Freedom of Religion or Freedom from Discrimination, Which is More Important?

The fight between religious parties who express their belief that LGBTQ laws are not appropriate and the LGBTQ community’s belief that one should not be discriminated against due to their sexual orientation is raging louder and louder with each news article and social media post, according to NPR.

The First Amendment Defense Act parallels an executive order that President Trump is said to be preparing to sign that protects those who support marriage between a man and a woman from prosecution and discrimination, many believe these laws could set back LGBTQ and anti-discrimination laws after all the ground they have gained in protection and freedom.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ report on the religious freedom vs. anti-discrimination debate published last September came down squarely on the anti-discrimination side. The commission recommended that “civil rights protections ensuring nondiscrimination” were of “preeminent” importance and that religious exemptions to such policies “must be weighed carefully and defined narrowly on a fact-specific basis,” according to NPR.

Many on the side of religious freedom believe that there is no “win” for one side as a catch-all; the issue is more complicated than one decision and will continue to give rise to court cases in the future, reported NPR. Supporters of either side “cannot simply declare that one side wins all,” said Charles Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Center at the Newseum Institute in Washington.

From closing Catholic adoption agencies to prosecuting florists and bakers, the U.S. is looking at a future of constant battle between the two basic principles that make America what it is; religious freedom and freedom from discrimination and only time will tell if the two can find balance and fairness together.

'Freedom of Religion or Freedom from Discrimination, Which is More Important?' have 2 comments

  1. March 25, 2017 @ 1:09 pm Anthony Smith

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 has done more to create discrimination in this country than any other single thing, including the institution of slavery itself. It is immoral and criminal to punish a person for choosing with whom to associate and whom to allow inside his business. The conversations our country is having regarding this topic seem to confuse and blur the concepts of private vs. government, when they are the crux of the conversation. My preferences in dealing with the preferred classes are NOT the community’s business. The government’s dealings with the preferred classes ARE the community’s business.


    • March 26, 2017 @ 12:03 am Christian

      I agree that people have the right of free association, and that private businesses have an absolute right to serve or deny service to anyone for any reason, but it’s silly to say that the Civil Rights Act is done more than anything else to foster discrimination. What about the drug war, mass incarceration, decades of abusive policing policies, economic policies that keep poor people, many of whom are minorities, at the margins of society? These have destroyed entire portions of our society which most of us do not even see and of which many of us are completely unaware.


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