The Civil Rights Act of 1964 turns fifty this year so expect to see a lot of pundits and politicians tripping over each other to show more reverence for the law than the next guy. Based on the hushed tones of respect with which most people talk about the law you’d think they actually support it.

Most people only think they support the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because they don’t know what it contains and because portions of it go unenforced. Another reason people support the CRA is because they don’t want to be called racist. The power of that word—racist—to close minds and mouths is unparalleled.

But there are plenty of good reasons to oppose this lousy, unconstitutional law that have nothing to do with racism. Republican Senator Barry Goldwater broke with his party when he voted against the act, though not because he was racist. As a Phoenix city councilman, Goldwater supported, and even wrote a large check for, an NAACP initiative to desegregate the city. He also voted for The Civil Rights Act of 1957. Goldwater’s opposition to the 1964 bill was threefold: that it represented an unconstitutional power grab by the feds, that it would be an endless source of litigation, and that it would force sovereign citizens to engage in involuntary economic transactions. The senator has been proven right on all three counts.

If liberals want to demonstrate their love of the CRA they could begin by following it; the whole thing, not just the parts that they like. The law bans discrimination in government and private commercial enterprises (which they erroneously label “public accommodations”) based on five protected categories: race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.

Liberals still support discriminatory practices based upon three of these categories—race, sex, and religion.

In regards to race and sex, liberals favor policies that give preference to women and racial minorities as a means of redressing historical grievances. Unfortunately for them, the law they claim to love so much does not contain a “redress of grievances” loophole no matter how much they wish it did. A preference for blacks is just as illegal as a racial preference for whites; a preference for women is just as illegal as a preference for men.

Discrimination based upon religion has become a hot button issue with the rise of the homosexual movement which most often encounters resistance from religious people. Getting them fired from their jobs is an effective means of chilling speech, which is exactly what the tolerance bullies want. Yet terminating people for their religious beliefs remains illegal under the CRA. Theoretically, at least. People are fired for their faith all the time.

Take for example the high profile case of Phil Robertson, the “duck commander,” who landed himself in hot water last year because of his remarks about sin which included homosexuality. He was nearly fired, which would have been illegal under that hallowed law that everyone always pretends to revere. No adverse action may be taken against an employee for holding a belief if that belief is religious in nature. It doesn’t matter if such a belief is abrasive to a segment of the population or to the employer. The purpose of nondiscrimination laws is to protected unpopular minorities.

A liberal might counter that such a rule is ludicrous because there are a lot of religions in the world and some of them have some pretty outlandish beliefs. A Muslim man might remark to his female co-worker that she looks like a whore because she doesn’t wear a hijab on her head. Anyone could say anything and simply claim religious protection!

Yes, they could. See how stupid nondiscrimination laws are? Under federal law today, firing a Muslim for proclaiming his female co-worker a whore is illegal. The fact that the CRA’s religious protections go largely unenforced explains why this doesn’t happen.

Because liberals still want to think of themselves as opponents of discrimination they must formulate mechanisms for relieving their cognitive dissonance. Any sane observer can see that their opposition to religious discrimination in the abstract is a poor fig leaf for their support of religious discrimination in application.

One such mechanism for facilitating their doublethink is to claim they aren’t discriminating against Christians per se when they fire a Christian for his religious beliefs, because they have other employees who also self-identify as Christians. This type of flimsy “protection” doesn’t really protect religion at all but rather sectarian affiliation. According to the liberal (mis)interpretation of nondiscrimination law, a person cannot be fired for adhering to a certain sect but if he actually ascribes to its creed he’s a goner.

The CRA makes no such distinction. In fact, it explicitly states that beliefs and practices are contained within the definition of the word “religion.” And rightfully so. A religion is nothing but a set of beliefs and practices. If they aren’t protected then the law is a sham.

If liberals were administered a healthy dose of truth serum they might stop lying long enough to tell us what they really mean—they don’t really like laws that prohibit religious discrimination because religion is silly superstition at best, violent and repressive at worst, and thus not worthy of protection. They don’t say that because it makes them sound like bigots, which they are. They would also tell you that they don’t really oppose discrimination based on race or sex as long as the victims are always men of fair complexion.

Why then do they pretend to hold this ill-conceived law in such high esteem? The short answer is that they haven’t read it and it’s selectively applied only against people they despise. Beyond that, they like to imagine that if they had been of age five decades ago they would have been civil rights warriors toiling for the passage of this bill against a bunch of bigoted white segregationists. If they only knew how much they resemble those bigoted white segregationists they might take a different view.