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View Diary: Ill. State Senator McCarter Proposes 'Bigot Protection Act' to Protect Rights of Religious Believers (33 comments)

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  •  Frankly, I don't see much wrong with a law (1+ / 0-)
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    that allows people who are wedding providers to decline to participate in a wedding that violates their religion.  

    Two points:  (1) it's not like there aren't any providers willing to serve same-sex couples.  If same-sex couples couldn't get these services anywhere else, I would feel differently.  (2) Do you really WANT a florist who is vehemently against your wedding to be forced into doing your wedding? Why would people WANT to force someone to provide a service that the provider is vehemently opposed to?  

    Frankly, I think that when the people of a state, through their elected representatives, choose to allow couples to enter into a civil contract -- which is what marriage is -- on any basis that the people choose, that is not a violation of anyone's religion.  But I do think that religious beliefs -- however ridiculous or absurd others may find them -- are protected by our Constitution.  And while civil laws defining marriage for civil purposes don't infringe on anyone's religious beliefs, it seems to me that the main reason that one would oppose THIS law is because they want to demonstrate to people of certain religious beliefs (the florists, caterers, etc.) that their religious beliefs are wrong and deserve no respect.  THAT is what  violates our Constitution.  

    I look at it this way.  When you want societal change that goes against the deeply held religious beliefs of some, the best way to get that accomplished is to assure those religious groups that they, personally, will not have to act in a way that violates their religion.  It then becomes easier for them to accept that others do not have to comply with their religious views, as long as they aren't required to do things against their religion.

    •  Expand on that a bit (3+ / 0-)
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      kerplunk, SuWho, trumpeter

      Would it be acceptable for a business to decline service to an interracial couple because they believe such relationships are Biblically prohibited?

      What about the not so uncommon situation of pharamicists religiously opposed to some types of medication? For the wingier Christians this includes almost any kind of birth control; for Scientologists it would involve any medication for mental health care.

      "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

      by Catte Nappe on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 10:05:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nice. I noted the pharmaicists and choice too. (2+ / 0-)
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        Catte Nappe, kerplunk
      •  I think the "service" would have to be (2+ / 0-)
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        Catte Nappe, VClib

        closely tied to a religious belief.  

        A "business" declining "service" to a couple (same-sex, interracial, whatever) on the basis that the couple is against their religion is far too broad.  Providing dry-cleaning services can hardly implicate religious beliefs.  And I think it matters more for a one-on-one, personalized service.  It wouldn't apply to some  some business like a restaurant, or a store, where the exact same product is just sold to anybody.  

         But if it is part of what is, for those people, an event with religious significance -- like a wedding -- I think the Constitution requires some basis for people to decline work -- and the corresponding pay -- on religious beliefs.  If a florist has a "sincerely held religious belief" (and you can't just say that, there is a longstanding test set out by the SCOTUS) against remarriage by divorced person, I have no problem with that florists saying, on religious grounds, I turn down jobs involving weddings of divorced persons.  It doesn't hurt the people getting married -- they can easily find other florists who will take their money.  It only "hurts" the florist who turns down the job, because he is turning down business.  If he wants to turn down business on a religious basis, that's up to him.  That seems to me to come under "free exercise" under the First Amendment.  You can't be forced to do something that violates your religion, unless there's a "compelling" state interest in making you do it.  And, since there are a zillion florists out there happy to take the money of the divorced couple, there's no compelling state interest in making THIS PARTICULAR florist do that wedding.   Would you want a law saying a wedding planner can't turn down jobs based on his/her religious beliefs?

        The "interracial couple" is always raised, because race is such a lightning rod issue.  But, frankly, if some florist has a "sincerely held" religious belief against that kind of wedding (and under the SCOTUS precedent, that would be a pretty high bar to meet -- simply being a racial bigot would not meet that test), I don't think the couple would want him participating in their wedding against his will -- not when there are many other florists willing and happy to take their business.  If it were me, I would WANT to know that this florist will hate doing my wedding because it violates his religion.  I say, leave that person to his religion, and to his loss of business based on his religion.  That does not mean I endorse those religious views.  It means I believe that the Constitution protects all religious views, even those with which I vehemently disagree.  

        I kind of see it like any other religious view that makes someone turn down work.  A Jewish Orthodox florist might say, I can't take a wedding on a Saturday.  Or a Jewish Orthodox caterer might say, I won't serve pork, so if you want that, go elsewhere.  

        Again, if we were in a situation where these couples could not get those services, there might be a more compelling state interest in making a florist take a job that violates his religion.  

        As for a pharmacist, no law requires a pharmacy to carry every possible medication that can be prescribed by a doctor.  As the law exists now, pharmacists can make decisions not to carry medications based on things like people don't ask for it much, I don't make enough money from it, it's too much trouble to get the insurance companies to reimburse for it, or whatever.  To say they can decide not to carry a drug for business reasons but they CAN'T make that same decision based on their religion would implicate, again, their First Amendment rights, it seems to me.  

        It seems to me that it takes a compelling state interest to force someone to take work that directly violates their religious beliefs.  If there are lots of other options out there, it seems to me the only state interest in compelling this particular florist to do this particular wedding is to demonstrate that the religious beliefs of this particular florist do not deserve respect or even Constitutional protection.  And THAT'S what I find problematic.  The Constitution does not allow us to differentiate between "good" religious views and "bad" religious views.  

        •  Except that it isn't the individual pharmacist (0+ / 0-)

          who gets to decide what drugs are carried.  As a cashier at a store I can't decide not to ring up certain purchases because they go against my religious beliefs so why should a pharmacist (unless that pharmacist is the owner of the store) be any different?

          Keep in mind this would also apply to even bus drivers who are public employees as well.

          You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

          by Throw The Bums Out on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 11:24:16 AM PST

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          •  That's a different question (1+ / 0-)
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            It's a question of whether that employee pharmacist's religious beliefs can be reasonably accommodated by the store owner, it seems to me.  

            If a pharmacist working for someone else has  religious objection to a particular drug, then as the owner I think you'd look to how often that might be problem.  If you sell that drug pretty infrequently, and arrangements can be made for another employee to fill that particular prescription on the not frequent instances when a prescription comes in, there's no reason -- or basis -- to make a pharmacist fill a particular prescription BECAUSE he/she has a religious objection to it.  In a chain store like a Walgreen's, that can probably be done.  If that drug is a  large percentage of the business, the person probably can't do the job with a reasonable accommodation -- its too big a part of that job -- and that person shouldn't take the job.  

            In a small mom and pop pharmacy, it's usually a pharmacist/owner, and that person can make decisions about what drugs to carry.

            •  But remember that it is not uncommon for such (2+ / 0-)
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              MARTinNJ, trumpeter

              pharmacists to confiscate and destroy any such prescriptions they come across or even go in and delete any remaining refills.  So now you have a woman who has to go back to her doctor and get another prescription (which means another copay) and hope the next pharmacist she comes across doesn't do the same thing.

              Also, even at major stores there is usually only one actual pharmacist on duty, the rest are assistants of various kinds (look at their name tags next time and ask how many actual pharmacists are on duty).  So that one pharmacist can just order the rest of them not to fill such prescriptions because she is the one technically doing it.

              You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

              by Throw The Bums Out on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 11:43:16 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Both of those things are unacceptable, (2+ / 0-)
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                MARTinNJ, VClib

                it seems to me.  

                The right of a pharmacist not to have to violate his/her religious beliefs should be accommodated if reasonably possible.  

                That does not give the person license to prevent OTHERS from violating his/her religious beliefs.  He/she should not be forced to affirmatively act in a way that violates his/her religion, but that does not give him/her the right to act affirmatively to prevent OTHERS from violating his religion.

                The only caveat is if you are the owner, you get to decide what your store will, or will not, carry.  

                If a pharmacist confiscates and destroys a prescription, they should be reported and lose a license.  I have no problem, if the pharmacy doesn't carry it for religious reasons, with the pharmacist handing it back and saying, "we don't carry that here."  I do have a problem with someone destroying a prescription.  The pharmacist who destroys a prescription can't ask that HIS religious beliefs be respected if he doesn't respect the religious belief of others that differ from his.  

                As for the "head" pharmacist at a Walgreen's, for example, ordering everybody else not to fill a prescription that the store owners have decided to carry, that would not be a reasonable accommodation of his/her religious beliefs.  He/she should be allowed to decline to fill it, but not to prevent others from filling it.  If he/she does so, it seems to me that's grounds for termination.  

                Again, this applies to employees.  The store owner DOES get to decide if the store will carry it or not.  

                •  Wrong, because the pharmacist is the only one (2+ / 0-)
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                  jabney, trumpeter

                  allowed to actually fill a prescription. Remember, just because someone else is putting the pills into the bottle, putting the label on the bottle, and ringing it up does not mean they are the ones filling the prescription!  It's not different than when a RN writes a prescription, the RN might be the one signing it but it's the doctor who is actually writing it.

                  Oh, and it is pretty hard to do such accommodation when you aren't even allowed to ask if they have a problem filling such prescriptions based on their religious beliefs which is the case in quite a few states.  Also, there is nothing explicitly illegal about prescription confiscation/destruction except in a handful of states who specifically wrote a "no prescription confiscation" rule into their laws.  While you might be able to make a case on theft or destruction of private property grounds it would be a tricky case to win as it is possible the prescription becomes the property of the pharmacist when you go have it filled.

                  You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

                  by Throw The Bums Out on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 11:56:56 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  You do know this was a snark right? (0+ / 0-)
    •  Yes, but...religions have pushed this to the (3+ / 0-)
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      kerplunk, SuWho, trumpeter

      extreme.  Such religious exemptions are absurb.    When pharmacists refuse to full prescriptions for birth control because they are against choice.  Or car rental companies, Or fast food pizza company CEO (who are CEOs of PUBLICLLY TRADED COMPANIES) claiming that the Affordable Care Act is forcing THEIR companies to support birth control.

      What fundamentalist religious folks can not get their heads around is that they need to get their hands off our crotches and mind their own business.  

      •  I agree that they can't impose their religious (2+ / 0-)
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        nextstep, VClib

        beliefs on others.  But that goes two ways.  If you can't impose your religious beliefs on me, I can't impose my religious beliefs on you.  And that means I can't require you to act in a way contrary to your religion -- no matter how absurd I think your religion is.  

        Frankly, religious people will be far MORE accepting of the fact that the civil marriage laws do not have to reflect their religious beliefs if they are ALSO assured that THEY will not be required to violate their own beliefs.  Half of the opposition I hear from Catholics, for example, to CIVIL same-sex marriage laws is a fear that priests won't be able to turn down officiating at same-sex weddings and keep their license to perform weddings.  If religious people are assured that passing a law that allows OTHERS to act in ways that violate that religious person's beliefs, but that the religious person will not be called upon himself to violate his OWN beliefs, it is easier for him to be tolerant of the beliefs of others.  

        •  The religious exemptions you mention are ALWAYS (1+ / 0-)
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          included in Marriage for All legislation.  And that NEVER stops the religious folks from simply ignoring that fact and talking over them.  The media campaigns against Marriage for All legislation ALWAYS IGNORES FACTS and panders to base hatred.   This has been a consistant fact.  They talk about being forced to teach it in schools, to preschoolers, the slippery slop to marrying your dog, and trees.  Facts never stop the religious nuts.

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