This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.


← Does Religious Liberty Equal Freedom to Discriminate?

RJMoore's Avatar Jump to comment 30 by RJMoore

Comment 28 by Cartomancer

Yes. If it offers its services to the public it must offer them to all the public.

It must offer them to those who are willing to play ball; it doesnt have to offer them to those whose views are antithetical to its own. If what you propose were the case, how would political parties or trade unions, both of which receive money from members, operate? Political parties expel members all the time if they dont toe the party line, and trade unions...well, I wont even go there!!

When you're in the business of venue hire, you're not allowed to discriminate.

The 'venue hire' is not analogous to, say, a nightclub hiring its dancefloor to a certain group of revellers; a church, AA, or Weight Watchers is offering a 'package' or an 'idea', of which the venue is just one part.

But where the provision of goods and services to the public is involved, no. Equality is far more important than personal foibles.

But that's the mistake you're making(at least in relation to the church): it is not offering services to the general public; it is offering them to those who share its views and beliefs, i.e. those who voluntarily seek to be a part of the 'package' that is on offer. If one doesnt like the package....

Equality is far more important than personal foibles.

And who judges what is a 'personal foible'? The state, i.e. the political group that happens to be in control of state agencies at a particular time?

And he usually will. But he should not be compelled to go elsewhere. Particularly if there isn't an elsewhere to go to.

Of course he shouldnt be 'compelled'; but neither can he, or the state, compel others to do what he wishes! And why isn't there 'elsewhere' to go? If enough people share your view, or the view that you feel is so compelling that the state should impose it on its citizens, there should be loads of options for 'dissenters'.

If the AA refused membership to a gay person or McDonalds refused to sell food to a black person, that's the equivalency we're talking about.

No. AA sells a package...sobriety, 'higher power', solidarity, comradeship, support, space to talk, etc etc. The venue is irrelevant. Nobody has the right to say, 'ah here, that's a load of nonsense. You must listen to my views on alcohol, which are " go out and get locked whenever you want; there's no such thing as alcoholism. We should be sitting around here drinking" . Thats the equivalent.

And a jolly good thing it is too. That's the main reason we STILL have states, and the most important reason to keep them strong and fair and well-governed.

The reason we still have states is that they allow for peace, security, and arbitration of disputes. They can be strong, fair, and well-governed without interfering in the private lives of citizens. Actually, where does it get this right from?!

Communal interest? Interest in the welfare of others? Of humanity at large?

All these are motivated by self-interest, i.e. to impose one's view of what's best for society on society. That the measures might benefit others doesn't mean that they aren't prompted by self-interest in the first place. In any case, it's been my experience that few people really do things that conflict with their own self-interest; usually there is a happy coexistence of their interests and the interests of others they are trying to 'help'.

What problems would those be then? Seems an absolutely straightforward truism to me.

But, eh, the state already does discriminate in many parts of life, particularly marriage. Not too much polygamy in the UK or US, is there?!

And thus they are a commercial enterprise like any other, and should obey the same anti-discrimination laws.

Churches(there are some exceptions, of course) aren't commercial enterprises; they have to charge fees to cover the costs involved. Otherwise, who is going to pay? The state?!

Take one of those 'member-owned' golf courses. It charges fees so its members can enjoy their hobby in a quality of surroundings that is to their collective liking; it's not really a 'commercial enterprise', even though money is exchanged for the upkeep of the course etc. Let's say they decide on a dress code or a code of etiquette...should someone be allowed show up, spit on the ground, and say, "fuck y'all...I'll play my round in a pair of Speedos while swiging from a flagon of cider"?! No...if they want to do that, let them organise a club that's to their liking; if such a club doesn't exist, bad luck.

If Rosa Parks doesn't like the bus service on offer then she should organise her own bus service and run it how she sees fit. If the black people of South Africa don't like the racist schools on offer they should organise their own schools and run them how they see fit.

But neither of those were private organisations, were they?

The state has a positive duty to step in and regulate the harmful behaviour of its citizens,....

If they're harming others...

....including discriminatory harm.

No. Thats up to people to sort out for themselves, without the threat of state coercion. Anyway, what is this state you talk about as though it were an authority on what's wrong and right? The state is an abstract entity, remember; it has no values, ambitions, desires, foibles, traditions, skills, money or relationships....people have those things.

...the rights of others ARE violated by discriminatory trading practises and bigoted religious privilege. Specifically the right to be treated fairly, equally and in a just manner before the law.

If you dont like what a church is offering, go somewhere else. If you think a church is bigoted, form your own church. You dont have the right to impose your views on others, nor they their views on you....that's what true liberty is about, not the travesty of some state approved version that dictates when and how you can make choices for yourself.

This is not about what people do and believe privately. It's about the actions they take that affect society at large. And it's not about approval, it's about harm caused to themselves and most especially to others. No man is an island, our societies are so much more than just the conflicting whims of individuals. Communal living, society, civilization itself, are all products of the need to regulate and order the conflicting actions and desires of individuals. Were we all solitary hermits your point would work, as it is we need structure to regulate how we interact with each other, and make the whole project work.

A very good defence of statism, which I find utterly depressing[!] and the antithesis of personal liberty. It will only end up in one place, I fear: a state which controls absolutely the actions of citizens.

Tue, 29 May 2012 23:06:24 UTC | #944333