Arizona and Religious Freedom

Personal freedom is sometimes an elusive goal.  We are no longer hunter gatherers.  We live in populated cities and recognize we must stop at red lights where we want to or not.

It seems at times, there is always someone else who knows better, they say, and what you may want to do is not what they think is proper.  And when that someone invokes providence in the form of some mighty spirit, any argument attempting to refute that someone’s position becomes very difficult.  But, we are fortunate that there is a US Constitution to help put some stiffness in otherwise rubbery backs.

The 1st Amendment provides Americans with important protections.  One ensures that they will be free to practice their religion.  Too many religious people, this means that they have freedom to impose their personal views on other Americans.

The Catholic Church maintains that they should not be forced to conform to the Affordable Care Act’s requirement dealing with women’s health.  Specifically, the Church claims that their religious beliefs do not condone the use of any family planning methods and therefore they should not be required to provide birth control methods as part of their employee’s insurance even if the employee is not catholic.  The Catholic Church view is that the badge of religious freedom allows them to prevent others from obtaining some benefit guaranteed by US law.

Arizona is now poised to do one better.  The State legislature has passed a bill which allows Arizona businesses to withhold services from those whose life style their religious views do not accept.  What does this mean?

The Arizona law says that if someone’s religion does not accept same sex life styles, that person would be free to deny service to those exhibiting same sex life style.  Hmmm.  I could be running a public hotel or restaurant and perfectly free to deny service to certain other Americans.

It is becoming more difficult to comprehend this view of religious freedom.  How can one person’s views trump the rights of another?

Of course, these truly religious people may sincerely believe that contraception is immoral or that same sex life styles is unacceptable.  For those people, no one is asking them to participate.  That is religious freedom.

Governor Brewer can veto this bill, or sign it into law.  If she signs the bill, it will be moments before the courts strike it down.  I wonder whether Governor Brewer will choose the Ugandan path for Arizonans?


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