Whose Religious Liberty?

Well, finally! A lawsuit just filed in Florida raises an important and far too frequently ignored aspect of the First Amendment’s religion clauses. What happens when “religious liberty” becomes a code word meaning “Liberty for my particular religion’s doctrine, but not for yours?”

The Supreme Court majority that (according to the leaked draft opinion) will overturn Roe v. Wade within the next few weeks is composed of Catholics who have been very vocal about the importance of protecting religious liberty–as they evidently define it. The problem is, their definition of liberty differs from that held by a very large number of Americans who believe that all citizens are free to follow the doctrines of their particular religions. When applied to the issue of abortion, for example, people whose beliefs prohibit it are protected from measures requiring it, and people whose beliefs allow (or even, in some situations, require) it can follow their beliefs.

In other words, if your beliefs prohibit abortion, you don’t have to have one. If they don’t, you can.

That definition of religious liberty is at the heart of the lawsuit filed in Florida. According to the Religion News Service, 

A new Florida law prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks with some exceptions violates religious freedom rights of Jews in addition to the state constitution’s privacy protections, a synagogue claims in a lawsuit.

The lawsuit filed by the Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor of Boynton Beach contends the law that takes effect July 1 violates Jewish teachings, which state abortion “is required if necessary to protect the health, mental or physical well-being of the woman” and for other reasons.

“As such, the act prohibits Jewish women from practicing their faith free of government intrusion and this violates their privacy rights and religious freedom,” says the lawsuit, filed last week in Leon County Circuit Court.

The lawsuit adds that people who “do not share the religious views reflected in the act will suffer” and that it “threatens the Jewish people by imposing the laws of other religions upon Jews.”

The new Florida law has exceptions only for terminations necessary to save the life of the mother or prevent serious injury, or for a fetus with a fatal abnormality. It does not contain exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape, incest or human trafficking.

The Rabbi of the synagogue that filed the lawsuit was quoted as saying that when separation of religion and government crumbles, religious minorities often suffer. And he noted that DeSantis had signed the law at an evangelical Christian church.

This lawsuit is yet another illustration of an element of the expected decision that has received far too little attention: it goes to the very heart of current constitutional jurisprudence, which is concerned with drawing a line between those matters that government can properly regulate and those that are to be left to the individual. Reversal of Roe attacks the conceptual underpinning of a doctrine known as “substantive due process,” which is focused on where that line must be drawn, and the very simple–and very profound–question: who decides?

In a free country–a country that takes liberty seriously–who gets to decide what prayer you say, what book you read, who you marry, whether and when you procreate?

For the past fifty years, with some hiccups, American law has answered that question by respecting the rights of individuals and religious communities to determine those and similarly personal issues–issues that the Court has dubbed “intimate”–for themselves. I would argue that the right to make our own personal, medical, political and religious decisions in the exercise of our individual consciences is the proper definition of liberty.

(Decisions to forego mask wearing and other decisions that endanger others, not so much.)

America is currently going through a wrenching transition. Religious and racial groups that were once so dominant that minority communities and their beliefs were (at best) marginalized and ignored are losing their cultural dominance, and many members of those groups are hysterical about it. Others are simply clueless–so insulated within traditional ways of understanding the society they inhabit that they are unable to understand the claims of those who differ–as Jewish law differs from much of Christianity on the issue of abortion.

“Freedom for me, but not for thee” isn’t freedom at all. It’s privilege, and privileges can be withdrawn. What’s that observation we civil libertarians love to quote? “Poison gas is a great weapon until the wind shifts.”

Either religious liberty is liberty for adherents of all religions, or it isn’t liberty at all. This lawsuit illustrates the danger of letting government make decisions that favor the doctrines of some religions to the detriment of others.

 

34 thoughts on “Whose Religious Liberty?

  1. I vividly remember the public outcry when John Kennedy ran for president that this country would never elect a Catholic to the presidency. I didn’t understand the fear and anger because the Catholics in my neighborhood had no effect on my life; other than not understanding why they kept themselves separate and didn’t allow their children to even talk to me. I now understand their fears and their anger; it was simply misplaced as we have gradually, not via Catholic presidents but Republican presidents, turned the Supreme Court of the United States into our religious and legal ruling body. Does anyone on the Supreme Court have a licence to practice medicine? As a legal body they should understand the illegality of practicing medicine without a license and the Hippocratic Oath, “First do no harm.”

    In the movie “The Ten Commandments”; Pharaoh Ramses, beaten by Moses at every turn, finally realized “His God IS God!” The problem with the Catholic religion believing that statement now applies to them is that they have turned away from the Ten Commandments and the Constitution and make up their own rules for the rest of us as they go along.

    “Poison gas is a great weapon until the wind shifts.” SCOTUS’ religious body is now the “poison gas” and we cannot wait for the wind to shift; these mid-term elections are our wind source but will it shift our democracy and Rule of Law in the direction of change in time to save this nation?

  2. I cannot speak for evangelical Christians, but as I Catholic (and within this body are evangelical Christians) I need to underscore we are not of one cookie cutter. I love the Mass, need the grace of the Eucharist and love so many of our beautiful traditions. As for the ‘timeless teachings’, not so. And please! As a history professor, I can trace each one likely back to some very unhappy, typically male celibate living a stark life. Not back to a humble and most profound man who spoke over and over again about two things — love, and love. Tossing in justice, compassion, service and anger at the money changers in the temple. You will find lots of love and lust in the ‘good book’, especially the joyous Psalms. The institutional church — still led by celibate men — has left many Catholics out in the cold, especially of course the progressives who decided years ago they wanted to hear more love, Justice and compassion in a liberation theology than theocracy. I am still a Catholic and always will be and like so many others, found other faith groups to share that message. The Catholics on the SC are conservative and found their way to a politically conservative President ( or in ‘the Donald’s’ case, a scheming chameleon.). They do not speak for all Catholics; frankly, not even most of us

  3. When it comes to court rulings, the religion clauses of the First Amendment have never been used by courts to support abortion rights or strike down abortion laws. Just because a policy view that government adopts through legislation or judicial fiat is consistent with a religious tenet, doesn’t invalidate the law. (Virtually every law is based on morality…what society collectively thinks is right or wrong. And those moral views are often espoused by organized religion. ) While attorneys have argued that abortion restrictions violate the Establishment Clause, that’s always an argument thrown in at the end of the brief after the better arguments are presented to the court. No one ever wins in court with that argument. Or at least not as I’ve ever seen.

  4. Why isn’t the abortion debate about science?

    Once again, we are debating about the effect of something versus the cause. Our entire health industry is built upon the same faulty logic or critical thinking.

    Why do we care what religious people think or their opinions?

    When is the zygote considered a human being? Is it a sentient being at conception? 2 weeks or 2 months?

    Also, the choice should be considered. If it was a result of a crime against the person, then that person has until ______ to make a choice.

    Religious beliefs should not even be considered in a courtroom.

  5. “The institutional church — still led by celibate men —” Oh my; if not such a horrendous misstatement, it would be laughable. Statistics have been published that more than 50% of Catholic priests are sexually active – in one way or another. The most public being the thousands of sexually molested children who not only lost their childhood but their faith in religion in general due to their victimization by their own Catholic priests. Years ago; Oprah Winfrey reported on a specific Chicago case after the confession by the Catholic leader went public, the Chicago Diocese reported they were spending $9 MILLION annually to cover up, pay off victims and families, “rehabilitating” guilty priests and moving them to other parishes with no warning of their past crimes. This left them open to go forth and sin again; offer their confession to other priests, return to “rehab” and the cycle continues today. Keeping their crimes within the Catholic Diocese prevents the criminals from legal action and having their names on the sexual predator lists. In Boston, Cardinal Law finally publicly admitted to 30 YEARS of covering up local priests, listing them in their personnel records as being on “personal” or “medical” leave while they were in Catholic “rehab”facilities. His punishment? A position within the Vatican until his death. There are the many priests who are homosexuals; homosexuality is NOT the sin, the lying is, but confession absolves them of all guilt. There are those who have affairs with women; years ago one of those affairs in an Indianapolis east side Catholic church made the local news for days.

    Like all who swear to oaths and live ignoring them; claiming “conservatism” in their religion and their politics in the Supreme Court of the United States does NOT explain or absolve the situation because it infects Americans across this nation. Does Betty Tonsing posting her PhD impress us; not me and I’m sure my posting myself as a high school dropout with a GED would not cause the opposite on this blog. We are a political forum; open to all who care to comment, no religious, legal or educational degrees required.

  6. The unborn have no liberty regardless of religion. We know the have value in the law if their life ends in a traffic accident. Just because religious people are putting forth these laws does not tie the rights of the unborn to any religious belief. The rights of the mother due to rape, incest or endangerment to her life must be upheld for her value must be upheld. Beyond that i doubt if religious rights can over rule the value of the life of the unborn.
    Roe vs Wade was initially for a first term abortion.
    If a national law is to be written what do we want it to look like?

  7. https://news.gallup.com/opinion/polling-matters/391649/religion-supreme-court-justices.aspx

    This term: 6 Catholics, 1 ex Catholic Episcopalian, 2 Jews

    Next term: 6 Catholics, 1 ex Catholic Episcopalian, 1 Jew and one non-denominational Protestant

    No Baptists, Methodists, Buddhists, Mormons, Orthodox, Muslims, Hindus , Atheists, Agnostics and Unaffiliated

    Not exactly reflective of the country especially when a Justice uses their religion more as a club than a tool of enlightenment .

  8. Shiela … you always find a vein so compelling for rigorous debate. You have been a consistent champion of informed civil virtue for separation of “church” and state. As long as the nose of sex and religion finds its way into the tent, the rear end of politics makes a mess. Escaping the tyranny of the church state of the mother land, our forefathers knew well what they were doing to set the good standard for separation of “church” and state.

  9. Imagine that the majority on the Supreme Court were Jewish, and a ruling was leaked that would force every new parent to have their male child be circumcised. What would happen? And what would happen if taxpayers money was sent to the Catholic church via their parishioners? Oh wait a minute…that is already happening. It’s called vouchers.
    The deviousness of the Evangelical and Catholic Church can not be overstated.
    Also, let me say…. these organizations are NOT religions…they are big business.

  10. Yikes Joanne! Just a little defensive?
    Betty thank you for your perspective. I found it thought provoking. Joanne does not speak for all of us.

  11. When I first read about this lawsuit, I thought that it was about time. It seemed to me that the best tactic would be to attack the pro birth side on the basis of religious freedom. I’ll keep watching.

  12. to John S:
    Laws that give “value” to a fetus in an accident or otherwise are actually very recent; this does not establish them as persons under the constitution.
    What do we want a national law to look like? We want it to say that abortion procedures can only be regulated to the same extent as any other medical procedure of comparable risk. So, state regs that specify what type of licensed provider can do it, OK. Regs that state what type of facility, sanitation, emergency backup etc, OK, as long as they do not exceed the type of regs that cover oral surgery, cosmetic surgery, etc.
    Beyond those kind of sensible regulations, supported and endorsed by responsible professionals, the decision to have the procedure is up to the pregnant person.

  13. From a random Google-supplied reference: “the court of law can enforce legal rights against persons and also against the government. A legal right is an interest accepted and protected by law. Also, any debasement of any legal right is punishable by law. Legal rights affect every citizen. Legal rights are equally available to all the citizens without discrimination”.

    The only issue is who then decides for a pregnant woman her actions on her interest in continuing or terminating a pregnancy? Is the answer, her in consultation with her health care team, or is the answer, the courts? Can the courts demand her to continue as a breeder or does her conscience best guide her? If the court holds more power than the individual over breeding is there any difference between commanding her to breed or to not breed?

    As someone who can never be a breeder in any sense within my body, I do not feel any interest or qualification to participate in her decision. In fact, if the government ordered me to perform my role in breeding, I would object without limit.

  14. Many religions, in fact, become exclusive, entitled, superior and rigid when held by those who are so fearful of others that they lose the core of “love”.
    Catholics, not so any decades ago, were marginalized, feared and considered a threat to the mainstream WASP power structure. The KKK burned crosses in front of the homes of Catholics in my lifetime and distributed hate pamphlets that threatened dire consequences if a Catholic became President.
    The continued corrosive efforts of those in power, so clearly enunciated by Judge Luttig, found grievance in some Catholics that appealed to the authoritarian nature of formal Catholicism (as it does in many patriarchal religions) and have capitalized on that grievance, pandering to them with vouchers and charter schools funded by taxpayer money.
    As a lapsed Catholic, I left the Church for good when it became clear that misogyny and patriarchy would never change from within. I miss the ritual and comfort of the sanctuary, but not the constant and clear message that I am not worthy because I refuse to be considered merely a vessel and handmaid.
    BTW, mainstream Protestant congregations where patriarchy is doctrine, sexual abuse of children and women has been revealed and shown to have the same corrosive, horrendously damaging effects and consequences as in Catholic hierarchy.
    There was and remains a compelling reason to separate religion and governance. It is the most important reason to oppose Pence’s lust for the Presidency. He is as clear and present a danger as tRump, but in a much more insidious and corrosive way. He would have us declared a “Christian” country with all that would require in conformity to that theocracy. Who decides is, indeed, the critical question.

  15. If we are going to appoint people to the Supreme Court on the basis of their specific religious views and the numbers of those adhering to the same views, then given the large number of agnostics and atheists among us we should define their views as a religion and appoint some of them to the high bench. An argument could be made that such agnostics and atheists would likely render us fairer decisions in our democratic republic uncontaminated by traditional religions.

    In times gone by at least one pope led an army (thou shalt not kill?), The Hundred Years War (in which Protestants and Catholics slaughtered one another in Central Europe) and, of course, the present day sexual scandals among Catholic priests, and lately, Baptists. I have found that in general agnostics and atheists are as moral as those who claim morality through some religious view; suggesting that one need not have a god to be a good and productive member of society, which further suggests that having a god who clergy say made the rules and our fights about the rules can be a detriment to a functioning society (see post-Luther Germany).

    We are just human whatever we claim, and (as our Founders were clear) should keep the church out of the state’s businesses, one of which is the judiciary.

  16. Something that I had written before, probably not on this blog though, was George Washington’s letter to “Moses Seixes” Rabbi of the Newport Rhode Island congregation. The Jewish congregations hope as expressed to George Washington was the United States would respect tolerance for all of it’s citizens.

    George Washington replied to the Jewish congregations query, and promised not only tolerance, but “full Liberty of conscience to all, regardless of background and religious beliefs.”

    This was completely compatible Benjamin Franklin’s employing a wall between church and state, not because the country was anti-religion, but because of the diversity of religious groups in the United states. Of course, there were still plenty of those founding fathers who owned slaves, so, they sure had a lot of work to do respecting all of humanity.

    Even before Judaism was introduced in the United states, there was Islam, many imported North African slaves were of the Moorish Creed. Which they called abrahamist and we know it as Islam.

    Of course zealotry will prevent tolerance, and actually promote intolerant conduct towards those of differing beliefs. It will even cause the slaughter of citizens by other citizens living under the same government and ruled by the same laws.

    Additionally, there were cities of refuge where someone who was accused of blood guilt, in other words killing of another man or woman, could seek refuge from the dead person’s avengers. Now, there’s a lot to this, but, we can see that there was a fairness for someone who accidentally killed someone, and they would have an opportunity to be free and not killed by the avengers.

    Also, the part of the unborn child, this part of the law in Exodus was written in Exodus 21: 22 – 23.

    “In Jeremiah 1:5, it states; before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I sanctified you. I made you a profit to the nations.”

    In the Mosaic law, any death, had to be judged. Whether it was purposeful or accidental, and the appropriate penalty would be levied.

    Even if one reached the cities of refuge, they were not protected from the death penalty if the judges and the priests deemed it malicious. And, the death of an unborn child purposefully killed or made to “come out”and died, the death penalty was required.

    Of course there were caveats to certain circumstances, but that was also written in the law.

    Concerning contraception, the law either Hebrew or Christian, does not forbid it! And for those who condemn contraception, as in the Catholic church, 1 Corinthians 4:6 reads in their own Catholic Bible “do not go beyond what is set down.” (NAB) In other words don’t add or subtract from the written scripture. So there is no written word in the Bible concerning the forbidding of contraception.

    So as George Washington promised the new Jewish congregation in Rhode island, everyone has the right, the liberty, to follow their conscience! And that’s the same in scripture! Free moral agents are going to make their own decisions, as it’s their right! As was written in yesterday’s thread, Emmanuel Kant came to the same conclusion!

  17. Thank you to that Rabbi for bringing this lawsuit. Thank you Sheila for highlighting it. And thank you Theresa for doing what I hope but sometimes doubt the Supreme Court does on the abortion issue – put themselves into the shoes of others.

  18. In Jewish law, yes, a fetus does not have the status of a person, and therefore abortion is not considered killing. It’s not even considered manslaughter (accidental killing). The usual citation is Exodus 21:22, “When [two or more] parties fight, and one of them pushes a pregnant woman and a miscarriage results, but no other damage ensues, the one responsible shall be fined according as the woman’s husband may exact, the payment to be based on reckoning.” It’s just monetary compensation, as with any other property damage.

    The basic problem is that free exercise cannot give someone the right to do something which would be otherwise forbidden by law. If your religion told you to kill a person, to vandalize someone’s property, etc, you wouldn’t be able to claim free exercise. But now we have a situation in which some Christians are asserting that their free exercise requires that they restrict the free exercise of other religions, and that they violate the establishment clause, restricting the freedom *from* religion of all people.

    (by the way, Judaism also articulates the principle of “dina d’malchuta dina” — the law of the land is binding. If the law of the land forbids something, it’s still kinda forbidden. There’s a lot of legal complexity when, for example, local regulatory authorities decide that the traditional methods of kosher slaughter (which are designed to be as painless as possible) are not humane enough, or that traditional methods of infant circumcision are not antiseptic enough (improvements in that realm have been cheerfully accepted by almost all mohels, as far as I know).)

    (The issue of manslaughter and cities of refuge is irrelevant here. Those were instituted as a way to prevent endless cycles of revenge killing after an *accidental* death of a *person*. Abortion is not accidental, and a fetus is not a person.)

  19. JoAnn, we care about the opinions of religious people, because Reagan, GWB, and others have given them too much of a voice in the gov’t and SCOTUS!

    It is nice to see this Florida congregation taking this legal tack! I Just hope that they do not become a target for the crazies, that they have beefed up security, because some flaming crazy minister is going to be telling his sheep that they are motivated by that other fairy tale
    personage, the devil!

  20. to john p sorg:
    For people who care about what was written thousands of years ago, in the old testament or the new testament or the koran or the code of hammurabi, and who care to debate endlessly the meaning of this phrase or that, or what translation of this word might mean what in modern English, and how to apply these rules in the light of modern science and technology, you go on and have a lovely time.
    For people who are debating what our civil laws in the twenty-first century should allow or prohibit, your debates are completely and totally irrelevant.

  21. These people get more frightening by the day… let’s just fuck the 1st amendment, but the 2nd is sacred? From a WaPo opinion yesterday:
    “Where a Christian majority exists, public life should be rooted in Christianity and its moral vision, which should be honored by the state and other institutions both public and private,” the authors declare. In regions of a nation where the moral vision is corrupted by “immorality … national government must intervene energetically to restore order.”
    And Heather Cox Richardson last night: “And, as if in confirmation, delegates to a convention of the Texas Republican Party today approved platform planks rejecting “the certified results of the 2020 Presidential election, and [holding] that acting President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States”; requiring students “to learn about the dignity of the preborn human,” including that life begins at fertilization; treating homosexuality as “an abnormal lifestyle choice”; locking the number of Supreme Court justices at 9; getting rid of the constitutional power to levy income taxes…”

  22. The abortion issue shouldn’t be on the national political stage. Since it’s mainly a woman’s issue, the partriachal churches, legislatures and opportunistic Republican politicians seem to be in accord and put it there.
    Problem is that women never had full agency in those Churches. Men’s needs and well being were/are paramount, at the expense of women. In US women have a life saver in the form of Democracy where they have the freedom to decide for themselves. If Church teachings encroach over a woman’s most basic rights, then there is no separation of Church & State for over half the population.
    Betty & JD thanks for your posts.

  23. Yes mary, I find it hilarious concerning your claims! So, what laws are you in favor of? The laws of rome? Which became the laws of england? Which became the laws of the United states! Are those laws okay? Because they don’t seem to have worked very well. What morals are approved by you? Morals of scripture? Morals of the Quran? The Maccabees? Various edicts throughout history, including, the emancipation proclamation? What type of morality is comfortable for you? Anything that you desire? I think most people like that kind of morality. Then again, look at the world today! Isn’t it a great place! Please, tell us where your Panacea is, so we can all check it out!

  24. First, I dislike the bias that suggests that a Justice should be judged according to their religion. This is something that we should not consider, rather we should consider their world view and understanding of the law.

    I will echo what others have said about how the “sanctity of the unborn” is a religious based concept.

    I have pointed out before (somewhere) when they were debating public displays of the “Ten Commandments” that the display involved a religious choice as well, if the “commandments” were numbered or otherwise grouped to show ten items.

    To Jews, the first “commandment” (not the best translation) is a simple statement. Christians have struggled to create ten “commandments” and Catholics and Protestants have sliced and diced the text to create different numbered sets.

    Finally, Paul may be correct that the courts often see no need to protect the rights of minority religions from unfair regulations, but this doesn’t make it right.

  25. john p sorg:
    I’m not sure exactly what “claims” you think I have made.
    I have simply suggested that focusing on the inscrutable minutia of “scriptures” written by people from 50+ generations ago is not a good place to start in determining what our current laws ought to be.

    In return, that’s an awful lot of questions you have posed to me.
    Each one of the historical examples you give possessed a spectrum of laws, some good, some bad, some just, some despicable. All of them have allowed for groups designated as “other” or “less than” to be exploited and abused. The old testament scriptures in fact commanded genocides.

    What “morals” do I approve of? Interesting question, but again not relevant to lawmaking.
    The laws of a community should reflect the consensus opinion of the people being governed, not any one person’s. Our original constitution did not value people of color as fully human or citizens. Our civil consensus on that matter evolved, and we added a constitutional amendment to codify the matter. Similarly, women were not considered to be fully capable of participating in society. A century ago, as the societal consensus evolved, so did the constitution. And civil rights laws of the 60s and 70s further advanced the original idea of “created equal”. More recently, we are moving toward removing the societal barriers that prevented LGBTQ people from sharing the full freedom and rights to which they are entitled.
    The law moves, as it should, with the will of the people.

    I’m not sure why to think that I have any visions of a panacea. All human societies are made up of imperfect individuals, subject to biases and misjudgments, emotions overriding reason, and often culturally-imposed miseducation. But I still see a sense of positive growth as a species when comparing today’s world to the BCE days.

  26. Yes, Peg! And thanks to the other Betty, the one with the hard-earned PhD! Agree, Rose! Ruby chose life for me and it was completely her decision! And Michael, maybe we all could elevate our language. We could shine so much brighter in our comments, don’t you agree?

  27. Mary,

    Pretty good! But I still can’t agree. Throughout history, when you look at even the most recent, the Khmer rouge, Soviet russia, china, all are committing genocide as we speak or have in the past. They were non-religious or are non-religious for the most part or they claim to be anyway. Although there was a church of germany, Hitler and his henchmen were actually occultists, and that’s one reason why the Jews had a huge Target on their back.

    In the face of opposition, humanity will usually figure away to use that opposition to their advantage. Emperor Constantine did that very thing.

    As far as the Civil Rights movement, that was really a flash in the pan. Since gains were made in the 60s and early seventies, much of it has been rolled back. Even the voting Rights protections. So, how is that progress?

    Black women and girls are disappearing across this country at a record rate, and they’re not being found or if they’re found they’re dead! Is that progress? We watch Russia committing genocide and atrocities in the Ukraine, and we all sit around and watch! It was the same in Rwanda, and we claimed we wouldn’t let that happen again! And before that liberia. Haiti, Egypt, Yemen, everywhere! Most of it ethnic hatred. Progress? I doubt it!

    The Mosaic law had the provisions for feeding the poor, for welcoming the foreign resident, for taking care of widows and orphans, respecting and loving your neighbors and your enemies, even medical care. So, you can look that up yourself. And of course penalties for rape and murder to name a few.

    This very country is built on genocide and slave labor! So yes, I guess that’s progress?

  28. john p sorg:
    I consider it progress that we are able to stand up and recognize the fact that our country was built upon a base of genocide and slave labor.
    The early European settlers of this continent thought themselves to be doing God’s work as they wiped out the First Nation peoples. We think differently now. That’s progress.

    And yes, genocides and other atrocities continue to happen around the world. But we have at least attained a global sense that these are bad things which should not happen. And we have the framework of a global system that seeks to identify these actions, and seek justice for the victims. You can argue that it has failed to solve the problem, but at least we have a consensus that it IS a problem. That’s progress.

    As for the disappearance of black women and girls, the only reason you think this happens at “a record rate” is because there really are no historical records to compare. You really think this is a historical record compared to the number of black women and children who were stolen and raped and murdered in the 19th century? Even for most of the 20th century, such incidents wouldn’t even merit a police report being taken in many many palaces. Sure, it shouldn’t be happening, but the simple fact that you are aware of this happening reflects progress as a society.

    You prefer to live under Mosaic law? Great, go find yourself a nice Orthodox community and live within their laws. For myself, I prefer a legal system based on enlightenment principles.

  29. I don’t think Judaism is as monolithic as you suggest. There are a variety of interpretations of the Talmud in Judaism and varying degrees of acceptance of abortion, none of which could accurately be described as pro-choice.

    I get your point, but regardless, the U.S. Supreme Court has traditionally protected freedom of belief, not freedom of practice, hence why they ruled that anti-polygamy laws were constitutional, despite polygamy being a tenant of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints at the time.

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