Commentary

03.06.14

Religious freedom never should cause harm to other people

By and

The Bill of Rights gives us all the freedom to express our beliefs without government persecution.  For some reason, fear has spread around the country that this protection is not enough.  Religious protection bills have appeared around the nation, including the vetoed bill in Arizona and Ohio’s own Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was indefinitely postponed.

The idea to use religion to discriminate is not going away.  Protecting religious expression is not the driving force behind the numerous bills introduced in states around the country. Providing a free pass to discriminate is the main objective.  No matter the media spin, these bills will promote discrimination and cause a headache to courts and municipalities.  We can expect to see another Ohio bill sometime in the future.  The ACLU of Ohio will be there to fight off discrimination and protect true religious liberty.

Help protect religious liberty for everyone. Donate now at acluohio.org/SupportReligiousLiberty.

Below is an excerpt from an ACLU Op/Ed that appeared in The Columbus Dispatch on 03/05/2014

Recently in Arizona, legislators passed a “religious freedom” bill that essentially legalized LGBT discrimination. Either they didn’t fully comprehend this fact when they passed the bill, or they underestimated how badly it would anger most of the nation.

Either way, many of the legislators who passed the bill ended up begging their governor to save them from political oblivion with her veto, which she did.

The fallout from this PR nightmare didn’t stop in Arizona. It spread to other states, including ours, where the sponsors of the Ohio “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” suddenly abandoned their bill after noticing that it looked an awful lot like the one in the news.

With both of these bills in flames, it’s tempting to think that this is now a dead issue, but that really wouldn’t be accurate.

Politically induced coma is the term I would use.

You see, supporters have abandoned this batch of bills, but they are preparing to double down on the flawed logic that spawned them. They just can’t shake this idea that people need a piece of state legislation to tell them it’s OK to wear a yarmulke in public.

People don’t. The Bill of Rights has them covered.

Read the rest of this column at The Columbus Dispatch.

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