A quiz for the right-to-not-bake folks

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Print by Stephen Alcorn

Greenberg Center

Print by Stephen Alcorn

Print by Stephen Alcorn

Print by Stephen Alcorn

The Cassandras of religious liberty were back in full cry last week after a Colorado appeals court upheld a judge’s decision not to let baker David Phillips refuse to bake a cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins, who wanted one to celebrate their marriage.

“The court’s ruling against Phillips is a carnival funhouse of bias, where legal doctrine after legal doctrine is distorted and twisted to make sure that Phillips is forced to comply with the latest mandates of the sexual revolution,” wrote David French over at National Review. Whew!

Just so everyone’s clear, here’s how the situation arose:

In July 2012, Craig and Mullins visited Masterpiece, a bakery in Lakewood, Colorado, and requested that Phillips design and create a cake to celebrate their same-sex wedding. Phillips declined, telling them that he does not create wedding cakes for same-sex weddings because of his religious beliefs, but advising Craig and Mullins that he would be happy to make and sell them any other baked goods. Craig and Mullins promptly left Masterpiece without discussing with Phillips any details of their wedding cake.

Craig and Mullins sued under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, which bars discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in a place of public accommodation. Determining that the act was a neutral law of general applicability (the standard of review under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Smith decision), the court found in their favor.

This seems like a solid basis for the decision to me, but let’s forget about the legalities and focus for a moment on the larger principle of religious liberty. Shouldn’t a society that has enshrined that principle be able to accept Baker Phillips’ refusal to engage in a commercial transaction that would violate his religious convictions?

Crucial to answering that question is accepting the corollary principle that such a society does not get to decide that certain religious convictions are valid and others aren’t. If we are to recognize the right of a person with one sincerely held belief to act on it in a certain way, we have to recognize the right of a person with another sincerely held belief to act on it in exactly the same way.

So here’s a simple quiz for anyone opposed to the latest mandate of the sexual revolution. Substitute “mixed-race” for “same-sex” in any given set of particulars, as in:

In July 2012, Craig and Mullins visited Masterpiece, a bakery in Lakewood, Colorado, and requested that Phillips design and create a cake to celebrate their mixed-race wedding. Phillips declined, telling them that he does not create wedding cakes for mixed-race weddings because of his religious beliefs, but advising Craig and Mullins that he would be happy to make and sell them any other baked goods. Craig and Mullins promptly left Masterpiece without discussing with Phillips any details of their wedding cake.

Should Colorado defer to the principle of religious liberty in this case and permit an exception to its anti-discrimination act? If not, why not?

  • Larry

    But racism is different from hatred of gays!!! We can’t justify racism but the Bible says its OK to hate and mistreat gays. (and we chose to forget that we used the Bible to justify racism as well)

    Because these distinctions really matter when people are on the receiving end of discriminatory behavior in public accommodations.

    Just kidding.

    But I am just heading off a ridiculous response before it starts.
    The anti-gay crowd can’t even come up with original arguments for their actions. They keep resorting to “separate but equal”. As if that wasn’t tried before. Its also telling that the former official church of the KKK, the Southern Baptists are major opponents to anti-discrimination laws and been at the forefront of these phony religious freedom arguments. They are just compulsive persecutors.

  • Shawnie5

    “Crucial to answering that question is accepting the corollary principle that such a society does not get to decide that certain religious convictions are valid and others aren’t. ”

    Society doesn’t get to decide which religious convictions are valid or not, but It DOES get to decide which religious belief are sincerely held or not, and the history of the faith and the teachings of its foundational documents are completely relevant to that question. The entire essay rests upon a false premise.

  • So you’re suggesting that a religious belief that the races must be kept separate cannot be sincerely held?

  • Larry

    Actually society cares little about the level or fervor of religious convictions. Too subjective and prone to prejudices. They care how people act in accordance with them.

    Fervent religious beliefs are still not a legal excuse to break various laws. Human sacrifice is still illegal as is sacramental use of federally regulated narcotics and polygamy. In the case of various states, it is not an excuse to discriminate in public accommodations.

    When one willingly violates laws as “a matter of religious conscience” they willingly accept the fate which befalls them under the law. At least those of actual conscience and moral standing do. But not these alleged Christians. Because being willing to suffer for one’s beliefs is too inconvenient. Why have morals when you can have excuses?

  • Jack

    Let’s see….. On this constitutional-law (First Amendment) question, we have two antagonists:

    In one corner is David French, who practices constitutional law and is a Harvard Law School graduate and a former lecturer at Cornell Law School.

    In the other corner is Mark Silk, a professor of…..er…..um……religion who thinks he’s a comedian.

    Yikes….

    French — the constitutional lawyer — ridicules the court ruling as containing layer after layer of “legal distortion.”

    Silk — the comedian — ridicules French’s passion about it — an old trick that only works if the person is present and you’ve got a sympathetic crowd on hand to laugh along with you.

    But French probably isn’t reading this article….he’s presumably busy with his…constitutional law work.

  • Science not in

    I am weary of perpetual Marxist egalitarianism spouted from social justice warrior sophists posing as clergy and theologians, especially those who deliberately and wrongly equate race with sexual preference.
    American values have been manipulated across decades of leftist propaganda. The result: wishy-washy sophistry has supplanted absolutism and common-sense morality.
    And so, Cecil the Lion is more important than humans; no one dare speak out on the mass killing of infants; blood-lusting/Christian-murdering Muslims represent a “religion of peace;” Bruce Jenner is a girl; holy matrimony is desecrated in the name of “love;” war is peace, and so on in this Orwellian post-modern dystopia.

  • Shawnie5

    It can not definitively and historically be identified with biblical Christian faith. It is at best a social taboo primarily of the 19th and 20th centuries for which biblical-sounding (and categorically erroneous) arguments were invented. In order to get such a doctrine out of the Bible you have to mangle it as badly as you must mangle it to get gay affirmation out of it.

    Not so with the universal Judeo-Christian repudiation of same-sex practice. This dates from two millenia before Christ and continued up until about 35 years ago.

  • Jack

    Larry, don’t be silly. The right to religious freedom doesn’t include the right to inflict physical harm on another person through such things as human sacrifice. A precocious child can figure that one out.

    To compare such barbarism to a refusal to put a particular inscription on a cake is rather insane.

  • Dominic

    We need to avoid analogies of racial and philosophical discriminations. They are apples and oranges, totally unique.
    There is nothing in religion that denigrates any human race to a lower or higher status. The mention of slaves is only addressing a then current level of society….they are equals in God’s eye. So, no, no one can discriminate against race on religious grounds.
    Gay marriage is radically different. It attacks the natural order God created, and lends virtue to what is known as sin. For some, “aiding” in a gay ceremony is tantamount to offering sacrifices to a false idol. Their conscience cannot allow it on religious grounds… as it may very well offend God.
    To some, a cake is just a cake….”I don’t date what you use it for.” To others, it may be impossible for them to comply. Easy as that

  • Shawnie5

    True. This is most certainly not the first time that the church has faced issues and choices such as these. The issue of food sacrificed to idols is all over the NT. And the early church fathers wrote a good deal about the difficulties of Christian craftsmen and merchants who had to navigate life in a culture in where participation in idolatrous rites was expected as part and parcel of everyday “commerce.”

  • Larry

    Guess what? A child also can tell that discrimination in business is also not part of religious freedom either. But that doesn’t stop the crybaby conservative christians.

    Discrimination is barbarism as well. Its also illegal and inexcusable. There is no such thing as well intentioned discrimination. Malicious harm is malicious harm.

    But all in all, way to miss the point. 🙂

  • Larry

    David French writes for a longstanding conservative rag. As one who read the article, it can also be said he is also a lying sack of crap. Appealing to his authority is useless here since he was writing nothing resembling an expression of legal knowledge and skills here. It was nothing more than an ultra-conservative rant towing the current party line excuse for discriminatory conduct.

    His article uses the same phony, fact free argument of the “special request”. That great legal mind intentionally omitted the fact that such issues were actually discussed by the appeals court and dismissed based on the facts presented.

  • Larry

    Hey, how about you guys stop taking your cues from racists of yore first.

    You are recycling “separate but equal” arguments. You are engaging in the same exact behavior racists did and even sought to give your bigotry color of law like racists dud. Of course the analogy fits. What is especially galling is that both the anti-gay crowd and the racists used religious appeals as the justification for their POV.

    You want to violate anti-discrimination laws, then face the consequences. Don’t expect the legal system to bail you out. You already thumbed your nose at that. If you are hoping God will forgive your malicious actions, then take it up with him. Nobody else has to care.

    Your religious freedom does not extend to a right to attack others. Discrimination is an attack. A malicious bigotry inspired attack on those on the receiving end.. You neither deserve respect nor should expect it.

  • Larry’s Other Face

    Please, by all means declare that you are more knowledgeable about the constitution and its “proper” interpretations than an instructor in constitutional law from a well regarded university.

    You believe your take on the subject is the most informed and true to the constitution. Please feel free to tell Dr. French why he doesn’t really know the constitution as well as you do. 🙂

  • Larry’s Other Face

    You don’t have to be honest in your arguments if you can be sort of close and find excuses and equivocations for the flaws and misrepresentations made in your rhetoric.

    Anyone who uses racism references to SSM deserves to be ridiculed. It’s tasteless, offensive to the actual victims of the racism and segregation and frequently invoked by people who share an affinity to the perpetrators of it.

  • Larry

    Shawnie, you probably didn’t read French’s article linked. It was not in a legal journal (or brief). It was in National Review. The Fox News of print publications.

    Nor did his article present itself with anything resembling knowledge of Constitutional Law or even facts of the case.

    It was a full on crazy-person rant.

    Kind of like a Ben Carson moment. Someone with advanced education and skills saying something completely batcrap insane.

  • Larry

    How am I misrepresenting you Shawnie? You are the one defending discrimination in open commerce and looking to institute a faith based Jim Crow 2.0.

    “Anyone who uses racism references to SSM deserves to be ridiculed. It’s tasteless, offensive to the actual victims of the racism and segregation and frequently invoked by people who share an affinity to the perpetrators of it.”

    Except I didn’t say “racism” I said HOLOCAUST. There is a big difference. Especially in the context of Christian bigoted hysterics who were equating SSM to the Holocaust.

    You can’t even quote troll me in an honest fashion.

    “You don’t have to be honest in your arguments if you can be sort of close and find excuses and equivocations for the flaws and misrepresentations made in your rhetoric.”

    Thank you That quote fits your post exactly. Why be honest when you can misrepresent what one says. You Christians are conmpulive quote miners. Misrepresenting things is like second nature. 🙂

  • Larry

    “Please feel free to tell Dr. French why he doesn’t really know the constitution as well as you do.”

    I did. I stated how he ignored the case and the legal arguments which were presented to repeat an argument which was already shot down as unsupported by the facts.

  • On the one hand, it’s good to discover that no one (so far) wants to defend discrimination in commerce on racial grounds. On the other hand, it’s surprising to discover such an inability to recognize that the Free Exercise Clause protects a sincere religious belief in racial separation to the same extent that it protects a sincere religious belief in “traditional marriage.” With respect to Shawnie5’s initial point, “the history of the faith and the teachings of its foundational documents” may cast some light on the plausibility of someone’s claim to having a sincere belief, but they are hardly determinative of sincerity. The fact that that Orthodox Judaism, for example, condemns homosexual behavior and does not condemn interracial marriage does not mean that an Orthodox Jew is precluded under the First Amendment from holding a sincere belief in racial separation. Nor does it guarantee the sincerity of an Orthodox Jewish baker’s belief that he must not bake a cake for a…

  • Larry’s Other Face

    “You can’t even quote troll me in an honest fashion.”

    It’s far more honest than equating racism with the repudiation of same-sex practice.

    Thank you for demonstrating a difference which most people in your corner ignore.

  • Shawnie5

    “the history of the faith and the teachings of its foundational documents” may cast some light on the plausibility of someone’s claim to having a sincere belief, but they are hardly determinative of sincerity”

    Perhaps they’re not determinative in and of themselves, but they are certainly probative.

    It simply is not possible to equate a social taboo peculiar to a very particular time and place in history with a four-millenia-old moral conviction that originated in Judeo-Christianity and has remained a constant within that faith tradition up until the last generation.

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  • Shawnie5

    “…the history of the faith and the teachings of its foundational documents” may cast some light on the plausibility of someone’s claim to having a sincere belief, but they are hardly determinative of sincerity.”

    They are not “determinative” in and of themselves, but they are certainly probative.

    It is simply not possible to equate a social taboo from a very narrow time frame and specific place in history, dressed up in enrroneous biblical arguments, with a four-millenia-old moral conviction which originated in Judeo-Christianity and was a constant within it up until the present generation.

  • In terms of the Free Exercise Clause, it is not only possible but also necessary to equate a sincerely held belief in the one with a sincerely held belief in the other.

  • Larry

    Said that the woman who had to lie and misquote to make her point, Sockpuppet Shawnie.

    The differences here are only temporal in nature. Different bigotry for different times. Same old discrimination and awful excuses by bigots.

  • Glenn Harrell

    Non-discrimination is boxing it out with First Amendment Rights.

    The new force to be reckoned with is the one that gets to say,
    “We’re going to force you behave the way we say is right.”

    The ones who used to wield this pen and sword have been forced by law to yield power to the pixie dust gang and the purveyors of popular, political exactness. Now we watch and wait for the inevitable new king of the hill.
    (a series to follow)

    Mark, Larry, Curly and Moe–watch out.
    Balding, pudgy, middle aged white men who feign rapping for the acceptance by real rappers may well be refused when they want that dentist to install the gold tooth. Dentists are known to be thus prejudiced.

  • Larry

    No it isn’t.

    Discrimination was never protected by the 1st Amendment. It wasn’t covered by freedom of association when it was argued in 1964. (Katzenbach v. McClung). Freedom of religion is not a go to excuse to avoid compliance with various laws of general application (see Reynolds v. US, Employment v. Smith)

    In general, one finds that freedoms of expression under the 1st Amendment are limited to the point where it cannot be used to excuse intentionally harmful acts towards others. Hence an analogy to human sacrifice is fairly apt here. So would burning a cross on someone else’s lawn. Your right to worship as you please does not grant you a right to attack another. Discrimination in business is a recognized harm to those discriminated against.

    The religious freedom arguments are so laughable because they are coming from people who actively seek to deny it to others. Evidently they think it only applies to Christians and it excuses anything they do.

  • Glenn Harrell

    So you would sue the dentist for not installing the gold cap because it was his sincerely held belief that people shouldn’t pretend to be someone they are not. His sincere belief is that he would be harming this potential patient by furthering his disillusionment of identity.

  • Garson Abuita

    Shawnie the courts are not qualified or permitted to determine whether religious beliefs are “erroneous” in light of history or biblical interpretation. All they can determine for the purpose of Prof. Silk’s question is whether the belief is “sincerely held.” Consider Holt v. Hobbs, the recent Supreme Court case concerning a Muslim prisoner’s beard. It is disputed within Islam whether beards are mandatory. It didn’t matter. The correctional agency didn’t even contest that the prisoner’s belief that his religion did require beards was sincerely held, and if they had, they couldn’t appeal to Islamic jurisprudence, history, etc. to prove their case.

  • Larry

    Its silly examples like these which make me question the intelligence, cognitive skills, and honesty of people calling themselves Christians.

    1. Are people asking for gold caps under any state’s anti-discrimination laws or have a clear history of being discriminated against?

    2. Is this a cosmetic dentist or someone performing a medically necessary job?

    3. Since when do patients get to dictate how a doctor performs a procedure?

    4. What kind of fool thinks that example is even closely analogous to refusing to sell goods and services to people on the basis of animosities against the class of people the customers are?

    You are just putting stuff out there because you are trying to defend a clearly indefensible harm to the public. You need something to sound reasonable and sane, even though your position is clearly not.

    Btw, the courts in Colorado took some effort to distinguish the facts of the case from the “special request” arguments.

  • William Barnett

    And I’m tired of the continuing, widespread misuse of terms such as “race” and “sexual preference.”

  • Shawnie5

    “Discrimination was never protected by the 1st Amendment.”

    Segregation was never prohibited by the 14th Amendment OR the commerce clause, until someone decided it was.

    SSM was never protected by the 14 Amendment (nor was anything else other than race or nationality) until someone decided it was.

    I know simple minds crave simple answers, but this issue is very complex and can go many different ways. Especially since Justice Kennedy based the majority opinion in Obergefell on emotion and completely ignored 50 years worth of equal protection jurisprudence by refusing to place gays in any kind of suspect class or to offer any guidance as to scrutiny issues as everyone in the rainbow camp was hoping he would.

  • Shawnie5

    “It is disputed within Islam whether beards are mandatory.” It’s disputed, for it’s not in the Koran, but there is a recognized historic faith tradition concerning it which dates from the very origins of the faith. Not so for segregation — the “biblical” arguments surrounding it were made up out of whole cloth for patently social reasons during the 19th century. It has no recognized roots in historic Christianity –neither scripture nor tradition.

    Examination of faith tradition, far from being off-liimits, was central to Wisconsin vs. Yoder decision: “In sum, the unchallenged testimony of acknowledged experts in education and religious history, almost 300 years of consistent practice, and strong evidence of a sustained faith pervading and regulating respondents’ entire mode of life support the claim that enforcement of the State’s requirement of compulsory formal education would gravely endanger…the free exercise of respondents’ religious beliefs.”

  • Larry’s Other Face

    By the hurling of the invective, we have officially reached the point where discussion has gotten silly.

  • Larry

    Well that missed the point by a wide margin.

    Nobody has ever decided that the 1st Amendment permitted one to engage in deliberate harmful actions against others. Something you claim your religious freedom permits.

    In fact on numerous occasions courts have ruled that it specifically does NOT protect such things. Some examples:
    -Ultra-religious parents are not allowed to keep life saving care from their children
    -Burning a cross on the lawn of a person without their permission is still illegal even if it has a sincere spiritual basis
    -Freedom of association and assembly did not obviate compliance with the Civil Rights Act
    -Human sacrifice is still illegal
    -Ritual abuse of people and animals is still illegal
    …The list goes on.

    No, its not very complex. Its just one side is incredible dishonest and infantile. Those who look for excuses to discriminate seldom don’t have legitimate sane arguments.

  • Larry

    You miss the point (deliberately avoiding it).

    It is never the job of our legal system or laws to evaluate the nature of a given religious belief. Such evaluations always invite sectarian bias and discrimination. It simply acknowledges a belief is of a religious in nature as claimed and moves on to the effect and the applicable laws limiting them.

    Sincerity of belief is far too subjective to bother with. Your opinion on the “Biblical validity” of such beliefs would not be heard. For all intents and purposes its an irrelevance.

    Religious freedom means are government never acts as the defender or definer of the faith of others. Again, it is useful to point out how religious freedom appears to be invoked by those who have no appreciation or understanding of its meaning and effects.

  • Larry

    Bigot, bigot, bigot. 🙂

  • Dominic

    You are just stupidly informed, Larry. There is no biblical source for race discrimination, since race is not sinful or good….it is a color of skin. Fundamentalists are responsible for inferring that Blacks are inferior to Whites…but they made up those inferences just as you make up false “research’.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    That guy who whines about social issues over at NR is a “constittutional lawyer”? Just like Ted Cruz?

    In that case the “comedian” who deconstructs French’s hatemongering definitely has the upper hand.

    -George Nixon Shuler, Junction City KS

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Smile when you say that, pardner. -George Nixon Shuler, Junction City KS

  • Dear Commenters,
    I have always had a policy of letting you say whatever you want in your comments. But name-calling (e.g. “bigot, bigot, bigot”) serves no useful purpose so far as I can see. From now on I’m going to suppress comments where you direct such language at each other. You can continue to call me what you like.
    Mark

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Only if they’re on the make and on the take with right-wing religiosos to aspire to the position of “dark-skinned person who sits where he/she can be seen by viewers and meda.” Oppression is oppression, e dicho. Just because you are prejudiced against some victims of it does not mean it does not occur. -George Nixon Shuler, Junction City KS

  • George Nixon Shuler

    You don’t have to behave how we would have you behave. However, if you don’t, you are absolutely subject to criticism. What persons like the butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers who want the right to insult LGBTs is that nothing can take that right away. But what they want is to be able to do so free of criticism and that ain’t happening. -George Nixon Shuler, Junction City KS

  • Shawnie5

    “Sincerity of belief is far too subjective to bother with. ”

    In your opinion, perhaps. But the fact remains that the SCOTUS HAS bothered with it on more than one occasion.

  • Shawnie5

    How about “lying sack of crap?”

    If that’s out, then the bandwidth consumed by your comments is going to be cut in half by the absence of one particular poster.

    OK, couldn’t resist. Go ahead and delete my post. 🙂

  • Shawnie5

    And we return to the original point. Wash, rinse, repeat…Sigh.

  • OK. Enough.

  • Larry

    Which was that the excuses for discrimination here are no more valid than the ones used in days long past. 🙂

  • Larry

    They didn’t even do that in Yoder. In every case you can come up with, the Court simply accepted the notion that the practice in question was religious in nature and moved on from there.

    Courts desperately avoid miring themselves in the morass of figuring out whether someone’s claimed belief is “sincere”. You can’t come up with a single example where SCOTUS ruled a practice wasn’t really a religious belief. Please by all means, give an example of your assertion.

  • Not so, Larry. Here’s a good short article on the subject: http://www.stanfordlawreview.org/online/questioning-sincerity. Note: “These examples show that courts have meaningful experience questioning religious sincerity. This experience has also demonstrated that courts are best able to examine sincerity “where extrinsic evidence is evaluated” and objective factors dominate the analysis.[30] First, courts look for any secular self-interest that might motivate an insincere claim.[31] In Quaintance, for instance, the defendant’s desire to avoid prison and continue selling drugs offered an obvious motive to fabricate religious belief.[32] This factor is particularly probative where the purported religious belief arose only after the benefit of claiming such a belief became apparent.[33]”

  • Larry

    From the same article:

    “It is broadly accepted that the judiciary has no business evaluating the moral truth underlying religious claims.”

    “As courts face RFRA claims from for-profit corporations, they can and should evaluate the factual sincerity of asserted religious beliefs as they historically have done in other contexts. Doing so certainly involves risks that courts will improperly slip into questions of verity or centrality…”

    Evaluating “sincerity” is a minefield created by the RFRA which did not exist before. (The RFRA does not apply to claims to support religious based discrimination). In many ways it will be the death knell of that law.

  • Shawnie5

    “the Court simply accepted the notion that the practice in question was religious in nature and moved on from there.”. If tgat were all they did, they didn’t need to call “acknowledged experts in religious history” for that. Go back and read.

    “It is broadly accepted that the judiciary has no business evaluating the moral truth underlying religious claims.” . We’re not talking about moral truth underlying religious claims. We’re talking about the legitimacy of a belief’s claim to an actual place within a recognized faith tradition. Keep the two straight. You’re floundering on this as badly as Max is floundering on another thread about credibility vs authenticity.

  • Shawnie5

    No, the original response was false equivalence. Gosh, Larry, learn to read!

  • Jack

    If you’re drinking moonshine, perhaps, but for those of us who are sober, it’s quite telling that Silk linked to French’s article — because he had to — without addressing any of his points.

  • Jack

    In other words, all Americans who are to the right of the festering fever swamps of LarryLand are — according to Lord Larry — bigots.

    If that’s not projection on steroids, I don’t know what is.

  • Jack

    At some point in this debate, common sense left the room.

    No matter how you slice it, there is something seriously wrong when you arrive at a point where you’re justifying legal punishment for someone who refuses a particular request from a customer only because of the nature of the request, as opposed to refusing to serve a customer, period, because of who or what the customer is.

    No matter how hard you try to justify the way you got there, or assert the supposedly impeccable legal logic that got you there, it is a very bad place to be if you are American and have a high view of freedom.

  • In other words, Jack, you would support the Free Exercise right of a baker to refuse to create a wedding cake for a mixed-race couple with legal impunity. So be it.

  • Glenn Harrell

    We would have supported the Free Exercise right of Ashley Madison to refuse service to Mr. Duggar on the basis that he is a self proclaimed hypocrite. (race, color, religion, national origin, sex–let’s add no sex and hypocrisy). Jack has this thing right. “Common sense left the room”.

    The new force to be reckoned with is the one that gets to say, “We’re going to force you to believe and behave the way WE say is right.”

    The previous land owners for this house of cards, Judaeo and Christian, have finally been shut down.

    The band has a “Standard of Excellence” as music notation keeps the musician in check. Standards for human behavior are now eroded such that Free and Right and Exercise are become arbitrary thoughts with multiple owners–all fighting for the right to their definition. And each one has a fancy lawyer by his side.

    Prejudiced bakers are the least of our problems.

  • MarkE

    So, Shawnie5, how about this:

    “In July 2012, Craigstein and Mullinberg visited Masterpiece, a bakery in Lakewood, Colorado, and requested that Phillips design and create a cake to celebrate their Jewish wedding. Phillips declined, telling them that he does not create wedding cakes for Jewish weddings because of his religious beliefs, but advising Craig and Mullins that he would be happy to make and sell them any other baked goods. Craig and Mullins promptly left Masterpiece without discussing with Phillips any details of their wedding cake.”

  • George Nixon Shuler

    That’s because French’s whining was so entirely ridiculous. french made no rational points at all, just displayed a game of Eric Berne’s “Ain’t It Awful?” which, when you think about is the entirety of the right-wing business plan these days. -George Nixon Shuler, Junction City KS

  • George Nixon Shuler

    I’ve met many people who when discussion comes to same sex marriage and if someone else mentions a comparison with interracial marriage, they will eaily say “Oh, I’m against that, too.” This is the sort of “authenticity” which leads some to become enamoured of Donald Trump’s ridiculous proposals for U.S.-Mexican relations, for example. -George Nixon nShuler, Junction City KS

  • Jack

    Mark, I am not an attorney, let alone a constitutional scholar, but despite the cases cited in the exchange I read from yesterday, I don’t perceive anything in the letter or spirit of the Constitution that would absolutely bar a court from making the real-world, practical distinction Shawnie advocated. I’m referring to the distinction between an instantly recognizable, inescapably religious belief about marriage that is central to three-and-a-half millennia of classical Judaism and two millennia of Christianity, versus a racist belief about marriage that rests on no particular religious belief and that has no equivalent historical connections to any faith tradition.

    Again, I understand the legal arguments to the contrary, but they require us as a society to pretend we don’t know what we do know — that there is a distinction as clear as day between the nature and history of the two beliefs.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    So your intention then is to parse the exact nature of the transaction in order to appear pro-civil rights. That doesn’t work; discrimination is discrimination, period. The baker who refuses to bake a cake for a same sex wedding cannot reasonably claim any higher ground than the owner of a 1950’s diner (I guess I should clarify meaning in the actual 1950s, temporally) who refuses to serve African-Americans. In both cases, the proprietor is exercising discrimination and acting wrongfully. There is no religious excuse for either despite claims to the contrary. Bad behavior is bad behavior. -George Nixon Shuler, Junction City KS

  • George Nixon Shuler

    I believe your assertion that antigay bigotry is supported by tradition, and concurrent suggestion that racial prejudice is not, is in error. The apologists for the Confederate States make th exact same claims of certainty and false authoriteh that you do. -George Nixon Shuler, Junction City KS

  • Jack

    Wrong, Larry. Your use of the human sacrifice example reveals your lack of understanding of First Amendment rights — religious freedom, yes, but also the other ones. None of these rights include the right to commit or incite violence.

  • Jack

    That’s your opinion, George. I would have preferred real engagement with the French article.

  • Jack

    Wrong, George. Reread my post, but first check your emotions at the door.

  • Jack

    Wrong again, George….on two counts.

    First, you’re equating a refusal to provide a particular service requested by a customer with a refusal to serve that same customer under any circumstances because of who or what that customer is. The two are clearly not the same.

    Second, you’re equating one belief which not only has an inescapable and well-recognized connection to a specifically religious, 31/2-millennia-old, tradition but is one of its two or three core, defining beliefs, with another belief, more political and social than anything else, which has no equivalent connection, but which, at best, awkwardly attached itself to that tradition at a particular time and place..

  • Shawnie5

    Perhaps you can tell me where exactly in the Bible or in any Christian tradition do we find a belief that it is a sin for Jewish people to marry? Because I for one have certainly never heard of it.

  • Larry

    Shorter Jack: But our prejudice is different, so we should be able to discriminate!

    Of course for up unto about 50 years ago only 4% of Americans believed interracial marriage was OK.
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/163697/approve-marriage-blacks-whites.aspx

    As I said from the outset, those who want to discriminate today are simply forgetting how they used to discriminate. Selective revisionism.

    The arguments for this christian based discrimination are universally garbage. Hence the reference to the nonsense “special request” analogy. An argument which is easily shot down by looking at the facts of the incidents in question.

    Just because one has come up with verbose excuses for their prejudices, doesn’t mean it has to be respected by law. it certainly doesn’t mean that laws have to be bent or rendered null. Discrimination is a far greater harm to the public than the hurt feelings of malicious vendors.

  • Jack, you are wrong in thinking that “special requests” had anything to do with what happened in any of the publicized incidents. A “special request” would not have run afoul of the anti-discrimination laws and would have formed a decent defense. But in all of those cases, the triers of fact found that was not the case.

    Its telling that you have to play fast and loose with facts to support your position here. Tradition is not a compelling argument for any kind of government action. Least of all for making discrimination legalized.

  • low-tech cyclist

    I realize I’m late to this party and everyone’s gone home, but:

    1) How does a court of law definitively distinguish beliefs that are genuine Biblical Christian faith from those that are social taboos for which biblical-sounding arguments have been invented?

    Lord knows we Christians frequently disagree over which is which; are we to expect a court of law to define our faith for us? (Forgive me, but I have a problem with this.)

    2) Why should a court of law regard “Biblical Christian faith” as the exclusively authentic Christian belief system, anyway?

    3) And even if the court recognizes “Biblical Christian faith” as the exclusively authentic Christian belief system, shouldn’t it recognize quasi-Biblical variants of Christianity as separate religions? After all, Christianity isn’t the only faith in town.

    It seems to me that bakers who believed that Christianity implied racial separation would still be allowed to discriminate on the basis of #3, if nothing…