Libertarians and religious liberty

by Walter Olson on June 11, 2012

Tim Carney, the influential columnist at the D.C. Examiner, writes as if libertarians have been AWOL or worse when it comes to defending religious liberty from the incursions of the modern liberal-bureaucratic state. I try to set him straight in a new post at Cato at Liberty. More: Carney responds; Jordan Bloom, The American Conservative; Rick Esenberg.

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Those “creeping sharia” fears - Overlawyered
06.18.12 at 2:15 pm

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1 John Burgess 06.11.12 at 5:56 pm

Good piece. Thanks for writing it.

2 William Nuesslein 06.12.12 at 7:21 am

If the gay couple went to the local diner for lunch, they could expect service even if the workers at the diner knew them to be gay and objected to their relationship. That is the basic concept of public business. certainly the photographer would be obliged to render service under reasonable terms to a gay couple despite the photographers religious beliefs.

Modern women both Catholics and Non-Catholics use birth control during their lives at rates exceeding 95 %. I find the Church’s religious argument about contraceptives to be irrational. Fortunately, the Church no longer burns people alive.

3 Hugo S. Cunningham 06.12.12 at 10:04 am

I can understand priests and nuns being forced to spend extra if they want to add birth control to their health coverage, but how about lay workers in church-owned businesses, eg. hospitals? (Keep in mind that, from an actuarial viewpoint, it is cheaper for insurers to pay for birth control rather than for extra pregnancies.)

If churches are allowed to post “non-faithful need not apply” on secular businesses, there is no logical argument against paying wages in scrip, redeemable only in company stores that stock wholesome food, modest attire, candles, and tracts on holiness.

Sometimes a higher level of government is necessary to protect individuals from oppression by lower-level governments and power structures. The classic example is the abolition of slavery, a flagrant violation of State’s rights and property rights.

To clarify: I would not force the Church to add birth control to their health plan. But a secular employee should have the right to take his pro-rata share of the church/employer’s health-plan spending outside to another plan that reflects his individual values. Similarly, social-conservative employees of liberal employers should have the right to select an outside plan that excludes birth control.

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