Because accepting beliefs should honestly work both ways.

Religious liberty or religious freedom is a controversial subject. Those opposing this sort of legislation have dubbed it “anti-LGBT,” while supporters of these type of state-wide measures argue it “protects women and children.” So who’s right and wrong in this argument and which side’s belief system should be encroached to accommodate tolerance? If you ask me, both, because true equality is defined as “the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities.”

Statistically, 87% of Americans embrace some form of religion. A staggering 83% of these devout Americans practice Christianity alone, which is why Christmas and Easter have been nationally recognized holidays for decades. It’s ignorant to deny that America was founded on faith. Even an atheist can’t escape the fact that American currency has said “In God We Trust” since the 50s, when lawmakers declared it as our national motto, pushing for it to eventually be printed on all U.S. currency.

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The population of Americans who identify as homosexual (23%) or transgender (0.3%) is increasing, but doesn’t nearly equal the amount of U.S. citizens that practice some form of organized religion (87%). Because of this fact, it’s important to question why such a big percentage of America should have to confirm to its much smaller counterpart. Why should every bathroom in America suddenly have to change its gender labeling to accommodate less than a half of one percent of the entire country’s populace?

If baking a cake for someone’s homosexual marriage ceremony would make that baker feel as if they were betraying their entire belief system, even if interpreted, should they then be forced to go through with doing something they don’t agree with internally, in the name of equality? That’s not truly being equal to the rights and opinions of both sides. Why should a business be financially penalized, by law, for being loyal to their interpretation of a faith? Even if you don’t agree with their beliefs, do you not see how wrong it is to strip them of their freedom to feel the way that they choose? And doesn’t this technically infringe upon their First Amendment rights?

People argue that religious liberty goes against the First Amendment. And yes, the First Amendment does calls for a “separation of church and state,” as Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1802. But that direct quote doesn’t even appear in the actual constitution itself. The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The amendment was particularly enacted to protect religion from the government. Jefferson further elaborated in a letter he wrote referencing the First Amendment to the United States Constitution:

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.”

Notice how I emboldened a particular sentence in Jefferson’s statement? That’s because it’s the most important aspect of the First Amendment’s intention. The First Amendment was established so that religion would not be imposed on Americans, but instead be something they could personally choose. The First Amendment is also supposed to protect a citizen’s right to embrace religion without forming an opinion about their choice to do so. In other words, Americans are allowed to observe religious beliefs and practices and should be able to without the government being able to intervene. So why isn’t religious liberty nationally acknowledged when Jefferson’s breakdown of the First Amendment clearly appropriates it? Because in 2016, American rights apparently don’t mean anything if they don’t align with the progressive left.

Laws can be interpreted and these interpretations are often twisted to serve whichever side favors the current mainstream agenda, which is presently LGBT oriented. And while I don’t personally have anything against society’s recent push to appropriate different cultural norms, I think that said acceptance should work both ways. In all honesty, why would you even want to eat a cake that was baked by someone who doesn’t agree with your lifestyle in the first place? How is forcing someone to go against their religious beliefs, in the name of the law, going to help do anything other than accelerate their sanctified ignorance while serving the prosecutor’s own selfish need for what they feel is justice — but at someone’s perceived spiritual (and often financial) expense?

Is it so hard for LGBT customers to simply choose business owners that will accept their patronage? Especially since the bulk of modern, progressive corporations willingly open their doors to LGBT customers, going as far as to boycott entire states that don’t. Why must liberals then impose their beliefs on others in a way that has to in-turn cancel out the perceived beliefs of their opposition? How is that fair to both parties and why can’t Americans commonly agree to disagree?

In 2012, when Chic-Fil-A chief operating officer, Dan T. Catchy, publicly opposed same-sex marriage, many LGBT consumers boycotted the fast-food chain, as anyone LGBT or supporting expectedly would. I don’t know about you, but I kind of appreciate knowing if a business accepts the very essence of my being, before shopping there. Religious liberty provides Americans that freedom. Religious freedom actually serves the dual purpose of letting us all see which businesses feel this way so we can make the personal decision not to support them if we disagree. This in-turn allows them the respect to continue their constitutional right to practice religion how they choose. That way, everyone can have their cake and eat it too, even if it’s not from the same baker. Pun intended.

Regarding transgender Americans and religious liberty, it’s simple. The government, along with small and large businesses, shouldn’t have to invest money into changing the gender labeling on every bathroom in America just to accommodate 0.3% of its citizens. This issue is not one that is significant enough to warrant such extreme social change in the guise of acceptance. If American society embraced every minority group this openly, with this much willingness to cater to their whims, we’d have a lot less problems in our country than we currently do. So with a pre-existing (and growing) list of national issues, why is the U.S. making this one a top priority when there are so many more important things going on in the world? 

I’m not entirely sure, but what I do know is this. If you want to impose drastic social change on part of the 87% of Americans that interpret religion differently, simply to cater to less than 24% of our nation’s population, carelessly negating the fact that it could potentially cause people to contradict their faith, enforcing government penalties if they don’t go against what they believe in their heart to be true. That’s not only un-American, a complete misuse of the First Amendment’s originally desired intentions, but it also blatantly defies the true definition of what equality stands for.

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Opposers of religious liberty are quick to accuse supporters of being discriminatory, failing to mention that the choice to serve LGBT customers (in specific situations) would in-turn be at the expense of their understood religious beliefs. LGBT Americans, or any American for that matter, shouldn’t expect their own personal beliefs to be acknowledged at the expense of anyone else’s, especially when the solution for LGBT citizens would be as simple as choosing to shop at a different business. Going against your religious beliefs isn’t that convenient. All I’m saying is that anyone willingly able to place this kind of taxing burden on one’s character deserves healthy opposition because tolerance of any kind is a two way street.

It’s the ultimate golden rule.