An extremely low signal-to-noise ratio on that Arizona religious freedom bill

With so much controversy generated over Arizona’s House Bill 1062 (from Senators McCain and Flake to the NFL), one would have thought we were discussing whether African-Americans could sit at the lunch counters. Alas, no. Ryan Anderson at Heritage examines the bill and finds a lot less going on than we’ve been led to think:

Indeed, the Arizona law would protect groups like Hobby Lobby from a state-level HHS mandate coercing them to provide insurance coverage that violated their religious convictions. The crucial question here is not whether you yourself would or wouldn’t pay for abortion-inducing drugs and contraception, but whether government should force the Little Sisters of the Poor to do so.

What’s the compelling government interest being served by the mandate? Is requiring nuns to provide coverage of abortion-inducing drugs and contraception the least restrictive way to accomplish that interest?

The “compelling government interest” and “least restrictive way” mirror existing constitutional tests to determine whether a fundamental right has been violated.

He points out an important distinction that is getting missed in much of the discussion. None of these bakeries have objected to serving gay people in general. It’s the event, not the people involved, that is the source of the objection. In other words, there is no religious principle that objects to gay people eating pastry. None has been claimed, and it wouldn’t be upheld should this bill become law. Having to participate in a same-sex marriage is a different matter altogether. The obvious question would be why these couples can’t find another baker in town, but that would miss the point of this nonsense.

So rest easy, this bill won’t set back America 50 years, no matter how loudly they threaten it.

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