Popular Canadian singer/songwriter and pseudo social justice-warrior, Bryan Adams, canceled a Mississippi tour performance in protest over the state’s alleged anti-LGBT law.
Adams felt compelled to deny his artistic gifts and talents to citizens of states that have enacted policy they disagreed with. Wrote Adams, “I cannot in good conscience perform in a state where certain people are being denied their civil rights.” He’s slightly in error on the matter – the laws don’t deny anyone’s civil rights. Rather, they protect them, and that includes religious freedom as well. The ACLU once recognized this fact as a civil liberty.
Adams has the right to deny his Mississippi fans the opportunity to enjoy his music. Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr also have the right to cancel their performances in North Carolina and deny their fans the pleasure of their performances.
But one might be justified in asking a few questions about Adams: When did he get religion about the LGBT movement, and why take it out on the good folks in Mississippi? After all, Adams has performed in several countries where Sharia Law prescribes the death penalty for consensual homosexual sex (UAE) and also for extramarital sex (Qatar.) See his concert schedule in Qatar, UAE, Syria, and Lebanon.
Mississippi’s religious freedom law only states the government cannot force a citizen into an action if it is against a sincerely held religious belief. Mississippi’s religious freedom law doesn’t demand persecution or punishment for gays or transgenders. It does allow for someone to withhold a service if it would run counter to the beliefs of that person to perform that service – like a baker refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding because that was against his beliefs; or a musician refusing to perform a concert in a place because it was not consistent with his beliefs.
So why is it okay for Adams, Springsteen and Starr to act on their conscience or beliefs, but it’s not okay for a baker or florist or a religious school to act on theirs?