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(RNS) Refusal to serve -- using religion to discriminate -- isn't new. The idea that any service could be denied based on religious conviction didn't survive the civil rights revolution and should not be revived now.


  1. David Thompson

    Good article Nancy; thank you for raising the attention to this matter.

    Absolutely anything can be justified or rationalized by religion. It’s why it is so dangerous and must be reined in. The main problem lies at the feet of these evangelical, Catholic and fundamentalist nut cases. Mainline Protestants are generally pretty reasonable, but they are less than half of the entire religious population and they are silent. The nut cases have lobbies for their Imaginary Sky Daddy. We need more rational minds to speak up.

  2. To those who believe and have faith, Gods will comes first above anything created by man. People may be forced by law or social pressure to compromise their faith but the true heroes of faith are those that will not give in.

  3. How would Ms. Kaufman feel if she or NCJW was forced to provide advocacy services for the Klu Klux Klan?

    What if, as a social worker, she was forced by licensing requirements to provide organizational services to Young Nazi’s club?

  4. Ms. Kaufman is conflating two very different things here. The first, refusing to serve homosexuals, is very different from refusing to provide a specific employee benefit to anyone employed by the employer. The first is discriminatory; the second is not. There’s nothing discriminatory about not covering contraception for anyone.

    The attempt to link the Civil Rights era to the desire of people to force their employers to pay for their contraception against their religious wishes and to say this is equivalent to being denied a seat at a lunch counter is ridiculous. This blog post is really poorly reasoned. Ms. Kaufman would have been a much stronger case had she stuck to discrimination against homosexuals.

    • So-called “birth control pills” have hormone control purposes other than contraception, and are actually useful medical tools. There is no excuse for an employer to provide *some* medical care but then to refuse to provide *other* medical care due to crackpot religous beliefs; that is “playing doctor” on the part of the employer. The employer can provide medical benefits or not provide them, but picking and choosing medical benefits is wrong.

  5. Does this mean that an employer may refuse to provide health insurance that includes blood transfusions because they are Seventh Day Adventists? Or testing for STDs because it means you or your spouse have obviously sinned or there would have been no exposure? Or not include vaccines because if you were pure, you would never be exposed to hepatitis, HPV or other diseases? Or perhaps no health insurance at all because prayer and the laying on of hands will cure all ills?

    To me it seems that women and other disapproved persons are to be returned to the status of chattel, people unable to make decisions of themselves, very much like many women under Sharia law. No matter one’s own religion if any.