Commentary

More newspapers weigh in against so-called “religious freedom” bills

It’s looking more and more like the the pro-discrimination bills in the North Carolina General Assembly masquerading as “religious freedom” proposals are — thank goodness — going nowhere. This morning, you can add the Greensboro News & Record and the Winston-Salem Journal to the list of major news outlets issuing condemnations.

Here’s the N&R in an editorial entitled: “Don’t follow Indiana”:

A Religious Freedom Restoration Act has been introduced in both the N.C. House and Senate, and our state’s Republican governor says he won’t support it.

We urge the North Carolina sponsors to look at Indiana, listen to McCrory and withdraw their bills before any harm is done here….

Large corporations are making it clear they expect their employees and partners — all of them — to be treated fairly in Indiana. Some already are saying the same about North Carolina. The politicians who claim to be ushering in business-friendly policies should be careful that some of their actions aren’t seen as hostile to 21st century corporations.

Indiana Republicans now say they’ll “clarify” their new law, which they insist has been misinterpreted. Actually, it’s seen very clearly for what it is.

We hope and trust McCrory will veto a similar bill in North Carolina, but it will be shameful enough if such a measure even reaches his desk.

And this is from a Journal editorial entitled “‘Religious freedom’ bills would open door to discrimination”:

“State Sen. Joyce Krawiec of Kernersville, a sponsor of the bill, told the Journal’s Arika Herron in an email that ‘…we have an obligation to make sure that North Carolinians’ religious rights are protected.’

But the Constitution already guarantees that. What it most certainly doesn’t guarantee is the right to discriminate against others.

Given our history in the South, we have a healthy fear of any law that might be used to bar members of certain groups from businesses. Blacks rightly won that fight.

Opening the door now to legalized discrimination against any group would take us back toward an uncomfortable and unjust past. As we’ve written before, a separatist society is a greater threat to North Carolina than same-sex marriage ever could be. Inclusion enriches our state, allowing commerce to flow more freely, allowing contributions to society from more quarters and promoting individual freedom.

If our legislature continues on this destructive path, it had best be ready for the backlash.”

3 Comments


  1. Donald Berrian

    April 1, 2015 at 8:48 am

    If the public was sufficiently protected against having their religious rights trampled, these bills would never have been introduced. The liberals are being disingenuous in claiming otherwise. The attacks on the rights of people to their beliefs by gays, pro-abortion groups, “freedom from religion” types, and the “political correctness” leftists are enough to offend even atheists like myself. There is a difference between insisting on your own freedom and trampling someone elses freedom. Apparently the press can’t tell recognize naked aggression when they see it.

  2. Laurie

    April 1, 2015 at 10:24 am

    I actually disagree with you Donald. I do not feel government should be becoming more narrow in scope and preventing redress of grievances. It stifles innovation, and puts shackles on progress.

    The federal RF was intended to make clear that government cannot intervene in religious rights unless it had a clear concise interest in doing so. For instance, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not accept blood or blood products. If a doctor prescribes them for non life threatening treatment, the government cannot intervene to enforce the treatment plan. However, in cases of minor children with life threatening injuries, the government could argue they have a compelling interests to enforce treatment, and the law suits that result are usually fought after the fact. But it cannot be based on supposition, it has to be based on best fact available at the time and not personal sincerely held beliefs that Jehovah’s Witnesses are wrong in their sincerely held beliefs.

    However, one has to understand you have to leave open avenues of redress. For instance, I not being Jewish going to a Jewish Deli, they do not discriminate against me because their foods are Kosher and I have no need for Kosher Foods. If I went to same deli and demanded they make something that was Kosher, it would be ridiculous for me to expect I would have redress when they refuse. Afterall, their business is clearly defined, no false advertising or business practices that could cause me personal harm.

    Labor law also already provides for Reasonable Accomodation due to religion. It is actually interesting to read some of the case law. The proposed NC law for magistrates is extremely poorly written and will have incredible impact on rural communities of which NC has many. The state in this case have a compelling interests to ensure laws and rules are carried out judicially and expediantly.

  3. Gene Hoglan

    April 1, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    All these Massive Resistance-style laws are doing is hastening the process for adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes. Just as the Mormon church got the ball rolling on what will be the inevitable SCOTUS ruling for nationwide gay marriage, the rubes are doing yeoman’s work once again. Hats off to each and every one.

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