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Tags: 2020 Elections | Joe Biden | kamala harris | religious freedom | first amendment

Kamala Harris' Record Puts Civil Rights Above Religious Freedom

kamala harris is seen smiling at a podium at a biden campaign rally in detroit
(Jeff Kowalsky/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 12 August 2020 12:59 PM

Sen. Kamala Harris, Joe Biden's running mate in his presidential bid, has a record that indicates she puts civil rights ahead of religious freedoms.

One day after Biden selected the California Democrat to join his ticket, questions are already being raised about whether she would fight for freedom of religion — a right that's part of the First Amendment.

Harris tweeted in August 2019, "The freedom to worship is one of our nation's most cherished and fundamental rights—but it should never be used to discriminate or undermine other Americans' civil rights."

The Religion News Service noted that Harris is the daughter of a Christian from Jamaica and a Hindu from India. She is now a Black Baptist and is married to a Jewish man.

During her time as California's attorney general from 2011 to 2017, she wrote a brief for the Supreme Court that argued against Hobby Lobby having the right to deny female workers coverage for contraceptives because of its religious-based stance against the use of artificial contraception. And as a senator, she was a co-sponsor on a bill that weakened the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by preventing entities from denying service to someone on the basis of religious beliefs.

She tweeted in May 2017, "ICYMI: 'Trump's Religious Freedom Order Could Affect Birth Control Access.'"

During a speech last November when she was still a candidate for president, Harris told a crowd in Iowa that several forms of "justice" are "on the ballot" for the 2020 election, including abortion.

"When all over America, women are being attacked for their constitutional right to make decisions about their own bodies. Reproductive justice is on the ballot," she said.

"So I am running to ensure every woman will have her legal and constitutional right — and not these out-of-date Republican legislators telling women what to do with their bodies."

Catholics are one of the strongest anti-abortion groups, with the church teaching that no Catholic should vote for a candidate for office who supports the practice. In 2018, Harris took aim at Brian Buescher, a nominee to serve as a U.S. district judge in Nebraska, because of his affiliation with the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization.

"Since 1993, you have been a member of the Knights of Columbus, an all-male society comprised primarily of Catholic men," she said during the hearing, according to National Review.

"In 2016, Carl Anderson, leader of the Knights of Columbus, described abortion as 'a legal regime that has resulted in more than 40 million deaths.' Mr. Anderson went on to say that 'abortion is the killing of the innocent on a massive scale.' Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman's right to choose when you joined the organization?"

The line of questioning was likely designed to conclude that Buescher's Catholic faith disqualified him from serving as a federal judge. Buescher, however, was ultimately confirmed to the bench.

Regarding Israel, Harris has shown to be largely in line with Biden on most issues, The Jerusalem Post pointed out. Both support the bipartisan American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), for example. And as California's AG and as a senator, Harris has supported hate crime legislation aimed, in part, at cracking down on anti-Semitic incidents.

When it comes to the Iran nuclear deal, Harris and Biden both want the U.S. to rejoin the agreement — which goes against Israeli leaders' opinion on the matter. Iran has threatened to destroy Israel countless times.

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Sen. Kamala Harris, Joe Biden's running mate in his presidential bid, has a record that indicates she puts civil rights ahead of religious freedoms.
kamala harris, religious freedom, first amendment
Wednesday, 12 August 2020 12:59 PM
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