Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris' Limited Vision of Religious Liberty

The presumptive Democratic vice presidential nominee offers a highly circumscribed notion of the role of faith in public life.

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When presumptive Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris was running for president, she appeared at CNN's Equality Town Hall, an October event focused on the LGBTQ community. How, one questioner asked, will Harris communicate her "liberal, Californian perspective when reaching out to voters in small, conservative areas?"

Harris said she'd tell the story of a day in 2004 where she arrived at San Francisco's City Hall to find families of same-sex couples lined up around the block to witness their loved ones' weddings. "It was a day where people who loved each other had the ability for their love to be recognized by law," said Harris, who herself officiated gay weddings years before they were legalized statewide in California. "And if anyone has known love, and honors the importance of love and the commitment one person is willing to make to another person in the name of love," she continued, "they should always recognize and encourage that nobody would be treated differently under the law."

It's an evocative story about why gay marriage should be allowed, but it doesn't address the chief concern you'll hear from religious conservatives these days: Whether they'll be compelled to participate in and pay for things, particularly in the workplace, which their creeds and consciences forbid. Unfortunately, this wasn't a momentary lapse: Harris shows little interest in reaching common ground with voters worried about religious liberty. She even seems unwilling to acknowledge the possibility that their fears could be based in something more substantive than a failure to have "known love."

The Supreme Court's June decision on Bostock v. Clayton County is a useful synecdoche for LGBTQ policies. Bostock controversially expanded employment discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Though a subsequent ruling enhanced the "ministerial exception," which gives religious institutions far wider latitude in hiring and firing, Bostock was considered catastrophic by many religious conservatives who want to bring their beliefs into business contexts that aren't explicitly religious. At least arguably, the court has protected religious institutions but not individuals. Harris cheered Bostock, which accomplished a major goal of her 2017 and 2019 legislation to weaken the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The birth control fight, similarly, turns on whether the state can force employers to pay for birth control they consider abortifacient if doing so violates their religious beliefs. Harris says employers must be made to pay. In 2014, as California's attorney general, she filed an amicus brief in the Hobby Lobby case that presented a stunningly narrow view of free religious exercise. She described it as "personal, relating only to individual believers and to a limited class of associations comprising or representing them." The Constitution "protect[s] the development and expression of an 'inner sanctum' of personal religious faith," Harris wrote, but not "the exercise of such inherently personal rights by ordinary, for-profit business corporations."

This is a bizarre vision of faith confined to mental assent and perhaps a few private ceremonies. It is unrecognizable and nigh useless from many religious perspectives, for most religious people believe our faith should inform all parts of our lives, including our work. In that case, protecting only an "inner sanctum" is no protection at all.

Then there's abortion. Harris is pro-choice, of course, but her stance goes well beyond ensuring abortion is legal and accessible. She's a vocal proponent of federal funding for abortion. In California, she championed legislation forcing pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise free or cheap abortion options to their clients. (The law was later struck down as a First Amendment violation.) Critics and supporters alike have said Harris' bill to weaken the Religious Freedom Restoration Act could be used to require Catholic health care providers, for example, to perform abortions.

Perhaps the single most revealing comment Harris has made on abortion came in 2018, when the U.S. Senate was considering the nomination of Brian Buescher for a district judgeship. "Since 1993," she said, "you have been a member of the Knights of Columbus, an all-male society comprised primarily of Catholic men. In 2016, Carl Anderson, leader of the Knights of Columbus, described abortion as 'a legal regime that has resulted in more than 40 million deaths.' Mr. Anderson went on to say that 'abortion is the killing of the innocent on a massive scale.' Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman's right to choose when you joined the organization?"

This is what has conservative Catholics denouncing Harris as an anti-Catholic bigot. To be Catholic, they say she's implying, is to be an extremist unsuitable for the federal bench. That's a plausible reading, though it's complicated somewhat by her willingness to run alongside Joe Biden—but then, Biden isn't exactly the same sort of Catholic. The assumptions undergirding Harris' comment suggest she doesn't think people whose religion places them on the opposite side of the culture war merit much protection in public life.

Finally, there's Harris' gleefully expressed willingness to override constitutional rights by executive order. At a primary debate in September, she sneered at the "idea that we would wait for this Congress that has just done nothing" to issue a federal assault weapons ban, breaking with Biden on the constitutionality of such a move.

Biden's view may hold sway for the next four years. But it's not hard to imagine a President Harris in 2025, freed of Biden's lingering constitutional constraints, deciding that executive orders could be used on First Amendment matters as well as Second. Whatever lip service Harris pays to Americans' freedom to worship, it's a freedom she clearly wants neatly confined to our own heads.

NEXT: Michelle Obama Hates Politics and Third Parties, Loves Schmaltz and Unity

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  2. “And if anyone has known love, and honors the importance of love and the commitment one person is willing to make to another person in the name of love,” 

    And then, Eric Idle-style, she deadpanned, “whats it like?”

    1. “Unless those people are polygamists, then fuck ’em.”

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      2. Or too closely related.

        I find it odd that marriage between siblings and some degree of cousins and even parent and adult child is not allowed.

        While there is legitimate societal concern about inbreeding, sex is not a legal requirement/right of marriage (hence, spousal rape is a real thing) and marriage is not a requirement for sex. Just retain/establish laws that limit procreative sex between “forbidden pairings” regardless of martial status. Why should society care if 70 year old identical twin sisters (obviously there will be no procreative sex there) want to get married just for the prepackaged contractual benefits (right to visit in hospital, make end of life decisions, community property, etc)? Or a mother and adult daughter? Or a father and adult son? Yes – “yech” but then that’s my response to cooked spinach as well — but I don’t think government should ban cooked spinach.

        Polygamy does introduce complications in the law that would require quite a bit of effort to sort out so I can see why that’s not easily allowed. For example, Alice, Pat, and Charlie join in one happy marriage. Pat then ends up on life support with little or no possibility of survival or pleasant life. Alice wants to pull the plug and Charlie wants to leave Pat plugged in – who gets to decide? Must each member of a polygamist marriage always maintain a “priority of decision making” list with the state? Or what happens when Pat decides to divorce Charlie but not Alice?

        1. Parent/child marriage is prohibited, not just because it represents an even higher level of consanguinity than sibling marriage, (In theory at least, siblings could end up essentially unrelated, though the odds are against it. Parents and their children are always at least 50% related.) but also because of the potential conflict of interest in child raising.

          “Why should society care if 70 year old identical twin sisters (obviously there will be no procreative sex there) want to get married just for the prepackaged contractual benefits”

          A bit late at this point, but “marriage” didn’t used to mean that.

          1. How about we just limit marriage to people who have children together? Naturally or through adoption or other means.

            1. Why don’t we just stop giving a fuck what other people do in their private lives and worry about our own imperfections. That sounds like a better plan to me.

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              2. Fine, then let us not give a fuck, by not requiring us to bake their damned cakes, and take their damned photos. Either it’s their private lives nobody should be concerned about, or it isn’t. Not one or the other depending.

                1. As always, Brett, you seem to be confusing non-discrimination law with marriage law.

                  And also, as always, you seem to be forgetting that the first “wedding cake” non-discrimination case was about a black couple in the 60s.

            2. Good idea! Let’s get some Do-it-Yourself at home abortions kits, take it out of the hospital and back in the alley . . .

              I forgot! Roe made abortion a legal procedure

              1. Back Alley Coat Hanger Medical Procedures!

          2. One or two points, and a question.

            First, the offspring of two parents who are closely related, genetically, have an increased chance of deleterious recessive genetic traits becoming homozygous, but it should be noted that procreation by two individuals who are closely related does not cause those deleterious recessive traits to become phenotypic — it simply raises the chances that the offspring will express the genetic trait. If either of the genetic parents lack the gene, there is no genetic risk to the children. This is a well-enough established principle that researchers in the 1940s wondered why human beings didn’t mate selectively like breeding cattle, to actually empathize some valuable traits and eliminate unwanted traits, while social scientists speculated on the possibility that incest taboos had nothing to do with genetic traits and more to do with the social functions of marriage.

            By the same token, we do not require that two individuals contemplating marriage have a full genetic screening to determine their risk of producing a child with a deleterious genetic trait — and then banning that marriage. Instead, we have a robust genetic counseling industry that informs prospective parents of risks, monitors fetal genetic make-up, etc.

            Which leads to the question: what do you think “marriage” used to mean? Marriage obviously has different meanings in different cultures and at different times in the same culture, but prohibitions on marriage between — or reproduction by — close kin is a human universal.

            1. I recently listened to a podcast interview of a geneticist and she stated that on the average a human has 40 recessive alleles.

              1. “on the average a human has 40 recessive alleles.”
                Yes, but not all recessive alleles are harmful. In fact, some would provide a significant advantage if expressed. I suspect the combination of such alleles is responsible for the creation of people like Albert Einstein and J. S. Bach.

                The real question is, how many _deleterious_ recessive alleles does the average human carry?

            2. “but prohibitions on marriage between — or reproduction by — close kin is a human universal.”

              Partly a disgust reaction, I suppose: Humans are evolutionarilly ‘programmed’ to not look at those they were raised with as potential mates. And we have mechanisms like MHC comparison that encourage mating outside the group.

              So if you see close kin mating, you know something problematic is probably going on there.

              1. To say that human are evolutionarily programed to not regard those they were raised with as potential mates sidesteps any reason why evolution would favor such a strategy. And it may be empirically false, considering that cross-cousin marriage is one of the most common forms in the world, and considering that ‘mating’ in small scale societies is frequently between those who are raised together — they are simply not siblings.

                Paul Roscoe’s neuroscientific account of incest prohibitions might come closer to an answer, and offers the possibility that there doesn’t need to be a benefit, in evolutionary terms, to a social phenomenon that is, as Gould and Lewontin termed it, a spandrel.

          3. A bit late at this point, but “marriage” didn’t used to mean that

            And once it stopped meaning that it started meaning nothing at all. As a social institution it’s dead.

            1. If it is dead, it was murdered.

              Though I do not think it is dead. The judiciary, in reasoning so stupid only an intellectual could believe it, has written out any real societal purpose in marriage, but the culture still acts as if it does have a purpose. On top of the fact that married people are, on gross averages, happier and in better material circumstances.

            2. Many sociologists now think that the historical purpose of marriage was to ally two families.

              Bad things happen. If a couple were completely isolated and their house burns down (before the advent of insurance), they could be ruined. If that happens to a single person, he/she can call on his/her relatives, but maybe that family doesn’t have much in the way of resources.

              When two (or more) people form a family, if something goes wrong there are now two sets of relatives that they can call on for help in the event of a catastrophe.

              This function would still be provided if the two people are of the same sex. Or if they choose not to have children.

              If, as mother’s Lament suggests, the sole (or main) purpose of marriage is the production of children, then why do we allow women over 60 to marry (or remarry if they are widowed)?

              1. “Many sociologists now think that the historical purpose of marriage was to ally two families.”

                Which sociologists are those?

                The problem with these single-reason hypotheses is that marriage appears to serve numerous different functions over time and place, and it may be hard to identify one function that is universal. Evolutionary psychologists study “pair bonding” among primates, including humans, and it is possible that primates are genetically programmed for pair bonding, and other functions get tacked on to it in ways that we call “marriage.”

                1. The problem with these single-reason hypotheses is that marriage appears to serve numerous different functions over time and place, and it may be hard to identify one function that is universal.

                  Which never stopped the folks trying to argue that if you let gay folk marry, society will collapse.

                  I mean, outside of “biological reproduction”, every “purpose” of marriage is met by gay folk just fine. And if you simplify “biological reproduction” to “raising kids”, well, gay folk have been raising kids for all of human history.

            3. I mean, it hasn’t meant that for a few hundred years at least. So if it’s “dead”, dont’ blame gay folk.

        2. I find it odd that marriage between siblings and some degree of cousins and even parent and adult child is not allowed.

          Gay folk spent decades changing public opinion, getting involved in both political parties (even if they were basically kicked out of the GOP in the 80s), speaking their stories, and doing a lot of footwork to change folk’s minds on gay folk.

          People in favor of polygamy and incest haven’t done that work.

          So it’s not odd at all. The SCOTUS rarely leads the country on social issues. If pro-incest and pro-polygamy folk want a SCOTUS win, they have some leg-work ahead of them.

  3. New ammendment instead of getting rid of the ones we have: any procecuters who falsified evidence, and confessions, and with held exculpatory evidence gets 2 times the sentence of every incident.
    If a procecuters agrees to a plea bargin, the plea agreement become the absolute maximum sentence that can be issued, even if the defendent continues to trial.

    1. I can’t believe that I actually agree with much of the substance of a post by the Reverend. Has the heat death of the universe occurred without me noticing it?

      I would add that plea bargain proposals should only be formal and in writing (no verbal communication about them) and must include “In exchange for not be charged with X, the defendant will plead guilty to Y” and the defendant can always demand that they be tried for X and if acquitted, any lesser charge and included charges will be dismissed w/prejudice as will any charges for Y.

      1. I’m Rev kuck not Rev kirk

        1. That explains it. I was thinking the same exact thing.

          While we’re at it, how about a law that says if a law you voted for is deemed unconstitutional, you’re ineligible to run in the next election?

  4. Is there any doubt Harris would prosecute beyond what is her authority any business owner – hell, anyone – whose actions do not line up with her personal (i.e. politically expedient) beliefs?

  5. This attitude toward religious liberty is why I’m planning to hold my nose and vote for Trump this fall. In 2016, I refused to vote for either major party even though I live in a “battleground” state. I won’t revisit Trump’s and Clinton’s flaws here, but I couldn’t bring myself to vote for either of them.

    The Democrats actually scare me now. Harris’ record might not be bad, but her campaign statements are startling. She’s not the only one. Look at AOC’s comments about John Kasich. This is what the left says about someone who is TRYING TO HELP THEM but doesn’t completely toe the ideological line.

    I still don’t like Trump, but he doesn’t frighten me. Sadly, that’s enough to get my vote this time.

    1. Ouch. Your logic is disturbing but compelling.

    2. My thinking, too. I would add in the joy in which the Democrats approach the virus is another reason I might vote for Trump this time.

      1. They do enjoy those “emergency” powers.

    3. I still don’t like Trump, but he doesn’t frighten me.

      This is probably where a lot of people are right now.

    4. That’s long been my position: I’m not exactly thrilled with the Republican party, but the Democratic party scares me spitless. The list of constitutional rights they want to abolish just keeps growing.

      On the bright side, I used to have trouble understanding how the left kept building gulags. Now I finally understand. So there is that.

    5. I live in a state where my vote for President doesn’t matter due to the EC (and, even with that, I support the EC and in particular believe “winner takes all” is a rational rule that state legislatures probably should generally enact/retain).

      However, if my vote mattered this election would be a very difficult decision for me unless Ginsburg goes toes up in the next few weeks and Trump replaces her with someone who believes the Constitution says what it means and means what it says and that the amendment process, not the policy preferences of unelected judges, should be utilized to change it as needed.

    6. I have a feeling that Trump won in 2016 largely because a lot of voters thought he was the second-worst major candidate.

      This time, it’s really obvious.

  6. Harris operates on the belief that what is not specifically allowed is forbidden. You can believe her when she says she’ll do whatever she wants by presidential decree and laugh at you when you disagree (after throwing you in jail).

    Vote like your life depends on it.

    1. This is what is wrong with almost all politicians. Ban or mandate, there is no concept of ignore it; no concept of mind your own business, because everything is government’s business.

      It is also why I think politics has gotten so much worse the last few years / decades: government sticks its nose into so much of our ordinary daily lives that it is impossible to ignore. People find it better to sic government on their neighbors and competitors than mind their own business. Think of it as stasi-lite: you never really know who is going to get government to stab you in the back, so best to stab first.

      1. Why spend all those millions campaigning if I can’t reward my friends and punish my enemies?

  7. “…the chief concern you’ll hear from religious conservatives these days: Whether they’ll be compelled to participate in and pay for things, particularly in the workplace, which their creeds and consciences forbid.”

    Of course conservatives will be forced to violate their own ethics (even if irrational). But liberals will get to enshrine and legally enforce their equally irrational ethics. That’s how democracy 2020 works.

    1. The Progressives get to establish their religion on the convenient excuse that they do not call it a religion.

  8. Good thing Trump is going to be reelected.

    All this Kamala Rouge nonsense will die down.

    1. Are you kidding? If Trump is reelected they’re just going to go more insane. Right now they still think they can assume power democratically, albeit with a bit of cheating, so they’re being a bit restrained.

      If he wins they won’t just double down, they’ll quintuple down. It’s going to be worth your life to run for office as a Republican.

      1. Yup, if Trump wins they’ll burn it all down.

        The DNC is offering voters two choices this year, a corrupt totalitarian state if you vote for them, or civil war and anarchy if you don’t.
        The Republicans on the other hand are only offering a loud-mouthed jerk who talks big but doesn’t actually accomplish anything.

        1. Amen, brother.

          As I noted on a different blog, Trump’s shortcomings are personal, and he is not all that competent. The Dems’ shortcomings are ideological, and they are determined to enforce their ideology on the country.

  9. “The Constitution “protect[s] the development and expression of an ‘inner sanctum’ of personal religious faith,” Harris wrote, but not “the exercise of such inherently personal rights by ordinary, for-profit business corporations.”

    The most important words in the First Amendment are the first five, “Congress shall make no law”.

    The First Amendment doesn’t circumscribe the behavior of individuals or the role of religion in society. The First Amendment is a restriction on government and circumscribes the power of government.

    1. Yes! “The Constitution “protect[s] is a misstatement. The Bill of Rights was intended as a recognition that the thoughts and beliefs of its citizens will always be beyond the purview of government.

      I don’t need protection from any government as to my religious faith. My faith remains inviolate, even if they choose not to recognize that or to punish me for it.

      Which is why they will eventually go full ‘O’Brien’ on those who resist. 2 + 2 = 5 and white guilt are the current equivalent of ‘how many fingers am I holding up, Winston?’

      1. Right, and she has no ambition to control your thoughts and beliefs, so long as you never give any outward indication of them in your actions and words.

        Well, until they come up with technology to read your mind, of course.

      2. Recognition doesn’t count for much if there isn’t some mechanism to protect those rights that the constitution recognizes.
        The BOR doesn’t create rights, but I think it is fair to say it protects them (or that was the intention).

        1. I think it is fair to say it protects them

          The 1A is a statement of powers specifically prohibited. The government protects my free exercise of religion in the same way it would have protected me from the evils of alcohol under the 18A, that is to say, not at all.

          Getting out of the fucking way is not protecting.

  10. Finally, there’s Harris’ gleefully expressed willingness to override constitutional rights by executive order.

    Finally, that should produce lawsuits for threatened or actual civil rights violations.

    1. Yep. Sauce for the goose and all…

  11. Harris isn’t progressive or conservative, she’s authoritarian, she doesn’t achieve power to help an ideology, her ideology is to achieve power. You can see how she flip-flops during her debate performances, she doesn’t care about positions, just what is most popular with the crowd.

    1. Progressivism is all about using the coercive power of government to force people to make sacrifices for the greater good–as progressives see it. From the Green New Deal to the individual mandate, it’s all about using the coercive power of government for forced sacrifice.

      Progressivism is inherently authoritarian. Taking the authoritarianism out of progressivism is like taking the wetness out of water.

      1. You’re not wrong, but if the “cool” thing was to be hard-core authoritarian conservative/borderline ultranationalist, a la the early cold war, she would be just as happy with going after the socialist left and throwing into jail any sexual deviants. My point is, yeah, she’s pushing for proggie shit now, but she doesn’t actually care about it, beyond it being popular with the political/media elites. She just wants the power that goes with it

        1. Which should terrify her party, since no one like that has ever actually implemented a society that most progressives would like.

          Once someone like that comes into power it’s all gulags and reeducation, the strongman never gets around to implementing subsidized grievance studies and mandatory gay weddings.

          1. The intellectuals always support the revolution, because it promises utopia. But when the revolution takes control, the intellectuals are always the first ones shot, guillotined, etc.
            And they are utterly surprised. Every. Single. Time. But that’s what happens when your philosophy fails to study history.

    2. But it was just a debate, you know…

    3. She “evolves” her positions.

    4. I agree with you about Harris. It’s why I feel so queasy about her being “a heartbeat away” from being President.

      I keep waiting for the Republicans to nominate somebody who isn’t an anti-abortion, anti-LGBT nutcase, so I can vote for them.

      1. I’ll add: I will continue to vote for the Libertarian candidate. Of course, that’s easy for me: I live on California. CA will go for Biden/Harris regardless of how I vote, so I’m not risking four more years of Trump.

  12. “Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?”

    I always want to ask, “Choose what?” They never complete the statement. A women’s right to choose her child’s school? Choose her style of clothing?

    If that question were asked to me I would want to ask, “Women’s right to choose what?” Let them say abortion or terminate her pregnancy or some other soft wording. Then I would say I understand it’s legal for a woman to kill her offspring in the womb . . .

    Don’t be afraid of what you think is right. If you think abortion is a right then don’t be afraid of the word kill. Kill a fetus. Kill an embryo. Don’t be afraid of truth. Nor be afraid of science.

    1. “Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?”
      Even I knew women don’t have a right to choose to join the Knights of Columbus.

    2. That same “my body, my choice” thing always falls apart when you ask them if the mother to be should have the right to inject heroin.

      1. or a vaccine

      2. Or to practice legalized prostitution. Hell, her home state even tried to force porn stars to wear condoms.

      3. Or take any drug not approved by the FDA even if prescribed by a doctor.

        I don’t object to the FDA in general which of course makes me a very “bad” libertarian. But the only requirement on unapproved drugs should be that the label say something like “This drug has not been tested and approved by the FDA [for use except in treatment of X, Y, …]” and require that prescribing physicians inform the patient of the drug’s FDA status [with respect to their condition] at the time of prescribing the drug to the patient.

        1. A doctor determining what you can and cannot put into your body isn’t much better than the FDA doing it.

          To be clear, my post isn’t about any medical value of heroin. It’s about the fact that if you really believe “my body, my choice” is the extent of the nuance involved in the subject then you should have no problem with pregnant women shooting up heroin for fun.

      4. Another fun argument is the father’s choice.
        I’ve asked if it is fair to the father to not have a choice in the abortion. Answer: My body my choice. What if the father doesn’t want the child but you keep it. Is it fair to then require him to support the child for the next 18 years. Answer: Yes, he is responsible for the creation of the child. It is half his. So, if the father wants to keep the baby and raise it himself, even though you want to abort, would you carry the child for 9 months, give the baby to him and then support the child for the next 18 months? Answer: What is this, the Handmaid’s Tale?
        I persist, if the child is half the father’s, the father wants to raise and care for the child you won’t carry the child and pay him for the next 18 years but if you want to keep the child he is thus responsible for half? Yes, it is only fair.
        So what is his choice then? Answer: It is not his body.
        Ah….

        1. *18 years

      5. “right to inject heroin”

        Why the hell not? It’s her body.

  13. “The presumptive Democratic vice presidential nominee offers a highly circumscribed notion of the role of faith in public life.”

    Uh, no.

    “The Democratic presidential nominee offers a highly circumscribed notion of the role of faith in public life.”

    Ol’ Joe is going to get an amendment 25 dismissal as soon as Kween Kamala assures the cabinet is sufficiently humble to her every wish.

  14. In other state prosecutor news. Investigation finds ‘substantial abuses of discretion’ in handling of Jussie Smollett case but surprise, surprise, didn’t find evidence, however, that would “support any criminal charges”. Webb, the special prosecutor, is a former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, ostensibly a Republican.
    This is why the dem-reps in Illinois are referred to a The Combine.

    1. BTW, Kamala also has links to the Smollett circus.

  15. This isn’t fair. Harris may be hostile to *faithful* Christians, but she’s very accommodating to the other kind. Consider how, apparently in exchange for campaign contributions, she looked the other way on priestly abuse.

    https://spectator.org/why-didnt-kamala-harris-prosecute-abusive-priests/

  16. Forcing people to bake cakes they don’t want to: that’s violence.

  17. Is there any area of liberty where she doesn’t have a “limited vision?” I suspect here conception of freedom is “being free to do as you’re told, or else.”

  18. >>legal regime that has resulted in more than 40 million deaths

    apt. at least Kamala has the childhood busing story to tell.

  19. Thank goodness she’ll be VP where she can’t do any damage.

    Which means we must do everything we can to keep Biden alive and coherent. A tough road indeed.

    1. IIRC, there’s no Biden head on Futurama, so we may be screwed.

      1. Coolio on the Supreme Court always funny

    2. I fear the ship already sailed on the coherent part. Maybe there’s some hope for the alive part, but I expect a palace coup using the 25th Amendment fairly early in the term.

      1. Or they’ll keep Biden around for two years and a day. That way Harris can run for two more terms. By which time the progressives won’t be even faking holding elections.

    3. “to keep Biden alive and coherent”

      Well we are already 1 for 2 on that, and the election has not even happened yet.

  20. I feel much better about all of this if Ginsburg would just do what her corpus has been demanding of her for years; just die already, and be replaced with a jurist who actually favors the Constitution of “doing what feels right.”

    1. Supreme Court expanding to 15 Justices (like other Circuits’ full panels) in 3, 2, 1…

  21. I find it remarkable that Democrats want a VP that’s of Indian Jamican heritage, descended from slave owners, who prosecuted many blacks for marijuana use, who helped cover up Catholic priest sexual abuse by not releasing information her predecessor wanted released (while taking large campaign donations from the lawyers representing the Diocese in San Francisco), and is arguably the most authoritarian candidate for president this year. Not someone libertarians would want.

    It’s also remarkable they nominated Biden given his dementia onset. But it’s understandable there’s a bunch of Democrats who want Joe because they’ll be able to make him make the investigations and prosecutions of the resistance go away. That includes the Obamas and Clintons who have the money. And then Biden will step down or be removed, putting an end to the prosecutions. As they say, the party (insiders), pick the candidate. I’ll guess we’ll see if Biden has good days for his debates.

    1. “descended from slave owners”

      And the Indian Brahmin caste. Historically some of the most privileged people on the planet for the last 2500 years.

  22. Peaceful protesters chase a minority-owned business out of town.

    The business owners said they support police reform and said protesting has always been weaved into the culture of Seattle and they welcome it.

    “Our ability to express ourselves and protest what we believe in now has completely been overtaken by violence and rioting and complete lack of respect for each other,” Andrea said.

    Andrea said as a minority owning a business in downtown Seattle was always a dream come true for her.

    1. My guess she’s not going to be in an NPR human interest story

    2. “The business owners said they support police reform and said protesting has always been weaved into the culture of Seattle and they welcome it.”

      “This isn’t right, we’re faithful Party members, there has to be some mistake, if only the Chairman knew.”

      1. Tom Parsons Andrea could do “good work” in Oceania’s labour camps

    3. Not a surprise.
      If you remember all the way back to March, before “defund the police” and antifa burning precinct stations and courthouses, the first targets of the “peaceful demonstrations” were Black-owned businesses in Black neighborhoods.
      Business owners are uppity, and antifa and BLM don’t like uppity.

  23. This won’t be an issue once we have single-payer healthcare.

    1. Agreed. If we do get single-payer healthcare, it won’t look like what you think it will, though.

      1. “If we do get single-payer healthcare, it won’t look like what you think it will, though.”

        What! You don’t like the idea of going to the V.A. for your doctor?

      2. Under single payer, you will have a right to the health care the government allows you to have.

    2. Government monopolies solve every problem! Why hasn’t anyone else thought of this before? You just say, government, here’s a bajillion dollars that we took from rich people and kick your heels up as you watch unlimited streams of perfectly instituted healthcare, food, housing, hugs, lollipops and unicorns just fall into your lap. You don’t even have to work if you don’t feel like it. Even better, they don’t want anything in return. The whole thing is run by completely sincere altruists who only want children’s smiles for payment.

      You’re truly a thinker who’s ahead of his time. Just dazzling.

      1. Now you’re getting it. Your education is complete!

    3. Yeah, then everyone is forced to pay for abortions, that’s a much better outcome.

  24. Biden’s view may hold sway for the next four years. But it’s not hard to imagine a President Harris in 2025

    If Biden is elected, I’m betting on invocation of Section 4 of the 25th Amendment long before 2025. The pandemic will shield Biden from revealing the sad state of his mental decline until after November 3, 2020 but it won’t be long after January 20, 2021 that his state becomes clear and the cabinet stages a coup.

    A vote for Biden is really a vote for Harris IMHO. Trump will likely try to run against Harris mostly but I don’t think that will be very successful (though it would have been a killer campaign strategy if Joe had been foolish enough to pick Warren).

    1. I think everyone knows Biden is a stand-in candidate, which is why there’s been so much attention focused on his VP pick. Harris may as well be the running mate for a jar of peanut butter.

    2. I think they might try to drag it out for 2 years and one day, so that she can be the power behind the throne for a while, but still serve two full terms of her own. But, yeah, if he really is starting into dementia, they probably won’t be able to prop him up that long.

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  26. Religious freedom is really subjective as there are any number of beliefs we are willing to over rule. We seem to focus on religious issues surrounding sexuality and reproduction. Groups of Jehovah Witnesses oppose blood transfusions yet we don’t say no government funds for these procedures. Observant Jews and Moslems don’t eat pork yet we expect them to pay taxes some of which may subsidize or assist pork production. I don’t think Senators Harris’s view are as much out of the ordinary as are the view of those who think they have special religious rights.

    1. Thank you for this.

    2. “(Taxes) may subsidize or assist pork production

      But that’s wrong too and shouldn’t be happening… it’s just not as wrong as killing babies.

      1. If anti-abortion people truly felt it was equivalent to baby killing, none of them would ever dare get an abortion, right?

  27. Well sure, if the Second Amendment can be infringed and curtailed and to-be-sured, why not the First?
    Up next: Govt troops quartered in your house, but only when the State has a compelling interest in doing so.

  28. Since religious beliefs in America historically have been used to oppress rather than enlighten, and it still is used that way today to justify all manner of crimes against humanity, then I can’t fucking wait for Biden/Harris to get elected. But of course, they won’t take away your religious freedoms, so rest easy nutters. You can still believe whatever you want. You’ll be free to go to any church (or not go yet still believe that you’re pious and above reproach) and you’ll still be able to hire the “right sort” of god-fearing people to work for you. That will never change. This is America after all. One long sordid history of using Christianity as a stick to beat everyone with. That’s pretty fucking great. Right, Trumpers?

  29. The ideal of religious is lovely, but it’s not really what’s under discussion. The Christians who want to bully their way into business and government do not want religious liberty for, say, Muslims, do they? They want as theocratically Christian a society as they can get. That makes them the enemy of enlightenment values, if they’re gonna insist on being that way about it.

    1. “That not the issue, this is the issue (which I will define according to my prejudices and biases). And why aren’t you frightened by the strawman I’m brandishing? It’s super-scary.” – t. Tony

      1. Hi, I’m Tony, and I’ve lived in America most of the last so-and-so years. Where have you been? Some place where there isn’t a huge, extremely wealthy Christian theocratic movement with lawyers in every court? Must be nice.

  30. There are many reasons why I am queasy about Harris, mostly her behavior as San Francisco’s District Attorney and later as California’s Attorney General.

    But there is a problem with expanding the concept of “religious liberty” to provide an exception from “laws of general applicability”: the exception would swallow the law.

    In the United States, a religion is anything that calls itself one. That’s how Scientology is able to get away with a lot of the things it does. And in general I think that is a good thing.

    But… I don’t know how many avid segregationists are left. Quite a few if the 2017 “Unite the Right” is an indicator. Let’s say a group would like to start a transportation service that excluded Blacks, Jews, and Muslims. All they would have to do is form a 501(c) organization, call it a “religion”, and they would be free to exclude anybody they wanted.

    Persuade the city council to disband the existing, government-operated bus or subway service, start up your own service under the aegis of your 501(c) organization, and Bob’s your uncle.

  31. I knew Ms. Harris is out of her league when discussing religion; that was obvious when she referred to Amy Barrett as an “orthodox Catholic.”

    I thought “WHAT! THERE’S BEEN A RECONCILIATION AFTER 2 THOUSAND YEARS, AND NOBODY SAID ANYTHING? DOES THE POPE KNOW?”

    Then I realized she was speaking of the Anglican church.

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  33. This should scare ever American.

  34. This is a bizarre vision of faith […]

    I’m pretty sure that the “bizarre version of faith” is the one that supported sodomy laws, said that gay folk couldn’t get married in secular ceremonies, and continues to lie about non-discrimination law in order to stoke up fear and loathing.

    But I can make this simple: either the entire CRA has been unconstitutional since 1964 because it disallows (in most cases) employers from firing people for belonging to the wrong religion, race, sex, national origin, etc. and so-on… or it’s constitutional.

    Bostock doesn’t change that.

    Pretending that it does? Pretty bizarre.

  35. The articles author is very clever to hide behind terms like “apply religious principles in the workplace”.
    Does the author believe in such an unfettered right?
    If someone believes black people are cursed by God and should be required to work in lesser separate conditions is that okay? Presumably no. Why? Well the law already protects that, sure but if he does not think “religious freedom” should override the legitimate concerns of mistreatment when it comes to race etc, why does he think it should overcome legitimate concerns when it is a persons sexuality?

  36. I understand the point about not contributing money to support someone else’s actions that you regard as immoral. But I’m having trouble making the connection between the employer and health care. Yes, an employer should have the religious freedom not to support immoral actions, including not to be forced to fund such actions.

    But this is health care, not the work of an employee. It is an historical accident that health care is provided through employment. It is a matter of administrative convenience that government mandated health care has been channeled through employers.

    So is this issue really a matter of religious freedom of the employer? If we look at this honestly, this is the opportunistic use of an administrative convenience to deny an employee health care that the employer finds morally offensive.

    I understand the complicity argument. But it’s a weak argument because there is nothing necessary about it. In substance, it’s not really about religious freedom of the employer. A mere technical correction in the law could have taken the employer out of the picture. The delay in such a technical correction is a matter of politics, a politics through which employers are being used as foils.

    I would think most employers would rather not be used in this fashion.

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