Religious discrimination by commercial business
robertmw at MINDSPRING.COM
Thu Aug 27 14:08:33 PDT 1998
At 10:26 AM 8/27/98 -0500, Rick Duncan wrote:
>There is much to what Gene says here. But in terms of "rights"--a term
>that is very slippery and means many different things--it is perhaps
>best to look at antidiscrimination laws as the use of coercion to
>*redistribute* rights from the owners of property and businesses to
>would-be tenants and employees. In effect, a political majority has
>given A a "right" with respect to the property of B. What had been a
>fundamental component of B's property (the right of exclusive
>possession, for example, in the case of Mrs. Smith) has been taken
>from her (without compensation) and transferred to a larger class of
>people (and a class with greater political power). So now, when Mrs.
>Smith decides she does not wish to rent to the cohabitants, they can
>inform her that she has "harmed" them by refusing to recognize "their"
>right to possession of what she only imagined to be her property.
>If *rights* can be so easily created and transferred, they are not
>really rights at all. This issue becomes one of power and the use of
>that power to outlaw those who wish to live differently (as does Mrs.
>Smith--she does not wish to tell the cohabitants how to live their
>lives or what they can do on their property; she merely wishes to be
>able to manage what she naively believes is "her" building in
>accordance with her conscience). Antidiscrimination laws are like
>sodomy and fornication laws--they use the coercive power of the state
>to outlaw a way of life and to codify a particular code of morality.
The comparison is inapt, for antidiscrimination laws are not at all like
sodomy and fornication laws. Antidiscrimination laws only apply to Mrs.
Smith's use of her property when she chooses to put the use of that
property into the stream of commerce. The sodomy law comparison would be
more appropos if the law required Mrs. Smith to entertain unmarried
fornicators on her property once a week regardless of whether she was
renting it or not.
Antidiscrimination laws may deprive Mrs. Smith of a commercial benefit
while discriminating for religious reasons. Mrs. Smith may have a
constitutional right to possession and control of her property for her own
uses when not placing it in the stream of commerce. Mrs. Smith has no
constitutional right to discriminate on the basis of her religion AND
profit from the commerical use of her property.
Rob Weinberg, Montgomery, AL
More information about the Religionlaw