Beliefs Law & Court Mark Silk: Spiritual Politics Opinion

Why can’t we accommodate florists denying services to gay couples?

Bouquet in an Arched Window, Ambrosius Bosschaert, circa 1618-1620.

I have some sympathy for Baronelle Stutzman, the Southern Baptist florist who lost her case in Washington State Supreme Court last month. Stutzman was sued for refusing to provide a gay couple who’d been her customers for years with floral arrangements for their marriage.

The court decided that such an exercise of her religious liberty was trumped by the Washington Law Against Discrimination — “a neutral, generally applicable law that serves our state government’s compelling interest in eradicating discrimination in public accommodations.”

I don’t doubt for a minute that Stutzman sincerely believes that making bouquets for the nuptials of Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed was against her religion. I don’t doubt as well that, so far as the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention are concerned, that belief is fully justified.

Sure, nearly two-thirds of Americans think small private businesses should not be permitted to withhold service from gays and lesbians on religious grounds, according to a new PRRI survey. But over half of white evangelicals think otherwise.

Can’t we find a way to accommodate them?

Some well-intentioned, pro-same-sex marriage people think so. One of them is Jacob Lupfer, who wrote a column over at Patheos asking that Stutzman not be financially ruined for taking her stand.

Much of the on-line pushback he got equated her behavior to racism; as in: “If you support this disgusting anti-gay bigot, then you must also be okay with a business declining to serve an interracial wedding.”

To which Lupfer responded in another column:

Believing that marriage is a man and a woman is not the same as believing that certain races are inferior or that people from different racial backgrounds cannot form a marriage. As a matter of religious objection, there is no legitimate way to argue from Christianity that marriage cannot exist between people of different races.

The problem is that, as a matter of legal objection, that’s neither here nor there.

Courts in America aren’t allowed to determine the legitimacy of a particular religious belief — i.e. whether a Christian is entitled to believe that interracial marriage is contrary to God’s will. All they can decide is whether the belief is sincerely held.

Once upon a time, there were lots of Americans who sincerely believed that miscegenation was against their religion, and I expect there are still a few who do. Some of them may even be florists (or bakers or photographers or invitation designers) who object to providing services to interracial couples on their way to the altar.

So here’s the issue.

If you think small business owners should be allowed to discriminate against any customer on the basis of any sincerely held religious belief, then fine. Be it same-sex marriage or interracial marriage or interfaith marriage or whatever marriage, the objecting service provider gets to have her way.

But if you want to forbid florists from refusing service to mixed-race couples but allow Baronelle Stutzman et al. to refuse service to a same-sex couples, you have to come up with some persuasive secular reason for considering discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation less deserving of legal protection than discrimination on the basis of race.

I can’t.

About the author

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service

250 Comments

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  • Because it is hypocrisy of the worst kind.

    I cannot deny cupcakes for a church event because I am opposed to the customer’s religion… tit for tat, goose and gander.

    Since those who follow religion receive the exact same accommodations protections, they deserve no exemption from the law.

  • Good topic for discussion about the nuances of what one can claim in order to refuse goods/services to others. There does however need to be a comprehensive discussion on exactly what constitutes civil rights, discrimination, as well as what the motives/rationalizations are that fuel all this. We as a society need to look at the meaty gray areas of this topic because it is there that most of the tensions/frictions occur.

    What I have noticed in the current manifestation of on going civil rights struggles is that for the most part people have a tendency to take a situation, like this issue with the florist or any situation in which someone has been denied something, and immediately turn the “victim” into everything that has ever happened to anyone in which they have been denied/discriminated against. They are turning the “victim” in to a Christ-like figure (less the divinity), in which the social sins large and small of the past are now embodied with this new “victim” incarnation. It does not matter what the incident was, it is now a metaphor for all the injustices of the past. Our whole social justice interpretations are like a spring that has been wound and wound, through delving into the injustices of the past, those outrages since recorded history began that people want to be absolutely sure never rise up again. So what do they do when something presents itself as being related to that which they have vowed to never let happen again, they pounce with the full force and weight that has been building. There is no gradation of discrimination, civil right violations, so all are perceived as equal to all injustices through out time and history.

    Therefore, if every “victim” has been designated a martyr equal to all “victim” martyrs in perpetuity, we must also recognize that the “perpetrators” through Newton’s Third Law, are similarly designated as the sum of all evil and are immediately put with every known tyrant/antichrist ever. So the florists, the wedding cake baker, to use the article’s example, are not just people that have a crisis of conscience, or are adhering to their beliefs, they embody every example of evil and all those evil deeds done throughout time. The “perpetrators” are now the ones who must take the wrath and vengeance that has no appropriate outlet, or as they would like to believe social justice’s divine and righteous retribution for their righteous satisfaction/pleasure.

  • Sorry, but the vendors aren’t having “a crisis of conscience”. They are using religion as an excuse to act maliciously to customers.

    Denying goods and services sold in open commerce based on the class of people of the customer is discrimination. A legally recognized harm to others.

    People who violate laws in order to harm others bring justifiable penalties upon themselves.

    It is just that simple.

  • If this is true then homosexual bakers should be forced to bake anti-homosexual cakes. If they don’t, then they should be sued.

  • I’ve written extensively on this before, so I won’t do it again now. Two points:

    We have laws at every level of government which forbid discrimination on the basis is of religious belief: yours OR mine. Why is this different, and why do a handful Of so called Christians get to determine that their religion excuses them from from obeying the laws, laws which they would scream bloody murder about if the same were applied to them.

    It’s very telling that this is the only place where this small handful of so called Christians claim a religious exception to the laws that they would otherwise not think of breaking– treating gay people the same as all of the rest of the people they believe are going to burn in hell forever.

    It’s funny how these good Christians think that being impolite, poor business people should somehow be rewarded.

  • I find this all so confusing sometimes. It’s discrimination by the definition.

    If you think discrimination is wrong, don’t do it. If you think God thinks its wrong, don’t do it.

    If you think God doesn’t want you to provide service to certain people based on who they are, ok, but don’t’ argue its not discrimination. Just own the belief. Just say “God wants us to discriminate”

  • bigots don’t like being called bigots. They refer to that as persecution and silencing them for their beliefs.
    But then, hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue,

  • I think the key concept regarding law, mentioned in the article, that makes your case, is “public accommodations”. That might be misconstrued to mean only hotels, motels, etc, but it really means in any business open to the public. That is, if a business is open to the general public, it must serve all equally (re the characteristics of race, religion, etc). So regardless of their beliefs, and they can believe anything they want, it is the practice of their beliefs (their actions) which, if they run afoul of the law, are prohibited. The same for pharmacists, licensed by the state, to refuse to sell contraceptive “morning after pills”, because of their religious beliefs. And, the same could be said for the dust-up over Muslim refugees and their “religious beliefs”. That is, they can believe anything they want, but there are certain aspects of common Muslim belief and practice in Muslim countries, which if practiced or promoted in the US, would violate US law, and should not be tolerated.

  • “But if you want to forbid florists from refusing service to mixed-race couples but allow Baronelle Stutzman et al. to refuse service to a same-sex couples….” You are confusing race with immoral behaviour that Christ condemned.

  • So you also believe that Ellen should have been charged with discrimination for stopping Kim Burrell from being on her show.

  • That is untrue.

    Asking for a tiered cake is not a demand for special messaging, nor is it a “demand” for “anti-christian” anything.

    Take the case of the printer in KY who refused to print shirts for Lexington Pride… he offered to sell them the shirts, but not put the requested messaging.

    He won, Lexington Pride lost.

    It’s not a complex concept.

  • They receive the exact same protections in the civil rights act. I cannot deny flowers/cupcakes for a church function based on the fact that I feel their religion is harmful.

    Why the hypocrisy?

  • She’s in business – the “entertainment business”, so should she not be held to the same standards?

  • Kim Burrell intentionally insulted the show’s host before her appearance to make cheap publicity. She is not a victim.

  • Her show is a private, invitation only, matter… it is the broadcast that is open to the public.

    Has she demanded certain people NOT be allowed to watch her show?

    Come on… this isn’t complicated.

  • It is the understanding of everyone but you that military service is entirely voluntary. Your analogy is beyond ignorant.

  • It was meant as a rhetorical question. Nobody has to fight in US wars unless they volunteer. We did away with compulsory military service over a generation ago.

  • The standards being that when an entertainer does something uncivil and brings bad publicity, they generally ruin their chances to appear on a show.

  • Not at all. You are immoral for trying to use religion to excuse and make your bigotry appear socially acceptable.

  • You have it right, but directed at the wrong people.

    Its bigots like yourself who want to deny people the right of access to open commerce and government services.

    Your right to discriminate in open commerce is the same as my right to burn a cross on your lawn or sacrifice your family to the dark lord Cthulhu. None whatsoever. Your right to religious expression ends when you are harming others in service of it.

  • You cannot be serious.

    Do you understand what “public accommodations” means legally? What “public accommodations protections” are?

    It has nothing to do with the US military (a closed, private organization, btw) in any way.

  • It just makes it silly and ignorant. Quakers were never actually exempt from military service either when there was a draft. Conscientious objectors still had to serve, but they were allowed to serve in non-combat roles. Many of which were just as hazardous.

  • And disinvited, no different than if I invite you to dinner at my hose and then disinvite you.

  • Ellen did nothing wrong. Kim Burrell brought the bad publicity and insulted the host publicly. Ellen’s show, she has no duty to tank her ratings and reputation with such a guest.

  • Exercising bigotry is not exercising religious liberty, it’s imposing religious intolerance. Word-smithing a message of hate and intolerance fools no one except the bigots who want the rest of us to play fool for them.

  • Your effort to conflate entirely separate issues just shows your lack of understanding and the overall weakness of your position.

  • The solution is simple; don’t watch. Next solution, stop boring the rest of us with your silly nonsense about the Ellen Show.

  • Your comparison is erroneous and a strawman. On what moral basis would you deny cupcakes for a church event? And this something you would normally do anyway?

  • Its not an accusation when the speaker is demonstrating it very clearly in their own words. 🙂

    The dumbest argument people bring up, is showing annoyance of the label of bigot without showing why it is somehow inappropriate.

  • Read more closely.

    “I cannot deny cupcakes for a church event because I am opposed to the customer’s religion.”

    The sentence assumes the speaker is in the commercial business of selling cupcakes to the public.

  • The same goes for your personal broad brush you paint in your bigotry against religion in general.

  • That would be stinging if it were remotely true. But I have no such bigotry.

    I do not oppose religion in general. If it works for people and doesn’t harm others, so be it. I am not an anti-theist by any stretch of the imagination. I oppose using religion as a pretext for harmful, malicious, and immoral behavior. “God says so” is not license to act like a miscreant.
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CLNoHWuWEAA6xv6.jpg

    So rather than get annoyed you are calling me a bigot, I simply demonstrate why it was not correct.

  • And again, thanks for demonstrating your bigotry. Here is your original post to Sandi:
    “You are immoral for trying to use religion to excuse and make your bigotry appear socially acceptable.”
    You accuse her wrongly and ascribe motivations that she is not demonstrating. You demonstrate your own bigotry by accusing her of using her religion as an excuse for her bigotry. This is not rocket science. I have given an explanation of this to you before in the transgender issues. You do not listen!

    Again, you say:
    “I oppose using religion as a pretext for harmful, malicious, and immoral behavior.”
    This is a bigoted assumption on your part!

  • I find the christian faith to be very dangerous, and it strongly goes against my conscience. Christianity does now own the concept of “morality” and I for one find it highly immoral.

    However, given the special protections given to folks who choose to follow religion, for me to do refuse said service based upon my sincerely held conscience and beliefs, would be a direct violation of federal law.

  • I don’t anyone who is in the business of selling cupcakes to churches, do you?
    A strawman!

  • Nope. Completely wrong on that part. Sandi hates gays and claims God says its OK for her to do so. Bigotry + looking for religious excuses.

    I don’t remember what you said about trans issues. But if it is similar garbage, I probably did not listen either. Probably more of the same whining and childish assertions.

  • That is highly subjective of you to talk of Christianity as “owning” morality! The Christian view is that God says what is Objectively moral, not by personal opinion!
    The protection of religion is an inalienable right written in the US Constitution itself as well as most State Constitutions.
    Any federal law written is subordinate to that and is suspect, Constitutionally when it is contrary to said Constitutions!

  • Essentially, it is claiming an argument that no one is actually making! Like a business that sells cupcakes to churches!

  • Of course this kind of false equivalency only serves one purpose: to make you feel better about being a bigot.

  • And that is faith, born of religion, not fact. I do not concede my morality to your god.

    The protections for religion in public accommodations do not come from the first amendment… that protects you from the government. Read the civil rights act (1964) and it’s 36 distinct mentions of religion to receive special rights. State constitutions are trumped by the supremacy clause of our federal constitution. The constitution contains zero accommodations protections for anyone, not even religion, in the context of privately held business. Thus, religion is oft mentioned in the Civil Rights Act.

    The first amendment has always had limitations… it always will have limitations. The overreaction of religious persons I find kind of silly.

  • “Protection of religion” is not the same thing as “Use religion as a pretext to harm others and break laws of general application.

  • On page 16 of the Washington State Supreme Court ruling, the Court holds that Barronelle had committed a violation of the 14th Amendment. Does the 14th Amendment give rights to gays,
    rights which Barronelle violated? We must go to revered Chief Justice John Marshall for the only proper method to determine the meaning of the Constitution.

    “The single question for consideration is whether the act of the State of [Washington] is consistent with or repugnant to the Constitution of the United States?…To say that the INTENTION of the instrument must prevail; that this intention must be collected from its WORDS; that its words are to be understood in that sense in which they are generally used by those for whom the instrument was INTENDED; that its provisions are neither to be restricted into insignificance NOR EXTENDED TO OBJECTS NOT COMPREHENDED IN THEM, nor contemplated by its framers is to repeat what has been already said more at large and is all that can be necessary.” This procedure is how scholars have always determined the meaning of a document.

    After the 13th Amendment was ratified, outlawing slavery, some former slave states denied black men the right to vote (it was illegal for women to vote in a national election). The 14th Amendment was passed to penalize severely any state which denied former male slaves the right to vote, as Section 2 of the 14th clearly states:

    “But when the right to vote…is denied to ANY of the MALE inhabitants…the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such MALE citizens shall bear to the whole number of MALE citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.”

    The 14th amendment’s intention had nothing to do with gays, since anti-gay laws remained on the books in the states for over 100 years. Those who wrote and ratified the First Amendment never intended that a religious person should have to help out with a gay marriage. Gay behavior was punishable by death in most states. There has never been an amendment guaranteeing rights to gays. No law can trump a Constitutional Amendment. Barronelle’s position, based on the “Free Exercise” clause of the religious freedom section of the 1st Amendment, was absolutely correct.

    Believing that your son is being immoral by having sex with his girlfriend is not bigotry, it is morality. Believing that gay marriage is immoral is not bigotry, it is morality. Morality is not illegal.

  • “Does the 14th Amendment give rights to gays, rights which Barronelle violated?”

    Yep, See Romer v. Evans (1996).

    “The 14th amendment’s intention had nothing to do with gays, since anti-gay laws remained on the books in the states for over 100 years”

    And this is why we look to the letter of the law and interpretations in the present, rather than conjecture of legislative intent over a century ago. Law is not the same as bible study. Equal protection under the law of the 14th Amendment means the law can’t single out a class of people for discriminatory actions without some major secular and rational justifications. None existed for gay marriage bans.

    There is nothing resembling morality in religious attitudes against gays or their marriage. There are religious inspired customs and malicious intent to harm gays, but no actual moral justification.

    “Barronelle’s position, based on the “Free Exercise” clause of the religious freedom section of the 1st Amendment, was absolutely correct.”

    Only if free exercise includes a right to harm others in the name of one’s faith. So that would include a right to commit human sacrifice, honor killings, burn a cross on your lawn, and burn down the houses of heretics and heathens.

  • It doesn’t matter what basis he would have to deny the cupcakes, that’s the author’s point. The courts cannot, as a matter of law, consider whether your religious beliefs are correct or “morally based.”

  • That is Silk’s exact point. The US courts cannot, as a matter of constitutional law, address the religious argument you’re making. They can only decide whether those beliefs are “sincerely held” and “religious.” If someone says they sincerely believe the Bible prohibits inter-racial marriage then the courts’ inquiry into what they believe is at an end.

  • She invited her to her show….booked an appearance, and then discriminated because she didn’t like Kim’s political opinion on something. Discrimination.

  • Christians don’t want to be discriminated based on their religion – which is a choice. Yet they want to discriminate against gays, who, based on medical and anecdotal information, are not gay by choice. This is selective discrimination. Do they inquire of straight couples if either if them are free to marry in the eyes of the Lord? Civil rights and just plain decency should trump religious freedom.

  • “Come on… this isn’t complicated.”

    It is when Sandi had reached a false conclusion and is trying to find reasons to justify it!

  • You missed the part in the middle where Kim not only insulted Ellen personally but made a big public stink about gays which would have alienated Ellen’s audience.

    Honesty is not your strong suit.

    Not only was it a sign of Kim’s craven need for publicity and personal bigotry, it was poor form as an entertainer. One does not have a right to appear on a talk show, it is a privilege which confers benefits upon the guest. One simply does not insult the host or audience prior to their appearance on a show and expect to appear.

    Your bigotry makes you not only malign people who are making entirely rational business decisions, but extol unprofessional behavior that would not be acceptable under any context.

  • I have it right. You were making an argument based largely on personal ignorance.

    If you want to see a good recent film on how my remarks played out in actual wartime, see “Hacksaw Ridge”. You consider Mel Gibson Christian, right? You should have no faith based objections to seeing his work.

  • Sandimonious doesn’t understand anything except that she loves jesus and hates gay people. Or maybe its the other way around hard ot tell.

  • There is nothing wrong with being opposed to ideas and philosophies. I am opposed to communism based on intellectual and moral grounds, so am I a bigot? I would be if I discriminated against a communist, insulted him or vandalized his property. I am opposed to many religious beliefs and ideas yet I defend an individual’s right to have them and practice them.

  • You are absolutely correct. Plus you are not maligning individual people or applying some prejudicial reason to treat them with malice.

  • During the draft you could apply as a conscientious objector. You could serve in uniform in a non-combatant role or serve a sentence working for the Forestry Service or other Federal agency. Or you could go to prison. Free to exercise your religion but not immune from the legal consequences.

  • Not an exemption. They still had to serve. You’re wrong.

    Watch the movie. You would like it. Mel Gibson may be a crazy SOB, but the guy knows how to direct battle scenes.

  • Thank you for understanding the classic rules of constitutional construction. That is a rare thing today.

    We know beyond any doubt what the 14th was intended to accomplish, both from the debates that surrounded it and the rulings of the SCOTUS of the generation that ratified it. The people never debated nor voted for a 14th that dealt with matters of gender — the people even rejected equal gender rights when the ERA failed to muster the number of states required for ratification. The 14th simply has nothing to do with gender and every SCOTUS has known this quite well, which is why they have hemmed and hawed endlessly over the last generation about exactly what kind of “scrutiny” it should afford gender but have never formulated a standard that anyone can count on.

  • On the contrary, Arbustin… courts can not consider whether your religious beliefs are “correct” or not but there is always a fact question involved as to whether or not the objection is actually religious in nature or something else altogether. Objection to interracial marriage was always on very flimsy “religious” ground since it never existed anywhere in the world until the American colonies outlawed miscegenation in the late 1600s.

  • My Jehovah Witness friends in South Carolina had to plant trees and do other work for the US Forest Service because they refused the non-combatant military option.

  • A gay baker who discriminates against straight couples could not afford to stay in business! The idea is no one should be allowed to discriminate – equal treatment for all and to all.

  • interesting…..thanks. So there is no new precedent being set for not forcing Christians to endorse immorality.

  • Right-wing Christians will never be satisfied with any mere accommodation. They want only full acquiescence. They seek dominion and nothing else. Give them an inch and they will take 3,000 miles, coast to coast. Let them get a foot in the door and get ready for the full home invasion. Offering compromise to those who will not accept it is extremely foolish.

    As for Jacob Lupfer, I say he is “pro-same-sex-marriage” like Good Cop is really on your side and wants to protect you from Bad Cop and his mean accusations.

  • No its not a “false equivalency “. Equal treatment under the law. Its bigots who don’t want this. Are you a bigot?

  • Nope. Same cake, different customers.

    I don’t know what you call an anti gay cake? Cakes are pretty neutral objects.

    Maybe overuse of butter cream?

    When some bigoted joker tries to set up a baker with some hateful message on it, the standard response is to offer to bake the cake and let the customer make the lettering.

    You guys stink at the equivalence nonsense. Your argument is stupid. Pretty much everyone other than malicious self absorbed christian bigots figure out ways to refuse service for ridiculous requests which don’t deliberately insult the customer. But Bible thumpers are so full of themselves they expect to be able to brazenly attack people without consequences. Nobody is buying it.

  • “Its bigots who want to deny people their rights”

    Correct. And you are one of those bigots.

    You said the right thing, but directed it at the wrong people.

  • Yes there is, the first amendment. Christians must endorse the immorality of recognizing the right of free exercise of religion of other faiths.

  • If we allow religious accommodation for religious reasons, EMTs, fire personnel, doctors, pharmacists, are among the many who could claim the same exemption.

    Public accommodation means ALL the public. Why is this so difficult for some religious people to comprehend? Like everyone else, I pay the taxes that provide this baker or that florist roads, street lights, fire protection and countless other services.

    This argument from religious people who claim victimization is the same whine that they have long sung.

  • How about this, when you can find an example of it happening anywhere in the country, then your argument will matter. Until then, it only exists in your fevered imagination. So there is no need to argue something that doesn’t exist.

  • You are the one who has trouble with the concept of open commerce. Nobody else wants vendors to attack their customers.

  • I would remind you (and Mark Silk) that Baronelle Stutzmann has served gay customers for years, and even employed gay employees.

    The only time she ever had to say no, was when a couple of gay bullies called on her to openly violate her own specific religious beliefs, and openly violate her own constitutional religious freedoms, by her clearly participating in an event — a gay wedding — that clearly and totally opposes the Christian religion at all times.

    Sorta like insisting that a Jewish baker produce a Swastika Cake (so that the county Aryan Club can do its Hitler Birthday Fest next week), on pain of government reprisal.

    By the way, the Supreme Court of my state would have ruled **against ** the gay bullies if they had tried their stuff here.

    Why? Because voters here never made the mistake of shooting down their own religious freedoms at the ballot box with proposed gay-activist legislation, that’s why. No slippery slopes.

  • We can’t accommodate florists for denying gay people their services for the same reason we can’t accommodate any business owner who wants to deny services to people because they are Jews, Christians, straight, black, white, or any other reason. If Stutzman didn’t want to do flowers for gay weddings, fine. Then she should have stopped offering flowers for weddings altogether. Problem solved. No one was forcing her to offer flowers for weddings.

  • ” …a gay wedding — that clearly and totally opposes the Christian religion at all times. ”

    I don’t know how you can say that.

  • Technically – no, it doesn’t. The Bible includes phrases which some people interpret as being against homosexuality.

    The Bible also includes phrases that are interpreted as encouraging and/or regulating (therefore tacitly approving) slavery, misogyny, genocide, murder, incest theft and rape.

    Why do you choose to promote what you see as the biblical view of sexual stereotyping and yet ignore many other, arguably socially much more important, positions?

    Is it possible that your priorities are wrong?

  • It would be interesting to imagine where humanity would be today if scientific discoveries/developments had to be accepted or rejected based on what the Bible teaches.

  • “Ellen creates victims each time she is on – she’s immoral.”

    Sandi creates victims each time she comments – she’s imbecilic.

  • Or she could have uttered the magic words, Which when said with a smile, immediately expel all discrimination lawsuits: “I’m sorry, but I’m booked. Why don’t you call so-and-so?”

    But no. Like all of these handful of wedding vendors who are so gawd awful stupid, she couldn’t be professional and smart. She HAD to parade her moral superiority and put them uppity homosekshals in their place.

    Gawd forbid that those people should think they are as good as she.

  • The 14th amendment is quite clear in its language. There is nothing in it, nor in the debate around its framing, that indicates that it is about anything EXCEPT equal protection of the law.

    The framers of the second amendment never contemplated assault weapons and cop killing bullets, either. But there you have it.

    Believing that gay marriage is immoral is certainly not bigotry. But preventing gay people from enjoying the same rights as immoral people like fornicating, adulterous, divorced newtie, making our way of loving a crime because you believe it offends you GAWD when it only offends you, and telling lies and inciting fear and hatred about people you don’t know and know nothing about in order to justify it…

    That certainly is bigotry.

    If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married, and your problem is solved.

  • There is a very good moral basis. You have the wrong religion. Believing the wrong thing about an obviously false god and calling it the truth is the height of immorality.

  • Isn’t it amazing that when your religion has been used to justify gross prejudice like racism and slavery, And is no longer able to do so, that the just proves that the religion was wrong at the time?

    It’s almost as if whenever the Bible says anything inconvenient, it must mean something else entirely, especially from the vanatage point of the past.

  • So then, when the state laws were passed banning marriage for gay people prevented the many denominations that support gay marriage from performing legal marriage ceremonies for their parishioners, that was an unconstitutional denial of freedom of religion?

  • Makes no difference what they did in the past. The act and intent was to deliberately demean the customers and deny them access to goods sold in open commerce.

    We can ignore you silly nazi cake scenario because it is a special request and not an ordinary product they usually sell to the public. Your analogy fails for a number of reasons you have been told before. A store saying “we don’t sell that to [email protected]” is no different from one that says, “n1ggers aren’t allowed to sit here”. Same type of belief. There is no reason it needs to be tolerated socially let alone legally sanctioned.

    The bakers discriminated in a way no differently from one denying a request for a cake for an interracial wedding or Hindu wedding. If you want sympathy for such discriminatory malicious cretins and such actions, get bent. They deserve none. They acted badly and you want to encourage further bad actions.

  • Apparently, the court disagrees.

    I find it ludicrous to believe this about her religious beliefs, Just as I find your antigay positions to have no justification in religion. I’m sure cottonelle did all kinds of atheist weddings, but I’m equally sure that she had no problems compromising her religious beliefs for people who reject them in their entirety.

  • “It’s almost as if whenever the Bible says anything inconvenient, it must mean something else entirely” LOL! That’s your song, Ben, not mine.

  • If anyone’s conscience would be troubled by involvement in some celebration of mine then I very much WANT them to decline honestly so that I (a) don’t inadvertently harm them and (b) can procure more enthusiastic service elsewhere. Win-win. I have never understood why anyone WANTS to force their money into unwilling pockets. Are they really as insecure as all that???

    “Do they inquire of straight couples if either if them are free to marry in the eyes of the Lord?” Having to inquire places the matter in a completely different category. Christians have been assuming the best whenever possible in such situations since Paul advised the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy about meat offered to idols. In the case of a same sex marriage however, there is no “best” to assume.

    Although I did once know a photographer who DID inquire about previous divorces, and nobody ever seemed to get angry about it let alone sue. More confident in their choices, I suppose, and undoubtedly with more important things to worry about.

  • You must be one of those who figured since Moses murdered someone that murder is acceptable. Homosexuality is a sin, as taught by Christ.

  • Not really. It makes no difference to you whether revisionist interpretations of scripture are TRUE or not, for you don’t believe in any scriptural truth in the first place. Your purposes in arguing about scripture are completely different.

  • As are yours. As are Cottonelle’s. As Are doc’s. as are Sandimonious’s. As are the Family Research Council’s.
    As are the purposes of everyone who argues against the full inclusion of gay people in society, the latter being free of the religious justifications for antigay discrimination that the religious are so happy to hide behind.

  • No one wants to force money into unwilling pockets. That’s yet another myth, another straw man. that so called Christians tell themselves to justify their unwillingness to treat others as they would like to be treated, to behave decently and amicably towards people they don’t wish to treat decently and amicably, and to obey they law that governs all of us– putting it in Christian speak, rendering unto caesar.
    When they refuse to do any atheist weddings, jesus denying non-Christian weddings, demon-worshipping Hindu weddings, then they might have enough consistency to demonstrate a principle.
    As I have told you before, trying to find exceptions to anti-discrimination laws merely underlines why we have them in the first place. Get rid of all religious discrimination laws and you might have a point. But you will also have a lot of so-called Christians howling about it.

  • No Sandi

    Moses never existed – he’s a character in a story.

    Christ? – possibly no more real than Moses – but even if the stories of Jesus are based on a real man you have no evidence of what he said, just more stories.

  • If the 14th Amendment had applied to people generally, then Myra Bradwell would not have lost her appeal.

    “Bradwell took and passed with high honors the Illinois bar exam.” But she was still denied the right to become a lawyer. She appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court and lost…as a married woman, since a married woman did not have separate legal existence from her husband and could not even sign legal contracts. Then, on a rehearing, the Supreme Court found that simply being a woman disqualified Bradwell.”

    She also appealed the case to SCOTUS. “Myra Bradwell appealed the decision to the United States Supreme Court, on the grounds of the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection provision. But in 1872, the court in Bradwell v. Illinois upheld the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision to deny her admission to the bar, ruling that the Fourteenth Amendment did not require
    states to open the legal profession to women.”

    Therefore, the legal profession was open to men, but not to women; there was no due process or equal protection for women under the Fourteenth Amendment. The 14th Amendment
    had only the limited protection specified in Section 2. Section 1 is only understandable in the
    context of Section 2; both sections applied only to male ex-slaves.

    A ruling of SCOTUS cannot overturn an amendment or change its meaning. Only the people, acting through their representatives at the national and state levels, can change an amendment’s meaning by another amendment through Article V of the Constitution. There is no provision in Article V or Article III for SCOTUS to make any such amendments or changes in meaning; that would be a perversion of the Constitution!

    https://www.thoughtco.com/myra-bradwell-profile-3529475

  • Where did God ever say that it was immoral for atheists to marry? Or Hindus? You guys continually confuse objection to the person with objection to the act.

  • Our purposes are to try to determine the will of God thru scripture in order to get closer to it. Yours is to advance any interpretation, no matter how implausible, that will serve the agenda of normalizing same sex behavior, since you believe there is no God behind scripture whose will we need worry about. Hence the absurdity of an atheist trying to weigh in in scriptural construction

  • But they are worshipping devils, those hindus. and worshipping false gods. And Cottonelle would be supporting their immorality, unless you are claiming that not worshipping the proper god is simple not a matter of morals.

  • Marriage itself is not an immoral act for Hindu OR atheist men and women. The same is not true of same sex marriages.

  • ????

    Sandi – Moses is a character in the same book of collected fiction as Adam & Eve, Noah, Jonah, David & Solomon, Isaiah, Elijah, Elisha, etc. etc..

    It was mainly written after the return from Babylon as an attempt at unifying the reconciled nation. That’s why it contains a lot of Babylonian beliefs such as the creation myths (suitably modified for monotheism). It wasn’t intended to be history as we understand the discipline today.

    Whilst we’re about it – despite a huge amount of money and effort (and not a little wishful thinking/mendacity) there is still no valid evidence for the Flood, the captivity in Egypt or the Exodus. We know that the walls of Jericho weren’t erected until hundreds of years after the Israelites first occupied what was an abandoned village. Reason (and the lack of evidence) demands that we accept that Lot’s wife wasn’t turned to a pillar of salt, the big fish didn’t swallow Jonah, Daniel never went into the lion’s den and Samson never lost his strength because of a fourpenny alloff.

    Most Christians in Europe (and many in North America) accept the OT stories for what they are without losing their faith. Why is your faith so threatened by reality?

  • I’ve been to a lot of hindu weddings. Marriage is a religious act for hindus, and in that act they call down the blessings of false gods, pray to false gods, invoke false gods, and deny Jesus by doing so. So Cottonelle would be aiding and abetting an immoral act by “participating”– her words AND YOURS, as I recall– in that immoral act. She’s telling those people that it is just fine that they worship false gods and damn themselves in the process.
    funny how her Christian conscience is jut not bothered by assisting people in going to hell. Equally funny how you prove my point about the bible saying whatever you need it to say whenever it is inconvenient for it to say what it obviously does: THAT PARTICPATING IN IDOLATROUS ACTS AND NOT ACCEPTING JESUS AS YOUR SAVIOR IS THE WORST SIN, blasphemy against the Holy spirit, some have said, condemned by the very same passage that allegedly damns gay people.

  • Not all of it – but it seems I may know more about it than you.

    I repeat – why so insecure in your chosen version of christian irrationality?

  • Just as absurd as a so called Christian weighing in on on what they thought someone wrote in a book 2000 years ago. A someone a universe away from us in language, thought, Outlook, culture, morals, science, and understanding, and en claiming at the only time god ever spoke was hen, and not since.

    When are we going to do away with the alleged authority of these ancient books, and the untold misery they have inflicted on humanity for 2000 years, justifying through the word of god what cannot be justified by any other means?

    Look at the venom and hatred published on these very pages.

    No, you won’t.

  • “A someone a universe away from us in language, thought, Outlook, culture, morals, science, and understanding.” God is the same. His creative design and purpose is the same. Human nature is the same. Christ knew in AD 33 everything that we know in 2017 and more. The world hated Him then and it hates Him now, for all the same reasons. I have seen zero reason to discard any part of the gospel.

    “When are we going to do away with the alleged authority of these ancient books, and the untold misery they have inflicted on humanity for 2000 years, justifying through the word of god what cannot be justified by any other means?” LOL! You think the world would turn into some kind of paradise if we “did away with the ancient books?” Was it a paradise BEFORE anyone ever heard of the ancient books? Here’s a clue, Ben: it was mostly a stinkhole. In that world, nobody needed to “justify” any treatment of you whatsoever because outside of your own little group, whatever it may have been — family, tribe, or nation– you had little or no value. Period. That universal assumption changed, imperfectly but definitively nevertheless, at a very specific point in history, and I for one have no desire to return to the previous condition, for we have seen what you guys have created every time you tried to “do away” with the ancient books and it’s invariably the same stinkhole. No thanks.

    But I will congratulate you on one thing: your call to do away with the ancient books is infinitely more honest, both morally and intellectually, than your usual call to mangle and mutilate them. I applaud your step toward sincerity.

  • “for we have seen what you guys have created every time you tried to “do away” with the ancient books and it’s invariably the same stinkhole.”

    And we STILL have the same stink hole, as your faith has been used to justify every single bit of human misery you can dish out. Yes, you fought against slavery, but you also condoned it. Yes, you talk about grace and forgiveness, but that is no more present in the Christian heart than it is anywhere else. You talk about what you think god might have said on the subject of what might be homosexuality, at least as it was understood 2000 years ago, and you use that justify gay kids hating themselves so much that they kill themselves.

    People like doc and Sandi and JP revel in that hatred. and you? I think you are a class way above them, and I’ve said as much before. But I also think you are so wrapped up in your self righteousness and being god’s BFFF, your very own whited sepulcher, that frankly, you really just don’t care about what the likes of them do to people like me, or to any of the other people that they have decided are beneath them. You just congratulate yourself on being one of the True branches of the faith, the one that won’t be pruned away.

    And the rest of you god botherers, whether Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, or other, are no better than that, no better tHan the atheists you happily malign. Religion is not what makes you better, and certainly not better than anyone else, DESPITE YOUR BELIEFS TO THE CONTRARY. People who are good, kind, decent, friendly and loving people– and I will include myself in that, as well as a number of Christians I know and love– are who we are not despite our atheism, not because of it, but because THAT IS THE KIND OF PEOPLE WE ARE.

    how you or anyone reads the Bible is not dependent on what the Bible says or doesn’t say, but on the kind of person You are. And for those who use it as a weapon, as they have for 2000 years, and call themselves holy, I can only agree with you:

    NO THANKS.

  • “THE KIND OF PEOPLE YOU ARE,” Ben, is a westerner so steeped in western values and ideals that have been around for so many centuries that you take them completely for granted, never thinking of where they come from, and actually think you would be exactly the same had they never arisen at all. I’m sure Aristotle considered himself a good, kind, friendly, decent, friendly and loving person as well when he declared that “Justice is equality, but only for equals.” And in all likelihood good-kind-decent-friendly-loving you would have agreed with him then (except perhaps when he was dismissing your sexual preferences as a “diseased thing”) as well as good-kind-decent-friendly-loving me and good-kind-decent-friendly-loving everyone else here — this was the premise, after all, upon which the whole pre-christian world operated. Because the truth is that none of us are naturally all that good-kind-decent-friendly-loving at all. 5000 years of recorded history demonstrates that quite definitively.

    That is why Christ had to come.

  • And that Holy Word tells us that you are a false teacher, a worker of iniquity.

    The belief ‘homosexuality is sin’ produces evil fruit, and only evil fruit. In Matthew 7:15-23, Jesus tells us that false teachers are revealed by their evil fruit. Thus, the violence and brutality that are the natural and intrinsic expressions of ‘homosexuality is sin’ prove that it is an evil belief, and those who teach it are wrong.

    Further, allowing mixed-sex couples to marry, while forbidding same-sex couples to marry, is favoritism. Not only does the Bible tell us that God does not show favoritism, favoritism is forbidden to Christ’s followers:

    James 2:8-10

    8 You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.

    The moment you allow marriage for yourself and your peers, and forbid it to others, you sin, you break the royal law.

  • You cited Lev 20:13, claiming it was about homosexuals, and it demands the death penalty. You and your peers do not want to only live your lives peacefully, you want to brutalize and eradicate anyone who does not live by your beliefs.

  • Same-sex marriage is not immoral. Declaring that same-sex marriage IS immoral, at least for Christians. Favoritism, which you are showing, is forbidden. You cannot allow marriage for yourself, and deny it to your GLBTQ neighbors without violating the royal law.

  • “Believing that gay marriage is immoral is not bigotry,”

    Actually, it is. But only moral people would realize that.

  • ” You are confusing race with immoral behaviour that Christ condemned.”

    No. You are bearing false witness, which is immoral behavior.

  • No, it does not. But does teach against murder, and tell us that even thinking about murdering someone is sin.

    You cited Lev 20:13, which contains the death penalty, and claimed, falsely, that it was about homosexuality. That means you commit murder, in thought and word.

  • “You must be one of those who figured since Moses murdered someone that murder is acceptable.”

    Nice false witness, sandi. But if anything, your accusation really applies to you. When you cited Lev 20:13, with its death penalty, and said it condemns homosexuality, you committed murder in your thoughts and words. Some seven hundred million counts of murder.

    That creates the strong impression that you think murder is ok – if you are killing people to make your god happy.

    ” Homosexuality is a sin, as taught by Christ.”

    No, it is not sin, and Christ did not teach that.

  • And even though she’d taken their money before, she chose a time to attack one of the most personal and meaningful moments of their lives, and discriminate against them.

    That was pretty damned cold-blooded evil.

  • ” a gay wedding — that clearly and totally opposes the Christian religion at all times.”

    Nice fantasy. And truly heretical.

    Look at what you are actually arguing here. You are setting aside all of the key values in Christianity – from “love your neighbor as yourself’ to ‘justified by Grace through faith’ to Christ’s death and resurrection – and you replace it with the destructive heresy ‘homosexuality is sin’.

    You’ve reduced the splendid nuance and depth of Christianity, all the mystery and good, to your need to persecute and trample other people.

    Essentially, your religion is not Christianity, or Christ, or God, but your contempt for GLBTQ people.

    I’ve seen your argument many times before, it always fails under examination. Frequently, I asked people who make such a claim as you have, what they would do if a God, or Christ, or an Angel appeared and spoke to them, telling them that homosexuality is not a sin.

    I consistently get one of two replies. Either they duck, dodge, avoid, run away from the question, often by being as insulting as they can get away with –

    or

    they state that if God does not condemn homosexuals, God is not God. They won’t believe in a God that does not share their contempt for millions of human beings.

    So – which are you? If God appeared in your room this moment, and told you “Homosexual sex is not sin, homosexuals are allowed to marry” – would you reject God, or repent of your sins against GLBTQ people.

    Be honest.

  • So he would not violate anti discrimination laws and just act in a passive-aggressive fashion to the customer. Get that little bit of malice in there to feel better about having to render unto Caesar and love thy neighbor.

  • I know where the values came from. I know where racism, witch burning, gay hatred, religious bigotry, misogyny and a host of other evils came from. And I am aware that religion opposed some of these things, when it wasn’t busy promoting them, and when it wasn’t dragged kicking and screaming past the very things it promoted.

    So what’s your point? The usual one, that religion made us better despite our inherent evil? I don’t see any evidence for that. Our history as a species is our history as a species. Religion was a part of that. But it was neither the author of all that was good, nor the author of all that was evil. What is very clear is that it was not ennobled mankind, though it helped, nor what prevents us from advancing as a species, though it has contributed too much of a share of that.

  • The courts can indeed consider whether a belief is a “religion” or a “religious belief.” This was recently addressed in the case of a Nebraska federal prisoner who wanted services for his beliefs in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, aka Pastafarianism. The court determined that at least for the purposes of First Amendment prison law, the prisoner had failed to sufficiently assert that FSMism constituted a “religion.”
    That is a separate question from determining whether a belief is on “flimsy” religious ground. You may have good reasons for disagreeing with Christian opposition to interracial marriage but that doesn’t mean it’s not a “religious” belief. To bar their claim, the court would have to assess the correctness, not just the existence, of those beliefs.

  • If YOUR beliefs prevent YOUR lawful participation in ONE industry, it is YOUR responsibility to pick ANOTHER industry.
    No one is entitled to a special, religious, “right” to violate consumer protection laws that ban pernicious discrimination in public commerce.

  • No one is FORCED to follow the rules of football, because no one is FORCED to play football to begin with.
    When you CHOOSE to play football, you CHOOSE to be subject to the rules of football.
    No one is entitled to their own set of rules.

  • But…but…but…I’m a Christian! I’m special! You’re damned if you don’t realize how special I am!!

  • Millions of American Christians belong to denominations that ordain gay clergy and celebrate same sex marriages. Millions of American Christians belong to denominations that do not.
    Free American citizens are allowed to worship according to their own lights, and are not forced to obey the religious strictures of other churches.
    Same sex marriage isn’t “marriage” in YOUR church. It very much is marriage in OTHER churches.
    And LEGAL same sex marriages of all kinds are recognized in law and government.

  • You have the right to practice your religion.
    You don’t have the right to practice your religion on others.
    No right includes the “right” to harm others. Discrimination in public commerce is a harm.

  • Being “special” means you get a special, shorter, school bus.
    It doesn’t mean you get to break the law.

  • Businesses can likely get away with illegal discrimination in many different ways. But, in a very real sense, hiding the discrimination is admitting that something needs to be hidden, that what they are doing is not generally going to be seen as positive.
    But that isn’t the goal of these anti-gay businesses – they want to proclaim their “faith” driven bigotry proudly and in the face of the persons whom they deem unworthy of equal treatment.

  • As I always like to point out, though it isn’t original with me…

    Hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue,

  • 1 Corinthians 7: 2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.

  • Where does Christ tell us to murder these people, Mark? While you are looking for scripture endorsing homosexuality, look for that scripture also.

  • The question is not whether the belief is correct or not but whether it is actually religious in nature

    And I believe this has actually been considered by the court. It was always obvious that the ban on interracial marriage was not actually religious in nature because it did not ban all of them, only those involving whites.

  • Christian Love = Hate + self righteous preening.
    “Christian” being the modifier here which means it is less or an inferior form of the plain version.

  • What about big name fashion businessmen who openly advertise, even now, that they won’t make a dress for Ivanka or MelaniaTrump?

    Tom Ford, Zac Posen, Marc Jacobs, Naeem Khan, Sophie Theallet, Timo Weiland, Derek Lam, and Phillip Lim. For nothing more than their own political animus.
    Won’t make them a dress, won’t conduct business with them.

    Did you criticize their discrimination at all, Spuddie? Did Mark Silk, for that matter?

    Hmm?

  • The problem is that people equates “religious freedom” with “religion trumps all, everthing, everywhere and everyone (except believers)”. Business activities is not religous activities.

  • in what way is their work “open commerce” or the Trumps of a class of people covered by anti discrimination laws? They aren’t.

    Not nice or civil, but not in the same category here.

  • “Where does Christ tell us to murder these people, Mark?”

    Nice fraud. Where did I say that Christ tells you to murder GLBTQ people? I did not. I explicitly, and repeatedly, have pointed that the murder charges against you are based on your depraved and evil use of Levi 20:13, your claim that it condemns homosexuals.

    You are a mass murderer. If you actually knew Christ, you’d be over-come with shame and guilt, and eager to repent. But instead, you laugh and you yawn and you duck and dodge.

  • Again, sandi the mass murderer – where is the passage that affirms the name ‘Sandi Luckins’?

    You are condemned by the standard you use to judge others. You’ve made even your own name sin.

    Ducking and dodging, sandi, only proves that you are reprobate, devoid of morals or a reason based, logic based, Scripture based point of view.

  • It does not describe homosexuals. So you are a mass murderer, sandi. Murder is also condemned in the Bible with the death penalty.

    ” if they don’t repent, they will go to Hell.”

    That is your fate indeed, by your own declaration, if you do not repent.

  • “1 Corinthians 7: 2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each wo”

    This fraud again.

    “Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual
    relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.

    8 Now to the unmarried[a] and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”

    So sandi the mass murderer, Paul begins by acknowledging that it is good for a man not to have sex with a woman. Paul praises men who don’t have sex with you. According to Paul, it is good for a man not to have sex with you.

    Gay men, by not having sex with you, are doing a good thing. And notice, Paul does not say anything about a man not having sex with a man. This would have the most perfect time for Paul to say what you and so many other deeply evil people claim he says – and yet he did not.

    ” But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.”

    Some people have the gift of heterosexuality, others have the gift of homosexuality, others the gift of bisexuality. It is sin on your part, sandi, to want to kill hundreds of millions of people because they have a different gift than you do.

    Now Paul recommends that anyone who is not married at the time of his letter, remain that way. He only allows marriage if someone’s sexual hunger is so great, that if they did not marry, they would employ prostitutes.

    So – are you married? How badly did you want to employ a prostitute, that you gave up celibacy and married?

  • So you refuse to repent of your sin, and then slander me.

    Please repent, go and sin no more, or prove that you are a hypocrite.

  • Your sin not only condemns you, it proves that you cannot refute what I wrote.

    You know you are wrong, you know you are sinning, but you do so anyways.

  • Classical comparing apples and oranges. Skin color / race is something one is born with. Does not impact behavior beyond adoption of cultural values (which is an external influence.)

    Same gender marriage is a choice and a behavior.

    If we cannot legally accommodate a person of faith who believes their faith limits their ability to support another persons behavior (such as a same gender marriage) then we cannot accommodate any position on the basis of faith (including atheism). But of course we know the judicial system makes adjustments and accomodations for faith all the time, prohibiting this and allowing that. It has too because there are goign to be times when one person’s rights are mutually exclusive of another.

    Now when I read the Constitution I specifically find in clear black ink on white paper (more or less) that the government may not pass a law restricting the expression of religious freedom and practice.

    Strangely, I find nothing, not one drop of ink, that specifically mentions marriage including same gender marriages. Seems to me that freedom of religion should come first.

    To force someone to support the behavior of another person that they believe is wrong is nothing but tyranny.

  • Perhaps in the issue of church, state and marriage, we need to seperate the two rites. One is legally married by the state, but what the church does in defining marriage is left up to the church. So that one could technically be married in the eyes of God but not in the eyes of the state and vice versa.

    Still does not address the problem of forcing people who provide a service to support a behavior they find religiously wrong. All I hear are creative arguments for the restriction of religious freedom in the name of gay rights.

  • All I hear are creative rationalizations for the erosion of a clear principle: that state may not pass a law that restricts the practice of one’s faith.

  • That is the height of presumption. And tyranny. To utilize the law/government to restrict the religious rights of others because you are convinced it is “the wrong thing”, “an obviously false god” and “the height of immorality”.

    You sound just like other right wing radical nuts who wanted to restrict this or that behavior because they were convinced it was “the height of immorality”.

  • Perhaps the answer is to have a private, invitation only business. “This business reserves the right to invite into its place of service only those who meet the following conditions…”

    That would be comparing oranges to oranges.

  • Entrenched beliefs and interpretive frameworks are quite often defended at all costs, even the discarding of empirical and rational information.

  • And that is exactly what we have right now. A separation of civil marriage from lreligious marriage.

    They are not forced to do anything. Yet another right wing misstatement. They could accomplish everything they wish to accomplish by saying, “I’m sorry, I’m booked. Call so and so.” Or any of a half a dozen other ways that are perfectly legal and don’t even require this tiny, tiny, ittby itty little falsehood.

    What they are doing is demanding the special right of discrimination on the basis of religious belief. No one has that right.

  • America should be a place where people can marry if they want to and don’t have to if they don’t want to. People should have the freedom to chose how to live their lives as long as their behavior causes no harm to another person.

    America should also be a place where people are free to be religious (or not religious) as they chose and behave accordingly. As long as their behavior causes no harm to another person.

    Now the hinge is what is meant by “harm” for there is a big difference between harm and inconvenience.

    A doctor of a particular faith refusing to operate on another person of a contrary faith (who they believe worships a false god) would be a harm. A doctor refusing to perform an elective abortion would be an inconvenience as in most cases it can be provided by some other accommodation. A doctor refusing to perform an abortion where the mother’s life is at risk would be causing harm.

    A baker of a particular faith refusing to provide a “cake” or “cupcakes” or a poptart would be an inconvenience. It will not prevent the wedding, the service can likely be found elsewhere, and some other accomodation can be made. However, forcing the business owner to either violate his/her conscience causes internal moral harm and spiritual guilt (which a refusal to recognize could also be interpreted as a violation of the constitution on religion as the state is making a judgment value about this internal spiritual process, which interestingly enough is recognized in DSM5 as a valid human mechanism), And to put a person out of business with boycott and fines is to cause harm. The wedding couple can still be married if services are not provided. The owner of the business under these conditions cannot continue in business. For the one there is inconvenience. But the emprical evidence is this: the wedding is not stopped; food is not rendered impossible hence an inconvenience. But for the business the empirical evidence is this: monetary fines mount, the business closes. A person’s income is and quality of life is impacted in observable and measurable ways. This moved beyond inconvenience to harm.

  • Actually, the Supreme Court, has ruled that many have that right. For example, clergy cannot be required to perform a spiritual service outside their tradition or conscience.

  • Did you not made the judgement that a particular flavor of Christianity (or Christianity as a whole) is “the wrong religion”, “the wrong thing”, adhering to a “false god”, and the “height of immorality”.

    Presumptuous.

    If used as a basis for the restriction of religious freedom: tyranny.

  • That is because you are working under the rather boneheaded assumption that free exercise of religion entails a right to harm others in the name of your faith.

    So I take it human sacrifice, honor killing, child brides and burning widows would be OK as well. After all, they are practices of one’s faith.

  • “Paul begins by acknowledging that it is good for a man not to have sex with a woman” It’s in quotations. He was quoting someone.
    Homosexuality is a sin, not a gift.

  • And so you provide evidence that on matters pertaining to religion, civil discourse, government, freedom of religion and so forth, your conclusions are going to be driven by the conclusion that you find no value in Christianity and so have no problem with the restriction of religious rights for Christians.

  • It’s true I find no value in Christianity. But then, I’m an atheist, and find no value in anyone’s religion. other than that, you’re dead wrong.

    I have no objection to religion, other than I think it is anti intellectual and silly. However,. If it makes your life better, and you a better person, I’m all for it. Not something I would choose for myself, however. And unfortunately, as you can read in all of these remarks, it doesn’t make a lot of people better. And when it is used as a weapon, it makes other people’s lives worse.

    I am a big supporter of religious freedom. I’m 100% in favor of the first amemdment, What I’m not a supporter of is using the civil law that governs all of us to force the purely theological concerns of the religious onto people that don’t share them.

    Believe whatever you like. If the government were to actually attempt to restrict your ability to worship as you choose, this gay atheist would be standing right next to you, defending your rights to believe what you wish.

    But that doesn’t mean that I will support your right to discriminate against others on the basis of religious belief. That’s not a right, it’s a free pass to hide behind your religion. That I will not grant.

  • Freedom of religion for gay people, and the many religious people, rabbis, ministers, churches, synagogues, and entire denominations that support us, has NEVER, EVER been a concern for fundamentalist Christians.

    Freedom of religion should come first. But only if you define it as freedom for your sort of Christian to run roughshod over the freedom of fait, or non faith, for that matter,of others.

  • Assuming you meant “freedom from” rather than “freedom for”, I do not advocate for the freedom of religious people to run roughshod over the freedom of faith of others.

    That is exactly the point. The freedom of a person who sincerely believes same gender marriage is wrong according to their religion is just a valid as the freedom of the two people who believe nothing is wrong with it. Just like they should have the freedom to live their lives according to the conscience (as it is not the place of the government to play God in judging religious/spiritual matters) so too the person who is providing a service (aka a cake) should not be required to violate their conscience in being required to perform said service (a behavior) to support a behavior they find religiously objectionable. If one’s side’s faith/belief/conscience matters, then so does the other side.

    For the government to force religious people to act in such a way that they are required to do something violating their conscience is a form of tyranny. It may be necessary in cases where said action or inaction is required by the government because lack of action or presence of action can cause true and genuine harm. But the lack of a cake is more a matter of convenience and offense than true lasting harm.

  • Your last paragraph is exactly the issue. That first word “but” is significant, in that it indicates that one can dismiss all that has just been said because here is the main point.

    You are comfortable with using civil authority to judge a religious person’s motivation and require a religious person to violate sincerely held belief and conscience because you presume the right to equate their objection to “discrimination”. Religion is fine with you as long as it does not have a cost for you. But in society because we exist interdependently there is often a cost to be paid for interactions. You would have the religious person bear all the cost associated when their rights bump up against yours. If a religious person who holds that same gender marriage is wrong (who has a Constitutional right to be religious) bumps up against a same gender couple (who the courts have ruled have a constitutional right to marriage) you automatically discount the rights of the religious person because according to your interpretive matrix they are “discriminatory” and can’t be anything otherwise. You are comfortable with using civil authority to impose a requirement (hence abolishing or negating the right of the religious person) for the right of the same gendered person. You would suggest the same gendered couple’s rights always are of greater paramount than the religious rights of those who might oppose them because in your interpretive matrix you see no value to such discrimination and you value same gendered rights.

    In truth the issue is far more complex than this. If you step back and zero out personal preference you have two conflicting and exclusionary sets of rights.

    Who experiences the greater harm if the civil authority steps in and renders a judgment.

    The same gender couple who have to find another baker or heaven forbid have to have a wedding without a cake (but the wedding goes on) or the religious baker who must either violate his/her conscience, incur guilt, the wrath of their god/God/diety/Other, or holding to conscience winds up losing their business because of fines and so forth.

    I don’t believe you actually support the first amendment, unless of course it doesn’t cost you anything.

  • That would be easier than you think. Churches who exclude LGBT or who promote the fraudulent practice of so-called “reparative therapy” against LGBT youth should be boycotted in every possible way as totally reprehensible groups. No cupcakes, ever.

  • I will have to answer you when I have far more time. But for now…
    It is very telling that this is the only place such religious people– a very few– have a crisis of conscience: when they have to behave without animus, decently, and politely to gay people. They don’t require that with demon worshipping hindus, jesus denying jews, Christian god rejecting muslims, or any of the other people whom they believe are going to burn in hell forever.
    That’s the question you need to address.

  • From a personal point, in a broad stroke, I would concur with you. But I think two points relevant to the conversation.

    1. The Court (including Supreme Court) has ruled it does not have the authority to judge the validity of the content of a belief system or its practice.

    2. Treating a gay person with respect (hence selling them a cake even though they are gay) is different from requiring a religious person to provide a service that facilitates a ritual (such as a wedding) they believe their religion denotes as “a sin”. It would be similar to requiring a Jewish restaurant that caters to provide Pork or other non-kosher items for a wedding.

  • Its simple Constitutional ethics – a business can’t invited everyone to come and buy their wares and then reject some customers because their beliefs allow them to do things with their purchase that the business owner’s beliefs don’t allow. There can’t be a religious requirement the customer must have or do to actually buy the publicly advertised service, the customer’s own right to religious freedom shields them from any such test tossed their way.

    Some will talk about the ‘right of association’ but that is an implicit Constitutional right derived from the ‘free speech’ protections – we have a right to group and interact with people of like mind if we wish. The problem is these businesses haven’t put out a call to those with like minds, they’ve put out a call to everyone, telling anyone that wants to buy to ‘come on down’.

    If a service is in some manner a religious-specific service, the business owner needs to do that as a private membership club – find and refine the membership by any criteria – religious or secular – they choose and then make the invitation to come buy to just that membership, not everyone.

    But invite everyone to come buy and have a religious orthodoxy requirement the responding customer must have to actually make the purchase? UnConstitutional and illegal everywhere.

    Don’t offer something for sale to the public that the owner feels they can’t sell respecting the customer’s Constitutional rights. (yes, having beliefs that include marriage regardless of séx is a Constitutional right)

  • And that argument could have been used for the lunch counters, drive-ins, hotels, and other businesses that sparked the federal Civil Rights Act in the first place. And don’t think that the feds were the first with this idea, states had been passing civil rights statutes since the 1890s. In Washington state where Barronelle Stutzman’s business resides its been illegally to discriminate because of religion since 1949.

    And that argument doesn’t work in Washington anyway – the cardinal civil rights precedence case was about an African American man being denied the ability to buy a Slurpee at a 7/11.

    The ‘inconvenience is all right’ would reverse almost all civil rights statutes. Every customer has a right to NOT share the business owner’s beliefs about marriage and has since before the business opened.

    Can’t sell something to people of all beliefs, don’t sell it as a public offer, the simplest Constitutional solution there is. (case in point that is how Arlene’s Flowers LLC has operated for the last 4 years – they’re doing fine.)

  • Now when I read the Constitution I specifically find in clear black ink on white paper (more or less) that the government may not pass a law restricting the expression of religious freedom and practice.

    Yes, the customer has the right to have beliefs that include marriage regardless of the couple’s sexes, those rights are equal to the business owner’s to the contrary and the business owner when they advertised to everyone invited that customer with those beliefs to their door.

    As you notice, the government couldn’t even make a law that put the owner’s beliefs of over the customer’s and the owner invited the customer. That’s why these cases are ruled for the customer and not the business.

    if some service is something the owner feels is ‘religious’ they shouldn’t be offering it to the public – everyone – to begin with. If the owner feels the customers have to have certain beliefs to buy then the business must find the people with those beliefs first and then make just them the invitation.

    Once they have invited everyone it is too late to then whip out a religious requirement the customer must have or do to make the purchase, their own right to religious freedom shields them from any such test the business can toss their way.

  • Now I have some time to answer you. Sorry it has taken a while, but I wanted to give you the consideration you deserve.

    First, as to your point 1) about the court saying it does not have that authority. I generally agreee with that idea, although in a recent court case, the court did indeed rule that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is not religion, but satire. Yet they have made no such finding against Scientology, even though that is just as obviously made up as Pastafarianism, and not satire at all.

    As to point 2) it would not be even remotely similar to require a Jewish catering service to provide pork. The caterer in question does not sell pork or non kosher items. Requiring it to do so when it does to offer it at all would be an unconscionable intrusion into both faith and business.

    However, in the case of a baker, you would have to show there is a difference between a cake for a gay wedding and a cake for a straight wedding. There isn’t one. It’s a cake, and identical to any other cake the baker might sell. Where your point would have some relevance is if the client required the cake to have a printed message, perhaps saying “happy gay wedding!”. There I think a baker would be well within his rights to say no, but only in regards to the printed message, not in regards to the cake itself.

    MOreover, I also have to dispute your idea that a baker is “facilitating a ritual” they believe to be sinful. A wedding cake is for the reception, and has nothing to do with a wedding itself, let alone a religious ritual. It’s a cake. It’s for a party. There is no difference between that cake and any other party cake. It is not being used in any part of a ritual. Now do I see any religious tenet anywhere in the Bible that says “thou shalt not bake a cake for the wrong people.” I doubt if one could find anything anywhere that indicates hat one’s profession is a part of one’s sincere religious beliefs, either.

    You have the further difficulty with your example that I have yet to hear of such a baker denying a cake to 1) a heterosexual couple who were both divorced for any reason except adultery, or 2) an atheist couple who reject he notion of god entirely when the baker believes that marriage is ordained by god, and is a religious act, which is what you are positing, or 3) a Hindu or Buddhist couple who reject the idea of Jesus or the Christian god, who invoke false gods or even demons in their ceremony. Surely the rejection of the Christian god is a sin, and the invocation of false gods must also be a sin. But there seems to be no problem there, does there?

    In any case, there are a number of solutions to the problem, not one of which involve a public declaration that discrimination on the basis of religious belief is intended and just fine and dandy, starting with “I’m booked.” And if that tiny bit of falsehood is just too much for the hyper moral, there are additional things that they could say that would be absolutely true and not grounds for a religious discrimination lawsuit. “I’m uncomfortable around same sex displays of affection, but I will do my best for you.” “I will be happy to do your wedding, but I will donate all proceeds to the following antigay organizations.”

    We have laws that every level of government which forbid discrimination on the basis of religious belief in the area of public accommodations, of which a cake baker is certainly one. The real question to answer is why an exception must be made in this case, and this case only. As I said earlier, it is very telling that this is the only case where someone’s religious beliefs are offended. I can say this with absolute certainty because I was a wedding photographer for 30 years.

    That is the question I would like YOU to answer. Why is THIS case different? I can tell you the answer to that: we are dealing with a deeply ingrained social prejudice, often given the thinnest veneer of respectability by calling it sincere religious belief, but which is obviously not what it is about. It is a prejudice so deeply ingrained that fathers will not kiss their sons lest someone thing that something is a bit queer. I know my father did.

    No wedding vendor would ever say to a Hindu couple ” your failure to believe that Jesus is your savior is an unforgivable sin and well damn you to hell forever.” and that is because it is just flat out rude, and indicates a contempt towards those Hindus. The contempt is obvious when it comes to gay people, which is why those so called Christians must needs inform the gay couple about their “immorality” and “sinfulness”.

    Either non discrimination laws are applied equally, across the board, or we should just get rid of them. Finding exceptions to them merely underlines why we have them in the first place.

    I’m taking the trouble to provide this answer to your questions because even though we frequently disagree, I think you are posing objections which are legitimate from your point of view. All we are asking is to be extended the same courtesy and respect which fundamentalist Christians routinely and without objection extend to all of the rest of the people they believe are sinful and going to burn in hell for their sinfulness. Again, the question is, “why is this case, and this case ONLY, different?”

  • The government didn’t force the business owners to offer the public something they ‘feel’ they can’t sell to the responding public while respecting their civil rights, that was a freely made choice on the business owner’s part.

    If they can’t sell something to people of all faiths, they shouldn’t be offering it to the public which is composed of all faiths.

    If they can only sell something to people of certain faiths then its their obligation to find those people first and then make the invitation to buy to just them. That can be done by making a membership organization or a targeted non-profit in my state. What they can’t do is invite everyone and then reject some customers because their beliefs allow them to do things with their purchase that the business owner’s beliefs wouldn’t. The customer’s own right to religious freedom shields there from such religious discrimination.

    And yes, many beliefs hold that couples can marry regardless of the their sexes.

  • No one squeals as loudly as a Christian who has been stripped of their rights to oppress someone else. As soon as someone tells them to behave themselves like civilized, decent human beings (as their supposed Prophet tried to encourage in his ministry), they hide behind the First Amendment and hope that it will enable them to treat others in ways they would never tolerate being treated. This kind of thinly-veiled systemic bigotry and hypocrisy, along with a thorough reading of the Bible a couple of times, creates more Atheists than anything else. Decent humans can only rationalize so much before they have to actually listen to their conscience, and that’s when the break with the church comes. It is just tiring waiting for the willfully-ignorant to come to their senses…

  • Begging the question is a logical fallacy. But your ilk wouldn’t know anything of that, would you? LOL

  • I just love my whole humanity, my struggles in life, my serving my country, and the love of my family to be reduced down into a single word buy an uneducated, anti-science, troglodyte. My life, and the lives of millions of others out there are not “behaviors,” or “choices” unlike your choice in a bigoted religion. Although if science proves the pious are in fact mentally ill it might not be a choice, just a disease in need of treatment.

    Don’t like that kind of sentiment sweetie? Awe, too bad. Your kind has been far worse to my kind than your petrified frontal lobe could ever comprehend. So the sodium chloride sprinkled in this little comment could be seen as a little taste of your own medicine.

    TLDR: F**K You!

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