North Texas Daily

Religious freedom undermines laws against discrimination

Religious freedom undermines laws against discrimination

Religious freedom undermines laws against discrimination
March 24
09:47 2016

The Editorial Board

Last week, the Georgia state legislation proceeded with a proposal that would allow religious organizations to deny employment or use of facilities to other citizens in the name of protecting their religious freedoms.

This week, North Carolina did the same thing.

Gay rights activists have accused these laws of being penned specifically in order to target those who identify as gay, while those who the law would essentially protect say it is wholly necessary and the backlash is prejudicial to oppose.

All that is needed for both of these bills to become law are the signatures of the states’ respective governors. Since making its way through the state legislation, media giants Disney and Marvel formally decided to pull all of its business from the state should the law be enacted, with the hit AMC television program “The Walking Dead” recently pledging to suspend all future filming from within Georgia’s borders. Without film and television, local economies may take a hit.

What is so puzzling is the sudden necessity for this to become law despite since the Supreme Court rule in favor of gay marriage last June. These are whispers of a conversation that has been over for nearly a year, and will accomplish nothing more than creating another grimace-inducing news cycle before it inevitably does not become law.

No one is debating a right to personal belief or freedom. Where the problem has arisen is when individuals are denied the right to go as they please because their lifestyles differ from others.

Yes, anyone has the right to practice their religion of choice in the United States. Though the federal and state governments do not claim any official religion as their own, the Bill of Rights says all are welcome to practice (or not practice) as they please. So, too, do our laws say that sexual orientation shall not affect a person’s ability to enjoy any and all freedoms afforded to others.

The concern arises in the wake of several discrimination lawsuits over the past several years, where proprietors denied business to gay people based on their religious beliefs. These laws essentially give these business owners the right to do as much based on their own personal religious beliefs as they so choose.

Hats off to Disney and Marvel, who are using positions within the economies of these states to bring about real ramifications for darting backward and opening cases that are already closed.

Real religious freedom is the right to practice as you please, not using it as an excuse to make existence more difficult for others.

Featured Image: Courtesy | Walt Disney

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