Any religious person whose faith does not align with "progressive" orthodoxy on matters like human sexuality, marriage, or basic human biology has probably heard at some point or another that their beliefs are actually bigoted and that their faith is merely subterfuge for that kind of animus. Well, they would have heard something similar if they tuned into a House Oversight Hearing on religious freedom this week.
At the hearing, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) invoked her personal faith, claiming that Jesus Christ would be maligned in Congress, and accused traditional believers of using religious freedom to defend "bigotry and discrimination."
The hearing, "The Administration's Religious Liberty Assault on LGBTQ Rights," was designed to "examine the Administration's actions to erode LGBTQ rights in multiple areas, including healthcare, employment, adoption, and foster care."
"I'm experiencing this hearing and I'm struggling whether I respond or launch into this question as a legislator or from the perspective of a woman of faith," Ocasio-Cortez began.
The far-left freshman even went as far as to compare religious freedom claims regarding sexual morality and human biology to scriptural arguments made in favor of slavery and white supremacy.
"I cannot, it's very difficult to sit here and listen to arguments in the long history in this country of using scripture and weaponizing and abusing scripture to justify bigotry," she said. "White supremacists have done it, those who justified slavery did it, those who fought against integration did it, and we're seeing it today."
The congresswoman then went on suggest that her colleagues would go as far as driving Jesus Christ out of Congress.
"Sometimes, especially this body, I feel as though if Christ himself walked through these doors and said what he said thousands of years ago, that we should love our neighbor and our enemy, that we should welcome the stranger, fight for the least of us ... he would be maligned as a radical and rejected from these doors."
One of the witnesses was Evan Minton — a biological female who identifies as male — who is suing a Catholic hospital in California for not performing a hysterectomy "because the surgery was related to my gender transition," according to the witnesses' prepared testimony. Minton also described how "the Trump Administration singled me out" by citing the case in a health care conscience-rights rule first proposed in 2018.
"There is nothing holy about rejecting medical care of people, no matter who they are on the grounds of what their identity is; There is nothing holy about turning someone away from a hospital," Ocasio-Cortez said during her remarks.
"My faith commands me to treat Mr. Minton as holy because he is sacred, because his life is sacred, because you are not to be denied anything that I am entitled to," the congresswoman later said. "That we are equal in the eyes of the law and we are equal — in my faith — in the eyes of the world."
While Ocasio-Cortez has previously claimed to be Catholic in the past when advocating for criminal justice reforms, despite her public positions on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, and transgender ideology, which don't quite align with where the church stands, to say the least.
Toward the end of her remarks, the now-visibly angry New York Democrat said that she was "tired of communities of faith being weaponized and being mischaracterized because the only time religious freedom is invoked is in the name of bigotry and discrimination. I'm tired of it,"
She later went on to accuse the Trump administration of advancing "the idea that religion and faith is about exclusion."
Of course, the congresswoman's arguments here stem from the common assumption that not condoning or participation a person's actions somehow implies hatred or bigotry toward that person or a group of people.
In reality, the argument that any serious conscience rights advocate will offer about these kinds of situations goes like this:
When a religious hospital says that they cannot conduct a transgender medical procedure that goes against the tenets of their belief, the resistance is to the procedure rather than an active prejudice toward the person asking for it. When a Christian baker or florist can't serve as a vendor for a same-sex wedding ceremony, the issue at hand for them is not being able to participate in an action they believe to be sinful, rather than a desire not to associate with a class of people they don't like. When a pro-life doctor or hospital won't perform an abortion, it's not because of some secret desire to control a woman's organs, but because their conscience won't allow them to facilitate the taking of unborn life.
But while those may be a critical distinctions to the people who sincerely hold those beliefs and expect the First Amendment protection to live them out, to others, it's all merely deception for the sake of "bigotry and discrimination."