The Kentucky Legislatures voted last week to override Gov. Steve Beshear’s veto of a proposed law that would protect religious freedoms.
House Bill 279, also known as the Religious Freedom Act, says it is to “specify that government shall not burden a person’s or religious organization’s freedom of religion; protect the right to act or refuse to act on religious grounds; specify that government shall prove by clear and convincing evidence religion a compelling governmental interest in establishing a burden on freedom of religion.”
In simpler terms, this bill is designed to ensure that government does not infringe on the religious freedoms of Kentuckians.
The bill, which was opposed by a variety of human rights and gay rights groups, as well as mayors of major cities like Louisville, protects “sincerely held religious beliefs” from being infringed upon, unless there is a “compelling government interest.”
The bill has supported Rep. Bob Damron (D), Nicholasville, in response to the Kentucky Supreme Court’s ruling last year upholding a state law that would require Amish people to post bright orange signs on the back of their buggies.
Most opposition from the bill came from those groups that worried people with “sincerely held religious beliefs” would us it to justify descriminating against others.
Most people looked at this bill in terms of business owners’ rights to deny customers service or employees jobs based on religion. And, in many ways, this law protects these business owners and their right to allow their religious affiliations dictate their actions in day-to-day life.
I’m proud to see our legislatures making decisions that protect our religious freedoms. All to often, these freedoms are something that seem to be treated as insignificant.
I’m often devastated to hear or read that people find most Christians to be bigots or close-minded. As a Christian, I argue that most of the Christian people I have met are quite the opposite. I think many people that oppose Christianity in general would be surprised to find that we are, for the most part, loving, generous and tolerant. I hope that Christian business owners will not use this rule to behave in just the opposite manner.
Those who try to use this bil to diregard state or local laws have been seen to typically lose lawsuits in these cases.
Let us not revel in the idea of discriminating against our brothers and sisters who believe differently than us. But, rather, let’s use this new found religious freedom to express God’s love through our actions.