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Some Americans see end of secular dream

With good reason …
 
 
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There was a big headline on the front page of Sunday's WaPo: "Some Palestinians see end of secular dream." They're not the only ones who should be worried.

Let's look at two stories and shutter just a little at the prospect of where we may be heading.

First, this:

Faith-based laws could protect health workers

Nice fair and balanced headline, no?

More than a dozen states are considering new laws to protect health workers who do not want to provide care that conflicts with their personal beliefs, a surge of legislation that reflects the intensifying tension between asserting individual religious values and defending patients' rights.

About half of the proposals would shield pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control and morning-after pills because they believe the drugs cause abortions. But many are far broader measures that would shelter any doctor, nurse, aide, technician or other employee who objects to any therapy. That might include in-vitro fertilization, physician-assisted suicide, embryonic stem cells, and perhaps even providing treatment to gays and lesbians.

Here's the plan. It started with pharmacists, and now it's being extended to all healthcare providers. Social workers will be next. Then, under the guise of "protecting" the religious liberties of public servants, they'll get protected too. We'll have some debate, yes, but in the end Democratic lawmakers won't want to alienate the religious vote. Then bus drivers will say, "I ain't driving 'til those queer looking fellas get off the bus. It's against my religion." And schoolteachers will refuse to have that unmarried pregnant girl in the class and so on.

Joshua Holland is a staff writer at Alternet and a regular contributor to The Gadflyer .