The need for a Religious Freedom’s Protection Act

A second re-run article due to the Federal court’s idiocy.

Last time, I made the point that our religious liberties are in danger because of gay marriage. The wedding industry is already seeing a spat of Christians being fined for “discrimination” because they refuse to take part in gay themed events. As I noted, this is clearly not a matter of discrimination, I’ve not heard of a bakery refusing to sell gay patrons a birthday cake; rather it is the specific event – gay marriages – that conflicts with their religious beliefs, not specific patrons. So how do we respond to this matter given the climate of the times? Our first instinct, of course, is to pray for our country, our nation, and our leaders, but a second action in the political realm of affairs should be followed: we need a religious liberties protection act.

Of course, many will argue that this should be unnecessary – after all, that is the function of the first amendment, isn’t it? The problem, of course, is that too many in government have applied the first amendment as guaranteeing religious institutions, rather than citizens, with these protections. So your church has protections for their religious positions, but you or the other members of your church don’t. The arguments over the “separation of Church and State” further trouble these waters, as the left more aggressively interprets that separation in terms that allow them to ignore religious freedom, but this is a subject for another time. Many people will argue, as my Senator did in a letter to me on the subject of gay marriage, that this is a matter of the rights of the states, and therefore the Congress has no authority to act. This was also the rationale the US Supreme court used to overthrow the defense of marriage act, despite the issue of state’s rights not being wholly germane, and despite the fact that recent court decisions by Federal judges ignore the basis of the decision.

I am certainly friendly to the arguments for Constitutionally limited government, but the authority of congress extends beyond article 1 section 3; the fourteenth amendment for example gives congress the authority (and the implied responsibility) to pass legislation to prevent the various states from infringing on American civil liberties, the text is long and contains elements outside of the issue of individual rights related to the debates of the reconstruction era, but the key provisions are that no state may pass legislation that abridges the freedom of an American citizen, and the last line specifically states that Congress has the authority to enforce the amendment by legislation.

The specifics of what I am suggesting is an act that asserts that no American citizen will be compelled or coerced to commit an act that goes against their religious beliefs by threats of fines, economic deprivation, imprisonment or loss of property, privilege or life by any state, court or local municipality. Of course, this expands beyond the issue of gay marriage, numerous other issues exist that would be affected by this passage. Whether the issue is forcing catholic institutions to support insurance that includes birth control, stores being forced to buy policies that support abortions, mayors publicly refusing to allow certain companies to open stores in their cities or the issue of wedding planners, no public official should have this authority. So when it comes to the religious Liberties Protection Act, I’ve written my congressmen, have you written yours?