RFRA permits discrimination

In some ways already discrimination is used in the medical field, the blood ban on homosexuals being an apparent example. The RFRA bill would be just another factor to discriminate people out of wanting to do necessary and beneficial acts, like donating blood.   Photo by Natalie Herson
Discrimination is already apparent in the medical field, as evidenced by the blood ban for homosexuals. The RFRA bill would just be permission to extend discrimination like this to other groups and situations.
Photo by Natalie Herson.

The Religious Freedom Reformation Act (RFRA) is a bill passing through the Michigan legislature that is supported by many Republicans, namely Jace Bolger. It passed through the House of Representatives with a vote of 59-50 and is due to make its way to the Michigan Senate. If passed, it will go to Governor Rick Snyder, where he is sure to make the bill into law.

The RFRA bill has been dubbed the “license to discriminate bill,” which in essence is what the bill allows. The bill gives employers the right to use their religious denomination as a reason to discriminate against others. The bill gives no restrictions as to how discrimination can occur or in what places. Accordingly, anyone in any job, including governmental positions, could fire an employee, refuse service, or turn away an applicant if there were something that supposedly went against his or her religion.

One of the most troubling elements of the discrimination is that doctors, EMTs and nurses could refuse to do elements of their jobs, along with teachers or pharmacists. If someone is gay, a doctor–even though has sworn to treat patients in the Hippocratic Oath–can refuse to treat him, even if it is in an emergency situation; also, a pharmacist can refuse to fill a prescription for HIV medication or birth control if his or her faith deemed this immoral; a teacher can refuse to teach the student who comes from the home of a same sex couple.

The discrimination seems to be pointed more towards homosexuals, but could encompass other minority groups. A lot of the discrimination can come from initial judgement of race or religious denomination based on the sense of sight. All ethnicities can be affected. It isn’t only Christians who reserve the right to discriminate–although it may seem like they will be the majority who will– it is all religions.

Multiple issues come with the idea that religion is a basis for discrimination. It goes against the idea that church and state should be separate. It could be argued that illegalizing discrimination goes against the church, while legalizing discrimination based on religious ideals violates the rights of others. The RFRA will allow religion to become a basis of discrimination, and as a law, will in turn affect how people do their jobs. People could also falsify their religious ideals to remain intolerant towards people under the façade of religious freedom. Ironically, these people who claim to hold their faiths so dearly may, by denying them care, indirectly murder patients in clear violation of the sixth amendment.

Although it hides behind an innocent-sounding name, it will at best lead to discrimination, and at worst deaths. The RFRA is not a step forward towards freedom, but one backwards toward oppression.

Sierra Rehm

Sierra Rehm

Sierra Rehm

Hi, it’s Sierra here. I have been a member of the Gull Lake community for my lifetime so far. I have always lived, learned, and grown in the Richland area. This year is my Senior year at Gull Lake and my third and final year as a staff member on the Reflection. My time working on the paper has not only evolved my skill and grown my passion for writing and reporting, it has heightened my sense of school spirit. For the past two years I have contributed as the staff video editor, as well as feature and entertainment editor; which means I monitor and edit articles within those areas on the website. In total I have won three MIPA awards within the two prior years on staff,(first, honorable mention, and third) all of which involve video production. I spend the rest of my time doing school work, writing for personal enjoyment, working, or spending time with friends.

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