Alan Sears argues “the fight for religious liberty is the fight for life,” i.e., the fight to ban abortion. In other words, Sears, a former federal prosecutor, believes that the “liberty” of some permits them to impose their religious faith by force of law on others.
Sears quotes Madison, who said that one’s duty to God “is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society.” Sears neglects to mention that Madison also endorsed the separation of church and state and opposed “suffering any Sect to invade [the equal rights] of another.”
Sears’s entire case rests on the claim that a fertilized egg is a person, and as such properly has all the same rights as a born infant. In general, the proper purpose of government is to protect people’s rights, which obviously is compatible with religious liberty. The problem with Sears’s case is that a fertilized egg is not a person, and he makes no attempt to prove that it is.
Indeed, nobody from the anti-abortion side has seriously addressed the arguments that Diana Hsieh and I reviewed last year. That is because the case for outlawing abortion — imposing criminal penalties for it — rests on religious faith. It is not religious liberty, but religious tyranny, that seeks to violate the rights of actual people based on the faith-based fantasy that a fertilized egg is a person.