When People Use Religion To Discriminate

Exploring a politically explosive question:

Can individuals and institutions discriminate based on their religious beliefs?

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rbud March 28, 2014 at 08:31 PM
Individuals have a right to associate with whomever they like. That may include discrimination based upon race, nationality, gender, or lifestyle issues. That doesn't make it ethical or good behavior, but is a person's right of free association. A person may elect to association only with Roman Catholics, or only with Baptists, or only with women, etc. Seems silly, perhaps, but it is their right. Businesses and institutions are an entirely different matter. Any company that enjoys the benefits of government supplied services, the benefits of government licensing, the protections of government issued incorporation, has no such right. Religion must not be a factor in any government action, or government sponsored or sanctioned behavior, or any other government related activity. Government must be government for all the people, not just the religious people, and particularly not a particular religious people. No incorporated or licensed business should be allowed to discriminately select on the basis of religious preferences who or who-not they will serve. To do so defeats the separation of government and religious preference. By a similar principle, government cannot constitutionally make any law about religious practice. Therefore, to structure a law so that it gives religious preference on any matter goes against the protections in our Constitution. If we abridge that freedom, and government makes one law about the practice of religion, then it can make many laws about the practice of religion, which is an intolerable thought.


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