Read House Bill 1220, and you might think you're just reading a redundant, mostly harmless restatement of freedom of religion. Representative and Pastor (red flag) Scott Craig (R-33/Rapid City) and a bunch of other conservative Republicans (warning) wrap some definitions and legalese around the basic idea that "No state action may burden a person's right to exercise of religion" unless there is some compelling state interest. That, and you can't punch anyone for Jesus or have two wives. First Amendment already has that covered, right? Rep. Craig and friends are just posing for the cameras, right?
Oh no. Huffington Post says HB 1220 is part of an intensifying conservative campaign against LGBT Americans:
...[R]eligious freedom regulations are not new, and the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) already says that the government cannot substantially limit a person's religious freedom unless it can prove a "compelling government interest." But some of the new state language could go beyond that law.
Lawmakers in Indiana, West Virginia, Arkansas, South Dakota and Oklahoma are all pushing bills that could have the same effect as a controversial Arizona bill that was vetoed last year by a Republican governor. These bills allow any individual or corporation to cite religion when defending against a private party. For example, a recent ACLU complaint alleged that a Denny's restaurant in New Mexico refused to serve a pride group, calling the customers homophobic slurs. Under this sort of legislation, it's possible that the restaurant could cite religion as a defense if the case made it to court [Dana Liebelson, "Inside the Last-Ditch Conservative Campaign to Target LGBT Americans," Huffington Post, 2015.02.04].
Yup: Rep. Craig is taking us right back to last year's attempt to protect fervent Christians from "the bullying of anti-straight folks." Senator Phil Jensen's bill on this topic last year was too blatant, mentioning sexual orientation specifically. This year's effort to legalize discrimination under the guise of piety (and yes, Senator Jensen is a co-sponsor) buries its intent in more general language.
HB 1220 offers cross-wearing bigots this litigatory club:
Section 3. A person whose exercise of religion has been burdened, or is likely to be burdened, in violation of this Act may assert the violation or impending violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, regardless of whether the State of South Dakota or one of its political subdivisions is a party to the proceeding. The person asserting the claim or defense may obtain appropriate relief, including relief against the state or its political subdivisions. Appropriate relief includes injunctive relief, declaratory relief, compensatory damages, and costs and attorneys fees [House Bill 1220, posted 2015.02.03].
Under HB 1220, if a gay couple goes to the Sioux Falls Original House of Pancakes to celebrate their engagement, and if the devout manager refuses to serve them because God will smite OHP down for facilitating a celebration of sin, and if the gay couple sues for discrimination in a public accommodation, OHP can sue right back for religious oppression.
Permit the atheist in the blogosphere to remind the Christians in the room of some basic theology: if you run a business and refuse to serve sinners, you won't have any business.
HB 1220 could go further: it could peel away anti-bullying rules at school. Thugs could yell homophobic slurs at other children and tell their victims they're going to hell. If the picked-on kids complain and the principal calls Mom and Dad, the bullies' parents can simply say their children were simply expressing their religious belief that homosexuality is a terrible sin. HB 1220 knocks the legal legs out from under the conscientious principal's duty to protect children from such harassment.
Be on alert, friends of equality: HB 1220 is another effort from South Dakota's Religious Right to carve for themselves the right to oppress others with what what they profess to be faith.
Would this law also protect racists at hockey games?
wow, just wow. so broad, and an emergency yet.
Of course, one - or a group - whose religion includes worshipping the sacredness of the Earth could easily enjoin the state from permitting things like - oh, laying pipelines in the ground, or digging up uranium under this law and perhaps even gain compensatory damages on that basis.
Oh yeah, and of course, EVERYTHING is an "emergency" now that the Repubs are coming to the realization that the public doesn't really support their policy agenda - only the letter "R". It's like Sesame Street voting.
and once again,it is okay to burden women exercising their constitutional rights to have an abortion,you can burden the "people" exercising their rights to make laws,but you can't burden the NRA and gun owners or wingnuts that hate gay people. Hypocrite much?
Richard brings up a good point. Under this proposal no one has to actually prove a religious belief, remember we don't allow religious tests in this country, all that is needed is someone to claim a religious belief. I'm sure the Native Americans down at Rosebud are pretty fervent in their belief that KXL is bad for the earth. Who are we to question?
Obviously, more people need to use a religious objection to vaccinations. It would be a shame if God's Measles with near perfect contagion systems would disappear from the face of the earth or even God's country out here in South Dakota. The crazed inmates are in charge of the legislative asylum.
These guys are right in with the feudal crazies who think burning a pilot to death is following the desires of some god's will.
So, under this biil will folks caught illegally possessing, transporting or selling, marijuana be able to claim a Rastafarian defense to criminal prosecutions and forfeitures?
Cory, you are right about the chilling possibilities in the school environment. So many districts do not have specific non-discrimination language for sexual orientation (often saying that that is covered under other broad, non-discrimination language in policies and not wanting to have public hearings on policy changes that seem too "pro-gay"). I fear that legislation such as this means that when a child is discriminated by a school agent, there would be the opportunity for a defense: "It's OK, the kid is gay." I gave him a lower grade, I barred her from participating in extracurriculars . . .
I hope our legislators do not choose to make an already difficult time even more difficult for kids who need the protection of authority figures - not the disdain of authority figures.
Okay, that does it. I'm joining The Church of Bill and moving back to SD. My religious beliefs via the CoB prevent me from paying taxes, serving jail time, and paying rent or any utilities. It also forbids anyone, including corporate "people" from refusing my business or charging me for their services.
I have this right due to new legislation that says, "No state action may burden a person's right to exercise of religion"
Anyone else joining the CoB with me? Blindman, where do we meet? Wherever we want and whenever we want?
Deb, I'm with you. Blindman's church sounds great and probably includes Rastafarian practices!
Ms. Geelsdottir, there used to be a movement to create the Republic of Lakotah where you could live free and pay no taxes. From what I have heard at the meetings it has not gone swell. Paste this into the blog bar. http://www.republicoflakotah.com/
Women and their supporters need to make abortion a religion, the table can easily be turned on these idiots that hijack Christianity. President Obama used the "hijack Christianity at the Prayer Breakfast the other day.
Blindman is in Missouri though his heart is prolly forever situated in the Black Hills. Maybe you can open a chapter in Minnesota.
Again unfounded fear driven legislation that will be another attempt at discrimination. Wouldn't there be a high probability of lawsuits? South Dakota may be reflected badly again in the national news. Many national companies may not expand or locate operations here in SD since a bill like this would be in conflict with their HR policies. Tourism and conventions may choose to avoid this state and there could be a boycott.
It's this constant intrusion of religious beliefs into our public policy that is attempted year after year by rewording it or choose different sponsors.
Grudz, I was unaware of attempts to create the Republic of Lakotah. While there may be benefits, I prefer the CoB.
But beyond foreign policy arguments, there is a moral argument against condemning an entire religion for the acts of extremists. A September 2014 Pew Research Center poll found that 50 percent of Americans think Islam is more likely to encourage violence than other religions. That’s up from 25 percent in 2002. A recent Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa poll found that 39 percent of likely Republican caucus goers think Islam is inherently violent.
Ms. Geelsdottir, in the RoL the capital is Rapid City. And you can live there for free!
In fact, look at this! This is exciting! I wouldn't be surprised if Mr. kurtz isn't behind this RoL village in Newell. This could be a place for lots of like-minded people to gather.
this thing came from that website and I cut and put it here
How do we immigrate to the Republic of Lakotah?
Study the 158 Year Struggle for Legal Justice so that you will be grounded in the context of the legal basis for the Republic of Lakotah.
Move to the RoL within the five state “Treaty Area” in a financially self-sufficient way.
Currently, the laws of South Dakota and the United States are applicable to all immigrants.
At this time, there is no need for anybody to “renounce” their U.S. or other citizenship to immigrate here.
You can Contact Us for real estate guidance
Understand that freedom is for those that are free to be responsible. This invitation is open to all the sacred races; to all of those that have an open heart and a love for Grandmother Earth.
To move to “off-reservation lands” within the “Treaty Area,” you can move to your own location, or join up with other like-minded people and form “RoL Villages.” One of these is already underway in Newell, north of Rapid City, SD and we have created an initiative for a geothermal-based infrastructure village in Hot Springs, SD.
I look at that bill, and I think, "What will enforcement of this look like?"
Introduced by: Representatives Craig, Beal, Bolin, Brunner, Campbell, Deutsch, DiSanto, Greenfield (Lana), Haggar (Don), Harrison, Heinemann (Leslie), Hunt, Kaiser, Marty, Novstrup (Al), Partridge, Ring, Schaefer, Solum, Verchio, Wiik, Willadsen, Wollmann, and Zikmund and Senators Greenfield (Brock), Bradford, Haggar (Jenna), Haverly, Jensen (Phil), Novstrup (David), Olson, Otten (Ernie), Rampelberg, and Rave
FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to provide for the free exercise of religion and to declare an emergency.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:
Section 1. Terms used in this Act mean:
(1) "Burden," any action that directly or indirectly constrains, inhibits, curtails, or denies the exercise of religion by any person or compels any action contrary to a person's exercise of religion, and includes withholding benefits; assessing criminal, civil, or administrative penalties; excluding from governmental programs; or denying access to governmental facilities;
(2) "Compelling governmental interest," a governmental interest of the highest magnitude that cannot otherwise be achieved without burdening the exercise of religion and may include protecting health and safety;
(3) "Exercise of religion," the practice or observance of religion, including the ability to
act or refuse to act in a manner substantially motivated by a person's sincerely held religious beliefs, whether the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religions belief;
(4) "Person," any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious institution, estate, trust, foundation, or other legal entity;
(5) "State action," the implementation or application of any law, including state and local laws, ordinances, rules, regulations, and policies, or other action by the State of South Dakota or any political subdivisions thereof, and any local government, municipality, instrumentality, or public official authorized by law in the state.
Section 2. No state action may burden a person's right to exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to that person's exercise of religion in a particular instance:
(1) Is essential to further a compelling governmental interest; and
(2) Is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
Section 3. A person whose exercise of religion has been burdened, or is likely to be burdened, in violation of this Act may assert the violation or impending violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, regardless of whether the State of South Dakota or one of its political subdivisions is a party to the proceeding. The person asserting the claim or defense may obtain appropriate relief, including relief against the state or its political subdivisions. Appropriate relief includes injunctive relief, declaratory relief, compensatory damages, and costs and attorneys fees.
Section 4. Nothing in this Act may be construed to:
(1) Allow any person to cause physical injury to another person, including a minor child;
(2) Give rise to a defense in any action involving criminal sexual conduct against another
person, including a minor child; or
(3) Give rise to a defense in any action involving criminal prosecution for bigamy, unless bigamy is authorized by the Legislature.
Section 5. Whereas, this Act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, an emergency is hereby declared to exist, and this Act shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage and approval.
Grudz, I used to live in Newell for 6 years. Nice people and nice place. I wonder if they know about the RoL?
I'm still leaning toward CoB. Just waiting to hear from our fearless leader, Rev. Blindman.
After going to the legislative coffee this morning, I am less than shocked that this bill is being proposed yet again. I've got a campaign started against this. Join us at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Enough-is-Enough-Stop-HB-1220/947315898613043
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