by Alex Storm @AlexStormTMT
Dear Indiana Business Owners Who Support the Religious Freedom Act:
Welcome to the United States. Your religious freedom is protected by the First Amendment. It says that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. You’re safe. You can practice your religion! Some ways you may practice your religion are to pray, sing, read, worship, dance, or donate money. There are many more.
You may even make it known in your business that you ascribe to a certain faith. You can hang religious pictures or religious quotes on the wall. You can have religious music playing, and you can even practice your religion right in your place of business! Aren’t you lucky to live in the United States?
One thing that you cannot do though, is choose not to serve people who do not follow your religion at your business. There are many reasons for this, but basically, it comes down to another important piece of legislation designed to ensure that the 14th and 15th Amendments were followed. After many many years of treating certain groups of people like they were not really people (i.e. not letting them go to the same schools, eat at the same restaurants, sit in the same places on the bus), our government decided that it was not right for business owners to decide who they would and would not serve. Essentially, if people are allowed to only serve the people they like or share beliefs with, a lot people couldn’t get served in a lot of places because the United States is a very diverse place. Luckily, this law, known as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, applies to everyone.
That means that if you accidentally find yourself in a restaurant with gay owners, they will serve you too, even though your beliefs may be different from theirs. See, with the 1st Amendment and the other Amendments that protect US citizens from discrimination, everyone is able to have their beliefs, practice their religions, and everyone gets equal respect when it comes to doing business.
Indiana, doing business with people whose beliefs differ from yours does not interfere with your religious freedom. You can practice your religion and not be a judgemental asshole at the same time.