Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-01-17
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Open To Thinking: Discrimination: Religious liberty?!
A recurring column
by Nick Patricca
2016-05-04

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


The discussion of the principle of 'Religious Liberty' in our current presidential electioneering has generated so much darkness and so many red herrings that I have been reluctant to take on the topic. Since candidate Ted Cruz and others, however, keep raising this important issue, I would like to review some of the philosophical issues at the heart of this civil liberty.

As stated in the First Amendment of our U.S. Constitution, the idea seems clear and straightforward: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof … ."

Historically, this phrase has been understood to imply two inter-related legal principles: 1 ) the State cannot establish a religion, nor can it favor any religion, nor can it interfere with any religion; and 2 ) the individual U.S. citizen is free to choose his religion, practice his religion, change his religion, not practice his religion, and not have a religion as the individual sees fit. These two philosophical/legal implications do not always live in harmony with each other.

In our civil society, the State has interfered in the practices of some religions. Two examples: Mormons are not allowed to practice polygamy even if they perceive this practice as a divine mandate; and adherents of Christian Science may not deny certain life-saving, modern medical procedures to their children. In the former case, the State denied the legal right to an adult male citizen to enter into a valid civil marriage with more than one woman. In the latter case, the State denied the absolute right of parents to nurture and educate their children.

In both of these cases, the State intruded forcibly into the "privacy" and "rights" of the individual to safe-guard values the State judged essential to the well-being of the political community. The State elects to interfere when the core values of the civil society cannot tolerate the specific religious practice at issue.

Let us consider Female Genital Mutilation ( FGM ). This form of circumcision has been practiced for millennia among many peoples, cultures and religions. Today, FMG is mostly a practice of some Islamic and Animistic ethnicities. Medical science has demonstrated that this form of circumcision causes serious adverse medical and psychological damage. It seems clear that FGM should not be forced upon anyone, especially not on children. In my judgment, therefore, our civil society cannot tolerate this practice whether it be considered a cultural or a religious practice and should prohibit its imposition on any woman.

In the case of conventional male circumcision ( some would say mutilation ), medical science does not demonstrate serious adverse medical and psychological damage. In fact, there is some evidence that male circumcision has some health benefits. In this case, the State has no compelling interest and no basis for interfering in the parent's right to impose this surgery on their male infants. Regarding the practice of 'oral suction circumcision' by some orthodox rabbis, however, I do think that the State has a compelling public health objection because of the possible transmission of Hepatitis C and other viruses.

By focusing on the baking of wedding cakes or on the preparing of floral arrangements for two adult citizens entering into a legal marriage, I think Cruz and others are not promoting a genuine discussion of the meaning of religious liberty in our society. These cases are brought to court as political distractions and incitements by those opposed to equality for LGBTQI peoples. These cases are properly adjudicated under anti-discrimination laws and regulations, not under the principle of religious liberty.

What is of importance is a proper discussion of the implications of the Supreme Court's decision ( June, 2014 ) in favor of Hobby Lobby which re-affirmed the legal understanding of corporations as functional equivalents of 'persons' who have 'free exercise rights.' In this case, it was decided that the religious liberty of the owners of the corporation could be injured by certain regulations of 'Obamacare' because the corporation is entirely owned by one family with—allegedly—one uniform religious faith. According to this legal judgment, the religious liberty of the individual employees does not count, nor would the religious liberty of the limited number of individual stock holders in a 'closely held' corporation.

Just as the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United ( January, 2010 ) means in practice that more money buys you greater political power, so too in Hobby Lobby more money buys you more religious liberty.

The unforeseen and unintended consequences of Citizens United have profoundly changed our political system.

The unforeseen and unintended consequences of Hobby Lobby should be the subject of our political conversations on religious liberty in this presidential election campaign.

Nick Patricca is professor emeritus at Loyola University Chicago, president of Chicago Network and playwright emeritus at Victory Gardens Theater.


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

GUEST COLUMN I Don't Mind Your Asking 2018-01-17 - This question, again, was asked of me recently. Good naturedly, with love, and with sincere caring ... but always unexpected. It caused me, ...


Gay News

King's dream of 'the beloved community' extends to yours, too 2018-01-17 - KThis year is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It's a painful and necessary anniversary ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINTS Putting it to the test, 23andMe 2018-01-10 - More than 2 million people have taken part in genetic testing by 23andMe, a company founded in 2006 by CEO Anne Wojcicki. The ...


Gay News

VIEWS Words have consequences 2018-01-03 - Words matter in science—and in politics. We recently heard deeply troubling stories about the possible censorship of words at the Centers for Disease ...


Gay News

MOMBIAN 2017: Good news, bad news for LGBTQ families 2018-01-03 - Was 2017 a good year for LGBTQ parents and our children? The political situation in the United States was grim, but we also ...


Gay News

GUEST COLUMN Are you tired of male sexual privilege? #metoo 2017-12-27 - In 1978, I left Temple University's PhD program after I had an interaction with a professor on my orals committee. "I want to ...


Gay News

For Black women, being Dems' 'backbone' is no compliment 2017-12-27 - Black women voters in the recent Alabama U.S. Senate race are being thanked for "saving" the state from Republican candidate Roy Moore, a ...


Gay News

The fairy gardener 2017-12-26 - There was snow on the ground here in Chicago in early December. Did you get all your bulbs in? If not, pot them ...


Gay News

VIEWPIONTS The New Jim Crow targets LGBTQ Americans, too 2017-12-20 - Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for the case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case—which has many of ...


Gay News

A Different World: Why We Owe the Cosby Accusers an Apology 2017-12-15 - "The sins of the fathers. They just fucked it all up. We had the best family. We had it all. We had it ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.