The Legality of Religious Discrimination
by: John Tyrrell
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A previously almost unknown Pastor Darren Squires of Socastee Original Free Will Baptist Church in Myrtle Beach, SC made the news recently for writing to his state's governor asking her to issue an executive order to "protect his right to follow his religious beliefs" and specifically, "his right to not hold services for the LGBTQ community."
(from Squires' Facebook page advertising his welcoming loving church)
Why Pastor Squires felt the need to make such a request is unclear. It's not as if the LGBTQ community were hammering down his church's doors demanding he hold services for them. And Squires is pretty free with his opinions about that community which probably is sufficent to discourage them from doing so.
But suppose someone did approach him requesting he minister to the needs of an individual in that community? What could Squires do in the absence of the executive order he has requested?
Just say no. That's all Squires has to do, just say no - because, whether we like it or not, churches, mosques, temples, synagogues, etc. all have the right to discriminate and practically all of them exercise that right.
Churches, mosques, temples, and synagogues discriminate on the basis of religion - and that at least is understandable.
Some of them discriminate on the basis of race and ethnicity.
Some of them discriminate on the basis of sex, treating men and women differently
Some of them discriminate on the basis of clothing, banning people from their presence for what they are wearing or not wearing.
Some of them discriminate on the basis of hair style, or beard style.
Some of then discriminate against former members through the practice of shunning or disfellowshipping.
Some of them discriminate of the basis of marital status, treating the single, the married, and the divorced differently.
The Old Testament authorizes - or in fact mandates - discrimination against those with certain disabilities.
There's pretty well nothing that a religious organization cannot discriminate against, and it's all perfectly legal. Including their right to discriminate against those who are LGBTQ.
So why did Pastor Darren Squires of Socastee Original Free Will Baptist Church make an unnecessary request of the SC governor for an executive order permitting him to discriminate?
I can only assume he wanted to go public as a total asshole.
Fair enough, Pastor Squires - you are a total asshole.
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