I haven’t posted anything about religion in awhile, so here goes nothing.
A lot of “religious freedom” bills have been in the news lately. I’ve posted about these before, but the general theme of all of these pieces of legislation is something along the lines of, “My religion doesn’t like certain groups of people, therefore I should be legally allowed to discriminate against them.” This argument usually pops up when it comes to employing/providing goods and services to LGTBQ people or employers having to providing birth control to women.
The bible says gays are sinful and the church says birth control is bad, so people feel that they should be legally protected under the guise of the first amendment when they deny goods or services (or basic social and economics freedoms and rights) to these people. To do otherwise would create an “undue burden” on the religious person. Basically, by allowing women to have birth control or by baking wedding cakes for gay people, someone’s right to practice their religion is being impeded. Or so the argument goes.
Several states have passed bills like this, to the dismay of logic, reason, compassion, and empathy enthusiasts everywhere. I guess when God said to “love thy neighbor” there was a little footnote at the bottom of the page that clarified this didn’t apply to people who weren’t Christians. But I digress.
If you follow the news, you may know that Georgia recently introduced its own Religious Freedom Bill. And you may also know that the governor there ended up vetoing it after it passed through the legislature. Why did he end up vetoing it?
Well, if you listen to the governor, you’d think it was because he’s a nice guy who thinks the bill is unnecessarily mean. Which it is. But in reality, he refused to sign it because of money.
You see, once word got out about this, the secular business world had a few problems with it. Coca-cola spoke out against it. Disney said it would never film another movie in the state. The NFL said there would never be another Superbowl in the state. In other words, if the bill passed, Georgia was set to lose a shit-ton of revenue.
Apparently, it never occurred to the people who wrote and passed this bill that just because it passed didn’t mean that everyone had to support it. If people have the right to refuse service to people who don’t conform to their ideology, that goes both ways: businesses don’t have to support communities that don’t conform to their ideology. The irony here is delicious.
But I think it also serves to highlight something important. Apparently, being a good Christian isn’t as important as maintaining lucrative revenue streams. Moral and religious conviction pales in comparison to the almighty dollar. “My faith is everything to me, and my convictions are so strong they need to be legally protected under the constitution! Wait, what? You’re taking away the money? Well, let’s not be hasty. My morals and convictions aren’t thaaaat strong. We can reach some kind of deal can’t we?”
Suddenly, once money enters the picture, moral absolutes and religious faith are a lot more malleable. Which, to me at least, says some pretty profound things about the religious people in this country. At the very least, it speaks to the notion that maybe, just maybe, it’s a good idea to treat EVERYONE in this country with kindness and fairness.