“Has Obama waged a war on religion?: NPR”

I found this NPR story posted on a friend’s wall in Facebook today, and though I’d pass it on. In light of recent blog posts and discussions on the state of religious rights in the United States, I think this is quite relevant. As typical, NPR takes a middle ground and is quite respectful to the religious and secular views expressed.

Staver says as rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people make gains, religious conservatives are having to set aside their convictions. A Christian counselor was penalized for refusing to advise gay couples. A court clerk in New York was told to issue same-sex marriage licenses, despite religious reservations. A wedding photographer was sued for refusing to shoot a same-sex wedding. Staver says these people aren’t trying to impose their religious views on others.

“What people of faith don’t want to do, however, is be forced to participate in something that literally cuts to the very core of their belief.”

Boston says of course religious believers want to impose their views on the world — witness the fight against same-sex marriage. But he says under the law, people can’t discriminate based on their religious beliefs, any more than a restaurant owner can cite the Bible in refusing to serve black customers. He says the solution is simple.

“If you don’t want to serve the public, don’t open a business saying you will serve the public.”

I think Boston has it right. Religious people have every right to make their own choices regarding who they will marry, whether or not they would have an abortion in any given circumstance, whether they will take birth control, and so on. What they don’t get to do is make these choices for other people who may or may not share their convictions. Especially At least not with the blessing and funding of our secular government (what you do in your personal life is your business).


6 thoughts on ““Has Obama waged a war on religion?: NPR”

  1. I absolutely disagree except in cases of public monies given to business’ that are funded by our taxes.

    Private business has the right to do as it pleases, regardless of the civil rights of the individual in question. For example, ministers should not have to marry same sex couples. Christian counselors do not have to counsel anyone but whom they desire to counsel, unless they are working for non profits and the company is receiving grants or public monies to help the public.

    Those who own their own business’s can serve the public as they choose and should never be forced to provide services to anyone that they don’t choose to provide service to.

    • So, you think it should be the right of a restaurant to turn out someone because of their race or religion? I think the key here is that the business claims to be serving the public. Ministers performing marriages, for example, are not serving the public but rather a specific community, and they can refuse to perform a wedding for whatever reason they like (at least, so far as I know). If a private business wants to be an exclusive club that only serves certain people, then that is their business and they should advertise themselves as such. But if they serve the public, then the law prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, disability, and at least in some cases sexual orientation.

    • None of this means that anyone is prohibited by law from being a bigot in their personal life, or hold whatever opinions about anyone that they wish.

  2. When what the public wants interferes with the private religious beliefs of a private business owner, that business owner should not be able to be forced to serve the public against his religious beliefs.

    If he’s taking public monies, however, that’s just tough for him. If he’s not, it’s tough for the controversial situation/individual who is demanding whatever it is that is against that business owner’s religious beliefs. Find another business owner who will be able to serve.

  3. Sorry.. forgot to add this:

    I don’t believe in the politically correct anti-discrimination laws that have the government in our business on a continuous basis, which can create a too-powerful governmental dictatorship essentially. I don’t like too much governmental interference. Sometimes it helps and sometimes it doesn’t. I think it’s better to allow business to operate without a lot of governmental red tape.

    • Well, Warrioress, you definately have a right to your opinion. However, I tend to think that the right of an individual to access services that have been advertised to the public without being degraded and humiliated trumps the right of the business owner to express their prejudice. Whether the predudice is religiously motivated or not matters very little to me.

      The individual can not go in and demand services of the business that the business does not normally provide, of course. One couldn’t demand a Muslim-owned restaurant to serve pork, for example.

      Besides, on the topic of religiously-motivated discrimination, where in your religion is the rule that thou shalt not provide goods and services to those with whose lifestyles you disagree?

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