Abolish Religious Exemptions from the Law? (Part 1)

In the United States and other countries, religious institutions have traditionally enjoyed a privileged position, ie, they have been granted exemptions from compliance with certain laws (including, without limitation, laws against discrimination in employment and laws requiring the payment of taxes). Is it appropriate or even useful for religion to have this privileged status? Links: 1. Regarding Christian Legal Society v. Martinez– –the decision of the federal district court in favor of the law school www.alliancealert.org –the decision of the 9th Circuit affirming the trial court’s ruling www.scotusblog.com –SCOTUS WIKI’s entry on the case (lots of information and material) www.scotuswiki.com 2. Archbishop Donald Wuerl’s talk entitled “Religious Freedom and Marriage” www.youtube.com 3. Washington DC’s marriage equality and nondiscrimination law and related material www.dccouncil.washington.dc.us www.dccouncil.washington.dc.us 4. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 www.eeoc.gov 5. McClure v. The Salvation Army (the first federal appeals court decision to recognize a “ministerial exception” to Title VII) scholar.google.com 6. Part 2 of this video series www.youtube.com

Related Blogs

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

25 Responses to “Abolish Religious Exemptions from the Law? (Part 1)”

  1. Advice4vice Says:

    @ProfMTH Religions and other groups that are tax exempt have the opportunity to take donations and benefit the community. Take away the tax exempt status and some religions could not afford to continue. I am against taxes and I think people should be ruled by as few laws as possible. I applaud anyone who get something back from a system that robs people. I think government should provide as much freedom of choice as reasonable to Gays, Theists and everyone else.

  2. MarlinBeta Says:

    @octobergrey1985 Uh…the severity. Which is more unjust? A law requiring you to kill people on sight, or a law requiring you to slap their wrists? Once again, just hypothetical.

  3. Neeboopsh Says:

    entirely unrelated to the content, but out of the corner of my eye i thought i read “Adolf Hitler” in the Related Videos box, however due to the absolute berating of that name into world history, “Adam Huttler” was easily misread until i looked at it 🙂

  4. HecticSkeptic Says:

    Is there anyone from the upper echelons of the Catholic Church that doesn’t look like a relative of Emperor Palpatine?

  5. ProfMTH Says:

    @HecticSkeptic LOL!

  6. GabrielFane Says:

    @moomin468 Just out of curiosity what do you think the atheist position is?

  7. LordNapalm Says:

    Great video.

  8. ThorGoLucky Says:

    Aaaaah, you’re questions make too much sense!

    (and enough with the pics of the cute couples because they’re so cuuuuuute!)

  9. moomin468 Says:

    @GabrielFane Its like saying ‘whats a christian?’ From my friends most of them are ‘there might be a god but i dont think there is’, no evidence there is a God – scientific naturalism. some are saying god cannot exist because of evil in the world or because if God is conscious then he must be corruptible so cannot be perfect so cannot be God. Some are willing to say there is a non-physical cause to the universe but wont call it God. Atheism in its purest sense is the belief that there is no God.

  10. ProfMTH Says:

    @LordNapalm Thanks.

  11. Whuppee Says:

    Wrong. Atheism is a negation of theism, not a mutually-exclusive/positive affirmation.

    In the interest of clarity, it can also be reasonably taken to negate beliefs in other types of deities.

  12. moomin468 Says:

    @Whuppee Atheism is the belief that there is no God. Your definition is too broad as it encompasses agnosticism too. The claim that there is no God is a positive affirmation! You are not ‘atheist’ about 1 particular god. Atheism is that there are NO gods which means none what so ever. I don’t believe in Allah but I do in Yarweh but I am not an Atheist in any meaning of the word because I still believe in a God just not that God. There being no God and there being a God is clearly different!

  13. Whuppee Says:

    The ‘a’ in atheism means ‘without’. Not, for example, ‘I hold theism to be false’. Such would be compatible with atheism, of course, for lack of mutual exclusion.

    Yes, my definition can include agnosticism, again for lack of mutual exclusivity. A/theism goes to belief; a/gnosticism goes to knowledge. I lack knowledge, and refrain from predicating belief on ignorance: an agnostic atheist.

  14. Whuppee Says:

    I can (and do) hold/present positive affirmations/cases; but they, if compatible with atheism, are additions nonetheless, not representative of atheism in and of itself.

  15. raymitch7410 Says:


    1. either member of a married pair in relation to the other; one’s husband or wife.

    I hate that christian groups think they created marriage, even despite the fact that marriage was around waaaay before. Not to mention in other non-christian countries…

  16. ProfMTH Says:

    @MisterDoctorE What makes you say the Archbishop is gay?

  17. Snoot501 Says:

    Oh no! They might have redefine the word ‘spouse’ and recognize same sex marriage as legit? The nerve! The audacity!

    The church cannot support the redefinition of marriage? Cannot or will not?
    I dislike his choice of words.

  18. jerrydoubleu Says:

    So….I must support religious groups moneywise no matter my beliefs. Catholic Charities takes tax mony from United way. Religion is stupid.

  19. DeSwiss Says:

    No, religions should not have any special rights, nor any special exemptions from the laws that would apply to any other institution.


  20. MisterDoctorE Says:

    “@MisterDoctorE What makes you say the Archbishop is gay?”

    I say he is gay.. the way talks, the way he moves… it’s shining through 🙂

  21. octobergrey1985 Says:

    the severity is different, but did the nazis started shipping off jews to concentration camps as soon as they gained power, or did they put into place unjust laws over periods of time in order to persecute and then exterminate? where is the line drawn? which unjust laws are ok for now?

  22. gjsterp Says:

    The Constitution grants us freedom of religious beliefs.
    But, I see any religious organization, that can choose to hire who they want based on that person’s religious beliefs, as a “private club” that can discriminate against others based on their religious beliefs.
    This club might as well put out a sign “NO JEWS” or “NO MUSLIMS.”
    Is that NOT what the Civil Rights Movement fought?
    It seems the time is coming to stop these private religious club’s ability to circumvent the laws..

  23. ProfMTH Says:

    @gjsterp I’m certainly in favor of stopping most–almost all–exemptions for religious organizations from neutral, generally applicable laws. Among the few that I would allow is the one you mention here, i.e., allowing a religious organization to discriminate on the basis of religion in hiring. Eliminating that exemption would entangle the government in internal religious affairs, which creates an Establishment Clause problem.

  24. Snipe4261 Says:

    Laws are meant to protect peoples rights. If a religion does not have to follow certain laws then they have thte right (apparently) to violate other peoples rights. Our goverment is, and always has been, by it’s very design secular. This is to protect the religious beliefs of ALL people from one another. If a religion wants to be involved in some way with the government then they should have to abide by this secularist policy. If they don’t want to abide by secular rules when dealing whith . . .

  25. Snipe4261 Says:

    . . . the government, then they don’t have to deal with the government. The government of the US was meant to peotect religions by not getting involved in their workings and by not allowing those religions to get involved in the governments workings. If we make exceptions for one religion because they feel like their right to hate people for no good reason is being stifled by their inability to impose those values on other peole who don’t share their beilefs, well that’s too bad for them.