Friday, April 08, 2016

Discrimination- or Freedom?


the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.
prejudice, bias, bigotry, intolerance, narrow-mindedness, unfairness, inequity, favoritism, one-sidedness, partisanship;
Now let's be clear, I have an opinion about this. It boils down very simply to:
Don't use your freedom to take away from mine.
We have been deluged recently by new laws giving a narrow freedom to a relatively small group of people. By so doing the law is giving permission to discriminate, give prejudicial treatment against others. These have been specifically aimed at allowing people to refuse service to Gay and Lesbian individuals in the name or religion.

Someone commented on Facebook that we have now defined a group of people who aren't allowed to sit at the soda fountain counter in Woolworth's. The reference is to the sit-ins in the 1950s and 60s when African Americans were not allowed to be served at those fountain counters. They were arrested because they were breaking the law.

Some will point out the obvious differences in the laws. I agree that there are some. But there are also similarities that are the root of the problem. The greatest similarity in my view is that these laws give individuals the right to decide who can utilize the services. Personally, I can think of people I would not want to serve if I were running a business. Maybe I would like to keep convicted violent offenders out of my store. Perhaps I would want to make sure that i didn't have to interact with some bigot who would not agree with me. It could even be that I wouldn't want to have any organized crime people buy in my store. After all, in all these situations, it may very well be that you are known by the company you keep.

Yes, I am stating this in an extreme. So let's change the circumstances a little. What if you are an observant Jew who follows the Kosher laws. Into your store walks a guy carrying a ham sandwich. What would that guy say if you refused to serve him because of the sandwich? Yet, you now have the right to do that.

Okay, I know very few LGBTQ people who would want to give any business to many of these places that might not want to serve them. But that proverbial slippery slope is always looming on the horizon. It is not out of the question- as we have already seen in Tennessee- that a professing Christian refuses to do their job because they have to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

In spite of legal decisions, it will not be companies like Hobby Lobby, etc. who will be doing the discrimination. It will be individuals exercising their religious freedom. When it comes to individuals expressing their freedoms, it often devolves into discrimination and prejudice.

We can argue this one all night- and many do. In general, no one should be forced to do things against their conscience. But most of what these laws are about is not that. It is a way of hitting back at the progressive and liberal ways they see as dangerous. Maybe they feel they can push back against the force of history. Maybe they want to recreate the 21st Century equivalent of the private schools that sprang up in the south after segregation was ruled illegal. Maybe it will work for them for a while. But it doesn't get rid of the issue- and doesn't do anything but set up more walls.

And hurt people when taken to their extremes.

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