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This is a branch off @rushbabe49 mentioned the proposal in the Texas state legislature to deal with the City of San Antonio’s decision to ban Chick-fil-A from consideration for an airport food concession.
A few weeks ago the San Antonio City Council banned Chick-fil-A from being considered for a concession spot in the San Antonio Airport. The reason given was because the Chick-fil-A’s charitable foundation gave money to the Salvation Army and to Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Neither of these groups has as a primary mission anything to do with sexual orientation or same-sex relations. But they both have among their list of expected behaviors for employees expectations for sexual behavior. Most of the expected behaviors, including the ones on sexual activity, are fairly typical for employees of religious organizations. So, one has to dig down fairly deep below the restaurant in the airport to get to the homosexuality issue that animated the members of the San Antonio City Council. There have been (to my knowledge) no allegations that any customer or proposed customer of the restaurant has been refused service or mistreated. Nonetheless, the San Antonio City Council claims that homosexual people will feel “unsafe” walking through an airport with a Chick-fil-A restaurant in it. Again, not because of any actions by the restaurant itself, but because of employment policies of separate organizations to which the restaurant corporation donates money.
The Buffalo (NY) City Council made a similar determination, apparently for the same reason, and is preventing the master concessionaire at Buffalo Niagara Airport from considering a bid from Chick-fil-A to have an outlet at the airport.
Analysis and Questions
So, according to these city councils, Chick-fil-A must be banned to create a “safe” environment for “all.” But, in doing so, haven’t the city councils created very unsafe-feeling places? Now, instead of deciding whether I should patronize a business with which I might not agree, I have to worry about a government that disagrees with me, and a government has the power to prevent me from doing business and to put me in jail based on that disagreement.
Am I going to be prevented from doing business with or in San Antonio or Buffalo because I donate to the Salvation Army or to Fellowship of Christian Athletes or similar organizations? Can I be blocked from doing business with or in San Antonio because I am a Christian who holds traditional Christian views of expected sexual behavior? Might I be arrested in San Antonio’s airport because I am wearing apparel or jewelry that conveys a religious message, or I’m carrying a Bible or other literature that includes sections that teach toward certain views of sexuality? Why should I feel safe in San Antonio?
On the legal front, the Texas state Attorney General is looking into the actions by the San Antonio City Council, and the state legislature is considering legislation nicknamed the “Save Chick-fil-A” bill intended to reinforce the notion we thought everybody understood that government is not permitted to discriminate against a person or a business because of its religious views or opinions.
Second Question – Why is “non-discrimination” considered THE top moral imperative for the government?
On a secondary note, in the debate over business owners with religious views, one side keeps saying, “We cannot allow religious views to justify discrimination.” My question – what is the foundation of the assertion that non-discrimination is THE top moral imperative, and that all other considerations must be subservient to non-discrimination? Non-discrimination is not mentioned particularly well in the US Constitution. There’s actually some stuff in the US Constitution that assumes people are generally free to discriminate (freedom of association). And “non-discrimination” is an odd choice for a top moral imperative because its parameters are so fluid and subjective – they are completely subject to the whims of whomever is deciding what characteristics count for “non-discrimination”: Race? Skin Color? Sex? Sexual preferences? Personal beliefs? Political opinions? Hair color? Physical ability? Mental ability? Education? Clothing choices? Everybody “discriminates” multiple times every day on a variety of factors. We could not survive if we didn’t. An arbitrary notion of “non-discrimination” is an odd choice for one’s paramount moral imperative.