I am responding to Richard Elfers’ opinion column (Courier-Herald, March 1) regarding whether or not people should be allowed to disobey the law based on their own religious beliefs, “State courts should protect business owners.”
In defense of his position that businesses should be allowed to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation, he cites the First Amendment portion which states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or the free exercise thereof.” Somehow, he interprets this to mean that a business can disobey the law based on the owner’s personal religious beliefs. He claims that doing so would do no “financial harm” and is therefore justified.
Where does he draw the line, exactly? If there is no other business that offers the same service within 10 miles is it no longer OK? Fifty miles? A hundred miles? And what services can be denied? Flowers? Funeral services? Auto painting? Rental of an apartment? Hospital services? Surgeries? All services? And since when did laws that apply to business cross the line and affect anybody’s personal right to what ever religious beliefs they wish to practice? Kim Davis decided to break state laws and deny marriage certificates because of her beliefs and that is alright also?
So perhaps what he is really saying is that sexual orientation should not be protected at all, that gays should be kicked out of their homes and jobs and denied all services in hopes that they will all just starve to death and go away? Laws are made to protect people because of beliefs such as the ones that Mr. Elfers is trying to defend – the belief that your own personal beliefs make it alright to discriminate against somebody else. He fails to draw the line as to where his supposedly protected religious bias can end.
There is a reason the constitution draws a line between church and state, and businesses are not nonprofit, nontaxed, religious organizations.