With the recent passing of Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law that basically gives a pass to discrimination as long as it's in the name of God, I've come across a lot of hilarious supporters of the bill who seemed to misunderstand the definition of discrimination. And the concept of logic.
A lot of people bitch and moan about the oppression of bakers or wedding vendors or other people who run public businesses being "forced" to do business with people that would infringe on their beliefs. Aside from the fact that I would put a good deal of money on the notion that these religiously minded people serve other "sinners" like adulterers (second or third marriages) and fornicators (women who give birth out of wedlock), the inability to grasp what discrimination is and isn't is what astounds me. So let me break it down for anyone who seems to be having an issue with it.
9. "Would you force a Jewish deli to serve bacon or pork?"
No. Because not serving something doesn't make one discriminatory. Any shop is allowed to serve whatever they like (obviously, within reason). A deli serves certain foods. An Italian restaurant serves certain foods. A TV store sells TVs. A florists sells flowers. A shop not choosing to sell a product isn't discrimination, it's usually just based on what the shop sells. I don't know anyone with any mediocre level of intelligence who would try to conflate discrimination with a deli not selling arm chairs.
Now, if the Jewish deli was only serving bacon to a certain group of people - like other Jews - then yes, it is discrimination. Why? Because as a public accommodation, which all public businesses are, you are required to treat the public equally. So if you serve one thing to people but not another, then that's discrimination. But simply not serving something to ANYONE is not discrimination. It's stocking and offer options.
In short, it's not about what they sell, it's about WHOM they sell to.
8. "Would you force a wedding photographer to photograph a nude, gay, orgy wedding?"
No joke, someone asked me this on Twitter. My first response was, "do you get invites to a lot of nude gay orgy themed weddings? I must not have interesting enough friends."
No, I would not force a photographer to photograph a nude orgy themed wedding. Unless the wedding photographer was providing this service for straight people.
It's not discrimination when a photographer turns down a theme. Themes are not protected classes, they are not innate traits like gender, skin color, orientation, sex. Or even chosen protected classes like religion. So as long as the vendor is not turning away the business because the couple is GAY, then I have no problem with it. And since something tells me the vendor wouldn't opt to do a nude orgy themed wedding, even for straight people, then this is a-ok.
7. "Would you force a Christian doctor to perform an abortion?"
Welp, this all depends. If the Christian doctor is a doctor who specializes in abortions working at a Planned Parenthood? Then yes, I would.
This is not about discrimination at all. This is about out-of-touch Christians putting on an air of victimhood that doesn't exist. First off, no, I obviously wouldn't walk into a hospital and say "a Christian doctor must perform my abortion." Why? One, everyone knows the best doctors are Jews, duh. Two, what if the only Christian identifying doctor in the hospital was a cardiologist? Or an oncologist? Or a podiatrist? Obviously I'm not going to force any of those doctors to perform a medical procedure they do not specialize in. That'd be like walking into a divorce lawyer's office and saying 'I demand you try my murder case!" Divorce lawyers don't try muser cases. And podiatrists don't perform abortions.
However, if I walked into a Planned Parenthood or other medical clinic that provides the service of an abortion, then yes, I would expect that any doctor -- Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Scientologist, Pastafarian -- perform a service their company provides. When you apply for a job at Planned Parenthood, I'm pretty sure you know what kind of medical procedures you will be required to perform. This is the same at many hospitals where emergency abortions might be required. If you go to work at a job and refuse to do the job, then I expect you to get fired or quit and go find a job that does not require you to break with your religious beliefs. It's really quite simple.
At the end of the day though, I have yet to hear of one story of a woman demanding that a Christian doctor perform her abortion.
6. "The Constitution protects my right to exercise my religious beliefs."
Sure. What the Constitution does not protect is your imaginary right to circumvent laws in the name of your religion. For example, back in 1990, two men in Oregon were fired from their job for using drugs. They were also denied unemployment benefits because of this. They claimed their religious faith -- they belonged to the Native American Church -- included worship through the use of peyote. They lost their case and that was that.
Why? Because peyote, like most drugs, was illegal. And the government wasn't going to just randomly let a bunch of people circumvent that law because their God said it's cool. Just like if some religion decided that once a year to worship their god, they would sacrifice virgins on an alter, the Government wouldn't be like, "oh, okay cool, murder laws don't apply to you because God".
Discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, orientation and gender is illegal in many states. You can't just skirt the law and do what you like, especially when it infringes on other's rights, just because of religious faith. It doesn't, shouldn't, and will not work that way. If your God has an issue with it, I suggest he file a complaint. If he can make the world in six days, I'm sure he can figure out how to file something with the courts.
5. "Why can't they just go somewhere else?"
I always love this argument. Why can't gay people just go to a florist who does gay weddings?
Take marriage out of it for a second. Because that's not all it effects.
Recently, Dr. Vesna Roi at Eastlake Pediatrics in Detroit, refused to treat the baby of a same-sex couple.
Now imagine if this happened in a town where there was only one pediatric doctor. And she was it.
What are the parents supposed to do then? Does this mean if the baby has a medical emergency, this woman can legally refuse medical treatment to the baby? What if the nearest doctor is forty minutes away? An hour away? In small towns, this could be the case. In big cities like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, sure, there are a lot of people who offer the same kinds of services. But in small towns, those options might be limited. And that's when the situation becomes not just troublesome, but dangerous.
LGBT people should not have to go out of their way to get the same services straight people get. Whether it's wedding services, medical services, TV repair services or a chili dog. Period.
4. "Why is it okay for a gay bakery to deny a Christian customer then?"
It isn't. And to be honest, I don't know any LGBT person or ally who would. But aside from that, it's illegal.
If a gay baker provides cakes as a public accommodation and business, he can not refuse to serve a person just because they are Christian. Or Jewish. Or a woman. LGBT people don't have this pass that straight Christians seem to think they do. Nor do they want it, like Christians do. LGBT people can't discriminate and to be honest, I don't know any who want to. If a person walked into a gay owned cake shop with a cross around their neck, the shop owner can not deny them service because they are Christian. Period. It is illegal.
Now, if you're going to try to tell me that "all fags go to hell" is "Christian" or "God hates gay people" is the equivalent to "congrats John and Mike!", I can't really argue with stupid. There is a huge difference between derogatory and discriminatory. If you don't understand it, then I suggest two things. One, go learn about it. And two, rethink the religion you belong to. Because if you believe in a religion that encourages you to say things like "fags burn in hell", you should be more concerned about your religious doctrines, not the cake baker who won't put those words on a cake. The fact that you want to put those words on a cake troubles me.
3. "Business owners have the right to refuse service to anyone they want."
Yeah, but they don't. Non-discrimination laws and public accommodation laws prevent that, actually. A white shop owner can not just deny service to a black person. A kosher deli can't deny a delicious brisket on rye to a Muslim customer. A muslim gas station can't withhold the pump from a paying woman.
Now, can customers be denied for being an asshole? For not following the rules of a shop? For not paying? For not wearing clothes? Of course. But the whole "business owners can do whatever they want" meme is kind of ridiculous. They own businesses, they aren't God.
2. "Why would you want to pay someone who doesn't want your money?"
Because it might not be about the person, it might be about what the person's service offers.
If a gay married couple approaches a realtor about a house for sale -- a dream house, the house, the one they want -- and the realtor turns around and says, "sorry, I can't work with a gay couple, it's against my religion", then the couple has no other option of buying the house. All of a sudden, the dream house is not an option for them, but it is for other people who are no more qualified customers than they are.
Trust me, I don't know many LGBT people or their allies who would want to "give" money to assholes, but sometimes we don't have a choice when it comes to certain services or goods we might really want or need.
1. "Would you force a church to perform a gay wedding?"
This is the easiest argument to squash. Churches are private entities. They are not public accommodations. They are not businesses and as such do not have to abide by public accommodation laws. So no, I would not want to force a church to perform a ceremony they don't believe in. And no, no one can force them to.
In 2012, a Mississippi church refused to marry a black couple. Why? Because the congregation of the church was entirely white.
Now, if this were a public wedding hall, or a restaurant, or an inn that routinely allows wedding ceremonies, it would be illegal to deny a couple service because they are black. And the couple could have easily sued and won. However, because it was a church and not a business, the couple could do nothing and the church didn't have to marry them.
So the whole "priests will be forced to go against their church" victimization fear? It's a false one. That is easily debunked.
Also, I'm sure Jesus totally would have turned away the black couple, too. What good Christians.
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