The level of ignorance being displayed on certain television networks and media outlets is quite disturbing. In school we’re taught that the pilgrims fled Great Britain to flee religious oppression and be free to practice whatever religion they choose without persecution from the government. Hundreds of years later, many Americans who often reference that historical timestamp are accusing Jan Brewer of violating their religious freedoms.
That has to rank among my top-5 most ridiculous accusations. The fact that a good number of Americans, many of whom vote out of blind allegiance to their party, believe that religion is under attack is very disturbing. How can a person consider him or herself a constitutionalist and believe such ridiculous assertions at the same time?
Jan Brewer’s veto wasn’t about rallying up the conservative base, or even protecting religious freedom. Why? Because she doesn’t need to take action in order to protect her constituents’ religious freedom. Their religious freedom is already protected by the first amendment of the United States Constitution.
Don’t believe me? Answer this question. Does Governor Brewer’s veto of SB 1062 violate your right to freely exercise your religious beliefs? Are you prohibited from praying, going to church or reading your religious texts? Has Governor Brewer assembled a task force of county sheriffs across the state of Arizona to carry out a bible burning initiative?
To some, those questions may sound ridiculous, but the veto never was about waging war on religion. The first amendment of the United States Constitution ensures that our religious freedoms are protected as United States citizens.
So what exactly was the purpose behind the vote from both the senate and house on SB 1062?
Simply put, to allow business and religious establishments to openly discriminate against members of the LGBT community under the guise of protecting their religious beliefs. For instance, I as a freelance writer would be allowed to refuse service to a gay couple who wants to hire me to write their vows on the basis that providing such a service would be an act against my religious beliefs. SB 1062 would also protect me from any legal liability; therefore I wouldn’t have to fear facing a discrimination lawsuit.
Thankfully, the business community, corporations and social activist groups stepped in to vehemently protest this bill’s passage. It shouldn’t have had to come to this considering that it’s wrong to violate a person’s civil rights on the basis of their sexual orientation. Had this bill passed, this could have opened Pandora’s box and served as the foundation for more discriminatory measures passed against other groups in this country. Given the George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn verdicts in Florida, some parts of this country are reverting towards Jim Crow rapidly. Fortunately, Jan Brewer disregarded party allegiances and did the right thing in vetoing this bill.