In yesterday's Wall of Separation blog post, Rob Boston commented on the “Declaration of Dependence” and its full-page ad in The Washington Post on Sunday (which also ran in The New York Times on September 26). A handful of conservative religious figures, including Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, have added their names to the online petition “Declaration.”
The petition declares that “God grants life at conception” and “marriage was instituted by God between one man and one woman.” Although I strongly disagree with these statements, the signers have the right to believe it. But the “Declaration” also wrongly proclaims that people have the constitutional right to ignore any laws that conflict with these beliefs. They don’t. Nonetheless, the signers declare that they will “obey God rather than man."
The implication is clear: signers are committing to cite their religious beliefs to justify ignoring laws, harming women and LGBTQ people in the process.
As Rob explained in his post, however, "[R]eligious freedom is obviously extremely important and should be protected, but that this principle doesn’t give anyone the right to harm others or discriminate against them."
Those pushing the “Declaration” ask signers to “take up the sword of faith.” It’s a lamentable, but accurate, rallying cry: their swords will cut away others’ rights.
Have you been denied services or benefits you’re entitled to because of someone else's religion? If so, our legal team may be able to help. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.