Monday, February 17, 2014

Idaho doctors and cops could refuse to help... anyone

Crazy, isn't it? This is an actual proposal! Here's the story:
Rep. Lynn Luker outlined a proposal Tuesday backed by his conservative Christian allies to shield religious people from the threat of losing their professional licenses for refusing service or employment to anyone they conclude violates their religious beliefs.

“This is pre-emptive,” said Luker, a Boise Republican. “The issue is coming, whether it’s 10 years, or 15 years, or two years.”

Idaho requires professional licenses for doctors, nurses, pharmacists, attorneys, social workers, firefighters, police officers, real estate agents, and insurance providers.

It's "pre-emptive," because Luker admits that he "can’t think of anyone in his state who has been forced to render aid to a gay or lesbian person against their will."

But look at what this means. It means that cops wouldn't have to protect gay people, or even investigate crimes against them. It means than firefighters could just let a gay person's house burn to the ground. It means that a doctor could just let a gay person die.

And it's not just gay people. This bill would mean that they could refuse to help anyone, as long as they claim it's against their religious beliefs. And yet they could keep their professional license!

So, could rational people refuse to help bigots, then? I doubt it. For one thing, this gives religious people special rights. An atheist couldn't get this exemption.

And for another, rational people wouldn't refuse to help people, whatever we thought of them. No, for that degree of bigotry, cruelty, and self-centeredness, you need religion.

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