Are religious freedom laws necessary?

Screen shot from CBS News' YouTube video: What the Trump admin's religious liberty guidance means

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On Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions instituted sweeping new guidelines when it comes to religious freedom and the government. These guidelines covered areas ranging from healthcare to employment. Under the new guidelines, one example is an employer, for religious reasons, can fire an employee if they find out they had an abortion, or married a same-sex partner. The Justice Department says that the guidelines are an interpretation of existing federal law. They also instruct the IRS not to enforce the Johnson amendment which prohibits nonprofit organizations from intervening in a political campaign on behalf of a candidate. A religious nonprofit organization is now allowed to do so under these guidelines where a secular nonprofit can’t. With these guidelines being introduced, it begs the question of whether religious freedom laws are necessary.

Freedom of religion is part of the very bedrock of this country, but the ability to worship as one wants is a core value we all share. When one religion is attacked and made weaker, the whole country is made weaker.

People who oppose religious freedom laws don’t see them as preserving freedom. Many feel that “religious freedom” is really just an excuse to curtail the freedoms of others who don’t share the beliefs of the religion in power. They view those laws as making bigotry legal in the name of protecting one’s religion. There is a fear that religious freedom laws could be used as a way to set up a theocracy here in this country. The people who oppose the law see one religion forcing its beliefs on all other religions against their will and feel that religious freedom laws are a clear violation of the constitution.

In this clip, CBS News covers the new guidelines introduced by Jeff Sessions:

The issue

Should the United States have religious freedom laws? Are religious freedom laws meant to protect Christians from being forced to do things against their faith, or are they religious bigotry put into law?

In support of religious freedom laws

Advocates of religious freedom laws feel they are needed to protect the religious liberty of people. They do not see them as infringing on the religious liberties of others. To them their faith is under attack and it must be protected.

In opposition to religious freedom laws

Those who are against religious freedom laws see them as nothing but legalized bigotry. They are not about protecting liberty but forcing the beliefs of one religion over all others. They see them as the first step to a theocracy.

We look forward to your views.

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