An attack against anyone’s religious freedom is an attack against us all.
Religious exemptions were wisely created to restrict laws that could be written to circumvent the religious practices of people, particularly those having a dislike for religion in general. Government edicts for Obamacare that attempted to steamroll over religious based groups as Hobby Lobby is a testament to how far government will go if not kept on a constitutional leash.http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/07/10/Shocking-Anti-Christian-Bigotry-after-Hobby-Lobby-as-Dems-Bill-Threatens-Religious-Liberty
The state of Arkansas’ Department of Justice stepped over this proverbial line of freedom of religion when prison guards forced an inmate to shave off his beard which violated his religious rights as a Muslim.
According to the DOC of Arkansas, a prisoner known as Gregory Holt who also goes by the name of Abdul Maalik Mohammed, was in violation of Arkansas’ prison regulations which allow inmates to grow a beard only one quarter of an inch long and only for dermatology conditions. Mohammed desires to keep his beard at least a half inch in length to meet his religious standards.
In a move to establish solidarity and consistency concerning religious freedom, four Christian organizations are linking with Mohammed, World Vision, the Christian Legal Society, Prison Fellowship Ministry, and the National Association of Evangelicals.
These Christian groups standing with Mohammed argue that the Arkansas DOJ and Eighth Circuit Court were in violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), a law that was designed to prevent prisons from placing unnecessary restrictions of the ability for prisoners to practice their religion.
Specifically not only RLUIPA was violated, but in general the First Amendment forbids any law from being enacted that would restrict the free expression of religion. RLUIPA should have slammed the door on any state or local provision designed to bypass a prisoner’s rights.
Blatant attempts to do an end run around religious freedom has been attempted before with anti-religious zealots attempting to erase the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) with Hobby Lobby.
Ignoring laws are becoming a habit of those with animosity towards religion in general. It is astonishing that the DOJ of Arkansas and the Eighth Circuit Court would make such incorrect rulings of operation and interpretation on requiring Mohammed to shave his beard although he clearly voiced a religious objection.
Being obstinate to the point where one ignores the law in lieu of having your way is a bad practice since it costs tax payers huge litigation fees for the resulting lawsuits that take place from poor decisions of the government officials that are suppose to be managing the welfare of the people. It simply is not frugal or wise to ignore the fundamental laws of the US Constitution.
Attempting to pass laws directed to a specific religious group is foolhardy. There was an attempt in California to outlaw circumcision, a provision that would regulate not only a health practice that is a benefit to the individual, but an action clearly directed to the Jewish community that has a mandatory practice of circumcising male children. A religious exemption once again was left out just to create further irritation to practicing Jews.
Leaving out religious exemptions is done due to animosity against a particular practice of religion. There is no tolerance or respect for the religious culture in these ongoing efforts to bypass religious freedom.
These actions have been done against Christian, Jewish, and Islamic interests and are designed to antagonize the offended party.