These “Religious Freedom” laws were the same counter argument to the 1965 Civil Rights Act

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When the Johnson Administration pushed for equal rights for blacks in 1964, the Religious Right opposed the bill on the grounds that it was impinging on their rights. Their “religious” right to be a bigot. They claimed that The Almighty himself segregated the world by putting people of different races on different continents, and that forcing people of faith to mingle with “Negroes” was against “God’s Will”. There was “No need” for “integrated lunch counters” because if “they” didn’t like it, they could just eat someplace else. And if the public didn’t agree, they too could just patronize another shop. If enough people didn’t like it, “The Free Market” would either force that business to conform or go bankrupt. Problem was, in 350 years, NOT ONCE did public sentiment close a business over their treatment of minorities. Private businesses resented being forced to seat blacks at the lunch counter. “If you don’t like it, eat someplace else”, they were told. “There are plenty of other restaurants that are Separate But Equal to ours. Go there!” Does any of this sound familiar? The exact same “Religious rights” arguments made against the 1964 Civil Rights Act are being used again TODAY by the same people to defend pro-discrimination laws in Indiana and Arkansas 51 years later citing “Religious Freedom” as their defense. Only THIS time around, it’s the bigots that are in charge.

When people never spend any time around the “others” they look down upon, they remain alien to them, making it easy for them to discriminate. “Those disease-ridden, sinful, morally ambiguous degenerates!” They didn’t want to be around them or have anything to do with them. “Stay away and don’t corrupt my children!” They were an “offense to God” and treating them badly was “justified in the name of God.”

The genius of the 1964 Civil Rights Act was to spare NO ONE. No individual, no business, public nor private, was exempt. And once people got used to being around those “others”, they discovered that they were not in fact different from themselves. Open bigotry is actually publicly shamed by a majority of Americans today as more than half of America’s population has no memory of growing up in a time when the races were not regarded as equals.

When Indiana governor Mike “Shut it down” Pense trumpeted their new “Religious Freedom Restoration Act”… a Conservative law designed to protect the right of bigots to be bigots… he rightly immediately caught flack for it. He tried to argue this was a law designed to “protect” the rights of people claiming their religious freedom was being violated by being forced to serve people they disapproved of, contrary to their faith; not discrimination. The arguments made to defend the right of certain individuals to discriminate against “others” on “religious” grounds are the EXACT SAME arguments made 51 years before. And the “alternative remedies” being proposed are the same as well. “Let the Free Market decide!” They argue the REAL victims of discrimination here are the bigots… er “people of faith“. Victims of “reverse discrimination” (cue Jessie Helms’ “hands” ad here) by people intolerant of their intolerance. It’s the same argument the KKK uses to protest “Affirmative Action” and “Racial quotas”. “THEY are the bullies, not ME! THEY are violating MY right to practice my faith!”

Meanwhile, the scenario The Media has latched onto is the baker that was sued for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding. “Could they now legally refuse to serve a gay couple without the fear of being sued?”, repeatedly asks George Stephanopoulos of Pense, who repeatedly dodges the question like a weasel in a minefield.

This drastic over-simplification of the problem with the #RFRA may be doing more harm than good, possibly leading to a “fix” that barely scratches the surface of the harm this law can do.

While not providing a gay couple with Marie Antoinette’s favorite dish might be a travesty, and a pizzeria refusing to cater a gay wedding might go down in history as worse than Watergate, what about the pharmacist that refuses to provide your 16 year old daughter with birth control pills to treat her debilitatingly painful endometriosis… because he thinks she’s using it to have sex, which offends his fragile sensibilities?

What about the private (not public) school teacher that openly “shames” little Bobby, making him a target for bullies, because he has two dads?

I’m sure there are plenty of other examples, but you get the picture. Anyone can now claim “religious freedom” as a defense for things that could cause far more harm to a person than simply denying them baked goods.

BTW: What does a “gay” cake look like anyway? How does a baker know the wedding cake they are making is for a “gay” couple? The rainbow icing?
 


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April 7, 2015 · Admin Mugsy · No Comments - Add
Posted in: Civil Rights, Crime, Politics, Racism, Religion