4
   

Religious Liberty: Pretense for Violating the Law

 
 
Reply Thu 19 May, 2016 06:50 pm
Amid shouts of 'shame,' House GOP defeats gay rights measure

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/amid-shouts-of-shame-house-gop-defeats-gay-rights-measure/ar-BBtfexv?ocid=spartanntp

Quote:
Democrats shouted "Shame! Shame!," but seven Republicans switched their votes under pressure from House leaders Thursday and defeated a measure to protect gay rights.

The final vote was 213-212 after the chaos on the House floor. That was enough to defeat an amendment by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., aimed at upholding an executive order that bars discrimination against LGBT employees by federal contractors.

. . .

He [Rep. Maloney] was trying to include it [the amendment] in a spending bill following passage late Wednesday of a defense policy bill that included a provision Democrats said would overturn the executive order. Republicans said the measure [the defense policy bill] was simply a restatement of religious liberties from the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and they bristled at Democratic criticism.

"There are some people who are emotional ... that's beyond the pale. They can say whatever they want to but that's beyond the pale," said Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, asked about Democrats saying Republicans were a party of hate. "This country has a First Amendment that protects religious liberties, and that's all we were doing is protecting that."



Long ago, the United States Supreme Court stated the following:

Quote:
In our opinion, the statute immediately under consideration is within the legislative power of Congress. It is constitutional and valid as prescribing a rule of action for all those residing in the Territories, and in places over which the United States have exclusive control. This being so, the only question which remains is whether those who make polygamy a part of their religion are excepted from the operation of the statute. If they are, then those who do not make polygamy a part of their religious belief may be found guilty and punished, while those who do, must be acquitted and go free. This would be introducing a new element into criminal law. Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices. Suppose one believed that human sacrifices were a necessary part of religious worship; would it be seriously contended that the civil government under which he lived could not interfere to prevent a sacrifice? Or if a wife religiously believed it was her duty to burn herself upon the funeral pile of her dead husband; would it be beyond the power of the civil government to prevent her carrying her belief into practice?

So here, as a law of the organization of society under the exclusive dominion of the United States, it is provided that plural marriages shall not be allowed. Can a man excuse his practices to the contrary because of his religious belief?

Page 98 U. S. 167

To permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and, in effect, to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself. Government could exist only in name under such circumstances.


https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/98/145/case.html

And yet, people are still arguing that their right to religious liberty places them above the law. If they don't agree with generally applicable laws, they claim they are exempt from obeying. It appears that federal contractors may now discriminate against an entire segment of our population and not worry about losing their federal contracts and the huge piles of money associated with those contracts.

The proponents are placing "religious liberty" ribbons on packages of hate. Do you agree or disagree that "religious liberty" arguments are misused?
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 May, 2016 07:38 pm
@Debra Law,
Debra Law wrote:
Do you agree or disagree that "religious liberty" arguments are misused?


Not so sure if they are being misused so much as just fundamentally wrongheaded. The problem is that religions are often incompatible with modern society's civil rights evolutions. At the same time religious liberty is itself an important civil right.

I think this is more of a natural conflict between a civil right that allows people to believe what they want and some of said beliefs being incompatible with the modern world and modern society's evolving civil rights.
Miller
 
  2  
Reply Fri 20 May, 2016 01:43 am
@Debra Law,
Quote:
Can a man excuse his practices to the contrary because of his religious belief?


Consider abortion:

Many hospitals and medical practices , because of their religious affliations do not allow abortions to be performed within their institutions . Some such hospitals and practices are associated with the American Catholic Church.

In the US, Catholic hospitals prohibit abortion ( even though abortion is now legal in the USA), unless the woman-in -question stands a good chance of losing her life. Then an abortion may be performed.

In those cases of pregnancy, where conflict between a woman and her fetus may exist, a decision must be made as to which life should be saved . Should the infant be saved or should the mother of this infant be saved?

In the above situations, Catholic hospitals have always favored the life of the infant over the life of the mother-to-be.

In the US, where about 70% of the population is said to be Christian, it's not suprising that religious belief ( often associated with a specific religion) often rules.

Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Fri 20 May, 2016 02:40 am
While i agree that the concept of religious liberty is probably being abused, i wonder what you would propose to remedy the situation. We cannot see into the hearts of legislators, so we cannot proceed from an assumption that the members of the House are self-serving hypocrites. (I believe this to be the case, but what i believe is not a basis upon which to insist that people be compelled to act.) In that case, what grounds do we have for shaming, or even attempting to shame any legislator, or group of legislators? If the actions of any legislator become infamous to her or his constituents, the remedies available are to vote her or him out of office in the primary or general election; or in extreme cases, to initiate the legal steps for a recall, and to hope that it will succeed. That would leave shaming as the only alternative in a situation in which there is not time for a recall, which is the situation here. In a good deal of the political process, timing is crucial, and so it is in this situation. Even if some of the constituents of these legislators were offended--which i doubt, given that successful politicians are adroit at such judgments--it is doubtful that it can be made into an issue which will be decisive by November.

So what would you propose to do?
Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 May, 2016 10:24 am
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

Debra Law wrote:
Do you agree or disagree that "religious liberty" arguments are misused?


Not so sure if they are being misused so much as just fundamentally wrongheaded. The problem is that religions are often incompatible with modern society's civil rights evolutions. At the same time religious liberty is itself an important civil right.

I think this is more of a natural conflict between a civil right that allows people to believe what they want and some of said beliefs being incompatible with the modern world and modern society's evolving civil rights.


Perhaps, I see religious liberty as confined to clearly established parameters. A person has a right to decide, for instance, if she wants to be a Catholic or a Protestant. No one is going to be burned at the stake for heresy because they reject Henry VIII as the head of the state church, in a manner of speaking. But, a person cannot invoke one's religious beliefs as an excuse to ignore or violate generally applicable laws.

One thing that comes to my mind is the Loving v. Virginia case. The judge in the lower court wrote:

"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And, but for the interference with his arrangement, there would be no cause for such marriage. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."

Certainly, one could characterize the above sentiment as a "sincerely held religious belief". If applied today in our present political climate, such a belief would allow businesses (public accommodations) the right to discriminate in the provision of goods and services on the basis of race. That seems absurd ... but it is seems equally absurd to me that business owners are using (or abusing) their articulated religious beliefs to justify disparate treatment of and discrimination against homosexuals and women.

It saddens me that the mantra of religious liberty is used to evade generally applicable laws and to give the government's stamp of approval to hateful practices. I believe it is history repeating itself and discrimination was unacceptable in the past and it's unacceptable now.







0 Replies
 
Debra Law
 
  0  
Reply Fri 20 May, 2016 10:30 am
@Miller,
Miller wrote:

Quote:
Can a man excuse his practices to the contrary because of his religious belief?


Consider abortion:

Many hospitals and medical practices , because of their religious affliations do not allow abortions to be performed within their institutions . Some such hospitals and practices are associated with the American Catholic Church.

In the US, Catholic hospitals prohibit abortion ( even though abortion is now legal in the USA), unless the woman-in -question stands a good chance of losing her life. Then an abortion may be performed.

In those cases of pregnancy, where conflict between a woman and her fetus may exist, a decision must be made as to which life should be saved . Should the infant be saved or should the mother of this infant be saved?

In the above situations, Catholic hospitals have always favored the life of the infant over the life of the mother-to-be.

In the US, where about 70% of the population is said to be Christian, it's not suprising that religious belief ( often associated with a specific religion) often rules.




Thank you for your response. I am disappointed in our society's inability to move forward.
0 Replies
 
Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 May, 2016 10:36 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

While i agree that the concept of religious liberty is probably being abused, i wonder what you would propose to remedy the situation. We cannot see into the hearts of legislators, so we cannot proceed from an assumption that the members of the House are self-serving hypocrites. (I believe this to be the case, but what i believe is not a basis upon which to insist that people be compelled to act.) In that case, what grounds do we have for shaming, or even attempting to shame any legislator, or group of legislators? If the actions of any legislator become infamous to her or his constituents, the remedies available are to vote her or him out of office in the primary or general election; or in extreme cases, to initiate the legal steps for a recall, and to hope that it will succeed. That would leave shaming as the only alternative in a situation in which there is not time for a recall, which is the situation here. In a good deal of the political process, timing is crucial, and so it is in this situation. Even if some of the constituents of these legislators were offended--which i doubt, given that successful politicians are adroit at such judgments--it is doubtful that it can be made into an issue which will be decisive by November.

So what would you propose to do?


I believe the matter should be an important part of our public discourse. Hate is unacceptable in every form it takes, even when it's packaged in terms of "religious liberty".
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Fri 20 May, 2016 01:19 pm
@Debra Law,
Well, either that's no answer at all, or your answer is that it should be discussed in public. If the latter, i doubt that things will change any time soon.
Debra Law
 
  0  
Reply Fri 20 May, 2016 02:44 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

Well, either that's no answer at all, or your answer is that it should be discussed in public. If the latter, i doubt that things will change any time soon.


I'm feeling very powerless. I'm having a difficult time coming up with a proposal that would have any kind of success in the current political climate. And perhaps we're in this never-ending loop where history continues to repeat itself and we never learn from our mistakes. Is there no escape? I feel such sorrow for the people of this country and this world. Sometimes I feel our species is on a path to destruction, and I can't believe we're still arguing about categories of issues that should have been settled 30 years ago, or 50 years ago or 100 years ago. Perhaps you might have some answers?
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 May, 2016 02:59 pm
@Debra Law,
I suggest a zanex or two. Maybe a couple glasses of wine.

You need to lighten up.
Debra Law
 
  0  
Reply Fri 20 May, 2016 04:05 pm
@maporsche,
maporsche wrote:

I suggest a zanex or two. Maybe a couple glasses of wine.

You need to lighten up.


Ignorance is bliss, so I suspect you never require pills or wine.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  3  
Reply Fri 20 May, 2016 04:06 pm
@Debra Law,
When you see all this hate speech and legislation, remember that the reason we are seeing it is because we are winning. Marriage equality is the law of the land and homosexuals are coming out of the closet safely. Campaigns like "It Gets Better" are reaching out to at risk young people to show them hope and another way while educating teachers and parents. Our young people get it, they are leading the charge for acceptance and equality. We are talking about transgender people now instead of ignoring them. Harsh, bigoted laws in states like North Carolina are not just making people shake their heads, they are taking their business elsewhere and people like Governor McCrory are finding that instead of just solidifying his base, he solidified his opposition. The angry, hateful laws and posts about "religious liberty" are what happens when bigots are confronted and challenged, but take heart that the bulk of Americans are looking up from the challenges of their everyday lives and paying attention and when they do, most of them do the right thing.
Debra Law
 
  2  
Reply Fri 20 May, 2016 04:37 pm
@engineer,
engineer wrote:

When you see all this hate speech and legislation, remember that the reason we are seeing it is because we are winning. Marriage equality is the law of the land and homosexuals are coming out of the closet safely. Campaigns like "It Gets Better" are reaching out to at risk young people to show them hope and another way while educating teachers and parents. Our young people get it, they are leading the charge for acceptance and equality. We are talking about transgender people now instead of ignoring them. Harsh, bigoted laws in states like North Carolina are not just making people shake their heads, they are taking their business elsewhere and people like Governor McCrory are finding that instead of just solidifying his base, he solidified his opposition. The angry, hateful laws and posts about "religious liberty" are what happens when bigots are confronted and challenged, but take heart that the bulk of Americans are looking up from the challenges of their everyday lives and paying attention and when they do, most of them do the right thing.


I think there is a tremendous amount of merit to your words. I remember many years ago on this forum, in a thread entitled "Modern Conservatism...", I argued in favor of same-sex marriage. And, I have lived long enough to see that come to fruition. Huge victory for human rights!

My baby brother's daughter, my youngest niece, just graduated from college. I'm so proud of her! She went to classes full-time, worked, and had two babies during her college years. Generally, we talk about her toddlers, but a couple weeks ago we had a "political" discussion. I usually avoid discussing politics with family (very Republican people), but she mentioned to me that she supported Bernie Sanders. I found out that my niece felt the same way I do on issues of equality and liberty, etc., and that surprised me because I had assumed that she was on the same page as her parents. She is also making her first foray into the political arena, meeting with state representatives, and spearheading legislation to fund early child development and education. Wow. The young people are indeed stepping up to the plate.

So yes, there is so much to be optimistic about. And, when you describe the current goings-on as push-back because the progressives are winning, then it's easier to stomach. So, thank you for putting that into perspective. Smile
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Fri 20 May, 2016 07:31 pm
@Debra Law,
No, i'm afraid i don't have any answers. You'll never repeal the free exercise clause, and even those of moderate religious sentiment will baulk at the idea that anyone interfere in any man or woman's conscience. Elizabeth Tudor, having taken the throne, announced a religious tolerance rare in the 16th century when she said "I would not open windows into men's souls." I think that most Americans would applaud that sentiment.

But i don't see us on a primrose path to destruction. The Scopes "Monkey trial" was less than a century ago. We do progress, albeit not very rapidly. Perhaps Engineer is correct, and the current hysteria arises because progressive ideas of tolerance are "winning." I can't say, i have no crystal ball. Attar of Nishapur advised us that "This too shall pass." Scant comfort, but it may be all we have right now.
0 Replies
 
 

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