Representative Jason Spencer dropped a bill this week that would outlaw traditional Muslim religious garb for women. Jon did a neutral write of the bill this morning. Here’s a less neutral one.
This bill is anti-American, divisive, unconstitutional, and just plain stupid. It is exactly the type of idea we need to call out as soon the hate becomes ink. But other than Josh McKoon, no Republican has.
We are not like other nations. We value religious expression, we hold it sacred against government interference up until it clashes with the rights of others. This law, of course, straight up bans religious expression. Conversely, the First Amendment protects freedom of religious expression. The Supreme Court has ruled that for a law to be upheld that curtails religious freedom, there must be a compelling state interest at issue, and the law in question must bear a direct correlation to that interest. If a plaintiff can show that a law or governmental practice burdens the free exercise of religious beliefs, the burden shifts to the government to prove that the law or practice is important to the accomplishment of some important or “compelling” secular objective and that it is the least restrictive means for attaining that objective.
What’s the compelling interest here? Spencer’s statement to the AJC said his legislation was intended to apply to women who are driving on public roads. Not a mention of what problem (compelling state interest) it was trying to solve. So, until he explains why scarves are dangerous to Georgia, we’ll call that likely to be found unconstitutional.
Of course, scarves aren’t dangerous. He just wants to ostracize and otherize people that are different, and push back on the now unveiled threat of multiculturalism. That’s a compelling government interest, just not of American government, but if you look around the world you can find many examples of this type of legislated cultural protection.
You know what is dangerous? Not wearing a helmet while riding a
motorcycle. But guess what, this would make wearing a helmet a crime (unless you can somehow construe riding a motorcycle to work as a sporting activity).
Probably sunglasses, too.
The ID part of it doesn’t matter, because it’s already against the DDS rules.
If there was ever an idea we should all be against, this is it. It does nothing except pit people against each other, it’s unconstitutional and anti-American.