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Dustin White, Fargo, Published May 09 2012

In effect, Measure 3 a stealth attack on religious liberty in North Dakota

In June, North Dakota will be voting on Measure 3, disguised as protection of religious liberty. Proponents argue that it will strengthen religious liberty rights, which is something many individuals from North Dakota can support.

However, the amendment, in effect because of the broad wording, has the potential to infringe on human liberty and rights. It would allow discrimination against individuals whom a religious person organization deems to be a burden. That could be something as little as refusing to sell birth control, as it goes against their religious beliefs. Or it could legitimize hurtful and intolerant acts against minorities, or even the “wrong sort of Christian.”

It opens up the possibility of condoning child abuse or even domestic violence if religious beliefs allow such acts. It opens up the possibility of refusing individuals work, since they happen to be of a different religious background. It opens up the possibility of refusing to perform life-saving medical procedures if one does not agree with them.

The amendment gives people and organizations the legal right to discriminate and helps fuel the fires of intolerance. It may claim to protect religious liberties, but holds the potential for the exact opposite. Instead of helping the general populace, it has the potential to inflict damage.

There comes a time when people have to stand up and fight for their rights. They cannot sit back and allow a group to enforce their ideologies on others at the expense of others’ rights. This is that time. Voting “no” on Measure 3 in June will help ensure all our rights are protected, and in doing so, our religious liberties will be maintained.