Is Religion a Personal Belief or a Political and Business Scoop?

Is Religion a Personal Belief or a Political and Business Scoop?

In 2015 Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky refused to issue a marriage certificate to same-sex couples. Against the US Supreme Court ruling, she argued that it is not a moderate issue for her. It is a matter of faith. The incident in itself did not happen for the first time. In fact, at the time when White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was refused service by the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia; she said it’s because she works for the Trump administration. The restaurant’s owner said she asked her to leave because she supported some of the President’s controversial policies. On the incident, Alexandra Brodsky, a civil rights attorney at the national women’s law center said that ‘under the American law a business owner has the right to refuse service to some customers.’ However federal and state laws claim that one cannot do that.

This also clears the notion of the layered discriminatory policy followed by the service providers. It is not only limited to religious belief, but it also targets the political view, sexuality, and even the race. Which counter the civil rights act 1964, which states that- discrimination in public businesses in the United States is prohibited by race, color, religion or national origin. It does not include sexuality or gender identity, but it does not even allow to do that at any point. In this context, even the outlook of citizens is divided. They argue that under the shade of religious freedom laws businesses denial for any service is not less than discrimination. And on the other hand, they support saying, that government cannot bound them on how they should run their private businesses.

Recently there was another incident in the same scenario which sparked the debate. A Colorado baker refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.  Justice Anthony M. Kennedy dictated that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had not appropriately considered the religious sentiments of Jack Phillips, a baker and a cake artist who denied services to two gay men. Kennedy wrote, ‘The Court’s precedents make clear that the baker, in his capacity as the owner of a business serving the public, might have his right to the free exercise of religion limited by generally applicable laws.’

Just like the two laws countering each other, citizens of the US are also trying hard to get rid of it, with indulging into a chaotic situation.

Proponents claim that people have firmly held religious beliefs that will not permit them to engage in or support specific ideas and lifestyles. People should have the right to choose how they conduct the businesses they own, and this includes refusing service to those who have lifestyles they do not agree with. Customers almost always have the option to go to alternative businesses when they encounter business owners who are not comfortable offering service based on their religious beliefs.

On the contrary, opponents argue that if a person chooses to open a business to the public, they should be prepared to serve anyone who comes in. Allowing business owners to deny service based on personal beliefs opens the door for all sorts of discrimination directed toward certain groups. It would allow the business owners to discriminate under the disguise of service denial due to religious beliefs. While business owners may choose not to stock certain products or offer specific services because of their personal religious beliefs, denying service to customers falls in the category of discrimination.

The narrative is yet not resolved. The definition of an ideal in nature is something which differs from person to person. The law itself is creating a dilemma of what to choose or what not.

What is your opinion? Should a business be able to deny service to a customer if the request conflicts with the owner’s religious beliefs?

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