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Daniel L. Gardner

Should the federal government outlaw discrimination? If discrimination is always bad, then the government should outlaw all discrimination.

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But what if discrimination is good? For example, do restaurants that post “No shoes, no shirt, no service” discriminate against customers who are not wearing shoes or shirts? Yes. Is this discrimination good or bad? Would admitting shirtless and shoeless customers violate other customers’ rights?

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Should owners have the right to serve some and not others based on societal/cultural norms? Whose “rights” are more important?

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The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination or segregation in public accommodations on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Four out of five of those categories are immutable. Of the five only religion is a choice subject to change. Notwithstanding today’s “identity” political correctness, one can’t change race, color, sex or national origin.

The House of Representatives is considering the “Equality Act,” which would add language to the Civil Rights Act, “To prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation, and for other purposes.” I’m not sure who the act makes equal to whom, or whether any law can make anyone equal to anyone else.

The proposed legislation has raised the ire of a particularly interesting group of like-minded Christians who believe the law will be used to attack their civil rights maliciously. The political director and chair of the Gone2Far Movement, Dr. Randy L. Short, M.Div., asked me to join him and others “to defend the original intent of the civil rights laws and protect the faith of our nation and religious liberties.”

Short characterized the Gone2Far Movement as a “group of pro-life, pro-family, and pro-Trump Black and White ministers [who] have united into a coalition to fight against the maniacal and morally bankrupted Democratic Party and its insane attempt to force the radical LGBTQ/Polynary Sexuality zealots to force immorality, atheism, cultural Marxism, and Pedophilia down the God-fearing majority of Americans’ throats.”

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Short emphatically planted the Equality Act in the middle of my radar screen. Before hearing from him, I had not heard or seen anything about this law in primary national news outlets. Of course, those outlets have been swamped with smother coverage of whether Donald Trump won the 2016 election. No space or time to cover a law that could fundamentally trample civil rights of faith communities.

What happens when the civil rights of one group contradict the civil rights of other groups? Whose rights are more important? The First Amendment expressly says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. ...” Is Congress making a law that would prohibit the free exercise of religion? That’s exactly what Short and his colleagues are charging.

The LGBTQ+ movement has targeted religious organizations in general and evangelical Christians in particular as hate groups. If passed, the Equality Act could be used to prevent religious groups from freely exercising religious activities protected by the First Amendment.

By the way, Gone2Far Movement is largely comprised of those who have fought for civil rights for decades. They argue LGBTQ+ community is not equivalent to original groups protected by the 1964 act. People should learn how this law might trample their religious freedoms.

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Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville, Mississippi. You may contact him at PJandMe2@gmail.com.

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