Pandora’s Box

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July 2, 2014 9:21 a.m.

As Ed Kilgore explains here, the Hobby Lobby decision truly opens a pandora’s box potential litigation in a new 21st century version of the culture war, in which your ability to opt out of public law is untethered from what your religion actually says or even the factual basis of your claims. Of course, the government shouldn’t be in the position of adjudicating the internal structure of your religious beliefs. But that’s one of many reasons why giving a broad ability to opt out of the law based on any religious scruple you claim is so unworkable in a democratic context.

Just a few days ago, for instance, in the window of time in which Indiana’s gay marriage ban was annulled before the ruling was stayed, at least one Indiana county clerk decided she would not abide by the court order because of the bible and its purported stance in favor of marriage between one man and one woman. (The Bible may say some problematic things about gays; but it’s far from straightforward on the “one” part of the marriage formulation.)

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