Republicans in Michigan House pass religious bigotry bill


#1

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#2

Doesn’t this swing both ways? It’ll allow people to discriminate against middle-class white Christians just as easily.
Bad move.


#3

No, it doesn’t work that way. It only allows the ‘Christians’ to discriminate against anyone they don’t like. /s

The moment someone uses it to tell a ‘Christian’ they can’t be served, the religious right will be screaming that’s not how the law works. It will just show how bigoted these ‘Christians’ are…


#4

Nobody expects the Michigan House of Representatives!


#5

Considering the mix of Muslims and Bumpkins Michigan has going on, I could see this law lighting the fuse on the powder keg.

But, then again, it looks like Islamaphobes aren’t the biggest issue, based on the published data:


#6

Interesting: gender/sex is not a protected class in Michigan, according to that link.


#7

Discrimination is only as damaging as the power of the people practicing it, so even if the law is 100% symmetric and has absolutely no weasel-wording in favor of specific denominations, they still only need worry if they find themselves on the weaker side.

That said, were I operating a business in Michigan, I’d be seriously considering the assertion that my religion is ‘pragmatism’ and its primary tenets include firing your lazy ass if your ‘faith’ prevents you from carrying out your job description.

Even if nobody does that, this law could get…interesting… if any of the worker peons develop an interest in (historically very well supported) aspects of their alleged religions that aren’t so conveniently low in economic impact and high on pandering-to-the-fundies value.

If the law protects my job as a pharmacist, despite my occasional refusal to fulfill my core function, I’m not sure why a bank employee (from any of the abrahamic monotheisms) could be forced to handle any contracts or instruments they deem usurious, or how even the lowliest hourly part timer could be forced to cover a sabbath shift.


#8

What did Obama do?


#9

Why was this cool when Bill Clinton did it in 1993? It’s the same law.

This law says that individuals can’t be compelled to do things against their conscience. That does not compel you to do business with them. If a florist doesn’t want to provide flowers to a gay wedding, so be it. That is his loss, and there is no reason that any of us should buy flowers from him.

If another florist doesn’t wish to deliver flowers to the KKK rally, so be it. The rest of us will buy more from him.

The pharmacist who won’t sell birth control will also discover he has many fewer customers than the one who does.


#10

Surely there’s an easy way around this:

Before said law can apply, they must prove the god from the religion in question exists and agrees with said law. No proof, law is not applied.

Simple and effective counter to a stupid law.

Even if they do manage it, conclusive proof would be of great interest to every scientist, there’s no downside…


#11

Your argument requires having a large enough set of competitors and enough time to find an alternative. This is not always the case and is the reason there are laws to prevent discrimination in public accommodations. Laws which this apparently overrides. (Please correct me if I’m wrong. I so very hope I’m wrong.)

If you’re gay and 911 for your partner’s life threatening medical issue, do you really want to “shop around” for an EMT that’s not a bigot?


#12

Where does it say that?

It seems to list gender and orientation motivated crimes under “Totals by Bias Motivation”, going so far as to have a generic “homosexual” category and dedicated categories for “female homosexual”, “male homosexual”.


#13

um… I’m quite sure that Jan Brewer was the governor of Arizona and was the one that vetoed the bill. Obama didn’t have a thing to do with it.


#14

Thanks Obama!


#15

No, unless there is something seriously wrong with BB’s summary (which is possible), this is not the same law at all.

The RFRA as passed by congress and signed by Clinton (which was found to unconstitutional when applied to the states: it only holds at a Federal level) was an attempt to re-establish the “CSI test” when SCOTUS reinterpreted the constitutional amendments and did away with it. For a long time the law of the land was that the government had to show a “Compelling State Interest” if it were to deny a religious freedom. In other words, if a religion said “we do X,” the government had to show a good reason for saying “you can’t do X.”

But that changed to a “you can block any religious freedom you want, provided it is done with laws of general applicability.” Under this regime this you could say “you can’t do X” as long as you told everyone this.

The way this MI law is described is different (but I grant you, BB uses journalistic hyperbole to great effect…). Under Federal law it would be easy to show, say, that the state has a compelling interest in making sure that people receive HIV drugs, so this couldn’t really be claimed as a religious exemption.

I’m a big fan of the Federal RFRA (it is, for example, why the UDV and the Santo Daime can hold services in this country); this law sounds different.


#16

It took me a second to figure out what you were saying there, but I get it now - yes, this.

I suppose as a “true Christian” you could fire any employee for not turning the other cheek, practicing intolerance, or in any way thinking that any human is a lesser of god’s creations. Or refuse any customer who thinks that, actually. I believe these principles of the Pastifari, if Christianity’s not your bag.


#17

Another weird wrinkle to consider with regards to religious bigotry is, how much of it comes down to surface and stereotyping? Bigots aren’t exactly known for understanding others who are outside of their favored groups.

For instance, at one job I had, there was a lot of controversy which involved guessing about my religion. The company was owned by a Jewish family, yet my local branch appeared to be staffed by Christians. Apparently, there were some people who weren’t comfortable working with me because I am Muslim. Except that I am not Muslim, this was only their speculation! So how do I fight discrimination against a group I don’t even belong to or identify with? There were often people searching through my things, and “casually” asking not-so-subtle psuedo-religious questions. I had to put it to them to tell me exactly what they needed to know about me, or step off. They never did articulate what their concerns were. Why were people complaining about my religion based upon crazy guesses, when religion is a protected category here anyway? It didn’t even remotely have anything to to do with my job.


#18

Yeah, this seems like the real unanticipated potential drawback that might bite them on the ass, not refusing to serve Christians or some other members of a particular religion (because religion’s a protected class, unlike sexual orientation, etc.). Their intention is obviously to allow Christians to be homophobic and anti-contraceptives to their hearts’ content, something which it allows, but it also opens up all these other, more interesting possibilities of people refusing to do their jobs. Someone needs to start demanding these exceptions and the law will go away, because I really doubt the legislators actually thought it through - the people who write these sorts of laws tend to be complete idiots.


#19

I’d bring up Northern Ireland, but I really need some sleep.


#20

Never punch down. Everyone knows that white American Christians are the most oppressed minority in the country.