Monday, March 2

Why religious fundamentalism and politics shouldn't mix

On the floor of the Colorado State Senate on February 23, Senator Scott Renfroe (R-Greeley) actually referred to gay and lesbian people as an "abomination" and an "offense to God."

It gets worse: Renfroe equated gay and lesbian people with murderers and quoted the Book of Leviticus suggesting that gay people should be put to death. He also said that women were created to be "helpers" for men, quoting the Book of Genesis. You can watch his rant on YouTube.

Renfroe was referring to Senate Bill 88, a bill that would extend healthcare coverage to the same-sex partners of CO state employees. SB 88 is about healthcare. It's about gaining some measure of equality for gay and lesbian state employees. And regardless of how people like James Dobson and Scott Renfroe feel about gay people, their shameless hate-mongering has no place in public debate and we should reject them completely.

Respond to Scott Renfroe via ProgressNowColorado, from which some of this message above was obtained. Or, write your own letter to:

Scott Renfroe
Colorado State Senator, District 13
200 E. Colfax
Denver, CO 80203

This letter clarifies the LGBT community's position and Renfroe's misguided speech well--feel free to use parts of it as a sample in your own letter. Let him know hate speech--especially within our government's own walls--will not be tolerated.

Dear Mr. Renfroe,

Recently on the Senate floor, it was your statement that our country was founded on certain beliefs which you hold. The implication was that our country was founded on one version of Christianity. If we go back and look at the situation of our founders, one of the strong reasons we founded our own union was to be free from the violent and murderous religious persecution of England. It is partly because of this experience of persecution our founders believed in a strong sense of religious freedom and that no one religious interpretation should be upheld in our laws if we are to have true religious freedom. (As a side note, some of our founders were actually atheists and deists, not all of them were Christians though one common belief held them together and that is their belief in the implementation of religious freedom.) History has shown the bloody, violent and discriminating effects of instituted religion and your readings on the floor of the senate point to verses commonly perceived as and used to support death as punishment for homosexuality. This is a good example of the value of religious freedom. In the past, religion has been a convenient advocate for everything from slavery and segregation to the oppression of women's equal rights. Our country is a melting pot of many different types of people, religions, races and sexualities and you must consider the diversity within your constituents in order to represent the group fairly. To single one group out and deny them equal access to life-saving healthcare by citing one specific set of religious beliefs is against the nature of our union and also the belief in equality held by our President who holds very high approval ratings. I urge you to do some research into the positions of the following groups on the issue of homosexual equality as they all cite research and fact as support of their positions: The American Psychological Association, The American Psychiatric Association, The Academy of Pediatrics, The National Association of Social Workers and more. I urge you to apologize and retract your statements on the Senate floor, as they speak for religious intolerance and cold discrimination, two things that history has shown to be an embarrassing mistake.

Laura Elizabeth Woodson


Anonymous said...

The abmination in all this is the thinking of people like Renfrow. It's truly appalling.

Katherine Aucoin said...

I believe live and let live and let God decide. We weren't put here to be God.

Very well written letter; I admire your passion.

BlackenedBoy said...

Now I know your real name and can totally Facebook you!

I agree with you 100%, and would even if I weren't gay.

The fact of the matter is, decisions regarding laws that effect the entirety of the population cannot be made on the basis of religious beliefs within a single faction of it.

Any politician who uses theology to support his argument for a certain policy has strayed from the vision that our Founders intended and that our Constitution ordains.

That's why I believe that the same-sex marriage bans in so many states (including my own) are un-Constitutional; they prohibit a certain right to a subset of society without demonstrating any need for the denial or any benefit conferred upon the public at large.

One day, gay marriage will be legal in all fifty states, though I doubt that we will ever fully rid the world of the kind of ignorance and bigotry demonstrated by the Colorado state senator, who no dubt is unaffected by the statements of such partisan organizations as the American Psychology Association.

Electronic Goose said...

BB, That's not my name or letter but a friend's. I'm not that easy. ;)

BlackenedBoy said...

Oh, you sly goose.