At a recent candidate forum, J.D. Ford–who is running against Mike Delph–made what should have been one of those “duh, yeah, we learned that in high school civics” observations: when businesses open their doors to the public, that constitutes an obligation to serve all members of that public.
There is a reciprocal relationship–a social contract– between business and government. The government (which collects taxes from everyone in its jurisdiction, no matter their race, religion or sexual orientation) uses those tax dollars to provide services. Those services are an essential infrastructure for the American businesses that must ship goods over publicly-financed roads, depend upon police and fire departments for safety, and (in some cities, at least) public transportation to bring workers and customers to their premises.
As Ford noted, business that want to discriminate– who want to pick and choose which members of the public they will serve–are violating that social contract. They want the services that are supported by the tax dollars of all segments of the public, but they don’t want to live up to their end of the bargain.
Where Ford (and I) see fundamental fairness, Mike Delph (surprise, surprise!) sees religious intolerance.
“I was saddened to hear him express such intolerance for those of us that hold deep religious conviction,” Delph told The Star. “Religious liberty is a fundamental American ideal.”
Let’s call this the bull*** that it is.
If your religious beliefs preclude you from doing business with gays, or Jews, or blacks, then don’t open a retail establishment. Don’t enter into a contract knowing that you will not honor its terms.
Religious liberty allows you to hold any beliefs you want. It allows you to preach those beliefs in the streets, and to refuse to socialize with people of whom you disapprove. You have the right to observe the rules of your particular religion in your home and church, and the government cannot interfere. But when you use religious beliefs–no matter how sincere–to disadvantage people who are entitled to expect equal treatment, when you use those beliefs as an excuse not to uphold your end of the social contract, that’s a bridge too far.
Mike Delph wants a government that favors (certain) religious beliefs, and gives adherents of (certain) religions a “pass” when they don’t follow the rules that apply to all of us.
I want Mike Delph out of Indiana government.