Secular Recommendations: Discrimination

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Secular Recommendations: Discrimination2020-10-11T04:03:06+00:00

Overview

discriminationDiscrimination takes many forms. The targets of discrimination are as diverse as the motivations behind it. A secular approach to discrimination reflects the duality of the religious clauses of the First Amendment. Discrimination is improper when it targets an individual for his or her religion or belief, or lack thereof, similar to the Free Exercise clause. It is also improper to exempt religiously motivated actions from an otherwise valid anti-discrimination statute by using government protection to endorse particular a religious belief.

History shows at times only force of law can outweigh popular prejudices. American society has made vast improvements in the past 50 years concerning discrimination. More and more Americans are choosing not to hide identities that may target them for abuse and ridicule. As we conquer new grounds of acceptance, different conflicts emerge when rights conflict. Namely, that operating in the public square requires compliance with all public laws and religion is only a valid justification for discrimination in the most limited of contexts.

Our Recommendations on Discrimination Issues

SECULAR RECOMMENDATIONS ON STATE-SUPPORTED DISCRIMINATORY YOUTH GROUPS

Youth groups are valued institutions providing opportunities for American children to be exposed to other children and adult role models who have differing backgrounds and beliefs. As such, federal and state governments have encouraged the existence and expansion of youth groups through grants and tax privileges that have allowed these organizations to flourish with the taxpayersÔÇÖ support. Unfortunately, some of these youth groups have discriminatory policies that prohibit certain children or adults from participating in or leading youth group activities because of their sexual orientation, [...]

SECULAR RECOMMENDATIONS ON EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION

Our government has a long history of subsidizing the efforts of organizations providing social services. Historically the same laws and regulations applied to both secular and religious groups regarding how government funds were utilized and the hiring and firing practices for such programs. Unfortunately, changes in federal policy under President George W. Bush allowed federally funded organizations to discriminate on the basis of religion in their hiring practices. Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts makes it unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire [...]

SECULAR RECOMMENDATIONS ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

The distinction between civil and religious marriage contracts solve many of the problems raised by opponents of same-sex marriage concerned for their religious freedom rights. To receive federal and state benefits assigned to married couples, a civil marriage must be obtained. It is a contract entered into by two parties which is legally recognized by the government. The government employees who issue and certify these licenses are representatives of the state and must comply with all public laws, including anti-discrimination laws. Marriage also carries religious [...]

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