Wednesday, March 5, 2014

MS SB2681- Not Just Against the Gays

The Mississippi legislature is in the process of enacting SB2681, a so-called Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This law is not just about shop owners being able to discriminate against homosexuals, lesbians, transgenders, and bi-sexuals. It's an open assault on everyone's civil liberties.

 Look at the wording in this section:

 58         (c)"Exercise of religion" means the practice or
 59 observance of religion. "Exercise of religion" includes, but is
 60 not limited to, the ability to act or the refusal to act in a
 61 manner that is substantially motivated by one's sincerely held
 62 religious belief, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or
 63 central to a larger system of religious belief.

This is going back to the times when hospitals could refuse treatment of blacks.  This is going back to a time when businesses had signs hanging in their windows that Jews were not allowed.

The Founding Fathers knew what great harm religions could do.  I believe they wrote the 1st Amendment because the US was a haven for those who could not practice their religion freely in other countries.  Baptists, Quakers, Calvinists, and other Protestant sects flocked here.  So did Jews and other non-Christians.  They wanted people of faith to be able to worship as  they wanted without interference from the government.

This intended law can have dire consequences and to me is a danger to all.  This law can be used to discriminate against Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, and others as long as the person doing the discriminating is acting on "the refusal to act in a manner that is substantially motivated by one's sincerely held religious belief".

My grandfather at the age of 10, with his family, immigrated to this country because of real persecution and not the made up persecution of Fox News .  As Jews living in Ukraine they were unable to hold certain jobs, land, etc.  They faced pogroms were their villages were burned to the ground, women were raped, and all could be killed.  It was especially bad around Easter.

They came to this country because they knew that there was freedom.  There was religious freedom and they didn't have to worry about government interference.  There was bigotry.  Jews were not allowed in certain places but it was not government sanctioned discrimination.

This proposed law would allow government sanctioned discrimination against the LGBT community, non-Christians, non-whites, atheists, and even against Christians.  It must be stopped if the US is truly to be the Land of the Free.