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Old 02-15-2018, 06:40 AM
Euphrosyne Euphrosyne is offline
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Wash, D.C. metro area
Posts: 223
Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
I missed this earlier.

To a non-believer like me, this is gobbledygook. I'm sure it means something to you, but to me it's not possible to distinguish it from other claims that their religion genuinely forbids baking cakes for interracial couples. If I can't tell the difference, how is a secular government supposed to tell the difference?
Thank you, iiandyiiii, for your question.

Those classes of persons to which the State wishes to attach a special attentiveness to the protection of their civil rights, would, indeed, enjoy special protections under the law (people of various races, ages, marital status, sexual orientation, etc.). Most persons of religious faith would agree that, in theory, and in general, such protections are legitimate up to a point that their observance wouldn't require persons of faith to violate their consciences.

So there's a balance here: the rights of the business owner vs. the rights of the various couples who enjoy government-protected status.

An analogy might be the Constitutional rights of protesters peaceably to assemble vs. the rights of victims facing illness, injury, or facing imminent threats to life and limb or potential loss of their homes, or businesses who have a right to timely assistance from the public authorities commissioned to address these emergencies. (The analogy isn't perfect; it fails insofar as victims of emergencies aren't a protected class. But I think most reasonable people can get the idea.)

How this plays out: A friend who is an anarchist explained to me that his band of anarchists feel that shutting down traffic is an important means of protest for them, and they are committed to doing so. Otherwise, he says, they won't get the attention and the media coverage they need to get their message out there.

He claims that when the police, with horseback mounted officers, and officers in riot gear force the protesters off the roadway and onto the sidewalk or onto grassy areas, that the police are (and thus the State is) denying the anarchists their Constitutional right peaceably to assemble.

But victims in need of police assistance, or firetrucks or ambulances also have a right to timely assistance from the public authorities commissioned to address these emergencies. Police cars responding to emergency calls, firetrucks, ambulance need to be able to get through. When protesters are blocking the main roadways in and out of an area, police and other emergency vehicles are impeded from going where they need to go quickly and safely.

So the State must balance the Constitutional right to free assembly of the protesters against the rights of those in need of timely emergency assistance.

The answer, the State has decided, is to permit peaceable assembly almost anywhere, but not in locations that would jeopardize the safety of any local resident(s).

These restrictions make the anarchists very angry, and they continue to insist that their Constitutional rights are being violated by the rules against blocking certain public roadways during protests.

The State also has had to balance the right of free speech and assembly on public sidewalks by protesters at abortion clinics against the civil right of women to obtain abortions without being physically blocked and without undergoing a gauntlet of disapproving displays and speech. In many states, "bubble zones" have been created on the public sidewalks nearest the entrances to the clinic, which protesters may not enter. Thus by increasing the distance of the protesters from the clinic entrances the women entering don't have to experience blocked entrances or protesters getting right in their faces.

Some abortion protesters have been angered by the "bubble zone" restriction, and have claimed that this law violates their constitutional right freely to assemble on public spaces, and their rights to free expression. The State counters that their right to assemble and to express their protest has not been violated, but has had limits placed around it. To these limits these protesters have sometimes very strenuously objected.

In the case of businesses claiming a religious exemption for the provision of certain special order services to certain couples vs. the civil right of persons of all classes not to experience discrimination because of their class or status, many people of traditional faith believe that the State can and should develop a few simple tests by which to balance these competing claims. One test for claims of religious exemption from providing certain services to certain couples (interracial couples; LG couples, or other couples) would be for the State to discover whether there are specific verses in the relevant Sacred text that expressly forbid a particular way of relating (sexually) to one another. Or whether there are verses specifically, expressly forbidding certain people marrying one another.

The relevant Sacred texts would be the Old and New Testament in the case of Christians; the Koran in the case of Muslims; the Torah in the case of Jews, and whatever additional sacred texts that the religious body categorically include as authoritative.

I don't want to dive into an exploration of the relevant Christian precepts contained in the texts. That the precepts are expressly and indisputably present isn't much denied; whether they remain in force in modern times is a matter of intense debate. If you google the question, you'll find millions of results; the first ones will give several of the relevant verses, and some will discount these verses using other verses, exegesis (a study of the text beyond its meaning on the face), or both.

I would argue that if the State, having identified the relevant texts, should then attempt to establish whether a specific, expressly stated, relevant precept set forth in Sacred Scripture is no longer in force, and on that basis, deny the claim, then that would be an instance of the State establishing a religion. This the State may not do.

If the State, however, having identified the relevant texts, decides that the requirement for the Scripture test has been simply met in the case of a claimant for a religious exemption, then I believe that the State will have acted properly, justly, and well within Constitutional limits.

Last edited by Euphrosyne; 02-15-2018 at 06:45 AM.