This has been kicking around in my head for a little while, and I’m going to share it multiple places, but I want to get this more moderate view out to people right now.
I really don’t have a problem with religious businesses discriminating or exempting themselves from the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) here in the United States.
Now, before you get the pitchforks, torches and ropes, let me explain.
There’s a key word there, and that is “religious”. This means that the business in question is created to serve members of a specific faith, and their entire business rotates around selling products or services to those of that faith.
- A Christian Bookstore dedicated to making, printing, publishing, and selling Bibles and other sundry texts to those of the Christian Faith.
- A Jewish Supply company, making and manufacturing manorahs, the skullcaps and matza balls (for example).
- A Pagan bookstore selling tarot cards, pagan themed books, holistic healing services.
- An Islamic clothing store, selling chador, hajib, the men’s clothing and so on.
- The Seventh Day Adventist grocery stores
- The Liahona (this is the name of the stores that sell holy underwear and books to Mormons)
In each case, those products are either easily identifiable as a product needed for the practitioners of the faith, or they are something produced to answer a need that is mandated by the faith. Kosher products are just ONE of a whole slew of such products.
Call me absolutely insane and totally bigoted, but I cannot see the sense of forcing a kitchen that does only Kosher food being forced to have an Islamic practitioner on staff. I cannot see the sense of the government mandating that a Pagan Bookstore must put a Conservative Fundamentalist Christian (see Fred Phelps) on the staff and letting that person have access to the customers, so he can preach at them about the evils of their Pagan Ways while they are buying a book on Practical Spellcasting.
It makes NO SENSE to me.
I get that people want to stick it to the Christian businesses out there and get a job at a 1-800-PRAYS4U just to mess with them, but it can easily be turned around and a Jewish Deli can be told they have to have a Buddhist on staff.
BUT (and this is the big exception) those businesses that do not cater these ways to the needs of a specific faith path do NOT get this exemption.
See, Hobby Lobby is OWNED by very conservative Christians. They don’t like the birth control provisions of Obamacare. But they do not cater to a need in the Christian community. They sell crafting products. This is to seamstresses, flower arrangers, those who grow plants, cake decorators, whip makers, artists of all schools, wood carvers and more. They sell to JOBS, not to Religions. A Muslim, a Buddhist, an Atheist, a Christian, a Mormon and a Wiccan all walk into the store and buy the same product (there’s a joke in there somewhere) and no one blinks. But a Buddhist visiting the Liahona and picking up a set of Garments with the symbols on them WOULD NOT HAPPEN. Heck a Christian buying a Jibab at the store that sells clothing to the Muslim community is looked at side-eyed and suspiciously.
Just because the business owner has a strongly held belief does not give them license to discriminate against a group if that business is not catering to a specific group of religious peoples.
So Chik-fil-A not selling to LGBT because they don’t like them and the Bible is against them, nope, not happening. Illegal. But Catholic Charities not helping a couple adopt a child because they are not Catholic, I can see that happening and I’d support that.
I’d HATE it, but if they are going to blatantly discriminate against a subset of people because they don’t like them, or they don’t feel comfortable around them, be brave enough to say so publicly. Don’t hide behind a book. ”My company will not work for nor will we support these icky transexuals who don’t stay in the body GAWD gave them, and we will do everything we can to stop them. Buy my products.” Um, no. I’ll go to another store that has the same products and give them my money. And I’ll work against you as well.
Market attrition would get rid of them soon enough.
But businesses that are not specifically a religious based business don’t get to use the excuse of religion to discriminate.