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Christian Fundamentalists Fight for the Right to Discriminate Against People Whose Sex Lives They Don't Like

The words "religious freedom," in the mouths of social conservatives, mean protecting the right of fundamentalist Christians to persecute others.

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In case the claims of “religious freedom” don’t seem empty enough on the surface, consider the case of Muslim cab drivers in Minnesota who refused to transport customers carrying bottles of alcohol, in most cases because they picked it up from the duty-free store.  The cabbies other complaints of bad working conditions certainly deserve consideration, but as in most cases, the burden of not discriminating based on religious belief falls on those providing the public service.  In case, that means that Muslim cab drivers have a duty not to discriminate against those who are behaving peacefully but don’t share their anti-alcohol beliefs.

But since conservatives believe that religious freedom means the right to refuse to do your job when you differ with your clients on a matter of religious dogma, they hopped right to defending the Muslim cabbies, right?

Of course not. On the contrary!  The case was used to raise alarms about the non-existent threat that “shari’a law” was going to supplant our very Constitution, with its prohibitions against the state favoring religion over non-religion, or favoring one religion over another.

So, if the state enforces the right of fundamentalist Christians to discriminate on the basis of religion against people who don’t share their beliefs, that’s “freedom.”  Anyone else who discriminates against clients is a threat to the very same freedom.  Basically, the words “religious freedom,” the mouths of social conservatives, mean protecting the right of fundamentalist Christians to persecute and discriminate against everyone else.

Let’s hope more judges follow the example set by the judge in the East Michigan University case, and see the fundamentalist claims for “religious freedom” as the dishonest attempts to deprive everyone else of rights that they are.    

Amanda Marcotte co-writes the popular blog Pandagon. She is the author of It's a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments .

 
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