Must We “Celebrate Everyone’s Parade?” Statement from Police Officer Who Asked For Alt Assignment In Utah Pride Parade

In my duties as a police officer, I have been called upon to protect events I disagree with, including several LGBT rallies. I never felt that my personal or religious beliefs “exempted” me from serving or protecting anyone’s First Amendment rights or safety. I love and respect them as fellow children of God; however, I should never be forced to personally celebrate any messages. That is my right. It is unquestionably my duty as a police officer to protect everyone’s right to hold a parade or other event, but is…

Protecting Religious Liberty

Our country was founded by groups fleeing religious persecution by the state. Many of the men and women involved in the formation of our government were also highly skeptical and suspicious of organized religion. These traditions are what lead to the First Amendment’s protections not just for religious belief, but the ability to be able to freely put those beliefs into action. It also extends those rights to individuals, not merely organized churches. It would be hard to find a nation on the earth more dedicated to preserving that degree…

The Real Question in the ‘Religious Liberty’ Debate

“Law is really ill-equipped for adjudicating between the claims of revelation and the claims of rationality.” – Katherine Franke, director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School. At face value, ‘religious liberty’ is something no one objects to.  That makes the generations-old tension between ‘religious’ and ‘secular’ values, as they are often characterized, an impossible divide to gap.  Or so some would have you believe, and I like to call those people “wrong.” The quote from Katherine Franke above comes from a Q&A with ProPublica over…

The Attack on Religious Expression [Hub Debate]

Some would have us believe that war is peace, ignorance is strength, and the best way to protect religious liberty is by chasing religious expression out of the public square entirely. Which is obviously complete balderdash. And yet, that’s the argument being made. Religious values have a long and positive role in Western society. John Adams famously said, [W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a…

Here’s Why Judge Waddoups Put Another Candidate Back On The Ballot

If it wasn’t official before, it is now.  The Utah State School Board (“USBE”) nomination and election process is an absolute mess. After Judge Waddoups ruled last week to allow two candidates for the USBE back on the ballot, a third–Joel David Wright–asked the court to do the same for him and successfully got himself a place on voters’ ballots. At this point, the Utah Legislature has failed at multiple attempts to reform a board of education selection process that no one really likes, a federal court has struck down that process,…

Hobby Lobby scores one for Liberty in the Supreme Court [Hub Debate]

“It is God who gave us life and liberty. Can the liberties of nations be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.” –Thomas Jefferson.   Last week, a landmark decision came down from the Supreme Court in the case involving Hobby Lobby. To make a long story short, Hobby Lobby sued the federal…

Hobby Lobby Ruling was Limited Common Sense [Hub Debate]

From a macro perspective, the Hobby Lobby ruling doesn’t do much. The Supreme Court made the decision narrow enough that it only impacts: “Closely held” corporations (while not clearly defined, I would suggest this means private companies – publicly traded companies need not apply). The Affordable Care Act, specifically the contraceptive mandate that was made law therein. The Supreme Court could have gone much further and applied that personhood applies to larger companies with more shareholders, or that religious objections could apply to other things like gay marriage, blood transfusions,…

Hobby Lobby and its Aftermath: What Will RFRA Do Next? [Hub Debate]

Now that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has decided Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, people are wondering a few things: What is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)? ŸWhy do we have RFRA? What does RFRA cover? What are the limits of free exercise of religion under RFRA? These are all great questions because most people have never heard of RFRA, and why should they have? It is an obscure federal law concerning religious freedom. And how many rational people read any of the tens-of-thousands of federal laws…

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby: What it Is, and What it Ain’t [Hub Debate]

  With the Supreme Court ruling 5-4 in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby on Monday, finding  that for-profit employers with religious objections can opt out of providing contraception coverage under Obamacare, our debate topic is set: did the Supreme Court get it right? Or wrong?    I have thought long and hard how to approach today’s Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (i.e., the Religious Freedom Restoration Act challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive/abortifacient/sterilization mandate (Mandate)). I have written on various aspects of this subject before, but I wanted to really get at what this case is about.…

Hobby Lobby Wins One for Single Payer [The Hub Debate]

The SCOTUS has ruled, and in favor of Hobby Lobby against the contraception mandate in the affordable care act. Some will call it a win for ‘religious liberty.’  Some will call it another step towards the court turning corporations into people.  Democrats will campaign on it as another example of conservative disdain for women’s health issues.   Republicans will call it another kick in the teeth for the Affordable Care Act, while trying carefully not to own it too much in case the Democrats’ message plays well.  In the immediate,…