"In celebration of Martin Luther King Day yesterday, Rep. Gordon Denlinger (R-Lancaster. Unsurprisingly.) sent out a memo ’round the office detailing his dream of making discrimination totally legal in the State of Pennsylvania. He hopes to get some co-sponsors for his “Freedom of Conscience Amendment” that he would like to see added to the Pennsylvania Bill of Rights.
“Specifically, I plan to propose a new section in Article I – the Pennsylvania ‘bill of rights’ – that will prohibit government from punishing an individual or entity if the individual or entity makes hiring or other employment decisions, or provides services, accommodations (including housing accommodations), advantages, facilities, goods or privileges based on sincerely held beliefs,”
You know what? Fuck your “sincerely held beliefs.” Really. Fuck them in the ass with a massive double-ended dildo, in a giant orgy at the top of the Empire State Building. Stop being such delicate flowers. If you can’t deal with the public, then just stay home.
How do we even separate “sincerely held beliefs” from “disingenuously held beliefs”? What does that even mean? Because it’s your religion? I could make up a religion right now!
Now, while this legislation is meant to target gay people and women who use birth control, it would essentially allow anyone to discriminate against or refuse service to anyone, based on any criteria, so long as they claim to have a “sincerely held belief” about it. Which, in effect, would cancel out any and all Civil Rights legislation enacted over the last 60 or so years. Which it cannot legally even do, so the point here is moot anyway.
Although the point is moot, I do think it’s necessary to explain why it would be wrong. Because apparently now people have forgotten why we have laws against discrimination in the first place. You see, when people are allowed to discriminate against people based on their “sincerely held” beliefs, we end up with things like Jim Crow. We end up with people being treated as second class citizens. That is not something we want to go back to. Ever.
Now, say I don’t like people named Gordon. Say I convince the whole of the United States to believe that everyone named Gordon is straight-up evil. So then, no one will sell goods or services to Gordon Denlinger. No one will sell Gordon Denlinger a house or give Gordon Denlinger a job. In that instance, we would all be interfering with Gordon Denlinger’s rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” My right to not like people named Gordon, however, is superseded by the fact that Gordon Denlinger has a right to not be discriminated against. He has a right to live his life.
Here’s what I think it comes down to: You’ve got a lot of people out there who used to feel special because they were white or because they were straight or Christian or whatever. As long as they were in a privileged class, they were never really at the bottom of the totem pole. Now that’s being taken away, and they’re angry. They’re going to annoy us until they get to have someone they can feel like they’re better than. They want to be able to discriminate against people because, quite frankly, it boosts their self esteem. Because they like the feeling of feeling better than someone else."