In September the US Commission on Civil Rights issued a 306 page briefing report entitled “Peaceful Co-Existence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties.” The report examined the balance struck by federal courts in claims for religious exemptions from nondiscrimination laws. This commission was created by Congress in 1957 and is supposed to be an independent, bipartisan agency tasked with investigating complaints, studying and collecting information relating to discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability or national origin and to serve as a national clearinghouse for information in respect to discrimination or denial of equal protection under the law. Even though ‘sexual orientation’ is not on the list of areas the commission is to cover, it is included in the September report.
FYI: Martin Castro was appointed by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in January of 2011. In March 2011, President Obama elevated Castro to the position of Chairman of the committee. Previously he had been appointed to the Illinois Human Rights Commission by Governor Pat Quinn in 2009. In the introduction of the 2010 Illinois Human Rights Commission annual report, Castro notes the commission held its first town hall forum in partnership with the homosexual groups Lambda Legal and Center On Halsted. The forum was entitled “Our Rights Under the Law.” His time on the IL Human Rights Commission definitely indicated where he was coming from when it came to the homosexual issue!
This report seems to favor ‘gay’ rights over religious freedom, even though this commission is not tasked with monitoring or making recommendations in regards to sexual orientation!! The letter sent to President Obama, VP Biden and House Speaker Ryan and based on hundreds of pages of arguments compiled for the past three years, says the commission believes “overly-broad religious exemptions unduly burden nondiscrimination laws and policies.”
It goes on to state, “Religious exemptions to the protections of civil rights based upon classifications such as race, color, national origin, sex, disability status, sexual orientation, and gender identity, when they are permissible, significantly infringe upon these civil rights.” Remember “sexual orientation and gender identity” are NOT supposed to be under their purview.
It says the fault lies with the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, which “constricts the ability of government actors to curtail private citizens’ rights to the protections of nondiscrimination laws and policies.”
“Although the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act … limit the ability of government actors to impede individuals from practicing their religious beliefs, religious exemptions from nondiscrimination laws and policies must be weighed carefully and defined narrowly on a fact-specific basis,” states the letter.
“Federal and state courts, lawmakers, and policy-makers at every level must tailor religious exceptions to civil liberties and civil rights protections as narrowly as applicable law requires.”
This is a direct assault upon our First Amendment right of religious freedom AND upon the Religious Freedom Restoration Act .
The Commission’s recommendations?
- Overly-broad religious exemptions unduly burden nondiscrimination laws and policies. Federal and state courts, lawmakers, and policy-makers at every level must tailor religious exceptions to civil liberties and civil rights protections as narrowly as applicable law requires.
- RFRA protects only religious practitioners’ First Amendment free exercise rights, and it does not limit others’ freedom from government-imposed religious limitations under the Establishment Clause.
- In the absence of controlling authority to the contrary such as a state-level, RFRA-type statute, the recognition of religious exemptions to nondiscrimination laws and policies should be made pursuant to the holdings of Employment Division v. Smith, which protect religious beliefs rather than conduct.
- Federal legislation should be considered to clarify that RFRA creates First Amendment Free Exercise Clause rights only for individuals and religious institutions and only to the extent that they do not unduly burden civil liberties and civil rights protections against status-based discrimination.
- States with RFRA-style laws should amend those statutes to clarify that RFRA creates First Amendment Free Exercise Clause rights only for individuals and religious institutions. States with laws modeled after RFRA must guarantee that those statutes do not unduly burden civil liberties and civil rights with status-based discrimination.
Christians, beware, the US Commission on Civil Rights, along with some (if not many) in the government) want to greatly restrict your religious freedom! More proof that elections have consequences!!