The Church and Religious Liberty: Abercrombie v. Amos

Supreme Court US 2010by Carolyn Homer

Longtime BCC reader Carolyn is an attorney and religious liberty law enthusiast in California. She wrote an amicus brief in Holt v. Hobbs defending accommodations for religious prisoners.

Religious freedom advocates rejoice! The Supreme Court has issued its second major victory for religion this year. In January, it unanimously held in Holt v. Hobbs that it should be easier for religious prisoners to get religious accommodations in prison.  Last week, it held 8-1 in EEOC v. Abercrombie that it should be easier for religious employees to get religious accommodations in the workplace.  

Abercrombie’s facts are simple: A teenager interviewed with the clothes store Abercrombie while wearing a headscarf.  Abercrombie assumed (correctly) that the teenager wore a headscarf because she was Muslim.  Abercrombie didn’t want to grant a religious accommodation to its no-hats dress code, so it refused to hire her.  The Supreme Court held that Abercrombie’s assumption was religious discrimination.

For the last decade, the Supreme Court has ruled for religion over and over again. Legal protections for religion in the United States have never been so strong. I hope this trend assuages the fears of our Church leaders. Defending religious freedom has been a priority for years, especially to Elder Oaks.  Apostles travel the world, proclaiming religious freedom for both institutions and individuals.  As Elder Hales explained last General Conference: “[T]he faithful use of our agency depends upon our having religious freedom.”

It’s a beautiful message.  And yet, I am struck by how Elder Hales’s message resonates with both truth and irony.  If we really believe agency is the foundational reason for why we need religious freedom (and I hope we do), than we as a Church have work to do.

Thirty years ago, the Church found itself on the opposite side of an Abercrombie-like dispute.  It is a story largely unknown in the Church, except to odd Mormon lawyers like myself with a penchant for religion law. A Mormon man had worked for 16 years as a building engineer at Deseret Gymnasium, a public non-profit facility owned by the Church.   In 1981 he lost his temple recommend, apparently because he failed to pay his tithing. The Church fired him.  He responded by suing the Church for religious discrimination. The Church fought the case all the way to the Supreme Court and won: in Corporation of the Presiding Bishop v. Amos, the Supreme Court held that under Title VII, religions have the right to discriminate on the basis of religion.

That decision has provided the backbone for numerous Church policy and employment decisions ever since. A divorcee applies to be a professor?  Not hired.  A married CES instructor gets pregnant? Fired. [1] A BYU student converts to Catholicism? Expelled.

Legally, the Church has every right to adopt those policies as reflections of its religious teachings.  But as a moral question, are such rigid rules wise?  While the Deseret News is reporting on the interfaith celebration of the Abercrombie decision, the Church itself still makes assumptions about members’ employability based on fixed religious criteria, and is hesitant to accommodate differences. Is that in tension with individual agency?  Do the Church’s employment policies coerce individuals into complying with the Church’s doctrinal ideals, instead of empowering them to faithfully seek personal revelation?

Mormons are champions of religious liberty.  That moral authority would be strengthened if we celebrated not only interfaith diversity (which we already do well), but also intra-faith diversity.  Respecting agency – respecting religious freedom – should mean recognizing that even within the Church, individuals getting divorced, or being working moms, or exploring other faiths, can actually be God’s will.

——————–
[1] This specific policy changed last November. Others still exist.

Comments

  1. It is too bad that “freedom of religion” has become code for “right to discriminate.” We only become more exclusive. And what about polygamy? Is that not a foundational issue of freedom of religion? It was 140 years ago and, in certain quarters, still is.

  2. Religious freedom has won! I really hope that we can set aside the sky is falling rhetoric on this after such a long unbroken string of victories. And I like how you point out ways we can improve our own performance on this issue.

  3. The PangWitch says:

    it seems to me like there’s a difference between religious discrimination in employment on some areas, and then the fact that if you don’t pay tithing, you lose your church job. is there a difference legally speaking? it sounds like extortion in the form of “religious standards.”

  4. There is a difference, which is partially my point. A private business can’t fire you because you lose your temple recommend; the LDS Church can. And I completely understand the justification for that. The Church doesn’t want to be subsidizing the employment or tuition of people who aren’t following church standards.

    But my question is whether Church’s list of the religious standards it requires for its employees really makes sense, given how much the Church promotes religious diversity and agency elsewhere.

    It bothers me to think that I could get fired from / not hired for a Church job just because someone saw me holding a Starbucks cup, and assumed it had coffee in it (even if it was actually hot chocolate!), so I was breaking the Word of Wisdom, so I didn’t have a temple recommend, so I wasn’t in religious compliance.

  5. Carolyn, thanks for this awesome summary. The notion of intra-faith diversity is a fraught one. Are we a big enough, secure enough community to allow that sort of heterogeneous approach?

  6. John Mansfield says:

    As religious liberty becomes the main sort yet available, people will find a religious spin for what they want to do, and religious liberty will eventually be encroached as it comes to be an anomalous island, an antiquated loophole allowing zealots and schemers get to ignore the rules normal people live by.

    The boy scouts seem to be working something in that direction. Religious requirements are being moved up a notch to be an explicit part of every rank advancement. I suspect this is being done to preserve some autonomy from the state.

  7. I’m sympathetic to much of this post. And I worry that by sidestepping the actual area of conflict (the nature of religion, community, and identity in secular modernity) it may lead to more rather than less confusion. The notion that religion is one among a wide array of individual preferences that ought to be respected by outsiders already assumes the end of religion as many of the religious conservatives understand it. For most of them, the whole idea of religion is that it is something greater than one among many other identity-group designations. I think the proposal that religious groups ought to lose their capacity to maintain a type of coherence/integrity that arises in large part from the community rather than from the individuals within it is deeply threatening to an older, fairly robust understanding of religion. I suspect that religious conservatives would, probably appropriately, see the conflation of the temple-recommend-to-work-for-the-Church with the Abercrombie refusal to hire Muslims who wear headscarves as itself a threat to religious liberty/freedom based on crucial semantic differences around the word “religion.”

  8. smb: I agree that the basic reaction of what you’re calling “religious conservatives” is going to be that those two scenarios are fundamentally different — governments and private for-profit businesses should accept religious variation; a church, by contrast, IS a religion so the only religion is need accept is its own.

    And yet, these are same conservatives that say religious individuals who own private businesses (Hobby Lobby or bakery style) should be allowed to inject their religious beliefs in how they run those businesses. And I posit that an internally consistent morality can’t have it both ways. It’s hard to say that religion should be fundamentally individual and respected as such in the secular world (both as employees and as business owners), but fundamentally corporate and conforming in the religious world.

  9. Great post, Carolyn. Thank you.

    “That decision has provided the backbone for numerous Church policy and employment decisions ever since. A divorcee applies to be a professor? Not hired. A married CES instructor gets pregnant? Fired. [1] A BYU student converts to Catholicism? Expelled.”

    And it is not only in the U.S. Supreme Court — the Church also recently won a victory in the field of church autonomy (which is the legal/constitutional space occupied by the Amos case) in the European Court of Human Rights, which held in Obst v. Germany (application no. 425/03) that the Church was within its rights to fire, without notice, an employee in its Frankfurt office after he confessed to committing adultery. (Well, technically, the ECHR found that Germany had not violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights — right to respect for private and family life — when Germany’s highest court, the Federal Constitutional Court, had ultimately upheld Michael Obst’s 1993 dismissal without notice by the Church from his employment as Public Affairs Director for the Europe Area after he had confessed to committing adultery — as you know, the ECHR reviews state action by its members that are alleged by petitioners to be in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.)

    https://bycommonconsent.com/2010/10/13/an-important-strengthening-of-religious-freedom-temple-recommends-in-the-european-court-of-human-rights/

    Religious freedom has never been more robust or more strongly protected in the history of the world than at the present time. (Truly, can anyone imagine a time in the history of the world in which freedom of religion and freedom of conscience have been more strongly protected than now at the present time? If so, when would that have been? 1500 BC? Try being someone who adhered to a “minority” religion at that time. 70 A.D.? Try being a Christian in the Roman Empire. 800 A.D.? Try being a “pagan” Saxon in the Carolingian Empire. 1300s? Try being a non-Christian or a doubter anywhere in Europe. 1500s? Try being a doubter or a “protestant” anywhere in Europe where a Catholic ruled or a non-Christian in Africa and South America as Europeans began their terrorizing colonization. 1600s? Try being a protestant in Catholic Europe or a Catholic in Protestant Europe (or a member of a non-majority protestant sect in Protestant Europe). 1800s? Same as previous sentence only add in try being a Mormon or member of other new religious movements on the frontier US or anywhere in the world. 1900s? Try being a religious minority anywhere with an established religion, or try being Jewish anywhere in the world. The glorious 1950s? Try being a non-Christian in America or Europe, or a member of a new religious movement anywhere in the world.)

    To be sure, many setbacks still exist, especially in former Eastern Bloc and in many developing countries dominated by autocratic or kleptocratic governments. And we need to be vigilant against the abuses perpetrated by such governments. For instance, I predict some real problems for the Church in Russia soon, particularly as the US and Western allies continue to pressure Putin through sanctions and other actions. But religious freedom has never been more strongly protected than now in the United States and in Europe — basically anywhere with a robust framework for protecting minority rights, freedom of religion, and freedom of conscience, coupled with reliable courts and a strong, functioning rule of law. This is the state of affairs in all of the United States’ peer developed free market economies of Western Europe and elsewhere in the world. The court of public opinion in some of these places might turn against some religions to the extent that those religions require violations of other people’s civil rights. But all of these countries robustly protect their citizens’ freedom of religion and conscience.

  10. If church schools have such a policy about divorcees as professors, they are not enforcing it universally. I suppose the point is that they could?

    P.S. Your Starbucks scenario is very unlikely since the religious endorsement is provided/retracted by your designated ecclesiastical leader (who interviews, communicates with, etc. the employee) and not some random Joe on the street.

  11. it's a series of tubes says:

    If church schools have such a policy about divorcees as professors, they are not enforcing it universally. I suppose the point is that they could?

    Not church schools. CES instructors – local institute teachers.

  12. Amos is an establishment case, not a free exercise case. The Court’s conclusion can be summed up as applying a rational basis test, i.e., “where a statute is neutral [among religions] on its face . . . [t]he proper inquiry is whether Congress has chosen a rational classification to further a legitimate end.”
    In brief, §702 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 exempts religious organizations from Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination in employment on the basis of religion. The question was whether extending this exemption to secular nonprofit activities of religious organizations violates the Establishment Clause. The Supreme Court held that it does not. The Church discriminated on the basis of religion in a secular activity (an open-to-the-public gymnasium). The District Court had already found that there was no clear connection between the primary function of the gym and the religious beliefs and tenets of the Mormon Church or church administration, and that none of the employee’s duties were “even tangentially related to any conceivable religious belief or ritual of the Mormon Church or church administration.” The Church discriminated not to protect some religious interest, but because it could, because it benefited from the statutory exemption for religious organizations.
    What I take from Amos is that religious liberty is overspecified in practice, in that Congress has provided overly broad exemptions for religions. That churches can in fact discriminate in ways that have nothing to do with supporting and sustaining the church—religious activity or community or belief—and get away with it. And that the Mormon Church has done and continues to do so.

  13. Religious liberty and worshipping almighty God according to the dictates of your own conscience as per the 11th Article of Faith is all fine and good. Just don’t take it too seriously or you’ll risk excommunication for undefined apostasy (a la Dehlin, Snuffer, Carter, Kelly, Waterman, the Calderwoods, and many more in the last two years).

  14. E.B. / it’s a series of tubes: I know CES had a longstanding anti-divorcee policy. What I’ve heard from friends at BYU (I haven’t seen the policy myself, though), is that if you’re a divorcee, it’s not an automatic bar, but it subjects you to closer scrutiny. I.E. you’ll get asked questions about it, you may have to have an extra interview, and it may ultimately bar you. So it’s not a categorical ban in that case, but it is flagged and may be a basis for exclusion.

  15. it's a series of tubes says:

    Marsha, everyone you mentioned remains free to worship almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience. Liberty != getting to stay inside the tent.

  16. john f,
    Religious liberties have declined in many areas of the west over the last 30 years. This is based upon my own observations of society. I think that overt, statutory government hostility in the US has not been the cause, but subtle cultural hostility is the primary culprit.
    My primary disagreement with your assertion that religious liberty is at its highest historically is from the Muslim world. Most majority Muslim countries have become much more hostile to non-muslims. This is a large part of the world that has become less free wrt religious belief and practice. In many areas, this has been enforced in very draconian ways.

  17. Those are developing countries. I noted in my comment that religious freedom faces setbacks there.

    I also took account of the “cultural hostility” you referred to.

    In any event, if you honestly believe that you’re better off as a Mormon in the United States or any of its peer Western free market democracies of the 1950s than now based on this “cultural hostility” you believe you’ve observed, then in my opinion you’re living in a fantasy.

  18. el oso,

    “subtle cultural hostility” is not a religious freedom issue. The First Amendment protects free speech, too. So to the extent that religions are uncomfortable with twitter/media/public mocking them, calling them out on hypocrisy, and passionately disagreeing with them — that’s not really a threat, in my book. The religious can fight back in the same mediums. And if that opprobrium rises to a level where religious people can point to actual acts of legal discrimination? Then they can take it to the courts, and they will win.

  19. Tubes, exactly.

  20. Clark Goble says:

    John F, that’s an interesting question. What would constitute being better off even culturally as a Mormon? Having grown up a Mormon in a nearly all non-Mormon area where Mormons were viewed strongly negatively I wonder. Certainly I had teachers say things that, in hindsight, were pretty cruel. There were friends who when their parents would get antied would completely disassociate with us. But outside of that there wasn’t a huge lack of religious freedom. (Admittedly this was 70’s & 80’s as a kid and not 50’s & 60’s)

    But contrast this with today. Chances are people will still view Mormons negatively in low Mormon areas. Just that they’ll more likely be liberals rather than religious conservatives (although liberals didn’t like Mormons then either). In the 70’s it was blacks and the priesthood or ERA. Today it’s gays with gender issues still being an issue. There might be more favorable views as well thanks to our greater prominence of course. But overall I doubt there’s significantly different “persecution” let alone liberty.

    What has changed though? Well public tokens of religion or certain public religious practices are much more looked down upon. No prayer in school for instance. Again some of these things will vary by region. You’re apt to get more public religiosity in the south than say Vermont. But of course in the south Mormons will be looked down upon much more.

    So it’s a small change (IMO) but there are some differences. Whether one calls the ability to do these practices liberty or not will of course depend upon whether you care about them or think they should be public in a pluralistic society. It hasn’t changed as much as fear mongers on Fox News might argue. But I’m not sure it’s been this huge net positive change either. At best it’s neutral with some small negative shifts.

    All that said I think those most worried about religious liberties are fearful because some of the changes are canaries in the coal mines rather than real changes in religious liberty. While it may be a slippery slope fallacy I do think there are reasons to worry as the country becomes significantly less religious.

  21. Chances are people will still view Mormons negatively in low Mormon areas.

    Clark, I’m not sure where this comes from. I’ve spent most of my adult life in New York and Chicago, in professions that are tremendously liberal (Wall Street law and academia, respectively). I’ve never experienced any negativity about my religion in any professional or personal context.

    Which is to say, the plural of anecdote is, of course, “anecdotes,” but in my personal experience in the 2000s, there isn’t any broad negative view of Mormons in liberal enclaves. It may be that there is, in fact, such a negative view (and I’m certain that some do view us negatively), but, without compelling data, I’m going to go with my experiential impression, rather than an inchoate idea that the liberals (or, for that matter, the conservatives) hate us.

  22. Social opprobrium, “subtle cultural hostility”, vehement doctrinal or political disagreement (including expressed in “mean” ways like shouting, picketing, boycotting, etc.) aren’t violations of religious freedom but rather are expressions of the equally enshrined freedom of speech, assembly, the press, etc. Vigorous pushback by fellow private citizens, institutions, or groups to some initiatives we as religious people have chosen to take is simply the foreseeable reaction to those actions. It has no implication for religious freedom so long as the government is not impermissibly — that is, unconstitutionally — restricting religions’ freedoms. This is where we lose our way sometimes, in thinking that when those who feel under attack by us yell back at us (even if our actions were made using primary voice) or take other civil actions against us, that this constitutes a diminishment of our religious freedom. It simply does not.

    I stand by my earlier comment that religious freedom has never been more robust *in the history of the world* (the known history, at least) than at the present time in the United States and its peer Western free market democracies. Being a Mormon in the 1950s (outside of Utah) meant a considerably higher risk of discrimination in many aspects of life that are now illegal by federal civil rights statutes (deriving their logic from the Constitution). Now, we as a religious minority not only enjoy the strengthened and robust Constitutional protections against discrimination and abuse based on our religion, but we enjoy these statutory protections that are based in the “political correctness” that our Constitutional system and ethos has engendered. We should truly be grateful and acknowledge that we are currently enjoying an unprecedented era of religious freedom and religious prosperity.

    The flip side is that the others’ minority rights are protected too. Many of us don’t like that.

  23. Mark B. says:

    John F. says: “Being a Mormon in the 1950s (outside of Utah) meant a considerably higher risk of discrimination in many aspects of life that are now illegal by federal civil rights statutes (deriving their logic from the Constitution).”

    I wish I could ask my mother, who lived in southern California from her birth in 1924 until 1956–except for 18 months as a missionary in Canada, whether she ever experienced any sort of discrimination by reason of her being a Mormon. Or my dad, who was in the Army from 1943 to ’46, and then in southern California until 1956, again with a break for two years as a missionary, whether he ever experienced such discrimination. Again, two data points do not constitute proof, but I wonder whether you have any proof to the contrary. The mere fact that there was no Civil Rights Act of 1964 in effect in those years doesn’t mean that such discrimination occurred with any degree of frequency.

  24. So Mormons didn’t face a higher level of discrimination in the 1950s based on their religion than today? What about 1910? 1850? You seem incredulous that this occurred. I am incredulous that it didn’t.

  25. Entering the fray regarding discrimination — I rode the wave of lesser discrimination through college and law school admissions in the ’70s and employment in the ’80s. All along the way I heard sotto voce “we used to do differently regarding Mormons and Jews” (focus on religion since that was the relevant category for me). And this notwithstanding angry comments about the priesthood ban in the ’70s. I’m not sure there has been further improvement in the U.S. since then, but based on my own life experience there is a real difference before and after 1970-ish. Which suggests that the Civil Rights Act of 1964, that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin (where it applies), either made a real difference or crystallized a genuine societal change, or both.

  26. Mark B. says:

    I am puzzled where 1910 came from. Or are you assuming that progress from 1910 to 1950 implies further progress on a straight line onward to the present?

  27. John Mansfield says:

    The initiative my stake chose to undertake was construction of a new building, a five-year process from purchase of the land to beginning of construction. The lengthy delay harmed the growing ward that needed that building. Once initiated construction only took a few months. I would rather deal with the zoning hurdles of 1950 or 1910 that opponents can throw at you than those of 2015. (The Washington Post reported on this four years before the building went into service: “Full Up, Fed Up On God’s Avenue”)

  28. 1910 is in the immediate wake of the Smoot hearings (which ended in 1907), you know the time when in order for a Mormon who was duly elected to be a US senator to be allowed to take his entitled seat, the President of the Church had to testify that he hasn’t presented the Church with any revelation and that as far as leading the Church by revelation, he was susceptible to inspiration “just as any Methodist” or other faithful person.

    I’m amazed you weren’t aware of the Smoot hearings, a testimony to the religious freedom we as Mormons enjoyed in the 1910s if ever there was one! Have Mormon senators in our time been blocked from being seated and our Church leaders subpoenaed to testify in a hearing to try whether Mormons are fit for public office in the United States? No? Then we enjoy more robust religious freedom now than in the 1910s.

  29. Mark B. says:

    Good bye, john f. I’m sorry you feel that way.

  30. Mark, I admit to having been genuinely baffled at your sarcastic skepticism that we as Mormons actually enjoy greater, better protected religious freedom today than in the past. Nevertheless, my subjective perception, as fallible as it is, of your sarcastic posture toward me is no excuse for me to address you in a sarcastic tone and so I apologize.

  31. Geoff - Aus says:

    I agree that there is nothing to fear . What is Elder Oaks and his disciples making a fuss about? Is it code for homophobia or something else? From the other side of the world it is confusing. The obedient members believe he is telling us something from God and we need be concerned.

  32. John Mansfield, I’m sorry about the building, and I don’t know where you live exactly, but anywhere I’ve lived that’s about the expected minimum amount of zoning hassle for any building project, be it commercial, increased density residential, or anything else. It’s totally de rigueur.

  33. Clark Goble: “Well public tokens of religion or certain public religious practices are much more looked down upon. No prayer in school for instance.” I have exactly zero problems with banning prayer in school. See, there’s this thing called the Establishment Clause, which PROTECTS religious freedom by ensuring that GOVERNMENT can neither favor nor discriminate against one religion to the exclusion of all others. I’m rather fond of that section of the First Amendment.

    John Mansfield: Yup, the zoning wars are real. To the extent it affects all building projects equally, it doesn’t concern me. To the extent it affects religions specifically (which it often does, because communities don’t like the property tax exemptions), that’s why Orrin Hatch got Congress to unanimously pass a law in 2000 that makes it incredibly difficult to deny churches zoning permits. The Church has litigated the issue dozens of times since then — and won. So are zoning hurdles obnoxious? Sure. Is it a religious freedom issue? Not really. Because churches are now, legally, one of the most favored land uses.

  34. John Mansfield says:

    Well, that goes back to what I wrote yesterday morning. Liberty overall is diminished of all kinds now requiring special carve-outs for religious liberty. That is a limited protection, and will become more limited when its possible to say, as said twice above, that we’re not singling out religion because we’re squashing the liberty of everyone. For some religion is more than thinking special thoughts in the privacy of your own home or head. It might involve serving the world and individuals with schools or hospitals or orphanages or farms and canneries. It might involve the way you work or raise your children. Is an Amish family freer to live a life of their choosing, which for them is a religious choosing, in 2015 than in 1950? Or does he have a lot more life zoning variances that he has to tackle because life overall is more of a joint venture with our local and national governments?

  35. @John Mansfield: You pose or at least suggest serious issues about the church/state boundary. It is possible to identify liberty itself as a religious principle, so that every limit in a sense ‘violates’ that religion. But of course my liberty to do anything I want amounts to a constraint on you, requiring you to permit, allow, or make room for, me. We have to mediate this somehow, which means that we cannot enshrine liberty itself as an always privileged value.

    In a more limited way, there are functions or services where we (big “we”) have varied opinions about church vs state, or private vs public. Education and health care are the obvious examples. Are those private functions, including church? Or public or state functions? There is not a consensus and tensions have and will continue. To pose the problem in a direct way, it happens that my religious beliefs are being violated every day by the failure to provide universal health care in the United States, but at the same time I understand that government involvement in health care [Obamacare, anybody?] is a problem for others, one that rises to the level of religious principle.

    Coming at the church/state boundary question from the other direction, in a multi-cultural society we will never solve or eliminate the problem of definitions. It simple cannot work for religion or religious principle to define itself (unless there is only one and the church is the state). At some limiting point we have to say that self-selected labels don’t control and apply some kind of external judgment to say that some things are religion and some things are not. Similarly, it cannot work for a church to include anything it wants under the umbrella of “church”. At some limiting point we have to say that some things are an acceptable church function and some things are not. Examples are readily available, that will at least make the problem clear whether or not we agree on the outcome: consider churches running commercial businesses, or operating a police force, or printing money, or dictating how a congressman votes.

  36. @John Mansfield: To the extent you’re just making a libertarian argument, please proceed. There’s all sorts of nice theoretical underpinnings behind “if we just remove government restrictions everywhere, than all liberty, including religious liberty, will be enhanced!” But that’s a battle to be fought under free speech principles and the political process — I don’t think religion has anything particularly unique or valuable to contribute to that debate.

  37. Under a libertarian perspective, religious discrimination by private parties is perfectly fine, and therefore Abercrombie did no wrong. Is that really where we want to go on this issue? Those complaining that Mormons now face a lot of persecution may want to think carefully before adopting the libertarian approach.

  38. John Mansfield says:

    As Christian Kimball expressed very well above, there are tensions between liberty and many other good values, but hopefully one doesn’t need to be a one-note fanatic, a libertarian, for liberty to be one of your values. If liberty as a general concept is unvalued, then little islands of it—speech, religion, sex—won’t have much value either. It feels like these carve-outs for religious liberty used to come up much less and effect much smaller groups: exempting Amish from Social Securty, or letting Indians hunt eagles. Now we feel half the country needs to have its homophobia proscribed by the government, raising the conflict, “What about religiously-based homophobia?” Occasionally I think about simple things I did thirty years ago that are illegal now, so it isn’t surprising that boundary clashes between government and religion come up more often.

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