In 1968 a restaurant owner went before the SCOTUS to say racial discrimination was ok because of religion.

It’s relevant to know, for all of us fighting for gay rights, that in 1968 a South Carolina restaurant owner did argue before the SCOTUS that he shouldn’t have to serve black people on account of his religious beliefs.  The man was Maurice Bessinger who owned Piggie Park BBQ.

The attorney representing the petitioners suing Piggie Park also addressed in court the “First Amendment religious privilege claim that petitioner asserted that his religion required him” to deny service to black customers.

“I’m just a fair man. I want to be known as a hard-working, Christian man that loves God and wants to further (God’s) work throughout the world as I have been doing throughout the last 25 years.”

Even though Bessinger was trying to skirt the Civil Rights Act using the exact same argument as companies like Hobby Lobby trying to skirt the healthcare laws and of various Christian-owned stores seeking to discriminate against gay people, the SCOTUS ruled 8-0 against him (Justice Marshall recused himself).

Discrimination against gays will soon be viewed in the same light.  Good laws are crafted to protect American citizens, often from the ill-will of their neighbors.  There shouldn’t be exceptions granted if that ill-will is born of religion.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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