The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Obergefell has nothing to do with freedom of religion

It puzzles me that “social conservatives” are attacking the Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges decision as a blow to religious freedom. The States, by this decision, are required to accept marriage of some couples that would be barred from marrying under many religions' rules, to be certain. But there are also religions whose clergy will willingly perform such marriages, and Obergefell gives them the freedom to do so. And I do not see any possibility that a priest, minister, or rabbi who believes it is against God's law to perform such marriages will be forced to do so. It will come under the same reading of the laws that allows a rabbi to refuse to perform an interfaith marriage, or a Catholic priest to refuse to marry a couple, one of whom is a divorcee.

The argument seems to involve people (not clergy, but ordinary businesses!) refusing to serve gay couples. And why should they be allowed to discriminate “for religious reasons” any more than a restaurant whose proprietor claims to believe that the Bible says that blacks are subhuman can refuse to serve them? A business open to the public must serve the whole public.

I am a strong supporter of religious freedom. I have to be, as a believer in a minority religion whose adherents have been victims of discrimination in the past. But I cannot see “religious freedom” being used as an excuse for discrimination. And it is this that we see being done by the opponents of same-sex marriage.

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