This past week, the big question in the great state of Arizona was “will she or won’t she?” — with “she” being the state’s governor, Jan Brewer, and the question being whether or not she’d veto an act passed by the state legislature making it legal for businesses to refuse service to gay or lesbian people on “religious grounds.”

The bill, which would allow businesses to do to gay and lesbian customers what they can’t do to black, Latino, Jewish, etc. ones, all in the name of religious freedom, passed the state House 33 to 27 and the Senate 17 to 13.

The hullaballoo was fierce and immediate, with gay and lesbian activists such as actor and politician George Takei urging a boycott of the state if the law takes effect, and business leaders calling for Brewer to veto the bill because it would kill jobs and commerce.

Companies like Apple (which is planning to build a plant in the state), American Airlines and Marriott also called for a veto.

Officials of the NFL, which is holding next year’s Super Bowl in Arizona, issued a statement saying, “Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or any other improper standard,” thus raising fears that they might actually move the Super Bowl, like they did in 1992 when Arizona refused to enact a Martin Luther King Day holiday.

Interestingly, among the people urging a veto of the bill were three of the senators who’d actually voted for it.

“While our sincere intent in voting for this bill was to create a shield for all citizens’ religious liberties,” wrote Sens. Bob Worsley, Steve Pierce and Adam Driggs (the majority whip), “the bill has instead been mischaracterized by its opponents as a sword for religious intolerance. These allegations are causing our state immeasurable harm.”

Turns out religious principle might end up costing money. Can’t have that, can we?

This whole argument that we should be allowed to discriminate against people if we can find some justification in the Bible raises the question: Where does it end? I frequently get emails from a virulent racist who peppers his angry and often incoherent screeds with supposed biblical support for the oppression of — well, I can’t use some of the words he uses.

And this fellow isn’t alone. Should people like that be allowed to refuse to serve African-Americans, Latinos, Jews or interracial couples on the ground that their interpretation of the Bible forbids mixing of the races, even at lunch counters? Are we going to return to the vileness of Jim Crow laws so long as we can drape that ugliness in religious robes?

Finally, Gov. Brewer saw sense and vetoed the bill. I’m sure a lot of people who would have loved to freely exercise their hatred in the name of the Baby Jesus were let down. But I want to help, because that’s the kind of guy I am.

If you really want to live in a country where they put the gays in their place, may I suggest Russia? They’re all about conservative Christian values these days. Of course, the weather is horrific, the food is worse, the plumbing doesn’t work, and packs of feral dogs roam the streets, but these should be small prices to pay to safeguard yourself from having to deal with gay people.

Or how about Uganda? Their president recently signed a bill that makes homosexual acts punishable by life in prison. The original version of the bill made those acts punishable by death, and hey, you can’t hardly get more biblical than that.

Just last week, a Ugandan newspaper helpfully published a list of what it called the country’s “200 top” gays, to make it easier for the authorities to enforce traditional family values at gunpoint. Now, the country is periodically racked by unrest followed by vicious government crackdowns and there’s terrible poverty and disease everywhere, but hey, there probably won’t be any gay people coming into your business if you set it up there.

At least as far as you’ll know. Because discriminating against gay and lesbian people doesn’t make fewer of them. It just makes for more misery in the world.

All in the name of God, of course.

(22) comments

Frank Staples

Dusty is a writer to the Pilot and as such is enough of a publicity hound that he likes seeing his stuff in print. Does Dusty really go out of his way to cater to homosexuals?? Probably not but since it's a "liberal thing" he loves it along with Heim. Do I hate them?? Most assuredly not...but I'm not going to sit here and tell you that it is by any definition "normal" behavior. It is NOT!! And the people, mostly liberals, who love it and want to make it mainstream will privately admit that it's not really normal. It's the same old crapola about the government being smarter than the sum of it's citizens. Democrats firmly believe that. Does obumma love homosexuals?? Well, he didn't until the last election when he felt he needed their liberal votes to be re-elected!!

Mark Hayes

The article is not an original, it is a repeated one, over and over your contributor keeps bringing racism and separatism and any other "ism" he can put into words, we get the message but are wondering about the messenger, is he one, of which he writes or just stirring the pot to get that reaction, t think he likes the reaction and really cares less about the subject.

Sally Larson

This wasn't exactly an original idea from Dusty, it's something developing in this country we should all be ashamed of. Promoting discrimination against any group is wrong. I've heard Christians complaining they are being discriminated against because of their beliefs. It just doesn't work and does stink of hate. Why else would anyone try to suppress another group of people.

Mark Hayes

This individual has reason to contribute articles like this, several very good ones, he must be speaking from his heart and I suppose that gives one the right to sit in judgement believing they are with out a doubt the foremost authority on such subject matters, recognizing the author obviously has experience in such matters or he would not be so strongly opinionated , so I will not condemn the article for it's content but will question as to why it was put into print by the staff of the Pilot.

Richard Wright

Hatred is a liberal thing. They promote abortion up to the minute of birth. I guess is OK to kill without remorse if you are a liberal.

The left has no credibility when they post junk like this. Wait, they have no credibility --- period. I like to emphasize using the period thing at the end as that just makes a unrefutable point.

Frank Staples

Thanks Francis. I was sure that someone would comment that monkeys practice homosexuality...but then monkeys are known to do a lot of things...just think, one of them wrote this silly commentary for the Pilot to begin with!!

Mark Hayes

Most who accept this lifestyle do so after realizing they are of that nature or have family members who are, seldom do those of us who are not as receptive to acceptance come in known contact with those of this nature, notice "known" because we must be populated with quite a number since they have evolved into another "Political party" of their own, I can remember decades ago this lifestyle was actually considered a mental disorder, now those who appose it are categorized as radicals who practice discrimination, Pest I think you sum it up the best and still am amazed your comment even made it through this bunch, you obviously hit a nerve as the crowd grew silent. Anyway this issue is old news and will soon be forgotten as all our morals have eroded into the depths beyond retrieval.

Mark Hayes

Zebo much like Zorro is an individual with two identities, but only one is able to be involved in commenting, the other creates the subject matter, [wink]

Frank Staples

So Dusty, if you stick your stuff in some man's butt then it's "hate" if I don't think that's natural??? Surely you're kidding...even your liberal little heart knows that ain't so!!

Keith Miller


What "social values" are the North Carolina General Assembly dictating ?? Please list them.

What "petty revenge politics" are taking North Carolina Backwards ?? Please list them.

And finally please explain, in detail, how the Tea Party is our Taliban.

Tom Hill

When you do business with the public you give great customer service but you don't compromise your values, faith or character to make a buck. Be careful about calling that wrong and being hateful towards the folks who are the case examples here.

By the way here's a link describing 4 case examples:

Sally Larson

Thank you for the link and I hear what the store owners are saying. When a person chooses to do business with the public they are expected to be facially neutral which means not to discriminate. Using religion to dictate who the business is going to serve is the same as making some people sit in the back of the bus.

I do see why a photographer might be uncomfortable taking pictures at a same sex wedding but why can't they just say they aren't the best people for the job and could they recommend another photographer who would be a better choice. But to say I refuse to do the job because I don't support your same sex marriage because of my religious beliefs is a slap in the face. It's publicly using religion as the reason to refuse service that isn't right. A wedding cake is just a cake unless the couple were asking for something that was outside of the skills of the baker. Why do they care who it's for? It's just a cake.

I do agree that some of these situations sound like an attack on religion but businesses shouldn't be using it for the reason not to provide services they advertise. It really crosses a line. People in business are putting themselves in service to the public, they're not there to be judges.

Ken Owens

SH59, Amen! Thank goodness the Arizona governor did not sign the bill.
The comparison to the Taliban is correct, and the Tea Party is our Taliban

The North Carolina General Assembly wants to dictate social values when they should be working for the good all of the citizens of North Carolina---not just for the ones that voted for them.

Citizens of North Carolina, pay attention. Vote in the primaries. Vote out the legislators whose petty revenge politics are trying to take the state backwards.

Tom Hill

Looks to me that, while qualifying that laws are facially neutral, it attempts to remind that freedom of religion, free exercise of religion, individually compels religious folks to do differently in their individual lives, which includes their individual businesses. SH59 have you not seen that before in our rights? Sounds like the law attempted to protect strong believers from being persecuted for their faith - when it is a religion that clearly sets the standard, not a prejudice.

Sally Larson

I'm sorry but when doing business with the public your religious views do not play a role. Yes we do have freedom of religion but that means we can go to church or pray to any god we might believe in, it doesn't mean we have the right to be prejudiced in our businesses. If you believe that then you are no different than the Taliban who want the whole world to behave according to their religion.

Tom Hill

Very little mention in the column or elsewhere in the media about the actual contents of the bill, because that certainly does not help sell the story.

Here is a link to the bill:

Sally Larson

Aside from all the definitions this is what I see:

"Free exercise of religion is a fundamental right that applies in this state even if laws, rules or other government actions are facially neutral."

I find this odd that a state would think it's acceptable to willingly write a bill that goes against the rest of the laws of this country specifically allowing discrimination.

Mark Hayes

He has already succeeded in his quest, there are two of us that have made comments related to his article, you win SH, I really could care less.

Mark Hayes

Takes a better man to admit to a mistake than continue making one, much like this fiasco, the Democrats could learn there is no shame in admitting to being wrong, but will they, doubtful.

Sally Larson

Democrats? I believe it''s the Republicans who are promoting this kind of hatred.

Sally Larson

What I can't believe is that such an idea actually got to the desk of the Governor in the first place. Unbelievable hate and anger wrapped up in a legal document in this United States. When people come up with these ridiculous ideas to make into law they don't realize how it can backfire for them. Can I refuse to do business with a Christian because I don't believe in that religion? I mean really, doesn't anyone get it? All laws need to apply to everyone in this diverse country taking into account all the different people from around the world who live here. We're just getting more stupid all the time.

Mark Hayes

There you go again rattling those pots and pans, hoping to get a rise out of someone with your race baiting little comments, she struck down, vetoed the proposal, everyone is happy except for you, you wanted the Governor to her approval on it, giving you more material for you to work with, that failed so I see again you bring up Jim Crow, Latinos, Jews, Blacks and Gays, all is old news and other than you, most have moved on, a" repetitive and predictable award " should have gone to you at those award ceremonies.

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