Eroding Freedom in the Name of Freedom

 Thousands gathered outside the Indiana Statehouse on Saturday to protest a law that opponents say allows for bias against gays.  Credit Doug McSchooler/Associated Press

Thousands gathered outside the Indiana Statehouse on Saturday to protest a law that opponents say allows for bias against gays. Credit Doug McSchooler/Associated Press

When the federal government adopted a religious protection act in 1993, same-sex marriage was not on the horizon.

An informal coalition of liberals and conservatives endorsed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act because it seemed to protect members of vulnerable religious minorities from punishment for the exercise of their beliefs. The federal legislation was set off by a case involving Native Americans who were fired and denied unemployment benefits because they took part in ceremonies with peyote, an illegal drug.

Twenty states, including Indiana last week, have since passed their own versions of religious freedom laws.

But over time, court decisions and conservative legal initiatives started to change the meaning of those laws, according to liberal activists. The state laws were not used to protect minorities, these critics say, but to allow some religious groups to undermine the rights of women, gays and lesbians or other groups.

“The coalition broke apart over the civil rights issues,” said Eunice Rho, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union. The organization, which initially supported the measures, now opposes them unless they include language ensuring that they will not be used to permit discrimination or harm.

In the 1990s, for example, in the kind of case that raised red flags for civil rights advocates, landlords cited religious beliefs, sometimes with success in court, after refusing to rent to unmarried heterosexual couples.

The clash of values erupted again after Indiana adopted its own version of a “religious freedom” act last week. Arkansas is expected to approve a similar law this week.

Read more at The New York Times

Categories: Gay rights, History, Homophobia, Human rights, LGBT rights, Politics, Religion, Sexual discrimination, Top stories, U.S. history, US News

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4 replies

  1. Matthew 25:42 “For I was hungry, and you did not give me to eat; I was thirsty, and you did not give me to drink; I was a stranger and you did not take me in; naked, and you did not cover me; sick and in prison, and you did not visit me.’ Then they will also answer him, saying: ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he shall respond to them by saying: ‘Amen I say to you, whenever you did not do it to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.’

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The over reaction by the republican leaders made me realize that there is a group of Christians that are too involved in our government. They are using their wealth to buy our leaders. This group should be Taxed because they are not acting like a religion or a church.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The whole point of my quotation above was to demonstrate that the teachings of Jesus rejected what these so-called Christians believe is acceptable moral behavior. Jesus did not persecute thieves, whores and tax collectors. He loved and forgave them. People are defined not by what they say but what they do. Those who do these things in his name are not true Christians. Jesus would have none of this.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I understood what you were quoting but I lost my train of thought.
        You still doing brain surgery as one of your professions? LOL.
        I could use the help currently.


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