Missouri HB 208 And Discrimination

So, if I want to discriminate against someone because he is Christian and I firmly believe that Christians are bad people because they do not follow the laws of the Torah, I can, right? That may be, according to Ron Calzone, a conservative activist from Dixon, Missouri.

Calzone’s statements concerning discrimination came during a hearing on Missouri’s HB 208, a bill designed to modify the “provisions relating to complaints filed with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights regarding discrimination based upon a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”

According to the Kansas City Star:

Asked if he believed a restaurant owner could eject someone based on race or religion or gender, Calzone said yes. “If a restaurant owner doesn’t want to serve people with freckles, that should be his choice,” he told the group.

Dixon is just north of Fort Leonard Wood and nowhere near any place else. It is a region of Missouri’s Bible belt where people have little to do other than… Well, I don’t know what they do in Dixon. I certainly do not know where Calzone found it proper to discriminate against others because of race, religion, lack of religion, sexual orientation or sexual identity.

The problem should be quite obvious here. Discrimination because of one’s religion, gender, or other physical or mental reason is wrong. The state constitution says:

“§1.200.  Equality of citizens. — In all cases proper for the cognizance of the civil authority of this state and the courts of judicature in the same, all the citizens of the United States are equally entitled to the privileges of law and justice with the citizens of this state.” (Emphasis added)

The state document continues in §1.200:

“That all constitutional government is intended to promote the general welfare of the people; that all persons have a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the enjoyment of the gains of their own industry; that all persons are created equal and are entitled to equal rights and opportunity under the law; that to give security to these things is the principal office of government, and that when government does not confer this security, it fails in its chief design.” (Emphasis added)

I really do not understand where people like Calzone get their farfetched beliefs that their holy book gives them permission to discriminate. It’s as if they believe that the Government was founded on Christian principles.

Oh, they do, don’t they. (Deep sigh.)

We know that the Constitution of the United States is a secular document. There is no mention of God or Christ or Christianity anywhere in the document. In fact, religion is only mentioned twice and both times restricting the use of religion in government.

OK, the Constitution does say, “done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty-seven…” This does not give the document religious bearing, but is the formal designation of the date at the time of the signatories of the Constitution.

 The state constitution does not mention God, Christ or Christianity, and it too is a secular document.

Article 1, Section 6 states:

“That no person can be compelled to erect, support or attend any place or system of worship, or to maintain or support any priest, minister, preacher or teacher of any sect, church, creed or denomination of religion; but if any person shall voluntarily make a contract for any such object, he shall be held to the performance of the same.” (Emphasis added)

The New Testament is replete with statements telling the reader that discrimination is wrong. My favorite comes from John 2:11 – “But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.”

I am afraid that Mr. Calzone may have skipped this particular chapter and verse in his readings of the Christian Bible. If anyone is being assigned a seat in Hell, it may just be Ron Calzone and those of his ilk.

Now, this is not the first year that this particular proposed statute has been introduced in the State of Missouri and like years past, it may not see the light of day by the time the session ends on May 17.

However, there is always next year and those who support the LBGTQ community must not see the end as blackness, but as the beginning of a new chapter where discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is no longer acceptable.

About David Rosman

David is the winner of the Missouri Press Foundation's "Best Columnist" in 2013 (First Place) and 2014 (Second Place), the 2016 Harold Riback Award for excellence in writing, and the winner of the 2007 Interactive Media Award for excellence in editing.
This entry was posted in Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No CAPTCHA challenge required.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.