BY BOB BEARDEN
Ninety-four years ago women finally won the right to vote in this nation. Something that was a long time in coming and seems strange today [to even think that there was a time when women weren’t allowed to vote] or it would, were it not for those in the Grand Old Party of Lincoln who seem determined to put women back into those dark days when they were considered to be property and not equals.
Of course, they claim their aim has nothing to do with women’s rights – that it is a religious issue. But then today everything having to do with anything they don’t like or agree with has a way of becoming a religious issue.
They might ask themselves why they seem to be losing ground with women, students, and minorities. Could it be because they try to put everything in the context of religion?
This in a nation that was founded upon the principles of religious freedom for all, not just a select few, and not just for one particular religion. We were then [and we are now] a nation of religious misfits, not religious fundamentalists, but people who came to this nation so that they could worship as they chose to, not as the state expected them to.
That religious freedom wasn’t about protecting the rights of corporations, it was about protecting the rights of individuals of which our founders did not expect the corporate world to be one.
Now we have corporations [thanks to the five Supremes] claiming rights that were never spelled out in any document the founders wrote when they declared this nation to be a free nation and tossed off the British yoke of oppression. A yoke that had nothing to do with not paying taxes as some of the dumbed down teabaggers have suggested but having to do with not having a say in how taxes were levied upon them.
The battle cry of the American Revolution was “no taxation without representation”! Not no taxation. Taxes – as our founders were quite cognizant of – they considered to be necessary as a function of a sound and sane government. And if corporations want to be individual persons, then they should be taxed in the same manner as any other human being who is an individual citizen of this great nation. Riddle me that, oh wise Supremes?
Our nation was founded as an experiment in governing by free will of individual citizens who owed no allegiance to a crowned head nor dictator but to themselves and their posterity. An experiment so designed that each citizen had an equal right to have an equal say in how they were governed.
Now we are at a place where corporate power is fast assuming the role once owned by kings, queens, and tyrants and where individual rights and freedoms are being threatened and trumped in the name of religious rights and the rights of corporations.
The only rights religion should have or exercise is that of the right to worship as they choose, unencumbered by oppression. Religion should be the right of each individual but not something that trumps the rights of the individual.
We should always be free to worship our religion, whatever religious philosophy we cling to; but our religion should not be controlling how we think nor should it have super rights over individual rights.
Nor should the corporate world have super rights over and above that of individual citizens.
We are a nation of laws, and those laws were meant to protect each individual citizen from the excesses of religion and from the excesses of tyrannical overreach by despots.
It was never intended to give religious entities rights over individuals nor was it ever intended to allow corporations super rights as individuals!
– Bob Bearden is a trustee with the Central Oklahoma Labor Federation and a member of Mayflower Congregational Church UCC in Oklahoma City