First, civil rights icon Julian Bond thoughtfully explains why these ‘religious discrimination’ bills cropping up across the nation (including North Carolina) have nothing to do with religion. From Dr. Bond’s op-ed:
These religious refusal proposals tell folks they can pick and choose which laws they want to follow. That individuals can sue not only businesses but teachers, firefighters, and police officers if they believe their religious rights are violated. If a police officer sues his precinct because he is required to patrol a mosque, can laws like the one in Indiana protect him? If a father sues a teacher because she disciplined his child under a community-wide antibullying policy, can legislation like that before the governor of Arkansas put that teacher in jeopardy? These bills are intentionally vague, leaving it up to an overburdened court system to decide whether an individual’s religious beliefs are more important than another person’s basic civil rights.
We oppose these bills because they seek not to preserve or protect religious believers but to demean and exclude LGBT people, religious minorities, and others who may find themselves standing on the outside looking in.
I have seen discrimination. I have stood inside businesses that would not serve me because of my race, and I have been told that the rights of those business owners were more important than mine. I countered that logic then, as I do now. We have no crisis of religious discrimination; we have a crisis of fear. I stand against these bills and with those who are fighting to stop them. I refuse to allow discrimination to cloak itself in a shroud of faith. I refuse to give into fear.
Now click over to Policy Watch’s main site and read today’s Fitzsimon File, in which Chris Fitzsimon pointedly asks in his Tuesday column: Gov. McCrory barks against discrimination–but will he bite?
Both the bills currently in the General Assembly, the misnamed religious freedom act and the proposal to allow magistrates to refuse services to gay couples, are appalling attempts to give legal authority to discriminate and harken back to the Civil Rights era when segregationists fought to retain the right to discriminate against African-Americans in public accommodations.
If the proposals pass the General Assembly, McCrory will have to decide if he wants to stand with the 21st century version of the segregationists or stand up for human rights and a more enlightened state.
Simply saying he opposes the bills isn’t enough. He needs to make it clear he will veto both of them and force legislative leaders to try to override him, making them go to extraordinary lengths to allow discrimination against thousands of people in the communities they represent.
Click here to read and share Fitzsimon’s full column.