by Max Brantley
When the Family Council's Jerry Cox and the sex-obsessed Catholic bishop, Anthony Taylor, (more concerned lately with prohibiting contraception and oppressing gay people than helping immigrants) join hands in the name of "freedom" you may be sure universal freedom is not what they're talking about. It is freedom according to their narrow lights.
So it is with a scheduled "religious freedom" rally Friday at the state Capitol.
The rally backers' idea of freedom includes, among others: Constitutionalized discrimination against gay families. Legal protections for people who bully gay children. Keeping birth control pills out of the hands of women. Government-endorsed prayer exercises. Government-financed religious schools. Government controls on women's health, and not just in reproductive decisions, but also in whom they choose to receive basic health services from. Religion taught in public school biology classes. Government prohibition of gambling and alcohol. Government-mandated Just Say No sex education.
All participants may not share each and every tenet listed previously, though cumulatively they cover this spectrum. But this rally has a controlling purpose: It's the latest religious Republican national messaging effort to turn a positive — required health insurance coverage for birth control pills for women who want them — into a negative. Beware. Anti-abortion groups are the driving national organizers and they've moved well past abortion, seeing that battle all but won. The next frontier is an end to ready availability of contraception.
Freedom ain't worth nothing if it costs this much.
Richard Dawkins' organization explains this latest assault on the dividing line between church and state.