Faith Commons

By Nancy Kasten

Heads up, Texans. There is an election on Nov. 2, and Proposition 3 will put worshippers in harm’s way.

In April, 45 ultra-Orthodox men and boys were trampled to death at a religious festival in Israel. This tragedy happened in a particular community of citizens of Israel who ignore or break secular law when they feel that God or their rabbis demand it. In this case over 100,000 believers gathered at a burial site even though police and health officials had requested that the organizers limit the crowd and employ other safety precautions.

This is not the first or only example of the risks that some believers will take to practice their religion in a particular way. And to be sure, no one will ever be able to eliminate risk for those who are willing to break the law. But in our country, founded on the separation of church and state, the law should not be changed to codify the beliefs or practices of those who put religious law above the law of the land.

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