Monday, March 30, 2015

Businesses Discriminating on Religious Grounds Should LITERALLY Occur on Religious Ground. Alternate Title: Gov. Leslie Knope of Indiana Wouldn't Have Signed It Into Law.

I could be wildly inaccurate concerning the content and consequences of a recently-passed Indiana law, but as far as I have heard, any Indiana business can discriminate against any potential customer, if that customer somehow infringes on the religious beliefs of the business owners.

For example, a baker is the sole proprietor majority shareholder of a bakery in the fictional Indiana town of Pawnee. That baker is also a Christian who takes the book of Leviticus and the epistles of Paul relatively seriously, as far as mainstream evangelical Christianity goes: He will eat bacon cheeseburgers, is ambivalent about tattoos, is apathetic about fabric, and is against gay marriage.

If my interpretation of the recent law is accurate, then the bakery has the right to refuse to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding because it goes against the majority owner's religious beliefs.

I have two potential solutions to this issue.

1. The baker should bake the cake for the paying customer. It's just a cake. No one gets hurt directly, except maybe for sugar-related health reasons. In exchange for the cake -- money! That's how capitalism works, and any other "free" market system, like bartering. Don't be a cake douche. (Also: Bacon cheeseburgers are both delicious and a doubly non-Kosher, with its pork content and intermingling of milk and beef.)

2. Amend the law, so that the only businesses that could discriminate against its potential customers, are businesses that are 100% owned by religious corporations, i.e. churches and other houses of worship. The aforementioned hypothetical bakery must be owned by a single church/denomination/chapter -- Christian or Muslim or Reasonabilist or any other -- 100 percent. Not 51%, not 67%. Any discrimination of a customer, on religious grounds, must be unanimous. And it must literally occur on religious ground, being that a single church must own 100% of a discriminatory business.

Of course, with any simple solution, there will be a multitude of complex, consequential problems. If the Reasonabilist bakery's cold cakes sell like hotcakes, and turn a massive profit, what is a non-profit religious corporation to do? What of the tax-exempt status of the Church of Reasonabilism?

May Zorp have mercy on us all.

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