I’ve been blessed, or possibly cursed, with an open mind and an ability to see social issues from an unbiased perspective.
I believe our country was founded on basic, fundamental principles called Constitutional Rights and those rights apply to all and are not negotiable. I believe those rights even apply to those in our society with whom I disagree with the most. While I detest the protestors of The Westboro Baptist Church and everything they stand for, I support their Freedom of Speech to be able to say the vile things they say.
The Founding Fathers created America as a Constitutional Republic as opposed to a Democracy. In a Republic, majority rule is limited in order to protect minority rights, because if it were unchecked it probably would be used to oppress persons holding unpopular views which is what American’s notoriously always try to do.
Today I found myself, a heterosexual agnostic with no horse in this race, debating with friends about a meme one posted on Facebook. The meme was in reference to the controversy surrounding Mississippi’s recent passing, and Governor’s signing of House Bill 1523, “The Religious Freedom Law”.
Here’s a screenshot of the meme in question:
My question to the poster was, “What religious group is trying to make homosexuality illegal?”
The response from several people was swift.
The overall theme of the responses was that, by allowing a religious business owner to turn down business because it was against their religion, it was allowing discrimination against homosexuals.
Let me be clear, nobody is advocating, and no law allows, a business owner to kick someone out of a restaurant, store, business, etc. simply because they are gay.
I believe that punishing a business owner for refusing to perform a service for something which clearly is against their religion as represented in the following Bible verses (Leviticus 20:13 / First Corinthians 6:9) violates that business owner’s First Amendment Right to Freedom of Religion.
The ACLU’s interpretation of Religious Freedom, eloquently states, “The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment gives you the right to worship or not as you choose. The government can’t penalize you because of your religious beliefs.”
Isn’t this as simple as it gets? The Government can’t punish people or businesses for their religious beliefs. However, numerous state governments are creating laws and punishing business owners for exercising their religion. A Colorado bakery was fined $135,000.00 for refusing to make a wedding cake for a same sex marriage. A Washington Florist, who was fined for refusing to create flower bouquet’s for a same sex wedding.
This is the reason Mississippi created their “Religious Freedom Law”. It’s not to allow discrimination of homosexuals, it’s to prevent punishing people because they stay true to their religious beliefs.
If a Christian Baker doesn’t want to bake a wedding cake for a Same Sex Marriage, the Government should not be able to punish that baker.
If a Muslim barber doesn’t want to cut a woman’s hair because his religion forbids him touching a female he’s not related to, the Government should not be able to punish that barber.
If a Mormon motel owner doesn’t want to rent a room to someone they know is committing adultery, the Government should not be able to punish that motel owner.
If a gay printer doesn’t want to make “God Hates Fags” signs for the Westboro Baptist Church, the Government should not be able to punish that printer.
Besides, who would want a wedding cake from a baker that fundamentally was repulsed by their lifestyle? And why would they demand someone who disapproves of them take their money and perform the service?
The dictionary defines tolerance as “the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.”
Why is it those who demand TOLERANCE, cannot TOLERATE anyone who doesn’t share their views?