Interesting -- I heard on NPR today that Muslim cab drivers (UPDATE: just at the Minneapolis airport) who refuse to give rides to people carrying alcohol (even closed bottles in checked luggage, as from a duty-free shop), citing religious freedom, will have their cab licenses revoked for 30 days the first time and two years the second time. My mind immediately jumped to a parallel issue that has generally enjoyed more favorable treatment in the last couple years: the refusal of some pharmacists (and doctors) to fill (or prescribe) birth control prescriptions, citing religious beliefs. The religious argument in both is the same: those involved believe it's a sin to abet something they believe is sinful. So why the harsh ruling in one case, and permissive treatment of the other? Could it be a prejudice against Muslims in the former case, or perhaps a more tolerant attitude toward alcohol? A prejudice against birth control or women in the latter, or perhaps a more tolerant attitude to homegrown religious extremism (i.e. evangelical Christianity)? What do you think?
As seen on Savage Love:
STRAIGHT RIGHTS UPDATE: There were two disturbing developments in the battle over straight rights last week. First, we know that Target fills its ads with dancing, multi-culti hipsters giving off a tolerant, urbanist vibe and runs hipster-heavy ad campaigns positioning Target as a slightly more expensive, more progressive alternative to Wal-Mart. Well, as John Aravosis revealed on Americablog.org last week, Target's politics are as red as their bulls-eye logo. The chain allows its pharmacists to refuse to dispense birth control and emergency contraception to female customers if the pharmacist objects on religious grounds. What's worse, the company claims that any of its employees have a right to discriminate against any of its customers provided the discrimination is motivated by an employee's religious beliefs. Read all about it at http://www.americablog.org and http://www.plannedparenthood.org.
Second, more troubling news from Tucson, Arizona, where a 20-year-old rape victim called dozens of pharmacies in town before she found one that stocked emergency contraception (EC). "When she finally did find a pharmacy with it, she said she was told the pharmacist on duty would not dispense it because of religious and moral objections," reported the Arizona Daily Star. Emergency contraception, the story continued, "prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of a fertilized egg. The sooner the emergency contraception is taken after intercourse, the more effective it is."
Don't just sit there, heteros. Defend your rights! Don't shop at Target, and write 'em and tell them why you're going elsewhere. (Go to Target.com and click on "contact us," then "Target Corporation.") As for Fry's Pharmacy in Tucson, the shop that wouldn't dispense EC to a freakin' rape victim, the fundamentalist pharmacist claims its her "right" not to do her fucking job. Well, you have a right to free speech. Call Fry's at 520-323-2695 and ask them why the fuck a pharmacy that won't dispense EC keeps the drug in stock. Do they do it just to torment rape victims? ("Oh yeah, we've got EC—but you can't have any. Don't you know that Jesus wants you to bear your rapist's child?") Rise up, straight people, and demand your rights!