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OPINION - Guest column

Religious conscience must be protected

By LESLIE RUTLEDGE Special to the Democrat-Gazette

This article was published July 1, 2018 at 1:53 a.m.

Independence Day is more than fireworks and barbecue. It is a wonderful time for Americans to reflect on the true foundations of our great country. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court has reminded us of one of the most fundamental of those ideas: Americans should not be forced to participate in activities that violate their religious beliefs against their conscience.

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JakeTidmore says... July 1, 2018 at 6:07 a.m.

Since when is bigotry being conscientious?
Leslie, how can I say this? Bluntly & directly works best, I reckon....
If bullsh*t was music, you'd be a freakin' orchestra.

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JakeTidmore says... July 1, 2018 at 6:20 a.m.

A better overview of the debate:
h ttps://ww w.npr.o rg/2017/02/28/517092031/in-religious-freedom-debate-2-american-values-clash
Heather Greene helped us better understand the law in an editorial she wrote in 2017:
"The basic premise of these acts is to “restore” religious freedom which, in and of itself, is an odd concept. “Restoration” assumes that something is deteriorating or is completely gone. With the exception of perhaps the paper on which the Bill of Rights was originally written, the First Amendment is still very much intact.

Regardless of that point and the overarching presence of constitutionally protected rights, the federal RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) seeks to clarify or more specifically direct religious freedom actions within the public sphere. Why? As explained in the 1993 federal RFRA’s findings, “laws ‘neutral’ toward religion may burden religious exercise as surely as laws intended to interfere with religious exercise.”

Therefore, as it posits, RFRAs are needed to ensure that the government, state or federal, does not burden a person or organization with its standing neutral laws and constitutional protections.

That is where the problem lies. One man’s expression is another’s burden.

For example, this issue applies directly to cases of prayer in school, invocations before legislative meetings, or religious monuments on publicly-owned property. While some people might feel compelled to openly pray before a class or a city council meeting, a neutral law aims at creating a neutral public environment by placing restrictions on these types of religious expressions.

Those people who do enjoy such prayer may, in turn, believe that they are burdened by the legal restrictions and even go so far as to say that their constitutional rights have been violated. However, if the practice is allowed, the expression becomes equally a burden to those people not of the expressed religion. The question then becomes, whose burden is more important?

The neutral law, as a result, stands as a means to maintaining a peaceful and safe public square and, thereby, is a sacrifice to living in community."

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JakeTidmore says... July 1, 2018 at 6:34 a.m.

Finally, Linda McClain, Professor of Law and Paul M. Siskind Research Scholar
Boston University School of Law, wrote THE RHETORIC OF BIGOTRY AND
CONSCIENCE IN BATTLES OVER “RELIGIOUS LIBERTY V. LGBT RIGHTS”. It is a well-written and detailed look at both sides of the issue.
Although published in just prior to the 2018 Supreme Court decision mentioned in the conclusion, McClain's closing summation predicted Judge Kennedy's decision making almost verbatim.
Here is the4 elibrary page:
ht tps:// m/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3144478
And, here is the document it links to:
ht tps://poseidon01.ssrn.c om/delivery.php?ID=316105111106006107004123110101018094097057069013079039085087077107105006122069084075054034098101102014042109115091066110110106037027053089084024112079084071112098037033035091067082021024005075016075025020096031119076067015011114004008094071123082007&EXT=pdf
Excerpt from Conclusion:
The better path, modeled by Justice Bosson’s concurring opinion in Elane Photography, is to speak in terms of the requirements of civility and tolerance, or the “price of citizenship” in a pluralistic society.
Bosson attempted to address the business owners “with utmost respect,” while explaining that their freedom to live out their religious beliefs “wherever they lead” in their personal lives must have some limits in “our civic life,” including public accommodations.
He focuses on the strength of the state’s interest in the terms of that civic life to show the force of analogy: “the [state] legislature has made it clear that to discriminate in business on the basis of sexual orientation is just as intolerable as discrimination directed toward race, color, national origin, or religion.”

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WGT says... July 1, 2018 at 7:39 a.m.

And this Rutledge person is why society is held back from progress. We must vote these backwards people out. People shall be allowed to make informed choices about personal health without the interference of people under the insane influence of “religious rights.”

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23cal says... July 1, 2018 at 8:49 a.m.

If Rutledge is this ignorant, she shouldn't be attorney general. If she is this dishonest, she shouldn't be attorney general.
She says, "Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court has reminded us of one of the most fundamental of those ideas: Americans should not be forced to participate in activities that violate their religious beliefs against their conscience."
This is simply not true. What the Masterpiece Cakes decision reminded us of is that everyone deserves a fair trial. Kennedy’s opinion for the court, carefully read, is very much of a piece with his four prior opinions in support of equal treatment for gays and lesbians.
A commissioner opined that freedom of religion has been used historically to justify discrimination. “And to me,” he said, “it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use.”
Kennedy, as well as Justice Elena Kagan in her concurring opinion, focused on this excess to find that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission “was neither tolerant nor respectful of Phillips’ religious beliefs”; it failed to accord “full and fair consideration to his religious beliefs.”
The high court’s reversal is narrow, procedural, fact-bound. It in no way disparages the constitutional liberties of same-sex couples. The decision isn't at all as Rutledge portray's it in order to push her extremist and fanatical religious right agenda. No doubt the gullible who fit that description will swallow the falsehood hook, line, and sinker.
She says "Since the baker designs cakes for LGBT clients for occasions other than marriage, the Court found the Civil Rights Commission to be unnecessarily hostile to and dismissive of the baker's religious objections." That isn't what the court found at all. See above from the actual opinion.
If you can use your "religious beliefs" to not serve LGBTs who are protected by the law in Colorado, then there is no reason you can't use them to discriminate against people of color, Irish, women.....or Christians. If "religious belief" allows you to ignore religiously neutral and generally applicable laws, why wouldn't that open the door to religious human sacrifice?
Here is what the SCOTUS had to say about that: "The free exercise of one's beliefs, however, as distinguished from the absolute right to a belief, is subject to regulation when religious acts require accommodation to society (citations). Undoubtedly defendant Bessinger has a constitutional right to espouse the religious beliefs of his own choosing, however, he does not have the absolute right to exercise and practice such beliefs in utter disregard of the clear constitutional rights of other citizens. This court refuses to lend credence or support to his position that he has a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of the Negro race in his business establishments upon the ground that to do so would violate his sacred religious beliefs." Substitute LGBT for Negro race and the result is clear.

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ARMNAR says... July 1, 2018 at 9:46 a.m.

She's embarrassing.

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mozarky2 says... July 1, 2018 at 12:19 p.m.

So, "progs", just why is it you hate attractive conservative women, and just how do you limpwristed eunuchs propose to get rid of them? Voting them out?

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mozarky2 says... July 1, 2018 at 12:24 p.m.

I can't wait to see the hatred you "progs" throw at Amy Coney Barrett!

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NoUserName says... July 1, 2018 at 12:59 p.m.

"attractive conservative women"
Leslie certainly is a conservative woman.

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JakeTidmore says... July 1, 2018 at 1:28 p.m.

Dang moozy - your comment is not even tangent to the topic - and, honestly, it's just plain insulting to Rutledge to treat her as nothing but a sex object.
A rabid dog could eat a bowl of alphabet soup and crap out a smarter comeback than what you just said.
I suggest you check the expiration date on your Metamucil. Based on your mentally disoriented comments, it probably has turned into something hallucinogenic.

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