Project on Civil Discourse: Paradox of Tolerance

Project on Civil Discourse: Paradox of Tolerance


(lively music) – So interesting story from
University of Wisconsin, Madison last week that I find exciting. So there was a student
who was posting notes on the college republican’s office, the GOP Badger’s office. That were identifying Trump as a racist, and a bigot, and a homophobe, and a number of characterizations and she just sort of quietly
was putting those up, and it made a big, it
was a silent protest. She had some music with it,
but she wasn’t speaking. And the response from the GOP Badgers was this woman was intolerant, right? And any time you’ve tweeted something and you say, you know,
this policy is racist or homophobic and you
might hear in response, you know, you bigot, or the intolerant, the so-called tolerant left. So we utilized this term,
intolerance fairly broadly and in an of a wide variety of ways in our political discourse. It’s usually an insult. It’s also the case that
some forms of intolerance are different than others. A civil rights law is
technically intolerant of certain types of
preferences or beliefs. So when we codify into law,
you don’t get to decide who you hire based on how they pray, or what color they are,
or what biology they have. It’s an intolerance of
that preference, right? And we don’t consider that an insult. So what happens when there’s a clash of types of tolerance? When you have a civil
rights law that protects, particularly usually protected classes from adverse decisions
by, be it governments, or businesses, or other entities. And then you have liberties, particularly such as religious liberty, potentially intention with that. So we have, is three speakers
here to talk about that in the context of religious exemptions from civil rights laws. Fred Gedicks from
Brigham Young University, who is the principal author
and counsel of record on a supreme court amicus
brief filed for himself and 20 other church and state scholars. In Hobby Lobby case, in
which a private business had argued for an exemption
from the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act. So they did not want to
provide contraception, and Professor Gedicks led a group of church state scholars explaining why they should not receive that exemption. Ultimately the Hobby Lobby prevailed. Sarah Warbelow, from the
human rights campaign is their legal director,
and on the front lines of legislative battles at
the state and federal level seeking exemptions, or
blocking civil rights laws aimed at protections
for the LBGT community. And Kathleen Brady associated
with Emory University has written among other things, the distinctiveness of
American religion and law, rethinking religion clause, jurisprudence. So I’m gonna ask each of them, starting with Professor Gedicks
to sort of set the stage with your sense of the state of things, and what this audience should know. – Well I’m happy to be here. And thanks to Professor
Schwartz for that introduction. Where do we stand now? Such a hard thing to
discuss in 60 minutes, so I’ll go on in five minutes. I think one of the things that I think the discussion lacks is
careful attention to place, to the place where accommodation is soft. I think, what I think are
two of the easiest cases, on one hand would be churches
and religious congregations, the legal term is houses of worship. And at the other extreme
are government offices. Both physical offices
and then the authority that people wield as government officials. I would say that, obviously
the criminal law applies to how a church runs it’s
internal affairs, but otherwise, we should give extraordinary
difference to churches that’s reflected in the
so-called ministerial exception. The church can choose whomever they please as it’s minister on
whatever basis it wants. Ministerial decisions are exempt from all anti-discrimination laws. And I think that’s appropriate because that decision and both
the actual, the physical, and the virtual place in which it occurs, is quintessentially private
space in the United States. We let people do what they
want in their living rooms, as least we ought to. The criminal law applies, and of course, there are dangers with
saying something’s private, so the government can’t intervene. For many years family life was so private that there were apparently was
no role for law enforcement with respect to spousal and child abuse. But at least setting
aside the criminal law, I think churches, that’s a private space and churches should be
able to do what they want within that space, and
people who dislike it, can join another church,
or not go to that church. On the other hand, you
take the other extreme, government offices and officials, this is the Kim Davis situation, the county clerk in Kentucky. I thought that her actions
were wrong on multiple levels. But the most important one was if you’re a government official, so I’m not talking
about a cafeteria worker or a custodian, or someone like that in a government building. But someone who wields
government authority, that person needs to
represent all the people in his, in their jurisdiction. And I thought it was deeply wrong from a political matter
of politic morality for someone to have been
elected to represent all the people in a
particular county of Kentucky, who’s tax dollars are paying her salary from all the people, and then to say, “Sorry, I can’t serve all the people.” And to be, in particular, somewhat rigid in allowing other people in her office to serve those people. So I think those are the two, for me, those are the two easy situations. The hard ones are the ones in the middle, public accommodations,
and religious non-profits who serve large members of the public rather than simply those
of their own faiths. So I mean, religious hospitals, is sort of the classic example of that. I think I’m bumping up
against five minutes, so I’ll just leave those thoughts. – Why, I actually had a
very similar approach, so I’ll tailor it slightly, so we’re not saying the same exact thing. But I do think that one of
the things we’re missing, when we talk about the
inner-section of LBGTQ rights, and religious liberties,
and religious exemptions. Is that we already have a
really excellent framework for how to think about
these types of things, in existing federal and state laws. These are not new ideas. This is something that our
society has been grappling with when it comes to non-discrimination laws and the extent to which we
allow religious entities, or religious individuals to assert a right not to comply with those
non-discrimination laws. So in addition to the
ministerial exception that you referenced, which
not only allows churches to make decisions about who, or houses of worship to
make decisions about who their religious leaders are, has been interpreted fairly
broadly to apply to anybody who’s job it is to help perpetuate and carry out the faith. So if you are a teacher
at a religious school, and part of your job is to help ensure that the religious beliefs
of that organization permeate the education,
you are a minister, that’s part of your job. In contrast, the person
who’s mopping the floors at 11 o’clock at night is
not perpetuating the faith. Even then, our federal employment
non-discrimination laws take into account the idea
that you might wanna have a purely insular religious organization. And permit you to limit your hiring to people of your own faith. So if a Catholic school, a Jewish school, a Muslim school wants to
say, in order to work here, you have to be a member of our faith. And we as a religious organization get to make decisions about who is, and who is not truly a
member of our faith, right? I don’t get to walk in and say, “Hey, I think I’m Catholic,
I think I’m Jewish.” It is the organization itself that gets to make those determinations. We created that space for people to have community with individuals
of their own faith. But when we talk about moving
out into the broader world, when we’re talking about that janitor. When we’re talking about people
who are seeking services, we historically have not
permitted individuals who are religious to be
able to refuse services. The Supreme Court has
already tackled this issue. In the 1960’s, there was an
individual who ran a restaurant. And he had very sincerely
held religious beliefs that he shouldn’t have to serve
certain types of customers. There were three customers who walked in, who he felt he just could not, because of his religious beliefs, serve. He even said to them, “I’m not going to allow
you to have the barbecue “that I serve in my restaurant, “but you know what, I’ll accommodate you “by giving you something
out the back door.” The Supreme Court rejected that as a permissible form of discrimination. They didn’t question the sincerity of his religious beliefs. What they said instead, is
that we have to be able to have non-discrimination laws that
eradicate discrimination when people are moving
about in public life. Now that individual was not discriminating against LBGTQ people,
he had a sincerely-held religious belief that
there should be no mixing of the races, and so he wouldn’t serve those three African-Americans
in his restaurant with white individuals. Now that may seem very
odious to you today, I would imagine, most people sitting here, if not all of us, agree that those attitudes
are unacceptable. But they were sincerely-held religious belief by that individual. What he is allowed to do
in the privacy of his home, what he’s allowed to do if he
establishes his own church, establishes a religious school, is very different from
what our expectations are when people open themselves
up to the general public. – Thanks, I wanna begin by
thanking Professor Schwartz for inviting me to be
part of this conversation, such an important topic, and with such distinguished panelists. I’ve been a law and religion scholar for about 20 years now. And when I began, the
field was relatively small. Small number, our scholars,
and small number of advocates who were laboring largely
outside of the public view. And we had different opinions often, quite different opinions, but by and large, the
conversation was congenial. Now of course, questions
of religious liberty have become caught up in the culture wars and they’re front and center
of our national conversation. And the paradigm case is no longer the small, religious minority who’s been ignored, or over-looked, or targeted by democratic majorities. It’s a more familiar face
who’s role in shaping public norms has been ebbing for sometime with respect to marriage,
family, and sexuality. But it’s been receding very
quickly in recent years. Both of these paradigms have given rise to an important question
that’s been at the center of debates in the field for many decades. And that is when government
laws and regulations serving legitimate public purposes, burden religious practice, should we excuse religious believers from the requirements of those laws? And relatably, does the
free exercise clause of the first amendment to our constitution require relief in some circumstances? In the past when the paradigm was that a small religious minority seeking an exemption
from a majoritarian rule, religious exemptions at least as a matter of principle,
seem benign and laudable. Now though, with today’s
religious majorities are seeking exemptions from laws promoting new norms regarding marriage,
family, and sexuality, things look different to many people inside and outside of the academy. And religious exemptions have
met with fierce resistance from those who worry that these exemptions will harm those that the
laws are designed to protect, as well as, undermine the
advancement of equality for LBGTQ persons and women, in law, society, and the broader economy. Today’s debate is about
religious exemptions raise important issues that
matter to many Americans, and it’s not surprising then, that our conversations have been intense. However, too often
heated passions in an era of coarsening public
rhetoric have been impeded our ability to hear what
each other have to say. And they’ve brought a distrust that threatens to make deepened divisions and tractable, and destabilizing
for our life together. So when Professor Schwartz
asked me to be part of an event sponsored by the
Project on Civil Discourse, I was excited by the opportunity
and also by the occasion. Professor Schwartz has asked us to address the paradox of tolerance. That is, if a society is
tolerant without limit, it’s ability to be tolerant, is eventually seized, or
destroyed by the intolerant. And that is surely true, but the good thing about our
current disputes right now is something about my fellow panelists have already pointed out. A few participants in our current debates are actually making these
kinds of sweeping claims. Religious opponents of same-sex marriage have largely acquiesced to
the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell versus Hodges recognizing a constitutional right of
same-sex couples to marry. And likewise, why many
religious conservatives opposed gender transitioning
and related treatments, they haven’t sought to ban them. Similarly, conservative
religious believers don’t object as a
general matter to serving or employing LBGTQ persons, their objections are more narrow. For example, there have been objections to facilitating, affirming,
and in some cases, recognizing same-sex marriages, and also to facilitating or participating in treatments related
to gender transitioning. And for their part,
participants are advocacy for LBGTQ rights, haven’t
sought to force clergy to solemnize marriages
between same-sex couples. And as a general matter,
they haven’t otherwise sought to reach into the
purely private spaces of religious institutions,
churches, synagogues, and loss and liking and
you’ve heard that here. So our debates, lots have heard,
are about public settings. Public accommodations, commerce, and religious non-profits
serving and employing those of a variety of different faiths. And they’re about the
ability to live in accordance with one’s religious or sexual
identities in these places. On the one hand, same-sex
couples wanna be able to access wedding-related services on the same basis as heterosexual couples,
and they wanna be treated like heterosexual couples
when they approach foster care and adoption
agencies, for example. And transgender persons don’t want to encounter barriers in medical care. On the other hand, some
small business owners don’t want to personally
provide wedding-related services that they see as expressing
approval of same-sex marriage. And some religious institutions
don’t wanna provide foster care services or other services, or medical care that they believe violates their religious teachings
regarding the nature of marriage and sexuality. So it’s in these public places that claims for toleration, collide. Religious believers wanna be able to follow their faith in public settings. And LBGTQ persons want to be treated as equal citizens in the same spaces. Both want inclusion in public life. An inclusion, not at some
kind of abstract level, but inclusion as persons who’s identity shape their lives in concrete ways, and in concrete circumstances. The location of these disagreements provides the key to resolving them. Public places are shared spaces
and they should be shared. How to do this is the stuff of compromise that begins with listening to what others have to say about their experiences. Speaking in ways that can be understood, reflecting on what we really need, and working in good faith to find fair and balanced solutions that take account of what matters most to one another. As someone who knows conservative religious communities well, I would predict that over time, of good faith and sustained
process of engagement like this, would likely also reduce, though by no means
eliminate, areas of conflict. Listening to one another’s experiences reduces what seems intolerable, because it helps us to
understand one another. I think we’d also make more progress by exploring the language of rights, rather than toleration. In the law relation field, we usually speak in terms of rights, because that’s the language of
our constitutional tradition. At one level, rights talk
might harden disputes. As each side asserts rights
against the claim of the other. But rights talk can also express a deeper understanding of the
claims that are being made. A right to religious freedom reflects the human capacity to seek the divine, and the desire to follow
conscious where it leads. And a right to religious
freedom respects that capacity. Claims by LBGTQ persons for
full inclusion in society, reflect the human
capacity for moral agency. The ability of persons to
reflect upon what it means to live a good life, and
a desire to pursue visions of human flourishing
that integrate sexuality into the broader pattern
of human relationships. Both sides in our complex seek human goods grounded in human personhood. And if we see it that way, we can do more than tolerate one another. We can respect one another, even when we deeply disagree. – Wow! So first thought is a question for Sarah. So it feels like in this,
this is not gonna be a very fire and brimstone panel, so– – Not yet.
– Not yet. – All right, maybe. Well I’m sitting far enough. So you have a big city
that has lots of contracts with lots of providers of services. And including foster care,
and there are tons and tons of children in the foster care
system in the United States. And you have a service provider
like Catholic Charities that’s been doing this
work for a long time. And let’s say, a big city like D.C., works with tons of providers,
including Catholic Charities, and if they say that we’re not actually going to facilitate adoptions
or household reviews for married, same-sex
couples, or you know, couples who we deem as
a religious provider inconsistent with our faith. And D.C. is doing business
and house contracts with four other foster care agencies, because that’s how high the need is here. What’s the position on that exemption, I mean, if they’re are other
places that family can go? And there are agencies that will service. – You know, part of this is both about perspective parents, but
also the children in care. You know, it is not the best
interest of children in care to reduce the number of families
that are available to them. There have been some false claims made that by asking organizations
that have a religious character to serve all perspective
parents regardless of whether those perspective parents are
LBGTQ or of another faith. There’s a very significant
incident in South Carolina. Recently, in which an
agency refused to work with someone who was Jewish,
refused to work with someone who was Catholic,
because those individuals didn’t conform to the faith of the agency. And now in that circumstance,
the agency is responsible for about 70% of all adoption
and foster care in the state. But we need to make sure that
as many families as possible are available for children
who desperately need care. And there is a dignitary
harm to turning people away. The harm’s not only those couples who are seeking to be parents, those individuals who are
seeking to be parents, who are otherwise qualified, but also harm to the youth in care. Many of whom are LBGTQ. About 40% of runaway and
homeless youth are LBGTQ people. And a very significant percentage of those have entered into the foster care system. Those kids need to know
that they are affirmed. That there’s nothing wrong
with them for being LBGTQ. And if the agency that
is facilitating adoption to foster care placements, it’s telling them that a LBGTQ
parent isn’t good enough, what effect does that have
on the youth, themselves? – That’s fine, others. – Yeah, I think all the
interests that you mentioned are important ones, and I
guess my take on it again, and it sort of set it out with what I said at the beginning was,
trying to find compromises that take into account
the moldable interest that you mentioned, as well as, the concerns of the religious
foster care adoption agencies. My guess with respect
to the children in care, I guess there, if you’re having, I get the result of imposing
any impact of discrimination, nor, I’m wanna say a
Catholic adoption agent, or foster care agency, is for the agency to
close down it’s services. You are in that way
eliminating one of the agencies that has been reaching
out to this population, as well as, the perspective
parents that they reach. And the dignitary harms,
you know that’s something that I’ve been thinking about in my mind. I feel, well, how ’bout a situation where the way you enter the foster care system if you’re a perspective couple, is one in which you, either
you see the options, right? You see the options,
and you can from there, reach out to an agency that
you feel will best fit you. And there’s an indication there, that not that you probably
didn’t already know it, if you’re the perspective
couple who’s a same-sex couple. Well the Catholic one wouldn’t
be a good one for you. So that you don’t have to, and reach out, and get turned away. I mean obviously, the
second level would be owed, a referral, but I’m trying
to address a dignitary harm where you don’t have to
go and then get referred. You just, the way everyone enters, is they see a pen, a play of options, and they kind of go where
it works best for them. And then in that way, you have
more families participating, you don’t shut down any programs, and think also you have to structure it so that the kids who are
out there in need of homes, would be available to all
the parents in the system who would otherwise, you
know fit their needs. The parent’s background
fit the kid’s needs. So that any particular foster care agency wouldn’t kind of have hold on those kids. So anyone entering into
the system and working with an agency that fits their needs, would also be able to have
access to the kids out there. And in terms of, you
know the thought issues with respect to the kids in the program who are LBGTQ, that is something that, you know I think there
would have to be mechanisms in place so that those
kids wouldn’t end up in a situation where the
family was not good fit, because maybe they even ran away, because of those reasons, and
obviously you wouldn’t wanna, you wouldn’t wanna put them
back in a situation like that. But I think this is what
I like to think about. Is how can all of these things be balanced so that you have the adoption,
the religious adoption, foster care agencies there,
the same-sex couples, serve. Because ultimately, the helping kids, the important project
with foster care agencies. And I feel like all sides
in this debate have, are interested in helping others. They are acting from goodwill, and these are important
problems in communities, who’s trying to find a
way to work together. – You know one of the concerns that I have about that approach,
are a couple of things. First you know, it’s not always obvious on the face of it, that
a particular agency, just because it has a
religious affiliation is unwilling to work
with a same-sex couple. There actually are,
religiously affiliated, adoption foster care agencies that are willing to work with
perspective LBGTQ parents. So if we had a system in
which, we sort of said, here’s the array of option
that you have and can look at, essentially then what we’re asking is for these agencies to
put up a sign that says, “If you’re LBGTQ, you need not apply.” I think that’s a really
ugly space to go back to. We’ve been there, as part
of our American history, where shops and other places,
very publicly displayed that people would not be
served based on their religion, based on their race,
based on their ethnicity. I don’t think, right, that
actually is a solution that gives us a more
tolerant and open society. The other challenge, and you know maybe, part of what you are suggesting
here, works around it. But once these agencies
are working with youth, through the foster care system, they have to interact with
that child’s entire family. And it’s very distressing to me that we might place a
child with a stranger, rather than with a loving aunt or uncle, because that person is a LBGTQ person. And we got to have those
mechanisms by which we really are placing kids first. In those states that have requirements that foster-care agencies
that are contracting with the government, not discriminate, it’s been very few agencies
that have chosen to shut down. The vast majority of them
have changed their practices. And in the rarer circumstances
where they have shut down, it is workers from those agencies, were so skilled and so committed to the best interest of youth, that they’ve actually
left and set up their own adoption and foster care agencies. It’s incredibly common. This is something that we can’t solve, it’s something that individual,
religious institutions are gonna have to solve
with their practitioners. But in many instances,
there is a clear tension between what a hierarchy
of a religious organization is asserting and what
the people in the pews believe is the right outcome. – I think it’s important
to draw a distinction, or one distinction that one
could draw in this area, is the distinction between
licensing and funding. There could be situations
in which the government refuses to license an adoption agency unless they adhere to
anti-discrimination norms. That’s really an existential
threat to the agency, and it’s the government
saying you can’t exist, you can’t do what you’re going to do unless you adhere to
norms that we dictate. I think it’s very different
when the government says to someone who’s receiving
government funds, the condition to receiving these funds, is that you have to adhere
to non-discrimination norms. I mean that, in practical terms, that maybe an existential threat, but it just seems to make sense to me, that if the government is spending money to serve the public, that
it has the prerogative to determine how the
public will be served. And many of the conflicts
that we’re talking about involve funding, and not licensing, although some do involve licensing. Private, religious entities
I think ought to be entitled to discriminate
with their own money. Especially if they’re
serving their own members. But, I think it’s a bridge too far to say that we need to create space
for religiously-sponsored social service agencies to enable them to discriminate with
the government’s money. If the government attaches
strength as it usually does, that requires adherence to
anti-discrimination laws. That seems to me to be a
good place to draw the line. – I’m gonna, take you up on the second, about the funding issues,
I think you put your finger on an important one, Fred. But back to the servicing,
because it kind of links in, you know, say you enter the system and you see this plan B of options, and there it is, you know,
on paper, on the website, that this particular
agency, it does not certify same-sex couples as foster parents. Is that the same thing
as saying we don’t serve African-Americans or what-have-you? And that’s where I think it’s not, and this is one of the differences, real genuine difficult differences between religious organizations asserting claims for religious
exemption or with individuals. And those opposing them. And I guess, what I
think is at stake there, and this is why I think
I’ve think listening to one another is so important, is that there’s a moral disagreement going on about marriage,
family, and sexuality. What marriage is? Is it between a man and a woman? Or can it be viewed more broadly? And even if you get beyond
that question, what is it? What is marriage? Can we step back and think about it? What comes along with marriage? What goods does marriage
serve, and the likes? Maybe deep, deep questions, and so I think when restrictions
or limitations on rights are meant to kind of take
a moral question and say, this answer to the moral question is outside of what we can think about. I guess that’s the tolerance issue. That’s troubling to me. It’s troubling to me, I think
you know we have tradition of free speech, pluralism,
and the like, so. But when, you know, Fred, you
raised the funding question. So well, okay, so we can
license these groups, where you don’t wanna squash
them, but do we fund them? And then I guess, one question would be, well, what are you, fine
with these adoption agencies? Is the question, of are you funding that, the home studies or not, and I guess in a lot of
cases, the government is not funding the home studies, and that’s where the
discrimination takes place. You know the funding
comes with the serving of the children, and the
likes, so the big question is whether there’s funding
enough to go to context, but more broadly, I would
look sort of historically and say, you know religious organizations have contributed a lot
to American society. They’ve done a lot of good, and often times in
conjunction increasingly, conjunction with the government, though much less than
ordinarily are centuries, and do we want to push them out? Both as a practical matter, and as a matter of shutting down voices that are different. I don’t think we wanna shut
down voices that are different. I think that the gay rights movement is shown that voices that are different, and viewed as intolerable at one time, we see that we were wrong. And you can’t, you can always say, you can probably never can say, you know, this absolutely wrong,
or that’s part of living in a pluralistic society, so I think that’s one
of the big differences, is the struggle. – Let me just say, quickly, I hear this argument a lot, given where I work at
Brigham Young University, out in Utah, that
religions do a lot of good. And I think that’s true, I
don’t dispute that at all. But if we’re going to
have a consequentialist or utilitarian justification for funding religious activities that may run up against public
anti-discrimination values, then we need to sort of net those out all the way along, because religions, religion’s been at the
base of some bad things that have happened in our history as well. And I don’t have, we have
to list all of those. There are often, well, there are values that shouldn’t be compromised
or at least there are values that we can’t balance
away by utilitarianism. There are arguments that, a better result in Brown
versus Board of Education would have been to fund
African-American schools truly equally with the white schools. And that the educational outcome, especially in the long term, might have been better, and I don’t know if that’s true or not, you know, I’m not an
empiricist or a historian, but let’s grant the premise there, and say is, is that somehow, would that somehow
justify school segregation because we have better
educational outcomes? And I think the answer has to be no. That there’s something
wrong with a school system that segregates on the basis of race, and that consequentialist,
positive consequences, or positive utility doesn’t alter the fact that it is still wrong. – Just a thought pulling back. One of the things that people
who take classes with me know, they know that I like to look
for operational definitions. And one of our panelists
introduced an idea, and even a potential rule
will distinguish between moral questions and other questions. So I guess my question there, and my understanding was, that the questions around marriage, and who’s married, and
what marriage is for? And who can marry? Or who can marry whom? Are a functioning as a
moral question right now. And questions around segregation and race, retro-discrimination and
things like that are not. So what puts something in the category of moral or religious question? As opposed to civil rights question. How would we create a category that had a uniquely
religious or moral quality? – You know, that’s a really good question. You know, I guess someone in my position, strong religious exemptions
has to struggle with it, with the question of
well, if you’re gonna make exemptions from civil
rights laws with respect to productions for LBGTQ
persons, well then aren’t you, I guess its the Piggie Park
case, I think you mentioned, that you just walking
right into, you know, saying you have to have
religious exemptions when this combination is racial. And I guess I give the critic
one answer in some ways, but I think it’s a true one that, that racial discrimination is different and part of the reason I
give that answer though, is if you look at the Christian tradition, those claims that were being
made were utterly inconsistent with the long-standing
Christian tradition, even with respect to slavery. Christianity was born into a world in which there was slavery, and it tolerated slavery for centuries. And it, long, long scholarly tradition about the relationship
between slaves and masters, and the like, but what
happened in America, with slavery is completely is inconsistent with even that moral tradition, which now been completely
debunked, obviously. So I think with religious people are making the claim that LBGTQ issues are, marriage and the like of all moral issues and I think those claims they have a, it’s age-old, but the claim
that was made in Piggie Park for that particular individual
is terrible discrimination in the south based on race,
and north too, obviously. That doesn’t have, I
don’t think any roots, much less strong roots in
the Christian tradition, so I would just motion on those basis. – So I agree with you
that we shouldn’t draw or try to treat LBGTQ people identically to racial discrimination. But I do think they
bring important parallels in ways about thinking of things. I would actually encourage us to also look at invidious discrimination against women, discrimination from one religious group to another religious group, as some of the ways that we
wanna approach this as well. Many of those incidents of discrimination are very much rooted in
religious traditions. Though not as widely-accepted today, there is a profound
tradition in many faiths of saying that women are
not fully equal with men. That they have very
distinct roles from men. And maybe it’s not appropriate for women to operate in the workplace
in the same way as men. It’s historically been used to justify paying women lower wages, excluding women from
particular types of jobs. You know, we see it when it
comes from discrimination between religious groups and
maybe even just individuals who don’t like individuals
of other groups. It sometimes, use their
own faith traditions as a rational for discriminating. You know and that brings me back, and I don’t wanna sort
of fixate on this issue of foster or care agencies, but it is just sort of a
great of the moment example of an agency that refused
to work with people who are of a different
faith tradition of them. Despite the fact that they’re operating in the public’s sphere. And so I do think we have
to be thoughtful, right? That it is moral beliefs, it is religious traditions that affect what almost all of us do at some level. You know, even if you’re
an atheist, or agnostic, that doesn’t mean people don’t have a moral compass, right? And that the court has
very much recognized lack of a religion is
protected just in the same way that being of a particular
religious tradition is under the first amendment. So I do think we have
to think about morality more broadly, and the
fact that when it comes to civil rights, it is
actually people’s religious and moral traditions that
has encouraged many Americans to fight on behalf of civil rights, including, but not
limited, for LBGTQ people. – So I’m not that old, but
I was born in the 1950’s, and so I grew up in
sort of that idyllic era that many conservative
religions are always sort of implicitly appealing to. And the idea that racial discrimination would be so publicly condemned, that someone like Trent Lott, would have to resign as
senate majority leader, or that people would be
drawn distinctions between racial discrimination that’s
so different from all the, I mean that was just
unthinkable in the 1950’s, and the 1960’s, for that matter. It’s really the passage of
the civil rights act of 1964, the voting rights act,
the fair housing act, all in the 1960’s, that
not only guaranteed rights for African-Americans and others, but I think started to change attitudes in the United States. I guess this is all to say that, you know whether a moral
question is something about which we’ll tolerate
diversity and whether it isn’t, and how things move from
one category to another, and that’s very much
relative to time and place, that those attitudes are
socially constructed. So one way to think about the
situation that we’re in now is that, we’re in a
transition space analogous to the transition from racial segregation to racial discrimination
in the 1960’s and 1970’s. And conservative religious
people who have traditional views about marriage and
family feel under siege. I mean I think it, for
generations, for centuries, those views were the cultural
back-drop to everything that happened in the United States, and frankly, in the west. And now all a sudden not
only are these denominations not the arbitrators of public morality, but they’re now the minority,
they feel under attack. I don’t know what will
happen in another 50 years because the narrative of progress, I mean it’s like lots
of other miss we have, I don’t think everything is
gonna go slowly to nirvana. We could back up, there are all sorts of
things that could happen. But, I guess we could,
we could imagine that, well I just think of my own church. Which frankly had really
retrograde ideas about race during my lifetime when I was in college. And now they’re engaging in
partnerships with the NAACP and they haven’t changed
fundamental doctrines but clearly there’s been a shift in how they think about this, and how they have reincorporated, or rethought through the idea of race. I think that is likely to happen even with many conservative religions. Well maybe not Roman Catholics. – Yeah, I was– – In two thousand year
history of natural law reasoning about the family. – Yeah, I was thinking about Catholicism. I’m Catholic, when Fred was
talking about his faith. And I think that we’re
on a clear trajectory of within conservative
religion communities, of learning to live with
each other’s differences, even though you know, there’s
always like that, right? You know, I think that one of my points and where we know about one another, when we learn about one
another, the more it helps it. But I don’t necessarily think that means that we’re all gonna agree, or Catholics are gonna
give up their understanding of marriage as between a man and a woman, though I don’t know, actually. But the thing that comes to
my mind is divorce, right? So in the Catholic tradition, if you are married in the
church and you divorce, it’s very difficult to get
remarried in the church. And what we’re really debating about now is access to communion. Which in my mind is a no-brainer. You should be able to have
communion in the church, but that’s what were arguing about, and will we ever be at a point
where the Catholic church will say, “Look you know,
you’re divorced, we’ll remarry.” I don’t think we will. So but anyway, these
are the great questions that religious traditions struggle with, and I think that one of
the things that I think is important is, and I
don’t think either of you are really disputing this,
is that religious traditions have the space to struggle
with their questions about how human life is to be lived, and how that relates to how they understand God’s
revelation in the world. One of the things, Fred,
you just mentioned, was sort of fear factor,
and I think you have to put that into the
utilitarian calculus right now. The sense that conservative
religious believers have, that they’re under threat. It is very dangerous. It has, in my mind, justified
all sort of positions and steps that I would use on justifiable, but they happen all the time. And they are harmful for all of us. And I don’t think we
want a community in which large groups of Americans feel
that they’re under threat, even if we deeply disagree
with who they are. It’s very destabilizing. So that’s part of the
utilitarian calculus for me. – So I was thinking that
we have a great audience here ready to ask questions, and that we could just
release a mike into the crowd and get you engaging actually with them. – That’s right. – Who’s got something? – Pass this back to Eliza back there. (background noise drowns out conversation) – [Eliza] I have a question
for Kathleen, right? Just in terms of what
you were talking about, with adoption agencies and having couples sort of like choose their own thing, I just sort of wonder like
what’s the line between requiring an agency or some
institution to not discriminate? And then having people, whose
those discrimination laws are protecting, and having
them sort of be in charge of not facing their own discrimination? I just sort of wonder
like where that line is, between asking someone to not enter, to protect themselves from discrimination and asking them to sort of
not be discriminated against? I just think that that’s
a really dangerous line to cross, and I just sort of wonder where that exists in your mind? I think this is sort of
question for everyone. – Yeah, I think that’s, it be a religious accommodation, right? So as an accommodation, an exemption, although in this case, I guess you would call it an exemption, broader category of accommodation, it’s making adjustments. It is making adjustments to
our anti-discrimination rules. To make room for religious
adoption agencies which now have minority positions on this. So, it’s give and take, right? So yeah, there’s some take there, and there’s some give there. And I don’t deny it, but
I sort of started out with this idea of shared space, and sharing the space, and that requires some give and take, I don’t deny that. – [Eliza] I guess my
question is sort of more like how much space are you giving to people who are actively trying
to take up of this space of age historically marginalized group? And then also, sort of counter, that is, with those people who are
historically marginalized, how much of is asked of them to avoid– – Yeah, right, well that you know, in the cases, the South Carolina one with the religious discrimination, that’s sort of a different issue and demographically it’s different, too. I’m not as familiar with that, I know vaguely about that case, but you know in there, I guess
it’s a Protestant agency, they take up a lot of the space in terms of the agency
and the children involved. And so to exclude other
religions is quite significant, and I think but sort of
with the LBGTQ issues, focusing on those, in
the cases in the north, mid-atlantic, in those
situations the number of agencies that object to certifying same-sex couples is a small fraction of the
overall number of agencies. And I think it matters. To me it matters that same-sex couples would have access to the
foster care system, all right? And so if there were no agencies willing to work with same-sex couples, you’d have to come up with
some kind of an accommodation, if you could, that would
address that problem. And where would I draw the line? I guess I wouldn’t wanna
like the draw the line because I’m always trying
to figure out solutions, I love a puzzle. You know, so to try to figure
out a way to make it work. But you put your finger on
something very important. No, you can’t block, if religious exemptions
mean blocking other people out of the shared space,
it’s not sharing any more. – Pass the microphone ahead of you. – [Woman] I still don’t,
oh it is working now. Okay I don’t even know
if I’m gonna use this, I’m like right in front of you guys, but basically like,
bouncing off the same idea of this foster care system in which, yes, Catholic organizations may not
allow LBGTQ people to adopt, but maybe they should just pick their own. I think that when you look at
things from this utilitarian point of view, that you guys
have all been discussing, it kind of is difficult to
ignore that a lot of the impacts that are taken by religious exemptions happen to be the same religion. And there are clearly
more hegemonic discourses of Catholicism then there
are of other religions in this context when we provide
those religious exceptions. So on that idea of impacts, when some organizations, and you mentioned there’s some states where
it is far more difficult to find organizations
that are not Catholic that are gonna allow you to adopt, how do we reckon with that in our policy and in our implementation of policy in a way that does protect
our religions equally when there has been such a shift in power towards certain religions over others in the past, in the United States? – I mean so one of the
things that I would say is I think there needs
to be non-discrimination on the basis of religion, as
well as non-discrimination on the basis of sexual
orientation and gender identity. I’m deeply troubled by this agency that is turning people away
based on their religion. You know, we have an environment which because of historical
and I think you could argue, continuing preferences
for questering traditions over other religious traditions. That those agencies that are
in the child welfare space but also many other spaces, too. Running homeless shelters, running emergency shelters for people, running hospitals, major hospital systems are disproportionately
Christian traditions and so you don’t actually
have a marketplace in which people can seek services on an equal funding and
on an equal playing field. And I don’t think that
those religious institutions who are operating with public dollars, operating in the public space should be able to turn people away. Whether that’s because they’re LBGTQ, or because they’re of a
different religious tradition. And if the flip were true, right? Let’s say you happen to have a community in which Jewish people, or Muslim people were the majority, and the
bulk of the institutions reflected the majority population, yeah those traditions
shouldn’t be able to exclude Christian couples, or
Christian individuals who wanna be a part of providing long-term solutions for kids. They shouldn’t be able to reject people who are in emergency situations
and need to find shelter. – I would like to say something in partial defense of Catholics. (laughing) You know Catholics were once a powerless, persecuted minority in the United States, and much of what we observed, Kathleen can speak to
this better than I can, but much of what one can observe
about Catholic institutions is the result of having to
create their own school systems. Having to deal with pervasive institutional discrimination
in the United States. It was respectable in academic circles into the 1960’s to be anti-Catholic. So this is not something
from the distant past. It’s also the case that, not everywhere in the United States, but in many places in the United States, the only hospitals and medical clinics that would serve African-Americans on the same basis of
others, were Catholics. And so there’s some
ironies about the idea that now Catholics, you know
are hegemonic institutions that are out of step with public values when in some respects, they
were ahead of public values. I just offer that as an observation, I don’t know that we can, that I can draw any conclusions from it, but it’s, I think
something to keep in mind. – And it is the wonderful
Catholic tradition of providing options for the poor, that has resulted in so many, although certainly not exclusively, the agencies providing these
services being Catholic. Right, it is that commitment
to dignity for poor people, which is really quite radical at the time that these institutions were established that created a little bit of a dichotomy that we’re in right now. – I just throw out one tiny little point, and it’s not appraise
of Catholics, thank you. I don’t view them personally (chuckles), see, I’m just a little person. But I think that one of the things that you put your finger on is, where I mentioned in the beginning, the paradigm shift, right? Paradigm shift away from,
religious exemptions protecting the small minority
who’s been overlooked or targeted by democratic majorities, versus now we’re in a
situation where we have previously quite powerful, perhaps not as you folks point out, previously not powerful, but nevertheless, in the
grand scheme of things, recently more powerful. Losing power, but wanting exemptions from laws that now
reflect new norms, right? And so I think it’s important when developing principles for
how to deal with religious exemptions to think in terms of rules that would protect both of these groups. In other words, if you using,
oh he’s a powerful group, but then you have a principle and tomorrow the principle is not very helpful when it comes terms to
the small minority, right? So, the rules that we developed should be able to cross
over those differences. – [Male] Hi Professor Brady,
I was hoping to turn back quickly to the comparison to historical anti-segmentation doctrine. I hear your point that in the modern era there’s been a debunking
of the, or discrediting, of the theological
interpretation behind that. But at the time, I think you’d agree it was a sincerely held religious belief. So I guess, training words
to like the legal litmus test that should be applied. Are you suggesting that government should be involved in
the theological debates, and the underpinnings of these doctrines? Or what’s the litmus test? – That’s actually a really great question. Because I stand by what I said, but as you’re saying, you know when we’re, say we’re talking policy,
or a constitutional right, are we gonna say, well this
one has a real foundation, and Christian tradition
in this one, doesn’t. And I actually don’t
think that we need to. I think another of the problematic facets of exemptions in a context of protections for racial minorities is
our history in America and what those exemptions would mean. It’s one thing to say we
need exemptions in a context in which there are
plenty of other options, we can square that with the shared space, and it’s another thing when
there’s a long tradition of discrimination, a
pattern of discrimination where exemptions, especially
back in the 1960’s, I mean that would’ve just blown a hole right through the whole rule. But with religious
exemptions today mean that? It depend on how you tailor them, and that’s part of the question. But I don’t think that they would have to, and I think part of the reason, you see very rapidly
changing views, right? So, that’s why you get a sense from religious conservatives
that they’re under threat, ’cause things have changed so fast. So I think there’s a
different history there that makes race different, and as well, it’s just
the theological thing which we rise, very
problematic if you try to operationalize that for a
constitutional principle or other legal principle. – I can’t reemphasize enough that I do, think race and the experiences of people based on race are different, than the experiences
based on LBGTQ status, but there is a history and tradition of discriminating against LBGTQ people that’s very troubling. I mean it wasn’t until
2003 in this country, that LBGTQ people could go
anywhere in this country and not be at risk of
being declared a criminal, put in jail, simply for engaging
in an intimate relationship with the person that they loved. We are not in a situation
in which LBGTQ people were going merrily along
and then all of a sudden there’s a change in
norms or understanding. There is a pattern and
practice of discrimination. The government refusing to
hire people who were LBGTQ. Rooting out people who were LBGTQ for ostracization and to be fired. And this has been going on
for a very significant part of American history,
and continues to today. We are not in a situation
in which LBGTQ people have full rights in this country, and are able to operate as
members of public society without fear of
discrimination, harassment, and frankly for some
members of our community, tremendous violence. – And I will say, you are right. And I should not minimize the
experience of LBGTQ people. And I think things are
changing very rapidly, but nevertheless, that the
history is not a good one. And that’s why for me,
dignitary harms matter, even if at the constitutional level, I’m troubled by it because
of the free speech, you know free expression,
pluralism points, I think they matter at the
level of how we solve problems. Because it is different when
you are a heterosexual couple, you can just, you know go
into any shop you want, you know, taste any cake you want. You don’t even give it a second thought. It matters that same-sex
couples do not have that same carefree attitude
about planning weddings. So that does matter to me. – Let me just add something into this. I mean one of the oddities
of the current situation is that LBGT rights to
public accommodations are being litigated in
the context of an event that happens once or twice
in someone’s entire life. In the vast majority of Americans, I mean the people who are
least successful at marriage in the United States, get
married three or four times. The vast majority get married
once or twice, or never. And so we’re litigating this, I mean it’s like the
tail is wagging the dog. What Kathleen expressed
very well, I think is, the dignity being denied to LBGTQ persons, it’s not just that they
are personally insulted when they refuse service, but that they lack the
equality of other Americans who don’t even think about freely circulating through society to satisfy their
legitimate needs and wants because they’re not denied. And you shouldn’t have,
you know setting aside things that happen occasionally, you shouldn’t have to do recognizance before you go shopping. To ensure that you’re
gonna be treated fairly, or respectfully, or those sorts of things. And that I think is a dignitary harm that I’m really not in a position to speak from personal experience,
but seems to me that that’s a dignitary harm that
is worse than personal insult. – I think that it is
also important to note that it isn’t just
limited to dignitary harm. You know, many of the
proposals that we have seen, that is what is now law in Mississippi, is about allowing individuals
and organizations, particularly religious organizations that have increasingly become our nation’s social safety net. To discriminate based on their views about what constitutes a marriage. So how does that play out in practice? What that means is, if
you are same-sex couple, fleeing a hurricane along
the Gulf of Mississippi, and an agency that is being
funded by the government can say, “I don’t recognize your marriage. “I don’t recognize you as married, “and therefore I’m not gonna allow you “to shelter in family housing, “but have to split up your family. “You can’t have this room,
you can go into a bunk house.” It means that trans-people
who are homeless are not permitted to be
in shelters consistent with their gender identity. Which is where they and
everybody else are safest. So it is real harms and
not just dignitary harms that come out of many of
these policy proposals. – We’ll get the microphone forward, pass it forward. (background noise drowns out conversation) – Okay. – [Female] I can’t see anyone. Hi, this is for Kathleen. So I just wanna clarify a few things that you said before I ask my question. So, one of the solution,
the proposed solutions to the foster care agency
issue we’ve been talking about, is you said basically in
short, of separate services, and so, you’ve also said during
the course of this lecture that you think race and
sexuality are different, and sort of in kind, and so in your view, other than race, what
classes are protected from sort of, for lack of a better phrase, separate but equal doctrine? – I don’t think I would
call it separate services. Because part of what I’m saying is that the vast majority
of foster care agencies are serving both same-sex
couples and heterosexual couples. So what you’re doing, is
you’re making an accommodation, you’re making space for a religious agency to abide by it’s understanding
of marriage, right? As between a man and a woman,
which is actually a positive. Then you’re allowing it to
abide by it’s understanding of marriage, but– – [Woman] Just to clarify my question, you brought up sort of, they look at the list,
look at the website, and choose sort of who would be open to the needs and services. Is that a fair characterization
of what you said? – Yeah, although I think more broadly, when couples work with
foster care agencies, agencies will specialize
in different areas, right? So, some have a specialization
with LBGTQ families, for example, some have a specialization with children who speak different
languages, I would assume. So in any event, there specializations, so it could be part of a broader thing in any event, but what I am saying, that you would be aware that this is say, a Catholic agency and it’s going to, it’s gonna follow it’s
understanding of marriage. So I mean, separate the
knowing, I guess so, but what other, you know what other thing, that’s sort of an interesting question ’cause you have to, I’d
almost have to see it, right? I’d have to see what the
discrimination claim is. I mean the question of sex is
an interesting one, gender. Just gender, men/women, right? So it is very true that within
religious organizations, their particularly conservative ones, there’s different
treatment of men and women, say as employees, even? But outside, there’s not that kind of, I don’t see it happening a lot where, an evangelical Christian
organization would treat those who are not,
you know, shared members, differently based upon sex, or they haven’t thought about that, right? Even though you usually
sign the anti-discrimination statements pretty readily, except for when it comes to LBGTQ, so I don’t really know, I’d
have to see the question. – [Gentleman] Can I ask a question? – Yeah sure, I just making
sure the mic gets to people. – [Gentleman] All right, cool. So I was actually kind of curious about, so people have been talking about (background noise drowns out conversation) and hegemonic discourse and the idea that what
if you are protected into certain religion rights because of the thought into the country, not focusing on the rights of religious people in general and I’m just sort of curious about what you guys see as
the world would look like ecumenism and for people who
don’t know what that means, it’s a theological
term, it’s written about how different faiths can come together along shared values
and along just sort of, wanting to maintain the
relations of community as people of faith, as
that particular identity, and I also am curious about, I don’t wanna say democracy
is destined, right? But when you look at the United States, in general, we are
becoming less religious. Most Americans do not attend
a regular Sunday service. Very few, slightly more Americans attend some sort of
religious service, than (background noise drowns out
conversation) in particular, so we know for a fact that there is, there is a larger community
of believers out there, who aren’t necessarily Christian, and I’m curious as to how
their sort of concerns about Judaism, most of
them, whatever communities having this sort of conversation because I do think,
especially my ortho-Judaism, and evangelical Christianity
even, seem to again, overlap in terms of on value. In terms of what it means to be good and what it means to be in
accordance with God’s law. And I’m genuinely curious
as to what you think that role is, especially since most of these conversations
we’re talking about, a Christian organization. I’m not really sure what the case is. I have been making competence, but I’m curious as to
where we can draw the line? And that was it, if that makes sense. – Yeah, I think, just
at a practical level, there is a lot of overlap
on, sort of there, conservative moral values among more conservative religious traditions and they have to work together in the advocacy world. But I’m all for ecumenism, I guess you call it ecumenism,
I call it ecumenism. I’m all for it, and part
of what I’m proposing is, – [Gentleman] You can pronunciate, you can very well be right. (laughing) – I don’t know. – I’ve heard both. – [Gentleman] Can you
deny, can 400% confirm without a doubt that I know– – I don’t either, I don’t– – [Gentleman] Additionally,
if I can just throw in one word, like a wrench in the
gears in this conversation, what do you make that
there are conservative religious traditions, and
there are sort of more openly un-liberal religious traditions, and how they might see
the question of adoption, in terms of same-sex couples
might be very different, aside the fact that they
share similar religious values because at a certain point
it becomes state money, and that you look at
evangelical Christianity and the money that they have to spend on you know, mega churches
and stuff like that, you kind of have to ask the question, well do you actually,
would you save money, if you had these large open
religious organizations like the Catholic church, for example? That’s my last question,
you guys prompted a lot of interest and thoughts for me. – I’m elected manager, often just say as of my ultimate answer, I’ll just say I do love ecumenism, I think we should be talking
liberal conservative, whether within churches. There are shared values,
and I think that we should be talking at religious, non-religious, because we have shared
values as a community. It’s very important that I think we recover those values and embrace them. – Well, let’s just take
some more questions. – Can you nail that, Garby? – Kind of always think
of something to say. – [Student] I have something to say. (laughing) – [Student] Hi– – [Technician] Is it hitting
the volume, before, okay. – [Student] I’m from
Mississippi, born and raised. And recently I think it was
three or four years ago now, we passed a law, and its HB-1523, that basically legalized that you can (background noise drowns out conversation) based on your religious views, and so we’ve got instances
like inter-racial couples being turned away from being
able to rent an apartment or a home, or being able
to maybe ask for a church, and I found out recently that university in south Mississippi has
on their job application if you have a same-sex partner, they may not receive health
insurance benefits from us. Even though they’re not
religiously-affiliated, that they receive state money. So I’m wondering under the grounds of allowing people to decide
who they can and can’t serve, where is the line drawn? Because people are being
denied health benefits, they’re, being denied homes,
in a core state nation, so where’s the line drawn between respect for people’s religious freedom and not allowing people to be homeless or without health insurance? – You know one of the
things that I would say, is I think it’s very reflective,
that fact that we have not tackled discrimination in this
country on so many levels. So the actual legislation
in Mississippi, what is law, only permits religious
organizations to discriminate against people based on their belief that marriage is between
one man and one woman, that sex is said at birth, right? That you basically can’t
be a transgender person. And that sex should
happen within a marriage. That’s it, and yet there
is so much hostility still. On the basis of race,
there is still conflating religious views with race discrimination that we are seeing widespread effects on communities of color, despite the fact that it
is not what the legislator contemplated, and technically
not what the law is. But I think it also
shows us how hard it is to draw these lines to
allow people to discriminate based on some ideas, that some Americans aren’t entitled to equal
treatment under the law, and the ability to fully live their lives, versus other Americans. I mean it really is a slippery slope, how do we draw these lines? Because Americans don’t recognize
them as legitimate lines. – I just quickly, I think the Mississippi
law went way too far. I think it provided protections where there weren’t really needs. And it’s exactly the sort of thing that I’m not advocating for. – I think this will be the last one. – [Young Man] So like just
like, you were discussing, is my question was when do
religious organizations, churches, become accountable
for their beliefs? Like you spoke about
in the Catholic church, divorce is not acceptable. When is it okay for
now, someone let’s say, we go to the extreme for someone to say, “You’re divorced, I
don’t wanna serve you.” Or, “I don’t wanna offer you “the availability to foster a child”, or to get a wedding cake
for your second marriage. I think, why don’t you,
the people in these religious organizations
now have to get accountable for their beliefs and not just
be able to pick and choose which of their beliefs
they’re gonna follow, and when they want to
discriminate towards them. – That’s an excellent question and American constitutional doctrine makes an answer almost impossible. Federal and state courts are prohibited from addressing, answering
theological questions. And, I had a note here, I mean this is what makes
complexity claims so hard is that somebody says,
well, the government’s not making me do anything,
but my religion teaches me that I’m accountable for something, that someone else does
three or four layers down in the chain of causation, and
therefore I should be exempt. And yet the courts can’t
really evaluate that. Many of you have probably
heard Beto O’Rourke suggest that religions that
don’t recognize same-sex marriages should have their
tax exemptions revoked. So, if there’s a third
rail of American politics from the standpoint of
religious institutions, that’s it, the tax exemption. And we do have the Bob Jones case. Now, Bob Jones was not
integrated or affiliated with a church, and I don’t
think the IRS anytime soon is gonna go after an actual
church for it’s tax exemption, but I do think in the long run, that any organization, religious or not, who’s values are perceived to be corrosive of widely-shared values is at risk of losing it’s tax exemption. – [Young Man] I’m sorry,
can you repeat that again? I just wanted to make sure
I heard what you said. – I think in the long run
that any organization, whether it’s religious or
not, who’s values are deeply, or are corrosive, it’s a
matter of degree I guess of widely-shared public values has it’s tax exemption will be at risk. I’m thinking, so I read something, part of the problem with the digital age is I can’t remember where I read anything. (laughing) But I read something from
a respectful news source, that there are still white
supremacy organizations that have tax exemptions,
and the question raised is a legitimate one,
should American taxpayers subsidize that sort of activity? Is it really in the public interest which is the justification
for tax exemptions? So I’m not suggesting that any church, any mainstream church is equivalent with white supremacists, but I
mean, one could certainly imagine 50 or a hundred years from now, United States, which
discrimination against same-sex couples is now on the par
with racial discrimination and I think religions
need to think about that. That’s one way in which they
might be held accountable. – I’m gonna disagree slightly. The way that the tax code operates, the way the IRS operates, revocation of tax exempt status virtually never happens.
– I wish. – And even with respect
to new organizations that are applying to become tax exempt, refusing to allow that tax exempt status to be adopted, is extraordinary rare. In the past 30 years, it’s
something like 30 organizations and these often have
to do with things like dilation of child labor laws. Again it’s extraordinary rare, and we have very strong public policy against certain types
of sex discrimination, against certain types of discrimination on the basis of religion, and the IRS has never reached in and said, hey, as a religious organization, you violate these principals that the U.S. increasingly holds dear, and we’re gonna take away
your tax exempt status. I just don’t think that it’s something that’s gonna become widespread. There may be very rare
instances like a Bob Jones university, where it is used, but again, I think it’s extraordinary unlikely and extraordinary rare. – I completely agree, the
only thing I would say is now is not a hundred years from now. And who knows a hundred years from now? – Yeah, I actually agree with you, Sarah. I would find it, I do find it problematic to sort of categorize, well these are just the really, terrible ones so
corrosive of public values. Because, it be it as
the gentlemen up there was talking about drawing those
kinds of lines, problematic. But I will just say back
to my point about fear, that statement by Beto O’Rourke. I have my contacts in sort
of the religious communities, and it was just like, you
wanna make people crazy, say something like that, you know? And it’s not helpful, it doesn’t help anyone in the long run, when people go crazy. – Thank you all very much. (applause)
(lively music)

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