Since at least 1980, the United States has been dominated by a political coalition in which conservative evangelical Christians have shaped government to reflect their beliefs. Simply check out the Senators in the “Family” Fellowship. In a few western states such as Utah, the Mormons have greatly influenced culture and society to a degree far greater than mere spirituality. These non-secular regulations are taking some communities so far backwards, you’d hardly believe these laws are still on the books in 2012. The predominance of religion in law can lend credence to a few medieval practices.
There have been confirmed instances of fatalities caused by spanking a child, all in the name of the Evangelical Christian God. More recently, a Georgia couple used a shock collar to keep their fifteen year old in line while keeping her locked in a chicken coup, sometimes not feeding her for days. They claimed they were only “doing what the Bible says”, to keep her from misbehaving.
It seems children as well as women are often the victims of religiously sanctioned abuse. Take this Bible verse from Corinthians: (I Cor. 14:34, 35 ) “Let the women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but let them be in subjection, as also saith the law. And if they would learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home: for it is shameful for a woman to speak in the church.” It’s no wonder the war on women is so popular amongst the more religious conservatives in our political system. They often base their laws on biblical traditions, even though our Constitution mandates a separation of church and state.
As you can imagine, Red States are more fundamentalist and their laws mirror their religious fervor. For instance, in Tennessee, it is illegal for a woman to call a man for a date. In Alabama, a highly religiously populated state, incestuous marriages are legal. In Memphis, it is illegal for a woman to drive a car unless there is a man either running or walking in front of it, waving a red flag to warn approaching motorists and pedestrians. Not the least bit sexist. Sounds a bit like Saudi Arabia, doesn’t it?
Utah is the hands down champion of antediluvian laws and practices. The city of St. George has a law on the books where public dancing at an establishment serving alcohol is strictly forbidden. If you go to an Applebee’s in this Southern Utah city, you can only order a beer if it’s accompanied by a food order as well. Southern Utah is notorious for the Fundamentalist sect of the LDS religion. Polygamy is practiced openly and the laws reflect the rigid views on women both in the fundamentalist south and the northern part of the state.
Here are a few laws still on the books in Utah:
A husband is responsible for every criminal act committed by his wife while she is in his presence.
(Logan) Women may not swear.
(Monroe) Daylight must be visible between partners on a dance floor.
(Tremonton) It is illegal to have sex in a moving ambulance and if you are caught the guy is let go and the woman is punished and her name appears in the newspaper.
Utah has very strict laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol on a limited or total basis. There are just 37 state-owned liquor stores in the entire state of Utah, and these are solely where you purchase alcoholic beverages. I suppose the Temperance Movement is still dominant in 2012. Very strange.
Obviously, religion hinders progress in the realm of science. Parents commonly cite religious reasons for not vaccinating children . Thanks to these rocket scientists, formerly eradicated diseases like measles and whooping cough are making a resurgence. Simply look at the African Continent to see how destructive religion can be to a society. Africa is the most evangelized and the most Christian continent on earth. It also has the worst poverty, the worst epidemics and the worst combined economy of any continent on earth, all of which dramatically accelerated following the evangelical invasion.
Teaching intolerance and hate via religion seems to provide the justification for culturally mandated intolerance and abuse. If one doesn’t fall in line with the definitions of proper behavior as established by white, heterosexual males, generally of strong religious conviction, the punishments are severe to say the least. Until we separate our nation’s laws with the laws of religious institutions, America is anything but free. Women and children are usually the most at risk for abuse. Voting out fundamentalist Teabaggers would be a great way to start protecting our most vulnerable Americans.