Wednesday, February 26, 2014
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE ARIZONA STATE LEGISLATURE
In the 1920s and early 30s, my father lived in Douglas as his family managed the beanery at the railroad depot there. Across the border, he claimed, a billboard painted on the side of a cantina pitched “Miller High Life – the Champagne of Bottle Beers.” This early memory was etched into his brain until his dying day in 1995. For the entire adult portion of his 77 years, he never ordered any cerveza but Miller High Life when eating Mexican food.
At his passing, I added to my bucket list a trip to Douglas in order to peer across the border and confirm or deny his billboard claim. April of this year it would be scheduled.
Your passage of SB 1062 has changed that schedule. Regardless of how you parse it, 1062 amends the existing statutes, allowing business owners to deny service to gay and lesbian customers so long as proprietors were acting solely on their religious beliefs. Since business owners have long been entitled to “reserve the right to refuse business to anyone,” this legislation serves nothing more than to codify discrimination against a particular group of citizens. The veil of protecting a religious class edges frighteningly toward the tenets of Islamic fundamentalism you elsewhere so vehemently oppose.
If the esteemed legislators in Arizona wish to practice a Judeo-Christian form of Shiriah Law, they are free to do so in their homes and their churches, but a careful reading of the United State’s Constitution’s First Amendment would preclude this from happening in the halls of the State Capital in Phoenix.
Until the legislature demonstrates a grasp of:
· What is and what is not constitutional,
· What actions do and do not protect the rights of all citizens, and
· How discriminatory legislation such as SB 1062 conflicts with Jesus’ principal message of love,
…scheduled visits to Douglas or other part of the state will have to remain on the bucket list.
This is truly sad because I’d really like to enjoy something besides a Miller with my enchiladas.
The Church of the Open Road