I’m late getting to this, but Dahlia Lithwick had a typically excellent column a few days back, about so-called “conscience clauses” — all the rage among some lawmakers, who want to exempt certain individuals from performing parts of their job they find morally objectionable:
The problem isn’t conscience clause legislation so much as what we might call conscience creep: a slow but systematic effort to use religious conscience claims to sidestep laws that should apply to everyone. Recalibrating who can express a right of conscience (i.e do corporations have a conscience?) and what the limits of that conscience might be, may well be the next front in the religious liberty wars being waged in courts around the country.
I think most reasonable people would not require, for example, a doctor who is opposed to abortion to perform them. But speaking just as a private individual, if some snot-nosed pharmacist told me I couldn’t have my birth-control pills because he wanted to stay in the Pope’s good graces? I’d be coming across the counter. Lithwick:
But it hasn’t stopped at health care providers, and the list of objectors now encompasses pharmacists and ambulance drivers, cashiers in supermarkets and business owners who object to same-sex marriage. Last year, for instance, a prison guard withheld an abortion pill from a prisoner who’d been raped on the grounds that it violated her personal religious beliefs. And it hasn’t stopped at abortion, birth control, or sterilization, but may include activities like counseling rape victims or teaching AIDS patients about clean needles.
Have we always been such prickly little shits, or is this something new? We’ve had conscientious objectors, of course, but that was about war, not contraception. And may I just say, I don’t think I’m being a prickly little shit when I ask, where does it end? Does an employer’s, or a pharmacist’s, or a prison guard’s conscience allow them to paw through the rest of my prescriptions, or records, or whatever for something else that might be offensive?
Because that would be offensive.
Jeez, I’m tired, and I have a big day today, so let’s go blogging:
I’m on record as hating the “open letter” trope, but this Sally Jenkins column about the Washington Redskins is pretty good. Bonus: Rick Reilly’s father-in-law says: Get your ears checked, sonny boy.
A friend of mine used to work in a bar. Every so often a guy would come in with a Labrador retriever on a leash. The guy wore sunglasses all the time, and would drink quietly while his “seeing-eye dog” laid quietly at his feet. Everyone liked the dog, so no one said anything, but everyone knew it was bullshit. It’s a trend! Fake service dogs are a growing problem, at least according to the AP. The story’s a little thin on evidence, but there you go.
Finally, the former Detroit mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, got a whopping 28-year prison sentence Thursday. You can read about it any number of places, and I encourage you to do so.
Me, I’m starting my weekend.