Do you remember how active the Civil Rights division of the Justice Department was acting during the Berkeley, Illinois, female middle school teacher who went immediately to the school district and asked for a three week holiday to attend the Hajj – the pilgrimage that Muslims take during their lifetimes, although this pilgrimage is encouraged by the religion’s hierarchy, they too understand that not all Muslims will be able to attend; and consequently have made the Hajj “non-mandatory.”
Or everyone who reads this site (and thank you very much) surely knows of the coverage we have done regarding a Christian photographer in New Mexico was found guilty last year of breaking state law for refusing to take pictures of a lesbian ceremony. (Please see here and here.)
Elaine Huguenin of Elane’s Photography was contacted in 2006 by a same-sex couple wanting pictures taken of their “commitment ceremony.”
After Huguenin told them she only photographed traditional marriages, the couple filed a complaint for discrimination against their sexual orientation.
The case was taken before the New Mexico Human Rights Commission, which heard the case in January.
Subsequently the state commission ruled that Huguenin violated the state’s Human Rights Act. An order was issued for the photographer to pay close to $7,000 for the couple’s attorney’s fees.
Just so we are all on the same page here, what has happened to Elaine Huguenin’s right to free expression, creativity, and/or her liberties of freedom of religion, freedom of speech which as you know was originally drafted by the Framer’s as “freedom of conscience”?
Much is at stake for believers all over the country if this dangerous legal precedent is established, opening the door to greatly expanded government regulation of Christian speech and expression.
Other matters of concern:
The U.S. Justice Department sued the state of California on behalf of a Sikh prison inmate, saying forcing him to cut his beard violates his religious rights.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, the department said in a release. The law, passed in 2000, forbids religious discrimination against people housed in prisons, mental hospitals and other government institutions as well as discrimination against religious facilities.
“By requiring the inmate… to cut his beard, California compels him to violate his religious beliefs in contravention of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA),” added a Justice Department statement.
“The rights guaranteed by the Constitution extend to all people in the United States,” said Andre Birotte Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. “By protecting those rights — even for those incarcerated — we strengthen those rights for all.”
The suit was filed by the civil rights division – and by who else did you think? Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the United States has been urged on by his boss, Barack Obama, to put more and more pressure on minority held religious rights and other “civil rights violations.”