Court Upholds Mississippi Law to Protect Freedom of Conscience

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The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously on Thursday that a Mississippi law that protects religious liberty and the rights of conscience in light of the redefinition of marriage may go into effect.

In the decision, the circuit court overruled a previous judgment from a district court judge who had declared the Mississippi law unconstitutional for violating the Establishment Clause and the Equal Protection Clause.

But as the circuit court pointed out, the challengers to Mississippi’s law lack standing because they “have not clearly shown injury-in-fact.” In other words, they did not show how the Mississippi law protecting liberty for people who hold to the pre-Obergefell v. Hodges definition of marriage harmed them.

The court explained that the “failure” of the “plaintiffs to assert anything more than a general stigmatic injury dooms their claim.”

While the ruling focused on the lack of standing of the plaintiffs, there are plenty of reasons to rule in favor of the constitutionality of laws like Mississippi’s on the merits.

As Sherif Girgis and I explain in our new book, Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination, there is nothing scandalous about protections for particular views that are at odds with those on which the government acts.

When the government takes Americans to war, exceptions cover pacifists. When the government guarantees abortion, exceptions cover pro-lifers. These exemptions don’t amount to establishments of any religion, and neither do laws protecting dissenters after Obergefell.

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SOURCE: Charisma News, Ryan T. Anderson

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