A negative aspect of religious freedom
The transition from:
"freedom of belief" to
"religious freedom to control, discriminate
and/or oppress others."
- Maya Angelou: "... equal rights, fair play, justice, are all like the air: we all have it, or none of us has it. That is the truth of it."
- George Takei: "If you have to make laws to hurt a group of people just to prove your morals and faith, then you have no true morals of faith to prove."
About the transition from religious freedom of belief to religious freedom to hurt others:
we noticed a radical shift
in the definition of "religious freedom" and its near-synonym "religious liberty:"
- FROM the historical meaning: the freedom of religious belief, speech, practice, assembly, and proselytizing by believers. Attacks on religious freedom typically:
- Involved governments or larger faith groups as perpetrators, and
- Involved faith groups or individuals as victims.
- TO the freedom demanded by faith groups or believers to oppress or denigrate
others, to discriminate against them, and/or to mount political campaigns to deny
them equal rights. New attacks on religious freedom typically:
- Involve individual believers, faith groups, companies or parachurch organizations as perpetrators, and
- Involve either women or members of sexual minorities as victims.
Religious freedom once referred mostly to the believers' right to express religious ideas and to engage in religious
practices. Now it is becoming mostly
about the freedom for individuals and religious groups to take actions that limit other people's human rights and freedoms without incurring negative consequences themselves.
Topics covered in this section:
- Introduction to the two contrasting meanings of the term "religious freedom" -- the freedom of belief vs. the freedom to discriminate:
- Recent examples of the original meaning of religious tolerance: attacks on believers by others
- What religious freedom and oppression once involved in the past, and what it is becoming
- The new meaning of religious freedom: attacks and discrimination by believers against others:
- Additional examples. What is the basic question? How to eliminate the problem
- Past detailed descriptions -- mainly situations involving retail outlets in the marriage industry denying goods and services to same-sex couples planning their wedding:
- 2010 Re: Federal hate crime and employment discrimination bills; transit ads in Toronto.
- 2011 Re: an Apple app; Ontario Catholic schools. Kansas House passes bill.
- 2012 Re: New Hampshire; Catholic Church and HHS birth control mandate; Hawaii civil unions.
- 2013 Arizona's House passes discrimination bill.
- During 2014
- Part 1: Kansas' second try. Fails again in the Senate.
- Part 2: Tennessee House passes discrimination bill; Senate delays it.
- Arizona during 2014-FEB:
- Part 2: Arizona Legislature passes discrimination bill. Reactions. Is Arizona's SB 1062 bill really needed?
- Part 3: More reactions to Arizona's bill. Again, is it really needed?
- Part 4: Massive opposition & some support for bill SB 1062
- Part 5: Opposition & support continues
- Part 6: Arizona Governor vetoes "license to discriminate" bill SB 1062 bill!
- Part 7: Review of other states' anti-gay legislation. What groups are generating these bills?
- Part 8: Three factors that are rarely considered in this type of legislation
- Mississippi during 2014-MAR-APR:
- Part 9: Mississippi "Religious freedom bill SB 2681" (aka "License to Discriminate" and "Turn Away
- Part 10: Quotes. House Committee passed revised version of Mississippi religious freedom bill SB 2681. Webmaster's note. Bill signed into law
- Part 11: Details about SB 2681, the Mississippi religious freedom bill: Reactions
- Part 12: More reactions to SB 2681, the Mississippi religious freedom bill
- Part 13: More instances of discrimination by public accommodations
- During 2015:
- Over 70 "Religious Freedom to Discriminate" (RFTD) bills introduced to state Legislatures. Some pass. A few become law: Part 1 Part 2
- Indiana during late 2015-MAR: Religious "Freedom to Discriminate" laws. A real firestorm of opposition resulted.
- Part 1 RFRA acts in multiple states, with Indiana's examined in detail
- Part 2 Comparing the federal RFRA of 1993 and the Indiana RFRA of 2015
- Part 3 Reactions to the Indiana law
- Part 4 More reactions
- Part 5 Governor Pence having second thoughts? Union relocates conference. Potential Republican candidates for the
Presidency in 2016 defend RFRAs
- Part 6 Mayors, Governors, and
NASCAR denounce Indiana's RFRA
- Part 7 Family Research Council circulates petition, and comments further on state RFRA.
Further Indiana RFRA developments.
- Part 8 Additional comments on Indiana's RFRAs.
Assessing where the truth lies.
- Part 9 Assessing where the truth lies (Cont'd).
updates RFRA law.
Governor signs it into law.
- Part 10 Legislature
passes new bill to clarify RFRA law.
Governor signs the new bill into law.
Reactions to both Indiana bills:
- Aspects of the "licence to discriminate" laws that are rarely discussed
- An essay donated by Susan Humphreys titled "A Matter of Conscience"
- Details of specific cases exercising the freedom to discriminate against others:
Robert Boston, "Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn't Give You the Right to Tell Other People What to Do"
Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. $12.26 plus postage in Paperback. Available in Kindle format for $7.86.
Amazon.com book description:
"Increasingly, conservative religious groups are using religious liberty as a sword to lash out at others. In this forcefully argued defense of the separation of church and state, Robert Boston makes it clear that the religious freedom guaranteed in the First Amendment is an individual right, the right of personal conscience, not a license allowing religious organizations to discriminate against and control others. The book examines the controversy over birth control, same-sex marriage, religion in public schools, the intersection of faith and politics, and the 'war on Christmas,' among other topics.
Boston concludes with a series of recommendations for resolving clashes between religious liberty claims and individual rights."
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Using Religion to Discriminate," ACLU, at: https://www.aclu.org/
- Shadee Ashtari, "Kansas State House Passes Bill Allowing Refusal Of Services To Same-Sex Couples," 2014-FEB-12, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
- Chas Sisk, "TN lawmakers drop wedding vendors bill," The Tennessean, 2014-FEB-18, at: http://www.tennessean.com/
- Paul Guequierre, "New Extreme Cincinnati Archdiocese Teacher Contract Takes Anti-LGBT Discrimination to a New Level," Human Rights Campaign, 2014-MAR-18, at: http://www.hrc.org/
Copyright © 2009 t0 2015 by Ontario Consultants on
Originally written: 2009-DEC-08
Latest update: 2015-APR-06
Author: B.A. Robinson