Go on a Demonstration – Religious Freedom Restoration Act

I am not generally one to do the big active outdoors demonstrations, I am the one doing the organizing in the back or writing letters or such. Virtual demonstrations are better in my opinion.

I did a very small demonstration in 1996 (I believe?) with a few people in response to Ft Lauderdale attempting to pass legislation against gays being employed in the city. We did it through “Americans for Equality.” It was small and it was around polling places.

However, in 2015, yes 2015 nearly 20 years after it was defeated in Ft Lauderdale, almost the EXACT SAME LAW is coming up brought up by the illustrious Georgia legislatures under the guise of religious freedom. This is the “Georgia Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” a law primarily designed to prevent businesses from having to hire or to serve gay and/or transgendered people because it goes against their religious beliefs.

Today March 17, 2015, there was a rally at the Capitol building of Georgia. It was a very bright day and I think we could have had a significantly better turn out if it wasn’t in the middle of the day, although I am very surprised that despite the proximity to Georgia State, there were almost no young people. One of my shul’s rabbis was there, arriving on JST (Jewish Standard Time) and there were two office staff members and me the lone congregant. For a congregation that told the retired rabbi that they were disgusted at the fact the shul wasn’t doing anything. Umm… well I didn’t exactly see them there.

We had several speakers including a very large African American pastor who was such a good start. We even had a young Republican business owner stand against the bill. There was even one church-going public official from Macon who spoke. I cannot even remember all who spoke, but I will say that the rabbi of Bnai Torah, a very large Conservadox shul was the last speaker. The same shul, incidentally, where the mikvah is for conversion and yes that means that is where I became a Jew (I was also named in their sanctuary). Rabbi Heller said what I think most of the Jews were thinking. These people dare to quote the Torah, my religion’s most sacred possession, to advance their own cause while missing the “don’t oppress people” part.

Personally, I am a bit worried about what this can mean for the state of Georgia. This state is already a laughing stock, in some ways, more than Oklahoma or even Arizona. I already cannot get housing, employment, or health care because I am transsexual. How much worse can this get for people like me? How many times have I been told I cannot be accepted into medical school or what not because I happen to be LGBT?

What is the saying? I believe it was MLK Jr, who said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

What do you think about bills such as the RFRA especially given that in the US we have freedom of religion, yet we do not have freedom from religion?

Completed : 2015

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