ACLU Fights Against RFRA Using Religion to Discriminate

By Kslewellen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Kslewellen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The ACLU will no longer stand behind the RFRA on the basis that people are using their personal beliefs to abuse others.

The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, has begun to see the problem behind the current Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which has been established since 1993. They have denounced their approval of the ruling, which they have agreed with since its first establishment following the ruling made by the Supreme Court in 1993.

The issue back then revolved around two Native Americans who lost their jobs due to their use of peyote, a substance considered illegal but used for religious purposes by Native Americans. When they were fired over it, the issue was taken to court and the Supreme Court almost unanimously rejected the claim due to the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

What Is Their Issue, Exactly?

The ACLU has noticed the growing number of businesses, pharmacies, government agencies and more who have refused to provide services to those of the same sex based on their religion. The problem isn’t their own personal faith, but their flagrant abuse of the current RFRA in place. Many people have been abusing the RFRA to impose their own, personal beliefs on others, including their own employees. In these situations, it’s the employees who lose.

Louise Melling, the Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU,has made her stance known on the subject. She wrote that they will no longer be defending the RFRA. Though the primary reason behind this law was to protect people like Iknoor Singh, a Hofstra student who recently attempted to join the US Army Reserve Officers Training Corps, it is all too often used wrongly. Though the ACLU supported the law in 1993, they have always been worried about the day that the law would be used to discriminate. Nowadays, there are businesses, governors and legislators that have abused the law to discriminate against LGBTQ. In fact, recently, Hobby Lobby took the Supreme Court on to remove their personal requirement of providing healthcare that covers birth control and other contraceptives to their employees.

It is this type of misconduct that ruins everything for everyone else. The Hobby Lobby case was won, and it has led to a great misuse of the RFRA. Many seem to believe that the act means that they can freely discriminate if they can use religion as a grounds for it. This means that bakeries refuse to provide cakes for same sex marriages, agencies won’t issue marriage licenses to same sex couples and companies won’t hire people based on religion or sexuality. This law, however, has never been intended to mean that you can discriminate or impose your personal beliefs on other humans. I repeat: YOU CANNOT USE THIS LAW TO DISCRIMINATE OR IMPOSE YOUR PERSONAL BELIEFS ON OTHER HUMANS.

The Damage Behind This

There is a lot of different ways that this misconduct can harm others. One of the few are that LGBTQ are informed that their kind isn’t acceptable. They aren’t acceptable, welcome or wanted. It is harmful to anyone to feel that way. In addition, based on the freedom of speech law, it isn’t permitted period. We have always known that we are welcome to our opinions and beliefs. However, this is only as long as they aren’t acted upon in a way that harms anyone.

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