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Establishing Religion In Arizona

By The Reverend Published: February 23, 2014

As the bloody-red conservative state of Kansas came to their senses and nixed legislation intended to give the religiously pious in their state legal cover to openly discriminate against gay citizens.......Arizona's governor defended her state's shiny new legislation to legalize discriminatory behavior directed citizens.....

The bill, which the (Arizona) state House of Representatives passed by a 33-27 vote Thursday, now goes to Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican and onetime small business owner who vetoed similar legislation last year but has expressed the right of business owners to deny service.

"the right of business owners to deny service".......Is there such a right? Do business owners have the legal right to deny, say, Muslims, service because they're Muslims? Do business owners have the legal right to deny, say, black citizens, because they're black? Do they?

Even though I think Gov. Brewer will veto Arizona's new pro-discrimination bill (could be wrong), her rambling, word salad defense of business-owner discrimination baffling.....

"I think anybody that owns a business can choose who they work with or who they don't work with," Brewer told CNN in Washington on Friday. "But I don't know that it needs to be statutory. In my life and in my businesses, if I don't want to do business or if I don't want to deal with a particular company or person or whatever, I'm not interested. That's America. That's freedom."

Ms. Brewer seems to be suggesting that business owners routinely pick and choose who "they work with or who they don't work with". Does the Governor actually believe that Arizona business folk have a legal right to deny say, deliveries, from suppliers if those delivery people are black, or middle eastern looking, or....female? Does Governor Brewer really think that, say, McDonald's franchises or Holiday Inns in Arizona can legally place "no blacks served", or "no Muslims served" signs in their front windows?

The driving force behind the new Arizona law legalizing discrimination in the state is the Center for Arizona Policy. From their web site....

Even before the last vote was cast in the House, opponents of SB 1062 started a mass calling and email campaign into Governor Brewer's office to try to pressure her into vetoing this important bill.

It is critical that the Governor hears from YOU that no one should be forced to violate their religious beliefs merely because they go to work or start a business!

Consider those words for a moment. Treating others as you would have others treat you is now, apparently, a violation of Christian beliefs. The golden rule now comes with footnote exceptions.

What's going on in the current "religious liberty" discussions is not really about the freedom of the religious to practice their religion. America has more churches and religions than any other modern country, by far. Rather, it's about religious people claiming they have extra-legal rights to compel others, who may not be religious, to abide by their religious tenets in the public marketplace.

The first amendment guaranteeing freedom to practice religion without government interference does not guarantee a right of the religious to practice that religion at the expense of the freedom of others. That is why the first amendment begins with these words...."Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

Arizona lawmakers seem to think that the religious sensibilities of religious business owners, who are in business to serve the public and make profit, trump anti-discrimination and equal protection laws meant to protect ALL citizens. In this way of thinking, the religious are deserving of a special entitlement, a special right that others do not have, to openly violate our secular state and federal laws.

Governor Brewer, it would seem, is deciding whether to sign a bill which....yes...."establishes religion." The increasingly-troubled and reputationally-defiant state of Arizona is on the cusp of implementing a law that establishes the right of certain business people, who happen to be religious, to openly violate secular equal protection laws. In a nation where, piece by piece, hateful and divisive discriminatory laws have been slowly and justly dismantled.....many religious conservatives are demanding that the government establish a special religious privilege that would reverse the progress our country has made.

Let's hope Governor Brewer follows the lead of Kansas and vetoes this disgusting piece of.....legislation.

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