What do you think about private clubs? Should they have the right, at their discretion, to exclude anyone from membership? Should fraternal orders such as the Masons be given the right to exclude women? We could list for days the clubs and groups that require membership and exclude people base on their own preset criterion. To ask the question is to answer it, because to be a club insinuates exclusion of some and acceptance of others. This is now being challenged.
The Washington Post reports:
After calls for an investigation from at least two advocacy groups, the Justice Department’s civil rights division will “monitor” an Arkansas gun range that declared itself a “Muslim-free zone” last fall.
At first sight, we might have mixed reactions. Part of us, as Americans, hates the thought that anyone would be excluded because of their religion. It is hard to argue for freedom of religion on one side and not the other. Then, there is the side that is acutely aware of the violence and hate perpetrated by the followers of Islam. This is not the first time that this has been reported.
The Post explains:
The Council on American-Islamic Relations wrote the Justice Department last year about statements made by Jan Morgan, the owner of Gun Cave Shooting Range in Hot Springs. In the October letter, addressed to Attorney General Eric H. Holder, CAIR said that the range was “systematically banning Muslims from a place of business” and that doing so was “a violation of federal laws prohibiting racial and religious discrimination.”
So, on the surface, Morgan is turning people away because they are Muslim. This seems to be discriminatory and flagrant. It seems very hard for Morgan to justify such actions and policies. The gun range has broad brushed a group of people. These people are not allowed to do business with the range. How is this not a classic case of discrimination? The range is not a public business, but a shooting club.
Morgan disagrees and said earlier this year that she runs the Gun Cave Shooting Range as a private club, with a base of dues-paying members. Because of this, Morgan believes her decision to exclude Muslims is protected by a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives policy that gives range owners the discretion to turn away potential customers who pose a threat to the safety of others.
For Morgan, who says that she independently read the Quran and concluded from it that Islam as a religion commands adherents to commit violent acts, that’s enough for her to justify a ban on all Muslims.
The ACLU and CAIR both disagree. Because two Asian men were excluded in January, both agencies filed a new complaint against the range. The DOJ has stated that they were going to monitor the range, but have not said they would launch an investigation. CAIR was pleased with this announcement.
“We welcome this positive development and hope it leads to a thorough investigation of clear violations of the civil rights of American Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim by the gun range owner,” CAIR’s civil rights litigation director Jenifer Wicks said in a statement.
But to me Morgan’s logic makes sense.
Morgan wrote in September that she wouldn’t “rent or sell a gun and hand ammunition to someone who aligns himself with a religion that commands him to kill me.”
The question that we must answer is simple. Should a gun club or any club be allowed to exclude people? The answer is yes. To answer otherwise would be to say the government is going to choose our friends. We laugh, but I would not put it past them.
This case could create problems for all private club and possibly even churches. If we cannot determine who is excluded, because of belief, the atheists can be deacons. What a stupid world we now live in.