The First Amendment is under siege.
- The Federal Communications Commission has aggressively sought to undermine freedom of the press for decades with efforts to restore the so-called “Fairness Doctrine,” which allowed government agents to decide whether broadcasters were being “fair” by the standards of community activists and government bureaucrats. Then came the browbeating by government using a standard of diversity of ownership. And, most recently, the FCC was preparing to place agents in newsrooms to watch journalists prepare news stories.
- The Internal Revenue Service was used to target conservative and tea-party groups for special scrutiny. The IRS contracts out work to the Urban Institute, a left-wing activist group, which reviews filings by many groups seeking nonprofit status.
- So-called “hate speech” laws actually make it unlawful to express politically incorrect ideas. So-called “hate crimes” laws provide stiffer penalties on the basis of the perceived politically incorrect motives behind the crimes.
- Just this week a U.S. court ordered Google to pull down an anti-Islamic YouTube video because of its content.
You get the picture.
So the state legislature of Arizona passed a bill to try to preserve a little piece of the First Amendment – its protections of religious people and businesses who prefer not to be compelled to, say, serve as a photographer or make a cake for a same-sex wedding. (That’s right, some have been hit with big fines, been forced out of business and even threatened with jail for following the dictates of their moral conscience.)
The bill got to Gov. Jan Brewer.
The homosexualists, who, whether they admit or not, are part of a religious cult themselves, went to work. Their friends in the media joined in the chorus, proclaiming the law would create Jim Crow-style situations in which a class of people would be denied service at lunch counters. And Jan Brewer vetoed the bill.
“To the supporters of the legislation, I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before. Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes,” she said. “However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve. It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want. Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value, so is non-discrimination.”
Actually, “discrimination” is exercised every day by every American.
And it’s “discrimination” to compel people to do things that violate their religious beliefs.
The kind of “discrimination” we don’t like is when people are unfairly treated on the basis of their race, ethnicity or religion. That’s what this bill sought to do.
But is it wrong to discriminate against people on the basis of their behavior?
Let’s say a male job applicant wearing a dress comes for an interview at your office. Should you be forced to weigh his credentials and experience on an equal basis with others who are dressed more conventionally?
I don’t think so.
Let’s say you run Chick-fil-A or Hobby Lobby or WND and the government mandates you to provide health insurance to pay for abortions. Is that not a violation of your religious beliefs?
I think so.
On almost a daily basis now we’re seeing one more nail in the coffin of the First Amendment.
Soon the land of the free will no longer be.
It’s time for a free and open national dialogue on these issues without the hysterics.
This week I heard CNN’s Wolf Blitzer compare the Arizona bill to the law passed in Uganda that threatens homosexuals with jail time and worse.
For heaven’s sake, if you want a wedding cake with two men on the top layer, hire a baker who thinks it’s cute. Don’t pick the one with the fish on the window. And don’t kill the First Amendment over it.
Can it get any simpler than that?
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