Over at Townhall.com, former Republican Congressman and Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr has a piece about the Kim Davis affair which I believe is quite spot on. Here is the opening paragraph:
Imagine waking up to the news that a Quaker county sheriff is denying concealed carry permits to citizens because of his religious objection to violence; or, a Muslim DMV supervisor in Dearborn, Michigan has ordered his staff to refuse to issue driver’s licenses to women out of a religious objection to women behind the wheel. These are among the realities that await should we make Kim Davis, the embattled County Clerk from Rowan County, Kentucky, an archetype for “religious freedom” in America.
Barr touches on the points I made almost a week ago after Davis was jailed. If Davis can deny a marriage license to a same sex couple because of her religious beliefs then surely a Muslim county clerk can deny one to a Muslim woman marrying a non-Muslim man because of his religious beliefs. Last night, I saw Megyn Kelly put this very question to Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and he completely dodged the question. He simply didn’t want to answer it. Either Perkins does not believe his conception of religious liberty applies to Muslims or he simply has not thought through the implications of his argument. I suspect it is more the latter than the former. In which case we will be in for a lot of mischief. A Muslim flight attendant suspended by ExpressJet for refusing to serve alcohol because it violates her religious beliefs has just filed suit with the EEOC. This won’t be the last we see of this sort of thing.
Like any other form liberty, religious liberty is not and cannot be absolute. There is a place for religious exemption within reason and common sense. But when such exemptions are designed to prevent people from engaging in commerce and obtaining public services then we have a problem that could paralyze law and order as well as free enterprise. Religious liberty can be harmful when it undermines our other liberties.
While I am pleased that Kim Davis has been released from jail, I believe that Davis and those supporting her should be very careful for what they wish.
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