Sunday, March 29, 2015

Indiana "Religious Freedom Restoration Law" IS a License To Discriminate!

Let's not mince any words here, the Indiana "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" is nothing of the sort. It is more plausibly named "the Bigotry in the name of religion restoration act" as it seeks to license wanton discrimination by invoking the codswallop of "religious freedom". But even Hitler and his Nazi henchmen knew implicitly how much could be done to turn people's brains to mush merely by clever wordplay. (The most clever being the greeting sign at Auschwitz, "Arbeit Macht Frei", or work makes one free.)

This law, going into effect in July, ostensibly "protects the right of people or businesses to follow their religious beliefs" in terms of any civil exchanges, interactions or trade.  But in fact, it gives license to chaos and widespread discrimination based on one's perceptions of his or her "religious principles". Most intelligent people - including the Indiana Chamber of Commerce - know if unleashed this stupid law will create havoc hence the mass demonstrations we saw yesterday in Indianapolis.

Though technically aimed at the LGBT  (gay) community, there is absolutely no assurance the discrimination would halt there, given how dogmatic and widespread religious memes and beliefs are. For example,  many pharmacies could refuse serving people they regarded as 'sinners'  - say denying birth control pills to young, single women or couples that they knew were living together but unmarried.

Owners of home improvement stores might decide that they want no Jews around because after all, they "killed our Savior".  Private hospitals -operating as businesses - might decide that they will serve the needs of no declared atheists, or  known pro-choice folks or gays on their premises either. Restaurants would feel free to bar anyone who might wish to celebrate a known pagan festival at their venues.

 In other words, you'd invite a society bordering on chaos, and don't think for a moment that  the thousands of excluded folk would just sit there and take it! And let's note one more thing, in principle this is no different from Walter Block's argument (described in my Jan. 11, 2014 post) that the Woolworth's lunch counters in the South in the early-60s were free to discriminate against blacks because "No one is compelled to associate with people against their will."

But, in fact, they are IF they are engaged in commercial trade! To paraphrase my reply to a Block booster in that earlier  post, bringing it up to date with the subject of this post:

The restaurateur or trader is afforded certain privileges (via licensing) to trade or provide services (such as food) in the public domain. Hence, the so called "freedom" is limited to do whatever they want - and hence that can't include refusal of service unless there are extenuating circumstances, i.e. the customers enter drunk and disorderly. The trader doesn't have the latitude to refuse service on the basis of  skin color, the other person's own beliefs, sexual orientation, pro-choice stance or nationality. Sorry!

And I damned well stand by that in the case of this Indiana law as well! One Indiana custom leather maker, Casey Sampson - interviewed on CBS last evening - clearly doesn't get that. He began his ignorant comment saying:

"We're not here to discriminate. We're here to serve anybody we can"., Roscoe. You're there in the public, commercial domain as a trader,  to provide services to anyone who wants, provided they act the part of decent citizens on entry to your establishment, and their project is not beyond your resources or capabilities.

Not content with his lamo initial statement he goes on:

"Just as they have the right to live their life their way, I believe we should have the right to live how we want to."

And you do, provided the "living of your life" concerns the private sphere and doesn't include  the domain of public commercial trade - which you were licensed to do. (And I note, BEFORE this new law came in,)  Thus, "living one's life" does not include the realm of commercial trade or services, which the people he refers to certainly aren't engaged in. They merely seek to purchase trade or services they are due as citizens of one of these United States.

What they do in their own private lives should be no concern of Casey's or the law's, or any other religious personae who stood by while it was signed.

Mike Pence, the Indy Guv, is equally ignorant claiming the law is "about protecting business owners" which is blatant nonsense. From what?  Having to serve people whose beliefs or lifestyles they may not agree with?

He added: "This isn't about  legalizing discrimination but about  restricting the government's ability to intrude on the religious liberty of our citizens".

Translation: "This is about the state government restricting the federal government's ability to defend the rights of minority citizens in our state"

The truth is hard to spell out, eh guv? So don't mind if I do it for you!

National businesses (like Apple, Starbucks etc.), meanwhile, do not intend to subscribe to this foolish law, and other businesses are reconsidering moves to Indiana - which is good. The best way to teach these knuckleheads is to not move new businesses into the state, and also for right-thinking citizens  to boycott all those businesses that are inclined to go with this ridiculous law.

Let them all see what happens when their overhead overtakes income at the end of the year. Wanna bet most will be shuttered because the numbers of bigots alone won't support them?

No comments: