I like and respect Jana Riess a great deal, but she has a blog post up on religious freedom in which she makes a number of mistaken claims that are worth pointing out.
First, she suggests that the Church´s commitment to religious freedom is shallow or poorly thought out. After all, she says, wouldn´t a robust support for religious freedom include minority religions such Rastafarians? Yes it would. However, since 1990 at least the Church has vigorously supported legislation that allows Rastafarians and other minority religions to challenge laws burdening their practices. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which the Church helped to pass, was in direct response to Supreme Court opinion holding that the State of Oregon could criminalize the use of peyote by Native Americans.
Jana also claims that “The LDS Church has lobbied hard for the right of conservative religious persons – like, say, those who are members of the LDS Church! – to refuse [service in public] accommodations [i.e. private businesses] in the name of religious freedom.” This is not true. Far from having “lobbied hard” on this issue, to my knowledge the Church has not lobbied at all on it. As she notes, it has supported employment protections and housing protections for homosexuals. The Utah law it supported doesn´t address public accommodations, but it quite pointedly provides no exemption for individual landlords with religious objections to homosexuality allowing them to discriminate in housing. The same is true of individual religious employers. The exemptions in that law apply only to religious institutions.
She is quite right that religious freedom is a difficult concept requiring careful thought. She is wrong to suggest that Mormons haven’t been thinking carefully about these things. They have. For twenty years at least. She might want to look at the multiple books and articles on these issues by LDS scholars like Brett Scharffs, Fred Gedicks, Steven D. Smith, or Cole Durham. Or talk with experience LDS litigators dealing with such issues such as Hannah Smith or Gene Schaerr.