Today, students, we will consider the meaning and extent of religious liberty in our society by way of The Case of the Israeli Postal Refusniks. As reported by RNS' MIchele Chabin, dozens of Israeli postal workers have been refusing to deliver thousands of copies of the Hebrew New Testament and other Christian written material on the grounds that such delivery amounts to proselytizing for an alien faith and therefore is contrary to Jewish law. There's no question that the purpose of the mailings is to proselytize. Nevertheless, the Israel Postal Authority has declared that "a governmental company operating in accordance to the Postal Law, which obligates us to distribute any mail it receives. The Israel Postal Company has no right or ability to choose what it can or cannot distribute. Therefore, the mail will be distributed according to the law."
Now let's suppose that thousands of American postal workers similarly refuse to deliver English copies of the Koran mailed by a Muslim organization to hundreds of thousands of American households in hopes of making converts. Whose religious liberty rights should prevail--the senders of the material exercising their own Islamic Great Commission? Or the postal workers who contend that participating in such an exercise would violate their religious beliefs? Answers due on Monday. For extra credit, suppose the postal workers were joined by thousands of UPS and Fedex workers. Would the situation of the latter be different?