Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Running a business in a civilized society
Apparently it's not obvious to some why Indiana's "religious freedom" law is a bad idea. I've seen posts on Facebook defending the law and, of course, every single Republican Presidential candidate is defending it. Some members of my family in Indiana think it's a good idea. After all, everyone is in favor of religious freedom, right?
Putting aside issues of morality and common decency, the reasons it's a bad law are very simple.
If you open a business to the public, you take advantage of American infrastructure. That is, your business relies on publicly constructed roads, a publicly built and funded water system and electrical grid. You rely on regulations and laws that protect your business and public schools to educate your workers. You rely on police and fire protection, as well as our court system. Without these institutions, your business wouldn't be possible.
All of these important things are paid for through taxes. Liberal, conservative, religious, non-religious, straight, gay, black, white, men, women, everyone pays taxes of some sort or another. Therefore, everyone has contributed to your ability to establish and run your business. The community, and everyone in it, has earned the right to patronize your business.
Therefore, we don't tolerate allowing businesses to close their doors to people because they don't like their gender, their sexuality, their religion or their color. It's an issue of fairness and the social contract. If you open your doors, you open them for all.
If you don't want to serve everyone, then don't open a business.
Indiana's law flouts that. The law would allow a business to refuse to serve anyone for any reason, and then claim religion as a defense. It's different than the federal law that conservatives keep citing as a defense. It straight up allows discrimination, and we can't have that and have a civil society.
That's all there is to it. It's not difficult.