At a time when the hallowed wall between church and state is under siege, it's heartening to see the Kentucky legislature seek a way to reconcile religious conscience with the rights of non-believers — even if we're talking buggies, not birth control.
Members of an Amish sect in Western Kentucky have religious objections to the fluorescent-orange emblem that state law requires on animal-drawn vehicles, farm machinery and vehicles other than bicycles that go no faster than 25 mph.
There have been deaths and injuries when motorists come up behind dark buggies. A number of Amish men in Western Kentucky have been jailed for refusing to pay fines for not having orange triangles on their buggies.
Lower courts have ruled that the rights of all Kentuckians to safe roads trumps the religious freedom argument. The Kentucky Supreme Court heard an appeal last week.
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But the conflict will likely become moot when the General Assembly gives final approval, as expected, to legislation allowing the use of reflective tape strips instead of the orange triangles.
Congratulations to Sen. Ken Winters, R-Murray, and Johnny Bell, D-Glasgow, for shepherding through a reasonable compromise that has been used in other states.
Members of an especially strict Amish group known as Swartzentruber believe the triangle is a sacrilege because it stands for the Holy Trinity and the color is too garish for their plain lives.
We should respect the rights of all to practice their religion, no matter how far outside the mainstream their beliefs may seem. At the same time, this situation could also serve as a bright orange emblem of why employers' religious beliefs should not be allowed to dictate health care policy for those who don't share those beliefs.