A Blow against Religious Freedom in Georgia

March 30 2016

The Republican governor of Georgia recently vetoed a bill passed by the state legislature that would protect the right of clergy and houses of worship not to perform same-sex marriages, as well as the right of religious organizations to refrain from hiring individuals who openly disagree with their principles. Ryan T. Anderson comments:

[The veto] shows the lack of courage of many in the political class, and it also highlights the extreme nature of the left and the business community. . . . Executives from dozens of big-name companies, including Disney, Apple, Time Warner, Intel, and Salesforce, called on the governor to veto the bill. The NFL warned it could risk Atlanta’s bid for the Super Bowl and the NCAA hinted it could influence the state’s ability to host championship games. . . .

In explaining his veto, [Governor Nathan] Deal argued that the religious-liberty bill “doesn’t reflect the character of our state or the character of its people.” Leaving people free to act on their deepest religious convictions apparently isn’t one of those values. . . .

[P]rotecting minority rights after major social change is . . . a hallmark of American tolerance and pluralism. But Deal seems unwilling to do anything that might protect such people and their rights. . . . Good public policy is needed at the local, state, and federal levels to protect cherished American values. These policies would help achieve civil peace amid disagreement, maintain pluralism, and protect the rights of all Americans, regardless of what faith they may practice.

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Read more at Daily Signal

More about: church and state, Freedom of Religion, Politics & Current Affairs, Religious Freedom Restoration Act

 

Will America Invite Israel to Join Its Multinational Coalitions?

From the Korean War onward, the U.S. has rarely fought wars alone, but has instead led coalitions of various allied states. Israel stands out in that it has close military and diplomatic relations with Washington yet its forces have never been part of these coalitions—even in the 1991 Gulf War, when Iraqi missiles were raining down on its cities. The primary reason for its exclusion was the sensitivity of participating Arab and Muslim nations. But now that Jerusalem has diplomatic relations with several Arab countries and indeed regularly participates alongside them in U.S.-led joint military exercises, David Levy believes it may someday soon be asked to contribute to an American expedition.

It is unlikely that Israel would be expected by the U.S. to deploy the Golani [infantry] brigade or any other major army unit. Instead, Washington will likely solicit areas of IDF niche expertise. These include missile defense and special forces, two areas in which Israel is a world leader. The IDF has capabilities that it can share by providing trainers and observers. Naval and air support would also be expected as these assets are inherently deployable. Israel can also provide allies in foreign wars with intelligence and cyber-warfare support, much of which can be accomplished without the physical deployment of troops.

Jerusalem’s previous reasons for abstention from coalitions were legitimate. Since its independence, Israel has faced existential threats. Conventional Arab armies sought to eliminate the nascent state in 1948-49, 1967, and again in 1973. This danger remained ever-present until the 1978 signing of the Camp David Accords, which established peace between Egypt and Israel. Post-Camp David, the threats to Israel remain serious but are no longer existential. If Iran were to become a nuclear power, this would pose a new existential threat. Until then, Israel is relatively well secured.

Jerusalem’s new Arab allies would welcome its aid. Western capitals, especially Washington, should be expected to pursue Israel’s military assistance, and Jerusalem will have little choice but to acquiesce to the expeditionary expectation.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: IDF, U.S. military, U.S.-Israel relationship