CHR Comment: Letters to the editor at USA Today on the topic of religious liberty, which is creating on-going discussion.
“I’m really troubled by the idea that the state can just say … ‘Your religious freedoms don’t matter to us,'” a California pastor says.
CHR Comment: The article describes the affects of current legislation on a church and a hospital employee as well as proposed legislation regarding conscience, another example of the religious liberty issue in American culture.
CHR Comment: SB 1146 was changed to protect religious schools, such as Christian universities, so that they could maintain their moral perspective and practices while also retaining access to California grants for education. Many hundreds of phone calls to state congressmen led to the changes in wording.
Protections for religious liberty could give way to discrimination claims
CHR Comment: The article opens with a case about a family-owned pharmacy being forced to stock and sell contraceptives against their religious views (most likely Roman Catholic). Justice Alito sees a trend away from religious liberty toward emphasis on equality in the justice system. The fundamental conflict at work is two different ethical systems: consequential ethics vs. divine command ethics. Christianity, at its root is committed to divine command ethics, though modernist Christians are increasingly attempting to wed the two ethical systems.
The religious right of conscience was once a powerful legal idea. But when weighed against the right for equal treatment in recent gay rights cases, it has consistently lost ground. Part 3 of seven.
CHR Comment: This is an interesting reflection upon current inconsistencies in American law and its application with respect to religious liberty and the right not to violate one’s conscience. It illustrates why this issue continues to be discussed and must be sorted out.