‘Religious liberty’ and the ‘right’ to discriminate

Supreme CourtHow important is the right to discriminate against gay people under the dubious legal cloak of “religious liberty”?

If you believe RedState founder and talk-radio host Erick Erickson, putting that “right” into state law is so important that unless they get their way, conservative legislators are ready to go “cataclysmic” and bring the 2015 state General Assembly into total lockdown — refusing to pass a budget, refusing to deal with transportation, refusing to pass the governor’s “opportunity school district” legislation, refusing to do pretty much anything.

As Erickson puts it, “If S.B. 129 does not get a vote, without amendment, on the House floor, war is going to break out in the General Assembly.”

That phrase “without amendment” is critical, because it gets to the core of the issue. Erickson and his fellow conservatives are bitterly opposed to amending S.B. 129, the so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” to clarify that its provisions would not legalize discrimination. As they see it, such an amendment would gut the legislation. And as Alex Rowell points out on Twitter, when anti-discrimination language is said to gut a bill, you can be pretty sure that discrimination is what the bill is all about.

To give you some further idea of the immense magnitude of the issues at stake, Erickson lays it out clearly:

“Boys are going to be able to use the girls’ bathroom in Georgia.

Churches in Georgia will be denied building permits unless they build unisex bathrooms for the transgendered.

I’m not exaggerating. …You will see church pastors subpoenaed, church buildings harassed, and Christians persecuted.”

You just can’t make things like that up. Or at least I can’t. Erickson seems to have a much better talent for it.

The bathroom issue notwithstanding, I do agree that the issues at stake are far from trivial. Those on both sides of the debate are operating on the shared assumption that thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, gay marriage will become legal in this state in the not too distant future, putting gay Georgians on a more equal if still slippery footing with their heterosexual neighbors. And once that happens, the battlefield changes.

For example, if you are an employer opposed to gay marriage, would you be able to extend health insurance and other employee benefits to straight married couples, while denying those same benefits to legally married gay couples? Would you be able to refuse to rent or even sell a home to a gay couple, as an expression of your personal disapproval?

For those who define their own personal liberty by how much freedom they have to discriminate against others, “religious liberty” offers a tempting potential refuge.

Erickson’s suggestion about church bathrooms aside, existing law and constitutional precedent already give religious organizations the clear right to practice their faith as they see fit, even if their actions might be defined as “discriminatory” in a secular setting. Churches have every right to discriminate on the basis of race and gender — for example by barring women from leadership roles — in ways that have long been illegal in the secular world, and nobody is attempting to infringe on that right.

However, this proposed law represents an effort to extend that protection beyond religious organizations to the worlds of commerce, government and daily human interactions. And the scorched-earth vehemence of its proponents is more than enough reason to be extremely wary of its impact.

 

 

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1027 comments
Larry the Legend
Larry the Legend

Let's discriminate against morality and common sense but not against anything else.

alexander2
alexander2

Let's preempt Jay and the rest of anything associated with,about,near the GOP must be bad."T. Cruz will be receiving healthcare thru the federal health exchange "Obamacare" which he so adamantly dislikes and argues against! " Now for a more balanced view: he will not be receiving tax -payer associated subsidies and this insurance is the insurance offered ato all legislators and.....let the screaming begin....

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@alexander2

That's actually a fair point. Congress had a health insurance exchange for many years prior to the PPACA; while they received free healthcare from the VA when in the District, the insurance was there for them and for their families, I believe, for the times they were away from DC.


(heading upstairs for SUPERTRAIN SHEETZ.)


alexander2
alexander2

@Visual_Cortex Your "actually" right....But I was wrong as Jay hasn't discussed this yet....WAITING....

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

So now Firefox works and Chrome doesn't. Go figure...

Cherokee51
Cherokee51

@Orange15 

'reportedly'

And of course, since it came from Fox it has to be true.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@CherokeeCounty @Orange15 

As Fox pieces go, this one wasn't too bad. They conditioned the verb "Snubs" with "reportedly," and went on to cite the Bloomberg original. I've seen way worse from them.

What is questionable, of course, is our Orange's kneejerk take on it.

Kamchak
Kamchak

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/03/fatty-acids-may-have-been-found-on-mars/

The first "wet chemistry" experiment conducted by NASA's Curiosity rover may have found  evidence of long-chain carboxylic acid, a fatty acid that could be the latest organic molecule to be discovered on Mars, researchers from the US space agency have revealed.

And just how did that fatty acid get on Mars?

I'm glad you asked.

SUNSPOTS !

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Captain-Obvious @GaBlue

I'd say the likelihood of the outcome in the linked article's headline is approximately 6,000 times that of the stated bathroom fears of Erick Son-of-Erick.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Captain-Obvious

Just amazing how many times you play the skereeeered card after all the times you've been mocked for it.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Captain-Obvious

Just amazing how many times you mock people for being right, Kammie.

Just like were were skeeeeered of:

Mitt Romney

Paul Ryan

Newt Gingrich

Rick Santorum

Rick Perry

Herman Cain

Sarah Palin

Mike Huckabee

Ben Carson

Stacey Dash

Rand Paul

Ron Paul

BWAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Just guffawin'.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Captain-Obvious

The next time I'm skeeeeered of a conservative is the first time I'm skeeeeered of a conservative, oompa loompa-boy.

ALibNotToBeMessedW/
ALibNotToBeMessedW/

He represents the sick wing of society which runts like you inhabit, KKKaptain.

td1234
td1234

From public schools to health care, the intent is to constrain people and prevent them from opting out. Necessity drives invention. In the field of military innovation, all sorts of inventions — the Maginot line, the flame fougasse, trench warfare, the Vickers machine gun — were rooted in the same urgent necessity: keeping Germans out. War is evil and ugly, but Europe experienced a worse horror when that necessity was inverted, and the totalitarian movement that controlled half of the continent decided it needed a way to keep Germans in. And so utopia’s jailers built the Berlin Wall and any number of similar fortifications. The ideologue may say that a wall is a wall is a wall, but in the case of a wall, intent matters: A society with barriers to keep out invaders is protected; a society with barriers to prevent exit is imprisoned. HBO has a series called Togetherness, a comedy about foundering middle-aged hipsters in Los Angeles, which has turned its attention to the issue of charter schools, and the writers have committed the unforgivable cultural sin of being not entirely hostile to the prospect. The ritual denunciations are under way. Joshua Liebner, who lives in Eagle Rock, the Los Angeles neighborhood in which the show is set, is among those shouting “J’accuse!” in HBO’s direction, abominating the “white privilege and entitlement and, yes, racism and classism” that surely must be motivating charter-school families who have the audacity to go about “defining what constitutes ‘good’ for them,” and acting on it, as though they were in charge of their own lives and responsible for their own children. “Charter-school dogma has made it to the Big Time,” Liebner complains. On behalf of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to HBO. Charter schools are public schools, albeit public schools that are given the teensiest bit of regulatory relief. Some do very well, some don’t. When families are given attractive options and — this must be emphasized — given a choice, their demand frequently dwarfs the supply of charter alternatives. This is perceived by progressives as an all-out assault on the traditional government-school monopoly, its unaccountable administrators, and its insulated unions. And in an important sense, it is. And therefore, as the Left sees things, it must be stopped. People cannot be permitted a choice, because, being captive to the “white privilege and entitlement and, yes, racism and classism . . . defining what constitutes ‘good’ for them,” they will choose the wrong things. So charter schools must be held illegitimate and, if possible, stopped.   There are worse threats, of course. Real school choice would give parents the ability to opt entirely out of the government-school monopoly, which of course gives the Left night terrors. What progressive policy might put an end to that? “Let’s ban private schools,” Gawker cheerily suggests. Writing in that esteemed journal, John Cook argues that “there’s a simple solution to the public-schools crisis.” If people make choices that complicate the Left’s agenda, then ban those choices: “Make Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama’s children go to public schools,” Cook writes. “From a purely strategic and practical standpoint, it would be much easier to resolve the schools crisis if the futures of America’s wealthiest and most powerful children were at stake.” The Left’s heart is still in East Berlin: If people want to leave your utopia and have the means to do so, then build a wall. If they climb over the wall — as millions of low-income parents with children in private schools (very commonly Catholic schools) do — then build a higher wall. If they keep climbing – and they will — then there are always alternatives. Homeschooling? That’s basically a crime against humanity so far as our so-called liberal friends are concerned. But then, standing in the schoolhouse door when the poor, the black, and the brown want to enter is an ancient tradition for Democrats. It isn’t just education, of course. In much of Canada, private health insurance is effectively banned. The existence of private insurance is a very strong indicator that there are some people who are not entirely pleased with Canada’s single-payer system. (Monopolies rarely have happy customers.) So they opt out, at least in part, exercising the right of exit that is the most fundamental of civil rights. This is an affront to progressive values. Solution? Ban private health insurance. Of course, that’s Canada, and we conservatives know instinctively to sneer at Canada. (Except . . . ) But try opting out of Social Security or Medicare and see how long it takes for Uncle Stupid to put you in prison as a tax evader. Those metaphorical prison walls are almost always political veneers for actual prison walls. It’s a funny old world when being “pro-choice” means that people who object to abortion will be forced at gunpoint to pay for them. But that’s progressivism: a purportedly secular movement with a whole lot of “Thou Shalt” and “Thou Shalt Not.” There are two ways to organize a polity. You can have a society in which people are empowered to make their own decisions when it comes to their lives and livelihoods, their health care, and their children’s educations. Or you can have the alternative: an endless series of Checkpoint Charlies. The Democrats haven’t got that Pink Floyd song quite right — in their version, the chorus goes: “You don’t need no education.” All in all it’s just another brick in the wall. — Kevin D. Williamson is roving correspondent at National Review.


Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/415843/utopias-jailers-kevin-d-williamson

josef
josef

@td1234 

Paragraphs...what are these paragraphs of which you speak?

gotalife
gotalife

The bill is rw garbage. Does not do anything.

TBS
TBS

@gotalife 

Yep.  Scout's little trick with the what about the liberal states who have this type law was weak.

One: I never stated I supported every law in every Democrat controlled state because I don't.

Two: I think the proposed law in GA and the ones already enacted in other states are stupid.

He needs to come up with some better gotchas. 

Probably took him all day to come up with that because it was about the only thing he wanted to talk about..... well besides his affinity and love for Muslim caterers.

JamVet
JamVet

“If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.” ~Penn Jillette

LeninTime
LeninTime

I would say that where the community of Ferguson is right now is very much beyond the reach of something like average home values.

kayaker71
kayaker71

Not a golfer but we should celebrate the awarding of Jack Nicholas his second presidential gold medal.  18 major tournaments and 73 victories on the tour.  More than any other golfer in the history of the game, the 1986 Masters win being the cap to an astounding career. 

moonbat_betty
moonbat_betty

@kayaker71

I wrote him a letter as part of an English class and Mr. Nicholas wrote me back a thoughtful acknowledgement. ;) Class act.


I shook hands with Arnold Palmer during a practice round at Augusta National.

/high five 


gotalife
gotalife

I prefer the real world not the 1950's.



Soothsayer2
Soothsayer2

Friends, ol' Sooth is suffering mightily with a cold tonight. So I'm going to have to leave you.

If you know anyone who needs a few thousand gallons of good sn0t, please send them over here with a tanker truck, OK?

Good night.

Gmare
Gmare

Feel better, Sooth.