The liberty to discriminate is different from being discriminated against

There is an important, but subtle difference between the argument of liberty to discriminate and being discriminated against. The latter is what we have fought for and evolved to over time. No citizen should be unfairly discriminated against because of a group he or she belongs to including, but not limited to, race, gender, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual preference and gender orientation. To do otherwise, goes against the essence of who we are as a country .

Yet, the right to be not discriminated against unfairly, does not give us the right to unfairly discriminate against others because of our beliefs. That is a bridge too far and is a reason Religious Freedom bills run afoul of our constitution.

Let me use an extreme example. Suppose I am a Jewish dressmaker and own a shop. It would not be constitutional to pass a law that permits me to not make a wedding dress for a Christian wedding. Suppose I am a a Muslim baker. It would similarly not be constitutional if a law permitted me to avoid making a wedding cake for the same wedding. The same would hold true for Sikh photographer.

The last time I checked, I live in the United States of America. That first word is United. If I am a gay Atheist, I have every right that a heterosexual Muslim and a lesbian Christian have. That right is what our soldiers fought for. I do not have the right to persecute Christians or Jews or Hindus or Muslims or Sikhs or gays or lesbians or women or Latin Americans or Blacks, et al.

This week I was utterly ashamed of our US Congress and its Republican leadership. In a narrow vote, the House decided it was OK to discriminate against gays and lesbians who federally contract with the federal government. Legislative leaders in our elected US Congress said it was OK to discriminate. This is on top of my state’s Republican led General Assembly excluding gays and lesbians from a protected group within an already unconstitutional transgender bathroom law.

Folks, we live in the United States of America. If this is what it looks like to make America great again, then those who are pushing this agenda deserve every bit of ridicule they are getting. This does not make us great. It makes us petty and small. We can not be the shining light on the hill, when we push people off of it.

21 thoughts on “The liberty to discriminate is different from being discriminated against

  1. Surely that cannot stand up to a challenge in a court of law. Surely Obama won’t sign it.
    We need to fix the system whereupon Congress can stack in small amendments to bills that make the whole of it, which may have been perfectly reasonable, repugnant. Or as in this case where one group adds in the Freedom of Religion crap and another attempts to add in another to denude it of its intention.
    It makes a reasonable system of government nearly impossible.
    We end up fighting over these side issues and not enacting needed legislation or worse enacting these types of horrific amendments because the bulk legislation was so needful.
    No rational business would be run this way because it would end up bankrupt. But we run a whole country this way. It’s crazy pants.

    • Good points. What also bothered many was the bill to not let this happen had the votes, but the floor was left open while some Republicans were cajoled to change their votes.

  2. It is a mystery to me that it still happens these times that people are discriminated for their sexual orientation, their culture, or race by the congress… and not only the one of the US!

    • Erika, it is surprising, but part of our dilemma is the GOP’s unhealthy embrace with evangelicals who have a a subset with some strident views on gays, lesbians and transgenders. Most Christians are more open and follow the inclusive teachings of Jesus, but this vocal group uses their view of religion to divide. So, their voice gets more audience than it should. It seems to have gotten worse with the Supreme Court decision to allow same-sex marriage. At least that is my take. I am all for a big tent God where all are welcome. Keith

    • Hugh, I hope you are right about the ship if it is the one sailing with increased freedoms. Yet, we have a candidate who is tapping the ugly under belly of America giving public voice to racism, bigotry and xenophobia. That ship needs more headwinds. Keith

  3. Note to Readers: I have taken heart in the number of ministers who have signed a petition for the North Carolina governor to repeal the state’s unconstitutional law toward LGBTs and transgender folks. Like the Baptist Minister in my previous post, these ministers are more understanding of the WWJD.

    As for the US Congress, please refer to the attached post on My Key Strokes for more.

  4. I honestly do not understand why people feel so threatened by someone else’s sexual orientation. I can not wrap my head around it, but to create laws against a group of human beings out of personal “fears” is embarrassing to those of us trying to live a united life.

  5. They want to make America great again. Think of when they are talking about. A time when rich white men had all the power. Women, blacks, jews, latino, and especially not guys didn’t have a voice.

    • Kim, this is right there with the “take the country back” which is even more racist. Take it from whom and to where. I wrote a letter to the editor which asked “what country are we talking about?” The one I live in is doing pretty well, but does have problems we need to fix. Thanks for your comment, Keith

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