This is about an event in Canada. But, it has implications for the U. S.
The Catholic hierarchy wants to discuss its petty concerns about birth control medicine in health care insurance provided its employees. This, even though the medicine is needed for other illnesses of women. Catholics call it “religious liberty”.
When North Dakota’s Catholic bureaucracy, along with some Protestants, gathered signatures and put on the ballot a “religious liberty amendment”, several of us warned about the unintended consequences, public servants who would not do the work assigned them because of religion, landlords who wanted to discriminate and so on.
Backers of the measure said these issues were, “not what was intended”. Fortunately for our State, the measure was defeated.
The news story from Canada today is about the ability to use religious hang ups to avoid doing tasks others depend on one to do. A Muslim male barber refused to cut a woman’s hair because it violated a tenet of his faith. He offered to find another barber, the old “separate but equal” gambit of the segregation era.
He said he could only cut hair of women who were members of his family. Yet, he received a license from the government to perform this service for the public. If discrimination is allowed because of religion, we will see it in our doctors, lawyers, car mechanics, landlords and teachers.
Hundreds of religions are already practiced. New ones are being made up everyday.
There will be no end to religious taboos and “religious liberty” issues if we allow them to trump other rights.