Religious Freedom Matters

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  • #8767
    jerry1949
    Spectator

    Sorry for the long copy and paste, but it was such a good article from the perspecive of common sense and fairness, that I couldn’t leave any of it out.

    Why is it that the media regularly adorns the term “religious freedom” with superfluous quotation marks but not terms like “environmentalist” or “civil rights” or “marriage equality”—or any other of the many debatable issues of American political discourse?

    Well, maybe unbiased journalists feel a responsibility to intimate to readers that religious freedom is considered a dubious assertion by one side of the debate. And this would be a reasonable editorial decision if it were employed consistently. It’s not. What’s more likely is that editors and journalists consider the term “religious freedom” dubious because anything that strikes them as “discriminatory” or stands in way of “progressive” moral aims is by default illegitimate.

    RELIGIOUS FREEDOM 1

    The quotations marks themselves are not big deal, of course, but they are a reflection how the topic is viewed by secular America and too-often covered by the media, which is to say very badly.

    The “controversial” Indiana law, which passed with a wide margin, has provoked the sort of over-the-top dismay you’d expect from certain quarters. The Left has one construct for political debate these days: forward-looking, open-minded lovers of diversity versus bigots. This is the crudest but most effective case to make to the public. It appeals to good will of people. It’s also the most unintellectual and misleading. You will remember Ron Fournier likening evangelical florists concerned with their faith to people who fought to bar young black girls from going to public schools in Little Rock, Arkansas? It’s a brand of historically illiterate, morally obnoxious, and histrionic accusation that tells us there’s almost certainly not going to be any thoughtful debate on the matter.

    The focus of the media centers on the idea that Indiana law gives businesses a “license” to “discriminate” against patrons of public accommodations because of their “sexual orientation.” (If we’re going to play this game, all of those words deserve their own quotation marks.) But, in reality, the law prohibits state or local governments from substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion—unless the government can show a compelling interest that the action is the least-restrictive means of achieving it.

    So by any standard the law concerns itself with religious freedom, not “religious freedom.” There may strong substantive legal arguments against it, I don’t know. Even if you disagree with how far these protections should go, this sort of legislation was precipitated by genuine concerns. There is a conflict emerging in a country, where newly carved-out rights crash against the traditional rights of others. There is a large contingent in American politics that values coercing conformity over the First Amendment. That should be as offensive as bigotry. The evangelical in Colorado lost something real because of his faith, while the gay couple would have lost nothing by taking their business down the block.

    I believe gay marriage should be legal. I don’t believe—and I imagine I’m not alone—that forcing a shopkeep to bake a cake for your gay wedding (or lose his business) should supersede one of the most fundamental rights offered in a genuinely liberal nation. And, let’s be honest, the latter is exactly what some people in the gay political community are trying to accomplish. This is a legitimate concern and, as things stands, probably one of most consequential debates about our future. No quotations marks needed.

    http://thefederalist.com/2015/03/27/hey-media-religious-freedom-is-a-real-thing/

    #8768
    Vitalogy
    Participant

    Religious bigotry has no place in society.

    #8776
    missing_kskd
    Participant

    Indiana is attempting to take the State out of the discussion, leaving people free to discriminate for their own reasons.

    This is a regression, and it won’t go well. SCOTUS won’t even back this law.

    So far, Angies list has cancelled a 40K employee expansion into the State, prominent conferences are either reconsidering or have moved to a new venue, Apple and other tech companies are speaking out against this path too.

    Serving the public means serving the public. Period.

    If people don’t want to do that, they have plenty of options. They can form clubs, operate by appointment only, co-op, and all manner of things to support their own beliefs.

    Either do that, or own up to what “the public” means.

    In the end, that’s how it will go. These regressions will flare up, and eventually will be resolved.

    #8777
    missing_kskd
    Participant

    I don’t believe—and I imagine I’m not alone—that forcing a shopkeep to bake a cake for your gay wedding (or lose his business) should supersede one of the most fundamental rights offered in a genuinely liberal nation.

    Nobody is forcing shit. What people are doing is holding other people to their own word.

    If you open up a business to serve the public, then you’ve got to serve the public and you’ve got to abide by the terms of the license you operate that business under too.

    Nobody has to open a business, nor do they need to serve the public.

    Any proprietor who opens up shop, advertizes their goods and services being available to the public made an offer.

    A prospect enters the shop and enters into acceptance when they elect to make a purchase.

    There is very specific law on offer and acceptance.

    If any of us has religious beliefs we don’t want to violate, we better damn well not make an offer to do so, or we run the risk of having to violate acceptance duly presented to us.

    This is very basic business, and Indiana is trying to skirt that whole thing and it won’t really work.

    #8785
    Deane Johnson
    Participant

    Missing, that is the radical liberal view. Not everyone agrees that it’s necessary to march lockstep with the liberal paradigm.

    #8788
    missing_kskd
    Participant

    There is nothing liberal about any of it.

    Offer, acceptance, public business, licenses, etc… are well established and well settled law.

    The only thing new is recognition that being gay isn’t something people have a choice in. It’s who they are, and as we get there, “public” and what it means for business needs to respond as it did for every other basic realization we’ve managed.

    This is no different from “whites only.” and note the same sorts of players are crying about it today, flogging about, that we saw back then.

    And the eventual result today will be the same result we had back then too.

    Nothing radically liberal about it. Perfectly ordinary progress as we’ve had the whole time. “More perfect union” style.

    You run businesses, and own them. So have I and do.

    Offer and acceptance is really clear. You know better Deane.

    Indiana is attempting to blur those lines, and that really won’t stand, nor should it as it would then undermine other things, changing the nature of business itself.

    The key thing here is forced. Don’t make offers without being able and willing to fulfill them. Basic business 101.

    So far, each case has been one where the offer to provide a good or service was denied for no business reason at all, but a personal one. Doesn’t work that way and you know it.

    And again, anybody not willing to do business with the public sure doesn’t have to. They have options to do business and not do business and structure that all kinds of ways too.

    All the framing on this is, “forced to” which is a complete load of shit. They asked for it. And continue to.

    The public is more than happy to oblige too.

    #8793
    edselehr
    Participant

    There can be no discrimination in the public realm. When a business owner solicits customers, she extends the public realm into her place of business (“places of public accomodation”). This is a long-established legal principle.

    Combined with the Hobby Lobby decision, the states are marching steadfastly back toward 1950’s era segregation. In Indiana now, if businesses can discriminate for any reason then they can discriminate for every reason. This is a segregationist/Randian dream come true.

    #8795
    missing_kskd
    Participant

    So interesting…

    “Citizens United” = corporations united in their desire for complete economic freedom

    “Corporations are people” = proxy for all sorts of behavior people would otherwise be accountable for, but aren’t because they can use a corporation as a proxy

    “TPP” a treaty that puts corporate interests outside the privy of the people and their courts and government and into a tribunal composed of corporate executives.

    “economic freedom” = religious freedom.

    Randian indeed!

    #8796
    duxrule
    Participant

    It might just be me, but I don’t actually see a lot of cogent argument in Jer’s OP. There is some legitimate beef about the overuse of quotation marks, but other than that, I’m not seeing any kind of case that would actually allow Jer and his kin to be the bigots that they want to be.

    #8797
    missing_kskd
    Participant

    Not only that, but this piece is GREAT!!

    Some parsing for your entertainment:

    The quotations marks themselves are not big deal,

    *Of course they aren’t. We all know how they are used.

    of course, but they are a reflection how the topic is viewed by secular America

    *they don’t see it the same way we do, and those quotes are all about that –see them used in this piece below

    and too-often covered by the media, which is to say very badly.

    *The liberal media is smearing us big time, again.

    The “controversial” Indiana law,

    *See? They don’t see it the same way we do, demonstrating the quotes being used to connotate something as bull shit

    which passed with a wide margin,

    *Lots of people want to be bigots, and we’ve got the votes to prove it!

    has provoked the sort of over-the-top dismay you’d expect from certain quarters.

    *Oh, you mean there are people outside Indiana? Who the fuck are they to tromp on our State rights? We really don’t like it when they ridicule us and point out our bigotry. It’s over the top. Everybody has an opinion and we all deserve some respect, blah, blah…

    The Left has one construct for political debate these days: forward-looking, open-minded lovers of diversity versus bigots.

    *Us vs them people! Everybody knows God hates fags, so we aren’t bigots by choice! It’s just the right thing to do.

    This is the crudest but most effective case to make to the public.

    *Keeping the simple, simple means we can’t hide behind all sorts of distractions. Painful. We need to expand the discussion here, reverse it, and claim we are the victim.

    It appeals to good will of people.

    *Of course we all want to feel good about who we are and what we do.

    It’s also the most unintellectual and misleading.

    *but dammit! God hates fags.

    You will remember Ron Fournier likening evangelical florists concerned with their faith to people who fought to bar young black girls from going to public schools in Little Rock, Arkansas?

    *this time it’s different. People don’t have to be gay, or act gay. Last time we had to get on board because black, and it’s easy to tell ’em apart. Anybody could be gay. How can we know the difference?

    It’s a brand of historically illiterate, morally obnoxious, and histrionic accusation that tells us there’s almost certainly not going to be any thoughtful debate on the matter.

    *They are serious about this one people. And they aren’t being nice this time.

    The focus of the media centers on the idea that Indiana law gives businesses a “license” to “discriminate” against patrons of public accommodations because of their “sexual orientation.”

    *Fuck licenses, because freedom! Sexual orientation my ass! They chose to stick it in there where it doesn’t belong. Also God hates Fags, because Jesus and Christian Nation.

    (If we’re going to play this game, all of those words deserve their own quotation marks.) But, in reality, the law prohibits state or local governments from substantially burdening a person’s ability to exercise their religion—unless the government can show a compelling interest that the action is the least-restrictive means of achieving it.

    *Religious freedom means judging other people, and we can’t do that when government regulates us. Freedom!

    So by any standard the law concerns itself with religious freedom, not “religious freedom.”

    *Doing business is our business, and we need to be free to judge other people according to our beliefs.

    There may strong substantive legal arguments against it, I don’t know.

    *now they may have a case. But, we aren’t going to talk about that, because freedom and if I get mine, you get yours too! What’s not to like?

    Even if you disagree with how far these protections should go, this sort of legislation was precipitated by genuine concerns.

    *This is serious! People have lost businesses and the cost of bigotry has been going up quick! We need to rally the troops here and stand strong, or it’s us next!

    There is a conflict emerging in a country, where newly carved-out rights crash against the traditional rights of others.

    *fuck, too many of us are dying off and these kids don’t get it. We better lock this down now, or we lose.

    There is a large contingent in American politics that values coercing conformity over the First Amendment.

    *If you don’t stand with us, expect them to call you out too! How dare they! It’s not respectful of our beliefs. Also Jesus.

    That should be as offensive as bigotry.

    *calling us bigots is bigory! God hates fags, and if you would only listen to us, you would understand. Free speech should be a shield.

    The evangelical in Colorado lost something real because of his faith, while the gay couple would have lost nothing by taking their business down the block.

    *they took one of us out! Those ham fisted, pinko, commie, gay loving liberals are bigots! We need this law to stick, or it’s you next.

    I believe gay marriage should be legal.

    *separate but equal. Really, if they want to make their own gay church, gay businesses, and live in gay places, that’s fine.

    I don’t believe—and I imagine I’m not alone—that forcing a shopkeep to bake a cake for your gay wedding

    *The nerve of those people! They came right in and accepted his offer!

    (or lose his business)

    *and he got punished for going back on that offer too. Because God, and freedom!

    should supersede one of the most fundamental rights offered in a genuinely liberal nation.

    *No, it’s not equal protection! Fuck those people. We have God on our side, and it’s a free country where we can judge anybody we want to for any reason and they shouldn’t be able to question God.

    And, let’s be honest, the latter is exactly what some people in the gay political community are trying to accomplish.

    *they are thugs, and will burn in hell for sure! But they are winning this one, so we better stand strong.

    This is a legitimate concern and, as things stands, probably one of most consequential debates about our future. No quotations marks needed.

    *It’s serious folks. God himself, who we all know hates fags big, is under attack! If we want to live in a Christian Nation, we gotta fight! It’s ours to lose.

    Also, freedom and Jesus.

    #8798
    Andy Brown
    Participant

    In the spring of 1778, the Constitutional Convention was held in Philadelphia, PA. They resolved three main religious controversies. They:

    •Decided that there would be no religious test, oath or other requirement for any federal elected office.

    •Allowed Quakers and others to affirm (rather than swear) their oaths of office.

    •Refrained from recognizing the religion of Christianity, or one of its denominations, as an established, state church.

    But there was no specific guarantee of religious freedom.

    So let’s get that part straight. There is no guarantee of religious freedom in The Constitution.

    In the Bill of Rights, the freedom to practice your religion is limited by two items. First is the Separation of Church and State and second is the limit of The Free Exercise Clause. The SCOTUS originally determined that the Free Exercise Clause serves as protecting religious beliefs, not religious practices, and although there has been some narrowing of the view over the decades the bottom line has more to do with whether a law is being violated. The anti discrimination acts in the United States is not just one law (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_anti-discrimination_acts#.C2.A0United_States ) and what this means is that any state law that by its passing can be found to be discriminating against equal access will probably be struck down.

    Yes, F&B, religious freedom is important but you are confusing it with religious practice. When that practice conflicts with any existing law, it generally will be struck down. There have been some exceptions, but they do not resemble the instant situation in Indiana or any of the other recent cases where business owners have gotten into legal problems by refusing service. Much to your chagrin, it isn’t an evil gay plot. There is a long and tedious legal trail. Have at it ace. Learn something. Start here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Exercise_Clause

    #8876
    NoParty
    Participant

    Deane said trolling>>>
    Missing, that is the radical liberal view. Not everyone agrees that it’s necessary to march lockstep with the liberal paradigm.

    And not everyone believes your way as well. There’s a lot wrong with your point of view as well Deane. Thinking any different would just be ignorant.

    #8879
    Andy Brown
    Participant

    The real message here for conservative middle America (Indiana specifically at this time) and trolls like F&B is simple:

    America has had this discussion before. You (bible thumping right wing business owner) do not get to choose who sits at the counter and you (right wing conservative bigoted state politicians) don’t get to decide what seats on the bus minorities or gays get to sit in.

    Get over it.

    http://tinyurl.com/q2hu2ct

    #8886
    Deane Johnson
    Participant

    “There’s a lot wrong with your point of view as well Deane. Thinking any different would just be ignorant.”

    Trixter, could you explain what my point of view is?

    #8890
    jerry1949
    Spectator

    When the Supreme Court upheld Hobby Lobby, they upheld the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. There’s literally nothing new that’s happened here in Indiana that hasn’t already been upheld at the Supreme Court and passed US Congress and been signed into law, in this case by Bill Clinton. But you would think… Because this affords the media and the left the perfect opportunity. What we’ve got here, folks, if I may draw… It’s not the perfect analogy, but it’s pretty close.

    We’ve got “hands up, don’t shoot,” except in this case it’s supposedly discrimination against gays and lesbians and bisexuals and transgenders, and that’s not what it is. It’s a law that says the freedom of religion clause in the First Amendment has been affirmed. But you see, it’s selective outrage. Remember the case involving peyote? Remember that, Mr. Snerdley? A bunch of Native Americans wanted an exemption from federal laws against marijuana and similar things like peyote ’cause it was part of their religion.

    Peyote was required, they said, for certain religious ceremonies. They got an exemption. Peyote was claimed legal because it was said that we could not infringe on the religious freedoms of Native Americans. I remember when that argument came up because then everybody said, “You know what’s gonna happen now? Every crackpot and oddball out there is gonna claim everything he’s doing is because of his religion as a means of getting away with it.” Now we’ve done an absolute 180.

    Now a law passed to affirm the religious freedom of the people of Indiana has been restated, and the media is telling you that the governor of Indiana, Mike Pence — who we know here; he’s a good guy, he’s a good man — and the people of Indiana have decided that they don’t like gays and they don’t want gays anywhere in the state and they don’t want gays doing business there. So the gays say, “Fine! You don’t want us here? We’ll leave, and we’re gonna take all our business with us.”

    That’s not what the law is.

    But that’s how it’s being construed, that’s how it’s being portrayed. On one side we’ve got the facts, the history, the context, and it doesn’t matter. Over here we have what the media is saying about it. It’s purely emotional. It is driving people’s emotions and is creating almost a replica of the lie that “hands up, don’t shoot” was. As I say, it’s not a perfect analogy, but terms helping you to understand what’s going on here, it might work.

    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2015/03/30/the_left_repeats_hands_up_don_t_shoot_tactic_on_the_state_of_indiana

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