Favorite

Aggressors 

The Amish we see at the Little Rock Farmers Market every week, selling their baked goods and produce, are a perpetually pleasant, unargumentative group, but some of their faithmates in Ohio are of a different temperament, evidently.

There, a group of Amish men and women have physically attacked other members of their religion, chopping off religiously prescribed beards and long hair. Haled into civil court, the attackers say the victims weren't adequately adhering to the sect's rules. They further allege that civil authorities can't touch them, because theirs is a religious dispute, in which American laws do not apply and American courts may not interfere.

An elderly newspaperman remembers that almost the first story he covered as a young reporter involved a child who had died because his parents belonged to a sect that didn't believe in doctors and modern medicine. They too argued that because they were practicing their religion, the law couldn't touch them. The law felt otherwise; the law won.

Americans have religious liberty. The First Amendment gives us the right to follow any religion we choose, or none at all. But "religious liberty" does not allow us to trample on the rights of others, nor to be exempt from laws that our fellow Americans must obey.

Some religious leaders covet these privileges. The Roman Catholic hierarchy and allies from the Religious Right revile President Obama because his administration says that all Americans are entitled to access to birth control as a part of their health care, and that they may not be denied access because of the religious beliefs of others. It's Freedom of Religion in action.

Catholic bishops seek to circumvent this freedom, demanding that religiously affiliated hospitals and colleges be allowed to deny birth control coverage to all their employees, even those who aren't Catholic, even if insurance companies rather than the hospitals and colleges themselves pay for the insurance. The bishops also demand that Catholic owners of secular businesses be allowed to deny their workers contraceptive coverage: "If you work for me, you'll follow my religion. And by the way, my religion says you'll work 12 hours a day so forget about those wage and hour laws you may have heard about."

The religious bigots will claim that they're only after Obama. Religious freedom is their real target.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

September

S M T W T F S
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Sex on campus

    • Once again commentators blame the victim. Social scientists, of whom I am one, regularly find…

    • on September 22, 2017
  • Re: Time for a coalition

    • Shiny, nobody is saying that Hillary isn't entitled to speak. Shit, the more she talks,…

    • on September 21, 2017
  • Re: Bad health care bill, again

    • Its hard to tell what the GOP in Arkansas care about beyond making life worse…

    • on September 20, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation