I'm torn on things like the "religious freedom acts" around the country. I don't want to be compelled to act a certain way if it offends my religious beliefs. However, I can see the slippery slope argument* that turns into, "my beliefs say I don't serve people of color " which I can't agree with. However, Val, I think yours is a step too far.
Could we agree with a law that prevents churches/synagogues/mosques/covens/etc. from being prosecuted for preaching what they believe? Houston recently tried to subpoena sermons from local churches under thread of lawsuit. That strikes me as a very dangerous precedent. (Yes, there is more to the story.)
*The danger of the slippery slop argument is that it magnifies the fears of one side without seriously considering the restraints (handrails if you will) of the other side.
e.g. The anti-gun crowd says that without gun restrictions there will be blood in the streets. The pro-gun crowd says that any restrictions end in a gun-free public and tyrannical rule. The truth is, there are restrictions (often unenforced) that didn't stop the blood in certain city streets. Further, asking me to have a license for concealed carry doesn't mean that the government is coming for me (especially in Texas). And, yes, I am aware that the gun debate is a charged one on both sides.
Ok, fair enough. My claim was pretty hyperbolic, but I'll offer my reasoning behind it.
Basically this: I don't think people will just tear around offing each other for even vaguely defensible "religious convictions," but I'd be worried that rather like Stand Your Ground it could be a "plausible defense."
Say some schmuck murders his estranged wife at her family home -shoots her when she walks out the front door with a bag of garbage. This is not disputed, in fact the defendant states outright that he did it because she wasn't a virgin.
Other established facts in my theoretical case:
We know they'd been bitterly contesting child custody.
We know he's been to a church or synagog or prayer group at some point; maybe he was baptized, maybe he converted whatever -key thing is he's got a reasonable pattern of personal "religious" investment.
He doesn't actually stone
her, but IMO there's a reasonable interpretive stretch between throwing stones (or as they're also called sling bullets
) and gunfire.
So we have the standard of Reasonable Doubt and what has to be proven is that he did not
shoot her out of anger, but because he "found out" she wasn't a virgin when they were married.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.
I think a good lawyer, like the kind outside groups buy for potentially landmark cases like these, could raise and cultivate that Reasonable Doubt.
As I know it the three important concepts in establishing a crime are Means, Motive and Opportunity.
Means: firearm. Check.
Opportunity: woman was taking out the garbage, got shot by her hubby.
But Motive is now grossly muddied, and the new standard is that his level of "conviction." And it's clear that the defendant wanted "that bitch dead" -with real conviction
no less, but who can prove Beyond A Reasonable Doubt that it wasn't "holy outrage" that put her in his sights?
If he swears that God told him to, and we find out that he's got a tumor squatting on his frontal lobes who can definitively prove that it wasn't
the influence of the tumor that drove him to kill her?
In effect this law would make enshrine the Insanity Defense
because all he'd really have to prove is that A) he really
believed this was right and necessary and B) there's a Biblical proverb or law demanding the action.
As a companion to point B the Bible states that it defaults back to the Old Testament, the Torah, in the even the believer can't find the needed guidance in the Bible.
And here's the big LOL for me, the local Jew: the Laws of the Torah are fucking insane!
This is The Old God
This is the one people are, rightfully so, so quick to get away from.
I ain't really a big fan of Jesus, but was comparative deities go it's an easy choice to make.
Because there is no Book of Laws in the Bible.
The Koran has the Sharria Laws, and the Torah has (either the 613 Mitzvot
or the Seven Laws of Noah
and either leads you The Punishments for transgressing those Laws.
Spoiler warning, it's all Capital. And there are specific exemptions for when The Man, as opposed to The Law, gets to enact those punishments.
Deutoronomy on the virginity of brides:
20 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:
21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.
Fair point about Handrails; I believe of them and in them.
But they also fail, and it's not too hard to find countries of Abrahamic Monotheist traditions that, with due gravitas and the weight of law bother secular and divine, enact sentences like those I've cited.
(...although I've always wondered like, if you get a summons to be part of a sentence of Gang Rape for some woman do you have to answer it? I'd be kinda
, though that makes Jury Duty look a lot less onerous by comparison.)
Edit: another thing that comes is the problems with the proactive commandments; namely that the Thou Shalls include a lot of killing non-believers and idolaters and leveling their temples.
So the day after Dayton is subject to a law absolving crimes of personal religious conviction you start getting the weird legal circumstances of whether it's legal to not
enforce commandments against apostasy and heresy etc.
If our schmuck walks because his conviction is sufficient to legally involve those passages from Deutoronomy is he then required by law
to engage in the positive (as in commanded action not moral observation or electrical current) dictates of shutting down "that Ashram out near the Pizza Hut"?
He's demonstrated zeal enough for the parts of the law regarding nuptial virginity, but there's no permission it in to obey only part of it when it's convenient.