Once again, U.S. Representatives are forcing their Christian beliefs on their female constituents, completely disregarding women of other religious affiliations, as well as agnostic and atheist women.
With Bible in hand, Oklahoma State Representative George Faught spewed ludicrous justifications for his anti-abortion stance, including the argument that rape and incest are part of God’s plan, stating: “Men and women do horrible things, but God can bring beauty out of ashes, and He has time and again.”
Fortunately for Faught and the other Congressmen, this is not a “horrible thing” they will ever be forced to experience; nor will they apprehend the full weight of its consequences.
George Faught introduced a bill in the Oklahoma State House that would outlaw abortion due to fetal genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome. When Democrats in the House contested the law’s lack of exception for rape and incest, Faught argued that rape happens in the Bible, so God must intend to use it in some way, stating:
“If you read the Bible, there’s actually a couple circumstances where that happened, and the Lord uses all circumstances. I mean, you can go down that path, but it’s a reality, unfortunately.” Faught claimed the same held true for incest (Phillips).
Regardless of the bill’s seemingly archaic nature, it passed in the House and will continue to the Senate. Many in the public hope that the Senate Representatives will recognize the absurdity of applying conservative Christian ideas of how a woman should handle pregnancy by rape or incest to a population of varied and non-religious women.
If this inflammatory bill actually becomes law, American women of all backgrounds and creeds will have no choice but to follow the “the will of God”—based on feeble Biblical interpretation—when it comes to making life-changing decisions about their bodies. Victims of rape and incest will be forced to carry out these painful memories to full term, regardless of whether they are emotionally, physically, or mentally stable.
Talk about the ultimate act of misogyny.
Religious freedom is one of the fundamental foundations of the United States of America, but many small-minded bureaucrats have it a little confused. Religious freedom is not simply the freedom to be Christian. In fact, this misconception is analogous to the religiously affiliated legal systems of many other countries around the world—including those operating under Sharia, or Islamic law.
Religious freedom is the freedom to practice any religion or no religion at all. This is a basic right of every single American, and it should be fully represented in our country’s policy-making, at both the state and national level.
When will the day come when we hear a Muslim Representative make an argument on a bill based on their religious principles? The idea may sound laughable to many readers—a convicting reflection of the large conservative Christian population, which has come to a head under the authority of President Trump’s administration—and the country’s current hostility towards Muslims.
Imagine for a moment that a Muslim Representative dared to introduce and sponsor a bill based purely on interpretations from the Qur’an. Christian politicians and American citizens would be appalled.
In fact, most impartial politicians and citizens would be left scratching their heads.
Christianity has always been America’s “golden child,” but this favoritism was exemplified in dazzling clarity in 2006, when the first Muslim Congressman, Keith Ellison, was elected. Instead of taking his oath on the Bible, Ellison rightfully took his oath upon the Qur’an, the Islamic holy book (Olson). For him, this action represented his dedication to the truth, and his commitment to representing justice in the United States Congress.
But LORD forbid that this road goes both ways.
This single act sparked controversy and outrage among many U.S. politicians, such as Virginia Representative Virgil Goode, who later released a letter to his constituents stating Ellison’s choice to use the Qur’an is a threat to “the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America…[and] if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration, there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran” (Howsare). Representative Goode stood firm on his stance, even though Ellison used the English translation of the Qur’an owned by Thomas Jefferson for the swearing-in ceremony.
Ellison’s spokesman, Rick Jauert said: “Keith is paying respect not only to the founding fathers’ belief in religious freedom but to the Constitution itself”(Argetsinger).
Congressman Keith Ellison stated in an interview that using Jefferson’s Qur’an makes a point. “It demonstrates that from the very beginning of our country, we had people who were visionary, who were religiously tolerant, who believed that knowledge and wisdom could be gleaned from any number of sources, including the Quran. A visionary like Thomas Jefferson was not afraid of a different belief system” (Frommer).
Abortion is an understandably heated topic, and is seen by many Americans as a primarily moral issue. George Faught has every right to express his religious beliefs and to make his opinions known. Freedom of speech, like religious freedom, is a part of the backbone of American society and culture.
But Americans need to draw the line.
When it comes to policy-making on abortion, Faught should not impose his Christian beliefs and Biblical interpretations on his female constituents. Passing an anti-abortion bill that would dictate how a woman—including a victim of incest or rape—can treat her body is a direct violation of her religious freedom. This bill poses a critical threat to women’s rights and the liberties of religious minorities and nonreligious individuals across the United States.