Thank you, Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor. As our elected state senator, we appreciate the efforts that you are making to protect the rights of business owners in Washington state.
While the Consumer Protection Act was created to protect against discrimination based on gender, race, religion, disability or sexual orientation, there needs to be some consideration of the rights of business owners in cases that violate “sincerely held religious beliefs, philosophical beliefs or matters of conscience.”
Harry Anderson wrote that the rights of business owners that involve personal religious freedoms that allow us to worship as we please and to associate with whomever we choose stops at the cash register.
He cites his own ideas about religious expression. He says religious freedom inspired Jim Crow laws against the South.
Anderson should recognize that religious expression inspired the abolitionist and civil rights movements as well. Remember, Martin Luther King Jr. was a Baptist preacher.
Mr. Anderson says scripture references to a woman’s place denied women equal opportunities.
Scripture references can be misused if misunderstood. Scripture references to the equality of women have allowed women to excel.
As a Christian woman, I can say it is not the Bible that holds women back, but those who misrepresent it.
He suggests that it would be insidious to grant permission for someone to discriminate based on philosophical beliefs and matters of conscience.
What is insidious is for the 52 percent who voted for same-sex marriage to force the 48 percent who disagreed to violate their conscience in matters that are of a moral — not just legal — nature.
It is one thing to go into a florist shop and purchase flowers from the shelf, it is quite another to force the florist to service a wedding with which she is in moral disagreement.
A nurse who works in an office that dispenses contraception is not forced to perform abortions if it’s against her personal conscience.
Can she say “no” to a home delivery of Plan B to a man who is abusing his children if she’s personally against child rape?
As gun shop owner who sells ammunition is not required to meet a customer with a semi-automatic outside a local school with a fresh batch of ammo.
If the person with the gun is homosexual, can that shop owner say “no” without risk of legal action?
Business owners can already refuse service — “No shirt, no shoes, no service.” Bartenders can be legally held responsible if they choose to serve someone who is intoxicated.
That bartender must use some level of discrimination/judgment in making that call.
Society will hold him responsible for his lack of action should someone be hurt by a drunk driver.
Some live by the current laws of the land, the majority vote.
There are higher laws which include a personal value system and God’s laws.
Sometimes these come into conflict. We elect people to protect all of us.
While tolerance is the watchword of the day, majority vote can change. Y
ou want tolerance for yourself, then allow tolerance for those with whom you disagree.
While Mr. Anderson uses words like “tragic,” “plain wrong,” “shame,” “narrow-minded” and “backward” to describe the efforts of Sen. Bailey and others to protect business owners, some of us just want to say, “thanks.”