BY ISAIAH NIELSON
This article was written in response to last week’s opinion piece titled “Americans forgo equality for ‘religious rights.’” This article basically stated that anti-gay segregation bills are not right, and that individuals and businesses should not have the right to refuse services to customers because they are gay.
The writer of that piece went on to call America the “land of the free” and suggested that “we all know how dangerous equality has been lately.” Well, if you’re going to call America the land of the free, and if you’re going to preach about equality, then you had better understand what freedom and equality really mean.
You cannot preach for freedom, and at the same time try to limit somebody’s freedom to think or act how they like, such as telling somebody who they can and cannot serve at their establishment.
Before I go any further, you should know that I’m not anti-gay. I have no problem with gay people; in fact, I have several gay friends. I’m not anti-gay, but I support an individual’s right to refuse service to gay people. I would support their right to refuse service to anybody. I would support their right to refuse service to black people as much as I would support their right to refuse service to white people for that matter.
If we are really, truly going to fight for and understand freedom, then we must respect the freedom of those who have entirely opposite agendas than we do. If you have a problem with a store owner refusing service to gay people, then don’t go to that store. It’s really that simple.
My father died of lung cancer because he smoked cigarettes. But I’m not one of those nuts going around preaching about the dangers of tobacco or trying to make cigarettes illegal in this country.
I’m not, because I have no right to tell somebody what they can or cannot do, and the same goes to you. If somebody wants to sell cigarettes that kill people, that’s their right. It’s as much their right as it was my father’s right to smoke cigarettes and develop lung cancer.
I’m not racist, but I support a skinhead’s right to preach and publish hate all day long. I’m not a gun owner, and I have no desire to ever own a gun, but I support your right to own as many automatic weapons as you like. I’m sober, but I’m entirely for the legalization of all drugs because neither you nor I have any right to tell somebody what they can and cannot put into their own body.
I’m not religious at all, but I support your right to practice whatever you believe in until your face turns blue. I don’t think I could ever partake in an abortion, but I will never, ever try to stop you because that’s your right as much as it’s my right to not partake in one.
If you have a problem with white people, that’s just fine by me. I’ll even support your right to discriminate against me. Do you know why I support your right to do this? Do you know why I support your right to do any of this? I support your rights because I would hope that you would extend me the same courtesy.
Whether or not you and I agree on anything, we can at least agree that we have the right to live this life how we choose without somebody forcing us to live within the mold of their ideal society.
All too often we get caught up with people’s feelings in the fight for freedom. God forbid we offend anybody. God forbid somebody gets upset with this or with that. God forbid we act in the name of equality, however unpopular it may be. God forbid.