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Op-ed: Different God- Different Religion- Different Service

By: Justin Fredericksen

In March of 2015, the Georgia General Assembly met to discuss amending the Georgia Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

According to the docket from the First Reader Summary of the Georgia General Assembly, this is “a Bill to be entitled an Act to amend Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to state government, so as to provide for the preservation of religious freedom; to provide for legislative findings; to provide for the granting of relief; to provide for a short title; to provide for an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.”

In other words, this bill is to protect the rights of private and public businesses to discriminate against anyone they choose in the name of their religious beliefs as well as to protect them in the eye of the law.

This Bill 129 is to construct the protection for the use of discrimination at any level based on their ‘religious beliefs.’

The problem is not what the religious beliefs are, but that exercising their religion against others and having the government involved blurs the line between the separation of church and state.

The weight of protecting religious interest groups with the law is being debated on how involved the government should be.

Since the Civil Rights Movement in 1954, America has been ushering in an age of equality for all that is protected by the government.

This bill would undo all that has made such progress for our citizens.

Senate Bill 129 would allow the LGBTQ community, African-Americans, women, immigrants, and any controversial minority to be denied service or the ability to purchase goods in a public place of business that the operators deemed the patrons to not be qualified.

Abbigael Mercer, a psychology major at the Dunwoody campus said, “If passed, the bill would lead to the sociological community to believe discrimination is socially acceptable. This would lead our southern state back into the idea that there is only one flourishing group: wealthy, white, Christian men.”

Our state would look a lot different if entire groups were forced to shop in segregated stores. When did people start thinking God likes one religion better than another or a group of people better than another based on the pigment of their skin or their lifestyle?

This bill would open the door for discrimination.

“I think it’s wrong,” Art major Reese Blutstein on the Dunwoody campus said. “You shouldn’t be able to discriminate. As a woman, I would make it known that the place is doing that!”

The fact that this bill has even been brought up for consideration speaks volumes for the condition our state is in.

Our society has worked tirelessly at creating an equal world that still has much progress to make; this would destroy any sense of community our city has built.

For now, the bill has been tabled but not passed as of now.

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