Religious freedom applies to businesses too

Starbucks has ethical standards for the coffee beans it buys. Vegan stores refuse to sell animal products because they believe doing so is immoral. Some businesses refuse to invest in sweatshops or pornography companies or polluters.

You can agree or disagree with the decisions of these businesses, but they are manifestly acts of conscience, both for the companies and the people who operate them. Our society is better because people and organizations remain free to have other values while earning a living. Does anyone really want a society filled with organizations that can only focus on profits and are barred from thinking of the greater good?

For many, their conscience is informed by religious views about activities they can or cannot participate in. Some Jewish store owners cannot sell leavened bread at certain times of the year. Some Muslim truck drivers cannot transport alcohol. Some Catholic prison workers cannot participate in executions.

If religious freedom means anything, it means that these people — just like Chipotle, Starbucks and everyone else in our society — are allowed to earn a living and run a business according to their values.