Anyone who might know me knows how I feel about laws that infringe the rights of the individual. Anyone who knows me also knows that I am an ally for LGBTQ+ rights and for the right for anyone to pursue his/her faith in any way s/he chooses, so long as no one is being hurt or causing harm to themselves or anyone else. With that belief in mind, one would think I'd be totally okay with a law that "protects" the religious freedom of the masses, right? Well I am to a degree. It's called the First Amendment, which allows Americans freedom of speech and freedom of religion. There are also those inalienable rights set out by the Declaration of Independence that all men (and women) have the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Whatever that may be.
How do I feel about RFRA laws set out by states like Indiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas Texas, Pennsylvania, and others?
I don't agree. The reason I don't agree (most strongly, I might add) is because the intent behind those laws isn't to protect religious freedom for all, just for some. Just for the Christian majority. The conservative types who put out these laws have this paranoid delusion that LGBTQ+ marriage is somehow going to infect their lives and undo the family values they say they strive to keep.
People love to argue that marriage is a religious thing and that it should only take place between a man and a woman. Marriage is a civil contract, and a coming together of two people to share their lives. Some like having the idea that their deity of choice sanctifies their union and it does something amazing to their souls, uniting them as one being (an idea that strangely sounds like the philosophy of Plato, who was not a religious man, who spoke of soul mates and one soul divided into two halves).
The main issue I have with these laws, however, has only a small part to do with their condoning the denial of LGBTQ+ service on "religious" grounds, but rather on how it will affect people over all, especially people of different faiths. I find these acts to be hypocritical. There is no war on Christianity in the U.S. There's a war of Christianity. People in power who claim Christianity are essentially waging a religious beliefs war on everyone else who doesn't share their views, and it puts people at risk all around.
From a personal standpoint, I'm a person of blended faiths. I follow a non-traditional path, and should I practice openly, such an act might essentially put me at a disadvantage in those states. But aside from the way it would affect me, I think about how it affects people of color, people who follow faiths other then Christianity, or people who don't follow faith at all, and identify as atheists.
- A doctor who refuses to tell a patient who may have a risky pregnancy about abortion being one of her options because it's his/her religious preference not to promote abortion does a disservice to that woman because s/he is taking the choice of treatment out of the woman's hands by not providing her with all the options.
- A person who is not Christian really likes a particular kind of food and wants it at his/her party, and is refused because the faith doesn't match and s/he looks like those terrorists on TV killing Christians in *insert anti-Christian, intolerant country here* is denied service even though this place may be a specialty place or special to that person, and now s/he is being denied service.
- A person breaks down on the side of the road and the mechanic or even the tow truck driver is of a different faith and refuses to assist because the person who had the breakdown is wearing a pentacle and identifies as a Wiccan or a pagan of some non-monotheistic faith and it is against the beliefs of the person to assist them, or worse, they feel it is the duty to "not suffer a witch to live". Would the defense be "I was doing this according to my faith?"
Some of the views above might be extreme, but some are not so far from the realm of possibility. While I will agree that the right to refuse service for a private business is perfectly legal and legitimate, (and protected under the constitution) the idea that a government act is put in place to protect religious rights that are actually not being infringed upon, and is rather making it difficult for people to practice their non-Christian, non-traditional views publicly is the anti-thesis of what that supposed law is trying to protect, and what is stipulated in the Constitution. Freedom of faith/religion is a fundamental right.The Founding Fathers didn't make the US a Christian nation. There is no mention of Christ, Christianity, and how it relates to the law of the land in the Constitution. There is supposed to be separation of church and state. We aren't a theocracy.
Keep the religion out of politics. Keep Caesar and God separate. Even Jesus said it.