Right to Discriminate

The recent news about the woman quitting the Mormon Tabernacle Choir over the inaugural performance has hit the news with mixed reviews. There are many out there lauding her courage to stand up for what she believes, and I firmly agree with that. Were I in her shoes, I wouldn’t want to be a part of that inauspicious occasion either.

As with anything, there are other opinions on the matter.

I saw on my Facebook feed a friend commenting on someone’s post about it. He likened this woman quitting to the bakers in Oregon who didn’t want to bake the cake for the gay couple. I’ve got issues with this comparison for several reasons.

The bakers in Oregon were discriminating, plain and simple. Sure, you can try to say that it was part of their ‘religious liberty’ and that running their own business gives them the right to deny service to whomever they please, but if we kept that reasoning there would still be many businesses that would deny service to blacks or Hispanics or Muslims or anything else that the owner of the establishment has a particular problem with. Once you make that comparison though, people get upset. “Not serving blacks isn’t anything like refusing to make a wedding cake for a gay couple! They’re just following their religious beliefs!”

How? How is that different? One can’t choose their race, and people don’t choose to be gay. One that grounds, I find it despicable to try to justify the right to discriminate against people for something they have no control over. I do, however, fully support management’s right to throw someone out if they’re being the worst kind of jerk. You’re being a disruptive prick and treating staff and other customers badly? By all means, show him the door.

I did hear some rational thoughts on when it is and is not okay to refuse service. One being, if you have a brick and mortar store that is open for anyone to walk in there, you should serve anyone who is looking for what you’re peddling. A second opinion was if you’re an artist of some sort (musician, painter, etc) you have the right to choose your clientele. If you don’t wish to perform your act at the Church of Bigotry and Hatred, even if they reach out to you, I believe you have the right to turn them down.

I find this different too than Kim Davis and her style of bigotry. Had she quit, I wouldn’t have had an issue with her. But she refused to do the job that she was hired to, as a government official, and that isn’t acceptable.

But this woman who quit the Mormon Tabernacle Choir? She’s not discriminating against a condition that can’t be changed. She’s standing up for what she believes is right, while giving up a highly coveted place in the Mormon community. There’s a prestige that is part of being a member of this Choir, and few will ever make it.

Anti-discrimination laws were put into place to prevent the hatred that our country has the sad history of, but a woman not wanting to sing as the man who oozes misogyny and racism takes office isn’t a case of blatant discriminatory practice. The very idea that these are at all parallel is something my mind just can’t wrap around. I just can’t get there.

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2 thoughts on “Right to Discriminate

  1. Fantastic piece. I agree wholeheartedly. If you are in business, you should serve your customer no matter their sex, race, creed, sexual orientation, etc. If not, it is blatant discrimination. Besides, you’re in business to stay in business and discriminating is the fastest way to go out of business (if only Hobby Lobby would go out of business). As an author, I want everyone to buy my book – I don’t care who or what you are. As an employee or member of an entertainment group, I have the choice to work or quit – something people of color and LGBTQ people do not have as a choice. We are who we are. I applaud the woman who is not going to sing at the inauguration of DJT – #notmypresident. She, along with all members of the choir, have a choice. The same as Springsteen made a choice not to perform in North Carolina after they passed the reprehensible law about bathrooms. These are my heroes!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. I was pleased to hear of the individuals and companies that decided to keep their business out of that state when the “bathroom bill” was passed. When the Hobby Lobby case was underway I didn’t know where I stood on the issue. That feels like it was so long ago now.

      Liked by 1 person

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