Monday, April 6, 2015

What The Political Left Doesn't Understand About Religious Freedom

Ever since Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) blew up on the national stage, people on the political left have claimed that the law discriminates against gays and lesbians.  I even heard one Democrat strategist say it would take us back decades to when interracial couples were refused service in restaurants and other businesses.  This is a complete distortion of the RFRA.

What they don't seem to understand is that RFRA is all about "participation" and not "discrimination".

In this country, when you open a business, it is unlawful and unconstitutional to discriminate against any person unless, for some reason, that person endangers that business or puts other customers or other people in jeopardy.  For example, a bartender is free to stop serving a patron if they are presumed to be getting too drunk because, in most states, the bartender is liable for a drunk driver's actions after leaving a bar.  Similarly, "No shirts...No Shoes...No Service" is allowable for health and hygienic reasons.

The federal law that bans discrimination goes all the way back to the Civil Rights Act of 1875 which
"all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of inns, public conveyances on land or water, theaters, and other places of public amusement; subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law, and applicable alike to citizens of every race and color, regardless of any previous condition of servitude..."
As a result, no state RFRA law can override that federal law and allow discrimination. But, even so, many on the left seem to ignore the words "subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law".  And, in the case of any RFRA law, the limitation to that Civil Rights Act of 1875 is the First Amendment of the United States Constitution which insures the right to the freedom of religion. 

So, when a gay or lesbian or same-sex couple enters a place of business, they are free to buy any products or services being sold as long as the service or services being provided doesn't infringe upon the owners freedom of religion.  It is this issue of "service" that has become the sticking point.  In every case of supposed gay/lesbian discrimination, it has occurred because the owner of that business was being asked to "participate" either by proxy or directly, in a same-sex marriage.  A marriage that is against their religious beliefs.  Photographing a same-sex wedding is a form of direct "participation". Catering a wedding is another form of direct "participation".  Providing a wedding cake is a form of "participation" by proxy.

The only intent of the RFRA is to insure that the Constitutional right to religious freedom is maintained and understood so that no business or their owner or owners are punished for a refusal to participate in any activity that goes against their religion.  It doesn't mean that some plumber can refuse to snake a clogged pipe in the home of a same sex couple.  That would not stand up in court and, in fact, would be a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1875.

Lets also understand that Muslims, too, have religious objections to gays.  In 2007, Minneapolis Muslim cab drivers refused to take fares from anyone who had been drinking or presumed to have been drinking and from anyone who had a service dog or pet on the basis of their religion.  It is interesting to me that no Muslim cabby was asked if they would pick up any hand-holding or kissing same-sex couple.  Apparently, the only beef about discrimination is with Christians.  Especially, those who might be overtly Christian pizzeria owners. 

To me, this whole uproar over Indiana law is about politics and not reality.  That is why the left-wing media in this country was so quick to ask every potential Republican presidential candidate if the they agreed with the Indiana law.   In fact, the New York Daily News posted this headline: "2016 Republican candidates support controversial Indiana law that makes discrimination legal".   Thus, in the minds of every reader of the article, any Republican, who would be President, is anti-gay.  So, for the 2016 election cycle, the supposed war on women has now been extended to gays and lesbians.  Simply, the number of cases of supposed determination of same-sex weddings is few and too far between to even be an issue to warrant the magnitude of press coverage that the Indiana law has received.


Christian activists: Indiana law tried to shield companies against gay marriage:

Civil Rights Act of 1875:

2016 Republican candidates support controversial Indiana law that makes discrimination legal:

Muslim Cab Drivers Refuse to Transport Alcohol, and Dogs:

Big Gay Hate Machine Closes Christian Pizza Parlor:

Steven Crowder: Gay Wedding Cakes At Muslim Bakeries?:

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