ACLU: We can no longer in good conscience protect religious freedom

ACLU: We can no longer in good conscience protect religious freedom

The question has been raised in this space before, most notably in a story last March about a Muslim barber who refused to cut the hair of a lesbian because his religion (1) prohibits his touching a woman other than his wife and (2) deems homosexuality to be sinful. The question posed in the title was whose rights trump whose? When you have two “protected classes” (to employ the present-day leftist nomenclature for groups who deserve special handling because of “unfair” attacks on them by the intolerant right), whose hurt feelings take precedence?

The conundrum raised by that incident has never been a problem for civil libertarians when the religion of one of the combatants has been anything other than Islam.

And now it never will be. On Thursday, the day before the Supreme Court handed down its monumental ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges, the American Civil Liberties Union declared in print that it could no longer support the rights of Americans under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

In an op-ed in the Washington Post, Louise Melling, ACLU deputy legal director, affirmed:

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Yes, religious freedom needs protection. But religious liberty doesn’t mean the right to discriminate or to impose one’s views on others. The RFRA wasn’t meant to force employees to pay a price for their employer’s faith, or to allow businesses to refuse to serve gay and transgender people, or to sanction government-funded discrimination.

She went on to petition Congress to “amend the RFRA so that it cannot be used as a defense for discrimination.” To return to the case of the Muslim barber, the ACLU’s message to him is “Tough! Live with it!” It will be interesting to see how that posture plays out among followers of radical Isam in the Middle East, who already need no provocation to lop off heads and have let on through chatter that they are planning a Fourth of July celebration that Americans won’t soon forget.

But it’s ultimately not Muslims that the ACLU has it mind to forsake. During her speech at the Women in the World Summit in April, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said vis-a-vis “reproductive health care” (read: right to unfettered abortions):

Laws have to be backed up with resources and political wil. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed. As I have said and as I believe, the advancement of the full participation of women and girls in every aspect of their societies is the great unfinished business of the 21st century and not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States. [Emphasis added]

In Clinton’s view, as in Melling’s, all people are created equal, but, as in “Animal Farm,” some are more equal than others.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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