First I want you to know I make a few biblical references in this article. You may want to look them up if you don’t recognize them.
Religious freedom laws have been passed in several (19) states, Indiana being the most recent state to pass one of these laws. This law is a defense against discrimination claims made not just by the government but also by private parties, essentially allowing for-profit businesses to refuse to conduct business with people such as LGBT individuals on the basis of protecting the religious freedom of the business owners.
I was raised in an extremely conservative Christian home (picture the Duggars), my parents and siblings are still extremely conservative Christians. In fact, my siblings and parents are all deeply involved in politics and most them have held or are currently holding political offices in my home state. My parents and siblings believe divorce is sin. Always a sin. He can beat the crap out of you on a daily basis and it is sin for you to divorce him. He can beat your children every single day and yep… you guessed it, still a sin to divorce him. The rather large church my family attends preaches and practices that divorce is a sin. While I was being raised in that church I personally witnessed ex-communication of multiple members for the sin of divorce.
Religious freedom laws are basically a license to discriminate. These laws state if I am a conservative Christian (or any other religion that discriminates), I can refuse to sell my cupcakes to you because you are in a same sex relationship, as a doctor I can refuse to treat your children because you and your significant other are same sex.
Let me tell you, I know the Bible inside and out… My parents made us read through the King James version every year. So if it is okay to discriminate against same sex couples because the Bible says homosexuality is an abomination, why would we stop there? It also says obesity (gluttony) is a sin, lying is a sin, stealing is a sin, lusting after another man’s wife is a sin, adultery is a sin, alcoholism is a sin (however most bible thumping conservatives take that to an extreme and say drinking alcohol is a sin), idolatry is a sin, the list goes on and on. There are a lot of conservative Christians who believe divorce is sin (my family included). My problem with religious freedom laws is this: Who will these businesses refuse next? Obese people? Divorced individuals? Is there anyone in America who hasn’t told a lie once or twice in their life.
Why would they stop at homosexuality? It is a dangerous slippery slope and America better put the brakes on and hit reverse or pretty soon everyone will be discriminated against in the name of religion. I’ve never heard of white supremacists whose racist beliefs were not strongly tied to their religious beliefs.
Religious freedom means you can put Bible verses up in your store (people who object have the freedom to take their business elsewhere), you can refuse to be open on Sundays, you can refuse to serve pork. Religious freedom gives us the freedom to practice our religion. It does not give anyone the freedom to force their beliefs on others, or refuse service to those who don’t meet your standards. Who did Jesus throw out of the temple? Oh yes, it was the religious people of the day. The God I serve would never refuse to serve anyone. He served the woman at the well.
I can only imagine the day a divorced mom is told by her childcare provider I’m sorry we have to refuse to care for your child on religious grounds. I live in the south. Bible verses are regularly seen on gas station signs. can you imagine not being able to purchase gas when you need it for no other reason than your marriage failed? This version of the religious freedom act says if a business refuses me service based on their religious beliefs, I cannot sue them.
Sorry, but in my opinion these religious freedom laws are simply legalizing discrimination and should be reversed.
photo credit: Lucas takes a nap on Leilani's shoulder via photopin (license)