Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Religious Freedom Bill

Sen. Santorum and Rep. Souder hope to pass the Workplace Religious Freedom Act.

A bill that would require businesses to make reasonable efforts to accommodate employees' religious beliefs has been introduced in both the House of Representatives and Senate.

The Workplace Religious Freedom Act seeks to amend the U.S. Civil Rights Code to add the free exercise of religion in the workplace. The bill's Senate sponsor, Pennsylvania Republican Rick Santorum, said it is intended to offer faith-based protections for workers.

Who is the bill for? "Someone who feels that they want to take Rosh Hashanah off," he said. "Or if you're a Seventh Day Adventist and you want to take Saturday off, or if you're a Christian and you want to take Christmas Day off."

Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., the bill's chief sponsor in the House, said the legislation is necessary because the courts have been watering down the nation's civil rights laws.

And an added benefit:

Rob Boston of People for the American Way said the legislation could be used to justify "a health care provider refusing to assist with an abortion or some other type of legal procedure because of a religious objection."

Souder and Santorum said that's exactly how they hope the measures are applied.

"Now the ACLU is opposing the bill, because they're afraid that it could in fact expand to the conscience clause -- being able to have a Bible on your desk, being able to display a religious calendar," Souder said.

Added Santorum: "An accommodation must be made to health care professionals who do not want to participate in the taking of human life."

I typically don't like laws that force employers to do anything, but in today's PC culture, we're going to need as many protections for religious expression as we can get. And to force a healthcare provider who opposes abortion to kill a baby is a travesty. Hopefully this would fix that problem.


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