Another Fake ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill

And we have another one of those fake bills claiming to support religious freedom, this time right here in Michigan. Senate Bill 0716 is mostly pointless, “protecting” things that are already protected. Where it isn’t, it’s just plain wrong-headed.

Under the proposed language, instructors would not be permitted to grade a student’s work differently based on religious content, and schools could not prevent students from participating in religious activities on campus before or after classes.

Already true in both cases. In an art class, for example, a student can draw a religion-themed painting and it has to be graded on the same criteria that a non-religious painting would be judged. Same with an English or history paper. And this isn’t even remotely controversial. No one either denies that this is the case or wants to change it. But here’s where the vague language is dangerous. There are some situations in which “religious content” is neither appropriate nor relevant. In a biology class, for example, if one is asked on a test to explain the role of natural selection in evolution, a religious answer should not be given credit.

Schools also would not be able to limit access to facilities to religious organizations if the facilities are made available to the general public.

Also true and has been since at least 1989 and the Lamb’s Chapel ruling, which was unanimous.

Students would also be guaranteed the right to wear clothing or jewelry with religious messages if similar items with non-religious messages are permitted under school policy.

Again, already the case. And again, no one thinks it isn’t. What’s going on here is demagoguery, calculated to appeal to a sizable percentage of the Christian population that thinks they’re being persecuted when they’re not.

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