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.


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