Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Religious Freedom Laws

For the record, I am not a fan of religious freedom laws, simply because they would be too easy to abuse. Anyone who wanted to do something could just say "It's my religion" and get away with just about anything. I think they are based on legitimate concerns, but the devil is in the details in writing these laws. 

Is there a way to get these laws to work so the floodgates won't open? 

16 comments:

John Moore said...

In today's political climate, it's getting harder and harder to pass laws making it legal to discriminate against gays. Thus, right-wing Christians can no longer hold their heads high and proudly flaunt their beliefs in public. Complaining about this state of affairs just makes them look like spoiled brats. So what should they do?

Why not retreat into the private sphere and break the law quietly, without making a big deal of it. Do what marijuana smokers have been doing all this time. Keep it out of sight. You could think of it as passive resistance or whatever.

When a gay wedding caterer orders a cake from you, you can't blatantly deny them service, but you can stonewall for a bit, and then maybe just provide a bad cake. Hope that customer never comes back. That kind of thing.

im-skeptical said...

Consider what these laws allow.

As a fundamentalist, I interpret the bible literally. I find any violation of God's commandments to be a violation of my religious beliefs. Therefore, in my business, I can refuse to provide service to:

anyone who has ever lied.
anyone who has divorced.
anyone who has or who worships a picture or statue of Jesus.
etc, etc.

I can deny service to virtually anyone I choose, because there isn't a human on the planet that has never sinned. And I'd be fully protected by this law. In the final analysis, all anti-discrimination laws become moot, and the practice of discrimination becomes simply a matter of individual discretion.

Victor Reppert said...

And what if I put up a sign in my restaurant that says "Whites Only," and claim that it is my religion that requires this. Could someone kindly explain to me how the law couldn't be used to defend this sort of thing?

I really do want to know, if someone does.

Josh said...

Hi Victor,

Check this article out, concerning judicial review of RFRA claims:

http://www.stanfordlawreview.org/online/questioning-sincerity

im-skeptical said...

"Could someone kindly explain to me how the law couldn't be used to defend this sort of thing?"

The law couldn't defend that claim because discrimination based on race is explicitly prohibited by anti-discrimination laws. By the same token, you can't discriminate against a religion. If you look at the examples I gave, people who practice idolatry are not defined as a specific religious group. They are defined as people (of any religion) who worship a Jesus idol. And since this is not a protected class under the anti-discrimination laws, it is permissible to discriminate against them. Likewise, gays are not a protected class, except in certain states that have specifically included them as a protected class. But with the religious freedom laws, it doesn't matter, because you can always find a reason to discriminate against whoever you like. That is, of course, unless your religious objection is determined by the courts to be insincere (see Josh's article). But I think that many district courts would be happy to side with those want to raise religious objections to serving people.

TheCharles said...

The Indiana RFRA is a lot more limited than allowing people to get away with anything, particularly on a practical level. If someone makes a discrimination claim, it allows the people to use religious belief as a defense in court.

It is the same way that a patent does not respect your intellectual property, it gives you the right to sue.

Because of the expense and uncertainty of court cases, people are going to have to be serious about it, in the same way that there are plenty of infringed patents where the patent holder doesn't sue.

Now, the "White's Only" case is well established to further a compelling government interest and no lawyer would raise an RFRA defense, as im-skeptical said. It would be like using RFRA to defend yelling fire in a crowed theater, to use a worn out example.

The summary text is below for the Indiana RFRA, just to have it convenient in the thread.

Religious freedom restoration act. Provides that a state or local government action may not substantially burden a person's right to the exercise of religion unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to the person's exercise of religion is: (1) essential to further a compelling governmental interest; and (2) the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling governmental interest. Provides that a person whose exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened, by a state or local government action may assert the burden as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, regardless of whether the state or a political subdivision of the state is a party to the judicial proceeding. Allows a person who asserts a burden as a claim or defense to obtain appropriate relief, including: (1) injunctive relief; (2) declaratory relief; (3) compensatory damages; and (4) recovery of court costs and reasonable attorney's fees.

https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2015/bills/senate/568#digest-heading

Son of Ya'Kov said...

>For the record, I am not a fan of religious freedom laws,

Then without such laws what will protect your right to be a Christian?

Oppose religious freedom laws and you will be offering Incense to the Emperor.

I would rather follow St. Polycarp and tell the Imperial Governor what to go do with himself.

I am a Catholic & a Scot and an American.

I will not bow to tyranny.

Victor Reppert said...

Well, the context is these new religious freedom laws designed to avoid discrimination charges. They might work in this context. The devil is going to be in the details.

im-skeptical said...

"I will not bow to tyranny."

Of course not. You wouldn't want anyone stepping on YOUR rights, but you are quite happy to deny others THEIR rights. Tyranny is what you represent, if you support these despicable laws, whose only purpose is to enable discrimination against anyone who doesn't share your own beliefs.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

@SkepotheFascist

>Of course not. You wouldn't want anyone stepping on YOUR rights, but you are quite happy to deny others THEIR rights.

Tell me Fascist boy how do you figure you have the RIGHT to force me to attend a ceremony I object too or craft Art or speech I object too?

You don't.

I don't believe I have any right before God or man to force you to say a prayer against your will or go to Mass.

That is moral different between us. I believe in freedom and rights even the rights of little Brownshirt bigots like yourself.

You simply don't you fascist hypocrite.


>Tyranny is what you represent, if you support these despicable laws, whose only purpose is to enable discrimination against anyone who doesn't share your own beliefs.

Beg the Question much Gnu Boy?

So you are OK with forcing a gay photographer to attend a wedding at the Westburro Baptist Church against his will?

Or forcing an Atheist to bake a Cake with an anti-Atheist message on it?

You just hate freedom & at the end of the day you really have no right to call yourself a liberal anymore than the Grand Dragon of the KKK does.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

>Well, the context is these new religious freedom laws designed to avoid discrimination charges.

Pure bullshit! They where designed so religious organizations could not be forced to provide Health Insurance containing birth control or abortion in them. While allowing employees to
buy riders to compensate.

>They might work in this context. The devil is going to be in the details

That is what they are suppose to do.

Hey Ellane Photography offered to photograph the two lesbian bridzillas in her studio but she didn't want to attend their propane ceremony or tell the story of it in photos thus create Art which is speech.

The left has become a bunch of Fascist jerkoffs who hate freedom and they are an existential social threat to all people who love liberty.

B. Prokop said...

Ben expresses himself in language that often makes me cringe, but he nevertheless makes excellent points. In a conversation below this one, Ilion asked (rhetorically, I hope) "Who are you and what have you done with B.Prokop?" Well, Ben answered the question for me.

I tried (boy, did I ever try) to maintain a principled dissent on purely rational grounds to the current political correctness, and how was I rewarded for my efforts? Conversation ending screams of "Hater!" and "Bigot!",* totally absent of any slightest attempt to actually deal with the substance of my objections, while ironically exposing for all to see their own very real intolerance of anything they regard as thought crime ("Get in line and shut up, Comrade!").

But where was I to turn? Surely not to the Right! They are (and I still firmly maintain this) the champions of Hell's Own Governing Constitution. Plus, the right has largely become no less intolerant of dissent as the Left. (RINOs, anyone?) Libertarians? Don't make me laugh.

No, it appears that the last true refuge for anyone today (or on any day) who insists on actually using reason to arrive at principled positions in whatever sphere of human activity you care to name, is the same as it has been for two millennia: the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. There I will make my stand (for the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against it)!

* As a perhaps interesting side note, no one to date has managed to produce a shred of evidence that I have ever engaged in either hatred or bigotry toward any person. Never. Like St. Paul, I am compelled to defend myself against such slander. So to my accusers: Show me the evidence, or withdraw your baseless accusations.

Saint Thomas Aquinas, Pray for us!

B. Prokop said...

The first part of my third paragraph is (unaccountably) missing. It should have read, "But having been anathematized by the Left, where was I to turn? Surely not to the Right!"

Now the remainder ought to make sense.

im-skeptical said...

"I tried (boy, did I ever try) to maintain a principled dissent on purely rational grounds to the current political correctness, and how was I rewarded for my efforts? Conversation ending screams of "Hater!" and "Bigot!",* totally absent of any slightest attempt to actually deal with the substance of my objections, while ironically exposing for all to see their own very real intolerance of anything they regard as thought crime ("Get in line and shut up, Comrade!")."

Wow. It seems to me that you are the one who ended conversation with me with shouts of "Hate!", (and let's not forget to toss in a few gratuitous references to communism), when I merely criticized the practices of your church.

But if you want to see an excellent example of the kind of conversation killer you accuse me of, just look at what Ben Yakov says. But nevertheless, HE makes excellent points? Right.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

>Wow. It seems to me that you are the one who ended conversation with me with shouts of "Hate!", (and let's not forget to toss in a few gratuitous references to communism), when I merely criticized the practices of your church.


You didn't criticize you mocked Mr. "Trinity is One God and Three Gods".

Rational Criticism, I would love it if you did that at lest once onyur sad Gnu life.

>But if you want to see an excellent example of the kind of conversation killer you accuse me of, just look at what Ben Yakov says. But nevertheless, HE makes excellent points? Right.

It is your choice be civil and get the Bob's of the world. Be a Gnu and you get the full Bar Yaa'coov.

Now with 50% more "cov".

im-skeptical said...

"You didn't criticize you mocked Mr."

You don't even know what I was talking about.

"Be a Gnu and you get the full Bar Yaa'coov."

I am what I am. You can be hateful if you choose, but at least I'm not like you. All I've done is point out bullshit (like yours). And I am happy to remain civil with anyone who wants to be civil.