Saturday, March 17, 2012

When Churches Go into Public Business—

—They Must Follow the Laws of the Land, Same as Everybody Else:
18 MARCH 2012

The Furor over the Matter of the Affordable Care Act requiring all businesses (even church-run businesses)  to treat all American citizens equally is a civil-rights issue. 

The anti-contraception argument is the same as was once used to deny African-Americans public services (restaurants, hotels, buses, etc.) in the Jim Crow South. Back in the day, the argument against the 1964 Civil Rights Act went this way: 

Government should not be permitted to compel any business to provide the public with services that go against its owner’s conscience.

The same argument has been used by numerous political luminaries such as Barry Goldwater and Ron Paul. Even today, Senator Rand Paul seems not to have made ideological peace with the issue.

That argument did not hold up in 1964. It doesn’t hold up today.

Public businesses (even when church-run) must provide non-discriminatory services equally to all Americans. This has nothing to do with our sacrosanct, First Amendment principle of separation of church and state.

The Separation of Church and State is inviolate when it comes to how any religious institution conducts its religious activities.

But when anyone conducts a business for the general public—whether it is a Woolworth’s lunch counter or a church-run hospital—then that business cannot discriminate against any American citizen, regardless of that citizen’s race or gender or religion. And American employees are entitled to have insurance coverage that fits their needs, and allow them to follow the dictates of their consciences. Not the religious dictates of someone else.

This Matter Concerns: Discrimination.

It has nothing to do with the separation of church and state.

(($; -)}

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