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← Does Religious Liberty Equal Freedom to Discriminate?

RJMoore's Avatar Jump to comment 26 by RJMoore

Comment 23 by Cartomancer

Yes, even them. If you offer a service to the public you must offer it equally to all.

Really? The Holocaust Memorial Centre in Hungary must offer its facilities to a group of neo-Nazis? The NAACP must facilitate White Power advocates? Seriously, come on...

A shopkeeper or employer isn't allowed to refuse satanists business, or blacks, or gays, or women.

I think anyone is entitled to refuse to do business with those who dont share the ethos of the business in question. If the person looking to use the services of a particular organisation has a problem with the raison d'etre of the organisation, he/she should simply go elsewhere. Otherwise, what next? Binge drinkers demanding that AA allows them use its hall to promote the delights of Happy Hour drinking? Weight Watchers putting aside a section of its room for those who wish to extol the benefits of eating McDonalds twice a day?

Just because you don't like someone that's not a good enough reason to have a legal right to discriminate against them.

The law shouldn't even come into it. The state shouldn't have the right to dictate how and why people come together voluntarily to form groups or businesses, whether the groups are religious or not.

If the church is providing commercial services then it has everything to do with the state.

Rubbish. Do you think the Association of Intuitive Palm Readers must do business with those who make it clear that they think the service on offer is silly make-believe? Because the state says so?

That's why we HAVE states in the first place - to place checks on the unfairnesses, inequalities and harm caused by the law of the jungle and rampant inconsiderate self-interest.

Thats absolutely not why we have states in the first place...but the relationship between state and citizen is rapidly moving in that direction, Ill grant you that.

Self-interest....is there any other kind of interest?

Refusing marriage services to gay people violates their right to being treated equally and their right to be free from harmful discrimination.

No such right exits in the 'private' world. No person has the right to be 'treated equally'. You can certainly make the argument that the state shouldn't discriminate, although that is fraught with problems too.

Churches are businesses, with incomes, products and turnover. They charge money for marriage services and conduct them as a commercial transaction

Of course they charge money; how else would they pay for all the wafers and incense? If people dont like the service on offer, they should organise their own group and run it how they see fit.

When the matter at stake is the fundamental equality of all human beings, damn right that's what I'm suggesting. Individual freedom to cause harm cannot trump universal equality.

Humans are not equal and never will be, thank Jesu. Individual freedom should trump everything, providing others' rights aren't being violated.

Why should this one service provider be permitted to discriminate on spurious and irrelevant grounds where none of the others can?

Im inclined to agree with you here, albeit for a very different reason.

Also, would you extend your same concern for "liberty" to a church or shop that refused to provide its services to black customers?

Absolutely, in the same way as Nazi morons should be able to deny the Holocaust til the cows come home. It doesnt mean I dont find them and their views repugnant; but liberty is about consenting adults' having the right to do what they please whether I approve of their actions or not, whether it be porn, cosmetic surgery, gambling, bare-knuckle boxing, tattoos, praying to an imaginary god, or taking drugs.

Tue, 29 May 2012 17:57:23 UTC | #944269