The Virginia ACLU has a concise rundown of concerns with bills that threaten religious liberty, and an opportunity for you to contact your legislators about those bills.
I was thinking about the problems I had with a proposed amendment to the Virginia constitution, and I realized that I wrote something about this a while ago…oh, right, when I had to explain to a lawmaker that unless he wants me or someone like me opening a math class with an invocation to Kali to slay the demons of confusion, he really shouldn’t go there.
And now we’re back to the theme of empathetic imagination. We’ve seen this before: conservatives, or at least Christians, are so darn’ tootin’ sure that everyone is just like them, or that they can cow those who aren’t, that when they push through “religious liberty” and “freedom of prayer” measures, they only ever think about how good they’ll feel when praying to Jesus, and they assume – wrongly – that everybody who wants to pray to Jesus can get along. They never think about what the Jewish kid feels like, or the atheist, or, Powers forfend, the Wiccan.
And they never, ever think about how they might feel if the Wiccan was doing the praying.
You can tell, because when they do think about that, they come out in favor of real religious liberty, the kind that the First Amendment was created to ensure.
So when necessary, remind your legislators what will happen if the microphone is in the other hand. Help them out with their empathetic imagination, because it’s a way to advance civil liberties for all of us. And besides, it’s fun. Goddess knows we have to keep our sense of humor somehow while we’re doing this, and hearing the tone of voice of a legislative assistant who is imagining a prayer to Kali for the first time ever can be just that little bit to keep us going.