What I’m Reading, September 9, 2014

Tiptoeing Around the Civil Rights Act, Adam Lee, Daylight Atheism, September 3, 2014

The Civil Rights Act is an abiding dilemma for members of the right-wing Church of Not Gay. As marriage equality continues to progress, their latest cause celebre is arguing that believers should have the right to refuse service to gay couples – whether they be photographers, bakers, owners of wedding venues, even county clerks – all in the name, supposedly, of “religious liberty”, which they believe should be a trump card allowing holders to opt out of any generally applicable law.

The problem, from their perspective, is that the historical parallel is too raw and too obvious: it wasn’t that long ago that many business owners also demanded the right to refuse service to black people (and, yes, claimed a religious justification for doing so). From both a legal and a cultural standpoint, this argument has already been settled: business owners who offer a public accommodation can’t pick and choose their customers on the basis of irrelevant characteristics such as race, gender, or sexuality.

‘Sexual Liberty’ and Religious Freedom, Ed Brayton, Dispatches from the Culture Wars, September 5, 2014

One has to strain to even imagine a scenario in which the “freedom to fornicate” could possibly be in conflict with the free exercise of religion. How does someone else’s choice of sexual partners affect your religious freedom unless your idea of religious freedom includes the authority to prevent others from having sex in ways that you disapprove of? Of course, that’s exactly what Duigon does mean by freedom of religion. He is a Christian Reconstructionist, which means he thinks the government should put to death gay people, adulterers, fornicators and women who aren’t virgins on their wedding day.


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