In the US, there are various exceptions and accommodations for religious beliefs.
For instance, Catholic hospitals do not have to directly provide birth control and can instead sign a waiver with the actual birth control being supplied by a third party.
The Trump Administration is currently considering granting additional protections,
and there are many conservatives who support the position that religious business owners should not have to serve gay couples, for instance.
I see two objections to this, one practical and one more philosophical:
* If applied to other characteristics of individuals, such as race for example,
we would immediately say that people do not have the "religious freedom" to deny service to black Americans on the basis of race.
Such a view would be widely condemned as racist and hearkens back to the days of Jim Crow.
* Religious beliefs are simply beliefs,
and in a pluralistic society it does not make sense to continually grant exceptions to laws based on one category of beliefs without granting exceptions based on all categories.
If anyone, for any reason, could say "I do not want to serve gay individuals at my restaurant", that would be one thing.
But the policies being discussed grant that right-of-denial based only on religious beliefs.
I find these "religious freedom" policies to be thinly-veiled attempts at discrimination, but I also realize many Americans genuinely disagree with me.
I'm hoping you can change my view and convince me that religious beliefs are indeed worthy of types of protections that beliefs justified in others ways are not.
EDIT: This was a really great discussion, thanks everyone. Great first experience with CMV.
I partially changed my view, based on recognizing that religious beliefs belong to an institution in addition to a person,
and that religion itself has been around for a long time and has some pretty stable qualities that we all recognize.
I still would like religious and non-religious beliefs to be treated equally,
but I get that in certain circumstances it can make sense to take a religious belief seriously while skepticism can exist about a similar non-religious belief.
> *This is a footnote from the CMV moderators. We'd like to remind you of a couple of things. Firstly, please* ***[read through our rules](http://www.reddit.com/r/changemyview/wiki/rules)***.
*If you see a comment that has broken one, it is more effective to report it than downvote it. Speaking of which,* ***[downvotes don't change views](http://www.reddit.com/r/changemyview/wiki/guidelines#wiki_upvoting.
2Fdownvoting)****! Any questions or concerns? Feel free to* ***[message us](http://www.reddit.com/message/compose?to=/r/changemyview)***. *Happy CMVing!*