More clarity needed in state regulations

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: March 8 2014 | 11:21 am - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 9:18 am in

Jonah Goldberg (March 3) argues that Arizona’s failed “religious freedom” law allowing businesses to deny service to homosexuals was unnecessary. In his view, implicit social norms are sufficient grounds to send the unholy packing. But I believe we need more clarity in state regulations to define the parameters for religious “refusal of service to sinners” (or RSS).

First, business owners seeking the RSS designation should register a detailed faith code of conduct with the state. Every sin prohibited by their particular faith would be a matter of public record. This forms the “no dollars from the devil” road map for future denial of service.

Second, to protect religious business owners from inadvertently serving a sinner, customers would be required to complete a pre-screening sin checklist. Each registered RSS baker, for example, could then clearly determine customer virtue before selling cupcakes.

Third, the RSS standard must be consistently applied. A self-identified Bible literalist would equally deny service to homosexuals, non-virgin brides, the shellfish or pork eater, and any First Commandment violator who says “OMG.” This all-sinners-denied policy protects the business owner from spurious claims of discrimination.

This plan is win/win. Your business is religiously pure, your conscience is clear, your freedom to judge others is preserved, and your customers are completely virtuous. A “no-sinners” business model may seriously limit your future market growth potential, but as Goldberg reminds us, it is your business to run as you choose. Let all who are without sin line up at your door and let freedom ring.

Diane Crosby

Cedar Rapids


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