Letters to the Editor

Free to discriminate?

February 28, 2012

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To the editor:

Does “religious freedom” mean freedom to discriminate? Should we legalize discrimination against anyone? Should our religious leaders determine, on the basis of their claims of “freedom of religion,” who in our society merits “equal rights”?

State Rep. Jan Paul of Hutchinson is opposed to equal rights for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. She co-authored the constitutional amendment barring same-gender marriages in Kansas and she led the opposition to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Kansas nondiscrimination statutes.

Now Paul is at the center of a proposal to nullify local nondiscrimination ordinances on the basis of “freedom of religion.” (See the Feb. 21 Journal-World, “Lawrence Ordinance …”)

Thousands of Kansans are LGBT. Tens of thousands family members, loved ones and friends in Kansas are committed to the proposition that “equal rights” must include people who are LGBT.

Paul’s use of “freedom of religion” is a ruse for legalizing discrimination against people who are gay! She is calling on the Legislature to deny equal rights for people in Kansas who are LGBT.  We cast our lot with those who insist that people who are LGBT deserve the same equal rights the rest of us enjoy!

Comments

mustrun80 3 years, 1 month ago

Forrest (how apropos) and Donna,

"Should our religious leaders determine, on the basis of their claims of “freedom of religion,” who in our society merits “equal rights”?"

Great Strawman you two!! A religious church not marrying two people doesn't take the right of them to get married someplace else away. Are you really not capable of understanding that? There are plenty of liberal churches that will 'marry' people. As far as a legislator being against it at the state level, that is a different issue. Vote those people out, vote those in who will make sure the courthouse will marry them. It's called democracy. I know, it takes effort.

Nice try though.

Roland Gunslinger 3 years, 1 month ago

This isn't about getting married in a church.

The bill would allow people to terminate employment, not hire, rent, or do business with someone based on their sexual orientation as long as they claim "religious freedom".

jaywalker 3 years, 1 month ago

Yup, what vertigo said, and that just can't stand, mustrun.

bad_dog 3 years, 1 month ago

You know, as in mustrun can't see the trees for the "Forrest" (sic)

Fred Mertz 3 years, 1 month ago

If they don't get government funding then yes people should be free to discriminate. And don't tell me the gay commuity doesn't discriminate - they do and that is okay too.

Mark Zwahl 3 years, 1 month ago

Right. So "getting government funding" is different than utilizing government services (e.g. streets, sewage, water, lighting etc.). If you want to play in the public arena, there are some guidelines and laws about civilization - i.e. some rules to play by. If you just want to determine who parks in your driveway or comes in your front door, sure - discriminate away.

jafs 3 years, 1 month ago

Really?

That would turn back our society to a time about 60 years ago, at least.

Women, black folks, Jews, etc. wouldn't be too pleased about that.

Why do you think we shouldn't provide equal rights under the law to all citizens?

tomatogrower 3 years, 1 month ago

Well, Fred, why don't you move to another country if you don't believe in human rights. Lots of places to choose. Also, you'd make a lousy business man. Once after my divorce I was turned down to rent a house, because I was a single divorced woman and they just knew I would have wild parties and tear up the house. They rented to 3 college guys instead. Guess what happened? Discrimination is stupid if you are in business.

Mike Ford 3 years, 1 month ago

maybe the 14th Amendment should be used to allow equal protection under the law.... and not be perverted as it was over citizenship issues by hypocrites.

hujiko 3 years, 1 month ago

Say an atheist denies christians jobs, employment, or some other service based on their religious convictions.

Still going to defend your so called "religious freedom?"

voevoda 3 years, 1 month ago

Channeling Ron Paul August 1982 newsletter, I see. In the guise of protecting "liberty" and "freedom of association," he endorses the perpetuation of discrimination and injustice in the public sphere. It's disingenuous for people (white, straight, American-born well-to-do males) who are not the targets of discrimination and its deleterious social and economic effects to argue that their right to "liberty" gets to trump other people's rights to fairness.

Phil Minkin 3 years, 1 month ago

Should an Orthodox Jew be allowed to not rent to anyone who eats pork? Or a strict Muslim not rent to anyone who consumes alcohol? How about a Quaker not renting to someone in the military?

somedude20 3 years, 1 month ago

Seems like religion has been getting in the way of life for the last few years, more so than before. How about a law that states "get your kiddie fairytale horse poo religion out of our laws." Wait, what? There already is a law that about separation of church and state. Huh. Why don't we follow the law?

Get you stupid fantasies out of real life. You want to believe, fine but don't go around jamming others up with your delusions of grandeur!

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

Would you advocate we do away with laws such as "Thou shalt not kill", or "Thou shalt not steal"? The problem is that there is an overlap between religion and the law. The extent of that overlap is what is open to discussion.

somedude20 3 years, 1 month ago

The law says "thou shalt not kill"? Huh, that must sound good in court. Your honor, the defendant is charged with "Thou shalt not kill" That is more religious hocus pocus. How about we call it murder

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

Let me substitute one word for you, Do I think murder wasn't a crime before the invention of religion? That's a more interesting question as I'm not at all certain of the answer. I suspect they evolved simultaneously.
But crimes like murder and theft have two components worthy of discussion. The first is the law. There are consequences that prevent people from committing crimes as they judge the consequences to be not worth taking the risk. Then there is the moral component. Some crimes are just wrong within each individuals set of values. And a sub-set of that is that some derive their sense of morals from religion. Therefore, within that group, religion keeps those people from committing crimes they might otherwise commit.

Enlightenment 3 years, 1 month ago

Stop with the analogies, they are the weakest form of argument.

Enlightenment 3 years, 1 month ago

All you folks who believe your religious freedom is being infringed upon should quit being hypocrites. Gays and lesbians should have the same rights as anybody else, enough said.

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