GOP is Pushing for "Religious Freedom" Litigation in Several States
by Brig Bagley
20 February 2014
Several states have state senators pushing for acts and bills that would give people a legal excuse to refuse services to any individual based on religious belief. Some experts are calling these movements "Jim-Crow Style", saying that they give special groups permission to not have to play by the same rules as everybody else.
The laws in question are varied a little, but all are related to fact that there are people that live certain lifestyles that others do not want to have to correspond with. People want to be able to discriminate (although they don't want to call it that) against others to, in my opinion, protest their life choices. Apparently, protecting sub-classes, like LGBT people, from discrimination is infringing on the rights of religious people to do so.
There are already about 29 states that already have in place some sort of "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" that grants religions a few special privileges, but most are mainly to protect the religion itself from attack, instead of allowing the religion to attack or discriminate preemptively.
"This seems to be a concerted Hail Mary campaign to carve out special rights for religious conservatives so that they don't have to play by the same rules as everyone else does," says Evan Hurst, associate director of Truth Wins Out. "In this new up-is-down world, anti-gay religious folks are 'practicing their faith' when they're baking cakes or renting out hotel rooms to travelers. On the ground, [these bills] hurt real, live LGBT people."
Religion is practiced in chapels, cathedrals, temples, and synagogues. Not at work at the office, coffee shop, repair shop, or clothing store. It is not against anyone's religion to provide products, service, or employment to individuals that don't practice their same religion. It is not a right for anyone to refuse these products, services, or jobs to someone because they are gay, have premarital sex, drink wine, or eat non-kosher meats. Simply don't practice those "sins" yourself. Maybe you are uncomfortable when a gay couple comes in asking for one of your fine cakes for their wedding. But how would the couple feel if you proudly exclaimed that your religion doesn't approve of them and therefore you refuse to sell them a cake?
It's clearly discriminatory to refuse services in situations like this, especially based on religion. It's one thing if they don't have the money, violate the "no shirt, no shoes, no service", or have previously harassed the business in some way. But these issues have nothing to do with religion.
Most of the proposed laws have already been killed or have been shelved for the time being, but it's pretty obvious that this is conservative's attempt at fighting back at the imminent legalization of same-sex marriages.