was still in Elementary School at the time, I could clearly tell that the actual issue wasn't leaving students free to pray, as the conservatives claimed, but rather allowing teachers to violate their students' freedom to pray differently from them by imposing their own prayer, and doing so on the taxpayers' dime.  I just couldn't figure out why all the adults in my little town in the Bible Belt couldn't process that as well.

If parents want their children "educated" under a specific religious dogma, then there are church schools out there for that purpose, paid for by churches rather than The State. And if there isn't one in their town, then they need to take that up with their own church, including how to raise the necessary funds.

It quickly became clear to me that conservatives thought that their Freedom of Religion was that to violate yours and mine, and that if The State didn't impose their beliefs and/or observances on others, then it was violating their right to follow said beliefs and/or observances.  In other words, if the power of government wasn't used to deny you and me our Freedom of Religion, then the "Christian" conservatives were being denied their Freedom of Religion by extending it to others in accordance with the Constitution.

At present time we see it in the Marriage Equality debate.  "If queers can marry each other of the same sex, then it destroys the Institution of Marriage," is the lament of conservatives today.

Quite frankly, the only way another man's sex life could possibly be any of my business would be as sexual competition.  So if he's into other guys, that's not my concern.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Elizabeth Taylor undermined the Holy Institution of Marriage.  George Takei did not.  Britney Spears marrying an old friend of the opposite sex for less than a week just for an excuse to stop pretending to be a virgin and get on with re-inventing herself into an adult sex symbol was an insult to the institution of Marriage.  Melissa Etheridge living in a committed, monogamous relationship with a woman she calls her wife, who has stuck with her though cancer, isn't.

Yet, that appears to be what passes for Conservatism these days.  And that's why I've decided to embrace the word, "liberal" myself.  I grew up in the heart of Right-Wing Central smelling what was there.  How could I possibly not know better myself?