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Downeast Humanists and Freethinkers Message Board › Hobby Lobby Letters to the editor and legislators

Hobby Lobby Letters to the editor and legislators

Nancy G.
user 8856801
Group Organizer
Bar Harbor, ME
Post #: 356
Hi everyone, Tracey Richardson Melody of Maine Atheists & Humanists has written these letters, and would like our group to sign on. Do you approve?
LTE:

To the editor:

As one of the least religious states in the nation, with estimates that up to 49% of residents identify as non-religious, Maine is home to a thriving and active secular community of people who seek to promote an environment in which religious freedom accommodates not just different varieties of belief, but absence of belief as well, and all viewpoints share equal respect and equal treatment under the law.

The members of Maine’s organized secular community collectively find last week’s Supreme Court ruling recognizing for-profit corporations as people with religious beliefs to be deeply troubling. We believe strongly that women have a right to make medical decisions free of interference from government or their employers, and that women and men alike have a right to make life choices based on their own religious convictions or lack thereof. Those choices should not be dictated or limited by the religious convictions of their employers, but the Hobby Lobby decision does just that by giving for-profit corporation owners the right to impose their religion onto their employees, while at the same time favoring conservative Christian beliefs about sex and procreation over other religious beliefs, such as about blood transfusions or vaccinations (a bias explicitly spelled out in the majority opinion). Endorsing one set of religious beliefs over others runs afoul of the very notion of religious liberty and separation of church and state. Furthermore, as we have seen in the days following the ruling, the floodgates have opened on other claims of religious objections not only regarding the contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act, but LGBT discrimination and more.

This ruling should, and does, alarm all citizens who value secular government and understand why our founding fathers constructed a wall between church and state in the First Amendment. Religious liberty should not be a privilege reserved for corporate entities and their wealthy owners. We urge your readers to join us in our effort to re-establish the right of religious freedom by contacting their local and national representatives.

Signed,the Leadership and Membership of Maine’s Organized Secular Community:
Atheists of Maine
Central Maine Skeptical Society (meetup.com/SkepticalME)
Downeast Humanists and Freethinkers (meetup.com/DowneastHumanistsandFreethin­kers)
Maine Atheists and Humanists (www.facebook.com/WeAreAtheistsForME)
Southern Maine Atheists and Secular Humanists (meetup.com/Southern-Maine-Atheists-and-­Secular-Humanists)





Political official version:


Dear [official],



As an elected official representing the people of the State of Maine, you may be aware that Maine consistently ranks as one of the least religious states in the nation, with estimates that as many as 49% of residents identify as religiously un-affiliated, non-religious, atheist, or humanist. What you may not know is that those residents comprise a thriving and active community within the state, providing people the opportunity to build relationships with like-minded individuals; show other non-believers that they are not alone; de-stigmatize non-belief through community involvement; and above all, promote an environment in which religious freedom accommodates not just different varieties of belief, but absence of belief as well, and all viewpoints share equal respect and equal treatment under the law.



As a constituency that supports religious freedom through secular government, our membership finds last week’s Supreme Court ruling recognizing for-profit corporations as people with religious beliefs and accommodating those beliefs at the expense of individual freedom to be deeply troubling. Our organizations believe strongly that a woman has a fundamental right to make medical decisions free of interference from her government and her employer. Moreover, we believe that women and men alike have a right to make life choices based on their own religious convictions (or lack thereof), and to not have those choices dictated or limited by the religious convictions of their employers. The Hobby Lobby decision effectively gives for-profit corporation owners the right to impose their religious beliefs onto their employees, while at the same time clearly favoring conservative Christian beliefs about sex and procreation over other religious beliefs, such as about blood transfusions or vaccinations (a bias explicitly spelled out by Justice Alito in his majority opinion). Endorsing the accommodation of one set of religious beliefs over others runs afoul of the very notion of religious liberty and separation of church and state, and the ruling has already opened the floodgates to additional challenges not only to the contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act, but related to LGBT discrimination and more.



Secular Maine voters – a group which comprises not just those of us who identify as non-religious, but a great many citizens of faith as well – expect our elected officials to abide by their oaths uphold the constitution, and that includes a vigorous defense of the establishment clause. No Maine citizens should be held subject to the religious whims of corporate shareholders or the people who sign our paychecks. We demand that all facets of the government that we elected to serve our interests show the same respect and provide the same due process to all citizens, without consideration of individual (or collective) religious affiliations.



Religious liberty should not be a privilege reserved for corporate entities and their wealthy owners. We ask that you use your influence and position to re-establish the right of religious freedom as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.



Signed, The Leadership and Membership of Maine’s Organized Secular Community:

Atheists of Maine

Central Maine Skeptical Society

Downeast Humanists and Freethinkers

Maine Atheists and Humanists

Southern Maine Atheists and Secular Humanists











Tracey

Abbie M.
downeastah
Bangor, ME
Post #: 214
yes, and with thanks to the author
Amy E. T.
user 35268572
Ellsworth, ME
Post #: 30
Wonderful letters. I add my support as well.
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