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Liberty in Limbo

Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

Religious liberty in this nation is in limbo at the moment. Some court cases uphold religious liberty. Other cases set it aside as unimportant. Some sectors of our society advocate the American tradition of religious liberty. Other parts of our culture see it as merely a ruse to discriminate against other Americans.

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of baker Jack Phillips in the Masterpiece Cake decision. The justices were critical of the way he was treated by Colorado state officials. That seemed like a victory for religious liberty.

But earlier this month, the Washington state Supreme Court apparently disregarded the ruling by the Supreme Court. They doubled down in their decision against the florist Barronelle Stutzman who for religious reasons did not want to provide flowers for a same-sex ceremony.

And while we are talking about bakers, we might mention the ongoing legal case of Aaron and Melissa Klein. The state of Oregon fined them $135,000, drove them to bankruptcy, and ordered them not to speak about their beliefs on marriage.

On the other hand, you have the Trump administration that has provided a strong legal foundation for religious liberty. Last month, for example, the Department of Health and Human Services announced rules that protected healthcare professionals who might refuse to participate in morally questionable practices because of their religious conscience.

In the popular culture, you have various members of Congress and pundits talking about the importance of religious liberty. At the same time, you have other politicians and pundits that put the words “religious liberty” in scare quotes.

The Supreme Court can do this country a big favor by continually ruling in favor of religious liberty in the cases before it and others they have yet to consider. And those of us in the general public need to continue to speak out for religious liberty and educate people around us about its importance.

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Liberty in Limbo

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