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Culture Beat / July 1, 2016

A Bad Week for Religious Liberty & Sanctity of Life

Ironically, Americans are gearing up to celebrate Independence Day.

Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves ruled that Mississippi clerks cannot refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses based on religious objections as codified in the state’s Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, also known as HB 1523. On Thursday, however, Judge Reeves took his objections a giant step further by striking down the entire law. As a result, even non-government workers are no longer afforded religious protections.

Reeves says, “Religious freedom was one of the building blocks of this great nation, and after the nation was torn apart, the guarantee of equal protection under law was used to stitch it back together. But HB 1523 does not honor that tradition of religion freedom, nor does it respect the equal dignity of all of Mississippi’s citizens. It must be enjoined.”

Unfortunately, the bad news doesn’t end there. On Monday, the Supreme Court dealt a serious blow to the anti-abortion movement by annulling a Texas statute that regulated abortion providers. Meanwhile, in Florida, the Associated Press reports that U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle overruled a measure that “prevents any state funds from going to an organization that also provides abortions. It also added new inspection requirements on clinics.” And in Indiana, U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt rejected a law “that would have banned abortions based solely on a fetus’s disability or genetic anomaly,” according to The New York Times, and “also held up a state ban on abortions motivated solely by a fetus’s [baby’s] race or sex.”

It’s disturbingly ironic that these rulings come just days before Americans are set to celebrate Independence Day. Sadly, the concept of independence today applies less to ordinary Americans than it does to judicial activists who more than ever are exploiting their authority to impose their ideological desires. America has got a lot of work to do in the years ahead — starting with a genuine understanding of the Constitution.

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