Sunday, September 6, 2015
Salt Lake TRIBUNE Letter of the Week on Religious Freedom
Religious freedom sometimes requires freedom from other people's religion.
SEP 6, 2015
First Published 3 hours ago • Updated 3 hours ago
I'm dismayed to read of the legal antics of Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk recently in the news for refusing to issue marriage certificates to anyone in her county because she opposes gay marriage on religious grounds.
It's incomprehensible she feels free to elevate her beliefs above the civil rights of those she was elected to serve. As an elected official, she's legally obligated to execute her largely ministerial duties without prejudice or passion. If she can't do that, she has a very simple remedy: resign. Instead, she's on a quixotic quest in federal court to impose her religious views on the people of her county.
If Davis were to prevail in the courts, what's next? If a government official such as a county clerk can deny basic governmental services to constituents based upon religious belief, where does it all end? Will some Bible Belt bureaucrat next decide Mormons shouldn't receive a building permit for a chapel because they believe in scriptural authority other than the Bible?
There's a really good reason why the First Congress adopted the First Amendment with its Establishment and Prohibition Clauses. When government interjects itself into religion, both are abased. A wall of separation between government and religion is the only viable way to preserve the integrity of both.
If only Davis understood this most basic principle of American government.
Grant C. Price