It’s Not Anti Gay, It’s Pro Religious Freedom

Jan Brewer

The media and the Liberal/Left activists totally misrepresented the Arizona Law that Governor Jan Brewer foolishly vetoed. The word homosexuality, gay or marriage did not appear in the bill. It was not an anti gay bill, it was a pro religious freedom bill

Consider this case: “Star Transport, Inc., a trucking company based in Morton, Ill., violated federal law by failing to accommodate two employees because of their religion, Islam, and discharging them, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed [May 28, 2013].

“The lawsuit alleged that Star Transport refused to provide two employees with an accommodation of their religious beliefs when it terminated their employment because they refused to deliver alcohol.” So the Feds went in and sanctioned Star Transport, sues them, because they fired a couple of employees who refused to deliver alcohol — and they refused because of a violation of their religious tenets. They’re Muslims, and they don’t want to be anywhere near alcohol.

“According to EEOC District Director John P. Rowe…’Our investigation revealed that Star could have readily avoided assigning these employees to alcohol delivery without any undue hardship, but chose to force the issue despite the employees’ Islamic religion.’ Failure to accommodate the religious beliefs of employees, when this can be done without undue hardship, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion.”  (1)

This maligned Arizona legislation consisted of minor clarifications of the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which has been on the books for 15 years and is modeled on the federal act that passed with big bipartisan majorities in the 1990s and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

If you’ll excuse a brief, boring break from the hysteria to dwell on the text of the doomed bill, it stipulated that the word “person” in the law applies to businesses and that the protections of the law apply whether or not the government is directly a party to a proceeding (e.g., a lawsuit brought on anti-discrimination grounds).

Eleven legal experts on religious freedom statutes — who represent a variety of views on gay marriage — wrote a letter to Gov. Brewer prior to her veto explaining how the bill “has been egregiously misrepresented by many of its critics.” (2)

The action that precipitated this law was not about a refusal to serve for service was granted in almost all aspects except in the occasional instance where that service conflicted with religious beliefs. So a business could be serving somebody 99 times out of 100 and the one time it refused was when there was religious conflict. Just like the Muslim taxi drivers. They didn’t refuse passengers who drank alcohol they just refused to handle alcohol on religious grounds.

Catholic Hospitals do not believe that they should be forced to provide abortifacients or anything to do with abortion or contraception. Does that mean that they won’t treat the illness of anybody who believes in abortion? No. It means in just this one instance they will not go along. The example of the Civil Rights area of Black denial of service in a restaurant is totally bogus because that was 100% service denial all the time. No service for anything, ever. But that’s not the case here with this law. It would involve one instance which would have to go to court to decide if the religious objector has a justified case. It takes protestations one at a time on a case by case basis. It’s all not about denial of service it’s about religious freedom

Now let’s go to Canada and if you can keep your sense of humor along with your common sense perhaps you can see how ridiculous some of this can all get when you insist on being politically correct.

So a lesbian walks into a Muslim barbershop, and asks for a “businessmen’s haircut”.

It sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it really happened, and now a government agency called the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario will hear her complaint.

Faith McGregor is the lesbian who doesn’t like the girly cuts that they do at a salon. She wants the boy’s hairdo.

Omar Mahrouk is the owner of the Terminal Barber Shop in Toronto. He follows Shariah law, so he thinks women have cooties. As Mahrouk and the other barbers there say, they don’t believe in touching women other than their own wives.

But that’s what multiculturalism and unlimited immigration from illiberal countries means. A central pillar of many immigrant cultures is the second-class citizenship of women and gays.

So if we now believe in multiculturalism, and that our Canadian culture of tolerance isn’t any better than the Shariah culture of sex crimes and gender apartheid, who are we to complain when Omar Mahrouk takes us up on our promise that he can continue to practise his culture — lesbian haircuts be damned?

He’s not the one who passed the Multiculturalism Act, and invited in hundreds of thousands of immigrants with medieval attitudes towards women and gays and Jews, etc. We did.

Mahrouk’s view is illiberal. But in Canada we believe in property rights and freedom of association — and in this case, freedom of religion, too.

But McGregor ran to the Human Rights Tribunal and demanded that Mahrouk give her a haircut.

In the past, human rights commissions have been a great ally to gay activists. Because, traditionally, gay activists have complained against Christians. And white Christians are the one ethnic identity group that human rights commissions don’t value, and that multiculturalism doesn’t include.

In recent years, Canadian human rights commissions have weighed a complaint about a women’s-only health club that refused a pre-operative transsexual male who wanted to change in the locker rooms.

They’ve ordered bed and breakfasts owned by Christian families to take in gay couples. They’ve censored pastors and priests who have criticized gay marriage. Gays win, because it’s a test of who is most outraged and offended.

But in the case of the Muslim barbers, the gay activists have met their match. If the test is who can be the most offended or most politically correct, a lesbian’s just not going to cut it.

Oh, McGregor is politically correct. But just not politically correct enough. It’s like poker.

A white, Christian male has the lowest hand — it’s like he’s got just one high card, maybe an ace. So almost everyone trumps him.

A white woman is just a bit higher — like a pair of twos. Enough to beat a white man, but not much more.

A gay man is like having two pairs in poker.

A gay woman — a lesbian like McGregor — is like having three of a kind.

A black lesbian is a full house — pretty tough to beat.

Unless she’s also in a wheelchair, which means she’s pretty much a straight flush.

The only person who could trump that would be a royal flush. If the late Sammy Davis Jr. — who was black, Jewish and half-blind — were to convert to Islam and discover he was 1/64th Aboriginal.

So which is a better hand: A lesbian who wants a haircut or a Muslim who doesn’t want to give it to her?

I’m betting on Mahrouk. And I predict that Muslim activists — not quiet barbers like Mahrouk, but professional Muslim busybodies — will start using human rights commissions more and more to push their way into places where they have no legal right, but where the human rights commissions are more than happy to engineer things for them, if they complain loud enough.

If I were a gay activist, I’d probably want to declare victory and shut down these human rights commissions right now.

In five years time, it won’t be gay activists forcing themselves into Christian B&Bs. It’ll be Muslim activists vetoing the gay pride parade. (3)

The Heritage Foundation has some further thoughts on the subject:

Cases have been popping up across the country where individuals have declined to bake cakes or take photos for same-sex wedding ceremonies—and government has punished them. This week, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) vetoed a bill that would have put religious liberty protections in place in her state. We sat down with Ryan Anderson, Heritage’s William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society, to get some answers about this debate.

The Foundry: How did people’s beliefs about same-sex marriage become an issue for private businesses?

Ryan Anderson: In New Mexico, a photographer declined to use her artistic talents to promote a same-sex ceremony because of her religious beliefs. The couple complained and the New Mexico Human Rights Commission ordered her to pay a fine of nearly $7,000. Christian adoption and foster-care agencies in Massachusetts, Illinois, and Washington, D.C., have been forced to stop providing those services because they believe that the best place for kids is with a married mom and dad. Other cases include a baker, a florist, a bed-and-breakfast, astudent counselor, the Salvation Army, and more.

Whose liberty is at stake? Is it just business owners’?

Everyone’s. When the government starts forcing people to do things that violate their deeply held beliefs, we have a problem. Unless the government proves that there is a compelling government interest in doing so (and that there was not another, less restrictive means possible), citizens should be left free. We need legislation protecting religious liberty for all, because in a growing number of cases, government coercion and penalties have violated religious freedom.

Why is this a religious liberty issue?

Many religions teach that marriage is the union of a man and woman, and the religious liberty concern in these recent cases is that people are being coerced into violating that belief. While Americans are legally free to live and love as they choose, no one should demand that government coerce others into participating in activities that violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.

But isn’t government supposed to guarantee equal treatment for all?

These are cases of private individuals offering (or not offering) their services, not government officially recognizing same-sex relationships—which is another case altogether. There is no need for government to try to force every photographer and every florist to service every marriage-related event.

Would laws like these open the door to lots of businesses discriminating against gays and lesbians?

Claims that proposals like Arizona’s encourage refusing service to gays and lesbians are simply nonsensical. Arizona’s proposed legislation never even mentioned same-sex couples or sexuality; it simply clarified and improved existing state protections for religious liberty.

Some people have claimed, for example, that it meant a pharmacy could refuse to serve gays and lesbians. But I know of no sincere religious belief that would lead a pharmacist to refuse to dispense antibiotics to gay or lesbian patients. Furthermore, it has long been recognized that the government has a “compelling interest” in protecting public health by combating communicable diseases. Consequently, prohibiting pharmacies from denying appropriately prescribed antibiotics to any patient might very well be the least restrictive means possible of ensuring access to necessary medicines.

What about people whose religions say different things, or Americans who choose not to practice a religion?

These types of freedom protections are important for all Americans. As Cato’s Ilya Shapiro put it, “For that matter, gay photographers and bakers shouldn’t be forced to work religious celebrations…and environmentalists shouldn’t be forced to work job fairs in logging communities.” When it comes to this particular issue, all Americans should remain free to believe and act in the public square based on their beliefs about marriage without fear of government penalty.(4)

Before we leave the subject let’s consider this perspective. Nobody should be allowed by law to deny service 100% always to somebody because of personal beliefs. But let’s recognize that in certain situations the request is so odious as to be an infringement of that person’s sacred lifestyle. You see there are two sides to the coin here. The question is whose rights are getting violated – the person making the request or the person refusing the request? Do they not both have the same rights?

Let’s put the shoe on the other foot. Would you force a gay photographer to service a Catholic wedding? Would you force an African American to make a wedding cake for a skinhead or KKK couple? Would you force a record store to carry the music of a gangster rapper? Would you force children to visit a pedophile in prison?

The key word here is FORCE.  It’s not about denying service it’s about forcing service with the government doing the forcing.

 

 

(1) Religious Liberty Defeated in Arizona, Rush Limbaugh – http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2014/02/27/religious_liberty_defeated_in_arizona

(2)  Brewer’s Foolish Veto, By RICH LOWRY, Politico – http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/02/jan-brewers-foolish-veto-104014.html#.Uw_Imc63tRk

(3)  Gay activists have met their match with Muslim barbers , By Ezra Levant ,QMI Agency, Toronto Sun –  

(4)

Questions You’re Asking About Cakes, Gays, and Religious Freedom

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