Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Discriminating Tastes

Mississippi has passed one of those "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" laws that both sides expect will be used to protect businesses who refuse to serve same-sex couples.

Of course, it may not have much effect right away. Mississippi doesn't allow or recognize same-sex marriages and, as far as I can tell from a quick search, there are no anti-discrimination laws at a state or local level that include homosexuals as a protected class. But there have been some lower court decisions requiring states that do not permit same-sex marriage to recognize valid same-sex marriages performed in states that permit it. And, of course, there have been a plethora of lower court decisions holding that it is unconstitutional to deny gays the right to marry.

Never accuse the religious right of not being prepared.

But there are hopeful signs even in Mississippi. A group of businessmen in the state have started a campaign to distribute stickers with the message "We don't discriminate. If you're buying, we're selling."

The funny thing is the reaction of the religious right, such as Buddy Smith, executive vice president of Tupelo-based American Family Association, to the sticker campaign:
"It's not really a buying campaign, but it's a bully campaign," he says, "and it's being carried out by radical homosexual activists who intend to trample the freedom of Christians to live according to the dictates of scripture.

"They don't want to hear that homosexuality is sinful behavior – and they wish to silence Christians and the church who dare to believe this truth."

Smith offers a word of caution for those who do business with facilities posting the decal supporting homosexual activism. "If you do that, you are agreeing with these businesses that Christians no longer have the freedom to live out the dictates of their Christian faith and conscience," he tells OneNewsNow.
Wow! So much stupid in so small a space! Someone tramples the religious freedom of Christians by refusing to discriminate against gays? It's almost as if they are claiming it's their religious right to control everyone else's religious beliefs.

And they are being silenced because other people speak up in favor of the rights of gays? It's almost as if they think no one else has freedom of speech.

And agreeing to serve same-sex couples means that Christians no longer have the freedom to live out the dictates of their Christian faith and conscience. It's almost like the only way that Christians can have religious freedom is if nobody else has any.

What they really fear, of course, is the change in public opinion, even among their fellow Christians, and that this campaign will show them up for what they are: hate-filled bigots.

This law is much more powerful, I think, than anyone realizes. There is a specific clause that a firmly held religious belief is a defense against civil *and criminal* charges.

Everyone seems to be glossing over that part of the law. I doubt it will stand up in court, but I fully expect to see some parent charged with murder for not taking their child to the doctor use this law as a get out of jail card. Since the law also specifically states that the belief doesn't have to be a central dogma of their religion, this opens all kinds of doors.
What about a firmly held belief in plural marriages?

In the "Curse of Ham"?

Against usury? (That is, in paying interest on debts.)

In animal sacrifices?

In ...
What the restoration of religious freedom really means is the restoration of preferential treatment for the dominant faith of the legislation's sponsors and supporters. I doubt very much they want to be free of the tax breaks they enjoy at present or the freedom to place a Koran in every classroom.
I used to work for a major state agency, and a person in a supervisory role used to make me ride to Jackson listening to American Family Radio for hours. It made me sick. He bragged, with a self-satisfied look on his face, as he told me "I ONLY get my news from here. Nowhere else."

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