A negative aspect of religious freedom
"religious freedom of belief"
"religious freedom to control, discriminate
denigrate and/or oppress others"
of the Golden Rule.
Some noteable quotations related to the Golden Rule:
- Maya Angelou (author, poet, civil rights activist): "... equal rights, fair play, justice, are all like the air: we all have it, or none of us has it. That is the truth of it."
- Dana Arcuri (author): "Our job on earth isn't to criticize, reject, or judge. Our purpose is to offer a helping hand, compassion, and mercy. We are to do unto others as we hope they would do unto us."
- Alexandra Katehakis (therapist): "If your actions were to boomerang back on you instantly, would you still act the same? Doing to others an act you’d rather not have done to you reveals a powerful internal conflict."
- Brennan Manning (author): "How I treat a brother or sister from day to day, how I react to the sin-scarred wino on the street, how I respond to interruptions from people I dislike, how I deal with normal people in their normal confusion on a normal day may be a better indication of my reverence for life than the antiabortion sticker on the bumper of my car."
- Steve Shallenberger (author): "Replacing rudeness and impatience with the Golden Rule may not change the world, but it will change your world and your relationships."
- Socrates (philosopher): "Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others."
- George Takei (actor): "If you have to make laws to hurt a group of people just to prove your morals and faith, then you have no true morals of faith to prove."
The transition from religious freedom of belief to religious freedom to hurt others:
we noticed a radical drift in the definition of both "religious freedom" and its near-synonym "religious liberty:"
- FROM the historical meaning: the freedom of religious belief, speech, practice, assembly, and proselytizing by believers. At the time, attacks on personal religious freedom typically:
- Involved governments or larger faith groups as perpetrators, and
- Involved faith groups or individuals as victims.
- TO the new freedom demanded by some faith groups or believers to oppress or denigrate
others, to discriminate against them, and/or to mount political campaigns to deny
them equal rights. These attacks on religious freedom typically:
- Involve individual believers, faith groups, for-profit companies, or parachurch organizations as perpetrators, and
- Involve either women or members of sexual minorities as victims.
Religious freedom once referred mostly to the believers' right to express religious ideas and to engage in religious
practices. Now it is becoming mostly
about the freedom for individuals and religious groups to take actions that discriminate against others by limiting other people's human rights and freedoms, without incurring negative consequences themselves.
People who exercise their religious freedom to discriminate rarely connect their actions to Jesus' words in two Gospels -- Matthew and Luke -- where he commands his followers to obey what is now called the Golden Rule. He instructs them to treat others as his followers would wish to be treated themselves. This is a fundamental moral precept found in all of the major religions in the world and in many philosophical writings.
Topics covered in this section:
- Two contrasting meanings of the term "religious freedom:" The freedom of belief vs. the freedom to discriminate:
- 2010 to now: Detailed descriptions of the religious freedom to discriminate.
Some of the following links are to essays that describe "religious freedom to discriminate" bills in farious states.
Others describe owners of for-profit businesses who have run afoul of state or local human rights laws because they have refused goods and/or services to customers because of their deeply held religious reasons:
- 2010: Federal hate crime and employment discrimination bills. Transit ads in Toronto.
- 2011: An Apple app; Ontario Catholic schools. Kansas House passes bill.
- 2012: New Hampshire; Catholic Church and HHS birth control mandate; Hawaii civil unions.
- 2013: Arizona: House passes discrimination bill.
- Part 1: Kansas: Second try. Fails again in the Senate.
- Part 2: Tennessee House passes discrimination bill; Senate delays it.
- Part 2: Arizona Legislature passes discrimination bill. Reactions. Is Arizona's SB 1062 bill really needed?
- Part 3: More reactions to Arizona's bill. Again, is it really needed?
- Part 4: Massive opposition & some support for bill SB 1062
- Part 5: Opposition & support continues
- Part 6: Arizona Governor vetoes "license to discriminate" bill SB 1062 bill!
- Part 7: Review of other states' anti-gay legislation. What groups are generating these bills?
- Part 8: Three factors that are rarely considered in this type of legislation
- Part 9: Mississippi "Religious freedom bill SB 2681" (aka "License to Discriminate" and "Turn Away
- Part 10: Quotes. House Committee passed revised version of Mississippi religious freedom bill SB 2681. Webmaster's note. Bill signed into law
- Part 11: Details about SB 2681, the Mississippi religious freedom bill: Reactions
- Part 12: More reactions to SB 2681, the Mississippi religious freedom bill
- Part 13: More instances of discrimination by public accommodations
- Over 70 "Religious Freedom to Discriminate" (RFTD) bills introduced to state Legislatures. Some pass. A few become law: Part 1 Part 2
- Indiana: Religious "Freedom to Discriminate" laws. A real firestorm of opposition resulted.
- Part 1 RFRA acts in multiple states, with Indiana's examined in detail
- Part 2 Comparing the federal RFRA of 1993 and the Indiana RFRA of 2015
- Part 3 Reactions to the Indiana law
- Part 4 More reactions
- Part 5 Governor Pence having second thoughts? Union relocates conference. Potential Republican candidates for the
Presidency in 2016 defend RFRAs
- Part 6 Mayors, Governors, and
NASCAR denounce Indiana's RFRA
- Part 7 Family Research Council circulates petition, and comments further on state RFRA.
Further Indiana RFRA developments.
- Part 8 Additional comments on Indiana's RFRAs.
Assessing where the truth lies.
- Part 9 Assessing where the truth lies (Cont'd).
updates RFRA law.
Governor signs it into law.
- Part 10 Indiana Legislature
passes new bill to clarify RFRA law.
Governor signs the new bill into law.
- Louisiana: 2015-MAY: Bill to discriminate against LGBT commuity fails. Governor preserves discrimination. Part 1 Part 2
- Michigan: 2015-APR to JUL: Governor promises to not sign a RFRA bill into law, but later signs three. Part 1 Part 2
- Businesses refusing service to the LGBT community on religious grounds. National public opinion poll
- Other aspects of the religious freedom to discriminate:
- Details of specific cases exercising the freedom to discriminate against others:
Robert Boston, "Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn't Give You the Right to Tell Other People What to Do"
Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. $12.26 plus postage in Paperback. Available in Kindle format for $7.86.
Amazon.com book description:
"Increasingly, conservative religious groups are using religious liberty as a sword to lash out at others. In this forcefully argued defense of the separation of church and state, Robert Boston makes it clear that the religious freedom guaranteed in the First Amendment is an individual right, the right of personal conscience, not a license allowing religious organizations to discriminate against and control others. The book examines the controversy over birth control, same-sex marriage, religion in public schools, the intersection of faith and politics, and the 'war on Christmas,' among other topics.
Boston concludes with a series of recommendations for resolving clashes between religious liberty claims and individual rights."
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Using Religion to Discriminate," ACLU, at: https://www.aclu.org/
- Shadee Ashtari, "Kansas State House Passes Bill Allowing Refusal Of Services To Same-Sex Couples," 2014-FEB-12, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
- Chas Sisk, "TN lawmakers drop wedding vendors bill," The Tennessean, 2014-FEB-18, at: http://www.tennessean.com/
- Paul Guequierre, "New Extreme Cincinnati Archdiocese Teacher Contract Takes Anti-LGBT Discrimination to a New Level," Human Rights Campaign, 2014-MAR-18, at: http://www.hrc.org/
Copyright © 2009 t0 2015 by Ontario Consultants on
Originally written: 2009-DEC-08
Latest update: 2015-NOV-01
Author: B.A. Robinson