Derrick Morgan: Government policies on conscience are little more than bigotry

By Derrick Morgan

The Heritage Foundation

Published: Thursday, Aug. 23 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

The trend turns religious liberty and tolerance on their heads. In the classical formulation, individuals participate in an open market; government isn't allowed to play favorites among sects. In this new scheme, government forces a photographer or pharmacist to violate her conscience — apparently so as to not offend or inconvenience customers.

This doesn't promote a healthy public square or promote true tolerance. Sadly, an FBI affidavit indicates that the man who shot a security guard Aug. 15 inside the Washington headquarters of the Family Research Council may have been intolerant of that faith-based policy organization's traditional view of marriage.

It's good that Americans seem to be less inclined to religious bigotry against particular sects. But we're in danger of trading real tolerance for the idea that we can't operate businesses or organizations according to our conscience — and that religious views are invalid or hateful.

Moving in that direction will trample liberty and increase strife. Ultimately, it will produce a less civil society.

Derrick Morgan is vice president for domestic and economic policy at The Heritage Foundation.

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