Liberals Should Support “Religious Freedom” Laws – As Long As We Add One Key Stipulation

stewart-religionOver the last couple of weeks there’s been a lot of debate over these so-called “religious freedom” laws being pushed by many Republican state legislatures. While anyone with even the slightest bit of common sense can clearly tell these laws are nothing more than a way for businesses to legally discriminate against homosexuals, conservatives are denying those accusations, claiming that these laws are just protections for people with devout religious beliefs.

To be honest, I really don’t even know what “protecting religious beliefs” means. Why would a business owner need any kind of “legal protection” unless they were planning to discriminate against someone, most likely homosexuals?

Well, after thinking about it over the law few days, I’ve somewhat changed my position on these laws. Not that I don’t think they’re appalling, but I think those of us on the left should look at them a bit differently. I think we should support them, as long as they’re passed with one key stipulation: Any business planning to discriminate must publicly post on the front of their business, near the entrance, that they don’t provide their services to homosexuals. And if these signs aren’t posted, and a businesses tries to discriminate, then they would open themselves up to being sued for discrimination.

It’s similar to an idea a Democrat in Oklahoma proposed a few weeks ago that I personally think it’s absolutely brilliant.

After all, if these business owners are such devout “Christians” who hold such strong religious convictions against homosexuals, shouldn’t they be more than eager to publicly post and announce who they are and what they believe?

So, some of you might be asking why I think this is a better idea than simply opposing the laws altogether. Well, it’s pretty simple.

First, I want to know who the bigots are rather than unknowingly giving them my business. Without this stipulation, a business would be free to discriminate and almost nobody would ever know about it. Plus it puts these businesses in the position of having to choose between what’s best for business and what religious beliefs they care about. Because I can promise you this much: For the vast majority of the businesses that would post these “discrimination signs,” it wouldn’t go so well for their bottom line. So I’d be curious to see how many of them, after being required to publicly admit their bigotry, would stand by their convictions and risk losing out on a lot of revenue because of their ignorant beliefs. As opposed to what we have now, where they can hide in the shadows like cowards.

I think it’s better to know which businesses and business owners are bigoted and ignorant rather than letting these people hide it from the public. Though I get the feeling that if this stipulation were added, you’d see far fewer people and businesses eager to embrace these “religious freedom” laws. I’m also guessing that if these signs were mandatory we’d see far fewer Republicans supporting these laws as well.

But not only would these signs help expose discriminatory businesses, they would also prevent anyone who might be discriminated against from having to suffer the indignity of some bottom-feeding jackass telling them that their business won’t be providing them with service.

Now, would Republican legislatures ever support such a stipulation? It’s highly unlikely. As “proud” as they might want to act about their religious beliefs, most of these people are hypocrites who would be too spineless to post something they feel might hurt their revenue. Sure, they might not have any problem telling a gay couple they’re not welcome, but I highly doubt many of them would have the courage to announce their ignorance to the world, because then they’d lose out on business from practically anyone and everyone who supports gay rights. I can promise you, that’s a whole lot more people than those who might seek out businesses because they embrace discrimination.

So, while I still vehemently oppose these laws, if they’re going to continue to get passed (which seems to be the case) I say let’s embrace them as long as a “discrimination sign” amendment is added to each and every one of them. Let’s see if these businesses who seem so eager to discriminate in the shadows can put their money where their mouth is and publicly post their ignorance for all the world to see.

When the chips are down, and they would have to choose between money or their faith, I’m almost certain money would win out far more often than not. But I believe that if these businesses want to discriminate against homosexuals, the public has the right to know who they are so that those of us who disagree with their outdated bigotry can avoid unwittingly giving them our business.

Think Republicans would go for it? Hit me up on Twitter and let me know.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • keJ

    I find I disagree with you slightly. I think theae laws are doomed from another angle. The Christian right is so adamant about passing these laws but should a Muslim, or Wiccan, were to use the religious freedom laws to discriminate against a Christian they will scramble faster than a cockroach when the lights turn on in order to stop it.

    They will either discard the law or be forced to show their hand, which isn’t them fighting for religious freedom, but them fighting for the unconstitutional domination of the Christian religion.

    • I-RIGHT-I

      “but them fighting for the unconstitutional domination of the Christian religion”

      You’re half right. I hope you’re better at work.

      • keJ

        Nothing in my statement is anything but constitutionally defensible. You live in denial if you think otherwise.

      • I-RIGHT-I

        We do dominate and will continue to dominate that is a fact. Our domination of this country has nothing to do with the US Constitution other than the little fact that Christians devised it. Nothing has been written like it since that day or will ever be written to equal it.
        We are dominant because we are better people than you.

      • GL

        Actually, the Constitution was written by deists, not Christians.

      • I-RIGHT-I

        Nonsense and don’t bother posting the links been there a hundred times. Western civilization was built by Christians our laws from centuries of dominant Christendom cumulating in English Law and Christian philosophy, the foundations of America. We are who we are and we are without doubt the most dangerous people on the planet because God is with us.

      • Daddycool67

        We just need to watch.
        You’ll continue to bring on your own demise.
        You’ve already lost your humanity and your moral high ground.

      • I-RIGHT-I

        Who is “we” youngster?

      • Daddycool67

        Actually, you DIDN’T lose it.

        You GAVE IT AWAY.

      • jfredn2

        That is correct, but the conservative right only believe what supports their position.

      • Daddycool67

        Thats exactly what Hitler said about Nazi dominance.

        And he ended up in an underground bunker with his mentally ill girlfriend gifting the world with a murder/suicide.

        Have fun with that.
        When the time comes …. don’t spend too much energy thinking about it.
        Just do it!

      • I-RIGHT-I

        “Thats exactly what Hitler said about Nazi dominance.”
        He was right about being better. We should have let him keep France and helped him with the Soviets. Ford, Kenney and Bush Sr. all agreed with Hitler. FDR agreed with Stalin.
        Still, it was Western American Christians that defeated the Nazis. Not you.

      • jfredn2

        You do realize that it has been years since any other nation used our constitution as a model? Other countries have fixed the flaws, and none claimed it came from God.


    I’ve been trying to find somebody dumb enough to walk into a halal bakery in Dearborn and do to Muslims what the homosexual hit squad did to the nice Christian people in Indiana. I got my wish and best of all it was done long before the Indiana attack on that Christian business. Naturally this was done to prove a point and not hurt the shop owners so don’t get any ideas. We know what you sneaky homosexuals are up to and we intend to use your own tactics against you. Sheppard Smith is still on the fence about that but we think he’ll come around.

    • Daddycool67

      If homosexuals were actually sneaky …. you wouldn’t need laws to shield yourself from them!

      They’d be buying your “straight” goods and using your “straight” services …. and you’d never even know it.

      • I-RIGHT-I

        That’s not sneaky that’s smart and also very considerate of others.

      • Daddycool67

        To clarify ….

        Are you saying that people who go out of their way to keep their beliefs to themselves and avoid imposing them on everybody else by creating special rules …. are smarter and more considerate?

      • I-RIGHT-I

        For the sake of argument I consider you a homosexual. Do you think it’s going out of your way not to bother me with the disgusting details of your personal life?

      • Daddycool67

        Ok then. I’ll consider you a sexually repressed homophobic baker with mommy issues. (Just for the sake of argument of course.)

        I wouldnt say that asking you to bake me a cake is giving you all kinds of sordid details of my personal life. But when you create special laws that are a direct result of your homophobia (and/or your religion) YOU are giving the entire world details of YOUR personal life. Which many people would consider obscene. Because here in OUR country, religion is considered private. Not public. If you’ve got a problem with that …then you live in the wrong country and your argument is with the authors of the Constitution.

        It’s particularly obscene considering that it comes from the same group of people who never stop screeching about “small government” and “liberty”as if they want EVERYBODY to have it.

      • TenDeuChen

        And all these blacks and asian should put on whiteface makeup to be more considerate of others. Nobody wants to see their black or yellow skin. /sarcasm

      • I-RIGHT-I

        My young notanamerican friend the skin color of the fellow makes no difference. It’s the dress he’s wearing.

      • TenDeuChen

        Well, actually, I am an American. My screen name’s adapted from the Unami language (tindeuchen), which is a Native American language.

        Why should what someone’s wearing make you prejudice against them?

      • I-RIGHT-I

        I’m just funny that way.

      • lars626

        So that makes you real and the folks whose ancestors got here after 1491 unreal. Just like the man said “darn immigrants spoiled it all”.