Indiana passed a so-called religious freedom bill, which actually protects the right of businesses to refuse service. On the one hand, we ought to be very concerned indeed when we consider that this same legislation could justify refusing to serve people based on race, as long as the racism is justified by a religious belief. It might ultimately be decided that such a case is one of the many in which the government’s other “compelling interests” trump the business proprietor’s right to not have undue burden placed on their religious freedom. But should it have to go to court in order for that to be decided? Shouldn’t we be seeking to protect equality and prevent discrimination on the front end of the process, to the extent that we can?
The inscrutible legalese of Bill 101 is itself a problematic aspect of the legislation.On the other hand, ultimately businesses may deserve to have the right to refuse service – whether because a client is being a pain in the neck, or because they don’t want to bake a cake for a KKK rally.
And so, for all the harm that legislation of this sort may do to foster discrimination, it may be that the best responses are (1) to satirize the proponents of the bill, as the image at the top of this post does; and (2) for businesses which are happy to serve anyone and everyone to make signs indicating that.
Perhaps, as in the battle for civil rights for people of all races, the power of consumer spending may be able to accomplish change more effectively than legal disputes.
What do you think? When I first posted something about this kind of response to the legislation on Facebook, it led to interesting discussion. I hope the same will be true here on the blog.
See too Jack Vance’s post on how he hopes atheists will treat Christians in the future, if the numerical proportions is ever the reverse of what it is now.