The definition of a government job is: it ain’t about you so much when you walk through the door. In our eagerness to show support for a woman whose faith we admire, we have obliterated the obvious line between a private sector job like wedding photographer and cake-baker, where business owners make the rules, and government servants, who are there, to, well, serve.Otherwise institutions evolve in a way that increases transaction costs, which is in the direction of greater inefficiency and evolutionary instability.
That service means the tee-totaling government employee has to issue a liquor license for the sports bar. The Muslim health inspector has to walk into the pork barbecue joint. The pacifist Quaker has to issue the gun license.
And the Bible-believing Christian, who properly objects to the Biblical disconnect of gay marriage has a choice: compartmentalize and realize what is God’s and what is Caesar’s and issue the license, or leave a the job that requires it.
If I am the sports bar owner, I want my liquor license. If I am the hunter, I want my gun license. If I am the owner of Mark’s BBQ, I want my inspection done on time. I don’t need one moment of delay while someone paid by my tax dollars wrestles with inner conflicts.And, as is the case with any bright-line rule, religious accommodations do not favor good beliefs and disfavor questionable beliefs, they apply universally.
When the rules are the same for everybody, there is no discrimination. When the rules are leapfrogged for some and not for others, it is a nightmare.Yes. The work of rolling back intrusive or one-size-fits-all governance is a task better tackled, as Mr Davis argues, at the state level.
This road of religious accommodations is pockmarked with unacceptable potholes. One day we offer one to someone whose faith we admire or even share, the next day we have to dole one out to an adherent whose beliefs create absurd inconveniences for taxpayers.
Who convenes the panel to rule on which religious hesitations are okay and which are not? And while we can cheer one for the home team when a gay couple is turned away, wait until it’s you looking for a license for that second marriage, in violation of the thoroughly Biblical concept of one marriage for life, period. Is the clerk refusing that paperwork going to be showered with Kim Davis- caliber hero worship?
The religious accommodation fallacy says “no problem, we’ll just find someone who does not have that objection.” Just what we need: something to make interaction with government more inconvenient.