Thursday, September 10, 2015

Where Do We Draw the Line with "Religious Freedom" in the Workplace?

Imagine you're approaching the counter at Walmart. The cashier looks in your wagon and politely informs you that as a Catholic she can't ring up your condoms. Another cashier, a Christian Scientist, says he's refusing to ring up your aspirin. An Orthodox Jew tells you she can't ring up your bacon. A Muslim says he won't touch the bikini you have in your wagon. And then there's other Kim Davis wannabes who, as strict bible-interpreting devout Christians, won't serve you because you're gay, or have been divorced.

These cashiers would claim to be acting under the "authority of God" in their pursuit of "religious freedom." Are these plausible scenarios? You betchya, especially if someone like Davis isn't forced to follow the rule of law and the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court. You think shopping at Walmart is crazy now? Just wait till the God Squad's in charge.

It may be 2015, but in many ways when it comes to race, religion, gender and sex it feels like the '50's. To be sure, tremendous progress has been made in not just tolerating but accepting people of all shapes, sizes, colors, faiths and sexual orientation. But there remains a (thankfully) small and ignorant minority that wishes to turn the clock back to when white, christian, heterosexual males were in charge.  The good old days, according to these narrow-minded, backward oppressors. 

And yet here we are still, incredulous that we're actually debating whether the definition of an individual's religious rights and freedoms should be mangled in a heaping pile of dogma crap to mean the right to persecute others. I suppose discrimination is ok as long as it's done under the cloak of God, right? But what would Jesus actually do, I wonder? Well, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be telling his followers to persecute someone in his name because she was poor, sick, gay, a woman, an immigrant or of a different faith. And I'm also sure as shit that he wouldn't have race-baiting homophobes like Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz as his spokesmen.

So I have a suggestion to those whose lives are ruled by their religious beliefs: if gay marriage violates those beliefs, then don't marry someone gay. That's where your "rights" end. Period.

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