Editor's note: This letter was inncorrectly attributed in the print edition. Apologies to Don Hanny and David R. Coleman.
State Sen. Sharon Brown, a Tri-Cities Republican who is running for re-election, is the lead sponsor of a broadly written bill that would allow businesses to deny goods and services to gay customers if to do so would violate "sincerely held religious beliefs, philosophical beliefs or matters of conscience."
I am very surprised that the Republicans would want big government to determine what is or is not a religion.
The U.S. government is not in the business of recognizing any religion. It was set up specifically to be separate from just that thing.
However, the IRS has created specific guidelines on churches and other religious entities to determine their tax status. Is this the federal government agency that the Republicans want determining what a religion is?
In addition, what governmental "God Squad" would determine if a "sincerely held belief, philosophical beliefs or matters of conscience" is valid?
I honestly believe I could find a religion that would allow me to have a sincerely held belief, philosophical belief or matter of conscience -- that would allow me to discriminate against anyone I choose for any reason.
Is Jim Crow around the corner?
DAVID R. COLEMAN, Richland