Opinion: Religious liberty doesn’t give you the right to discriminate

Today in America and throughout the world, we are seeing an intensified clash of world views.

This is very different from the Cold War, where communism and capitalism battled for land, money, markets and overall dominance.

This clash is between secular and diverse societies, that welcome and include different points of view, vs. religious extremists, who insist that their version of “God” and their “sacred scriptures,” should reign supreme over everyone, believers and non believers alike.

In the Middle East, the most dramatic example of this type of theocracy, or religious tyranny, is ISIS.  Where ISIS rules, not only is the supreme law their religious Sharia law, but non-believers can and often are publicly discriminated against, harmed and even put to the death.

Here in America, we have a new and somewhat more subtle form of religious tyranny, where the false mantra of “religious liberty,” is claimed as justification for being able to publicly discriminate against non-believers.

No less prominent a person than Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has publicly proclaimed that his God and his version of Biblical law are superior to the United States Supreme Court.

True believers of his ilk, want to use their radically conservative religious beliefs to be able to publicly discriminate today against people who are gay.

Yesterday, they used their version of God and their religion to justify slavery.  Before that, these same people wanted to deny women the right to vote, and prevent black people from eating at public lunch counters, all in the name of their particular religion.

Americans of all stripes, and that especially includes mainstream media, need to be vigilant and pay more attention to this intensified clash of world views.  While most of us understand that what ISIS stands for is unacceptable, there are still some Americans who do not understand that our Declaration of Independence and our U.S. Constitution do not allow public discrimination against anyone.

People who say otherwise, whether native born Americans or not, simply do not understand that when they claim “religious liberty” as justification to discriminate publicly against anyone, they are really being un American, and taking the wrong side in this current clash of world views.

All throughout America, cities have taken the lead, and are passing ordinances to ensure that “no public discrimination” is understood and enforced. Even as this is happening, some states have sadly gone in the other direction.

Here in Arizona, our state has so far been silent, but some of our cities have taken the lead, and passed comprehensive public non discrimination ordinances.  Phoenix, Tempe, Tucson, and Flagstaff have already passed such ordinances.

Scottsdale is in the process of considering such an ordinance, and hopefully will pass one soon!  So this clash of world views continues.  Where would you like to live? Somewhere where you can be yourself and not be publicly discriminated against, because of someone else’s religion?  Or somewhere you can be publicly discriminated against, just for being you?

Where would you prefer to live, work, and play?

Editor’s note: Mr. Greco is a resident of Scottsdale.

Mr. Greco is a Scottsdale resident.

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