Affirmation is not a civil right, and it cannot be coerced (COMMENTARY)

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A sign reading "This business serves everyone" is placed in the window of Bernadette's Barbershop in downtown Lafayette, Indiana on March 31, 2015. The store is one of several who display a sticker stating "This business serves everyone."  Indiana's Republican Governor Mike Pence, responding to national outrage over the state's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, said on Tuesday he will "fix" it to make clear businesses cannot use the law to deny services to same-sex couples. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Nate Chute

A sign reading "This business serves everyone" is placed in the window of Bernadette's Barbershop in downtown Lafayette, Indiana on March 31, 2015. The store is one of several who display a sticker stating "This business serves everyone." Indiana's Republican Governor Mike Pence, responding to national outrage over the state's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, said on Tuesday he will "fix" it to make clear businesses cannot use the law to deny services to same-sex couples. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Nate Chute

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WASHINGTON (RNS) If the holdouts eventually abandon their religious opposition to homosexuality, it will be because of persuasion, not coercion.

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  • Larry

    Do you really think this issue is about vendors for weddings? Of course it isn’t. Its about finding legal excuses to shut gays out of as many forms of commercial transactions possible.

    Religious liberty claims are not license to act in any way one pleases towards others. There are limits to what actions can be considered expressions of free exercise of religion. Claiming discrimination in business is one of them is about as valid as human sacrifice. Religious expression like many forms of expression is always limited to the point when one is actively harming others in the process.

    You want to know how the losers of a “culture war” are treated, try asking former segregationists. Religious anti-gay bigots should be treated with the same level of magnanimity as racists were 2 generations ago. ie. none.

    If you don’t want the danger of people being compelled “to provide services for an event they do not support”, don’t enter open commerce. Its just that simple.

  • Kasey Henton

    “But I do know this: To the greatest extent possible, people should not be compelled against their conscience to provide services for an event they do not support.”

    This feels like deja vu; religious conservatives were saying the same thing in regards to race and interracial anything before the Supreme Court ruled on interracial marriage in 1967. How far should a business be able to discriminate? At what point does society get to say, “We don’t really care that you don’t support this event, if you are a business, then you have to be open to serving everybody.”

    As a black woman, I just find all this deeply disheartening.

  • bqrq

    “…….If the holdouts eventually abandon their religious opposition to homosexuality, it will be because of persuasion, not coercion……”

    I might be open to persuasion if someone (besides Larry) could explain to us what’s good about it.

  • Larry

    You need to be persuaded why discrimination in business is a bad thing?

    I don’t give a flying crap about your religious objection to the existence of gays in any way, shape or form. Its just one of those things which does not require the color of law. Religious freedom means I never have to be legally compelled to care what you think God says.

    You want to be an uncivil religious bigot, then own up to it. Deal with the consequences of your alleged faith, like a good Christian does. If it means being ridiculed, scorned and run out of business, that is the price you pay to be a good pal of Jesus. Jesus likes people to suffer for their belief. Why should you get a free ride? I thought you guys admired martyrs!

  • Doc Anthony

    I wish you were right, Mr. Lupfer, I honestly do.

    But that Gay Gestapo stuff in Indiana (and several other states too) pretty much tells the tale for all of us. The “rights of conscience inalienable” have been defeated.

    Simply cross “Religious Freedom” off your copy of the Bill of Rights (and your kid’s and grandkid’s copies too!), and all will be well. Or so the gay activists and their shills tell us.

    After all, when the Supremes do Obama’s dirt later this summer, we ALL will have to cross it off no matter what. So please enjoy The New Fascism !!

  • James Carr

    Common sense at its best, Mr. Lupfer! Most people accept gays for what they are….their existence does not interfere with their lives. Gay marriage is the issue that divides. First, it is a redefining of a word without any authority to do so. Second, this new definition would naturally ignite the religions of the world, for marriage and homosexuality are incompatible morally.
    Churches should not be bullied into reversing their view on morals, and that is just what the gays do to objectors claiming it as matter of religious conscience.
    The comparison to civil rights is a bloated deceit. The State can bless their unions, but the Churches should be untouchable as to their historical view of sins.

  • bqrq

    Doc Anthony said;
    “……The “rights of conscience inalienable” have been defeated……”

    Dear Doc,
    Sadly we have been defeated in many ways, but we can still do our best to protect our children. There are plenty of good people who may at some point be willing to take a stand against the on-going organized movements that are intent on legalizing and facilitating recruitment of children.

  • Ted

    So, you’d force gays to pay for the roads, sewers, electric, and cops to protect your otherwise “open to the public” store, but deny them service.

    Bigot. And, and embarrassment to Christ.

  • Doc Anthony

    Resistance Fighters, eh? Then sign me up TODAY !!!!!!

  • Greg

    Larry, you are quick to label people of Faith as bigots, but you continue to express the most bigoted statements against Christians, exemplifying how bigotry is a two-way street. Cardinal Wuerl recently stated on a Sunday television news interview that those who push the gay agenda, do not want a resolution that recognizes both sides of this issue, they only want it to be a one way resolution, effectively stripping the religious side of their Constitutional rights in the matter. As far as I am concerned, this article is spot on. And if a Christian, who wants to spend his eternity in heaven, must abide by his Faith, and cannot in good conscience support the gay agenda, you equally cannot in the slightest manner understand the religious perspective. And that is okay. But I would not want to start calling you a bigot. But if Christians such as myself are indeed bigots, then it applies likewise.

  • Greg

    Kasey, most businesses will sell products to anyone who walks in the door, and no Christian run business should turn anyone away. However, when a gay couple asks a business to participate in an act that is clearly against their Faith, such as catering a gay wedding, then that crosses the line. Marriage is a sacrament, or mystery (Eph 5:32), where two souls are joined together in a spiritual manner by God Almighty, in the same way that the Church is joined inseparably to Christ. Marriage is holy! So selling product is one thing, engaging in another’s sin is altogether different (1Tim 5:22).

  • Fmr Cath

    I thought the article was spot on… It’s NOT bigotry to have a faith based conscience and follow it. It’s possible to tactfully decline to do business with the LGBT’s when it comes to weddings. I think it would be hateful to decline their business on ALL occasions but weddings is a different matter. Just my opinion.

  • Larry

    I bet that goes over well with the Klan. In their heart of hearts Klansmen believe that Jesus Christ and the entirety of Christianity supports their belief that people of color are inferior. They supported their faith based conscience by promoting racial discrimination. By your standards, it would be hateful to oppose the Klan in their efforts to treat blacks badly.

    Your argument, framed more honestly than you are willing to admit to.

  • Fmr Cath

    I don’t care what you think because it’s all the same with you, Larry. If anyone has an opinion that differs from your skewed logic, you loudly call them a bigot… get a dictionary/thesaurus and find a new word you’re wearing “bigot” out… And since you think you know what others are thinking and what motivates them maybe you could get a job as a clairvoyant…

  • Larry

    When someone calls for the legalized discrimination of a group, when they use the same exact arguments as well known bigots, they ARE bigots. If you don’t like the label, tough luck. It is appropriate. Maybe you should look more closely at what you are advocating before getting snippy about labels.

    You are not refuting in any way how your prior argument can be used to support religious inspired racists of the past. You are just annoyed that I saw the obvious parallel you didn’t want to look at.

  • Doc Anthony

    Ummm, you ducked Greg’s biblical explanation. Completely.

    Honestly? Even Atheist Max, with his very unusual “Jesus-wanna-kill-you” shpiel, does a far better job of responding biblically than you do.

  • Doc Anthony

    No different than Christian taxpayers who have to pay for roads, sewers, electric, and cops to protect the local gay bars. But you don’t see US whining about it, do you?

    But hey, let the gay bars stay open. Shoot, let the gay wedding cake bakers (and they DO exist, just check Google) stay open. It’s a free country.

    But part of that freedom is RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, according to the Bill of Rights. You don’t get to force me to deny my own religion or religious beliefs, and I don’t get to force you to do so either. That means you don’t get to force me to participate in your gay wedding if my religious beliefs are violated by your gay wedding. (Larry don’t get to do that mess either.)

    And last time I checked the Bill of Rights, owning a small business — or even a LARGE business — doesn’t repeal my constitutional religious freedom (or yours for that matter). Go figure.

  • Doc Anthony

    But you would force a black wedding photographer, under threat of “discrimination” and reprisals by the government, to go attend and shoot wedding portraits at a KKK campground (upon customer request), right in front of a burning cross. That IS what you’re saying, Larry.

    Realizing the trap you’ve set for the black photogs (and the Jewish bakers and the Muslim caterers), you make up stuff like “alternative course of action”.

    But you yourself can’t even state a single “alternative course of action”, that is proven in court (or even in a law journal) to prevent a Christian wedding baker or florist from getting shut down by the governments of Colorado or New Mexico or Oregon in the event of any gay customer complaint or lawsuit.

    So you’re just making that “alternative course of action” stuff up, because you know your position effectively traps the Jewish bakers and black photographers and the Muslim caterers, as well as the Christian florists.

  • Shawnie5

    The “alternative course of action” is lying. From the poster that screams “Liar” most frequently. Typical.

  • bqrq

    What’s his name said;
    “……they ARE bigots. If you don’t like the label, tough luck…..”

    I do not allow gay men to come over to my house and have sex with my children and neither does President Obama. Accordingly, both of us could be considered bigots. President Obama has the Secret Service, all I have is a knuckle sandwich (and I’m not afraid to use it).

  • jonna

    The gay right movement is the flip side of the religious right, mirroring each other in tactics, arrogance and immaturity. If the true goal is to marry, find a business owners who wants to work with you – there are plenty – and stop whining.

  • ChristiansLove

    This article is much ado about nothing. You could count on your fingers the number of cases where anti-gays have been forced to sell cakes or flowers to weddings for same-sex couples. Amazing someone who is divorced and remarried (Jesus calls that “living in sin” against your first spouse, gets all self-righteous about these rarer than lightning cases. When the dust settles on the gay marriage debate, evangelicals need to finally look at their own marriages. Researchers at Baylor Christian University in Texas were shocked to see that evangelicals have higher divorce rates than other groups in society, including atheists and other non-religious people.

  • ChristiansLove

    Attention moderators: bqrq is violating the community standards which he agreed to abide by. Please remove his comment below. Thank you.

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  • Diogenes

    Extremely valid point regarding the careless nature in which many professing conservative Christians treat their own marriage vows. For my part, when I married, I told my wife I didn’t care how miserable our relationship might get at some future time I would never consent to divorce, because barring the most extraordinary circumstances, two people, if they are willing to act unselfishly can work things out and that is the very essence of Christian marriage. And I am appalled at the Christian divorce rate. Still, I think this was a well written and thoughtful piece and ‘market’ solutions can solve the issue of vending. But there is no room for accommodation at all for religious conscience rights on the part of radicals. Any victory they attain on this issue in the Supreme Court will only lead to further attempts to drive a wedge in somewhere else to marginalize people of orthodox religious conviction. Jesus prophesied that, ‘A man’s enemies will be those of his own household…

  • Diogenes

    It is rapidly coming to that point.

  • Shawnie5

    You could count on even fewer fingers the instances where gays have been refused non-wedding related service because of orientation.

    All this “Jim Crow” rhetoric is just coke for the hysterical and the gullible.

  • opheliart

    Maybe it’s time to cease on this and indulge in that third party conscience—you know the one …
    RNS has not published the story about the ‘American’ Catholic Bishops making big use of their religious freedoms, but here it is:
    http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/roman-catholic-bishops-massachusetts-spare-tsarnaev-life
    *of course Tsarnaev probably wants to die; he has his purgatory-like “waiting room” with all those virgins.
    The heavy influence is always there.
    But the following article caught my eye, and it seems the interest of quite a number of people, who aren’t buying into pope for the poor rhetoric.

    http://theweek.com/articles/534933/how-pope-francis-allows-politics-distort-christian-faith

    It’s easy to make a splash here and there … but make sure you look to see where the puddles form.

  • Be Brave

    Jacob Lupfer is a pathetic propagandist. This piece is probably the most direct attack on Christians yet to make it on this Gay Activist website. “Traditionalist Christians,” and “Conservative Christian” does this dude think we are that stupid?

    Jesus literally RE-defined marriage as man and woman/husband and wife. The Apostles and Disciples writing the “how to be a Christian” guidebook called “The New Testament,” are ALL “conservative Christians” and “traditionalist” is simply honest and true Christian life.

    This is about “affirming” gay sex. Nothing more and nothing less. The LGBT culture and its totalitarian movement is as antithetical to Christian life as child porn or redefining marriage.

    Jacob Lupfer may really believe that Christians can be duped by pop culture and cunning editorial to alter what is and what isn’t sin and wrongdoing, but he will come and go no differently than did Nero’s LGBT activists…and The Church will ALWAYS remain in the Truth…

  • Susan

    What about the denominations that do support Gay marriage? Suppose you Gay or Lesbian and were married by a minister or rabbi? What about their and your religious liberty? They don’t care about that side of religious liberty.

  • Be Brave

    A “Christian marriage” is man and woman/husband and wife. Per Jesus and “God” in the beginning. There is no such thing as a same gender Christian marriage. That would be like saying that there is Christian voodoo practices that should be “affirmed.”

    The DEMAND that Christians affirm sin, sinning and sinners, because it is now a pop culture fad is purely evil.

    Now homosexuals have the right to reject Biblical truth, but they do not have the right to DEMAND that Christians “affirm” homosexual sin.

    This is so simple a matter that only an anti-Christian can deny it.

    Of course.

  • Larry

    Doc, I never give a crap about Biblical explanations when it comes to our civil laws. They are an irrelevance. The prohibition on the government establishment of religion means we do not base our laws on the various interpretations of the Bible nor can use them to justify them.

  • Larry

    Hmm, so there should be “separate but equal” facilities gay people can use so Christian bigots won’t have to degrade themselves by serving them. Where have we heard such things before?

    Arrogance and immaturity is the idea that one can use religion to revive age old arguments formerly used to support past forms of legalized discrimination.

    If the true goal is to protect marriage related businesses, why are all these mini-RFRA laws not just limited to them? Because the goal is to create segregated businesses and discriminate using religion as an excuse. There is nothing immature about opposing such goals.

  • Be Brave

    What about people, that are married by “Christians” that do not believe in the resurrection or the exclusivity of salvation in Christ? Are these “Christians” Christian? Not according to the writings of known as the New Testament.

    There are lots of people that call themselves Christian that are antithetical to the written word as fire is to ice.

    The cult of homosexuality rode into prominence on the wings of Humanism (atheism, godless secularism) and not the Gospel.

    Do the math.

  • Larry

    “You could count on even fewer fingers the instances where gays have been refused non-wedding related service because of orientation.”

    So why do we need laws which cover ALL businesses in this regard?
    Because you WANT to be able to refuse gays any and all goods and services ala Jim Crow.

  • bqrq

    Be Brave said;
    “……This is about “affirming” gay sex. Nothing more and nothing less…..’

    We should never ignore this fact. The activists are primarily interested in affirming and somehow “normalizing” the practice of sodomy among young men, but not so much among young ladies (females can be gay without practicing sodomy). The pro-gay crowd does not push sodomy for women because that would impinge on their own mothers and sisters.

  • jonna

    At some point, the LGBT community needs to grow up, stop tantrumming, accept that society changes and is changing in increments, and be who they are without seeking outside (mommy and daddy’s) approval. Most business owners are more than happy to work with gay couples. Stop bullying others who are not.

  • Cranmer

    The writer is rather misleading here — ‘affirmation’ is not synonymous with providing service in the marketplace. The social contract ensures that everyone is allowed to do business in the marketplace and obtain services, regardless of who they are. This is a very soft and weak way to confuse fundamental constitutional issues here. And no, “religious liberty” is NOT at stake in the United States.

  • bqrq

    Dear ChristiansLove,
    There is no need to censor my comments. I am a Christian and I try to be charitable to homosexuals but we must take a firm stand when it comes to protecting our children. I hope you understand.

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  • “people should not be compelled against their conscience to provide services for an event they do not support.”

    This is why religion needs to just die off.

    It was determined in this country by BOTH Republicans and Democrats – that people could not deny services to black people simply because of an objection (religious or otherwise) to the COLOR OF SOMEONE’S SKIN!

    What amazingly ignorant, UN-AMERICAN AND FASCIST idea to reinstall Jim Crow laws all over again – yet again, against someone for HOW THEY ARE BORN!

    Religion makes self-righteous, divisive, tribalist claims for itself. And those claims are inhuman and baseless.
    Literally – the claims of religion are as empty as the calories in a wedding cake!

  • Marie

    jonna, appearances are that it is you that needs to “grow up” and stop “tantrumming.”

    As the persecuted minority, the LGBT community is hardly the bully here.

  • Marie

    Doc, there are no valid “biblical explanations”. The bible is mostly rubbish, and just old mythology. It is that simple.

  • Marie

    Seems you are the screamer here, Shawnee5.

  • Marie

    ISIS would be happy to have you, Doc. You’d fit right in there.

  • your comments about religion are spot on. Your comments on Jim Crow are less enlightening. Jim Crow laws COMPELLED discrimination, whether or not an individual had any such desires. The only compulsion going on here comes through adding sexual orientation as a protected class. Laws like RFRA recognize a religious ground by which such compulsion can be contested. Remember, these laws to not guarantee exclusion from compliance to anti-discrimination laws. They only permit a person to have his day in court to try to show how compliance burdens his religious freedom.

  • You might want to read up a bit on Jim Crow laws. They laws COMPELLED discrimination, whether or not an individual had any such desires. Laws like RFRA seek to recognize religious grounds for avoiding compulsion.

  • That said, I am not too keen an special exceptions for religion. For example, I can refuse to cater a meeting of Wall Street bankers on Congressmen about bailouts because I oppose bailouts as a matter of pubic policy. I can refuse to cater a meeting of my local Democratic Party because I oppose most of their platform as a matter of public policy. But in some jurisdictions, if I refuse to cater a same sex wedding because I oppose ssm as a matter of public poliicy, that makes me a criminal, The only way I can refuse to participate in the nuptials is to “get religion” and appeal to some RFRA.

  • MarkE

    What bothers me most about this topic is why does a Christian business person believe that catering a reception or taking photographs or delivering an arrangement of flowers is the same as participating in the wedding service? Are they present during said service? Maybe the photog is, but the others are either already done and gone, or they are behind the scenes or at other locations, such as where the reception is held. They are not part of the Holy Matrimony service. Do such businesses refuse to cater/supply a divorce celebration party? I mean, that seems to go against the same religious arguments. I’m a pastor and I am intimately involved in weddings, but I’ve never seen a florist or a caterer at one. Perhaps this is more about wanting to express their objections to a ceremony that they are not directly a part of. In which case, I believe the religious freedom concerns are certainly superfluous.

  • jonna

    Marie, eventually every individual needs to realize that not everyone will agree with them and have the inner strength to go on with life. If a gay couple has no real access to wedding services in their area (i.e. only one baker), then yes, sue the reluctant business owner. Most businesses bend over backward to serve gay couples, lots of profit. I know from the inside that the LGBT community can be purposely provocative and litigious to make a point, mirror image of the religious right. The need to be affirmed by everybody should be worked out in therapy, not in court.

  • opheliart

    MarkE,

    You are a pastor? Which Religious denomination do you pastor?
    Thx

  • Larry

    Untrue. Businesses were not compelled to serve whites only under Jim Crow. They chose to and had legal permission to do that.

    There are no religious freedom issues here because free exercise of religion has never been held so vague as to constitute an excuse to harm others and the public. Discrimination in business is a legally recognized harm to those discriminated against. These mini-RFRA laws make a mockery of religious liberties

    What you call “avoiding compulsion” is really the active discrimination of a class of people in open commerce. You are simply using dishonest euphemisms to cover up what is plainly obvious to all. The “compulsion” to treat customers of a business as human beings is part of the nature of doing business to the general public. Discriminatory behavior doesn’t become acceptable because you changed its victims.

    Again, if the issue was wedding related businesses, why are these laws not so narrowly tailored for them? Still no answer on that one.

  • Larry

    Businesses were not compelled to segregate under Jim Crow. They had the legal right to do so permissively. You are misrepresenting facts here.

    These mini-RFRA’s automatically give any kind of spurious “religious” motivations by any actor, including for profit corporations, over all reasonable considerations. They put the burdens on the wrong parties and allow people to ignore any law of general application with impunity.

    The problem with using analogy is it misses important material facts.

    Wall street bankers and Democrats are not a groups with a history of pervasive discrimination against them and have never been included in any state’s anti-discrimination laws.

    When one holds their business out as open to the public, they have a duty to serve the public. If they can’t do that without discriminatory behavior, they are SOL.

  • “Discrimination in business is a legally recognized harm to those discriminated against.” that’s true. larry. Religious people want to discriminate.

    “Discriminatory behavior doesn’t become acceptable because you changed its victims.” Actually it does. It is legally acceptable except to certain protected classes as specified by specific laws.

    “Untrue. Businesses were not compelled to serve whites only under Jim Crow. They chose to and had legal permission to do that.”

    try again, Larry . . .
    http://www.nps.gov/malu/learn/education/jim_crow_laws.htm

  • “Wall street bankers and Democrats are not a groups with a history of pervasive discrimination against them and have never been included in any state’s anti-discrimination laws.” That statement contradicts your claims above:

    “Discriminatory behavior doesn’t become acceptable because you changed its victims.”

    On Jim Crow, I should not have to do your homework for you, but here it goes . . . http://www.nps.gov/malu/learn/education/jim_crow_laws.htm

  • Marie

    No jonna, claiming “inside” information does not a case make. Use of the legal system does not demonstrate bullying.

    That is a truly laughable claim that you made, about a community that has overwhelmingly been the recipient of bullying, rather than being the bully.

    Please withdraw your unsupportable and ludicrous claim.

  • jonna

    Enjoy your laugh, a break from perpetual anger.

  • Larry

    So we have you admitting, “Religious people want to discriminate.”

    “It is legally acceptable except to certain protected classes as specified by specific laws.”

    There comes your weaselwording. “Legally acceptable”. Discrimination is still harm to those outside certain protected classes. Its just states don’t feel like recognizing it as actionable. The act itself is still a harm to a given person or group.

    Jim Crow laws were enacted for the benefits of those who had objections to being in the same presence as people of color. Legalized segregation of business as propounded now serves the same function. Codification of arbitrary prejudices and permission to close off avenues of commerce to people on such a basis.

    Again, if the concern is actually on “wedding related industries” why are these new laws so expansive as to include all businesses? The idea that the Christian bigots are only concerned with gay weddings is fiction. They want license to discriminate…

  • Larry

    So why can’t you make arguments based on the facts of the situation? Why must you rely on analogy?

  • For leaders of a religious institution to tell their ‘flock’ to deny services to certain sinners “In the name of Jesus Christ” is:

    A) Despicable.
    B) Uncivilized.
    C) Fascist
    D) Jim Crow by another method.
    E) All of the above.

    The correct answer is E.
    And religion deserves no respect for its baseless claims.

    If religion could stay out of our laws, perhaps I could agree with you more – but the Evangelicals are doing their best to break down that separation of church and state.

    I defend a person’s right to religion.
    I do not defend religion. It is the problem most of the time.

  • Shawnie5

    Oh? And how so?

  • Shawnie5

    Kindly refrain from telling me what I want, Larry. I can do that just fine, thank you.

    And as far as what everyone else “wants” goes…you had your opportunity to produce some kind of demonstration that generalized commercial discrimination against gays is going on where it is still perfectly legal, and you came up empty. If it is not happening where it is legal, it may be logically surmised that people generally do not “want” to do anything of the sort, religious or not.

    Nobody ever heard of this “refusal to serve gays” nonsense before gay marriage became a thing. Gee, you would almost think this had something to do with…gay marriage, specifically. Ya think?

  • Larry

    I don’t have to read minds here. I just have to see the very public reactions being given here. Its all laid out for everyone to see.

    Maybe you missed the reaction when Indiana planned to adjust its laws so it wouldn’t be construed as a general permission for discrimination. It told us all what the real agenda was here.

    The people pretending this was only about “wedding related industries” were up in arms. How dare they take away the possibility of applying such laws to all businesses!

    These laws are being proposed to hamper inevitable future revisions to state anti-discrimination laws to include sexual orientation. It is why they are not being drafted to mirror the Federal RFRA.

  • Larry

    Greg, you are lying.

    These laws are written in such a way as to permit any allegedly Christian business to turn away any customer because they are gay. This has nothing to do with marriage or “marriage related businesses”, hence all these discriminatory mini-RFRA’s do not specify businesses related to weddings and whatnot. One can only conclude “engaging in another’s sin” must mean obviously selling of any goods and services to gay people.

    There is no such as a well meaning cause for discrimination in open commerce. It is meant to harm the customer being discriminated against. Saying your religious tells you so, does not make it acceptable. Your right to religious expression ends when you start harming others. The fact that you want to special privileges under the law to diminish and attack others speaks badly of your faith.

  • Larry

    They ARE bigots. When someone demands that their prejudices be given color of law, they are by definition, bigots. You do not have a constitutional right to attack others in the name of your faith. Despite your prior claims to the contrary, being Christian does not entitle you to privileges under the law to the detriment of everyone else.

    I don’t have to be kind to your views. You want to attack people with them, it invites a response. You can call me a bigot, but I am not the one who is seeking to diminish the rights of others for personal benefit. I am not the one so overcome by prejudice that I must look for excuses to act in a malicious and uncivil manner. That is all you. The label fits. If you don’t like it, tough luck. It is a far more honest assessment of your view than you are willing to admit ti.

  • The Great God Pan

    ” it remains to be seen how the winners will treat the losers.”

    Don’t worry. We’ll treat you at least as well as you’ve always treated us.

    On second thought, I can see why that worries you.

  • Ted

    Christians can walk into any gay bar and be served, at any time.

    Your bigoted argument makes no sense.

  • My analogy was simply to point out the complications when we enact anti-discrimination laws that create a protected class, and then carve out exceptions based upon some reasons but not others. As you correctly point out regarding those material facts, the laws protect only those who have suffered a history of discrimination–though some less than others and some on different grounds than others. Also it is to explore my own ambivalence about these conflicts.

  • There is no doubt that allowing businesses to deny access to goods and services in an economy where those goods and services are provided solely through businesses is a civil rights issue. That denial of goods and services by businesses begins to become comparable to the denial of goods and services practiced by businesses because of race during Jim Crow. Why is someone from the LGBT community less worthy of goods and services than someone who is Black or another minority?

    At the same time, those from the LGBT community need to see the tension that service to them causes for some conservative Christian businesses. Sensitivity to others would move one to handle the situation delicately rather than opportunistically.

    The problem we have with some from both sides is myopia. They can only see their side of the problem and not that of a person from the other side. The beginnings of a solution would be for Conservative Christians and those from the LGBT community to listen to each…

  • Susan

    So you are saying that anyone who believes that Jews and other non-Christians are not automatically going to Hell are not Christians. That seems to be a very unChristian thing to say.

  • Charles Freeman

    Any laws permitting unrestricted discrimination against persons with strongly held religious views have to be illegal in this nation under our Constitution. Our government cannot foster religious development or actions, nor can it destroy the basis for our cooperation and mutual support. Any person who wants to reject another’s differences because they are anathema to the foundation for his faith cannot be held in low esteem. He has to be recognized and rewarded for adherence to our ideals. In order to maintain the right to choose your customer, client, or companion, it seems incumbent on us to mark ourselves for persons of strongly held beliefs. I recommend that all who feel that Christians have these discriminatory rights should wear a special mark to denote their support. How about an orange band on their sleeves, so that there is no mistake about who are permitted to discriminate against others?

  • Shawnie5

    “The people pretending this was only about “wedding related industries” were up in arms. How dare they take away the possibility of applying such laws to all businesses!”

    Both proponents and opponents of the law are “up in arms” over all this because they are mostly ignorant of what the law actually says and does, and dishonest rhetoric like yours does nothing to help the situation. The law’s proponents are up in arms not because they want to discriminate generally (which they are already perfectly free to do but are not doing) but because the politicians talking out of both sides of their mouths trying to placate the clueless sound like they are trying to create some kind of new protected class in response to mob demand and ultimately sell out the religious liberty that the law is meant to safeguard.

  • Greg

    MarkE, as a pastor you should know better. There is the immediate situation, where you are part of a “celebration of sin,” and being paid to do so, which makes it worse. Obviously being at the reception would constitute a lesser degree of sin, than attending the “wedding” itself, but that is for conscience to decide. The Catholic Church calls these situations “occasions for sin.” It is implied throughout the gospels, as well as the letters. Read Mark 9:42-50, as well as, 1Cor 15:33. In other words, it is not just for you that you do not attend the reception, and supply food for it, it is just as much for those who are spiritually weak. If they see you, a Christian, willingly participating (and being paid no less), then they use you as the example to follow. Read 1Cor 10:27-29. You will see there that as a Christian, you have a responsibility to be a good example, allowing a “spillover effect” to occur for those weak in the Faith.

  • Re: “Still, millions of Americans will continue to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. These people are not moral monsters.”

    Maybe they’re not “monsters,” but even so, it’s not up to them to decide whom other people should marry. When bakers & florists & photographers & caterers say they won’t work for gays’ weddings, what they’re trying to do is trying to throw hurdles in gays’ paths, even if it’s only in a small way. The cold fact, though, is they have no authority — moral or legal — to do so. None. Not a speck of it, no matter how fervently or desperately they may cling to their metaphysics.

    The price one has to pay for living in a free society is having to deal with the fact that others will sometimes make choices one doesn’t personally approve of. That simply isn’t going to change. Mature adults can accept this, and move on with their lives. Those who haven’t grown up yet can’t deal with it, and react petulantly.

  • KG

    If Satan wrote an article about this subject, it would be almost identical in cunningness.

    The absolutely horrid way in which bible following Christians are portrayed could have come from the prince of darkness itself.

    Christians are targets of a malevolent power. There can be only doubt about that from the darkness warriors themselves.

  • Larry

    Because …………?

    “So I hear you are taking a course in conversation”

    “Yes”
    .
    .
    .
    .

  • Larry

    I am still waiting to hear why if a law allegedly made to protect businesses specifically dealing with weddings is so expansive in scope to cover any and all businesses?

    Fact of the matter is, if a business person cannot deal with a potentially unreasonable customer or request, or a “crisis of faith” without resorting to discriminatory conduct, they are far too stupid to stay in business. There is absolutely no need to give such people protection of law.

  • Larry

    Untrue Shawnie. The whole process of the formation of these laws is being widely reported.

    Mike Pence got caught lying (or was playing dumb) about the provisions of the law and people were able to see for themselves when provisions which would have limited discriminatory effect were nixed. The Governor of AK sent his law back for revisions because the discriminatory effect was obvious. Jan Brewer wouldn’t go near the crap which made it out of AZ’s legislature.

    Nobody is fooled here. Nobody honestly thinks this is about religious liberties either. Its about carving new rights and privileges for people who want to use religion as an excuse for their anti-social harmful behavior.

  • @Dirk,

    “the gentle people who feed the poor. To badger and threaten and protest and ruin others…”

    There is nothing good or benign in your religion so you have no moral ground from which to judge anyone.
    You follow a book which commands:

    “KILL HOMOSEXUALS” – (Leviticus 20:13)
    “Execute my enemies in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

    At least Gays don’t have a book which says “KILL CHRISTIANS.”
    Think how immoral that would be! And how long would it take for Christians to cry about persecution in that case?

    You defend a disgraceful book which commands genocide and mass murder and you dare to challenge those on the receiving end of it?
    Despicable.

  • @Dirk,

    Marie is correct. The Bible is rubbish.
    Name one story in the Bible which is true and explain your evidence to prove it.

  • Shawnie5

    “Mike Pence got caught lying (or was playing dumb) about the provisions of the law and people were able to see for themselves when provisions which would have limited discriminatory effect were nixed.”

    He was playing dumb alright — because the law did not have the “discriminatory effect” that its opponents complained of, nor were there any provisions for its proponents to nix that would truly “limit discriminatory effect” (even in the recent revision) because gays are not a protected class in Indiana except in certain municipalities.

    Sounds fine to say “this law doesn’t constitute a license to discriminate” when state law doesn’t disallow said discrimination anyway.

    That’s why 99.9% of the uproar over this law has been nothing but meaningless static.

    Show some “general discrimination” against gays currently going on in Indiana and you might have an argument about what the RFRA’s proponents “really” want to do.

  • Marie

    jonna, the comment history above shows that you are the angry one, what with you telling others to “grow up”.

    Time you cleaned that egg off your face. It’s dripping.

  • jonna

    Not angry, just honest.

  • jonna

    If you stay so, Marie. Save your eggs for breakfast.

  • Fmr Cath

    Larry, always comparing apples to oranges… There IS NO PARALLEL between racial discrimination and a person of faith not wanting to PARTICIPATE in something that goes against their beliefs and conscience. No one should be FORCED under rule of law to go against their conscience and suffer litigation, financial penalties and even prison. THAT’S BULLYING plain and simple. If a vendor doesn’t want to provide services for a gay wedding, GO SOMEWHERE ELSE!!!! NO HARM DONE TO EITHER PARTY!!!! GET OVER IT!!!!

  • PeterVN

    That’s stupid, Cath. So if someone’s conscience says to murder someone else, they shouldn’t have be externally constrained to go against that? Oh those test cases.

    Now why were you shouting?

  • PeterVN

    Shawnie, state law so far doesn’t even have to allow for LGBT discrimination. Federal law already allows it.

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/121417/indiana-religious-freedom-law-lgbt-discrimination-mostly-legal

    Now what is that you were saying? Just more static…

  • Shawnie5

    Federal law and state law are two different animals, Peter. A state could easily outlaw this kind of ‘discrimination” in business if it wanted to and federal law would have nothing to do with it.

    But thanks for the link. It pretty much outlines what I already said.

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