The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. hated prejudice. He said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
It’s wrong to prejudge people because of their race or creed or nationality. But is discrimination wrong in and of itself?
Every day we discriminate for and against people because of what they say, how they act in short, because of their character. And well we should. Martin Luther King thought we should all be judged on the basis of the content of our character.
The Miss America Pageant is changing its standards to allow women who have been divorced or had abortions to compete for their title. The story is a troubling one. It doesn’t have to do with where you stand on abortion or divorce. It has to do with the freedom of any private organization to promote what it believes in.
The Miss America organization says it changed its rules to avoid being sued under New Jersey’s discrimination law. As a private organization, Miss America has a right to set the standards for character that they deem important. And to do so without being harassed by the New Jersey legislature.
While it’s profoundly wrong to prejudge others by their race, sex or religion, it is every bit as wrong not to reward people of high character. Our country’s very future depends on rewarding good behavior. When it comes to character, let’s discriminate.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.