Disingenuous Arguments about Religious Liberty Don’t Contribute to the Abortion Debate

Oct. 15 2021

Last month, multiple Jewish organizations, along with a Catholic one, filed a brief with the Supreme Court urging it—on religious-freedom grounds—to strike down Mississippi’s ban on abortions after the fifteenth week of pregnancy. Setting aside arguments about the fitness of the legislation in question, or its constitutionality, Mitchell Rocklin and Howard Slugh argue that the brief’s claims abuse the principle of freedom of religion:

It is important to understand what these groups are not arguing. They are not arguing that, in some instances, courts might be required to grant religious exemptions from abortion laws. Such a claim would be akin to those that religious objectors typically raise. If the Supreme Court allows the Mississippi law to stand, courts would decide future requests for religious accommodations under the normal rules that apply to such cases. That is how the free exercise of religion is protected in American courts.

There is no precedent for doing what these Jewish groups support: invalidating a law as it applies even to non-objectors simply because it could potentially violate someone’s religious liberty. This untenable maximalist position undermines the cause of religious liberty by making it incompatible with the functioning of any government in a pluralistic society.

The pro-choice groups openly argue . . . that the Supreme Court should strike down Mississippi’s law because it is “at odds with the views of” their religious traditions. They also argue that the ban is impermissible because it “fails to account for—and indeed, disrespects” their religious views. This is not a request for a traditional religious accommodation that applies to religious objectors. It is a demand that religious adherents be granted a religious veto to prevent states completely from adopting any policy that conflicts with their faith.

Read more at Jewish Link

More about: Abortion, American Judaism, American law, Freedom of Religion, Supreme Court

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy