Re: I hope you include all religions there
It may not be the exclusive preserve of religious nutters to want to peek into every aspect of the lives of others but they are by far the worst offenders. Worst of all, they can never offer an logical rationale for their actions.
Anyone who waves around a book written by dead men as an excuse to remove civil liberties from others deserves to be chucked into a volcano. "Because god" is not a valid reason for anything.
The absolutism of faith offers up a whole other issue too: the inability to compromise. Faith is by it's very definition beyond logic, reason or boundaries. This means that when religion on morality-based-on-religion is the rationale for the removal of other peoples' rights there is no middle ground possible.
The religious types have faith that they are correct. Any attempt at balancing what may on the surface be a reasonable invasion of privacy (or breaking of any other rights/liberties/freedoms) will be viewed as hostile.
Limits, oversight, checks and balances are all viewed as attempts by unbelievers to question faith. Thus, what should be a reasonable, rational discussion about why we might want to look at intruding on the lives of others and how we might minimize that intrusion becomes an issue of "religious freedom".
In the eyes of the religious fuzzy wuzzy there exists a right for the religious man to order about others, know everything about others and control others. Any attempt to give those people control over their own lives or to enforce equality is viewed by the religious man as "oppression" because you are removing from them the "right" to tell others what to do.
But there is not right to order others, invade their privacy or control them. Any religious belief which says such a "right" exists is flat out wrong.
Let us, for example, look at gathering demographics. Government -run long form statistical surveys backed by force of law can - at first glance - seem intrusive. Yet they have perfectly valid and rational reasons to exist. With the correct controls, oversight and checks and balances in place that information can help researchers in various fields such as epidemiology, sociology, city planning, social services and many others.
There is not, however, any rational reason for non-researchers (under heavy NDA, etc) to have access to that information. There is certainly no good reason for individuals to be able to mine the information to determine, for example, who responded to the survey as LGBT.
Now, mix that up with the sort of things going on in Indiana: again, religious whacko driven. Here we have religious nutters who somehow think they have a right</i. to discriminate against people based on identifiable characteristics. Sexual orientation in this case, but I'm willing to bet the same people wish entirely they could discriminate on age, gender, race, country of origin, etc.
Every business owner should have the right to refuse to serve individuals who are abusive, or who have mistreated them (failure to pay, etc) in the past. Or to refuse a client because your capacity is full and you cannot meet the needs of additional clients. That falls under the positive right to take preventative measures against harm to yourself or your business for clear reasons that would be accepted by any reasonable jury.
But refusing service to others based on identifiable characteristics (AKA discrimination) when there are no capacity issues and no history of misconduct is simply unacceptable. Despite this, it's a key component of religious belief and practice: <i>shame, guilt and shunning.
Religion is all about control and power. It is about keeping those who have power in power and about providing a social framework that ensures predictable power structures across generations, usually ones where the minority benefit at the expense of the majority.
In today's world, violence isn't allowed in first world nations as a means of obtaining and retaining control, thus religions are falling back on shame, guilt and shunning. As a consequence, they are obsessed with getting their hands on personally identifiable information and every last detail of every person's actions, thoughts, hopes dreams and desires.
That knowledge is power. It's power over the individual but it is also the means by which the religious power structures can be maintained and transmitted down the generations. And for that reason alone we should be fighting against privacy invasion, but it is also why we need to be exceptionally wary of the use of the cloak of faith and "religious rights" as a pretext for the breach of civil liberties.
They'll never stop trying and we can never let them win.