The actions by (mostly) Republicans to enact so-called religious liberty protection laws is misguided at best, and potentially disastrous at worst.
First, the country is clearly a group of people who may or may not have religion, bound together by a government that is secular. Anyone claiming otherwise is deluded.
Second, while everyone is pretty much able to strive to do their own thing, that right is limited by the individuals interaction with the government, and where the rights of others are concerned. No one in the country is generally protected from being offended.
Third, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights guarantees individual religious liberty. It also guarantees equal protection for all.
I saw this related meme on the Internet: “A black man should not be forced to make a cake for the KKK and a Christian shouldn’t be forced to make one for a gay wedding” (this is attributed to someone named John Hawkins).
This is wrong on any number of levels. The basic concept is wrong to begin with. First, the assumption is that the cake bakers are businesses, since that’s what the recent “controversy” is about. The concept of the common burden/common good comes into play, where a business is taking advantage of the infrastructure we all paid for (roads, police, fire protection), and has the obligation to serve all. The meme also fails to address one difference: the supposed KKK cake buyers are actively hating on the supposed black cake baker, where the opposite isn’t true. In fact, it could be argued that the supposedly Christian cake baker is hating/despising the supposed gay cake buyers.
Of course, for an individual, there is no obligation to make cakes for anyone else.
I go back to the cherry-picking aspect as well. Conservatives love to get all bent out of shape about gays. “It’s sin, I don’t agree with sin, so I shouldn’t have to have anything to do with *them sinners*”. But the supposedly put-upon cake bakers don’t seem to mind baking cakes for divorcees, or for that matter, everyone else (since we are all sinners).
These laws do nothing but enable dividing people, balkanizing the country. Jewish people could refuse service to Gentiles, or the other way around. Muslims could refuse service to Christians, or the other way around. There are so many potential absurdities.
What about a sincerely anti-war religious belief? Can that person specify that their taxes don’t go to the DoD?
I think it’s pretty clear that most of this comes from the mostly white, mostly Christian legislators lashing out as their market share falls, pandering to those like them, and trying to force the rest of us to acknowledge and adopt their beliefs.
But what it really comes down to is no business has the right to be offended and refuse service to a customer because of the religious belief of the proprietor (and that includes Hobby Lobby). Suck it up, people.