Soon To Be Former (Thank God) Congresswoman Michele Bachmann,
There are very few words that can accurately describe just what malady you have made yourself on the United States of America. You are a symptom of a great illness that has always managed to make life insufferable for one group or another. Americans it seems have always had to grapple with a group among their ranks that just can’t keep their God out of everybody else’s lives, and while some have been able to play the role of theologian-cum-politician with at least some grace and an empathetic ear, you are simply the card-carrying bigot of your time; the female George Wallace, and I’m sick and tired, madam, of having to genuflect to the First Amendment every time you let forth from your mouth hole with the kind of backwards, antiquated and just plain mean pabulum that you try to pass off as intellectual dialogue. So I’m going to call upon my own First Amendment privileges now, and while I harbor no delusions that this letter will reach your dead eyes, nor that it will be comprehended in that vacuum that rests upon your neck, but I write this letter on behalf of everyone who is fed up with God, Jesus and the Holy Scripture being used both as a cudgel to bludgeon people with, and as a shield against any criticism, no matter how justified or earned.
In a recent Yahoo! interview, you chastised fellow Republican Jan Brewer, who as the governor of Arizona vetoed the bill sent to her by the Republican-controlled state house and senate. The bill would have made it totally acceptable for anyone to discriminate against someone else provided the basis for their discrimination is based in a firmly-held religious belief. You spoke of Brewer’s decision in negative terms and said, “I believe that tolerance is a two-way street, and we need to respect everyone’s rights, including the rights of people who have sincerely held religious beliefs,” and “Just like we need to observe tolerance for the gay and lesbian community, we need to have tolerance for the community of people who hold sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Sincerely held religious beliefs. That is clearly the rhetoric that some focus group work has produced for you socially conservative, bigoted Neanderthals. It makes sense. Lean on that ol’ constitutional guarantee of the freedom of religious expression and ride it until the cows come home. You’re not a bigot! You just have a sincerely held religious belief. Don’t worry! History won’t judge you harshly, because you had a sincerely held religious belief.
You know who else had sincerely held religious beliefs, Ms. Bachmann? The 9/11 hijackers. The Taliban, they have deeply-held religious beliefs too, Michele. Oh, and also Charlie Manson, Jim Jones and David Koresh. They all had sincerely held religious beliefs. As did Hitler. He sincerely believed that people of the Jewish faith were vermin, needing to be exterminated. (h/t Godwin)
So you see, Michele, that religion isn’t a cloak you can wrap yourself in while you subjugate a class of people, because after centuries of recorded history many of us are perfectly attuned to your ilk’s messaging. Sincerely held religious beliefs are not now, nor have they ever been an acceptable reason for discrimination, not ever. Sure, at the time of one oppressive policy or another biting the dust, the people like you who have tried to obfuscate their ignorance with religious dogma and the claim that “God wants it that way.” Yet, you religious nutbags always lose because your fundamentalism isn’t an intellectual argument unto itself, no matter how hard you try to make it so.
I’m not trying to imply that people who believe in or practice a religion can’t be highly intellectual. Of course they can. But when discussing matters of public policy — slavery, women’s suffrage, interracial marriage, Jim Crow laws, and now LGBT equality — you fundies keep forgetting that you’re not really in the majority. I literally just read a piece in The Washington Post that got into this phenomenon. In summation — basically you guys live in a fantasy world where you’re the silent majority, and no matter how much polling data we show that bears out undeniably that you are indeed in the minority, you choose to believe you are not, and therefore you see skewed polls in 2012 and you think in 2014 more people actually want to keep oppressing gay, lesbian and transgender people and they just aren’t being asked.
Here’s the real, pure, unfiltered truth for you Bachmann — not all sincerely held religious beliefs are equal. It’s one thing to believe that through belief in Jesus Christ all your sins can be washed away and you’ll enter the Kingdom of Heaven upon your death. It’s another to believe that the Bible gives you a right to punch babies in the face. One belief has absolutely zero negative effects on society, and the other would cause a run on babies for all the baby face punchin’. Let’s try another couple examples, because I know with people like you it doesn’t sink in the first time you are told something.
Perfectly Acceptable Religious Belief: God was so angry at how sinful humanity had gotten so he decided to punish all life on Earth (seems a bit excessive to kill all but two of every species just because those damned shaved apes were being bad kids, but hey, it’s your disco) and he flooded the planet for 40 days and 40 nights, with just a single ark carrying the surviving members of every species — even apparently the ones deep down on the ocean’s floor that humanity has yet to discover — and life on Earth was saved by God’s grace and that’s why we have rainbows.
Totally Unacceptable Religious Belief: I get to burn crosses and blow up churches because I believe God made the races separate for a reason.
Starting to understand yet, Michele? No? Okay, one more example then.
Perfectly Acceptable Religious Belief: Jesus Christ died for your sins on a cross of wood.
Totally Unacceptable Religious Belief: I’m going to murder that doctor who performs abortions, for God.
The point I’m trying to make is a simple one — religious beliefs have never been, nor will they ever be an acceptable basis for hurting other people or infringing on their basic human rights. Religious beliefs that don’t promote hurting a whole class or subset of people — right on, no problem there. But oppressive policy is oppressive policy, and it doesn’t matter whether you use God, Jesus, or Yoda to justify it.
I don’t give a good goddamn about what you believe when you stroll into that tabernacle every Sunday, Michele, I really and truly don’t. I don’t actually care what anyone believes in their hearts or minds. You are right about one thing — you and every other bigoted, right-wing religious zealot has a right to believe things are abominations in God’s eyes. You have every right to spout that craziness out loud and in public. In fact, I encourage you to do so since it makes it so much easier to hold you up and make an example of you when you put your nastiness on public display. However, what you don’t have, and never will have, is the right to create laws that give anyone power to discriminate on someone based on those beliefs, because well, frankly not everyone shares your beliefs.
Maybe that’s your real problem when it’s all said done; you just don’t have a place in a society that truly is religion-neutral like ours is. You don’t belong in a place where all people’s beliefs — from deeply religious to completely atheistic — are honored and respected. See, what you’re really demanding, and what you’re really promoting with your support of bills like the one now lying face down in a gutter in Arizona, is that your religious beliefs not be respected or tolerated. No, you are demanding that they take supremacy over everyone else’s beliefs, and that is truly ironic because I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard conservatives complain that no one deserves special treatment. So I’m thinking that America, a land where not only do we have to accept your freedom of religion, but you have to accept our freedom from it, is not for you, Ms. Bachmann.
You really would be better off in a world where you in the majority. You truly would probably find more happiness and contentment in a country where your religious views were the norm, and where no one would bat an eyelash at you spouting religious texts as the basis for any and all laws you create. You could write laws that no woman could hold a job, much less read or write. You could write a law where abortion is illegal, period. You could write a law where if someone is caught stealing, you get to cut their hand off Bible Times Style. You could write a law that demands deference your deity of choice six times daily.
And you know what? You’re in luck! There’s a place like that, here on Earth, and we even have a ton of frequent flyer miles to and from that country, so you might be able to get your ticket cheap or free, if you don’t mind parachuting in.
So when should I book your flight to Afghanistan, and do you want an aisle or window seat?