Conservative blogosphere is full of anger about how the Catholic Church will be required to provide birth control in spite of it being labeled as sin. There is resistance to treating gays equally because it violates a religious tenet.
Being required to do something that violates a religious tenet is called a burden in legal language. The concept of burden competes with the concept of discrimination. For example, a landlord who believes mixed race couples are sinning would find his burden eliminated if he could refuse to rent to them.
Slavery and followed by segregation had religious justification. When courts ruled against segregation, they established discrimination as more important than burden. So it is today.
Catholic Bishops and conservative Protestants want to make burden the higher of the two. But, the Amercian public has seen discrimination and didn’t like it.
Anti discrimination has a win win characteristic absent in burden. We have seen economic and social benefits accrue to society at large from the rise of those who were discriminated against. Black scholars, musians and atheletes would not have contributed as much to our general enjoyment and betterment in a bygone era.
Burden has a hole-in-the bucket problem. Claims of burden are infinite–new religions are invented every year. It could well be a tsunami of burden is coming. It’s sibling, discrimination will be nearby.
Competition between burden and discrimination continues. To raise the status of burden is to take us backwards.
That would be a mistake.
P. S. I’m indebted to Attorney Bob Ritter for this topic.