As the kerfuffle continues over Arizona State Senate Bill 1062, the bill that would enable and allow businesses in the state not to serve gays, it becomes crystal clear there is NO "religious liberty" involved here. Rather, it is an endorsement of hate using the egregious cover of religious liberty. Defenders- invoking their Bibles of course, insist the law is "designed to protect religious freedom, especially for wedding photographers and bakeries."
Cathi Herrod, who helped craft the bill and heads the 'Center for Arizona Policy', blabbed on CBS Early Show this morning:
"What's at risk here is religious liberties. Whether or not our first amendment right to freely exercise our religious belief will continue to mean something in this country or whether we are now in a country that frankly is hostile to individual religious beliefs."
Which, of course, is semantic codswallop. It also sounds almost exactly like the excuse trotted out to deny women contraception under the Affordable Care Act. Remember that? To refresh memories, it was when FOCUS - a Catholic University group - hired on the “Alliance Defending Freedom” - whose mouthpiece then yapped:
“Faith-based organizations should be free to live and operate according to the faith they teach and espouse. If the government can fine Christian ministries out of existence for keeping their faith there is no limit to what freedom they can take away.”
Of course, this was absolute nonsense. There was no attempt whatsoever to “fine Christian ministries out of existence” – only to have them adhere to the standards of all other employers in the public sphere. If then the Catholic Church operates as an employer in the public sphere – never mind it’s a religious institution – then it’s bound to adhere to public standards pertaining to the Affordable Care Act, which all other public employers at other institutions, corporations are also bound to accept.
In the case of the justified protests against AZ 1062, these are in recognition of the fact that businesses operating under state codes and laws cannot cherry pick which customers they will serve and which they won't.
National corporations are urging Jan Brewer - the AZ Governor - to do the right thing and veto this offal. Even Mitt Romney has chimed in and asked Brewer to use her veto. Even one time supporter Steve Pierce said that "we now need to kill it". He offered that the "perception now trumps reality" but the reality is if this hate law is passed (and it's being considered in other states too, e.g. Georgia) this country will be on its way to a similar outcome as the backward African countries (like Uganda ) that have passed laws to put gays away in prison for 14 years or more - as well as any family that protects them. Most African observers - including former Peace Corps volunteers who served there - believe this pot was stirred up by hateful evangelicals who preached this "was the right thing to do".
No, it's never "right" no matter who is the subject of the law. If the law, any law, is based on Biblical bunkum or bollocks then it's no law at all. It's an exercise in religious hatred masquerading as justice, or a first amendment "right".
Brewer needs to do the right thing here, and if she doesn't pressure will be put on the NFL to move the Super Bowl from Arizona next year.