Last night, North Dakotan residents voted against a conservative initiative by a crushing margin of 2 to 1. The initiative, named the “North Dakota Religious Freedom Amendment: Measure 3″ included language so broad it would allow anyone to ignore almost any law:
“Government may not burden a person’s or religious organization’s religious liberty. The right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief may not be burdened unless the government proves it has a compelling governmental interest in infringing the specific act or refusal to act and has used the least restrictive means to further that interest.”
The amendment was designed to allow conservatives (who else?) to openly discriminate against the LGBTQ community (are you surprised?) but was so vague that it would allow any level of discrimination against any minority at all. It would also allow more cynical “believers” to ignore regular laws like red lights and paying taxes because of their “beliefs.”
As usual, the fanatic bigots of the right see any attempt to hinder their ability to inflict their religion on others as persecution. In reality, religious liberty also includes the liberty to be free from religion. As the country moves closer to the secular nation the Constitution explicitly details, the more power the religious right loses and that is a terrifying prospect for them. Couldn’t happen to a nastier group of people. Congratulations, North Dakota!
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