The difference between discrimination and a discriminating religion

By Christopher Cudworth

(CNN) Arizona’s Legislature has passed a controversial bill that would allow business owners, as long as they assert their religious beliefs, to deny service to gay and lesbian customers.

So it has come to pass that segments of the American people think it is their duty to engage in discrimination against fellow American citizens strictly on the basis of their religious beliefs.

CNN reports: Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican and onetime small business owner who vetoed similar legislation last year but has expressed the right of business owners to deny service (says)”I think anybody that owns a business can choose who they work with or who they don’t work with,” Brewer told CNN in Washington on Friday. “But I don’t know that it needs to be statutory. In my life and in my businesses, if I don’t want to do business or if I don’t want to deal with a particular company or person or whatever, I’m not interested. That’s America. That’s freedom.”

Republican Jan Brewer has effectively capitulated the strategy of her political party for the last 10 years. Divide society and conquer to gain the vote, if you can. The goal is to create increasingly divisive political subsets and deliver what those subsets claim to want in terms of selfishly contrived laws appealing to their interests. Then claim that is what America is really all about.

The one major piece of legislation of law favored by the political Right that was passed in the last 10 years was Citizens United. That was a Supreme Court decision granted corporations more rights to determine the outcome of elections by spending more money anonymously. What’s so human about that?

Meanwhile, out in the trenches, panic over an increasingly diminished influence of conservative Christian thought in society has gotten certain legislators to finally try to invoke the virtual theocracy they’ve been praying about for years.

It’s a sickening little fact that the virtual theocracy flies in the face of the American Constitution, which clearly guarantees freedom from religion as well as freedom of religion.

Yet legislators in Arizona have chosen to ignore that fact and pass a law that says businesses can deny service to anyone they choose based on religious grounds.

How do legislators and so-called Christian believers arrive at so egregious a position?

They fail to understand the difference between a discriminating religion, which works to understand the nature of its own beliefs in context of society and culture, and a religion of discrimination, which aggressively refuses to recognize the rights of all those with whom it disagrees.

We see the philosophy of a religion of discrimination at work in many corners of society these days. Creationists who refuse to recognize the verity of science are not by nature discriminating people. Their worldview is created around a blanket acceptance of scripture as inerrant and infallible. Based on this indiscriminate worldview, they attempt to discriminate against the potency of facts that contradict their literal interpretation of the Bible.

It’s pretty easy to see who is discriminate in their religious worldview. It is the people who can accommodate the most practical truth and still believe in God. It is not the people who are constantly shielding themselves from people they believe are different, and therefore evil. To be discriminating is good. To be indiscriminate, and believe in discrimination as rule of law is bad. Even evil.

Keep an eye out. There is evil all around you.

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