Where Politics and Religion Collide

Continuing the recent theme (I would really rather not be writing this post, but at the same time, I don’t see why I should turn a blind eye to something that encourages discrimination), I’m going to tackle an argument that popped up as part of a wider discussion with the author of an article over at Theology Archeology. The article’s author, in the midst of our conversation, said (and I quote):

You do not seem to understand a lot. You failed to read the parts where those owners never turned away a homosexual customer. They served plenty of them. All they did was refuse to participate in activities they deemed to be sinful and against their faith. There is nothing wrong with doing that.

You also forget that many businesses hang up signs saying ‘we reserve the right to refuse service…’ which is also their right.

Below are a few links that would seem to disprove the notion business owners can arbitrarily refuse service to someone, least of all by hanging up a sign.

https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/the-right-to-refuse-service-can-a-business-refuse-service-to-someone-because-of-appearance

http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support-services/helplines/practice-advice-service/q-and-as/refusing-a-service/

http://www.business.gov.au/business-topics/selling-products-and-services/customers/Pages/refusing-service.aspx

I make this point via my own blog because I brought up the links in question, as part of a wider argument, and the site’s author edited my comment all the way down to my final sentence (‘this discussion is over’). Whilst it is their site, and they are the king of that castle (or queen, I truthfully do not know), I can’t say I’m impressed at having my point brushed under the carpet.

I also feel compelled to offer a counterpoint to some of their recent posts and arguments.

Let’s begin with where a lot of these ‘homosexuals can’t marry’ arguments begin. ‘Marriage was created by God, and God considers homosexuality to be a sin’.

Marriage predates Christianity by some margin. The concept existed in ancient Greek and Roman societies (which predate Christianity by hundreds of years). The Guardian newspaper has an excellent article that dismantles the Christian Church’s claim that God created marriage – worth a read. Marriage existed originally not to promote a religious union, but to expand upon property and inheritance – in other words, it existed for purely secular reasons, and the Church did not place a religious claim upon it until the 13th Century!

Other articles also exist that disprove the notion marriage cannot be a secular notion. Historically, marriage has involved polygamous relationships, and the definition has shifted as society has changed. It is certainly not an immovable object, despite the objections of certain segments of society.

So the foundation for Theology Archeology’s (henceforth abbreviated to TA) argument is very shaky indeed!

The bulk of the issue though, is not so much that marriage can be defined differently, but rather, it is the manner in which TA tries to impress their beliefs and values upon to others, whilst decrying any apparent attempt of others to do the same.

Homosexuals need to remove the beams from their own eyes first before they complain about others and demand that those who disagree with them change.

The main complaint that TA makes, over and over, is that there are cases of businesses refusing service to homosexuals on the basis of religious beliefs, and that instead of simply accepting this, homosexuals are taking these businesses to court. The mistake TA makes is in believing that public businesses can operate like private institutions – they can’t, as per the law.

There is also an enormous difference of scale here, despite the attempts by TA to equate the situations as being similar. Expecting a public business to put aside their private beliefs is not, in my view, unreasonable, especially if that business is operating with the expectation of government (i.e, public) support. Meanwhile, as of 2015, several US states had no laws preventing employers from discriminating against gays.

So who is imposing their beliefs and values upon whom?

The 14th Amendment of the US Constitution states:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Coupled with the 1st Amendment…

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

… it would seem clear that forcing religious values upon someone who does not share that faith is not in the spirit of the founding principles of the US.

For other nations – well, the links earlier on are but a snapshot of the rules and laws that prevent discriminatory practices in the UK and Australia, as is fair and reasonable.

 

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