spin cycle: revenge of the conscience clause

Welcome back to Spin Cycle, your alternative to slamming your face repeatedly into a brick wall when people in the news take you for a fool. Today’s face-slammingly awful expression: the “conscience clause.”

Oh, no. Hey. No. Wait a minute. Do we have to do this again?

We most certainly do, Internet Person. It’s different this time.

Well, not completely different. A conscience clause is still a legal loophole that lets you avoid doing part of your job if the task violates your religious beliefs. And it still confuses religion with morality. But stick around, won’t you? There’s something I want you to notice.

Last time we heard about conscience clauses, it was because some people didn’t want to sell over-the-counter drugs to people who are legally allowed to buy them. You may recall a certain asshole senator had a few asshole things to say about that. He’s back, too. But this time, he wants to use a “conscience clause” to treat gay soldiers like human garbage.

Have you noticed what these two matters of “conscience” have in common? In both cases, someone is trying to deny legal rights to a group of people he doesn’t belong to. But he’s talking about it as if he has a moral imperative to do so: Hey, I’d LIKE to let women handle their own medical business and I’d LIKE it if gay soldiers were treated with respect, but I’d feel so GUILTY. He’s simultaneously demanding a right to ignore other people’s rights and playing the martyr: I can’t help it. This is just what I believe.

Oh, yeah? Well, I believe anyone who would use their religious beliefs to take rights away from other people is an asshole. I can’t help it.