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Religious, sexual freedoms subject of MSU law prof book

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MSU law professor Frank Ravitch thinks there is room for compromise on religious and sexual freedoms in America.

You might think that the gap between the far left and the far right in American politics is getting larger, but MSU College of Law professor Frank Ravitch thinks there are ways these opposing forces could work together.

He explores these ideas in a new book called“Freedom’s Edge: Religious Freedom, Sexual Freedom and the Future of America.”

Ravitch says that both social progressives and religious conservatives could give a little ground without compromising their core values. "When you look at questions about same sex marriage, reproductive freedom, religious freedom...there really are some commonalities there," Ravitch explains. "My goal was to start from the commonalities, from the ideas in which these...freedoms reflect autonomy...what it means to be a human being. In many cases, there's no conflict."

Ravitch argues that "most religious freedom claims have no impact at all on any sort of sexual freedom. "They're about Native Americans who have been denied the right to chew peyote, they're about Jews or Muslims or Seventh Day Adventists who might be denied the ability to take a day off that they need from school or not have a test on those days due to holidays."

At the other end of the spectrum, Ravitch thinks same sex marriage is an issue where religious conservatives could consider yielding some ground. "For most religions," he continues, "same sex marriage is not an issue. You heard all these calls after the same sex marriage decision that churches are going to be required perform these. That's simply not true as a matter of law. Religious entities can still make the decisions that they want to make."

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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