HOW THE RIGHT IS PERVERTING RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

Source: Pacific Standard

Inside the curious phrase that protects peyote and condemns LGBT people.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks while standing next to President Donald Trump during a ceremony before the signing of an executive order on promoting free speech and religious liberty in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 4th, 2017.

Vice President Mike Pence speaks while standing next to President Donald Trump during a ceremony before the signing of an executive order on promoting free speech and religious liberty in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 4th, 2017.

(Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Andrew Snelling is a geologist with 45 years’ experience in “theoretical and practical geological research,” according to the complaint he just filed in federal court in Arizona. He brings that expertise to bear in the field of Christian apologetics. That is to say, in attempting to prove the Bible’s literal accuracy.

Snelling is suing the Department of the Interior after encountering what he felt were undue difficulties securing a research permit to study sites within Grand Canyon National Park and remove samples. Per his complaint, one academic reviewer described Snelling’s research proposal as “outlandish.” Another characterized it as “dead-end creationist material.” Now, with the help of the Alliance Defending Freedom, Snelling has charged the Park Service with violating his constitutional rights, a federal statute, and President Donald Trump’s recent religious liberties executive order.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IS MEANT TO PROTECT RELIGIOUS MINORITIES FROM PERSECUTION. REPUBLICANS HAVE TRANSFORMED IT INTO A CUDGEL AGAINST POLICIES INTENDED TO PROTECT OTHER DISEMPOWERED GROUPS.

The ADF claims 49 Supreme Court wins and asserts an overall win rate of 80 percent. This success rate is suspect—the ADF counts out-of-court victories through advocacy and legal settlements as wins—but the group’s influence is indisputable. With an annual budget approaching $40 million and 50 staff attorneys, the ADF is the right’s answer to the American Civil Liberties Union, by its own account. The ADF has led the way on religious liberty cases, from Snelling’s suit to corporations seeking exemptions from contraceptive mandates and non-discrimination laws.

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