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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Loss of Religious Liberty? Or Something Else?

In my area, a lot of Democrats were unseated by Republicans in the recent elections. Among reasons cited for why conservatives were especially driven to vote was of course the health care law and various other things they see as Obama failures. One of the most unlikely, yet emotional, issues is the perceived threat to religious liberty.

There is a Houston, TX incident where the city demanded all sermons and communications of certain preachers. In a certain light, namely that of Fox News, this almost looks like news. The linked article uses terms like  bullying, intimidation, abuse of authority, making an example or and shaming pastors. If you dig a little deeper, however, you get a few other details and realize the city isn't actually limiting religious liberty. but enforcing a tax issue that prevents non profits receiving a tax exemption from endorsing candidates and campaigning. It's kind of an epidemic or trend to hint at the most godly choice already, but the active political organizing from the tax free pulpit is a violation of law.

And then of course there was the whole Hobby Lobby situation. People cheering on this company for deciding for people what is the right birth control option, deciding things in an area of the employee's life that is none of their business. Besides the fact that women use contraception for things other than pregnancy prevention, preventing implantation is far from abortion. The science just doesn't support many of these complaints against IUDs and the ruling opens the door for people to chuck out any government regulation if they can put forward an argument, it doesn't even have to be that compelling.

The Idaho ministers. Again, it sounds like - oh my, they are forcing Christians to marry same sex couples, just like the thought this gay rights activism would come to! But actually, the issue is the non-profit vs for-profit and equal rights vs. religious objection. The business in question is not a church or religious organization, but a for-profit business, a wedding chapel. I wonder if an exception of some sort like the Hobby Lobby loophole will be made for wedding chapels or will we see the end of the wedding chapel, leaving religious ceremonies to religious organizations who are tax exempt and free to marry people according to their particular religions stipulations.

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