Religious Freedom To Discriminate Under Assault In Alaska

Picture 28… and it's not just in Virginia. In Alaska, too, securing legal protections for gayfolk may prevent the free exercise of religion. From The Anchorage Daily News:

A national conservative Christian legal group says the gay rights initiative on Anchorage's April 3 city election ballot, coupled with existing Anchorage discrimination law, undercuts religious liberty.

… The initiative up for public vote would extend legal protections against discrimination to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Anchorage. Current law already prohibits discrimination in employment, loans, rentals, real estate deals and other activities on the basis of race, color, marital status, sex, religion, disabilities and the like. The initiative would add sexual orientation and transgender identity to the list.

… The main problem as the Alliance Defense Fund sees it is that private business owners could be forced to hire or do business with people whose sexual orientation doesn't match their religious beliefs, said Holly Carmichael, a lawyer for the fund.

"The ultimate concern with enacting something like that is that it infringes on religious freedoms," Carmichael said. "There's a huge constitutional concern here.

… Carmichael … agree[s] that religious organizations are protected by an exemption already in city law that says religious institutions and groups can give preferential treatment to people of the same religion if they are, for example, hiring someone who will promote religious principles.

But that's not enough, apparently. Note how, in the above excerpt, the Daily News makes mention of pre-extant legislation prohibiting employment discrimination based on religion, which means that even now Anchorage Baptists must, in theory, be open to hiring voodoun secretaries. They do not seem to have suffered from the imposition.

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  1. Matt says

    I’m so sick of the homophobic bigots hiding behind their thinly veiled religion mask. This has nothing to do with religious liberty!

    They could at least have the courage to be honest and come out and say what we already know – “We hate the fags and we will deny them of any and all of the rights we currently enjoy, in God’s name we pray”.

    You know, because their Jesus was all about denial of rights, oppression and hate.

  2. Brad says

    I am so sick of Christianist bigots using their religion as a weapon to dehumanize GLBT people. I’m sick of them picking certain scriptures and glossing over others, for it shows what hypocrites they are.

  3. says

    and i can’t find the part of the bible that says “you’re not allowed to hire, do business, or exchange services with people who are gay.”

    truly. can’t find it.

    “i can’t serve you dinner or hire you or sell you a teapot cuz you’s gay.”


  4. TJ says

    Religious freedom means that you are free to believe as you will, and live your life according to whatever tenets you deem applicable. It does not mean others have to live their lives according to your tenets, or believe in your religion, or in any way be subject to your bigotry. In a country where life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is an unalienable right, you cannot limit the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of others in the marketplace, judicial system, or any public arena through bigotry and prejudice.

    There can be no freedom OF religion unless there is freedom FROM it.

  5. Max says

    Let’s see if y’all get as upset with Muslims advocating death to homosexuals as you do with Christians not hiring gay people. My guess is… no.

  6. Jesus says

    I do believe that if an organization is truly a religiously-affiliated one, then it is constitutionally guaranteed that these people be given the freedom to exercise that religion in whatever manner they choose. However, as soon as an organization steps into the secular, public sector, it should be bound by the same obligations that anyone else participating therein would be forced to adhere to.

    Churches and religiously-affiliated organizations seem to want it both ways, benefitting not only from the legal protections that allow them to continue to, IMHO, run some pretty shoddy and shady operations, but to also extend their hands out into the collective cultivations of the public sphere and demand something that has been enriched by the talent and labor of those very people who their tenets demand they discriminate against in the first place.

    If you feel like I do that religious people are people who are often stuck, by choice or otherwise, in a stage of rational development that most children naturally grow out of by the time they are teenagers, then it makes perfect sense that these individuals and organizations do not have the capacity to restrain themselves and require a constant reminder of what they are entitled to from our collective cookie jar.

  7. jack says

    There anti discrimination laws already force them to ignore there personal prejudices in regard to race,religion,gender, marital status,disability etc. What is their problem with adding sexual orientation and transgender to the list? It can’t be religion because their bible calls for the death penalty for those worshiping gods other than Yahweh. Yet they follow the law and don’t discriminate against “heretics”. The answer is that the only place left for bigots to practice their bigotry is against LGBT people. They are desperately hanging on to the last bit of freedom to be a bigot.

  8. Dave says

    You quoted: “… The main problem as the Alliance Defense Fund sees it is that private business owners could be forced to hire or do business with people whose sexual orientation doesn’t match their religious beliefs…”
    I can see where this could be a valid problem, if one was a prostitute who doesn’t swing both ways.

  9. says

    I love the religious bigots: they never have any problem when laws protect on the basis of “religion” but as soon lgbt protections are also included in the laws, then they see the laws as infringing on liberty. If they would approve of “private” business owners firing people or denying people service because they are Christian, then there would be some logic there, but of course there is no logic in their response.

    And, Max, you may be upset to learn that many of us don’t give Muslim extremism a pass either.

  10. Cam says

    ::The main problem as the Alliance Defense Fund sees it is that private business owners could be forced to hire or do business with people whose sexual orientation doesn’t match their religious beliefs, said Holly Carmichael, a lawyer for the fund.””

    They can call themselves a “Private Business” all they want, that doesn’t change the fact that they are dealing with the public. You may own a grocery store, but you don’t get to say “Sorry, no Catholics, Gays, or Blacks, can shop here.”

    If they don’t like it, then they should move to a country more in line with their notions on bigotry, Saudi Arabia.

  11. says

    It is quite sad to see how deceived this world really are. True Christianity is not a religion but a personal relationship with our Saviour Jesus Christ. The Bible is the final authority and Jesus warned us that in the last days things will get much worse than what we can imagine. It is no use to campaign against sin but to simply pray for every soul to find true salvation in Jesus Christ

  12. coemgenus says

    And the problem with this is? Can we have more restrictions please? They get a free tax-payer funded ride as it is.

  13. uffda says

    TJ…I’ll remember that: “You cannot have freedom OF religion unless you have freedom FROM religion.”

  14. says

    Max, why your obsessive hatred toward Muslims?

    Muslims and Islam are not the reason that you, as a homosexual in America, are afraid to Come Out, nor are they the reason your parents still harbor anti-gay sentiment.

    when you have to scream about radical islam to make your chosen religion seem “better” you make yourself look like an idiot.

    you might as well be comparing your grades to the kids in special ed and claiming that yuo’re not doing too badly, compared to them. congrats.

  15. TJ says

    A cab driver cannot refuse to pick up a passenger who’s carrying alcohol, even if using alcohol violates his religious beliefs (some Muslim cab drivers tried to do this, I think in Detroit). When you open a business to the public, you have to be fair. As the article says, if a religious groups is hiring someone to teach, preach, counsel, etc., in a way that spreads the belief, they can choose adherents of the faith. But not if the person is renting an apartment or working a cash register.

  16. TJ says

    ^TJ^ Well-said. You may continue to use my screen name (although, on the off-chance you say something with which I might take issue, one of us ought to change).

    UFFDA – I’m hoping you meant that genuinely. There will be no freedom of religion if we codify or sanction one religion’s tenets or prejudices over another. Because someone else’s freedom of religion becomes compromised. If eating pork, for you, is a sin, then don’t eat pork. But when that becomes a secular rule; when someone could deny me a job, service, housing, whatever, because I loves me some back ribs with bacon potato salad, then we have a huge problem. It’s just as big a problem if I force someone to eat pork if it’s against their religion. Live and let live. Because if you don’t, there go our inalienable rights.

  17. Kevin thor says

    If these religious boobs continue to foist thir fictional beings, god, Allah or whatever on people, and they want tax exempt status, than they should not in ANY way shape or form be allowed special rights to deny rights to tax paying citizens. neither should these organizations be allowed to violate non profit law by lobbying and getting involved in political processes to deny rights to tax paying citizens.

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