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Tune in to "The Scoot Show" for lively, candid discussions about news, politics and culture with WWL's "Radical Moderate!"

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Scoot: Should religious beliefs protect discrimination?

The debate over gay rights and same-sex marriage has led to a debate over whether businesses can refuse service to gays and lesbians. 

Does a business have the right to refuse to serve gays and lesbians?  Last year, the story of a bakery in Colorado that refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple attracted national attention and sparked the debate. 

The owners of the bakery are devout Christians, and would not make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple because of their religious beliefs. Reaction was instant and divided.  There were those who said the bakery’s refusal to make the cake was blatant discrimination. Others argued that in America, the religious beliefs of a business owner should be respected and refusing service to anyone is a protected right.

Interestingly, both sides of this argument use freedom in America to support their side. One side says, “This is America where there should be no discrimination.” The other side says, “This is America where a business should have the right to exercise its religious believes when conducting business.” Which side is right?

The debate over gay rights and same-sex marriage has evolved into a debate about discrimination against gays and lesbians in America. As the group who say they are opposed to same-sex marriage and homosexuality for religious reasons continues to lose their battle, the instinctive reaction is to start more battles with more defining battle lines and increase the volume of the debate.

In society (as in war) when defeat seems imminent, troops become desperate and before admitting defeat - the fighting escalates. And that’s what we are witnessing now. Recent rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court and the growing number of states that have legalized same-sex marriage are significant victories in the war over total equality for gays.

As I have said countless times of “The Scoot Show” on WWL, the debate over gay rights and same-sex marriage is not a personal debate for me -- but it is important to me because it is part of a much bigger debate in America about individual freedom.

Perhaps the most significant factor in the battle over gay equality is the judgment that is based on moral beliefs. That judgment represents an attempt to dictate personal behavior, which has had a negative impact on the image of the Republican Party. As long as conservatives allow the pushing of morality to be part of political agendas, Republicans will struggle to win national elections.

Standing up for morality is important, but not when it becomes part of a hypocritical crusade. To condemn homosexuality and even same-sex marriage on moral grounds and to support legislation banning equality for gays and lesbians is promoting the idea that the U.S. government becomes involved in making laws that inflict specific religious beliefs on society.

In theory, the idea of the government passing and supporting laws that regulate personal behavior, even if many consider that behavior to be sinful, is a frightening thought. And yet, in the name of religion and “what the Bible says,” there is much support among conservatives for government enforcement of morality.

It is not fair to only judge as sins those sins that are not our sins! I recognize that many American Christians and others have interpreted the Bible as condemning homosexuality, and that is an interpretation. The Bible also defines many other sins that never attract the same attention as what some believe is the sin of homosexuality.

If the attempts to pass legislation in conservative legislatures across the country to ban same-sex marriage or to allow discrimination against homosexuals continue – and I expect those attempts to continue – it is important to address a few important issues.

How will a business determine if a customer is a homosexual as the decision is made as to whether to serve the customer? Will it be based on appearance – clothing, hairstyle, demeanor? Will there be a questionnaire each customer must fill out before being served by the business?

Determining sexual-orientation based on outward appearance would mean the business promoting the refusal of service to gays for religious reasons would inevitably serve many homosexual men and women that show no outward signs of being gay.

Homosexuality should be defined by the intrinsic attraction to the same sex and not an outward appearance. If refusing to serve gays because of religious beliefs would allow many gays who don’t “look” gay to be served – then how is that a reasonable way to promote one’s religious beliefs that denounce homosexuality?

What would prevent two guys or two girls who are heterosexual from going into a business and presenting themselves as the gay stereotype many Americans have of homosexuals and then when denied service because of their perceived sexual-orientation – threaten to expose the business’ blatant act of hypocrisy? And would legal action be an option since service was denied to heterosexuals?

And what about all the other sinners the business is willing to serve? Are the businesses that are willing to refuse to serve gays also willing to refuse to serve customers who engage in out-of-wedlock sex? Or customers who view pornography? Or have impure thoughts of others or customers who have committed adultery or any of the other sins that are more commonly accepted as simply the result of being human?

If you have a tendency to judge the sins that are not your sins – you are hypocritically using your religious beliefs to unfairly judge other human beings. And I’m sure that does not make God very happy!

Listen to the rage of the battle cries getting louder and more battle lines being drawn as the troops fighting against total gay equality continue to see their side losing the battle. Refusing to serve customers based on religious beliefs is a new, convenient way to discriminate against gays. 

Remember – this is America – so act like an American!

 


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Topics : PoliticsReligion_BeliefSocial Issues
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Locations : Colorado




 
02/24/2014 6:34PM
Scoot: Should religious beliefs protect discrimination?
Please Enter Your Comments Below
02/25/2014 7:58AM
Religous Beliefs and Medical Safety Beliefs?
Scoot, don't you think all the major religions believe in cleanliness? If so, why not ask the following two medical safety questions on your radio show? That is, Doesn't the medical community recommend that you, "Wash your hands after you go to the bathroom."? Yet, now there are some in the medical community that now say it's OK to "Sleep with the waste that gets flushed down in the toilet?" and that it's possible to live a perfectly normal life. Twitter Handle: AhContraire
02/25/2014 3:52PM
other's sin
Would i be making god happy by hanging out with unrepentant rapists, thieves, haters (take your pick of "sins") AND not showing them through sharing my beliefs, taking a stand, refusing to engage or approve those "sins"? No. I would be doing what society wanted me to do...no god
02/25/2014 8:52PM
Morale decline
The only way to prevent further morale downfall is to stand up to media and there gay agenda
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