Religious-liberty protections promote tolerance

Washington Post 1 April 2015
A national firestorm has erupted over an Indiana law that, in all essentials, mirrors the legal standard protecting religious liberty in all federal courts and 31 state courts. Why? The answer, unfortunately, is “the culture war” — and, contrary to media portrayals, conservatives aren’t the aggressors here.

Who favors coercion in this debate? Who opposes tolerance and pluralism? The answer to both questions: activists on the left.

The laws under attack — Religious Freedom Restoration Acts — are designed to shield all faiths from government coercion. These acts have, for example, protected a Sikh woman’s freedom to carry religious articles at her workplace. They have allowed a Native American boy to wear his hair long, according to his religious beliefs, at his school.

They also might protect those who hold the belief — attested to from the beginning of the Hebrew Bible to the end of the Christian Bible and throughout the Koran — that marriage is the union of man and woman.

And that’s the belief that the left cannot abide. Well-funded special-interest groups refuse to respect the liberty of people of faith who simply ask to be left alone by government to run their charities, schools and businesses in accordance with their beliefs about marriage.
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