Saturday, September 9, 2017

Religious Liberty vs. Anti-Discrimination Laws

A letter published in the New Jersey Star-Ledger and the Daily Record (Clinton Plotting Attacks on Religious Liberty) during the 2016 presidential campaign stated:

A major issue in this year’s election is the supression [sic] of religious liberty by the federal government (e.g., the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor [See my post How the Birth Control Mandate Undermines the Inalienability of Rights]). Freedom of religion is the first right enumerated in the Bill of Rights of our Constitution (the Founders gave it primacy), yet a federal judge has ruled that anti-discrimination statutes take precedence over this constitutional right. Something is very wrong here.

On April 23, 2015, at the Women’s World Summit, Hillary Clinton said “Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated religious beliefs have to be changed.” So, using the force of law, like that judge, Mrs. Clinton says religious beliefs have to be changed. And how will she do that? By executive order? Yes, something is very wrong here.

Steve Drabik


I left these comments:

Something is very wrong, alright.

First, despite its wording, the First Amendment’s religious clause is really about freedom of conscience, which is broader than religion. The Founders used religion and conscience interchangeably, because they really wanted to protect the freedom of everyone to their belief including agnostics and atheists, whether secular or religious.

Second, the fundamental issue regarding anti-discrimination statutes is freedom of association, also a First Amendment right. People have a right to associate voluntarily with whom they please, or not—for whatever reason or for no reason, rational or not, moral or not, religious or not. Freedom of association means the association of two or more people must be voluntary for all concerned, or not happen at all: No one has the right to force others to associate with him. Anti-discrimination laws targeted at the private sector violates the right to freedom of association, and all such laws must be abolished.

Hillary Clinton says people must be forced to change their minds through “Laws . . . backed up with resources and political will”—which means, government officials wielding gun aggression. This is proof that Clinton is a thug. First of all, the idea that beliefs can be changed by forcible suppression is naive, to put it mildly. Secular dictators in the Middle East forcibly and brutally  suppressed Islamic fundamentalism for decades. Once the dictators were removed in the Iraq War or in the Arab Spring, fundamentalism reemerged with gusto, to the detriment of freedom.

All people must be free to express themselves including through his associations, even if it means a Christian Baker refusing to serve a Gay wedding cake. Otherwise, the First Amendment is meaningless. This does not mean irrational discrimination must be condoned or tolerated. Ideas and beliefs one finds objectionable—I consider that Christian Baker’s refusal objectionable—can and must only be defeated in the open air of intellectual freedom provided by an individual rights-protecting society. The principle involved is, “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” That principle applies to all rights. Irrational discrimination must be defeated by boycotts, speech, press, and other forms of First Amendment freedoms, as well as economic competition. Short of that, leave the discriminators alone: They are not violating anyone else’s rights. Any other way of dealing with private discrimination is the way of the thug and the dictator.

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1 comment:

Mike Kevitt said...

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, specifically the Title about private discrimination in 'public accommodations'(I forget the number of that title.), is an instrument of thugs and dictators, as is Title 9, about equal funding of all college athletics, male or female.