I attended my first public hearing on a bill last week. The bill was LD 1428, “An Act to Protect Religious Freedom”. In reality it was just special rights for litigious Christians who don’t want to abide by civil rights and health care laws:
During the public hearing on the bill, Apollo Karara of Portland, a survivor of the genocide in Rwanda, spoke about his experiences coming to America to escape persecution and asked the committee to oppose the bill. “As a Christian, I am glad that I have the freedom to practice my religion. But I know firsthand how dangerous it can be to decide that your personal beliefs entitle you to break laws that protect us all,” said Karara. “I came to America for safety and freedom–please do not take that away.”
The religious were out in force for this hearing, proudly sporting brightly colored stickers. One mother even had her son read a prepared speech. There are no boos or cheers at these sort of things, but if there were, that would have been the best time for it – not for the kid, though. He did fine for what he was asked/forced to do. The mother, though, was deserving of a boo or two for thinking there is such a thing as a Christian child. Or Muslim child. Or Jewish child. Or atheist child. There is no such thing; there are merely children of Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist, etc, parents. Not enough people realize this, but I digress.
It looks like the bill has another round of votes in the Maine senate, but it’s as good as dead at this point. We have laws that protect religious liberty pretty well. We don’t need ones that will give special rights to a select few who keep losing on civil rights and other matters at the polls and in the courts.