Sunday, 23 February 2014

Religious Freedom

So Arizona passed the “Religious Freedom Restoration” bill. Of course, the LGBT community will be targeted using this law although Arizona does not have any laws to protect rights of LGBTs so I am not sure what this law is supposed to achieve. All the cases cited while discussion if this bill were from outside Arizona.

The law reads (in simple language):

The bill allows any business, church or person to cite the law as a defense in any action brought by the government or individual claiming discrimination.

If you ask me, this seems to be a preparation by Arizona’s bigoted government to counter any Federal law that may allow any LGBT rights. This bill may allow the good people of Arizona to continue to discriminate, if they so choose, even if the Federal law may grant equal rights to LGBTs (Note the use of the phrase ‘ regardless of whether the Government is a party to the proceeding’ in the text). Why would a government body passing such a bill will draft a bill that allows religious freedom to supersede their own power?

The bill, however, does not specifically mention one religion or a group that can be discriminated against which makes it even worse. What if my religion does not allow me to hire a woman as an employee because my religion dictates that woman are less intelligent than man? I can use my religious beliefs to defend me. Do I need to name all the religions that actually say so? What if a Muslim or a Christian service provider says that their religious beliefs does not allow them to serve Jews? Or, that Blacks can should not be allowed in White areas?

This law in its current form may be used in any circumstances. Note the use of phrase “State action means any action by the government or the implementation of any law”. Am not a lawyer but I am sure that’s not a good thing.

As far as I am concerned, this bill goes way beyond LGBT right violation. As Martin Niemöller said:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.


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