Source: The Washington Post
Jumping into the fray over civil liberties vs. religious freedom, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission issued a report Wednesday that is sure to anger conservatives with this central finding:
“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,” the report said.
The chairman of the commission, Martin R. Castro, went to the hot spot of the debate with a separate statement in the report that uncloaks what often, but certainly not always, lurks behind protestations about freedom of religion.
“The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance,” Castro wrote.
Castro headed his statement with a quote attributed to John Adams: “The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” That language comes from the Treaty of Tripoli, signed by Adams in 1797.
For Roger Severino, director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the conservative Heritage Foundation, a particularly troubling aspect of the report is what he called “the attempt to discredit sincere religious believers as being motivated by hate instead of faith and the implied recommendation that religious groups should change their beliefs on sexual morality to conform with liberal norms for the good of the country. I would expect to see such a slanted and anti-religious report come out of China or France perhaps, but am disappointed to see it come from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.”