We are seeing more and more cases going before the Supreme Court about “Religious Freedom” and the court is creating a very slippery slope.
Opinion: We can outlaw discrimination against LGBTQ Americans and protect religious freedom
The idea that the Equality Act, awaiting a vote in the Senate, would undermine the freedom to exercise traditional faith beliefs is a misconception.
Des Moines Register
By Betsey Monnot
January 15, 2022
Christian faith and LGBTQ equality are often presented as if they are opposed, but this is not accurate. Jesus, in what we call his Great Commandment, commands us to love God and our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:28-34 and Matthew 22:35-40). In this, and in other places in Scripture, he teaches us and commands us to open our hearts to every person.
As I assume the role of the 10th bishop of the Episcopal Church of Iowa and first woman to hold that position, one of my hopes is to bring our state closer to God’s vision of open hearted justice and freedom for all, as expressed by Jesus. I believe every human being is beloved of God and that our laws should reflect this.
In the Episcopal Church we embrace and celebrate the lives of our LGBTQ members. LGBTQ persons are welcomed into every level of church participation in our denomination, including leadership.
Across the nation people of faith actively support federal nondiscrimination protections, including here in Iowa where more than 100 Iowa faith leaders, myself included, have called on Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would update civil rights law to protect LGBTQ Americans.
When we were trying to pass the gender non-discrimination bill we had an Episcopal bishop speak on behalf of the bill, we had around a hundred priest, minister, Rabbis, and other religious leaders submit testimony in favor of the bill.
The Equality Act won’t limit or change our freedom, it simply updates federal law to include protection for 13 million LGBTQ people, fellow Americans, in daily life, including non-discrimination in housing, public spaces, and federally funded programs. Across the country, over three-quarters of Americans favor LGBTQ protections, according to surveys.
No it will not, it hasn't in the states that have LGBTQ non-discrimination laws. Almost all of the southern states do not have protections for LGBTQ and some states never removed the law banning marriage equality.
In my tradition we promise to respect the dignity of every human being at our baptism, and when we renew baptismal vows. It’s my hope that our senators will work with their colleagues on both sides of the aisle toward passage of a federal LGBTQ nondiscrimination law that uplifts this respect and is supported by Americans of all parties and faiths.
What I see happening in the future is that the court rules that people have a “religious freedom” to discriminate and that will lead the way to downward spiral because I foresee a challenge coming from another religion that is affirming saying those who discriminate violate their religious beliefs.
How would the court decide whose religious beliefs override the other’ person beliefs? And wouldn’t that violate the First Amendment by establishing a state religion by giving preference to a religion?
Furthermore, suppose that it is only a strongly held personal belief and not from an organized religion? Would the court rule that only organized religions that count and not personal beliefs… that would be a nightmare!
It is a quagmire that the court is leading into.