Freedom of Religion Shouldn’t Be Unconditional

We are likely to see another bill like this brought up in the AZ legislature next year. This time it may pass because our new governor Doug Ducey is likely to sign the bill rather than veto it as Jan Brewer did.
While I agree with Rabbi Miller I disagree with his characterization of these laws as laws for religious freedom. The right to the free exercise of religion does not include the right to violate the rights of others. I will be writing more about this in a future post on the disestablishment of religion in the early republic.


Have you ever heard of a rabbi who was against religious freedom? I certainly hadn’t until last week when I became one. Well, I’m not really against religious freedom per se, but I am against the “Religious Freedom and Restoration Act” (RFRA). That bill, known as HB 5958, was passed by the Michigan House of Representatives on December 4 and could soon be passed by Michigan’s Senate and then signed into law by the Governor. I am concerned.

It would seem that any congressional bill that advocated for religious freedom would be a good thing. After all, I believe that one of the most cherished benefits of living in a democracy like the United States is that we all have the right to practice our own faith. However, this bill, if signed into law, would have many negative consequences. (A similar bill was ultimately vetoed by the Governor in Arizona.)

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