Religious Freedom Has Limits

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The Associated Press reported that Kelly Fischer has appealed his conviction of sexual conduct with a minor. One of the "Colorado City Eight" prosecuted for taking underage teens as plural wives, Fischer claims that his religious freedoms-which are protected under the 1st and the 14th Amendments-have been violated because Arizona law prohibits the practice of plural marriage. But the appeals court upheld the original decision and stipulated that people have "the right to believe and profess whatever religious doctrine they wish, but no absolute right" to live their beliefs. Invoking an 1878 precedent, the ruling judge stated, "Conduct remains subject to regulation for the benefit of society." The judge also noted that Arizona law constitutionally prohibits sexual activity with a minor-regardless of the minor's consent.

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In other words, you have the right to believe anything you want and you have the right to talk about it freely, but you don't necessarily have the right to carry out what you believe. I, for one, am grateful that people who believe in human sacrifice don't have permission to perform sacrifices. And I sure don't think pedophiles should be able to cry "religious freedom" as an excuse for sexually abusing little girls-even if the little girls say they want to be abused.

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