How a “Human Rights Commisson” Tried to Shut Down My Favorite Bar

Back in 2011, I wrote a post for Ricochet cheekily titled, “Meet Your Friendly Neighborhood Human Rights Commission.” In that post I noted that state and local “human rights” and “civil rights” commissions — local bureaucratic fiefdoms given ridiculous amounts of statutory authority to prosecute petty discrimination claims outside of the court system — had become increasingly aggressive in their efforts to stamp out free speech and religious liberty.

Anyway, that was before last fall when D.C.’s “Friendly Neighborhood Human Rights Commission” actually threatened to shut down my favorite neighborhood bar for serving a cocktail that made fun of Marion Barry. (Yes, that Marion Barry.) I also did a fair amount of research and found some pretty astonishing examples of overreach and corruption by human rights commissions around the country. Just to give you a better idea of what’s going on, right now a Christian printer in Lexington, Kentucky, has been dragooned before the local human rights commission for refusing to make T-shirts for a gay rights event. Yet the Lexington human rights Kommisar openly admits it would be perfectly acceptable for a gay business owner to refuse to print Biblical material he disagrees with.

Anyway, this all resulted in “The Sensitivity Apparat” — my latest feature for the Weekly Standard. If you aren’t familiar with the scourge of human rights commissions, I suggest you get familiar with them before they come after you or your business.