Religious liberty is a code word for discrimination and intolerance, the Chairman of the US Commission on Civil Rights has claimed.
In a report from the commission, Martin Castro said: “religion is being used as both a weapon and a shield by those seeking to deny others equality”.
The commission is a bipartisan agency which considers federal laws and policies, in order to advise the US Government.
The report, published earlier this month, targets Christian freedom in the US, suggesting that religious exemptions to discrimination laws “significantly infringe” upon civil rights.
Joe Carter, an editor for The Gospel Coalition, said that the prevailing tone of the report “is an overall disdain for actions motivated by religion”.
The report also claimed that “overly-broad religious exemptions unduly burden non-discrimination laws” and should be tailored “as narrowly as applicable law requires”.
‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing but hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination
Castro revealed the organisation’s attitude towards religion in his statement in the report.
Castro wrote: “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing but hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, homophobia, sexism, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.”
The report conceded that “beliefs” can receive First Amendment protections, but said acting on those beliefs should be constrained by discrimination law.
However, Carter explained that if religious exceptions did not exist, non-discrimination laws would discriminate against Christians and their firmly-held beliefs.
Roger Severino, Director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, called the report “slanted and anti-religious”.