There has been a lot of uproar throughout the United States in the past week about an Arizona bill that could allow storeowners to refuse to serve customers based on their religious beliefs. Conservatives argue that this bill allows “people of faith” to practice their religion, while liberals argue it is discrimination towards the LGBT community. This bill was passed in order to allow discrimination toward members of the LGBT community, but the creators have overlooked the possible religious persecution that could arise from the creation of this bill.
Protestors are focusing solely on the homosexuality aspect of this bill, but are neglecting to think about the possibilities for all religious groups. Any person could be discriminated against with this new bill, including Christians. This bill denies the freedom of every person in Arizona to feel accepted for who they are and what they believe in. This bill takes away the freedom of people from all across the religious spectrum. Imagine, a Muslim only ice cream parlor, a Laundromat that doesn’t allow Jewish people, or a bookstore that refuses to serve anyone who believes in God. Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but these would all be acceptable because of a storeowner’s claim of a religious discrepancy. Americans take pride in their “melting pot” or the mesh of different cultures that come together to make the United States unique. By creating this bill, the Arizona Senate is saying that they want every person to stay with their own “kind.” They are saying people can no longer be accepting of one another’s differences and it is acceptable to be discriminatory towards each other.
A storeowner’s job is to help any customer they can in order to better the community. The passing of this bill would allow extreme religious discrimination throughout the state of Arizona not only towards people in the LGBT community, but also any other religion of the store owner’s choosing that they do not deem as “acceptable” in the eyes of their religion. Where will they draw the line? These extremists shouldn’t be allowed to pass bills that push the United States backwards on the discrimination front. Members of the Arizona senate that voted yes to pass the new bill should take a serious look at what this could mean not only for gay people, but also for every person in the state that has conflicting values than what is “normal.”
Read the article here: http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/21/us/arizona-anti-gay-bill/