I have a post up at Law and Liberty on the recent report of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties.” It is not positive. A bit:
The recommendations begin with the ominous observation that civil rights protections ensuring nondiscrimination “are of preeminent importance in American jurisprudence.” Preeminent over what, exactly? That quickly becomes crystal clear: over religious freedom. Supreme Court decisions that the commissioners celebrate for reflecting this preeminence include Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (2011), EEOC v. Abercrombie and Fitch (2015), and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015). It is telling that the commission includes Abercrombie and Fitch—an utterly unremarkable case involving the interpretation of the standard for an employer’s state of mind in a disparate treatment action under Title VII—because it thereby squeezes and deforms religious freedom into the only framework it can accept or understand: nondiscrimination.
After this, we are treated to the following hodgepodge of inanity: “Schools must be allowed to insist on inclusive values.” Apparently this is meant as a defense of Martinez; but it ought to read, “schools must be allowed to insist that everybody espouse the values we have canonized.”
The commissioners go on to say that “throughout history, religious doctrines accepted at one time later become viewed as discriminatory, with religions changing accordingly.”Really? Is this statement made in promotion of “peaceful coexistence” and “reconciliation”? It sounds more like a crude bit of pseudo-history capped by a fairly direct threat.
One thought on “An Awful Report by the USCCR”
I too am concerned about the narrowing of our religious liberties at the hands of civil rights claims. It appears that many of these claims gain their governmental support, in part, because they are deemed to be nonreligious. However, many of these claimed rights have their own ideological roots in particular belief systems. I wonder if these nontraditional belief systems should be defined as nontraditional religions. If this were done, it would change the way in which the legal system dealt with these claims.
First, with the concern that government not establish a religion, government would be inhibited from broadly supporting hither to “secular” values at the expense of “religious” values. Secondly, reassessing the religious nature of all systems of belief and value could serve to limit the activities of government to areas that are less ideologically contested.