2. Isn’t protecting religious freedom just an excuse for discrimination?
No, religious freedom is not about discrimination. Religious freedom is about allowing people to freely express and live their religious beliefs. That’s why the Church has been concerned about religious freedom since as far back as the 1830s, including when they were driven from state to state and eventually settled in Utah so they could act on their religious beliefs. Conflicts with religious freedom often occur when government tries to force religious people or religious organizations to do things against their faith.
As Elder D. Todd Christofferson taught: “A robust freedom is not merely what political philosophers have referred to as the ‘negative’ freedom to be left alone, however important that may be. Rather, it is a much richer ‘positive’ freedom—the freedom to live one’s religion or belief in a legal, political, and social environment that is tolerant, respectful, and accommodating of diverse beliefs” (“A Celebration of Religious Freedom,” interfaith address in São Paulo, Brazil, Apr. 29, 2015).