In a disturbing new poll, the Public Religion Research Institute finds that “while at least two thirds of Americans oppose allowing small business owners to refuse products or services to minority groups based on their religious beliefs, a small but increasing proportion of Americans think it should be permissible to turn away customers based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, or race.”
As one might expect, the big uptick in those willing to refuse service comes among Republicans, but Democrats aren’t immune from the trend to declare that one’s religion permits discrimination against others. “From 2014 to 2019, the partisan gap on this issue has dramatically increased. Nearly half (47%) of Republicans favor such a policy, which is more than double the 21% who favored the policy in 2014. By contrast, today only 18% of Democrats and 24% of independents support these kind of religiously based service refusals. These numbers are also an increase from 2014, when only 11% of Democrats and 16% of independents agreed.”
The difference between the parties is stark:
More than one in five (22%) Americans say small businesses should be able to refuse to serve Muslims on religious grounds. Men are more likely than women to agree (25% vs. 20%). Around three in ten white evangelical Protestants (32%) and white mainline Protestants (28%) say small businesses should be allowed to refuse to serve Muslims for religious reasons, compared to around one in five nonwhite Protestants (21%), Catholics (19%), and the religiously unaffiliated (17%) who say the same.
Republicans are more than twice as likely as Democrats to support religiously based refusals to serve gay or lesbian people (47% vs. 18%), transgender people (44% vs. 19%), atheists (37% vs. 17%), and Muslims (32% vs. 14%).
And now 19 percent (up from 12 percent) say it is fine to deny service to Jews, and 15 percent (up from 10 percent) say it is acceptable to deny service to African Americans.
Donald Trump made it okay to be a racist, a homophobe, a transphobe, anti-Semitic, and Islamophobic. Not only did he make it okay, he made it American legal policy.
We are at the point where the majority of the GOP openly favors discrimination, and the end of the Civil Rights era. A second Trump term will seal America's fate on this.