These days it seems everyone is concentrating so hard on the things they want that they fail to see the unintended consequences of accomplishing what it is they want. Sure, there are thousands out there echoing the same comments about the deal in Arizona. I’m not here to discuss the legislation that much other than to say that it is widely misunderstood and if people actually understood it they would realize that the bill was limiting the scope of a pre-existing law by clarifying the intent of the law. But thats not what I am here to talk about. I am going to just give you a few scenarios and see how you feel about each.

 

First, you have a returning service veteran who was a marine on the front lines somewhere. He returns and is medically and honorably discharged from his military service because he developed PTSD. When he gets home he takes stock of what talents he has and decides his best way to return to society would e to pick up an old hobby and turn it into a business. He becomes a professional photographer. One day, after he’s gotten some word of mouth he gets a call from a church. After looking into the church it seems that church protests at military funerals and believes that soldiers are murderers and make a public spectacle of doing such. They believe that being a soldier is being a murderer. They call this guy, probably unaware that he is a soldier or the person who solicited him did not do their research on the individual they are hiring. So, a law that states that there is no right to refusal on grounds of moral or religious grounds would then force this soldier to go to a rally of theirs. Take pictures of what he finds detestable. Allow those individuals to use his photography for promotions of their work that flies in the face of the person that he is. Is this really what you want?

 

Second scenario. An owner of a bar that is a well known gay & lesbian establishment doesn’t stay open during the week. In order to fight the margins and give employees more opportunities to make money during the day or provide jobs that otherwise would not be there they offer their establishment out for rental during the day when the bar is closed. They have deals to have a wait staff and full catering to these events that are done. The bar owner is a gay rights advocate and truly detests the idea of  people believing that homosexuality is a sin. One day he receives a phone call from a traditional evangelical church looking to do an interactive Bible study on Sodom and Gomorrah. Because the law is clear that he cannot discriminate and he has no right to refuse to perform a service performed for another based on a religious reason he must then perform that service. He is then forced to hear the most intense, most categorically strict teaching on homosexuality that leaves no room for grace in the talk. The study takes two hours of time yet he and his staff have to be there, listen to it, give  the bible study a forum and thus promote it. After all, its what he does for every other similar group that rents out his bar during the day. Is this really what you want?

 

Final scenario.

A muslim is in public relations as an independent (running his own company) and is approached by a company whose sole product is pork. They sell everything on a pig in one way or another. Pork, ham, bacon, and even pork fat made into a sauce. Because he has no right to refuse based on his personal beliefs he has to take on the project. After all he was paid his standard rate, and was asked to do the same thing he does for any other customer. So, not only does he have to work for the company that he has moral objections to, he has to directly promote that which he believes is immoral. Is this what you really want?

 

Where does religious freedom start? Where does it end? What are the consequences of the logic being used to promote an idea.

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