In Charles C. Haynes’ Inside the First Amendment column (“Marriage issue deserves civil dialogue,” CDT, Wednesday), he makes the uncivil argument that religious folk deserve a legal excuse to discriminate against gay people.
We are born, not made.
This fantasy that we stand around just waiting to damage “normal” heterosexual society by our perverse expressions of our own lives has been debunked over and over again. (Christians in centuries past also viewed epilepsy and left-handedness as signs of demonic possession. Burning witches at the stake is no longer classified as religious obligation but as mob lynching actionable under criminal law.)
Federal and state public accommodation laws protect gay people and other unpopular classes of citizens from precisely this sort of bigotry. Retailers are therefore obliged to serve the public, not just members of the public who also share their beliefs.
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Crying religious freedom as an excuse to deny religious and/or retail services is magical thinking as well as bad business. (We members of the gay community have long been very loyal to purveyors of goods and services who are loyal to us.)
Christians are, of course, free to indulge in as much magical thinking as they like, but they might also want to drop their “Christian” ways and follow that influential first-century rabbi, Jesus.
He not only reached out to the despised and marginalized, but he said not one single word about same-sex relationships.
Vera M. Shadle, Palo Alto, Calif.