06 November 2013

The end of religious liberty in the Land of Lincoln

Several people have repeatedly told me that with the passage of the so-called Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act in Illinois, which redefines marriage and strips away religious liberty, that ministers and churches will not be required to officiate at such "weddings" or rent buildings to the couples, as if religious liberty entailed nothing more.

In answer to this oft-repeated notion, the executive director of the Illinois Catholic Conference has warned now of what Real Clear Religion calls "the end of religious liberty in the Land of Lincoln" since both the Senate and the House of Representatives have approved the legislation:
We know better this time. We know our religious freedom is not protected. And when we asked for more protection, our pleas for fairness were rebuffed and spurned.
Senate Bill 10 offers no specific protection regarding employment practices. If a current church employee chooses to "marry" a same-sex partner, the legislation offers no specific protection regarding the church being forced to pay -- from funds collected every Sunday from faithful church-goers in the pews -- for benefits for the "spouse."
The legislation offers no conscience protections to health-care facilities, educational facilities, or social service agencies. So, faith-based hospitals, colleges, and universities that own and operate venues for rent are not protected.
Individuals and independent business owners whose religious beliefs do not condone same-sex marriage are also left in the dust. There are the stories about the photographers, bakers, florists, and bed-and-breakfast owners who have come under fire for refusing to serve same-sex weddings. What about the county judge asked to perform a same-sex wedding, or a public school teacher forced to teach about a family with two moms, two dads, or some other permutation?
They get nada.
Is this fairness, or tolerance?
Be sure to read the entire piece.

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