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← Does Religious Liberty Equal Freedom to Discriminate?

Functional Atheist's Avatar Jump to comment 56 by Functional Atheist

This might be counter to the prevailing views here, but my response to the rhetorical question in the headline "Does religious liberty equal freedom to discriminate?" is a qualified 'yes.'

The American tradition of religious liberty includes a deep deference to the internal practices of religious groups. If a denomination like Roman Catholicism discriminates against women, and on the basis of marital status, when deciding whom to allow to become a priest, I think that is okay--and so does American law. A religious exemption for communion wine was allowed during the days of prohibition. If a denomination wants to bar openly gay clergy, or wants to bar same-sex marriage ceremonies from their churches, that is also within their rights under the "free exercise" of religion clause.

So yes, religious liberty does include a LIMITED freedom to discriminate.

But it is not a blanket right to discriminate. Other comments have covered the situations where religious liberty should and/or must defer to secular custom and law.

Thu, 31 May 2012 21:57:31 UTC | #944854