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It doesn't have to be hard for liberalism to tolerate religious freedom

Published: Tuesday, March 11 2014 2:36 p.m. MDT

Jo Beaudry holds up a sign as she joins nearly 250 gay rights supporters protesting SB1062 at the Arizona Capitol, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Phoenix. The protesters gathered demanding Gov. Jan Brewer veto legislation that would allow business owners to refuse to serve gays by citing their religious beliefs.

Ross D. Franklin, Associated Press

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Modern American liberalism has unnecessarily pitted itself against an expansive view of religious freedom, according to The Week’s Michael Brendan Dougherty.

“The battle over religious liberty is a conflict within liberalism itself,” Dougherty wrote on March 7. “In one corner are the liberal values of pluralism and tolerance. In the other are the liberal projects of egalitarianism and administrative efficiency.”

Dougherty then argues that the defeat of Arizona’s SB1062 — which he calls “Arizona's attempt to clarify its state version of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act” — is “evidence that our increasingly monocultural elite class is inclined to resolve these conflicts in favor of its egalitarian goals.” But that isn’t the only option for American liberalism.

“Liberalism should have the confidence to tolerate institutions, even large ones, that have competing and contrary missions to those of the state,” he concludes. “The very liberality of the managerial state is guaranteed by real diversity, not just of skin color and sexual preference, but of religion and values, too.”

You can read the full article at Theweek.com.

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