Can freedom of religion be nondiscriminatory?

Okay, this will be a bit of a diversion from our conversation on the family. I want to just take a quick detour and address some current events. We’ll resume our family focus on Monday.  (Hey, with someone kind of nuts, it really isn’t that surprising is it?)

Many of you may have heard the announcement of support of nondiscrimination rights for the LGBT community yesterday by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It didn’t strike me as new or groundbreaking; rather, it was entirely consistent with support given a few years ago when Salt Lake passed similar legislation. It rings true to me.

What surprised me a little, however, was the response. During a news interview, a panel was discussing the prospects of state-wide approval. Consensus was that there was absolutely no reason not to vote for this.

But the representative from the left said that while it was a good start, there were many of his counterparts who were upset.

I thought I had surely misheard him. What was there to be upset about?

But Wednesday morning, the Huffington Post came out with an article expressing the same. The twist was that there was support for LBGT rights, but only some.

It sounds like the goal is unlimited, unfettered rights to everything.

But no one has those kinds of rights.

What is freedom of religion?

Freedom of religion or freedom of belief is a principle that supports that freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include freedom to change religion or not to follow any religion.

So, I have the right to live my religion, both in public and private, without being forced to participate in activities that are contrary.

And others have the right to do all the things they want that are contrary to my beliefs.

So far, so good, right?

But for me to be able to live and work in accordance with my beliefs, and others to be able to live and work as they do or don’t believe, there would have to be differences offered out there to accommodate all of us.

peopleTo demand that there could be no differences, that everywhere had to allow the same practices and standards, would actually limit everyone’s freedom.

It would make about as much sense as passing a law that a gay bar must hire someone who gives out bible verses with every drink order.

Actually, if in an interview the above-mentioned scriptorian’s intentions were revealed, which would certainly result in no job offer, the gay bar would not have discriminated against the applicant.

The applicant is heading in a direction that simply doesn’t match the mission statement of the organization. It’s not a good fit. Neither would be particularly happy with the work arrangements.

Isn’t it great that both are able to find places of employment that do match their own direction?

Now that’s freedom.

Bottom line,

Freedom comes when someone can search out and find a place to work where homosexuality is openly expressed and even a requirement.

Freedom comes when bars are available to serve alcohol.

Freedom comes when a store openly offers pornography.

Freedom comes when there are doctors available who will perform abortions.


Freedom comes when someone can search out and find a place to work where their faith and beliefs are openly expressed and even a requirement.

Freedom comes when restaurants are available that do not serve alcohol.

Freedom comes when a store openly refuses to sell pornography.

Freedom comes when people can choose a doctor who does not perform abortions.

We really can’t have the first set without having the second set.

That’s why it seems incongruous to applaud part of the statement made Tuesday while belittling the rest.

The article’s lead statement expressed doubt that “a campaign … for new laws that protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people from discrimination while SOMEHOW also protecting people who assert their religious beliefs” could ever be a reality.

That seems to state that for LGBT people to have rights, then there is no freedom for people to assert their religious beliefs.

And I would imagine vice versa.

But that is simply not true.

Respecting rights of nondiscrimination and respecting freedoms of religion actually complement each other.

It just requires respect.



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