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  • Print publication year: 2016
  • Online publication date: September 2016

8 - Some Concluding Thoughts


At this point, you should have a decent understanding of the law that determines outcomes when there is conflict between religious freedom and sexual freedom. You should also know that in most situations, there need not be any conflict between religious freedom and sexual freedom. Most religious freedom claims have little or no impact on anyone other than the individual or entity seeking a religious accommodation. Most importantly, you should know that even where conflict exists, it is possible to compromise, and thus maximize freedoms on both sides. You may not agree that such compromise is necessary, or even that it is beneficial, but you know that it is possible under the law.

Of course, the law is not everything. Issues of religious freedom and sexual freedom raise important social questions. The culture wars have perhaps deafened too many people's ears to the concerns of the other side, or to the concerns of either side. Hopefully you have at least gotten a sense for the deep commitments and important impacts that these issues have for religious people, members of the LGBT community, and women whose reproductive freedom hangs in the balance. In Chapter 1, I wrote that these issues all involve what it means to be a human being and how we define ourselves, and perhaps how we are defined by others.

The rights involved on both sides go to the core of human freedom; without compromise, we will tip in one direction or the other and lose part of what it means to be free. You have met many people in this book, including real people whose cases have defined the law that applies to all of us, and fictional people from the four hypotheticals at the beginning of the book, each of which was drawn from either a real case or a real scenario. If you did not feel for these people or for any of those from the real cases in the chapters that followed, I have failed you – and for that I am sorry. Yet I hope that most readers have been able to feel for some of those involved in these scenarios; perhaps it is too much of a dream, but I hope most readers were able to empathize with people on both sides.