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Is Religious Liberty Being Ignored?

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy
The Truth Network Radio
July 28, 2016 12:00 pm

Is Religious Liberty Being Ignored?

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy

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July 28, 2016 12:00 pm

In part 1 of this two-part series, NC Family president John Rustin talks with Travis Weber, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council, about how the current state of religious liberty in our nation is threatening the constructs of the U.S. Constitution.

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Work unit of work did not see that they were intentional targeting of religion with his objections discovering the need of a patient a particular opportunity is policy with family Pres. John Rustin thanks for joining us this week for family policy matters are just as Travis Weber, director of the Center for religious liberty at the family research Council in Washington DC were excited to have Travis on the show today as we are going to be discussing the current status of religious liberty in our nation, and while the very constructs of the United States, are being threatened.

We will talk about a recent decision by the US Supreme Court to refuse to hear a case concerning the religious rights of pharmacist and although you may not have heard about this case at all until today. Travis believes the high court's refusal to hear this case is an ominous sign for the future of religious liberty in America and in fact that's exactly how one of our nations Supreme Court justices characterized it in the dissent to the court's decision in this case I Travis welcome back to family policy matters. It's great to have you with us on the program again thanks thanks for having me on. Well, Travis.

We appreciate so much what you do and what family research Council does in this issue of religious liberty is such a critical amount of its facing our nation today as we begin, please give our listeners some background information about the storm and Zvi Wiseman case is involved, what questions were at stake, and how did the lower court ruled initially in this case before it arrived at the US Supreme Court sure this involves a family that owns a pharmacy in Washington state. This is been a business of theirs for some time and you know they did they do all the things that pharmacies typically do dispense medication provide and serve their other neighborhood customers, and it was really sort of want to look for a typical local family business that it operated for a long time without really any issues in Washington state came along and imposed regulations on the pharmacies of that state that requiring them to dispense certain drugs that destroy human embryos and basically end life, thus violating the consciences of people who believe that scarring and would be forced to play part in that connection area by dispense those drugs and this included storm so they obviously had a problem with this and the regulations do not permit anyone to opt out on conscience throughout the essay looking go get your drugs down the street. This is a real problem and so they suit claiming a violation of the free exercise clause that federal district court ruled in favor of the federal appeals court reversed ruled against them. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has rejected the case declined to take it.

Even here it. Thus, the Ninth Circuit's appeals court ruling stands against the storm ends and it's really fortunate is not being put in the spot where they're going to either be forced to violate the consciences, or suffers a business hearing and be found violation of of the regulations terms the state of Washington.

As I understand it allows pharmacist to make referrals for a number of other reasons. More secular in nature.

Why are pharmacist not given the same discretion with regard to their moral or ethical beliefs. Yet ultimately we don't know now to clarify the individual pharmacists are permitted to opt out right so that it permits an individual opt out, but requires every pharmacy to dispense the medication. So you know, ultimately this doesn't matter. In the case of the storm and you have a family owns the pharmacy that is a problem there do, there's gonna be a problem for them and so the very justification that permitted the individual pharmacists with objections to opt out should apply needs to apply to you, to a family like the storm, and yet it doesn't so they have no opt out here. However, individuals have an opt out their stock. You know that even the same time.

These regulations permit opt outs for all sorts of other regions so you know if he does keep an opt out and this may conceivably see that the customer can still get what you need. Why not here there really no good reason for that. It's unfortunate that the Supreme Court did not see that they were intentional targeting of religion religious objections that scarring in this case and and you know that they should have taken the opportunity to correct that I agree in one of the things that is especially troubling about this case is that it does not involve, for example, a loan pharmacy that serving a lonely population that would otherwise not have reasonable access to these kinds of drugs. If that one pharmacy chose not to dispense them. Instead, the storm and pharmacy is located. As I understand it within a 5 mile radius of at least 30 other pharmacies yet it's a good point you bring up because often what we hear in these cases is the word access without access to this access to that when it comes to a conflict between a religious claim and a law providing access to the claim of access is highlighted, and you know it's as if nothing get in the way of that here. That's not an issue right you can go to numerous pharmacies within the few miles get what you need. So what's the reason law there's really no good reason for the law and ultimately the federal district court agreed with that. They saw that that was the case held.

It was a violation for exercise clause, the federal appeals court reversed. Ultimately, ruling that the law was, not a free exercise violation because it was neutral and generally applicable which is the standard under the Supreme Court's decision in which you know in which cases there is no free exercise violation. The collimated, in actuality, this is not a neutral or generally applicable law. It's targeting religious belief like the law at issue in the leukemia case in which the dissenters at the spring court.

Dissenting justices recognized that law that on its face appeared apparently neutral was enacted to target a specific instance of specific factual scenario and penalize people in that scenario, in case it was animal slaughter for religious reasons, in this case it's religious objections from being forced to dispense certain drugs Washington state clearly was aiming it at people like the storm is in this case, and so that appeals court is wrong to just gloss over that fact and justified it somehow neutral, generally applicable but that's you know what they tried to do. Travis, in your opinion, is there a reasonable solution available to the state of Washington that would balance the conscience rights of the storm and's and the ability of customers to obtain prescription drugs. I know that in North Carolina, for example, our lawmakers have included pharmacists in our state level healthcare conscience protection that yeah yeah I think this is an easy case all you permit a pharmacy to not dispense this medication if it's against the consciences of the orders and there's gonna be others to dispense it and they can people can get what they need at those.

It's a win for both sides I and I you why there has to be such a problem. You're listening to policy matters a resource to listen to our radio show online and similar resources have a place of persuasion in your community website family collecting US Supreme Court often refuses to hear cases and of course they refuse to hear the storm's case, why is the high court's refusal to take this particular case, an ominous sign for religious liberty in our nation. I think it's ominous because it's so clearly a religious liberty, violation and yet the court just as fail to address it. You have the court very recently unanimously addressing other religious liberty problems which are quite similar Muslim prisoner who wanted to grow a beard, the Supreme Court unanimously held that a law very similar to the roof to the religious Freedom restoration act standard would protect that individual that inmate because that government regulations permitted your exemptions for other reasons, the need to correct them for religious reasons they could discriminate against religion. In that case that this case is very similar to that. This is very troubling because you have what Justice Thomas pointed out occurring in his dissent from the recent tech support in case you have Supreme Court this increasingly deciding cases on political or ideological grounds, citing and based on the religious claim at issue. The nature of the religious claim at issue not neutrally applying the law's court is gets into dangerous territory when it starts to do that expose itself as a political body at this credit itself and it only endangers that the nature of pluralism and the ability of our democracy to function going forward when exposing itself is deciding cases long as grounds, but that's we have happening, you know, this is not good by any standard of the fair and impartial judiciary, and yet it's increasingly occurring more more well it does seem like this is just another example where business owners across our nation are being told that they have to choose between their business and their conscience and what do you believe it is driving this hostile environment and our nation toward religious liberty, particularly when it happens in the context of small business we really see the conflicts arising in the case of any matter pertaining to sexuality, primarily abortion and LGBT issues right. Those are the issues that get the news coverage and wise that I would submit that it's because of an agenda driving a heart for approval.

Radical individual sexual autonomy including abortion and various sexual same-sex conduct being approved and thus legitimized in law and if that's the case, there can be no dissent.

There could be no exceptions, and any opposition to that must be stopped out and SBC occurring right so that's what occurring, it makes sense that this ideological agenda is driving from the other side. It's evidence of the agenda's existence and power and this is where religious liberty gets the news religious liberty laws the same law the same standard protects a number of other claims and scenarios Native American claims minority religion claims involving controlled substances. Amish related claim get those don't get the same coverage that really the news will be an even those that are occurring in court's ruling on them. It's the same standard religious liberty standard that we've advocated for, yet they don't get the coverage but it's because of the conflicting agendas so people must recognize the existence of a philosophical battle underneath the law and it's ultimately the result of the divided and fractured society in which society is worshiping self worshiping different ideals that's driving a conflict in a widespread fracture.

What we've certainly seen a lot of that in North Carolina related to house go to Travis. What can American business owners do when they're faced with the kind of choice for Stroman's face as well as the pharmacist, the photographer, the baker that we hear about across the nation whose religious rights to decide how they operate their businesses consistent with their religious beliefs are infringed upon by bus state law they need to just take a stand when you have a conviction and you know that conviction is right you take a stand. You know backed out. This doesn't mean being unnecessarily antagonistic or stating your your public claimant in an unnecessarily antagonistic manner, but it does me not backing down, and I think you those in the public I need to know their standing for truth and lender conscience would be violated to not back down not compromise that along with that, to publicize their cases. Let us never let other folks know about what's happening to them. Seek legal help if it's needed and let their elected officials know they need help they need protection.

I will not really hearing from a lot of business owners right now you are saying hey I'm being affected.

I need protection in an XYZ please regarding my beliefs not part of that is, these things are still developing the part of it is people self censor. They remain silent as Becky, your previous question to which I didn't completely dress, but the recent business is art. One of the groups being affected is in this battle between different views of philosophical views regarding sexuality in traditional Christian beliefs.

It's playing out in nondiscrimination laws does affect the public square of the marketplace and he's affected by that while business is not just give nonprofits and churches were affected by the regulation. But distances are affected by not from initial laws there in the marketplace and that's what you're hearing about those types of conflicts to be at this point.

Those folks need to let their voices be heard and we shouldn't self censor or be silenced just out of fear of offense because it's going to come and people need to we need to know about it been together well. I think of words if their business owners out there who are listening to the program. Good if they do confront this type of situation to let other voices be heard to take that stand to seek legal representation. There are a lot of great groups out there who will do that representation on a pro bono basis and are really looking for cases that are representative of the types of challenges that Stroman's and others are facing across our nation. You been listening to part one of the discussion on the current status of religious liberty with Travis Weber, director of the Center for religious liberty at the family research Council in Washington DC. I encourage you to tune into family policy matters next week for part two of this discussion. Thank you for listening about issues important to families in North Carolina to our website and see follow us on Twitter and Facebook

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