Religious liberty for atheists, too

Enlisting or re-enlisting in a military service requires taking an oath, ending in the words “so help me God.”  An atheist airman trying to re-enlist in the Air Force has crossed out those words in the paperwork he is supposed to sign.  So the Air Force is not letting him re-enlist.

Lawsuits are in the works.  But does it make sense to require a person to swear in the name of a deity he does not believe in?  And doesn’t requiring a religious oath for military service constitute a “religious test” for public office, which the Constitution does not allow?  More to the point, in a time when the religious liberty of Christians is threatened more and more, don’t Christians need to support the religious liberty of everyone, including atheists? [Read more...]

The revised contraceptive mandate

In response to the Supreme Court decision that the Obamacare contraception mandate can violate the religious liberty of pro-life business owners, the administration has issued new regulations that would allow employees to get free birth control–including those that prevent the implantation of the fertilized egg–without violating the religious convictions of employers.

See the details after the jump.  Does this solve the problem? [Read more...]

Louisiana court challenges seal of confession

We blogged about how Anglicans in Australia are doing away with the absolute “seal of confession”–that is, the pastor’s pledge of total confidentiality when they hear penitents confess their sins.  Now an American court is trying to do the same thing, forcing a Roman Catholic priest to testify about what he heard in the confessional from an accused child abuser. [UDATE:  In the very interesting discussion that is waging, Jeremiah pointed out that I got this wrong,  that it wasn't the confession of the abuser but that of the abused child that is at issue.] [Read more...]

Supremes throw out Obamacare mandate!

From  News from The Associated Press:

The Supreme Court says corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women.

The justices’ 5-4 decision Monday is the first time that the high court has ruled that profit-seeking businesses can hold religious views under federal law. And it means the Obama administration must search for a different way of providing free contraception to women who are covered under objecting companies’ health insurance plans.

 

Preventing Christian groups from hiring only Christians

In what could be yet another attempt to secularize religious groups that work with the government, the Obama administration is getting lots of pressure to require that religious organizations that take federal funds not be allowed to discriminate according to religion when it comes to hiring.  That would mean Catholic or evangelical charities operating under a federal contract or grant would have to hire people who do not hold to the organization’s faith. [Read more...]

Corporations with “values”

Liberals are generally deriding Hobby Lobby’s claim that its religious freedom is being violated by the Obamacare contraceptive mandate.  How can a corporation, they ask, have a religion?  But companies liberals love–such as Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and Whole Foods–make a big point of asserting their “values” (being “sustainable,” helping the environment, treating people with respect, etc.).  So how can a corporation have “values”?  True, corporations cannot have faith and go to Heaven.  But surely corporate entities, even if they are for-profit, can make “values” part of their missions.  Hobby Lobby’s corporate values include being pro-life, just as Ben & Jerry’s include being pro-environment.  Trevor Burrus argues that corporations do indeed have “rights of conscience” that need to be protected by law. [Read more...]


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