Ronda Rousey, Walmart, And Religious Freedom: When Should A Business Have The Right To Refuse A Product?

The upcoming Ronda Rousey book, available in most stores on May 12, will not be hitting the shelves at your friendly neighborhood Walmart.

This announcement — reported here by Yahoo! — has some crying “censorship” particularly Rousey’s publisher, Judith Regan of Regan Arts.

“I’m shocked, shocked to discover that censorship is going on in America!” Regan said.

Undoubtedly, Walmart’s reasoning for not carrying the book is sketchy at best — they say it’s because Ronda Rousey is “too violent” of a personality — when you consider that you can walk into most any Walmart location and buy a firearm capable of killing someone.

Still, in a free society, is it really fair to call what Walmart is doing censorship?

For an answer, it really depends on how you define the term. America typically isn’t a place where citizens believe censorship goes on because there is the idea that to satisfy the definition of censorship, the government must be involved in some way.

Or, in other words, when the government keeps someone from getting a product or service, it’s censorship; when a business does it, it’s simply choosing not to sell a certain product.

But recent movements throughout the country could be causing some to rethink. Case in point, look at the law that pretty much forced a Christian bakery to sell a specific product (a same-sex wedding cake) in its store or face closing down.

In that case, the bakery owners were not refusing to serve a customer (which would clearly be discrimination), but they were refusing to sell a specific product — a wedding cake celebrating a gay marriage, which the owners were opposed to on religious grounds.

What does that have to do with Ronda Rousey?


If a business cannot refuse to sell a specific product (a same-sex wedding cake) on grounds of belief, then it could be argued that Walmart should be forced to sell the Ronda Rousey book since the retailer sells books, there is a clear demand for it, and the grounds on which they’re refusing is one of belief rather than objectivity.

If businesses can’t have beliefs, then Walmart needs a more compelling reason for saying no to Ronda.

Or you could argue that if businesses can have beliefs, then why is society losing its mind over a Christian bakery refusing to sell a same-sex wedding cake when it isn’t flatly refusing to serve gay customers?

One way or another, a double standard — or at least the potential for one — is clear and present.

But what do you think, readers? Does the Rousey-Walmart debacle run parallel to the business-gay marriage issue? And do you think Walmart should be forced to sell the Ronda Rousey book? Sound off in the comments section.