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Gary Johnson’s position on religious liberty is kind of disturbing

On Thursday, Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson gave an interview to the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney. Carney asked him some questions about religious liberty, and Johnson’s answers were quite frankly disturbing.

Asked whether photographers, bakers, and others who refuse to participate in gay weddings because they see them as a violation of their conscience should be fined, Johnson replied, “Well, they bring out this issue, which I realize it has happened. But the objective here is to say that discrimination is not allowed for by business …I just see religious freedom, as a category, of just being a black hole.”

Johnson also expressed concerns that Muslims would be victims of religious-based discrimination if vendors were allowed to decline gay weddings. He even likened religious freedom to being allowed to shoot someone because “God has spoken to them and that they can shoot someone dead.”

RELATED: Libertarian Gary Johnson outpolls Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton with this coveted group

David Harsanyi at The Federalist suggested Johnson doesn’t understand the issue:

There are a number of possible explanations for Johnson’s obtuseness. The first is that he just doesn’t understand the issue. At all. He seems to have no idea, for example, what “discrimination” means. Johnson is still arguing that no business owner should ever be able to say “no” to a customer for any reason. This is well beyond even what liberals contend. He seems to believe, for instance, that Nazis are a protected class and that the federal government should compel a Jewish baker to whip up a Führergeburtstag cake on demand.

Harsanyi went on to give the most likely explanation for Johnson’s position:

Mostly, though, I suspect that Johnson believes dismissing religious liberty and property rights in this case will endear him to the Left and expand his voting base. Many libertarians feel culturally in sync with liberals, and this is just the manifestation of that impulse. It’s a lost opportunity for Johnson to be both a principled libertarian and gain new conservative voters.

Johnson has demonstrated an outright hostility toward people of faith in the past. Earlier this year, he endorsed banning the burqa and promoted anti-Muslim conspiracy theories commonly associated with the far right.

One of the most basic human rights is the right to live your life according to your conscience, and religious freedom means protecting the rights of people to live according to that conscience. It’s why Jewish and Muslim prisoners have the right to have kosher and halal meals while incarcerated. It allows Sikh students to carry their faith’s ceremonial dagger, the Kirpan, in the classroom. It protects Catholic students who wear the rosary from suspension.

RELATED: Wrangling with Gary Johnson’s position on religious liberty

It’s also in line with the law of the First Amendment. The precedent was set in the Hobby Lobby case when the U.S. Supreme Court granted an exemption from Obamacare’s contraception mandate to family-owned businesses if it violated their “sincerely held religious beliefs” in 2014.

In a year when both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have repeatedly proven to be hostile to people of faith, one would expect the Libertarian candidate to champion the right to liberty in all areas of public life. Instead, Gary Johnson has decided to engage in progressive virtue signaling, even though it means violating property rights, freedom of association, and freedom of thought.

There is no one willing to defend religious freedom across the board in this year’s presidential race. That’s tragic.

This post is from RareRare. Click here to read the full text

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