Just three days after the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court ruling, which said that closely held corporations may join non-profit organizations in having a religious exemption to certain parts of Obamacare, some religious groups have penned a letter asking to be allowed to discriminate against the LGBT community.
The Atlantic reported on Wednesday that a group of religious leaders sent the letter demanding more deference to religious beliefs when it comes to government mandates. Specifically, they wish to be allowed to refuse to hire or fire people on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.
"We are asking that an extension of protection for one group not come at the expense of faith communities whose religious identity and beliefs motivate them to serve those in need," the letter states. No reports on whether they have asked to be allowed to discriminate against women, other races and other religions as the Bible states they should.
While the ruling itself is very narrow, only applying to closely held corporations, it seems that other groups are intent on using it to justify any number of other activities they deem against their religion. On the one hand, we have the government trying to take away the rights of religious groups, and on the other we have those very religious groups trying really hard to show why their rights should be infringed.
The Employee Non-Discrimination Act, the first bill of its kind at the federal level, would make it illegal to discriminate against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status. Currently it is legal in 33 states to fire someone or refuse to hire them for being transgender, and legal in 29 to do the same if they are gay. It has passed the Senate, but not the House.
It’s a tough balancing act to strike for many civil liberties groups, with many siding with the religious freedom of those who wish to discriminate, and others who side with those who wish to have jobs and eat. Unfortunately, religious zealotry is becoming very common in the United States, especially with LGBT rights gaining traction.
The fact is, gay rights are coming to this country, and eventually it will be as shameful to oppose them as it was to oppose the racial equality a half century before. Hopefully the groups that oppose equality will fade away before too much government intervention is necessary.