Apparently, "religious freedom" and "religious liberty" are no longer constitutional rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, but "code words" for intolerance. Or so says the chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
The idea that the First Amendment is about intolerance helps explain Democrats' recent efforts to weaken it in Congress. He said the concept of religious freedom is really about "Christian supremacy" and should be governed by anti-discrimination laws.
The report details the supposed balance between granting religious liberty and following anti-discrimination laws, because it seems many on the USCCR can't tell the difference.
"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, a Democrat appointed by President Obama, said.
He added: "Religious liberty was never intended to give one religion dominion over other religions, or a veto power over the civil rights and civil liberties of others."
The report was not a unanimously held belief by the commission. Gail Heriot, a professor at the University of San Diego, told the Washington Times she was "troubled by the growing attitude that somehow anti-discrimination laws trump everything." She added "We live in a more complex world than that."
Religious rights are civil rights — in fact, the first rights mentioned in the Constitution. So for a government commission to publish a report like this not only seems highly partisan, but also dangerous.
Ashe Schow is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.