Center for Inquiry Urges North Dakotans to Vote Down Measure That Would Privilege Religion
The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is imploring North
Dakota voters on Tuesday, June 12, to reject a ballot measure that would amend
the state constitution to, in many circumstances, place religious beliefs and
practices above the law.
The controversial Measure 3 reads, in
part, that “government may not burden a person’s or
religious organization’s religious liberty.” Supporters claim this
proposal is needed to protect the right to freedom of religion. However, CFI
believes it is both unnecessary and potentially harmful.
Under Article I of the North Dakota
state constitution, and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to
States Constitution, religious believers already have strongly protected
rights to believe and congregate as they wish. But, dangerously, the proposal’s
vague wording could allow religious institutions and believers in the state to
avoid compliance with neutral laws of general applicability.
For example, Measure 3 could allow:
day care providers and parents to make decisions regarding their children’s
health according to their own conceptions of “religious faith”;
and organizations providing services to the general public to deny services
based on their religious tenets;
organizations receiving taxpayer dollars for social services to discriminate in
hiring and providing benefits;
employers to terminate workers who do not fully comply with their particular
religious employees to claim all manner of exemptions from certain workplace
CFI has always defended freedom of conscience
for all human beings, and will continue to do so. But Measure 3 does not aim
not to protect this freedom; it aims to put religion on a pedestal, where it
can be used as an excuse to disobey laws that everyone else must follow. It is
an unacceptable breach of the spirit and letter of the Establishment Clause of
the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and North Dakota voters
should reject it outright.
We urge you to vote against this measure, and to
share this message with friends.
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