by Bob Avakian
July 24, 2023
Some time ago, there was an R&B song “Stealing in the Name of the Lord.” And that is exactly what, in this time, the Christian Fascist majority on the Supreme Court is doing: using religion as a weapon to rob people of basic rights.
In its last session, this Supreme Court rendered a number of outrageous decisions, including the reversal of affirmative action in education, signaling a determination to roll back any concession to the struggle against the whole history of horrific oppression, and the continuing systematic discrimination, against Black people in particular. Here I want to call attention to the Supreme Court decision upholding the “right” of a web designer to carry out anti-LGBT discrimination—and more specifically the “logic” of this decision.
As sharply exposed in a recent article at revcom.us (Supreme Court Upholds Anti-LGBT Discrimination as “Free Speech”: An Assault on the Humanity of LGBT People, a New Link in a Chain of Christian Fascist Theocracy), this Supreme Court ruling upheld this “right” to discriminate by agreeing with the web designer who appealed to the Supreme Court supposedly on the basis that her right to free speech was violated because a state law prohibited her from discriminating against LGBT people. What is really at issue is that this web designer is a Christian fundamentalist who regards things like gay marriage as a “sin,” an “abomination” and therefore performing a service for such a marriage is against her religion. That is the “free speech” of this web designer that was supposedly being violated.
Not only is this Supreme Court decision horrific in itself, but think about its larger implications: If, according to the Supreme Court, it is “legal” to discriminate on the basis of “religious freedom”—or the right of “free speech” to express “religious opinions” makes it legal to discriminate against whole groups of people—this could apply to a whole range of people against whom it is now “okay” to discriminate. Once again, as for generations before the civil rights movement, owners of public places (such as hotels, restaurants, stores, swimming pools, and so on) and people selling or renting their homes could “legally” refuse to serve or sell or rent to Black people—if this refusal were done in the name of their religion (or the “right” of “free speech” to express their religion by refusing to serve people)! Clerks in the relevant government offices could refuse to issue marriage licenses to inter-racial couples. And so on.
The same kind of “logic” would apply to discrimination against women, since the Bible and the “Judeo-Christian” scriptures generally, as well as those of Islam, are themselves blatantly patriarchal, placing women in a clearly unequal and oppressed position. And, let us not forget, it is this same Supreme Court which, just over a year ago, ripped away the right to abortion.
The terrible implications of this are far-reaching. All done in the service of fundamentalist religion: Christian Fascism.
We need a radically different and much better Constitution, for a radically different and much better system. And we have it: the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America. This Constitution will guarantee religious freedom, but NOT the “right” to oppress people in the name of religion. Here is what it says:
The right to religious belief and religious practice shall not be denied or abridged, except in the case of violation of the law and through due process of law. At the same time, religion and religious practice may not be used to carry out exploitation and to accumulate private capital, in violation of the law, or to engage in violation of the law in some other way; nor may religious persons, groups, or institutions be granted rights or privileges which do not apply to people in this Republic in general.*
Here, in this radically new Constitution, the right to religion is clearly upheld, but not the use of religion to exploit others, in violation of the law—and not some special “religious rights or privileges” to violate this new socialist Constitution’s clear and firm stand against discrimination and oppression based on nationality and race, sex and gender.
It is time, and long past time, to be rid of this capitalist-imperialist system, which has produced this Supreme Court; time to move beyond the U.S. Constitution, which has been interpreted throughout the ugly history of this country, and is being interpreted today, to cast whole sections of people into “second class” status. It is time for a revolution, to overthrow this oppressive system and replace it with a radically different and far better, emancipating system, based on the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.
* This passage on religion in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America is found in Article III, Section 2, part 3F. The way in which this Constitution presents a sweeping vision and specific measures to abolish and uproot discrimination and oppression based on nationality and race, sex and gender, is found in the Preamble of this Constitution and addressed further in a number of Articles in this Constitution, in particular Article II and Article III, Sections 3 and 4. [back]