If you were paying attention, you may have noticed a shift in the orientation of the bills coming out of the Republican-controlled state legislatures in the past few months. As with the recently vetoed bill in Arizona, they increasingly use the term “religious freedom” to justify intolerance and bigotry. Much of this pandering on social issues is to give their voters a reason to support them at the polls, and continue to vote against their own interests. They were doing very well using the old “family values” ploy to do this for so many years, so one might wonder what’s behind this new framing.
The right has long used religious freedom to fight various aspects of Obama’s healthcare plan, make changes to the educational system, and justify the oppression of women. Now it is the go-to excuse for most issues. All of these measures are unconstitutional, regardless of the justification for them—every single one. Even the present Supreme Court has refused to allow any of these measures to remain law. In light of that, why do they keep bringing them up and passing them, and why do the voters keep supporting them? What do they have to gain? Continue reading