CAP-supported Senate Bill 1288, which says that professionals cannot lose their state-issued license or accreditation because of the free exercise of their religion, came under some fire during a floor session in the state House earlier last week. Opponents of the bill claimed the bill was broad and said its provisions went too far.
Is this a broad bill?
Yes, it is.
That’s because our religious liberty under the federal and state constitutions is broad. Our Founding Fathers recognized the important contribution that religion makes to a free society and sought to ensure that religious freedom would be safeguarded and cherished.
Religious liberty is not something that the government may artificially limit by deciding whose ideas are acceptable and whose are not. And religious beliefs are not something that professionals should have to leave by the wayside in order to be licensed by the State. In fact, many professionals are motivated by their faith to enter their chosen professions.
SB 1288 recognizes that true religious freedom means that a person may incorporate his or her religious beliefs into his or her professional life.
Now, there is a limit – the bill does not authorize criminal conduct, regardless of whether it is motivated by religion.
But beyond that, the idea that a few “bad apples” may abuse religious freedom – or any other freedom for that matter – is not a reason to limit or take away that freedom for everyone. SB 1288 protects professionals from having to choose between their faith and their profession.