Earlier this month, Georgians and Indianans were attacked as homophobic bigots by the “Selma envy” branch of the Democratic Party trying to equate the plight of gays and lesbians with the legacy of slavery and segregation of blacks. Why? For attempting to join 19 other states that had passed a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act first enacted by President Bill Clinton and Democrats in the 1990s. Peach State Republicans caved before passage, Hoosiers after passage.
Never mind that neither the federal nor any state RFRA have ever been used to countenance discrimination against any LGBT-identified “victim”. Never mind that jury verdicts assessing over $100k in damages in several western states against Christian-owned small businesses refusing to bake cakes or provide floral arrangements for or photograph same-sex weddings, have been upheld despite RFRA laws in those states.
No, the mere prospect that moms and pops, sued for such refusals, might be able to pose a religious defense against involuntary servitude at another’s religious service, brought out the self-righteous hordes of Democrats permanently aggrieved.
Of course, before RFRA, there was and remains the Constitution’s Free Exercise and Establishment clauses of the First Amendment which could still thwart attempts by Democrats to force all Americans to worship at the Church of non-Diverse Unions; even if a state has also passed a law prohibiting discrimination based upon sexual orientation. How? By distinguishing the mere sale of products to all comers from the forced participation of a free citizen in the exercise of a religion (one that practices non-traditional marriage) not their own. The U.S. Constitution prohibits the government from establishing a religion and from prohibiting one’s free exercise of their own. We are confident that the Alito Supreme Court will so hold.
But how did we get to the point where a government could force a person to perform work for another, against their will? Should not one that owns property be allowed to control that property and their own labor? Yes, but due to the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, the power of the government to regulate commerce and the understandable need for the Civil Rights Act and, more significantly, the Public Accommodations bill, liberal busy-bodies, not content to remedy the real problem of de jure state-mandated race discrimination, have used the openings of those laws to try and impose their totalitarian (imagined grievance-based) will on all.
Of course, Jim Crow laws FORCED private businesses to treat blacks as inferior to whites. Those laws were ended by the civil rights laws. There have never been any equivalent such state laws demanding unequal treatment of gays and lesbians. Unlike blacks unable to travel the nation for fear they couldn’t find a hotel or restaurant, gays and lesbians have had no such history.
But since so many of the children of the 60s and their children have no real Selmas to conquer, the rest of us who have found meaning in our faith and families must be hectored by those who tilt at faux Selma windmills and bridges. And not just hectored, but risk having our life savings and businesses destroyed if we don’t ask “how high” when the LGBT lobby shouts “jump”.
Of course, very few Americans of faith or no faith are turning down dollars to make “stands”. But should the price for daring to risk loss by starting a business mean we should become slaves of a state that can then demand we render services to whomever and wherever that state says we must?
That slippery slope could one day lead to the government demanding we buy a health insurance policy we don’t want? Can you imagine?
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson