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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Religion Is Not An Excuse For Discrimination

Category: Religion
Posted: 03/30/15 11:05

by Dave Mindeman

I have a difficult time with how religious "freedom" is defined in this country. There seems to be a prevailing belief that what I consider a religious tenet allows me to impose my belief on people I interact with.

This Indiana law that allows business owners to deny services to LGBT clients is a means to hide discriminatory actions behind a religious barricade. It is simply wrong and should not stand under our Constitution.

I have the same problem with the Hobby Lobby ruling on health insurance. Can a business owner who operates a public business impose his or her religious beliefs on employees or customers? I can't believe there is any answer other than NO.

A rather extreme case of this has circulated regarding a business owner who called in to a local Indiana radio talk show:

The business owner, who would not give his name or the name of his business, said he had told some LGBT "people" that equipment was broken in his restaurant and he couldn't serve them even though it wasn't and other people were already eating at the tables. "So, yes, I have discriminated," he told RadioNOW 100.9 hosts. The hosts were surprised the owner said he was okay with discriminating.

That must be some pretty strong "religious" convictions that would allow you to lie so that you can discriminate.

Using religion as some kind of excuse to deny servicing people that you find objectionable is hardly a matter of conviction. Businesses provide services period. Providing those services is not some a defacto acceptance of any particular religion or bias or even a person's sexual orientation. It is a business transaction. Businesses transactions dealing with the public aren't a judgment call - it's just business.

When a business owner singles out a particular class of people to withhold those services from, then it cannot be described as anything other than a discriminatory policy. Please leave religion out of it.

The world has used religion as an excuse for some pretty destructive behavior.

It is time we just said....no more.
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