The Equality Act Poses a Danger to the Rights of Religious Americans

Last week the House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, which would expand the 1964 Civil Rights Act to forbid discrimination not only on the basis of sex, race, and religion, but also on that of sexual orientation and “gender identity.” It now awaits approval by the Senate. But the act goes well beyond, say, forbidding a shop from firing a salesclerk because he is a homosexual. Avi Shafran argues that its broad scope, and the fact that it cuts off avenues of appeal, poses a clear threat to religious freedom:

The Equality Act . . . would override the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which gives people a way to challenge government requirements that they feel impinge on their religious rights. . . . Without the ability even to appeal for those rights, the Equality Act would put religious Americans in unconscionable positions. For instance, religious hospitals and insurers could be coerced into violating their religious convictions by being required to offer sex-change therapies and to perform sex-change operations.

Faith-based adoption agencies could be forced to abandon their religious principles and place children entrusted to them with same-sex or transsexual couples. In an insult to the religious concept of modesty, dressing room facilities and other traditionally sex-specific spaces could have to be open to any and all. Bathrooms and showers could well become places of embarrassment and fear for many.

Legislative efforts to, in effect, coerce religious Americans into betraying our sincere, time-honored convictions are the very opposite of equality under the law. And without provisions that accommodate religious belief and practice—and without providing avenues to appeal requirements that violate them—the Equality Act would aid those who seek to deny America’s religious heritage and who wish to portray religious Americans as bigots and haters. Such hostility toward religion should not be promoted, even unwittingly, by federal law.

Read more at NBC News

More about: Freedom of Religion, RFRA, Transsexuals, U.S. Politics

As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas