What the Supreme Court's latest actions tell us about the future of religious freedom

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  • Tbtla Elkhart, IN
    Oct. 31, 2017 10:59 p.m.

    Americans are so divided over these issues and looking to our government to determine who gets to be right or wrong, what is/is not acceptable.

    Not everyone feels comfortable participating in an event they don't agree with, religious or not. Are we really going to try and force people into participating in an event, or in some cases, promoting a message that violates their conscience and/or religious beliefs? Is that really what we want?

    This couple could go to another baker and get the same quality cake, maybe even better. No one was trying to harm this couple or prevent them from getting married, or even tell them they shouldn't be. She does not want to create a WEDDING cake based on her religious beliefs.

    Trying to silence and criminalize those with unpopular belief systems or ideas is certainly not democratic, nor tolerant. Seems like we're on a very slippery slope here...

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 7, 2017 7:25 a.m.


    "I don't think Christ would attend the wedding and throw rice at the happy couple to celebrate - His disapproval of the event... But I firmly believe He would love the couple, while strictly admonishing that the marriage (and even the relationship) is not appropriate."

    --- You know he disapproves how? Have you bothered to ask? I would lay odds that you have never, ever gotten on your knees and asked: 'is it appropriate for an LGBT person to have an LGBT relationship?'. And yet, you speak as if you have some "in" with your god.

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    July 6, 2017 11:24 p.m.

    Blanket statements like "religious people just want the right to discriminate" or "the LGBT community just wants to force religion into a corner" are exactly why the Supreme Court is stuck making these decisions like the article says. I have a strong opinion on this issue, but I understand the opposing view. I can sympathize with it. Now, on this note, I don't know what I (as a religious Christian) would do in this baker's situation. It wouldn't be easy. For those suggesting that Christ would bake the cake because he reached out to and loved sinners keep in mind, He reached out and loved them. He sought to help them in every situation, but always strictly admonished, "go and sin no more." I don't think Christ would attend the wedding and throw rice at the happy couple to celebrate - His disapproval of the event would not diminish His love for the couple. Would He bake the cake? I have a hard time saying He would (especially since He was never a for-profit baker). But I firmly believe He would love the couple, while strictly admonishing that the marriage (and even the relationship) is not appropriate. It's not an easy issue.

  • Misty Mountain Kent, WA
    July 6, 2017 7:29 p.m.

    Riverton cougar writes,

    "Go listen to the interview with Masha Gassen several years ago.

    If you're looking for a document that is signed by the LGBT community at large, you're not going to find it "

    I've read a few quotes of Masha Gassen, and I've never known a single gay person who sees her as a spokesperson for all gay people. Have you? She's a gay version of Fred Phelps. And yes, he wrote plenty of stuff which describes the goal of Christianity toward gays as far, far harsher than what you wrote above. I'm assuming that you don't want to be seen as subscribing to Phelps' agenda. Why do you think that gay Americans want to be tarred with Gassen's ridiculous assertions?

  • kdmicha26 Woodbridge, VA
    July 6, 2017 5:46 p.m.

    Christians should always take their cue for responding to others of alternative life styles, from the very Founder of their Faith. Consider one such example of the Samaritan woman from whom Jesus asks for water at Jacob's well. He knew beforehand who she was and that her alternate life style was of living with a man that was not her husband. This did not effect Jesus' interaction with her, which even she was surprised by. He even extended an unusual courtesy of teaching one who was 'living in sin' that He was the Christ, something not often done with those who believed in Him (St. John 4:5-26).

  • UtahTroutStalker Draper, UT
    July 6, 2017 10:50 a.m.


    "Kennedy authored the majority opinion in Lawrence v. Texas and Obergefell v. Hodges, cases that found criminalizing gay or lesbian sexual relations was unconstitutional and then legalized same-sex marriage, respectively"

    What a bleeding heart liberal. We should be able to outlaw such a blatant sin against God as same sex relations - even in a private setting. He has got to go, please retire sir and let Trump pick another SCOTUS - said only the most right wing people in our country.

    Seriously, the decision in the Texas case was the right one. How can any state or government declare what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home with each other to be illegal, and still call itself a free country?

  • Riverton Cougar Riverton, UT
    July 6, 2017 8:43 a.m.

    "It is unfortunate that these cases are so often cast in terms of denying service to someone rather than the more accurate terms of not participating in a message one finds offensive."

    Yes, and also unfortunately it is very much intended. They want to paint a picture of religious people as being discriminatory against other people, rather than against behaviors. Just reading all the comments it is evidence that they will continue to call it discrimination based on sexual orientation, and frankly I don't think they have any intention on changing that. They like to call it "tolerance" and "being open-minded".

    "Where did you get your copy of the LGBT agenda and what's the date on it? Is this agenda online somewhere?"

    Go listen to the interview with Masha Gassen several years ago.

    If you're looking for a document that is signed by the LGBT community at large, you're not going to find it. In the mean time, can you present to us the document that is signed by the religious that has declared that religion is intent on discriminating against people merely because they are homosexual?

  • Rebekeh Salt Lake City, UT
    July 6, 2017 8:24 a.m.

    This one sentence says it all- The Supreme Court has taken significant action on religion-related issues in recent years as federal and state lawmakers stopped looking for opportunities to compromise.

    This is what both parties have settled for. Each has given up thinking through problems. The only strategy now is to try and maneuver candidates into the Supreme Court who share an ideology. It's as if we want big government to solve our problems and ends up being very un-American. Therefor, as a nation, we must insist that any judge headed to the Supreme Court is moderate instead of extreme right or left.

  • explorer686 davis, UT
    July 6, 2017 3:27 a.m.

    Religious freedom means legal discrimination.

  • a_voice_of_reason Woods Cross, UT
    July 6, 2017 1:11 a.m.

    Okay, let's try a different approach. I'm a CPA - let's say I open my own practice in Colorado doing tax returns for businesses and individuals. A recreational marijuana shop wants me to do their taxes. I don't support recreational marijuana-use, and want to send that clear message to my children. Can pot-supporters pass a law forcing me to do their taxes? What about a tobacco & smoke shop if I've had family members die of lung cancer from smoking for years? What about a local distillery if I'm opposed to any drinking - as the result of losing friends/family to drunk drivers, etc, etc, etc. At what point is a person not allowed to let their conscience (religious or otherwise) object to anything in business? Where does it end? When do we pass laws saying that consumers aren't allowed to organize boycotts because that's discriminatory? You don't have to agree with someone to support their right to live their conscience. I am deeply offended by the groups who protest and disrupt the funerals of servicemen killed in action - yet I reverence their right to do so, as would the fallen servicemen who defended that right.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    July 5, 2017 5:34 a.m.

    @Cinci man wrote,

    "The LGBT agenda has always been about changing society to be inclusive of those otherwise prohibited by altering the rules. "

    Where did you get your copy of the LGBT agenda and what's the date on it? Is this agenda online somewhere? Who voted on it and who signed it? Does it get amended from time to time, and by what process? I've been hearing about this for years, and always from people who are criticizing actions by gay people.

  • Lilly Munster , 00
    July 4, 2017 10:29 p.m.

    Remember, please, that the plea to allow religious based discrimination, while initially aimed at marginalizing and demonizing Gays, could then be used against anyone for any reason.
    The vast majority of American Christian Denominations and American Christians now believe that any form of discrimination is not only a crime, but a sin, so they could absolutely refuse service to Mormons, Catholics and Baptists, who are driving this plea to discriminate.
    Deeply held religious beliefs? Like blacks, women, the unsaved, Muslims, Jews, and yes Mormons, are to be marginalized as well? A Baptist or or Catholic will surely be able to refuse service to Mormons, of course, because they believe, and have always believed, that we are a Cult. Never forget that.
    Anyone could easily justify refusing service to anyone, because the prejudices and biases of about two hundred Religions would be in play. Each and every one could claim "religious exemptions" to serving.......anyone.

  • Sqweebie Salt Lake City, UT
    July 4, 2017 5:21 p.m.

    wherever you go you will find or even face some form of discrimination. Go into restaurant using a wheelchair - some will put you near the back wall out of sight of customers entering. Are you queen size or not pretty enough - you will be watched constantly and rushed to buy something because in some stores you're not the type of person this store prefers to cater to. What about your age? What if you go into a store to buy alcohol and the cashier thinks you have already had too much to drink and refuses to sell to you. This one you will probably get upset.

    Would any of you shout discrimination for not getting served for these issues? Probably not and you would go on your way. If someone doesn't want to provide a service to you for whatever reason get over it. There are bigger fish to fry elsewhere and it will taste better too.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    July 4, 2017 5:13 p.m.

    @ Matthew1959

    "...do you really want to try to force me to photograph an event that I believe is clearly a sin?"

    I personally don't. I also don't think it's right to force a gay couple to first ask if they'll be served. That's second-class citizenship. (We may get to see another as disapproved of by our god - that's our right - but this doesn't determine if they're equal before the law.) Also, it opens the door to refusing service for other perceived "sins" and, boy, would that open a Pandora's box.

    If your business is in Mason City, it doesn't appear that you currently have to worry about this (unless you wanted to contract with the City - it does have this constraint for its business). But let's say such an anti-discrimination statute did apply to you. What would you think about telling a gay couple, "I think you have the right to know that, although the law says I can't refuse you, my heart wouldn't be in it because ____." (Curiosity question: How would you handle it if the couple were hetero, but you knew they'd each committed infidelity and hadn't repented?)

  • Matthew1959 Mason City, IL
    July 4, 2017 3:49 p.m.

    The issue I have with many of these cases is that people are forcing other people against their will to provide a service. Are you telling me that there is only one baker in the area who can bake a wedding cake? As an ordained Baptist minister and someone returning to wedding photography, do you really want to try to force me to photograph an event that I believe is clearly a sin?

    As a Christian I am supposed to avoid even the appearance of evil. I am not talking about the person, but the behavior. Always look for the consequences that follow a decision since they will go beyond the initial decision. Should a Jehovah's Witness baker be forced to bake a birthday cake? Should a Muslim caterer be forced to cater a Christian, or Jewish event? The point is that forcing a baker to provide service against his will goes far beyond this one event.

    Those who feel Christians should be forced to provide a service against their beliefs are using the same arguments that go all the way back to the Roman Empire and its' persecution of those early believers.

  • Lilly Munster , 00
    July 4, 2017 1:40 p.m.

    It is very comforting, and proud to know, that the vast majority of we Mormons understand this in our hearts and minds....
    If we give ANYONE the "right to discriminate on the grounds of religious,personal beliefs"
    we will be giving any believer, in any category, they right to discriminate.
    A Jew can refuse to serve a Muslim.
    An Atheist can refuse to serve any Believers.
    A Southern Baptist can refuse to serve Catholics, Mormons, Gays and Jews.
    Open this door to bigotry, and once again, Mormons will suffer discrimination, as we have in the past. Count on it.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    July 3, 2017 5:06 p.m.

    Re: the message argument, to me the basis of public accommodations law is what we get taught in kindergarten about how to keep things civil and harmonious, even when we don't necessarily like each other. So it isn't okay to bring only enough cupcakes to treat your friends. You must bring enough for everyone.

    Would it be okay if the child wanted to bring only enough cupcakes to treat the kids his god approves of? If the answer is no, then why would we hold a lower standard for an adult? (I mean, besides our Tweeter-in-Chief.)

    @ Cinci Man

    "If you think that business do not cater to a specific audience and customer..."

    Just FYI, this argument isn't among those being made by the wedding-related vendors. They're insisting that they aren't discriminating against people at all; rather they're objecting to an event. (Except that the only distinguishing feature is the gender of the couple and gender isn't an event).

    @ sashabill


  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    July 3, 2017 4:39 p.m.

    I am interested to know what the reaction of the "politically correct" community would be if the small business owners in these cases were Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists,or of another non-Christian religion.

  • jeclar2006 Oceanside, CA
    July 3, 2017 1:18 p.m.

    Every time I read of Religious Freedom, and 'conservative support', such as the description of Gorsuch's 'robust support for religious expression', I am struck by the irony of Reynolds v US 1878.

    It was in that decision, the particulars were regarding polygamous marriage as practiced by the Mormon Church, that the Supreme Court used the 'the state can regulate religious behavior, while forcing belief to be solely internal'.

    Of course at the time the decision was lauded by the religious general public. Of course now some 130+ years later, the descendants of that religious public are complaining that their religious based practices are being impinged upon by the state.

    And of course in Utah, there is a continued suppression of religion based practice of plural marriage, which has been been the target of strengthened sanctions in the past year.

    Which is it, free exercise, or only free exercise when a particular set of prejudices is in play.

  • CMTM , 00
    July 3, 2017 12:53 p.m.

    I M LDS 2 - After many years of regular scripture study, classes at seminary, Institute, and BYU, I'm still having trouble finding those scriptures that support the idea of discriminating against people who believe differently than me. Who can help?

    Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness(D&C 132:37)? VS … Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.(Gal 3:6)E.g..,

    A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of *one wife,..”(I Tim 3:2).,The Apostles did not maintain any O.T. pattern of polygamy and they and the early church condemned it.

    “I am=( Greek emphatic pronoun. ego eimi) =the way and the truth and the life. ‘No one comes to the Father except through me.”(John 14:6)

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    July 3, 2017 12:02 p.m.

    If religious beliefs are a valid reason to discriminate against LGBT customers, then they're a valid excuse to discriminate against black customers. Watch out for those "Blacks not welcome" signs to come back if this travesty of a lawsuit prevails.


    Here's what Scalia had to say:

    "Congress and the courts have been sensitive to the needs flowing from the Free Exercise Clause, but every person cannot be shielded from all the burdens incident to exercising every aspect of the right to practice religious beliefs. When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity."


    This WAS A denial of service, period.

  • Kenngo1969 Pleasant Grove, UT
    July 3, 2017 10:50 a.m.

    If I were a business owner who provided wedding-related goods or services, notwithstanding the fact that I am a Latter-day Saint, I would have no problem providing such goods or services for a gay wedding: Nothing in my religion mandates that I force people to accept my paradigm, and I would want to foster good will. (I might draw the line at, e.g., decorating a cake with "gay-themed" items, but buy your own plastic, gay, bride-and-groom and place them atop the otherwise-nicely-decorated cake's top tier.)

    That said, I understand the objection of those who feel they cannot, on religious grounds, provide such goods or services, so I support their right to refuse. But I would still allow gay couples to sue for discrimination. However, I would limit recovery to the difference between what a refusing business owner would have charged and what an accepting business owner did charge, along with expenses (e.g., travel).

    This solution both protects business owners' conscience rights and remedies discrimination against gays, and isolated, episodic de facto discrimination is not the same as widespread, entrenched, formerly de jure discrimination.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    July 3, 2017 9:41 a.m.

    @Unrepentant progressive: You are correct in your statement that the people who want to deny services to gay couples simply want to discriminate against gays, period. The "participation" issue is just window dressing; they do not believe that gay couples have the right to get married at all. None in any high profile case (e.g. Melissa Klein, Jack Phillips) has claimed otherwise.

    Please note that the gay couple in the Oregon case, the Bowman-Cryers, picked Melissa Klein's bakery to make their wedding cake because Klein had recently made the cake for the wedding of Cheryl McPherson, who was the mother of Rachel Bowman-Cryers. Klein had no problem with the "message" she was sending by making McPherson's cake, even after being told that it was to celebrate McPherson's sixth marriage.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    July 3, 2017 9:16 a.m.

    Cinci man

    I think you have twisted some of my thoughts into distortions of what I try to convey. I can only say that I disagree with your agenda. And you are certainly free to disagree with mine.

    All of which says that there are immutable differences in the country. Time will tell if the right of religious expression comes to mean the right to justify prejudice and discrimination through some sort of religious belief. I know that this model works well for certain Islamic countries if you are so like minded.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    July 3, 2017 8:44 a.m.


    "Private clubs, churches, etc are designed to serve a very particular audience"

    If you think that business do not cater to a specific audience and customer, I am sorry that you cannot be honest.

    Smokers cannot smoke in many public places, but can in designated areas. Laws are created to discriminate for the preservation of the rights of others. Public places even discriminate to preserve the rights of others. I'm hopeful that conversation surrounding the bakery issue will result in laws that discriminate being created to preserve the rights of others. It happens all the time.

    And I'm glad to know that you will now begin to support the rights of churches and private clubs, etc to discriminate as they establish rules that attract like-minded persons to it. Thanks for that concession. It will be important as the "Public Welcome" signs on churches are being used in the attempt to cancel the tax-favored status of churches.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    July 3, 2017 8:11 a.m.


    "You want to be able to discriminate legally."

    No, we are asking that the rules be followed. You are asking that the rules or qualifications be changed to conform to beliefs counter to those of the organization. The LGBT agenda has always been about changing society to be inclusive of those otherwise prohibited by altering the rules.

    You may have rules regarding who you allow at your dinner table. Perhaps you require that they be someone you know, or a relative, or a friend of someone in your house. Can anyone just walk in and sit at your table? If so, I commend you on living by the very principles you demand of others. I am not as good as you. Whatever your rules are, they are your rules and you have the right to set those rules. Using your logic, "You want to be able to discriminate legally." And I support your right to do that.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    July 3, 2017 7:58 a.m.

    Cinci man

    You say: "can we agree that a church is not a church if not for the people who are members? Likewise, can we agree that a bakery is not a bakery without the people who work there?"

    No we can not agree with your assertion. A Church is (supposed) to be a non-profit religiously oriented, tax favored organization made up by like minded people who have organized themselves as a community of worship.

    A bakery is an open-to-the-public, licensed/taxed, for profit concern designed to provide a product. To make that product, it needs employees who are asked to perform a task for pay.

    You may not equate the two. Private clubs, churches, etc are designed to serve a very particular audience and allowed certain prejudices. Businesses are designed to make money and because of law are not allowed to discriminate against the public in any manner. If you can not see the difference, I pity the nation.

    Lastly, your comment : "Customers can go elsewhere" reeks of Jim Crow claims in the South before the various Civil Rights Acts of the 1960's. You are judged by the company you have chosen to keep.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    July 3, 2017 7:07 a.m.

    LDS bishops and stake presidents are not forced to perform gay marriages. LDS facilities cannot be used (by policy) for gay weddings or receptions. I haven't heard that this religious liberty has been challenged. The LDS Church is licensed to perform marriages recognized by the states.

    One could say that so far, this religious liberty is preserved. We conclude that services offered to one, is not available to another because of the religious views by the church and its adherent members regarding gay marriage.

    Are there legal parallels for the bakery? The bakery is licensed to sell custom and off-the-shelf cakes just as the church is licensed to perform marriages. Products off the shelf are available to all. Custom cakes are offered to those who would not require the bakery to violate religious views. Off-the-shelf items preserve religious beliefs.

    Before saying that a bakery is not a church, can we agree that a church is not a church if not for the people who are members? Likewise, can we agree that a bakery is not a bakery without the people who work there?

    Customers can go elsewhere while religious freedoms are preserved in both cases.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    July 3, 2017 6:20 a.m.

    After many years of regular scripture study, classes at seminary, Institute, and BYU, I'm still having trouble finding those scriptures that support the idea of discriminating against people who believe differently than me. Who can help?

    Where in scripture does Heavenly Father command me to refuse service to gays or lebians or adulterers or inactives or tea and coffee drinkers or other kinds of "sinners"?

    Where does scripture command me to kick my gay children out of the house? Where are the commands to associate, befriend, go to lunch, and do business only with people who believe exactly as I do?

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    July 3, 2017 6:14 a.m.

    Missing in the great debate over cake is the much larger picture.

    What religious conservatives are demading is the right to discriminate on almost any grounds and be legally protected in doing so with a claim of religious practice. Religious conservatives can unite behind the presented case of same sex wedding cakes since this has been the clarion call of the religious right for years.

    I only wish those who advocate for rights of religious practice would be honest enough to acknowledge this simple fact. You want to be able to discriminate legally. F

  • sashabill Morgan Hill, CA
    July 2, 2017 11:55 p.m.

    Some observers have suggested that Christian business owners should be asked to state publicly or online whether they discriminate against LGBT people.

    So, I have another suggestion: let's also require colleges and universities to state publicly or online whether they discriminate against Catholic, conservative Protestant, or Mormon religious clubs meeting on their campuses (i.e. will their freedom of assembly be maintained or will it be infringed because of their religious beliefs?). We could also require schools to state in advance if they will uphold freedom of speech, or if they will restrict or deny it to speakers of certain religious or political persuasions. Deal?

  • glendenbg Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2017 9:57 p.m.

    @NoNames - State level court rulings have addressed the issue of "message". State courts have held that being hired to bake a cake for a wedding does not indicate, to a reasonable observer, support for the wedding. I recommend looking up those rulings and reading them - the arguments are written in accessible language make for interesting reading.

    The Court's ruling about the religious school takes on very different issues than those raised by bakeries. In one case, the state is denying a general service/program to religious schools. In the case of the bakery, the baker is refusing to provide an identical service to some customers based on their identities. Is the Court prepared to overturn decades of law about public accommodations?

    FWIW, no matter what the court rules, I believe general cultural changes, including increasing numbers of non-believes and agnostics will mean attempts to exempt religious persons from generally applicable nondiscrimination laws are going to be unsuccessful and short-lived.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    July 2, 2017 6:59 p.m.

    It is unfortunate that these cases are so often cast in terms of denying service to someone rather tha the more accurate terms of not participating in a message one finds offensive.

    The only differences between a GOP and a Democrat convention are thr message and the political affiliation of those attending. Political affiliation is protected and can't legally be discriminated against. But the message can be.

    Ditto an LDS vs a Baptist conference. Religious affiliation is protected. But no one is forced to support proselyting with which they disagree.

    The BSA is full of males, the Girl Scouts full of females. Gender is protected. But anyone is free to decline using creative talent to advance the mission of either group because he disagrees with the message.

    So too, while sexual orientation or identity is protected (in some places), the message of a homosexual wedding or Pride parade must be legal grounds to decline the use of creative talent.

    If a homosexual man wants a cake off the shelf, sell it to him. If anyone wants a custom cake for a homosexual, LDS, or Wiccan wedding, find a willing artist.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    July 2, 2017 6:15 p.m.

    The case asks whether the free exercise and free speech clauses of the First Amendment protect small business owners with religious objections to taking part in same-sex marriages.

    Taking part in? The business owner is not the bride or the groom or the officiant. Those people take part in the ceremonies. Does the utility company that furnished the water take part in the baptisms that a church uses? If someone places a special order for salami and cheese mini-sandwiches, does that mean that the deli worker who made the garnish for the platter is endorsing whatever event that this is served at?

    The excuse given is that making a wedding cake is somehow approving of the ceremony. Melissa Klein was the baker who was sued by Oregon after she refused to make a cake for the same sex wedding of Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Cryer. What isn't commonly known, is that the two women went to Ms. Klein to order their wedding cake because they were so pleased with the wedding cake that Ms. Klein had made for Rachel's mother, Cheryl McPherson. Ms. Klein had had no problem making Ms. McPherson's cake.

    It was Ms. McPherson's sixth marriage.

  • Kenngo1969 Pleasant Grove, UT
    July 2, 2017 5:27 p.m.

    Here's my question for those who are apathetic or are antipathetic toward religious liberty concerns. Religion qua religion may not mean that much to you, and that's fine. Perhaps you're an atheist; perhaps, at best, you're an agnostic. Perhaps you even think that religion does net positive harm. You're entitled to your beliefs (or to your lack thereof) and to your opinions.

    One of the challenges of navigating the faith landscape here in the United States (in addition to ever-increasing religious pluralism, which, in itself, is not a bad thing) is that religion and culture are so inextricably bound up, one in the other, here, that it would be difficult to throw out the "religion bathwater" without also throwing out the "culture baby."

    Thus, even if one does not particularly value religion qua religion, a nation which fails to offer adequate protection to religion may realize, too late, that culture also has been harmed irreparably by its failure to protect religion. By analogy, I'm not Muslim, so the Muslim artifacts being destroyed by ISIS have no particular religious significance for me, but I do recognize their cultural significance.