Sec. 1 – Equal rights
All men are possessed of equal and inalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Sec. 2 – Political power; privileges
All political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and are instituted for their equal protection and benefit. No special privileges or immunities shall ever be granted by the legislature, which may not be altered, revoked or repealed by the same body; and this power shall be exercised by no other tribunal or agency.
Sec. 7 – Religious liberty
The right to worship God according to the dictates of conscience shall never be infringed; nor shall any person be compelled to attend or support any form of worship, nor shall any control of or interference with the rights of conscience be permitted, nor any preference be given by law to any religious establishment or mode of worship. No religious test or property qualification shall be required for any office of public trust, nor for any vote at any election, nor shall any person be incompetent to testify on account of religious belief.
In a bizarre throwback to the days of religiously-motivated lunch counter segregation, and despite some objections, the Kansas legislature prepares to legalize religiously-motivated discrimination in both public and private services. The target this time round is the LGBT consumer.
So if you’d thought that questions about public service discrimination had been settled 50 years ago, you were wrong.
However, the right to worship according to one’s convictions and the right to conduct business with and provide services to the general public are very different things. Christians’ right to worship according to our conscience is not abridged anywhere in the United States.
In fact, the recent SCOTUS case Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC reaffirmed religious organizations’ right to make decisions about employees classified as ministers (including teachers) even when those determinations were discriminatory and breached anti-discrimination law that would apply to any other employer. In other words, recent US law grants religious organizations all the special privileges to discriminate in their own sphere that they could reasonably want. It does not dismantle 50 years of hard-won rule-making about preserving equal access to public services in the public sphere we all share whether we’re aligned with specific religious expressions or not.
Dear America, this is ridiculous. Please get it together.