Sometimes editorialists and commentators have such fixed agendas that they activate their keypads before activating their minds and then don’t take a second look before publishing.
Case in point: these statements in the lead editorial of the Lexington Herald-Leader of 29 March: “Or the government [concerning House Bill 279, the so-called religious freedom bill passed by the Legislature] must prove that there is a compelling public interest in restricting the religiously-inspired action. To take just one example of where this could cause nightmares, consider county jails. Individuals held in them could assert that their religions don't allow them to be housed with people of the same sex, or of different religions or on some day of the week. Or, they could assert that their religious beliefs demand special diets or clothing. In every case, it would be the county's legal obligation to prove those beliefs aren't sincere or establish that there is a compelling public interest for not honoring them, or else meet the person's demands.”
A worst example could not be imagined. The government, using taxpayer money, is responsible for both the best use of it and the safety of the entire public, including jailbirds; therefore, the government has a COMPELLING PUBLIC INTEREST in this case and can deny the silly claims noted in this excerpt. The only question the government (jail) would have to consider is the physical well-being of the prisoner, as well as his effect on other prisoners, and not what the prisoner believes about anything. The government would be obligated to remove a prisoner’s diseased appendix, whether or not the prisoner believed his appendix too divine to touch.
The writer confused the matter vis-à-vis the public-versus-private aspects of virtually everything. The paper’s position is that there can be no allowances in ANY SITUATION for what it considers discrimination, never mind the preferences of the people, whether regarding religion or anything else, with regard to what they own and believe. In other words, the paper believes that the government has a compelling public interest in everything and the right to FORCE its will on everyone.
A good example was the paper’s position last year about this time regarding the Hands On Originals matter when a printing company refused service to a homosexual group account religious beliefs of the owner, who nevertheless found a printer who would do the job at no extra cost. The local government had absolutely no COMPELLING PUBLIC INTEREST in this private and resolved matter, but HOO has been subjected to an ethics investigation (and lost) and is still bearing the expense of answering insane questions about its right to decide who its customers will be…on any basis.
The objective of the paper and the city fathers/mothers was simply – after the fact – to put the printing company out of business, mainly through convincing perfectly reasonable people to boycott it. The mayor, himself a homosexual, inveighed mightily as did, of course, the paper, in encouraging people to have a magnificent protest downtown against the company, located a couple or so miles away. The protest was a monumental flop and HOO is still in business. Perhaps now, all the supposed offended ones will just shut up and mind their own business.
The First Amendment protected HOO on religious grounds, but the paper’s position, as well as that of the government, was/is that HOO’s religious beliefs stopped at the point where it harmlessly intersected not the religion but the lifestyle of the homosexual outfit. In this case, the government had a COMPELLING PUBLIC INTEREST, if any interest at all, in protecting HOO’s right to legally do business its way. The city fathers/mothers failed woefully, as did the paper, and sent the message that folks had better watch out because Big Brother will make all decisions and punish those who don’t comply with its directives, assuming no laws are broken.
The group screaming the loudest about the legislation was, of course, the homosexual outfit, insisting that its perversion must be accepted by people who do not approve of it and want nothing to do especially business-wise with those who engage homosexual behavior, the latter being a religious matter for many Christians since it is biblically condemned vehemently, as well as filthy biologically. For that matter, a property-owner (especially furnished apartments), disregarding any religious belief, should not be forced to rent to people who perform anal or oral sex (or other unnatural practices) on each other for reasons that should be perfectly obvious.
The legislation/veto-override was good and proper. The paper made sure to point out the very few “good-guys” who voted not to override the governor’s veto. This may not help them as much as thought in the next election.