What? Freedom of Religion Cancelled!

My husband and I entered a food market, on February 19, 2021 without masks and shopped freely. We did not bother anyone. But, when we placed our groceries on the counter to check out, the lead clerk confronted us. She told us we needed to wear masks in the store. 

I told her that I can’t wear a mask, and we have a religious exemption too. She left to get reinforcements. 

Meanwhile, I started video recording the incident on my phone.

I asked the checker if either me or my husband could pay for our groceries. She was moving our groceries to the side, so I asked her, “So you’re not going to let us shop?” The checker said, “No.”

“Don’t worry we are leaving,” I replied.

But, the lead clerk had called people over, so we walked toward them to explain our rights to have equal accommodation in a public retail store. I heard her tell a man that, “for religious purposes, she does not choose to wear a mask.” She made her offense at us clear.

I cited the Civil Rights Act and my first amendment rights, and I told the man and those that gathered my religious convictions briefly: that man is made in the image of God, and we show God’s glory through our uncovered faces. I also read the following statement from a publication from the Nevada Equal Rights Commission on public accommodations.

Public Accommodations

All persons are entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of places of public accommodation without discrimination or segregation because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.

The man answered me, “But, we have rules to follow.” He also said, “If you cannot follow the rules, then you’re gonna have to leave.”

I said, “Your rules do not overpower discrimination. This is religious discrimination and I can’t wear one anyway.” When I asked if he’d tell someone who was wearing a turban to leave, he replied, “No.”

“Ok, then, why are you telling me who has religious convictions that I must leave?”

Another person interrupted our discussion and said, “We have the right to refuse service because this is private property.” He also said, “It’s a privilege to shop here.”

There was a little more discussion. But I could see we weren’t going to be allowed to buy groceries, so we left.

The obvious problem we encountered is that they would not allow any exceptions to their rules of operation. No mask, no service. The people who confronted us appear to believe they can chose to accommodate only those people that conformed to their policy because they own the property. No exemptions allowed.

Buying groceries is an essential right. It is not a privilege. They offered no accommodation of any sort to purchase groceries. Please notice that we had already touched a cart and groceries and now we wanted to pay for our groceries. We are not poison or dirty. We were clean and we were healthy at that time, and we have continued to be healthy since this incident. We were polite and tried to reason with them. They refused us service even though I cited the law.

So, what do you do when people refuse to follow the law? I prayed about what to do. I mailed a complaint to the Nevada Equal  Rights Commission.

I’ll let you know what happens.


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