I’ve said this before, but I’m ready to repeat myself because I just think it is a really effective idea.
Indiana’s new “Religious Freedom” law actually allows private businesses to post signs saying that they will discriminate in their service on the basis of sexual orientation. It is being widely criticized as a blatantly bigoted law, which of course it is. This article in The Atlantic does a good job of pointing out exactly how bad this law is. Much to the chagrin of many people with religious beliefs, it is fueled and rationalized by right wing Christian extremist views and beliefs. So, how should someone who doesn’t fit into that category, whether religious or not, respond?
One way is to launch a campaign of signs in businesses that say something to the effect of “ALL ARE WELCOME TO DO BUSINESS HERE, REGARDLESS OF RACE, COLOR, RELIGION OR SEXUAL ORIENTATION!” Make some kind of a catchy symbol to go with it. Make them available to stores who abide by that policy, and then put forward an awareness campaign encouraging like minded people to only shop in stores displaying and living up to that sign. Those willing to support the campaign have a chance to show their love of freedom and human dignity. It could be civil rights organizations, large businesses and, yes, even some churches.
Even in the most redneck parts of the U.S., there are large proportions of rational people, often approaching or surpassing 50%. It is often a vocal minority that pushes this kind of ignorance, -or at least one can hope it is. Regardless, those who do not post the sign, or who post a contrary sign, would be making their beliefs clear and the discriminating public would be free to exercise their right of choice and withhold their business.
These signs would not be meant for those being discriminated against, although it would have an added benefit of showing them not only in which stores they are welcome, but also how many stores would actually support them. They are, moreover, meant for the rest of the public, many of which would actually prefer not to financially support a store that so strongly differs from their own ethical views. I know that I would avoid a store that had a policy that I found repulsive.
I’ve said before that this seems to be a very positive way of solving the problem in a manner that supports tolerance rather than condemning bigotry, -not that that doesn’t have its place as well. In time, singled out by omission, the stores who chose to retain their redneck ways would more than likely suffer financially, that being one basic way to force them to recognize that it may not be to their benefit to try to shove their outdated religious beliefs down the throats of others.