A new bill being proposed by Democrats would amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act from “being used to justify discrimination against people, including gay, lesbian and transgender citizens,” The Washington Post reports, leading to fears that religious organizations could be restricted from opposing homosexuality.
The new law would be called the Do No Harm Act, and its purported aim is to amend the 25-year-old RFRA so that religious injunctions on homosexuality could not be considered under it.
“The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, commonly referred to as RFRA, was popular among lawmakers in both parties when it was enacted in 1993. Initially, it was usually referenced in cases involving practitioners of minority religions, such as Sikhs and Muslims seeking the right to wear their religious headgear in their driver’s license photos,” The Post reported last Tuesday.
“But in recent years, it has become a favorite law among conservative Christians, who say that it protects their rights to abstain from practices they disavow.”
The RFRA was part of the legal argument used by Christian-based chain Hobby Lobby when it successfully argued before the Supreme Court that it should not be mandated to provide certain types of contraception to their employees in their health care plans under Obamacare.
The same law is being used by a Christian baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple for their wedding.
“While our country was founded on the value of religious liberty, that freedom cannot come at the expense of others’ civil rights,” Democrat Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii said in a statement.
The bill is unlikely to pass, given that the GOP controls the House, Senate and 1600 Pennsylvania, but it gives a disturbing glimpse into how the Democrats plan to attack the First Amendment and religion in the courts.
At least speaking as a Christian, the Bible is fairly clear on homosexuality and transgender issues. Whether or not you yourself as a believer choose to follow those strictures is your own choice, but there’s no denying that they are in there and they’re constitutionally-protected.
The Do No Harm Act has zero chance of passing at the moment, but it would arguably be a key initiative that the Democrats would look to pursue were they to regain power, which should worry constitutionally-minded Americans endlessly.
The problems with the Do No Harm Act start with the very name: It is meant to do irreparable harm to religious liberty in this country. Only certain types of religious liberty are now allowed — the ones preordained as being OK by the Democrat Party.
Keep in mind that the RFRA already doesn’t abrogate the civil rights of any individual. In the Hobby Lobby decision, the court specifically noted that there were other alternatives available to the employees wishing to seek contraception under Obamacare. Rather, the point would be to force religious organizations to provide certain services that go against their belief systems even if other alternatives existed for those services to be fulfilled.
This isn’t a blank check against religious liberty, but it certainly comes close. Could church organizations be forced to fund sex changes or the Catholic church to fund abortions? Could congregations be forced to perform gay weddings? Under the right set of state laws, yes, that could be seen as a legal possibility, no matter what the legitimate beliefs of the religious organization may be.
The great irony here is that those who are proposing it decided to name it the Do No Harm Act because apparently, those who are harmed by it are non-entities in their book.
The religious, inasmuch as they actually believe in their religion and practice it, have of late been met with unalloyed enmity by the Democrats. The idea seems to be that your beliefs in God are perfectly fine, just so long as they don’t get in the way of someone getting contraception in the most expedient manner possible, even if that means violating the First Amendment.
This is a bill that ought to scare every American, no matter what their belief in God may be.
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