MONICA PAYNE; Opinion Writer: paynemk@plu.edu

On Tuesday, April 5, Mississippi passed a bill allowing businesses to turn away members of the LGBT community on the basis that serving them is against their religion. Though this is a fairly recent bill, it is not the only variation of action against the homosexual movement.

Unfortunately it is a recurring scenario for religious people and/or organizations to stand their ground and refuse to serve the LGBT nation in order to uphold their beliefs. Just recently North Carolina passed a bill as well. It commanded you use whatever restroom coincides with the gender you were labeled as at birth, a way of protecting people against sexual assault despite being based around a stereotype.

These bills are wrong. They are terrible. They back LGBT community members into a corner and try to force them to comply with the societal “norm” because some taxpayers feel too uncomfortable around these people. They feel they are an abomination of God and must be punished for it so they may one day be saved and be “normal” once again even when there was nothing wrong with them in the first place. These actions can lead to horrific segregation and therefore must be corrected immediately. Except… They are perfectly justified. scales-of-justice

The first amendment clearly states that religion can be exercised freely, the only rule being that the government cannot make any law limiting it. This means you are perfectly capable of practicing your religion of choice without anyone telling you otherwise. You can speak your mind on what your religion tells you is right and wrong and if you encounter someone you think is a sinner no one can stop you from letting them know that. Therefore, judicially, these bills can exist legally without any sort of complications.

But for these particular cases, as well as many others, the judicial system should have no contribution to the idea of such a law being passed or even considered. The government should not have to have any verdict associated with this decision because it should not even be one or even an option for that matter.

For those people who voted on these bills based on their religious views, Mississippi having 58.74 percent of their population associating with religion and North Carolina having 47.51 percent (http://www.bestplaces.net), I wonder if they have ever read Matthew 7: 1 and 2. These passages clearly state: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” It explains that those who judge others are hypocrites and therefore will be on trial by God in a way identical to that which they treated the victim. Why? Because a follower of God has no right to do God’s work. You are not God and therefore any religious basis you give to your bigotry is just as immoral in the eyes of the Lord as homosexuality is to you.

There are two things in this world that every person is entitled to: the air they breathe and respect from their fellow man, and the fact that people are using the name of God as an excuse to segregate other human beings is sickening. You do not have to agree with others’ choices, but it is not your choice to make. You can try to “save” people from their “bad” choices as much as you want, but that means supporting them in whatever decision they make not trying to forcefully alter who they are.

RcdgybzziNo matter the differences in race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, skin color or anything else we are all still human beings with a consistent moral code and inside that code lies tolerance and respect. I am sick of that golden rule being ignored by so many.

I am not speaking on behalf of my religion, my feminism or even my status as a PLU student. I am merely a human being who wants to see the hatred of this world be abolished. Please let us lead the next generation to a brighter future where everyone can be tolerated by one another. ◼︎

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