Marjorie Esman’s April 15 letter to the editor in which she opposes a bill to defend religious liberty requires examination. Ms. Esman presents hypothetical situations to support her position in which government officials are powerless, or outright refuse, to protect citizens if House Bill 707 is enacted. This is a complete misrepresentation of the bill and its implications. Nothing in the bill gives anyone the right to violate Louisiana law.

Consider these scenarios. An artist will sell her art to whoever wishes to purchase it. However, an African-American artist should not be compelled to accept a commission to create a piece of art for the Ku Klux Klan or face criminal or civil penalties for discrimination. Neither should a kosher Jewish catering company be forced to provide pork for a wedding reception because the couple demand it or risk prosecution. As outrageous as these scenarios sound, this has already happened to photographers and bakers in other states who refused to accept commissions that violated their religious beliefs. HB 707 does not sanction discrimination. It prevents discrimination.

It has become increasingly common for some gay rights activists to misrepresent facts and exaggerate concerns in order to gain support from good-hearted and fair-minded people. The use of such scare tactics to bully people of faith and mislead society must be exposed.

I ask my fellow Louisianians not to let the loudest voices drown out common sense and tell you what to think. Read the bill yourself and draw your own conclusions (see www.legis.la.gov).

Ms. Esman is correct in one thing. We do deserve better.

Lloyd Harsch, Ph.D.

professor

New Orleans