Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Religious Freedom

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns freedom of religion. A symposium on religion and inclusion was held in Salt Lake City, Utah, on May 14, 2019. Tim Schultz delivered the keynote address.

            Schultz said that both Republicans and Democrats “fail religious freedom” in different ways. According to Kelsey Dallas at Deseret News, Schultz said that the “political rights is often guilty of ignoring the needs of religious minorities, while the political left can act as if Muslims, Sikhs, Jews and Hindus are the only people of faith who need to be protected.” 

Schultz began his remarks by looking to the recent past, when religious freedom was much less controversial.

In 1993, LGBTQ rights and religious freedom advocates, Republicans and Democrats, joined together to pass new federal protections for faith groups. As recently as 2013, similar measures passed state legislatures with strong bipartisan support.

In the last five years, that "kumbaya" spirit turned into "kumba-nah," he said, noting "there's a great deal of suspicion and animosity around religious freedom."

"Now it's scare-quoted in headlines and referred to as 'so-called religious freedom,'" Schultz said…..

Schultz remains focused on the political sphere, and thinks both Republicans and Democrats should reform their ways. The political left needs to recognize the value faith groups bring to society, while the political right needs to show that religious freedom is about more than side-stepping LGBTQ nondiscrimination laws.

            There is no reason why Americans of all faiths or no faith cannot learn to get along. We need to be tolerant of other people and their beliefs, but we must understand that tolerance should go both ways. No one should be denied a job or housing because of religious belief or sexual orientation just as they should not be denied because of race or age. On the other hand, religious people should not be forced to use their creative abilities – baking, photography, floral arrangements, artwork, etc. – to do anything that goes against their conscience. I am grateful to know that groups of people, such as those attending this symposium, are attempting to solve the problems concerning religious freedom.

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