Lawrence Krauss in The New Yorker, comments on Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’ refusal, on religious grounds, to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
“The problem, obviously, is that what is sacred to one person can be meaningless (or repugnant) to another. That’s one of the reasons why a modern secular society generally legislates against actions, not ideas. No idea or belief should be illegal; conversely, no idea should be so sacred that it legally justifies actions that would otherwise be illegal.”
“The Kim Davis controversy exists because, as a culture, we have elevated respect for religious sensibilities to an inappropriate level that makes society less free, not more. Religious liberty should mean that no set of religious ideals are treated differently from other ideals. Laws should not be enacted whose sole purpose is to denigrate them, but, by the same token, the law shouldn’t elevate them, either.”
“Ultimately, when we hesitate to openly question beliefs because we don’t want to risk offense, questioning itself becomes taboo. It is here that the imperative for scientists to speak out seems to me to be most urgent.”
“Scientists need to be prepared to demonstrate by example that questioning perceived truth, especially ‘sacred truth,’ is an essential part of living in a free country … If that is what causes someone to be called a militant atheist, then no scientist should be ashamed of the label.”