Do I understand correctly that you are suggesting an atheist could receive protection under the Act by claiming his or her otherwise unlawful discrimination was motivated by a refusal to act in accord with the tenets of some religion that teaches non-discrimination? This reading strikes me as a bit tortured.
But, I think we are off on something of a tangent, and the fault is likely mine for having referred to atheists.
Shrugs. It's not central in deciding whether I like the bill (I don't). I'm just trying to be honest about how I think it could
play out. Wish I could dig up who it was with some credentials that was reported to have said so, but I haven't had any luck finding where that actually started yet.
If anyone can claim their view
of some religious doctrine (whether that view is affirmative or negative) decides their action, then there you go. Though I guess it could also depend how you read the grammar -- which itself is
kind of a mess. It could be read to mean that as Ephiral puts it, one internal phrase? (refusal to act) must be supported by an affirmation of some positively religious
position. (But doing so would force courts to start laying out just who will be accepted as having a religious position and
who doesn't, whereas the current bill actually goes some ways to avoid doing so by discarding the idea of "major systems of religion" as a factor... So this is not a totally comfortable prospect for them to enter into, either.)
... Although if states were fair -- not that they often or always are, depending -- they might have to recognize that atheism does take a position about
religious prescriptions (just as much as various Christian denominations take a position on whether
to adopt this one or that) and once we agree there, I don't see how atheists could be kept out any more than say well, Satanists (other thread yes -- note the OK Satanists claim at least in part, to be acting in support of atheist positions vis-a-vis public policy hehe).
The real problem with the Act is the distinction it draws between conduct which is motivated by religious belief (whether or not religious belief encompasses atheism) and conduct which is grounded entirely in secular considerations.
Sure. No argument there.
Not only would religiously motivated acts of racial, ethnic and gender discrimination come within the immunity, but so too might stuff like human sacrifice, kidnapping, and pedophilia. And god knows what else.
I think they did have a clause that says the government could argue for a compelling interest to stop any particular
religious action. And I suppose they'd argue such things would be obvious precedents where courts would leap to use it? But yes, it does seem silly to have to redefine all the boundaries with religion at the presumptive "top" of the hierarchy -- as opposed to a presumption that equality will generally
be protected for various groups in public commerce.