Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Religious liberty isn't just about gays

Dylan Scott at TalkingPoints Memo writes that so-called religious freedom bills are being advanced in the wake of the Supreme Court's biased and wrongheaded Hobby Lobby ruling.

The TPM piece discusses the bills only in the context of their possible effect on non-heterosexuals. That's too narrow a view.

The religious fanatics pushing these bills publicly declare only their desire to be free to discriminate against non-heterosexuals today. That, to them, is a winning stance in that a significant fraction of the country is still deeply uncomfortable with non-heterosexuals being treated as "normal". However, the idea that the fanatics would stop there is naive. So is the idea that other fringe nutjobs won't jump on the bandwagon to enshrine their own pet prejudices under the color of religious liberty.

Want to escape the burden of providing health insurance? Become a Christian Scientist. Want to deny service to non-Muslims? Embrace Islam. Prefer to serve whites only? I'm sure you can find a religion somewhere that will justify that. Take a look at the U.S. corrections system, where claims of religious duty have been used for decades to get special meals and other preferential treatment. Convicts have even created their own religions for the purpose, and gotten away with it.

The Hobby Lobby decision forces courts to determine what constitutes a reasonable request for exemption from laws. Federal judges must be thrilled at the prospect. If those pushing the exemptions were genuinely concerned for their faiths, they would be no more enthusiastic. It's a lose-lose proposition.

Every form of discrimination has been justified at some point by holy texts. The Supreme Court opened the door for all of it to come flooding back.

No comments:

Post a Comment