The whole “religious freedom” mantra is being repeated with the same frequency and intensity as the one-percenters kept proclaiming themselves “job creators.” Both claims are worthless and hollow—yet to those who think giving rich people more money when our economy is based on consumer spending, “religious freedom” as the right to legalized bigotry makes perfect sense. Religious freedom in America has been about the right to individual “soul liberty”—not the right to bash someone else over the head with that personal belief. I can believe whatever I want—but that doesn’t mean I can necessarily live out those beliefs in the public sphere. America is—for better or worse—a democratic society where majority rule shapes the public values and guidelines. And again, while the public can’t force you to believe a certain thing, it can mandate that you behave a certain way.
The idea of “religious freedom” now meaning the ability to behave in accordance with your own personal thoughts or belief system is entirely problematic. Suppose I am a business owner who believes pre-marital sex is wrong; do I know have the right to refuse contraceptives and maternity coverage to all my single female employees? If I think all Muslims are going to hell can I ban them from my restaurant? If it is my sincerely held belief that white people are the master race—can I begin seeking to eliminate all other races? “Religious Freedom” in America has traditionally referred to individual “soul liberty,” or the idea for each person to think or believe however they see fit. With this new law—and the changing definition of the word—conservatives are essentially re-defining “religious freedom” as the ability to behave however I see fit, regardless of standard public practice or law.
|More brilliant conservative logic!|