Letter writer: Religious exemptions institutionalize bigotry

Graphic by Lori Deaton

As to the religious aspect [of HB2], might I remind you that the 13th and 14th amendments to the Constitution forbade states (which are signatory) from passing such (specifically, and intentionally discriminatory) laws — even though the South has traditionally held to retention of the “old ways.”

Further, under the United States Constitution (and subsequent litigation), states are not allowed to implement, either directly or through proxy or scapegoat, laws that specifically target individual citizens, whether by race, gender, class or religion (et al).

A “religious exemption” institutionalizes bigotry. Bigotry is common in Christianity (read John, etc. — have you ever been called a witch, pagan, heathen, or gentile, etc.?) and also in Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc., most religions. And under constitutional law [it] is not permissible, and automatically illegal, as [contained in the] Civil Code of Conduct (e.g., by states).

 — Vasco Sena

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6 thoughts on “Letter writer: Religious exemptions institutionalize bigotry

  1. “As to the religious aspect [of HB2]”

    There’s a religious aspect [of HB2]?

    House Bill 2 accomplishes two main objectives. First, it says that private schools, restaurants, shops and other businesses are free to establish whatever bathroom policies they’d like, but access to government bathrooms must be based on objective biological sex assignment. Second, it says that North Carolina will have one uniform set of regulations for the entire state regarding employment standards and public accommodation, rather than additional piecemeal regulations city by city.

    The Equal Employment Practices Act (Article 49A of Chapter 143) declares that it is state policy to protect the right of persons to seek, obtain, and hold employment without being subjected to discrimination based on race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex or handicap. Section 3.1 of S.L. 2016-3 amends the Act to specify that “sex” means biological sex. It further amends the Act to clarify that the Act and other “relevant” state laws supersede and preempt measures adopted by any local government – cities, counties, and other political subdivisions – that regulate or impose requirements on employers concerning discriminatory employment practices. Thus, cities and counties in North Carolina simply do not have authority to adopt or enforce ordinances, regulations, resolutions, or policies that prohibit discrimination in private employment, including, for example, racial discrimination. The amendments to the Act do leave local governments free to adopt antidiscrimination rules for their own personnel, so long as such rules do not conflict with state law.

    I’m rereading HB2. When I find the religious aspect I’ll get back to you.

  2. bsummers

    Sadly, I’m forced to agree with Mr. Peck (pause for gasps from the crowd.)

    There isn’t any explicit “religious exemption” in HB2. You may be thinking about laws passed in other states that allow businesses to deny services to LGBT customers for religious reasons, like the one recently vetoed by the Governor of Virginia:

    Of course, some say HB2 will allow discrimination based on religious reasons, and I think it’s fair to say that many of the the people who drafted, voted for, and signed it into law had that religious sentiment in mind.

    And of course there are HB2 supporters who say so explicitly:

    • boatrocker

      Just curious- has anyone as far as we know turned this idea on its head yet?
      Has an atheist claimed religious freedom by refusing to serve a guy with a cross around his neck?
      Has a Jehovah’s Witness refused to serve an active duty military type for not taking oaths of allegiance?
      Has any local privately owned business refused to let a parent of the opposite sex of their baby change their diapers in a bathroom?

      And if so, why the hell not? Questions, questions.

  3. Tracy Rose

    Yes, you are correct that the comments function was disabled for the letters to the editor from the students. I think it’s a good thing to allow young people to offer their opinions about the issues of the day, and at the same time, not subject them directly to the potential ire of the Internet, particularly on sensitive topics. You do make a lot of assumptions about how these students arrived at their opinions, and I can’t speak to that. That said, your comment is off topic as a response to the letter posted here and will be removed shortly. I’d suggest that if you feel strongly about the points you’ve made, that you offer up those opinions in your own letter to the editor.

  4. The Real World

    Tracy Rose – you are proving everything I said. Let’s not subject the poor kiddies to the ire of the internet? But, no problem sending a 6 year old into the bathroom where a member of the opposite sex might be disrobed and doing whatever? Is there any hypocrisy there? Btw, the kids I meet today have thicker skins than most adults I know.

    I stand by my assumptions. What school they go to has no bearing on the HB2 issue but they all mention it, so it’s obvious this letter writing idea didn’t come from the kids. And they all speak from the same angle, the one they were presented. Who’s kidding who here?

    The mainstream media has offered up this topic from a very biased perspective and if most of the people I know are representative, and they probably are, few bother to dig any further. Particularly when what is offered fits their own bias.

    This is an HB2 topic thread and you should have let my comment stand. I’d be happy to write a Letter to the Editor but you’ve made it clear that you would censor it (as you did a letter I submitted 2 years ago, btw. It wasn’t long and there was no foul language, etc, etc. Y’all just didn’t like some of it. So you cut it.) Very, very uncool.

    • Tracy Rose

      The Real World: I disagree that I’ve just proved your points about HB2, but I’m not really here to debate the law. I edit and post letters, and am one of the people at Xpress who helps with comment moderation. Please do feel free to comment on the posted letter above. BTW, I wasn’t editing letters two years ago, and I’m not sure why your letter was edited back then. You are always welcome to submit a new Letter to the Editor. You can find the guidelines here: http://mountainx.com/submit-letters/

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