Abolish Religious Exemptions from the Law? (Part 1)

In the United States and other countries, religious institutions have traditionally enjoyed a privileged position, i.e., 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

http://www.alliancealert.org/2006/20060417.pdf

–the decision of the 9th Circuit affirming the trial court’s ruling

http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/08-1371_ca9.pdf

–SCOTUS WIKI’s entry on the case (lots of information and material)

http://www.scotuswiki.com/index.php?title=Christian_Legal_Society_v._Martinez

2. Archbishop Donald Wuerl’s talk entitled “Religious Freedom and Marriage”

3. Washington D.C.’s marriage equality and nondiscrimination law and related material

http://www.dccouncil.washington.dc.us/lims/legislation.aspx?LegNo=B18-0482&Description=RELIGIOUS-FREEDOM-AND-CIVIL-MARRIAGE-EQUALITY-AMENDMENT-ACT-OF-2009.&ID=23204

http://www.dccouncil.washington.dc.us/images/00001/20100409103713.pdf

4. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/titlevii.cfm

5. McClure v. The Salvation Army (the first federal appeals court decision to recognize a “ministerial exception” to Title VII)

http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=7674766003352112619&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr

6. Part 2 of this video series

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GHVxMDRx6o

Duration : 0:10:29


Post Author: mark

25 thoughts on “Abolish Religious Exemptions from the Law? (Part 1)

    TimCubUAkbar

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    @ProfMTH I …
    @ProfMTH I graduated from Georgetown in the Class of ’95, and during my time as a student there, I happened to join the LGBT student group, which did receive campus funding, mainly due, I’ve inferred, to a lawsuit filed in the late 80’s. I’m not entirely surprised that GU now offers spousal benefits to same-sex married couples, mainly because they’ve been burned before.

    ProfMTH

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    @gustjorodedheo …
    @gustjorodedheo Since this question has come up so consistently in comments, I’m going to do a video about the origins of and rationale for the religious tax exemption.

    ProfMTH

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    @GoatOfTheMountains …
    @GoatOfTheMountains They do indeed.

    GoatOfTheMountains

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    They quite often …
    They quite often want to have their cake and eat is too, don’t they?

    gustjorodedheo

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    I’m curious about …
    I’m curious about sec 503 [I belive it is, anyway] that grants religious institutions tax-exept status…Where did that come from, and what was the reasoning?

    insidetrip101

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    @OjohYou

    Exactly. …
    @OjohYou

    Exactly. This is exactly what needs to be done. Especially in terms of marriage. It isn’t just about PREFORMING, but also RECOGNIZING. For example, the government should recognize gay marriage, but a Church is not obligated to do so.

    It isn’t a matter of discrimination, it is a matter of definition. I don’t see why all private organizations should have to accept definitions made by the government. Also, I don’t see why the government should be enforcing equality in the private sector

    Craigipedia

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    @ProfMTH lol oh …
    @ProfMTH lol oh prof, when I read messages like this it makes me wonder how I didn’t know you were gay… gaga and chris daughtry

    Craigipedia

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    @FractalHelix777 …
    @FractalHelix777 This makes me even more proud to be attending Georgetown in 3 three months… my mom’s response when I got accepted was “Craig, you know that’s a catholic school right?”… things like this are the reason I’m not at all worried about it

    Craigipedia

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    I wish the Founding …
    I wish the Founding Fathers had written “religion is bullshit get over it” in the establishment clause

    middlekk

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    This seems to be a …
    This seems to be a relatively easy call…by providing religious exemptions, the law is, in essence “establishing” that religion, giving it special status.
    It’s Orwellian double-speak to assert otherwise.

    ProfMTH

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    @FractalHelix777 …
    @FractalHelix777 How interesting. I didn’t know Georgetown offered health benefits to same-sex spouses and partners. The Jesuits are often far more enlightened on this issue than so many of their coreligionists.

    barebowarchery

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    No special rights …
    No special rights for any group! When I was “right” I thought the gay-right movement was a ploy for special rights, which, in a way, has helped me to begin my journey to where my political and social morality points today. Special recognition in the face of a wrong is not pleading for special rights, but more a plea to be recognized as an equally valuable human in the face of the law. While churches already enjoy certain special treatments, they think they are still “special” we need equality…

    Brambledemon

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    @ProfMTH If the …
    @ProfMTH If the Catholic Church had refused to change their policies in DC and refused to fund same sex partners health benefits that for individuals that work for a catholic charity, D.C. employees would not be able to go to Catholic Hospitals? Recieving heath care at a catholic charity/hospital involves a transfer of money from the city to the catholic charity. That’s doing business. In my area, I think two of the largest hospitals are run by the catholic church.

    FractalHelix777

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    Just as a side note …
    Just as a side note here, the very Catholic, Washigton D. C.-based Georgetown University offers benefits to same-sex spouses (although we pay dearly for them). I happen to be a recipient of these benefits, as my partner has worked diligently for the university for many years, and I am extremely grateful regardless of the reason they are offering them. They have yet to notice the “Come as little children” I Sharpied under the picture of poop benedict.

    moomin468

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    @nakedapedude Yeah …
    @nakedapedude Yeah I heard Dan Dennett talk about this and it is very sad because they have a community and don’t want to let people down by revealing they are atheist. I suppose a certain intellectual honesty is needed and if you don’t believe God exists or Jesus is the Son of God then they should not preach it. When they joined I assume they had some faith. Churches should filter out atheist clergy but they don’t always for good and bad reasons.

    FractalHelix777

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    Oh, I am so …
    Oh, I am so non-repentant…

    DblOSmith

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    I still don’t think …
    I still don’t think the catholic church should do business with DC. One of their jobs and vital functions are to marry/funerals etc. but they won’t do that for homosexuals. Isn’t that discrimination?

    Having said that, I am on the fence with this subject too. I think I side on the idea that religion shouldn’t influence politics, and “no taxation without representation” mindset applies. We both know that religion does influence, but the idea should be strengthened for less influence not more.

    Widgetas

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    ps – Above comment …
    ps – Above comment is not really in the context of this video. Just a little brain 🙂

    Widgetas

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    With regards to the …
    With regards to the Archbishop – Why do the CHARITIES need to consider “how to teach in the light of these changes”?
    Unless the word “charity” means something different over here. Yay for Christian charity.

    Widgetas

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    The CLS in your vid …
    The CLS in your vid did exactly what the Christian Union did at my old University. They refused to “accept” gay students (that weren’t repentant, we assume) and so were denied affiliation with the overall Students Union due to non-compliance with the equality bill etc.
    Needless to say, there have been no lawsuits and counter claims or if there have been then the CU hasn’t got anywhere. That’s the difference between UK & US I suppose. It’s one of the top Unis in the UK as well.

    Nocturnuz

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    Wow, that Wuerl …
    Wow, that Wuerl character is like a caricature of an archbishop. Scary guy.

    Wolfau5

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    1:12. As a general …
    1:12. As a general statement, I don’t think they should, I think it gives religion a level of respect it is not due. The only respect I think religion deserves is common courtesy in the form of not belittling their beliefs for petty amusement. EVERYTHING about religion must be fair game and open to fair scrutiny and critical evaluation, otherwise religion becomes a dangerous thing, a shield which people with “ill intent” can use to operate and hide behind.

    Raptor302

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    Gays will probably …
    Gays will probably get their apology from the catholic church in 2460 (Galileo had to wait 450 years for his, so this is a rough estimate)

    MistressArte

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    @pienipaha

    Damm …
    @pienipaha

    Damm well that loophole sucks and is totally unfair. I’m sure other religions don’t believe in wars too. >.> Also I’m happy I can’t be drafted being female, but also at the same time think it is unfair for men who have to.

    OjohYou

    (May 24, 2010 - 1:00 pm)

    @insidetrip101 …
    @insidetrip101 religious groups are already free to do that. the issue is separating the religious laws from the government

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