Opinion

Redefining religious freedom as religious privilege

Hands of a same-sex couple. Photo by Nick Karvounis/Unsplash

(RNS) — The First Amendment Defense Act. It’s a name that Big Brother would be proud of, seemingly plucked from the bowels of the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s “1984.”

The Senate bill is not the bulwark its name suggests but the latest salvo in the ongoing attempt to redefine religious freedom as religious privilege. It does nothing to defend the First Amendment; in fact, it violates it.

To understand just how awful the First Amendment Defense Act is and grasp what a discriminatory disaster it would be for the country, we need to get back to the basics of the First Amendment itself.

The amendment is beautifully concise: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Those six rights — a secular government, free exercise of religion, free speech, free press, assembly, and petitioning your government — have two things in common. First, none is unlimited. Second, though not absolute, all six seek to protect the one absolute right that we do possess: the freedom of thought.

The First Amendment on the side of the Newseum building in Washington. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

It might seem odd for a constitutional attorney to point out that, other than the freedom of thought, all our rights can and should be curtailed in certain circumstances. But it’s true. Even the free exercise of religion can be limited. Look closely at the language and the amendment makes this clear. The free exercise clause prevents the government from “prohibiting the free exercise” of religion; it does not prevent the government from regulating conduct that might be religiously motivated. Free exercise can be burdened, encumbered, hampered, impeded, strained, and hindered — it cannot be prohibited.

For believers, this means that your right to believe cannot be impinged in any way, but your right to act on those beliefs can. This is where our conflict arises. The conflict is between belief and action. People can believe whatever they like. They are free to believe the voices they’re hearing in their heads are the voice of a god, or that thetans and evil spirits make us sad, or that the Earth is only a few thousand years old. They are even free to believe, as the owner of a Colorado cake shop does, that a guy named Jesus was a carpenter, and that he wouldn’t have made a bed for a gay couple.

But the right to act on those beliefs is by no means absolute.

The First Amendment Defense Act seeks to upend this enduring understanding of our rights. It elevates religiously motivated action to that same plane of absolute protection that has been reserved for the freedom of thought. The bill is not about protecting religious belief; it’s about protecting speech and action based on religious belief.

Yet the act does not extend this privilege to all religious beliefs. Under it, some religious beliefs are more privileged than others. In an unbelievable overreach, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and the other 21 co-sponsors of this bill actually singled out the religious beliefs that they deemed worthy of protection. Only two made the cut:

1. Marriage is between one man and one woman.
2. Sexual relations outside marriage are improper.

Singling out specific religious beliefs for entitlement violates, rather than “defends,” the First Amendment.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

As the two chosen beliefs make clear, the First Amendment Defense Act is not about the First Amendment; it is about legalizing discrimination against LGBTQ Americans in the name of a god.

But what about the bakeries and florists and other businesses who are “forced” to serve all customers, even those condemned by their faith? Isn’t this bill just allowing them to act out their faith? Remember, the right to act on religious beliefs is not absolute. Thomas Jefferson and the Supreme Court, writing 100 years apart, used the same obvious example to prove this important point: human sacrifice.

If a person believes a god is commanding them to sacrifice their child — as has been known to happen in the Bible — do they have a right to act out their faith? Obviously not. They can believe that command is real and divine, but they are not exempt from laws against murder because of that belief.

Nobody is telling bakeries or florists or any business that happens to be run by a Christian that the owner cannot hold or even express their beliefs. But just as belief is not a license to murder, it is not a license to discriminate.

We have anti-discrimination laws because, without them, businesses can and have made second-class citizens of entire races, religions, and nationalities.

Bigots have often justified discrimination by invoking their religious beliefs. In the 1960s, Maurice Bessinger refused to let a minister’s wife enter his South Carolina barbecue joint because she was black. He believed that “serv(ing) members of the Negro race … would violate his sacred religious beliefs.” The lawsuit against him made it all the way to the Supreme Court, where he argued that the Civil Rights Act was invalid because it “contravenes the will of God” and interfered with the “free exercise of (his) religion.”

Similarly, Bob Jones University, founded by and named after the evangelist and broadcaster, denied entry to black students and lost its tax-exempt status as a result. The school unsuccessfully argued that the discrimination was justified because it was based on sincerely held religious beliefs. This was in the 1980s.

Courts continually rejected these arguments, which attempted to situate the right to discriminate in the First Amendment. This bill is an assault on the First Amendment, not a defense of it, and likewise must be rejected.

Thomas Jefferson told us, “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” If religion mandates picking pockets, breaking legs, or discriminating against other citizens, it comes under the purview of our secular law. No belief, no matter how fervent, and no law, no matter how slyly named, should change that. There is no religious right to infringe the rights of others.

The First Amendment Defense Act is a bad bill. It should die a quiet death in the Senate Judiciary Committee, just as it did in 2015.

(Andrew L. Seidel is a constitutional attorney and director of strategic response at the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national state-church watchdog and nonprofit with 32,000 members. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Religion News Service.)

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Andrew L. Seidel

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  • Right-wing U.S. Christians have stood the concept of religious freedom on its head. They’ve turned it into a claim of their special right to enjoy liberties denied to anyone but themselves: freedom for me but not for thee.

    In essence, they are arguing for the right to bully targeted minority communities in the name of God, calling that bullying “religious freedom” — while denying religious freedom to anyone other than themselves.

    Andrew Seidel is right to call this an Orwellian inversion of everything the concept of religious freedom has previously meant in American democracy.

  • “Singling out specific religious beliefs for entitlement violates, rather than “defends,” the First Amendment.”

    THANK YOU! It’s about time someone stated the obvious in such satisfyingly blunt terms.

    But this is not the first time religious conservatives have tried to have their particular religious prejudices beliefs etched into law and it won’t be the last. Before “Loving v. Virginia” struck down anti-miscegenation laws in 1967, religious conservatives used their “sincerely-held religious beliefs” to prevent interracial marriage using “justification” such as this doozy:

    “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”–Judge Leon Bazile in Caroline County Court, 1958

    Where Judge Bazile found that in the Bible is beyond me. But back then, it didn’t seem so out of the ordinary for a judge to make such an outrageous statement. Now, enlightened souls know better (or ought to.) Sadly, there are some who never did know better and never will. Like the poor, they will always be with us.

  • “Singling out specific religious beliefs for entitlement violates, rather than “defends,” the First Amendment.”

    THANK YOU! It’s about time someone stated the obvious in such satisfyingly blunt terms.

    But this is not the first time religious conservatives have tried to have their particular religious prejudices, I mean beliefs, etched into law and it won’t be the last. Before “Loving v. Virginia” struck down anti-miscegenation laws in 1967, religious conservatives used their “sincerely-held religious beliefs” to prevent interracial marriage using “justification” such as this doozy:

    “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”–Judge Leon Bazile in Caroline County Court, 1958

    Where Judge Bazile found that in the Bible is beyond me. But back then, it didn’t seem so out of the ordinary for a judge to make such an outrageous statement. Now, enlightened souls know better (or ought to.) Sadly, there are some who never did and never will. Like the poor they will always be with us.

  • In April 2015, the Catholic News Agency noted that RNS had received a grant of $120,000 from the Arcus Foundation, an LGBT–rights advocacy organization. Why would Arcus do that? Did they get their money’s worth?

  • Absolutely! So, when a homosexual’s idol tells he/she that he/she should pester a Christian to bake them a cake celebrating immorality, it should not be allowed. Makes sense!

  • Funny how in all these instances no customers besides homosexuals ever get questioned in order to determine whether or not they score sufficiently high on the morality index. If you ask me, bakers should be much more vigorous in their examination of their customers’ various sins. Perhaps a preliminary question and answer session about people’s sins should precede any discussion about the cake itself. I mean, who knows how many cakes have been sold to undeserving immoral people? Oh, the scandal of it all!

  • Maybe they thought it would be productive to foster dialogue among religious communities as a means to have a better world for everyone, rather than a fundelibangelist wet dream of power, money, and dominion that presents fundamentalism as the only proper religious response to anything?

  • It elevates religiously motivated action to that same plane of absolute protection that has been reserved for the freedom of thought. The bill is not about protecting religious belief; it’s about protecting speech and action based on religious belief.

    I really wonder if you actually read the bill in question – S.2525 in the 115th Congress. The bill doesn’t extend to anywhere near the degree you purport. What you’ve said herein is on par with stating the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would basically eliminate all current checks on firearm ownership, including the existing background check system, and allow anyone to carry a firearm anywhere they desire – yes, I’ve seen pundits assert such.

    As §§ 1 and 2 of the bill are the title and “findings”, let’s skip to §3(a) of the bill, which states:

    Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person speaks, or acts, in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief, or moral conviction

    This is about restricting the Federal government’s ability to take any actions defined in §3(b), which the bill defines as “discriminatory”, against organizations and individuals that publicly state opposition to same-sex marriage and/or fornication. And provides for judicial relief in §4 of the bill should someone believe the Federal government has acted against them in any of the ways listed in §3(b).

    So where exactly is it “about legalizing discrimination against LGBTQ Americans in the name of a god”. You’re reading well, well, well beyond what the bill is targeting.

    Again, this bill is about preventing the Federal government from discriminating in specific ways against organizations who happen to oppose same-sex marriage and fornication.

    And §3(b)(1) of the Act is key, given the demonstrated abuses against conservative and libertarian organizations by the Obama administration.

    This bill has nothing to do with bakeries or other businesses, since those fall exclusively under the purview of the States, except where the Federal government’s Interstate Commerce power comes into play. Nothing in the bill is a directive to the States in any way, nor does it expose any State to potential sanction by a Federal Court for anything. This bill is silent about adverse actions States may take or have taken against business owners who chose to refuse customers or orders based on their religious beliefs.

    It is entirely about the actions of the Federal government, and seeks to restrict the actions of the Federal government, specifically by preventing the Federal government from taking any kind of adverse or discriminatory action (again, as listed in §3(b) of the Act) against anyone who espouses one of the specific beliefs listed (again, §3(a) of the Act).

    It doesn’t legalize any kind of discrimination. It doesn’t abrogate any Federal anti-discrimination law in any fashion. Since those laws seek to address how businesses interact with customers, not how the Federal government interacts with businesses and individuals. And §6(2) of the bill does not limit or eliminate the ability for someone who has been the target of any discrimination by a business owner – even discrimination on the basis of the beliefs specified in §3(a) – to seek redress or relief through the Federal Courts where such Court is that of competent jurisdiction.

    Again this restricts only the Federal government (specifically as defined at §6(2) in the Act) in the specified instances.

    You have not only misinterpreted the bill, counsel, you’ve completely misrepresented it and what it seeks to allow and/or prevent. Nothing in the Act is a “license to discriminate”, nor is it “about legalizing discrimination against LGBTQ Americans in the name of a god”.

  • Your analysis defeats itself if you would just read it without your pre-conceived bias. As the section of the bill you quoted says, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person speaks, OR ACTS, in accordance with a sincerely held religious belief, or moral conviction”

    No “discrimination” is allowed by the fed against anyone who ACTS in accordance with these two specific religious beliefs.

    As you mentioned, “discrimination” is a defined term. How is it defined? “a discriminatory action means any action taken by the Federal Government to”…(several specific things, then “(5) otherwise discriminate against such person.” So “discriminate” has the broadest possible definition.

    Does a federal civil rights statute that in any way penalizes a business for acting in accordance with their belief that same-sex marriage is immoral—say, by denying service to a same-sex couple—qualify as “discrimination” under this statute? Yes, undeniably YES it does.

    Your assertion that it doesn’t abrogate federal anti-discrimination laws is hogwash. It restricts the federal government from enforcing any law that penalizes any action based on these specific religious beliefs, full stop.

  • Even if asking a baker to make a cake for your wedding were a religiously motivated action, which it’s almost certainly not, it’s not one of the two specific beliefs “protected” by this shameful bill. It only protects actions based on anti-gay beliefs, not pro-gay beliefs. Your attempt to flip the script is (at least) doubly flawed.

  • If the bill prohibited the government from enforcing anti-discrimination laws against the religious belief that blacks are an inferior race, rather than the religious belief that same-sex marriage is immoral, would you say “Just more pro blackness by Religion News Service”?

    If not, please explain why you think this bill is different than a bill exempting religiously motivated discrimination based on race.

  • If your point was that you don’t understand this bill, then yes, you demonstrated it admirably.

  • And you apparently missed the part where I said it doesn’t stop the COURTS from enforcing existing anti-discrimination laws. So it doesn’t abrogate those laws in any way, since it doesn’t stop someone from suing in Federal Court. And it doesn’t stop someone from seeking redress through their State government, where applicable.

  • I see, so anti-gay discrimination is okay because your religion tells you to discriminate against gay people, but you disagree with the myriad people who have argued that their religion tells them to discriminate against black people.

    Your argument is that if a law aligns with your religion, it must be good, and if an analogous law doesn’t you refuse to even try to explain the contradiction of your position. How compelling.

  • The only place the word “court” appears in the statue, outside of the findings, is to give a cause of action to those who have been “discriminated” against by the federal government based on their religiously motivated actions (or speech), so long as it’s one of these two specific beliefs.

    The word “anti-discrimination” isn’t the bill. The word “discrimination” is only in the bill to describe what the government can’t do to people who take actions based on anti-gay (or anti-premarital-sex) beliefs.

    I don’t even know what part of the bill you’re misreading. Could it be “Notwithstanding any other provision of law” in sec. 3(a)? That language means that this legalized discrimination TRUMPS all other laws. If someone tries to argue that a different federal law is violated, this law wins. You have it completely backwards.

    State law isn’t at issue. This is a bill that prohibits the federal government from enforcing anti-discrimination laws in certain cases.

  • Okay let’s re-read the bill in question. Specifically §3(b). Where among that list does it say the Federal government cannot enforce current anti-discrimination laws?

    §3(b)(1) and (2) deal with the tax code, specifically the classification or status of such organizations – such as the tax-exempt status of many non-profits. Again this goes back to the demonstrated abuses of the Obama Administration against conservative and libertarian organizations.

    §3(b)(3) is about access to Federal grant programs. (4) is about access to Federal benefit programs. And (5) is about access to Federal properties and lands, speech fora, and charity fundraising campaigns.

    So where is it barring the Federal government from actually enforcing anti-discrimination laws? To borrow your words, I don’t know what sections you’re misreading.

  • A bigoted person who can back his position with his religion is entitled to his belief and to express that belief. We all have that right regardless of our religious connections.

    This bill authorizes such bigoted persons to also act with discrimination against those they dishonor by discriminating against them.

    It also requires that all taxpayers, bigoted or not, must continue to support, through tax exemptions and entitlements, those organisations that discriminate against the people that their religion may despise. This is government forcing those who, as a matter of conscience respect all humans, to support the conscience of the bigots.

  • Whatever the merits of his argument, and I believe he could be challenged on several points, even constitutional scholars can be guilty of subjective bias (as well as their adherents), it is evident that he has no sympathy for people who hold religious views, particularly Christians. Fortunately, his is not the final word on the subject.

  • First, §3(b)(1) prohibits any federally imposed “tax, penalty, or payment to be assessed against” any “person” in §3(a). So there you go with the types of examples we’ve been supposing.

    Maybe even more significantly, though, is the prohibition on conditioning federal grants on following these anti-discrimination guidelines. Under §3(b)(3), for instance, the federal government would have to allow nonprofits receiving federal grants, and even public schools that receive federal funding, to discriminate on the basis of these two specific religious beliefs.

    Conditioning federal funding on the basis of anti-gay bigotry would be “discrimination” so long as they say it’s based on a religious belief that same-sex marriage is immoral. Not only does this bill include the legalization of this discrimination, that’s also ALL that this bill does.

  • That’s not entirely accurate.

    The bill doesn’t “authorize such bigoted persons to also act with discrimination”. Nor does it “also require that tax payers… must continue to support, through tax exemptions and entitlements, those organizations”.

    Instead what it prevents is the Federal government from taking any kind of regulatory action against organizations who oppose same-sex marriage and fornication. Whether by altering or diminishing their tax exempt status, or impairing their privileges with regard to Federal grant and benefit programs, or access to Federal facilities.

    While one could argue that “Federal grant and benefit programs” are “taxpayer support”, since all government money is taxpayer money, nothing in the bill prevents those organizations from suffering any kind of other reprisal, including action by the Federal government or private parties, through the Federal Courts, for any actual, demonstrable discrimination that occurs.

  • I’m not sure that homosexuals get questioned…rather the specifics of the relationship are revealed as the negotiations for a business transaction proceed. This is a natural and normative part of human communication. Where one goes with that remains with the conscience of each individual. I note, without criticism, your nom’ de’ plume, “Elagabalus;” a rather curious character from history with which to identify.

  • In my case, I did donate once to RNS, out of guilt for the fact that I have hounded their pages mercilessly, and mirthfully on occasion….and hey it must cost something to run this site. However, in my efforts to assess things as objectively as I may, I would class them as more left of center, than right of center in both their editorials and in the presentation of the news. But I have got the Christian Post if I want stories that shade the other way. They get their share of disgruntled posters’ from the Left, just as RNS does from the right.

  • Although the bill defines discriminatory action as by the government, I would call acts by religious bigots also to be discriminatory action. The law prevents the federal government from withholding support from those organizations or individuals that would discriminate against those with differing beliefs about marriage and sexual relations. In a free society the government should not be allowed to define these personal values as this bill does.

    The federal government is not allowed to support particular religions. Organizations that discriminate on their religious values should not have government support.

  • 1) Freedom OF religion is freedom FROM religion and vice versa. They are the same thing.

    2) You don’t get legislation like the First Amendment Defense Act without the votes of women in the Congress.
    Attack all of them who support this personally, as they did Hillary. Seriously, there is really nothing worse than a woman who does not understand #1 above. We are remiss for not taking this gender tack.

    Evangelicals gave you Trump and Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Deb Fischer, Joni Ernst and Shelly Moore Capito gave you every ounce of Trumpism from the Senate—-the tax cuts, the judges, the cabinet appointees, all of it.
    We need to put THEM on the hotseat. We need a national discussion about, “What the heck are women in Congress good for if they are sold out to Trump in advance?.

  • Evangelicals don’t see gays as human beings, so they have no problem taking away their human and legal rights. Gays are to Evangelicals what Jews were to the Nazis in terms of hate. Evangelicals have a fanatical and obsessive hatred of gay people. It’s become the main identity of Evangelicalism.

  • I think I’d be ashamed of belonging to a religion that asks for the government to support their right to mistreat other human beings, to deny certain human beings medical care, food, housing, jobs, and access to businesses. When a religion becomes about hurting, dehumanizing, denigrating, and spreading hatred of other human beings, it’s an evil religion no matter what it’s name is.

  • As a Christian Fundamentalist, I very much appreciate this article. Many of my fellow fundamentalists have been struggling in learning how we should share society. Because of the stress on authority structures in our faith, we sometimes feel obligated to share society as those enlightened ones who should have a place of supremacy over the rest in terms of getting favorable legislation passed.

    But what we should be doing is to share society with others as equals. And that means collaborating with others in promoting laws that defend equality for all.

  • “Second, though not absolute, all six seek to protect the one absolute right that we do possess: the freedom of thought.”

    And here is where Seidel goes off the rails, because what the 1st Amendment protects is the right to ACT on your beliefs — the right to EXERCISE one’s religion, to SPEAK, to ASSEMBLE, to PETITION. People are free to believe anything anywhere, so long as they keep their mouths shut and do whatever those in authority require. The 1st Amendment goes way beyond that.

  • So, good ole Andrew Seidel and his FFRF gang, are worried about the proposed federal First Amendment Defense Act? Aww, dat’s too bad Andy.

    The 5th Circuit Court has ruled that Mississippi’s version of the FADA, is already constitutional. FADA is the real legal deal. So now Seidel is scared.

    Gay Goliath was all laughing & gloating & snickering, while sticking it to 70-year-old Baronelle Stutzmann (who even employed gays and supported gay marriage in principle). Merely because she balked at that FINAL step of self-repealing her own Christian beliefs and constitutional freedoms. Balked at personal participation in a gay marriage. Yep, Goliath sure had fun with her.

    But now somebody done found a slingshot. And you just KNOW Goliath is worried about it.

  • Well, actually, in these United States, in the Declaration of Independence it states, and I quote:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    That would include copulation among any and all consenting adults.

    So get over yourself and deal with it.

  • I have thought about this issue often and it seems that the two sides fundamentally misunderstand what this is about. Perhaps I am wrong in this, so I am offering this comment in the hopes that people will respond to help me clarify my understanding.

    Too often, this situation is presented as a baker who refuses to serve homosexuals. In truth, this case is about a baker who refuses to bake the cake for a same-sex marriage, on the grounds that he does not believe this is the true meaning of marriage. (We could argue whether he is right or wrong, or whether making the cake actually would be a violation of his conscience, but I think that misses the point.) In his mind, this requires him to offer his support to something, which he does not support; not homosexuality per se, but same-sex marriage. So his question is why should he be compelled to support an action that he doesn’t believe in. In other words, does the couple have a right to have this particular baker make their cake?

    To make an analogous case, let’s come up with a hypothetical example. Let’s say Congress approves a bill to build a border wall across the Southern border. President Trump wants to celebrate this achievement so he goes to a baker who happens to be left-leaning and opposes the building of this wall, and asks the baker to make a cake in celebration of the wall. Should the baker be compelled to make the cake?

    Personally, I don’t feel that either baker should be forced to participate in something with which they disagree. Perhaps I am missing something here (and I welcome civil responses to my comment), but I am uncomfortable with the idea of compelling citizens to participate in activities with which they disagree. If we can do this, where do we draw the line?

  • The Creator did not make humans gay. It is a perversion of His creation. There is no such thing as a gay right, whore right, bestiality right, or necrophilia right.

  • Hmm. I think I wanna steal that line from you. I know liberals consider it to be inflammatory, but it IS absolutely true (and yes I’m playing the race card here as a black poster, ’cause what you said is true.)

  • Thanks for comparing the way I make love to that of whores, people who have non-consensual sex with animals and those who have sex with corpses. How very Christian of you.

  • There’s a reason religion has seen such a steep decline among millennials (the rise of the “nones”) and you’re it. Keep spouting your bigoted views and in a generation there won’t be anyone left in the pews. And for the record, I think you’re perverse. So there.

  • Again to this moot this discussion: (only for those who have not seen the Great Kibosh before)

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    “The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother’s womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. “

  • One thing Christians pushing for the passage of this bill can’t seem to grasp is that they are quickly becoming one of the minority groups and someday what they are doing to others just might be done to them all in the name of “religious freedom”. Perhaps they should reread their Bibles?

  • Well, that’s because you are thinking of religion as being pious. American Evangelicals are NOT pious Christians. They hide behind the Bible while their racist, bigoted, hateful, backwards ways continue to fester behind the scenes. What we are witnessing today, thanks to the Great Trump Distraction is the radical right’s biggest – and last – opening to establish a theocracy – a white, nationalist theocracy that will destroy our democracy as we know it. they are moving swiftly to change our laws and install lifetime-appointed judges as fast as they can to do this.

    In the end, these people WILL lose. The veils have been thrown in the trash and burned. The entire WORLD now sees Evangelicals for what they have always been. And the rest of us in advanced, decent society will fight these faux-religious, hypocritical bigots every step of the way.

  • This is the first time I think I’ve ever heard someone in your shoes say something so enlightening. Thank you. And bravo.

  • Wrong. He holds no sympathy towards Christians who use their (your?) religioin to discriminate. It’s pretty simple to understand.

  • Have some compassion. Typically, people who are so homophobic are simply struggling with their own homosexual feelings because they were indoctrinated to believe otherwise.

  • Yes, I am because the natural rights in the Declaration of Independence came from Lockes “Life, liberty, and property” not from sex perverts copulating into each other’s anus.

  • What a load of bullcrap.

    You are pretending that rephrasing the description of an action changes its nature. What it comes down to in the plainest and most honest terms are denial of access to goods and services in open commerce and to government services they are entitled to on the basis of personal bigotry of the people providing them.

    As plain a definition of discrimination as one can get. Attacking people in the name of their faith. Something unacceptable to any nation which values civil liberties.

    Your analogy is dishonest garbage. The point here is discrimination based on the class of people, not their politics.

    People should and must be compelled by law to not maliciously attack others in open commerce or with regards to access to government services. It is not behavior which is tolerable or remotely acceptable in a civil society.

  • That didn’t fly when people were arguing for racism discrimination as a function of freedom of association. Why should it fly now? Same exact argument, same actions, same desired effect.

  • When we do away with that pesky 1st Amendment and become a Third World Dictatorship then we all have to care what you think God says on any given subject. Until then, we don’t.

  • But crying persecution fits right in with their narrative anyway, so they can win on both sides by pushing for power when they’re in the majority, then calling foul when they’re not. The script pretty much writes itself!

  • There it is again: the fixation on other people’s anuses. Might I suggest you read up on Sigmund Freud’s thoughts on that:

    “The anal stage is the second stage in Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychosexual development, lasting from age 18 months to three years. According to Freud, the anus is the primary erogenous zone and pleasure is derived from controlling bladder and bowel movement. The major conflict issue during this stage is toilet training. A fixation at this stage can result in a personality that is too rigid or one that is too disordered.[1]

    According to Freud’s theory, personality developed through a series of stages throughout childhood. These stages are focused on erogenous areas. Freud believed in the libido, which he referred to as psychosexual energy. To Freud, the libido was the driving force behind all of human behavior.[1]

    In order to obtain a healthy personality later on in adulthood all of these stages need to be completed successfully. If issues are not resolved in a stage then fixation will occur resulting in an unhealthy personality.”

  • Thanks for your response. First of all, I agree that people are entitled to equal access to government services. I see no issue with that.

    Furthermore, I agree that there is a difference between discriminating based on people versus politics, and perhaps my hypothetical example is more of the latter than the former.

    However, to me, if one refused service to all homosexuals in all cases, that would be discrimination based on a class of people. The issue here is not about serving homosexuals, the issue is about participating in a same-sex marriage. I believe that business owners should have the right to refuse to participate in an activity that they believe violates their conscience. If not, then it seems to me the government can compel businesses to participate in lots of activities which the owners oppose based on conscience.

    So my question in response would be, is that what you believe should be the case, that businesses are required to serve any request that a customer has? And if so, do you see any limits to this compulsion? (Again, I am asking these questions sincerely to try to understand this issue more.)

  • Hey, while you’re busy ranting, don’t forget to jump on the Catholics as well. THEY like this FADA too, and with good reason. Read this:

    “We welcome and applaud the recent reintroduction of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA).

    “The USCCB (US Conference of Catholic Bishops) has been vocal in support of the legislation since its inception.

    “FADA is a modest and important measure, that protects the rights of faith-based organizations and people of all faiths and of no faith, who believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.”

  • I think the simplest way to see the flaw in the way you’re presenting this is to make an analogy to a form of bigotry that is now almost universally condemned, like racism or discrimination based on national origin.

    If there’s a difference between a baker refusing to serve a gay person and refusing to support a gay wedding, is there a difference between refusing to serve Japanese people and refusing to support a wedding between two Japanese people? I think the difference is illusory.

    As an even clearer, if more inflammatory, example: what does your intuition tell you about a baker who refuses to “support” an interracial wedding? It’s not that he won’t serve black people, he just won’t support them in their efforts to muddy the superior race. To my mind, this is racist no matter how you want to dress it up. The same is true of refusing to “support” same-sex marriage. It’s anti-gay bigotry.

  • Seidel’s point was that protections on the right to act on your beliefs are not absolute, whereas protections of belief are. Your freedom to speak, to assemble, and to petition are all limited by other people’s rights, as is your right to exercise your religion. If exercising your religion means discriminating against others, you don’t have a First Amendment right to do it any more than you would have a First Amendment right to sacrifice your child because you thought a god wanted you to.

  • Well said. When you can no longer compete in the marketplace of ideas some people resort to artificial means in order to prop up their ideas. That’s what’s happening here.

  • How about a Muslim baker being forced to bake a cake with a picture of the prophet Muhammad on it?

  • The SSCCB is hardly a bastion of civil rights. Of course they support this discriminatory garbage along with regressive evangelicals.

  • That’s fair, and I appreciate your articulation of this. In response to your question, my personal view is that I do not see race and sexual orientation as essentially the same, which is why I would make a distinction in the two cases. Having said that, I am willing to grant that I might be wrong to distinguish them this way.

    Nonetheless, I still wonder what are the limits of what we can compel a private business owner to participate in? How do we distinguish between what is a fair request that to refuse would amount to discrimination and what is left to the owner to decide? If a Satanist asks a Christian baker to make a cake to celebrate Satan, should the baker be allowed to refuse?

  • Oh please. Gay activists do their public policy mess by having the courts impose their mess on the people, NOT by moral and rational debates and letting the people choose for themselves.

    Put legalized gay marriage to a national election right here and now, and see which side loses.

  • Here is another example:

    Suppose I am a doctor, and I detest Evangelicals, Dominionists, and other Christian Nationalists because I consider them a dangerous and evil component of our society. Would I be justified in refusing to treat them when they are in need?

    My answer would be that If I am unwilling to treat everyone, I should not be a doctor. The same would be true for a baker or anyone who is employed or has a business that serves the public. The baker is only required to bake the cake if he wants to remain in business as a baker.

  • Quite untrue since you support giving discrimination color of law.

    “However, to me, if one refused service to all homosexuals in all cases, that would be discrimination based on a class of people. The issue here is not about serving homosexuals, the issue is about participating in a same-sex marriage”

    That is a load of dishonest bullcrap. Only homosexuals can have same sex marriages so only they as a class of people are being discriminated against. Rephrasing an action does lot change what is. You are simply looking for an excuse for what is plainly and obviously discrimination of a given class of people. Nobody buys your argument for a second.

    “So my question in response would be, is that what you believe should be the case, that businesses are required to serve any request that a customer has? ”

    More dishonest bullcrap since the real issue is the class of people being refused service not anything to do with a customer request. People with unreasonable requests are already under legal protection. This is really about giving legal excuse for vendors to maliciously attack putative customers using religion as an excuse.

    I support the saned idea that a vendor must treat all customers with reasonable requests for services or goods, sold by them in their ordinary course of business in a reasonable manner, regardless of their class. Your use of analogy is one of several attempts to deflect and dishonestly frame the reality of what is being sought here.

    If you were an honest person, you would not be making such arguments.

  • I think that’s a fair question, and there certainly needs to be some line-drawing at some point. We already have certain limits—a baker doesn’t have to make a cake that says “F the Jews,” etc.

    I’m not sure precisely where the outer limits of a baker’s right to refuse should be, but at a minimum I think we should agree that refusals based on the customer’s immutable traits—gender, race, national origin, sexual orientation, etc.—can all go in the bucket of unacceptable discrimination. We can figure out the harder questions when they come up.

  • Oh yes, by all means let’s put civil rights to a vote so the “tyranny of the majority” can prevail, the very thing the establishment of the judicial branch of government sought to counteract. As a black person, ask yourself how well you think that would have gone for your side, say, 50 years ago? Take your time.

  • I think that is a fair assessment. My concern to your last point is if we don’t have some principles to help us address those harder questions then is it up to each individual (or more likely, whichever judge takes on the lawsuit).

  • I think there is a difference between refusing health care and baking a cake. To see this difference, look at the outcomes if you refuse in either case.

    Having said that, I agree that you should not refuse service based on who the person is. My argument (which I am willing to be convinced otherwise on) is that you should be allowed to refuse service based on what you are being asked to do. So while the doctor shouldn’t refuse service based on the particular person, they should be allowed to refuse to perform something like Female Genital Mutilation.

  • I’m sorry you feel the need to resort to character attacks based on me asking questions for understanding. I am not making arguments for this situation, I am posing questions that help me (and perhaps others) understand the issue better.

    I am willing to grant that baking a cake for a same-sex marriage is not necessarily an unreasonable request, and if I was the baker, I don’t know that I would find it unreasonable.

    My question is what constitutes an unreasonable request? Who decides that? What are the grounds for that decision to be made? What rights, if any, does the business owner have in making the determination of an unreasonable request?

  • You got it backwards. The giant is Christianity and the little guy with the slingshot represents the rest of us. You Christians by virtue of being the supermajority for over 200 years have shat on our Constitution and only now are we attempting to clean it up. Right now, god willing, we are getting more wins than losses.

  • We have laws at every level of government which forbid discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of religious belief. This bill allows it in one very telling case– when hyper religious people wish to treat other people–specificallty gay people– differently than they would like to be treated themselves.

  • Not to place too fine a point on this, but since you described yourself as a Christian Fundamentalist (with a capital “F,” no less!) then I presume by that you mean that you believe every word in the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God which must be received as such – literally, in every single case, without exception. Would I be right in that assessment?

    If so, I have to ask if you really believe that since there are so many inherent contradictions in the Bible (far too many to list here.) I also have to ask, do you really observe all the Jewish ritual laws in the Old Testament, or do you do what so many of your ilk do – pick and choose which ones you like while ignoring those you don’t? Just curious.

  • The Christian Nationals effectively now have control of our government.To discover their moral values, it’s only necessary to see the actions of our government both domestically and internationally.

    They support the greed of the powerful and wealthy at the expense of the weak and powerless.

    They have no concern for the sustainability of our world. They willingly consume the resources needed to support future generations.

    They have no compassion for those who suffer and die from our military actions and support of other evil regimes.

    They concern themselves only with preparing for the End Times. They strive to receive Grace and be forgiven and saved soon, while the rest of us go to Hell.

  • A baker is being asked to bake a cake. This is the same cake he would make for anyone else. I was a high end wedding photographer for nearly 30 years. I have yet to see a difference between a cake for a hetero wedding, ands one for a same-sex wedding. Though I did see a rainbow wedding cake twice– at a heterosexual wedding and at a same-sex wedding..
    There is nothing in the bible that makes baking a cake a religious act. However, you have given the government power to define it as a religious act.
    I think it is very telling that there is a demand from a very small subset of wedding vendors that they be allowed to discriminate on the basis of religious belief in THIS ONE CASE. According to hyper Christians, marriage is a sacred institution instituted by god, and a highly religious act. But these bakers have on problem with atheist weddings, where god is rejected entirely. They have no problem with Jesus rejecting muslim weddings, demon worshipping hindu weddings,, western god rejecting Buddhist weddings.
    The idea that they are somehow :”participating” or “condoning” a same sex wedding is hardly supported by any facts. The cake is for the reception. not the wedding. It is not a religious article.
    but let’s take it one step further. A great many Christians and Jews (and Muslims) have no issue with same sex marriage or gay people. A great many gay people get married in religious services in their churches. Ministers, rabbis, churches, synagogues and entire denominations have on issue with gay people getting married religiously. Do you condone discriminating against people on the basis of their religious beliefs?

  • Why are they not the same? Both are inborn. Religion is not. Religion is simply an accident of birth, and can be changed on a whim. Yet, WE DON’T ALLOW DISCRIMINAITON ON THE BASIS IOF RELIGIOUS BELIEF, AND HAVE NOT FOR OVER 50 YEARS.
    Moreover, the issue is not sexual orientation at all, or even sex. No one questions whether two men or two women are having a sexual relationship. Two heterosexual men can marry each other, and have.

  • As a wedding photographer for 30 years, I can assure you that NO VERNDOR except the officiant is “participating” in a same sex marriage. They are providing a service, the same service they are providing to anyone else. Participation is a myth that anti-gay people tell themselves to justify discrimination on the basis of religious belief.
    If they are participating in a same sex wedding, than they are participating in deity atheist weddings, jesus denying jewish weddings, jesus rejecting muslim weddings, false god worshipping hindu weddings.
    and yet, they aren’t demanding the right to refuse to “participate” in those weddings.
    This is just one more example of bigotry hiding behind faith, of god being used ot justify what cannot be justified by any other means.

  • Ben, thanks for your response. I see your point clearly about the cake being no different regardless of what the particular wedding is.

    As to the bakers, I don’t know personally whether they have a problem making cakes for these other weddings, but I agree that this represents something of a double standard if they do.

    I don’t think we should discriminate against anyone, including on the basis of their religious beliefs.

    My concern is whether there are limits to what we can compel a business owner to do, and if so, what are those limits, who decides them, and what rights (if any) does the owner have in making that determination.

  • Political beliefs are not protected under law. trump is not a class of people.

    Sexual orientation is protected under the laws of 21 states, and of numerous local governments when it is not protected by the state. Such a FEDERAL law, contrary to the state’s rights and limited federal powers philosophies, would gut those state and local protections.

    Religious beliefs are a protected class. Discrimination on the basis of religious belief, yours OR mine, is prohibited. This would allow it, in one case, and in one case only. Gay people.

  • “As a black person, ask yourself how well you think that would have gone for your side, say, 50 years ago? Take your time.”

    Bu..bu..but racial discrimination is different than discrimination against gays, so its OK. [The typical excuse given]

  • I’m sure that you’re right, but I don’t think that means we should refrain from pointing out their faulty logic as plainly as possible. You know he’s going to reject the notion that he’s struggling with homosexual feelings, but if he is forced to confront his own lack of objectivity, at some point he might question why he believes things that are so wrong, and get to the real answer himself.

    But really, I don’t reply to people like him to try to help them as much as I do it to demonstrate to whoever is observing that the other side of this debate really is laughably wrong.

  • You are avoiding my remarks by pretending its a personal attack. It has been nothing of the sort. There is not an honest thing to be found in your posts. If you think pointing out a clearly canned and dishonest line of reasoning is a personal attack, it speaks badly of your character.

    You are following a well worn script which doesn’t even remotely pass muster as a reasonable discussion on the subject.

    1) “Its not discrimination against gay people, but against the concept of gay marriage or “participation”. When the reality is simple denial of goods and services in open commerce based on the class of people as customers.

    2) The dishonest analogy which goes by the nickname “Nazi cakes” where one pretends discrimination against a class of people is really just refusing an unreasonable request by a customer. One which ignores the fact that the people involved are a class of people who have been traditionally discriminated under color of law and the request is a normal one for the goods and services already for sale in open commerce.

    3) “You are just making personal ad hominem attacks” When the reality is I am just pointing out the dishonesty of your positions.

    You have made it clear your desire to lie about what is happening and what is really being supported. I feel no reason to treat it respectfully. You already insult our intelligence with such obviously phony arguments. I find that offensive.

    “I am willing to grant that baking a cake for a same-sex marriage is not
    necessarily an unreasonable request, and if I was the baker, I don’t
    know that I would find it unreasonable.”

    It is not an unreasonable request at all. There is no debate to be had here. It is simply selling a good normally sold to the general public in open commerce. That is not the issue at all. You are simply lying about what is being done by trying to rephrase it as something else.

    “My question is what constitutes an unreasonable request?”
    A question of no relevance to the subject. So It is not worth answering. A question born of dishonestly reframing and characterizing what is actually happening.

    Unreasonable requests already have protection of law. This is not about such things. Your entire line of argument is dishonest and meant to excuse clearly malicious and discriminatory actions against a class of people in open commerce.

  • See my comment 2 hours ago. As long as the participants are consenting adults, it very much is. Nobody has to give a crap what you think about what people do in the privacy of their bedrooms.

  • “God has no place in public schools, just like facts have no place in organized religion”
    -Superintendant Chalmers.

  • So you are the official government sex inspector. You go from house to house to make sure everyone is doing it right. Everyone needs your permission before engaging in relations. /s

    Btw there is more than enough evidence to suggest Benjamin Franklin was into weird stuff with middle aged French women in his mission to Paris.

  • There are limits, of course. We can’t make a vendor do something illegal. You could not demand, for example, the a vendor discriminate on the basis of religion. I have no issue with a vendor denying service that requires an EXPLICIT statement such as “JESUS isn’t God” or a demand that he provide a multi-colored cake for a gay wedding when he doesn’t provide that for anyone’s wedding.
    the issue is EQUAL treatment in public and open commerce. If you can show the difference between a cake for a gay wedding and one for a straight wedding, then the vendor has an argument.
    Here’s another suggestion. A vendor must display publicly, on website, in his window, his promotional materials, and by his register, the people he will not serve. I can assure you, as a long term wedding vendor, that such signs would not remain up very long for the majority of vendors. A few might prosper. most would find it isn’t a profitable thing to do. If you tell me that you discriminate on the basis of religious belief, I won’t be coming into your store even if I think that fundamentalists are 0% fun and 100% mental.
    I don’t approve of that kind of discrimination, even if I am not fond of the targets of your discrimination myself.

  • PS Either we allow discrimination on the basis of religious beliefs, yours or mine, or we don’t. Claiming that there are exceptions to it merely underlines why those laws exist in the first place.
    I doubt myself that Christians who would discriminate on the basis of their religious beliefs, would be very happy if someone discriminated against them on the basis of their religious beliefs.

  • A business not baking cakes for sodomites is not “injurious” to them. They can buy cakes elsewhere..

  • Thomas Jefferson also owned slaves and had sex with at least one of them, Sally Hemmings, who then produced offspring who had to be swept under the proverbial rug in order to avoid scandal. So what’s your point?

  • What’s your point? Even if there were proof he banged Hemmings, which there isn’t, it wouldn’t be relevant to this discussion.

  • Freedom of religion is a constitutional right. There is no constitutional right not to be “discriminated” against.

  • Not baking you a cake isn’t “bullying” you. The government using its powers to coerce approval of homosexuals is bullying.

  • There is proof: DNA samples of descendants of both Jefferson and Hemmings. Look it up. So again I ask, what’s your point in bringing up Jefferson?

  • The DNA analysis didn’t prove it was Jefferson. Look it up. The article I’m responding to brought up Jefferson. Try reading it.

  • Freedom of religion is a constitutional right. There is no constitutional right not to be “discriminated” against.

  • When you call me dishonest without knowing me, I consider that a personal attack. When you assume my motives without knowing me, despite what I have made very clear throughout my posts, I consider that a personal attack.

    Despite your personal attacks, I have learned some things from reading your comments, and it has honestly helped me clarify my understanding of this issue (though I think you could have made those same points without assuming ill will on my part, as others have done). If you want to continue to believe that I am feigning ignorance to make a point, that is up to you.

    Nonetheless, thanks for taking the time to engage my questions.

  • I think these are fair points and have helped me understand this issue more. My posts have never been intended to support the baker and/or this law, but rather to understand how people believe owners should be allowed to refuse service and in what circumstances, if any. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

  • You’re wrong. I’d provide links but Disqus would send my comment off for approval. But leaving Jefferson’s dalliance with Hemmings aside, your elevation of him as an arbiter of moral rectitude and a founding father (I suppose that was your intent since you didn’t say) is diminished by the very fact that he believed in slavery – just like the Bible taught him to.

  • Good examples.
    I agree that the effect of refusing service differs greatly in outcomes.
    What I mean to say is that discriminating by race, class, or personal social or religious values is wrong in all cases. Discrimination should not be encouraged by the government.
    I agree that you should only be prevented from refusing through prejudice what you would do for others.

  • No, I’m not wrong. The DNA analysis indicated a male member of the Jefferson family fathered Hemmings child. There are eight possible fathers.

  • That was a mildly passive aggressive response in keeping with the canned nature of your argument.

    There was no personal attack by me at all. There was a comment on the dishonest nature of your narrative and how well worn it already is.

    The problem is, I knew your playbook and already worked around it. Giving you no chance to continue in a carefully scripted argument having nothing to do with actual facts, arguments or conditions discussed.

  • From Wikipedia:

    In 2000, a consensus emerged among historians that the entirety of the evidence suggests Jefferson’s paternity for all of Hemings’ children.[6] The Monticello Foundation commissioned its own study, which in 2001 concluded Jefferson was likely the father of Eston Hemings and the other children. Since then the organization has reflected this change in its exhibits, as well as publications about Jefferson and his times. The revelations have stimulated works by a variety of scholars, who have used the new consensus as a basis for studies into Jefferson, the Hemings family, and interracial American society.

    The Smithsonian Institution and Monticello collaborated in a “groundbreaking” 2012 exhibit held in Washington, DC: Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: The Paradox of Liberty.[7] It was the first to treat Jefferson or any American president in the role of slaveholder, as well as the first to present the lives of enslaved families.

    The exhibit traced the lives of six major enslaved families at Monticello and noted the consensus on Jefferson’s paternity of Hemings’ children. A minority of historians continues to suggest another Jefferson male as a more likely paternal candidate[citation needed]. In 2008 Gordon-Reed published The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, fully exploring the complicated Jefferson-Hemings family and relationships with his first family.

    Notice how it says: “A minority of historians continues to suggest another Jefferson male as a more likely paternal candidate.”

  • Substitute “blacks” in place of “homosexuals” and you might begin to understand how idiotic everything you’re saying is.

  • Not approval – that’s a societal function – but to give them their civil, human and constitutional rights. No more, no less.

  • Peter,

    I am very appreciative of your understanding that such discussions should be with an open mind.

    You caused me to rethink my position with your example of requiring a doctor to perform female genital mutilation. I have been an activist for safe and legal abortion as a human right. However, I would not like to require all doctors to perform them if they objected. Again as long as they would not do the procedure for anyone, it is not discrimination.

  • I acknowledged and refuted your sham of an attempt at an argument and you didn’t even bother trying to defend it.

  • The DNA evidence revealed eight possible fathers. Notice how you want to change the subject from the DNA evidence after learning it doesn’t support what you said.

  • Misleading Headline – “Jefferson Fathered Slave’s Last Child.”

    On 5 November 1998 the journal Nature placed an inaccurate and misleading headline based on this study which read, “Jefferson Fathered Slave’s Last Child”. Most of the mass media and many others assumed the headline to be correct. At the time Daniel P. Jordan, Ph.D. and President of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation (TJMF) stated that “Dr. Foster’s DNA evidence indicates a sexual relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings.” Subsequently Mr. Jordan admitted that “after the initial rush to conclusions came another round of articles explaining that the study’s results were less conclusive than had earlier been reported.” Dr. Foster also later admitted that “it is true that men of Randolph Jefferson’s family could have fathered Sally Hemings’ later children. The title assigned to our study was misleading in that it represented only the simplest explanation of our molecular findings: namely, that Thomas Jefferson, rather than one of the Carr brothers, was likely to have been the father of Eston Hemings Jefferson. We know from the historical and the DNA data that Thomas Jefferson can neither be definitely excluded nor solely implicated in the paternity of illegitimate children with his slave Sally Hemings.”

  • No link to the source of your cut and paste? Why would that be? What are you so ashamed of?

    But nope. Still wrong.

    In the fall of 2001, the National Genealogical Society Quarterly
    reported that the “weight of historical evidence” and the DNA study
    were sufficient to conclude that Jefferson had a long relationship with
    Hemings and fathered all her children. They strongly criticized a report
    issued that year by the newly formed Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society (TJHS); they said it failed to follow best practices in historical and genealogical analysis. Helen F.M. Leary,a certified genealogist, concluded: “the chain of evidence securely fastens Sally Hemings’s children to their father, Thomas Jefferson.” In a 2002 lecture at the Library of Congress, Leary said: “[M]uch of the evidence marshaled against the Hemings-Jefferson relationship has proved to be flawed by reason of bias, inaccuracy or inconsistent reporting. Too many coincidences must be accounted for and too many unique circumstances “explained away” if acompeting theory is to be accepted.

    The sum of the evidence points to Jefferson as the father of Hemings’ children.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monticello_Association#cite_note-21

  • Take it up with Wikipedia, The Monticello Foundation, and the Smithsonian. I’m done with you.

  • No links because my comments get filtered. Feel free to have your caregiver look it up for you, it’s from PBS.

    The opinion of a genealogist has no bearing on the DNA evidence.

  • “Evidently my links work. Yours have too in the past. Have we been misbehaving here lately? 🙂

    Besides, my follow up link/quote is far more current than your unfounded comment on by a group hellbent on not recognizing the evidence. One which did not cite support for their objections nor was in a position qualified to question it.

    If the Monticello Society thought the DNA study and conclusions to be misleading, they could have easily produced their own study and published their own article in the PEER REVIEWED journal which they were criticizing.

    “The opinion of a genealogist has no bearing on the DNA evidence.”

    Good thing that wasn’t the only evidence being seen here. You missed the first part of my quote which said

    “and the DNA study were sufficient to conclude that Jefferson…”

  • It’s a fact the DNA evidence revealed eight possible candidates. No amount of hand waving changes that.

  • No it wasn’t. You have nothing but a PO’ed amateur claiming so. The peer reviewed published research did not. Your information is old. Even that same group you cited reversed their conclusion. You cite to no source for such assertions either. Because they are not ones which anyone would consider objective or reliable.

    https://www.monticello.org/site/plantation-and-slavery/report-research-committee-thomas-jefferson-and-sally-hemings

    Conclusions

    Based on the examination of currently available primary and secondary documentary evidence, the oral histories of descendants of Monticello’s African-American community, recent
    scientific studies, and the guidance of individual member s of Monticello’s Advisory Committee for the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies and Advisory Committee on African-American Interpretation, the Research Committee has reached the following conclusions:

    1. Dr. Foster’s DNA study was conducted in a manner that meets the standards of the scientific community, and its scientific results are valid.

    2. The DNA study, combined with multiple strands of currently available documentary and statistical evidence, indicates a high probability that Thomas Jefferson fathered Eston
    Hemings, and that he most likely was the father of all six of Sally Hemings’s children appearing in Jefferson’s records. Those children are Harriet, who died in infancy; Beverly; an unnamed daughter who died in infancy; Harriet; Madison; and Eston.

    3. Many aspects of this likely relationship between Sally He mings and Thomas Jefferson are, and may remain, unclear, such as the nature of the relationship, the existence and
    longevity of Sally Hemings’s first child, and the identity of Thomas C. Woodson.

    The implications of the relationship between Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson should be explored and used to enrich the understanding and interpretation of Jefferson and the entire Monticello community.

  • Oh, of course, Not serving a Black person wasn’t bullying, either. Neither was separate but very unequal education. Or “white’s only” drinking fountains and bathrooms. (Remember that scene in the movie “Hidden Figures” in which the Black woman had to go to another building to go to the bathroom? Yeah, that is discrimination.) Or not hiring Irish because they were Catholic. Or…. You get the idea. So, not baking a cake for a gay wedding if you are in the business of baking wedding cakes – yeah, that is discrimination. If you can refuse the LGBT person, you can refuse the person of color, gender, who was born in a country you don’t like….. Get the picture?

    We all need to have what happens in the public spheres to be free of random and wanton discrimination that excludes fellow citizens from participating in the public life. That “public life” includes the market places where good and services are bought and sold.

    Is it bullying that a restaurant owner is required to seat and serve an African American just as he is required to seat and serve a European American?

  • The difference of course being that, ever since the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, people cannot withhold service to African-Americans in the public arena without violating the law since they are considered members of a “protected class.” As of yet, there is no such blanket protection for gay people except in certain states.

  • Excellent article. The proposed law will surely fail. But attention needs to be called to the two most serious attacks on religious liberty today: 1. The increasing attacks on abortion rights, which are really attacks on women’s health, rights of conscience and religious liberty, and an attempt to have government impose a religious code on all women, and 2. The years long drive to undermine both religious liberty and our public schools bu having government divert public funds to sectarian special interest private schools through vouchers or tax credits. — Edd Doerr

  • That’s the difference in current federal civil rights law, yes. But Mr. Goat is saying that if the government were to force him to serve gay people, that would be “bullying.” There is no way to sustain that line of thinking without calling the Civl Rights Act “bullying” as well.

  • The “Equal Opportunity Clause” in that amendment was the crux of the winning argument in the gay marriage case in 2015. I’m not enough of a legal scholar to know to what extent it affects cases involving the withholding of services in the public sphere.

  • It was a terrible example. Doctors are not acting in an open commerce situation in the sale of goods and services. The objection is not to a given act, but to the class of people requesting. The cake is no different from any others normally sold by the vendor, the customer is.

    If it were a doctor refusing the checkup of a child of a homosexual couple, you would be far closer to a proper analogy here.

  • There is not Equal Opportunity Clause. There is an Equal Protection Clause, but it did not figure into the Obergefell decision in any way.

  • I prefer to read the decision itself. It contains no equal protection analysis whatsoever. It mentions equal protection only in passing, in association with the due process clause, which was the actual basis for the decision. The two clauses, however, are distinct and require different analyses.

  • Again, it’s a fact the DNA study revealed eight candidates. Note the text you pasted does not deny that fact.

  • Eiagabalus,
    First, the doctrine of inerrancy applies to the original autographs only. Second, believing that the Scriptures are inerrant does not imply that every word in the Scriptures were dictated.

    Third, you will have to list some of the contradictions to see if they are really that.

    Fourth, if you think that the New Testament calls on Christians to observe all of the Old Testament rituals and commands, then you are not really familiar with the New Testament. You might want to read about Peter’s dream as recorded in Acts 10:9-16 (see https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+10%3A9-16&version=NASB ) or the Church council meeting in Jerusalem on the issue of circumcision recorded in Acts 15:1-12 (see https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+15%3A1-12&version=NASB)

  • Then you hold a differing opinion from the two attorneys who won the Obergefell case, not to mention the five Supreme Court justices who agreed with them. But have it your way.

  • All of the works cited by me denied your assertion. I even put some of the important stuff in bold.

    “Again, it’s a fact the DNA study revealed eight candidates.”

    No it isn’t. Where did you get that assertion from?

  • The Fifth Circuit denied that suit on standing grounds. It did not declare that the act was constitutional. In any event, the Mississippi FADA would allow vendors like Stutzmann to outright deny any service to a same-sex couple, whether they’re getting married or not.

  • Now you are denying the text of the 14th Amendment. Hilarious. It’s legal most places to refuse service to homosexuals.

  • But your assertion tried to.

    From my prior posts

    “The DNA study, combined with multiple strands of currently
    available documentary and statistical evidence, indicates a high
    probability that Thomas Jefferson fathered Eston Hemings,
    and that he most likely was the father of all six of Sally
    Hemings’s children appearing in Jefferson’s records.
    Those children are Harriet, who died in infancy;
    Beverly; an unnamed daughter who died in infancy;
    Harriet; Madison; and Eston.

    and

    The sum of the evidence points to Jefferson as the father of Hemings’ children.

    Again, give the source of your claim of “the DNA study revealed eight candidates.”. Give a link or go away.

  • No, I am denying you know what it means. You demonstrated that already.

    “It’s legal most places to refuse service to homosexuals.”

    Actually it isn’t.

  • Justice Kennedy’s opinion expresses the agreement of the five
    SCOTUS justices in question. As previously stated, it contains no equal protection analysis whatsoever.

  • Because I am not lying about it, you are.

    Liar is unable to give the source of the assertion “the DNA study revealed eight candidates.”

    Oh well. You lost. Bye bye

  • Actually it is:

    it’s all politics
    POLITICAL NEWS FROM NPR

    …it’s also legal in most states to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender — LGBT — people in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodation…

    “Most states have no nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people,” says David Stacy, government affairs director for the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay-rights group.

  • Peter’s example pointed out that their was a vast difference in the effects of refusing certain actions. I agree with you that treating any person differently because of prejudice is discrimination and should be opposed. That includes making a cake and giving a child a checkup,

    I agree with him that personal attacks make discussions difficult and less informing.

  • PBS, which you were given, accurately described the DNA results, which only found Jefferson was one possible father.

  • So if I refuse service to you because I can’t stand your religious beliefs, that would be Ok?

  • “PBS, which you were given”

    LOL! It did not do anything of the sort. Neither did your quote.

    The same group reversed their opinion, which I did link to.

    Your assertion about “8 possible fathers is not there”. You got it elsewhere and are lying.

    You lost. Bye bye

  • Yes it is, Otto. It is difficult when all the cake bakers get together and decide that none of them will bake a cake for a gay marriage. Or, what really happened, when social pressure on cake bakers makes them all conform to the same set of rules. That is what happened to restaurant owners and inn keepers in the Jim Crow south – no one dared step outside the social rules.

    It is also difficult when the only cake baker in town won’t bake a cake for a gay wedding. We forget that not everyone lives in cities.

    The same goes for those who rent out venues for a wedding – but want to deny the venue to a gay couple. Or the caterers who advertise they cater weddings but refuse to cater a gay wedding.

    I grew up in the segregated Bible-Belt South, Otto. Discrimination against LGBT people is the same as discrimination against people because of skin color, ethnicity, gender.

  • There have been at least TWO recent cases of doctors refusing to serve the parents of a child who was in for care.

    I’m sorry I don’t have the links, but it wouldn’t take much of a google search to find hem.

  • You should learn how to read. The DNA results only show a male from the Jefferson line was the father. That’s a fact, which is why nothing you cited contradicts it.

  • Perhaps you’re right about Kennedy specifically. I was basing my argument on the many occasions I heard Ted Olson speak on TV in which he made specific reference to the Equal Protection Clause. Kennedy’s summation in that verdict says that the Constitution gives gay people the right to marry. Since Olson and Bois were strongly pushing the 14th amendment argument I just assumed Kennedy was referring to that, though I will concede that I could be wrong.

  • Due process IS a 14th Amendment argument. So is equal protection. They are very different, however.

  • Yes BUT. They don’t know what persecution really is AND they won’t be very happy to find that they are on the receiving end!

    They are like the Boy who cried Wolf. He cried wolf frequently because he loved to see the people scream and run in fear. Then when he really did see a wolf no one believed him and he got eaten!

  • No it isn’t. My citations say the evidence is overwhelmingly Thomas Jefferson. They do not qualify the findings as you do.

    You lose.

  • Yes, you are missing one important thing. Antidiscrimination statutes cover certain categories. These usually are race, ethnicity, gender, and in the statutes we’re talking about, sexual orientation. Political belief and affiliation generally is not covered in public accommodation statutes (some states cover it for *employment* antidiscrimination). A more apt analogy would be would a gay baker have to make a confirmation or baptism cake for a ceremony at a church he knows to be anti-LGBT? Likely the answer is yes.

  • None of your citations say the DNA evidence conclusively showed Jefferson was the father. Because it didn’t. Saying “you lose” does not alter the DNA results.

  • The other thing you’re missing is that these FADA statutes, like Mississippi’s, would allow vendors to turn away all same-sex couples for any service. Hotels could refuse to give them rooms. They could walk into supermarkets, load up their carts, and the store could refuse to sell them groceries. This is not about wedding cakes anymore.

  • He can use any standard of reasonableness he wants, as long as it is not related to any category protected by the antidiscrimination statute.

  • You are illiterate. I get that.

    You could just simply link to a source which mentions the “8 possible fathers”. I did for mine.

    An honest person would have done that an hour ago.

  • Any baker can refuse to make any particular design of a cake. The law would not require the baker to print “Hail Satan” and an upside-down cross on the cake. Otherwise no.

  • Your citations don’t say what you claim, yet you keep acting like they contradict the DNA results.

  • That was the law, not individual choice. Huge corporations serve homosexuals, but small Christian businesses not doing so is oppression.

  • So you say, but never established to be a fact.

    An honest person could have just posted a link to a source saying the “DNA test pointed to 8 possible fathers” more than an hour ago.

    But you are not an honest person.

  • So why did the 5th overturn a lower court’s opinion that the Mississipi FADA was unconstitutional? Why did they “deny that suit on standing grounds”?

    Because “as the circuit court pointed out, the challengers to Mississippi’s law lack standing because they ‘have not clearly shown injury-in-fact.’

    “In other words, they did not show how the Mississippi law protecting liberty for people who hold to the pre-Obergefell v. Hodges definition of marriage harmed them.” (see link below.)

    So nobody has proved FADA to be unconstitutional, nor shown that FADA hurts anybody. And on other issues like abortion, we already have FADA-like laws that protect religious freedom. This link explains why we need FADA.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/06/first-amendment-defense-act-court-upholds-religious-liberty-mississippi/

  • It was a law which enabled private actors to discriminate with impunity under color of law.

    “Huge corporations serve homosexuals, but small Christian businesses not doing so is oppression.”

    Nope. Open commerce of all businesses serving all customers regardless of class is freedom. Sorry, your failed desire to maliciously attack others is not oppression.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/33730e3c1b8035ad381d399ed5c718a045d675cd3cb0bd4395595d7bcede85cd.jpg

  • My quotes don’t mention 8 possible fathers. PBS doesn’t mention it either. Of course if you were an honest person, you would have posted a link to a source by now. But you aren’t. You lose.

  • The law required it. It should not need saying but not baking homos a cake isn’t “attacking” them.

  • PBS does mention it, learn how to read science denier:

    8 Jeffersons Could Have Been the Father of Eston.
    This DNA study testing the Y chromosome found that there was a link to “some” Jefferson, but not necessarily Thomas, having been the father of Eston, Sally Heming’s youngest son. These DNA tests indicated that any one of 8 Jeffersons could have been the father of Eston and there was nothing to indicate it was Thomas. The 8 possibilities identified by the DNA tests are Thomas, Randolph (Jefferson’s brother), Randolph’s 5 sons, and a cousin George and in 5 of Randolph’s sons, who were in their teens or 20s when Sally Hemings was having children. Since no one has ever denied that it was likely that “some” Jefferson fathered at least one of Sally Heming’s children, these recent DNA tests only provide more certainty to what we already knew or suspected. Since the only available DNA evidence comes from direct male lineal descendants of persons who have descended from a common male line with Thomas Jefferson (father, grandfather, etc.), the test is inherently nonspecific. The same Y chromosome existed in Mr. Jefferson’s brother Randolph, who lived 20 miles from Monticello, and in 5 of Randolph’s sons, who were in their teens or 20s when Sally Hemings was having children.

  • “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

    Under that line of thinking, the Americas nor any other continent should ever have been explored/exploited. Shows what happens when man gets involved with religion.

  • And I would agree completely that this is wrong. Thanks for the clarification on the law.

  • I guess it’d be OK then, if you had a roadside emergency and I refused to fix the problem at my shop because I saw a cross or other religious symbol on your vehicle, and I don’t cater to Christians?

    Think about how you’d feel if that occurred, and ask yourself if there’d been no “injury”. (I’m figuring you’d be all ‘het up’ over it – and it works the same in reverse).

  • That’s another important way to make this distinction. As such, I can see a difference between baking the cake for a same-sex wedding and offering specific support to a particular position.

  • No link? So sad. Too bad PBS wasn’t quoting an actual expert.

    Neither are you.

    An honest person would have posted a link just to shut me up. You are not.

    Loser.

  • Not at all true. The law was written to accommodate racists for their benefit. Of course discrimination in open commerce is an attack. That is why its a legally recognized cause of action.

  • Depends on who your “god” is. (But you said you ain’t got no god, right? Hmm.)

    Anyway, WE ain’t the ones threatening and bullying and spitefully putting gay vendors outta business.

    We ain’t forcing gay wedding businesses to participate in a religion-based event that is alien and totally wrong to them (and to God too), on pain of losing their livelihoods.

    You’re right that your side is getting more wins than losses. I can’t even guarantee that FADA will survive. But it’s on the table for now, and Gay Goliath better get ready for Slingshot Practice!!!

  • Poor snowflake feels oppressed because he can’t deny people goods and services in open commerce. So pathetic.

  • I don’t care what Voddie says. The way LGBT people are treated is the same as the way African Americans were treated in the public market places. The treatment is the same – a refusal to provide a good or service or to hire and judge job performance in the same way that a person who is not LGBT is treated. That is discrimination. It is choosing one characteristic of the person, ignoring all else in this person who lives in your neighborhood, your town, who works beside you, worships beside you, votes in the same elections you vote in, pays taxes. And if it is okay for a person to choose a religious objection to an LGBT person, it is equally okay for a person of another religious persuasion to choose another feature of a human group, like skin color. Or, why not just say it is okay for someone who is anti-Semitic to refuse to rent an apartment to a Jew?

    More, it is treating someone as unacceptable for a way that person lives that doesn’t impact you personally. You are not harmed by the way that two consenting adults behave in private. You aren’t even involved in how they behave behind closed doors even if you serve them food in a restaurant or provide food for a wedding.

    If you pick one kind of religious belief that is sanctioned as a reason to discriminate against other people in the business conducted in the public markets, then you have no excuse to not allow another religious group to choose something else as a reason they should be allowed to discriminate against some people for another “religious” reason. Or, is this so-called “religious freedom” just for certain religions?

  • Still no link. You already have a history of lying about sources.

    Liar troll could shut me right up with a link to a source. But he won’t. Poor pathetic loser.

  • Where I live I can legally refuse to business with homosexuals, not that I do. I’m not into forcing other people to do so.

  • Honestly? Gays got a Free Pass in the Jim Crow days. And no, they did NOT volunteer to sit their behinds down on unknown toilet seats in dark, dingy bathrooms marked “For Colored Only.”

    (So they wanna preach to US about what discrimination is and ain’t? Shoot. And that’s on top of the fact that skin color is immutable but gay is mutable.)

    But here’s the deal: My skin color is NOT equal to your marriage choices or marriage event, even if your marriage is straight. Therefore a gay marriage event, which directly opposes Christ, doesn’t get to repeal my 1st-Am Religious Freedom not to participate in that marriage.

  • There are those pesky “accommodation laws,” however.

    But I’m sure you would love to return to the days of “no coloreds” signs.

  • If you are provided services to a wedding, you are not “participating,” you are the help.

  • A much more honest name for this Senate bill would be the
    First Amendment Defilement Act (FADA).

  • But that’s ONLY in states where voters made the mistake of allowing gay rights laws.– laws which later turned out to be tyrannical weapons capable of bullying Christians, shutting down their livelihoods, and repealing Christians’ constitutional religious freedoms.

  • Already proven, but I put forth a couple examples (or more) already.

    Refute ’em if you can, but honestly? No chance for you.

  • And NO constitutional right to force Christians to participate in an alien, anti-God event that directly opposes Christ and Christianity.

    1st-Am. Religious freedom. Now.

  • It has nothing to do with god(s). It’s all about discrimination and taking away preferential treatment.

  • You’re full of shyt. How else is the Gov.’t supposed to discourage and stop discrimination? Send more Federal troops? We can.

  • I support sending Federal troops to enforce our laws on azzhulls like you. We did it before. We can do it again. Want us to?

  • You should really look up the difference between “freedom” and “right”, in the sense of the Constitution. You’re conflating the two, and they are not the same.

  • If you want to know where this proposed law is going, just take a look at Mississippi where Evangelicals helped write and pass a law allowing physicians and other medical workers to refuse to provide medical care to gay people. Even emergency room care and emergency surgery is allowed to be withheld from gay people. Bless their hearts, the Evangelicals did put in a section that the doctor can’t let the gay person die, but anything up to that point is legal. So, for example, a doctor or surgeon can refuse to intervene to keep a gay person from falling into a permanent coma, and Mississippi law protects them.

    How inhumane does a religion have to be to write a law allowing human beings to suffer and withhold medical care from them? Evangelicals have lost their moral and human compass to have written such a vile law. And they have this law in mind for the entire nation. FADA will enable laws like this.

  • A “secular government” is not a “right”.

    What the First Amendment provides is a neutral government, not a secular government.

  • When you have settled where you landed in the marketplace of ideas, you write a Constitution and keep it.

    That’s what’s happening here.

  • Andrew Seidel wants to ensure that the Federal courts can walk all over the plain language of the Constitution so that he and other attorneys, not the electorate, can modify the Constitution by clever arguments.

  • Substituting black in the Masterpiece case would change nothing. The issue was not the color or the orientation of the individuals.

  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not compel anyone to perform any service or action.

    What it does is prohibit discrimination based solely on color/racial characteristics.

    If you wanted a painting done by an artist, and you were black, the Civil Rights Act would NOT compel the artist to paint it if he found the message offensive.

  • If an African-American wishes to be seated while wearing no clothing, and swearing loudly, the restaurant owner could lawfully refuse seating.

    Context is an issue.

  • Then cease doing it, for example characterizing baking a custom cake as a “service”.

    A “service” would be providing a white cake from a shelf of identical white cakes.

  • Freedom OF religion is NOT freedom FROM religion and vice versa. They are not the same thing.

  • The organization he works for is anti-religion.

    Although it touts all sorts of “wins” on its website, in fact its track record in court is so miserable it has come to rely primarily on the ACLU and others to actually prosecute its positions in proceedings.

    This article is one of a series of propaganda pieces he has written over the years published by Religion News.

  • You’ve created a circular argument.

    Whether you “would call acts by religious bigots also to be discriminatory action” is irrelevant.

    What is relevant is what the law defines as discriminatory, either in the Constitution or by statute.

  • Or, to rephrase it, any baker should be able to refrain from stating a message with which he disagrees, without regard to the sex, color, nationality, or orientation of the potential customer.

  • I see you’re back to calling anything you disagree with “dishonest”.

    How very dishonest of you.

  • Various attempts to “spike” the argument by calling the baker a “vendor”, a “service provider”, or a “paid help” simply beg the question.

    Selling a three-layer white cake from a shelf of three-layer white cakes is vending.

    Participating in the design of a custom cake, and then crafting it, is not vending.

    Having read your material for some time, I am not sure you’re in a position to accuse others of bigotry. Being a gay anti-religious bigot is about obnoxious as any other bigotry.

  • Health care is a different matter than providing a room.

    There is very little chance providing a room could infect you with HIV, for example.

  • In the Masterpiece case, “This is the same cake he would make for anyone else” is untrue.

    A custom cake was desired, involving changes from the baker’s ordinary products.

    Nor is it an established fact that “…. these bakers have on problem with atheist weddings, where god is rejected entirely. They have no problem with Jesus rejecting muslim weddings, demon worshipping hindu weddings, western god rejecting Buddhist weddings.” I have found nothing in the record of the Masterpiece case along those lines.

    As to your last (assumed hypothetical) question, ministers, rabbis, churches, synagogues and entire denominations discriminate against people on the basis of their religious beliefs every day.

  • Seidel’s real point was that he wants the government to support his organization’s anti-religious interpretation of the First Amendment, which the courts have refused to do.

  • You’re still free not to associate with people of a race, color, or religion you happen not to wish to.

  • No, because an infant can be black, but no one knows if you’re gay unless you reveal it.

  • Gay rights would win. Most Americans oppose discrimination and now see no reason to deny gay people the rights they themselves take for granted.

    Evangelicals can’t see beyond their own hate and hypocrisy. But that doesn’t mean the rest of the country is blind.

    Courts exist to protect the rights of the minority. Our Justice system leads the way, and this is a good thing. But the rest of the nation tends to follow along once they see discrimination for what it is. How many businesses now refuse service to mixed race marriages? Likewise, most people recognize that gay people are just people and mistreatment of gays is wrong.

    Welcome to the 21st century.

  • The Bill of Rights is part of the US Constitution. It exists to limit the use of government power to marginalize minorities and the less powerful. The “democratic process” simply cannot be used to violate individual rights.

    You might want to read the Constitution or take a class or something.

  • “Freedom of Religion does not prevent the government from regulating conduct that might be religiously motivated. Free exercise can be burdened, encumbered, hampered, impeded, strained, and hindered — it cannot be prohibited. For believers, this means that your right to believe cannot be impinged in any way, but your right to act on those beliefs can.” This interpretation shows why Congress needs to pass legislation to keep activist judges from curtailing the freedom of religion. By definition, religion is not thought. It is an outward act that reflects ideas and believes. The atheist who wants to attack the right of theists to practice their faith without government entanglement does so in order to further the cause of his faith. In the end, this is a battle of faith systems. Hithertofore, the courts have helped to establish atheism as a state faith under the impulse of secularism. It’s time that the people check the forward momentum of this process. The rights in the First Amendment belong to the people. The state to include the courts cannot take them from us. We must be willing to fight to protect our social contract.

  • Gays got a “free pass”?

    What planet are you from? Gay people had to hide and deny the truth about themselves. Those who couldn’t or wouldn’t were fired from jobs without cause, abused, arrested and even set on fire. No. This was not a “free pass.”

    Did you choose the color of your skin? Not too long ago in this country, enslaved people were often denied the right to choose their own spouses or remain married to the person they chose. Black women were raped. Families could be destroyed at the whim of the master when spouses, parents or children were sold.

    The color of their skin meant slaves could denied family. Later, anti-miscegenation laws prohibited marriage to the person of one’s choice. This was wrong.

    Gay people did not choose to be born gay. Yet because of this inborn trait, you would deny them the right to form a family with a person they find attractive.

    Go crawl back under your rock. Your “I’ve got mine. Sucks to be you” world view is no longer welcome.

  • The comment to which I responded did not address the government.

    You are correct, however, that the primary object of the Bill of Rights is the government.

    Yes, the democratic process can violate individual rights, it does so all the time.

    For example, there is no appeal to “individual rights” to a constitutional amendment.

    Every right is subject to some degree of limitation.

  • Now THAT is funny, coming from you, Bobosé.

    Now which of your many aliases did you say was a real one again?

  • Now THAT is hilarious, coming from you, Bobosé.

    Now which of your many aliases did you say was a real one again? Your NRA masters must be happy with your service to them, given on bended knees.

  • Andrew Seidel is claiming that the First Amendment does not guarantee freedom in regard to religiously-motivated words or actions – that the only thing that is guaranteed by the first amendment is freedom of thought. In other words, the First Amendment, as regards freedom of religion, is meaningless: it grants only that freedom that even the very worst totalitarian regimes cannot abridge. Furthermore, he illustrates his tyrannical perspective with the example of religiously-motivated human sacrifice. Yes, I agree religious freedom should not be unlimited, and nobody has the right to engage in human sacrifice, even if this activity is religiously motivated. However, does anyone, including Mr. Seidel, truly believe that refusing to participate in an event that violates one’s moral or religious convictions is comparable to human sacrifice?

  • Now THAT is funny, coming from you, Bobosé, you lying sack of turds.

    Now which of your many aliases did you say was a real one again?

  • There is no difference between a wedding cake for a same sex couple or an opposite sex couple. It is the exact same service and not “participation” as you seem to insist.

  • Seidel attempts to imply that the 1st Amendment is about protecting your right to believe as you will, when it is about your right to ACT on your beliefs. He gives the game away when he compares human sacrifice to refusing to be an accessory to a same-sex marriage. Would Seidel argue that because the 1st Amendment doesn’t prohibit laws against libel it shouldn’t prevent laws against giving personal offense? I kinda doubt it, but that’s the logic he is using in his call to suppress the right recognized in the 1st Amendment for people to freely exercise their religion.

  • No, a custom cake is an artistic expression, just like nude dancing.

    Yes, the deliveryman is providing a service.

  • Yes, a triple-layer white cake is a triple-layer white cake.

    A triple-layer custom cake with a rainbow in icing on it topped by figurines of two men is not a commodity triple-layer white cake.

  • We either allow lawful discrimination on any basis, or we don’t.

    There is no constitutional prohibition against discrimination.

  • Don’t feel it was personal.

    Spuddie calls anyone who disagrees with him, her, or it “dishonest” who happens to disagree.

  • Sure they are. You cannot be free with Christianity if Islam runs the country you live in.
    You cannot live freely as a Catholic if you are in a place where Protestants persecute them. You cannot live religiously free as a fringe Protestant if you live in Russia where the Orthodox Church is the controlling denomination. Jews will tell you that their entire history has been one of having little religious freedom anywhere until there was the United States (40% of all Jewish people) and Israel (another 40%). Mormons will tell you they were chased to Utah by other Christians. The Amish will tell you that they are not always appreciated by the “English” who surround their enclaves here.

    We have grown up in the America of OUR lifetimes where anybody can have and practice any kind of religion or no religion precisely because we do not let ANY religion into the secular government in the period during which we have lived—–say 1950 to present.
    This is a BLESSING almost beyond comprehension compared to other places and other times in history—–for all persons religious and all persons not religious. No matter the sect, we are obligated by law here to treat it kindly—–so far.

  • The author of the article would disagree with “they should be allowed to refuse to perform something like Female Genital Mutilation”. The organization for which he works has taken the position that, for one example, health care providers should be compelled to perform or assist in abortions.

  • The unshakable belief of American evangelicals is that they have the god-given right to rule everybody else’s lives, and any interference with that is a violation of their religious freedoms.

  • Yes, you have used that lame excuse I gave tons of times. It gets sillier each instance you try it.

  • You mean states which recognize civil liberties. It takes a real dishonest sort to claim that being restrained from attacking others in public and engaging in the regular flow of open commerce is bullying.

    Poor guy is feeling oppressed because he cannot oppress others. 🙂

  • Race and sexual orientation as not essentially the same.

    A black infant, for example, presents as a black infant. There are documented cases of racially-motivated attacks – even murders – on and of minors.

    Nothing the black does or does not do is the cause of the animosity.

    A black cannot refrain from appearing to be black.

    An infant who will grow up to exhibit a same-sex attraction, however, appears the same as any other infant of the same race.

    The individual with same-sex attraction has to engage in some form of communication to be identified.

    The black cannot choose not to act on being black.

    In general blacks reject the idea that race and sexual orientation are the same thing.

    On the eve of the 2016 election, twenty six prominent black church leaders wrote Hillary Clinton a letter:

    http://thefederalist.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Clinton-Letter-with-signatories-10.30.pdf

    which included:

    “The drive to normalize immoral sexual behavior has inspired some to dishonor the memory of courageous blacks who experienced the unique horrors of white supremacy, slavery, rape, terrorism and apartheid in the U.S. Their argument that religious freedom laws are historically and existentially equivalent to Jim Crow laws rests on false assertions. Partisans who make these arguments have declared war on the truth of the black experience as well as on the freedom of faithful Americans to follow their consciences.”

    “A well-financed war is now being waged by the gay and lesbian community in the US and abroad on the faith of our ancestors. Furthermore, there are some in your party who seek to criminalize our biblical texts as hate speech. Like Martin Luther King, Jr., we do not invite conflict. However, in cases where questions of conscience and religious freedom are at stake, we are prepared, for the sake of the gospel, to suffer the consequences of standing on our convictions. We must resist what Pope Francis has called the ideological colonization of people of faith. We do not organize to suppress the freedom of other groups. We do, however, insist upon having freedom to fulfill our call to righteous living and service to humankind.”

    In general a private business owner engaged in interstate commerce has to be color blind in the provision of goods and services.

    However, as to “If a Satanist asks a Christian baker to make a cake to celebrate Satan, should the baker be allowed to refuse?”, “celebrate” means “expression”, and it is a matter of settled constitutional law that one cannot be compelled to expression with which one disagrees.

  • To perhaps understand that you yourself are calling a “freedom” a “right”, when they aren’t the same thing.

  • We are in the USA, and Islam does not run the country we live in.

    “Freedom of religion” is not specifically provided for in those words in the Constitution.

    What is provided for in the Bill of RIGHTS – not freedoms – is the First Amendment, which is the basis in American law for freedom of religion.

    We do not have a secular government, despite the author’s misstatement.

    We have a neutral government.

    Religion is not excluded from the public square, it has the same right to speak out and advocate as any other belief or disbelief.

  • The basis for freedom of religion as a matter of law in the United States is found in the First Amendment, part of the Bill of Rights, not the Bill of Freedoms.

  • They can get the topper elsewhere. The idea that every same sex wedding will feature a cake with rainbow icing is stereotypical and rather ignorant.

  • Are you saying it should be legal to deny gay men health care because you’re worried you’ll be infected?

  • Nope.

    In general you’re allowed to associate or not, like or dislike, pretty much anyone you wish with or to.

    The nexus for the laws of which you speak is interstate commerce.

    That covers things like the buying and selling of cars, groceries, rooms in hotels, and so on.

    It does not cover every “business” – i.e., things done for money.

    It does not cover artistic expressions, painting, speech-making, or other creative endeavors.

  • Just because you disagree, doesn’t make it “rather ignorant”.

    Saying so is rather ignorant.

  • Foolish response. Tyranny of the majority is the flaw of majority rule. The three branches of this government were meant to prevent that situation, but it hasn’t worked.

  • In spite of their hate and hypocrisy, the Evangelicals may still win. Right now they are pushing to install their members as most of the judicial appointments. Such courts may not protect us.

  • I didn’t see any arguments, rational or otherwise offered. Just the usual rants.

    So I will just smile and say, whatevs

  • You’re the individual engaging in stereotyping – e.g., “business” rather than “commerce”.

  • If tyranny of the majority is a flaw of majority rule, then the Constitution itself is a tyranny of the majority.

    The three branches were not created to prevent the “tyranny of the majority”, they were created created to prevent tyranny period.

  • The case was just as much about their orientation as it would have been about their race if the baker refused to participate in an inter-racial marriage, or a marriage between two black people. So you’re right, substituting “gay” for “black” would not change anything in the sense that the discrimination would be just as flagrant.

  • I’ve explained my analysis in excruciating detail, and my “opponent” stopped trying to defend his flawed analysis. Would you care to try?

  • So the only reason you’re not gay is by choice? You’re just as naturally attracted to other men as anyone else, and you just haven’t acted on those desires?

  • I choose whether to engage in sex relations or not.

    People who cannot control their urges wind up incarcerated.

    That’s the first choice.

    The second choice is what we’re calling “orientation” these days.

    The issues surrounding it are complex and the studies are in their infancy, despite the state of California’s beliefs.

  • You’re living in a fantasy land. Federal courts have never upheld statutory privileges for specific religious beliefs, ever.

    Based on your string of comments this morning, I get the strong impression that you’re trying to come up with talking points even though you have no idea what you’re talking about. You should spend some time educating yourself about these issues rather than repeating other uneducated people’s hollow arguments.

  • “Excruciating” was a very apt choice of an adjective.

    You began with an assumption and then backed into your case for it, which is what you accused your opponent of doing.

  • No, it had nothing at all to do with orientation.

    The same baker had these individuals as clients in the past, and other LBGT clients as well.

  • You’re straw-manning the hell out of the author. He was perfectly clear that the First Amendment protects beliefs absolutely, but acts only so far as they don’t infringe on other’s rights. That’s why there’s a line between prohibiting libel and prohibiting offensive speech, and it’s also why there’s a line between allowing discrimination, like this bill does—which is unconstitutional even if the discrimination is religiously motivated—and allowing people to freely exercise their religion as private citizens so long as they don’t break other laws, which the First Amendment already protects.

  • That does not extend to refusing to do business with specific groups.

    Public accommodation laws apply to every business unless they are religious in nature.

    A bakery is not a church.

  • You clearly do not understand what the word “business” and phrase “interstate commerce” mean.

  • It is the same dynamic at work. What is it about white Christians that makes them so capable of belittling, disparaging, ganging up and discriminating against someone who doesn’t fit their own group norms? I think it is a sad attempt to appear more powerful, more important, to boost their own power by disempowering others.

  • So what? If someone once sold to a black person, but refused to sell to them related to an inter-racial marriage, that’s straight-up discrimination based on race. You don’t get a free pass because you sold to the person in the past.

  • The Masterpiece case did not involve refusing to do business with specific groups.

    Public accommodation laws apply to public accommodations, not every business.

  • So it had nothing to do with orientation.

    I can envision a case involving interracial marriage where an individual could lawfully decline baking a cake.

    “You don’t get a free pass because you sold to the person in the past.” indicates you’re spending too much time over at JoeMyGod.

  • “Under US federal law, public accommodations must be accessible to the handicapped and may not discriminate on the basis of “race, color, religion, or national origin.”[1][2] Private clubs were specifically exempted under federal law[3] as well as religious organizations.[4] Title II’s definition of public accommodation is limited to “any inn, hotel, motel, or other establishment which provides lodging to transient guests” and so is inapplicable to churches. Section 12187 of the ADA also exempts religious organizations from public accommodation laws,[5] but religious organizations are encouraged to comply.”

  • That “It is the same dynamic at work.” is an assertion, not a fact.

    The rest of your comments are the usual emotional appeals sans argument, facts, and reasoning.

  • The language of the statute is clear. It prohibits the government from stopping discrimination on two specific religious beliefs. If you’re too dense to understand that, you’re just out of luck.

  • Your evidence of that is rather weak. However, you have just claimed that conflation of the terms “business” and “commerce” is somehow “stereotyping.”

    That clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of the term.

  • If you’re too dense to understand you’re misinterpreting the proposed law and the existing laws, and you are, then you’re just out of luck.

  • It “had nothing to do with orientation” in the same way that refusing to sell to a couple for an interracial marriage has nothing to do with race, yes. Which is to say, that’s obviously false.

  • Yes. Context is an issue. But an African American who simply wants to quietly eat a meal, dressed as other patrons are dressed – should be allowed to eat a meal. And a person who wants to buy a wedding cake for a wedding, to which the cake baker is not invited as a guest but hired as professional, has a right to expect the professional to behave as a professional. Refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding is the same as refusing to seat an African American for dinner – when both seek the same service that a non-gay or non-African American would seek.

    That was a weak and stupid argument, Bob.

  • The case in question involved producing an artistic expression to order, not selling merchandise off the shelf.

  • That was a weak and stupid argument, ATF45.

    What was requested was a custom cake with specific components to express a particular sentiment.

    I agree that if the baker had a half dozen cakes on the shelf, refusing to sell one would be a violation of that state’s law.

    By saying “Refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding is the same as refusing to seat an African American for dinner” you demonstrate you’ve missed the issues in the case.

  • If the Civil Rights Act had been put to a vote, it would have soundly lost. I’m surprised a black person would actually argue that majority opinion should really matter when it comes to civil rights. But then, it’s floyd, so I can’t really be surprised by an inane point.

  • Well, that settles it.

    You can say “that’s obviously false” and the discussion ends.

    Of course, “Which is to say, that’s obviously false.” was obviously false.

  • You are not “participating” in a gay marriage when you are paid to provide the same service to that wedding that you provide to any other wedding. You are hired to provide a service that you purport to “sell” to the public.

    When you sell to the public, there are civil laws that require you to sell to all the public who presents for the service. While LGBT are not yet protected as are people of color, the principle is the same. More, it won’t be long before laws will include that protection – the majority of people do not want to allow discrimination in the public markets.

    And even more, the support for LGBT is higher in the younger age groups – eventually, it will happen. The young have something to teach us about love of neighbor. We really should pay attention.

  • I guess you have helped me identify another equivalence. Thanks. I like it. “Secular government is neutral government and vice versa. They are the same thing.”

    Of course religion “has the same right to speak out and advocate as any other belief or disbelief” as you put it. The beauty is that none of the religious groups or positions has any right to CONTROL civic matters. They all speak out and advocate all the time and the government, itself, is to not formally adopt any of it. Voting majorities can do all kinds of things EXCEPT pass any laws (federal or state) which “establish” religion or any of the tenets emanating from any of them.

    Is there some particular reason your posts seem to be arguing against “freedom of religion”?

  • No, a secular government is a government like France’s – it is more than neutral to religion, it actually prohibits public expressions of religion, and restricts religion from the public square.

    You’re enunciating the author’s views, but his organization has been singularly unsuccessful in getting courts to see its way.

    Voting majorities cannot establish or oppose a religion.

    Voting majorities CAN adopt laws which are consistent with one or more tenets
    of one or more religions: laws against incest, murder, theft, and so on are all consistent with major religious tenets.

  • So you are saying that his position is that people are free to exercise their religion in whatever way society chooses to permit. In which case, what is the point of the Free Exercise Clause?

  • I’m very familiar with those Free Exercise cases. Neither of them involved a statutory privilege for a specific religious belief. They were both quite the opposite—statutes that were struck down because they targeted religion specifically for disfavored treatment.

  • When you are reduced to a “no, you are” defense, you’re probably better off just staying silent.

  • Anyone reading this can see how vacuous your argument is.

    Gosh, that sure beats adducing facts and establishing your proposition by connecting them in some of logical argument.

  • To stop the beating around the bush, laws that establish a religion are per se unconstitutional.

    Laws that accommodate sincere religious beliefs are not.

  • That is the general rule, yes. Scalia said this very plainly in the Smith case: the Free Exercise Clause does not protect religious adherents from neutral, generally applicable laws. It protects people from laws that are targeted at religion or religious practices specifically, such as the Lukumi case.

  • It is social dynamics, Bob. And it definitely comes into play. I agree that you can take isolated cases and not find “collusion.” But, you could say the same about a particular restaurant owner in Marietta, Georgia who refused to seat a Black family back in the 1950s. He wasn’t “colluding” he was just following norms of society. And it all seemed so right at the time, so normal, so reasonable, so Christian.

    One of the things that we have to have is an accepted code about how business will be conducted in the public market places. That is something government should be concerned about because of the importance of fair and equal treatment of all citizens to the functioning of a democracy.

    The masterpiece cake baker can choose who to worship with, who he will marry himself, what prayers will be said in his own home. But, when he has a business he has to treat all customers the same. If he can discriminate against LGBT people there is no argument left for why he cannot discriminate against people of color – it is no longer socially acceptable, the social dynamics no longer allow it.

  • You’re bouncing all over the place trying to find an argument. Exempting specific religious beliefs from neutral, generally applicable anti-discrimination laws is not a reasonable accommodation, it’s an endorsement of those religious beliefs. This bill only exists because right-wing lawmakers share these specific beliefs, which is not a secular way to govern. Minority religions would never get such an “accommodation” that they don’t have to follow anti-discrimination laws.

  • According to the courts, exempting specific religious beliefs from neutral, generally applicable anti-discrimination laws is a reasonable accommodation, e.g.

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/406/205.

    You’re certainly parroting the Freedom From Religion Foundation party line, but they’re basically a propaganda machine, not a source of reliable information on church-state law.

  • More correctly you believe it is social dynamics.

    The Federal Government has a limited jurisdiction over public market places.

    The nexus is interstate commerce.

    In general attorneys, doctors, artisans, speech writers, and so on have wide latitude over who they will accept or reject as a client.

    The statement “ …. when he has a business he has to treat all customers the same” would have some purchase were he selling hamburgers, cakes off a shelf, or shoes.

    But he wasn’t selling commodities, he was selling custom designs.

  • Well the debate I conclude is not a moral one if it is trying to preclude other citizens from sharing in the same rights as others. Gay activists are only petitioning the government for redress of grievances as anyone else is free to do. It is not for a majority to vote away a right the themselves have and say no other has the same right because of a particular belief. Your right to believe what you want is your own, but no individual has the right to infringe anothers freedom or right when that right is and should be afforded to all.

  • Your points, you claim for other respondents are already refuted. You are just refusing their refutation and points they make which are correct.

  • Just because you find a random Supreme Court case online doesn’t mean it’s the law of the land. Yoder (1971) was superseded by Smith (1990), which is the case I’ve been referring to and is the current state of Free Exercise jurisprudence.

  • The democratic process does not allow you to vote against others that are seeking the same right as someone else to have the same rights.

  • When in doubt someone without a reasonable political argument will resort to “might makes right” rather than try to justify their position.

  • There is no distinction whether or not there are many cakes on the rack or a custom cake. Refusing someone something based on the precendent of the past or today it is the same thing. Discrimination based on a belief that your denying the right of a particular type of person that you would’nt any other person is discrimination and infringes that persons civil rights

  • It is not the same it is similar, by way of discrimination that they are being denied services here and there. Gays are not getting lynched nor banished from states for interracial marriage like the love case from the sixties. And it is similar in nature that once again religious belief is being used to justify such treatment of another.

  • The reason we have laws against murder, theft, incest and many other things is not religion. It is to prevent the mistreatment of victims from a standpoint of human rights.
    It’s not legal, for instance, to litter, but not because of the dictates of any religion. You do not deserve to live with me littering your life or space, yet religion never said so. We somehow thought that one up without a religious text. Ditto building codes. Ditto traffic enforcement. Ditto TONS of things.

    If voting majorities happen to enact laws which seem consistent with some religious tenets, it is for other reasons which can be demonstrated as desirable by non-religious people as well. It is never constitutional in America to pass laws based on religious justification alone, no matter the size of the majority. This is the principal difference between the United States and Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and dozens of such repressive places.

  • We are discussing the merits of a bill being proposed in the Senate.
    What is relevant is for us to decide if we think it is just and fair or not.

    How this law would define discrimination is wrong. It is also wrong for a law to try to control personal values by defining marriage and what it ,or evangelicals, consider proper sexual activity.

  • I think the irony here is that progressives are attempting to wield power to silence and suppress Christians by saying that Christians are ” attempting to wield power to silence and suppress progressive values”. The mirror symmetry is right at the forefront. The fascinating part is watching one side justify their rude treatment to the other. In the end, its all discrimination.

  • The three branches were created by the wealthy to hopefully prevent the poor and powerless majority from getting control of their property.

    We are now experiencing the tyranny of the minority who control the majority of our lawmakers. Hence this bill.

  • No, it’s not all discrimination. If someone says that they don’t serve black people, and the Civil Rights Act is discriminating against them, it’s wrong to just say “well, there’s discrimination on both sides!”

    The fact is, a law prohibiting discrimination is not a discriminatory law. That’s why FADA is Orwellian – it tries to redefine anti-discrimination laws as “discrimination,” but it’s a lie. People who deny services or equal opportunity based on their bigoted views are the only ones discriminating.

  • The human sacrifice example is just to show that the Free Exercise clause is not absolute, which (amazingly) a lot of Christians insist it is.

    Then the question is, where does one’s Free Exercise right end? The answer is that it ends when you violate others’ rights, or when you violate neutral, generally applicable laws.

  • It does not oppose all of Christianity… Not all Christians interpret scripture the same way.

  • The Supreme Court disagrees with you, and has ever since it first interpreted the Establishment Clause.

  • But Bob aren’t Christians supposed to turn to their Bibles for guidance about such issues as caring for their fellow man?

  • You suggested they read their Bibles regarding “religious freedom”:

    “… they are quickly becoming one of the minority groups and someday what they are doing to others just might be done to them all in the name of “religious freedom”. Perhaps they should reread their Bibles?”

    Religious freedom is based on the First Amendment.

    My copy of it is in the Constitution, not the Bible.

    In addition “they are quickly becoming one of the minority groups” is not factual.

  • The three branches were created to prevent one branch overpowering all others, which happened in England prior to the Revolution a number of times.

    It is amazing the number of “minorities” who supposedly “control the majority of our lawmakers”.

    Since lawmakers respond to votes, it is unlikely any minority “controls” our lawmakers.

  • That case can be made.

    If facts mean anything, and they apparently do not to Rookheight, that the Masterpiece case was about “orientation” cannot be.

  • More correctly “I do not like how this law would define discrimination.”

    We don’t try to control personal values with laws.

    We control behavior with laws.

    You can still want to drive at 110 mph.

    You just can’t do without risking being jailed.

  • That’s the delusion we are supposed to believe. In reality they respond to dollars. And also Evangelicals.

  • It is probably not fair to state that “The reason we have laws against murder, theft, incest and many other things is not religion.”

    I venture that at the founding religion was the major reason, and generally historians tell the tale that way.

    The notion of “prevent(ing) the mistreatment of victims from a standpoint of human rights.” is pretty much a mid-20th century phenomenon.

    Laws against littering are consistent with the dictates of many religions.

    What you’re trying to do is back into a position where laws you don’t like can be attributed to “religion”, ala the anti-religion Freedom from Religion Foundation.

    It is completely constitutional in America to pass laws based on religious justification alone in the sense that every person who votes for a law may do so for unstated religious reasons.

    Unless the law has a stated purpose which violates the First Amendment – e.g., every person over 18 must receive communion in the Presbyterian church once a year – by establishing or denigrating a religion, it’s completely constitutional.

  • The fact that some people oppose same sex relations on religious grounds does not mean every person opposes – for an example – same sex marriage on religious grounds.

  • The distinction is that one is an artistic undertaking, the other a manufacturing enterprise.

    In the Masterpiece case the baker served LBGT persons regularly.

    He simply drew a line at doing a custom cake for a same sex wedding.

  • Yoder was NOT superseded.

    I assume you’re referencing Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon vAlfred Smith et al., 494 US 872 (1990).

    https://www.oyez.org/cases/1989/88-1213

    The question was can a state deny unemployment benefits to a worker fired for using illegal drugs for religious purposes?

    The Court said “yes”, the Court has never held that an individual’s religious beliefs excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that government is free to regulate.

    In the Yoder case the question, and therefore the outcome, was different.

  • They can’t get elected if they don’t get the majority of votes.

    As Hillary illustrated, dollars alone can’t do it.

    The banging on the evangelicals is a leitmotif of the losers in the 2016 election, but it’s pretty much an imaginary issue.

  • That’s your position. When and if your Trump judges seek to re-impose religion into law, I predict Americans will absolutely, positively not stand for it. The United States of America has been through a 200+year judicial history right through that 20th Century you reference. It has seen freedom via the strike-down of the kind of religious laws you are championing and is quite unlikely to give it away.

    Many people voted for Trumpism on the belief that same-sex marriage, for instance, will be overturned. They will discover that no such thing will ever happen because 1) There is no practical legal way to un-marry people, and there is no practical legal way to do a two-tier system where certain old marriages stand while new ones are prevented. What instead will happen is only that the Chamber of Commerce Gang will eat the lunch of most church people in the economic sphere. That’s half done now and the religionists don’t even know what happened yet. But they will. .

  • I love to hear from members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The zany detachment from reality and alternate view of the First Amendment provides a refreshing change from dealing with facts.

    Here’s some of the “successes” of the FFRF:

    https://aclj.org/religious-liberty/nothing-fails-like-a-freedom-from-religion-foundation-lawsuit

    Your second paragraph is unmitigated nonsense.

    The simple solution is a constitutional amendment limiting the Supreme Court’s ability to do Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges decisions.

    That returns both matters to the states, which is where they rested for over 200 years in accordance with the Constitution as written.

    Unmarrying people is no more difficult than freeing slaves, although personally I do not advocate doing so.

  • If my religion says it is an important duty to protect cows from violence (it does), and someone else follows a religion that allows killing of cows, who is infringing on whose rights? If you say I have to accept the brutality of unnecessarily killing animals as legitimate religion, I won’t be able to do it.

  • The thing is, the constitutional amendment you envision will never be ratified. Meanwhile, though, the now-unleashed dogs of conservatism will do a dandy job of widening the wealth divide, trashing the environment, bankrupting the governments, further marginalizing the poor and coarsening the culture of division. That’s all that has happened so far, and all that is going to happen.

    By the way, I am not a member of FFRF. I’m a church kid out of the sixties who understands how religious people just got duped and used in the biggest con in 100 years. Losing the focus on Jesus, as they did, they elected themselves a sort of David instead. But, that model is Jewish, not Christian and notably, the big hoodoo is now in progress.

  • Bubba? It’s never long until debates with your kind of logic go off in those sorts of sorry directions. Just something I’ve learned.

  • The Civil Rights Act WAS put to a vote.

    As was the Constitution and ALL the amendments to it.

  • The three branches of this government were themselves the creation of majority rule. There can be checks and balances, but you ultimately can not have government by and for the people without majority rule.

  • The Bill of Rights has nothing to do with “minorities.” It is a non-exhaustive list which exists to place certain subject matter permanently and without question beyond the power of the federal government to legislate.

    You might want to read the Federalist Papers or something.

  • We don’t have government for and by the people. At the present time it is for and by the wealthy and powerful. When the Constitution was written the vast majority of the people were not consulted. In a society as unequal as our, this Constitution does not guarantee liberty and justice for all.

  • Congressmen are elected by the electorate. That doesn’t mean they support the interests of the majority of the electorate.

  • So you’re claiming that the “wealthy and powerful” were the ones who wanted the Civil Rights Act, and not the voters they answered to? Why are you complaining about them, then?

  • No. The Bill of Rights limits government power, but it most certainly does not put “certain subject matter permanently and without question beyond the power of the federal government to legislate.”

    Freedom of speech does prevent the government from barring you from shouting “fire” in a crowded theater. You have freedom of religion, but if you own a business you cannot discriminate based on race, religion or national origin even if your religion says race mixing is baaaad.

    Again, take a class.

  • The framers of the Constitution initially did not even want to put a Bill of Rights into the Constitution at all, for fear that it would lead people exactly like YOU to misunderstand the nature and limits of enumerated federal powers:

    For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is
    given by which restrictions may be imposed? …. The Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an AUTHORITY WHICH WAS NOT GIVEN [emphasis mine].
    — Federalist Paper #84.

    Absurdity, indeed. Go back to school.

  • A shipmate once referred to blacks as “beasts of the field”, thus relying on his sincerely held religious belief to justify sending all “n_____s” back to Africa. He was quite family oriented, a congenial fellow in other respects.

  • You’re intolerant of my intolerance…

    Is nonsense.

    No one wants to silence you. You should be silencing yourself.

  • You have the right to believe whatever you wish for your religion, and unless it violates the law the applies to everyone, practice your religion as you see fit. That does not mean that your religious beliefs automatically include the people who don’t share your religious beliefs.

    In short, your religious freedom stops at the front door of your church, and does not include my mind, my body, my beliefs, my family, or my church.

  • The wealthy and powerful were in fear of losing control. The Civil Rights movement, riots, the Black Power Movement, people in the streets. The burning of the inner cities did not make a social environment that was conducive to profitable business. Businesses and even white racists were willing to accept the changes in order to have peace. Congress voted for the legislation that alleviated these conditions because there donors agreed.

    As has been the case throughout our history, changes that benefit those who are poor and without power come only after there is resistance in the streets. When that resistance is non existent or effectively repressed our system favors only the rich and powerful.

  • The Federalist Papers are not part of the Constitution.

    The Bill of Rights protects individual freedoms from people who would use government power to infringe on those freedoms.

    For example, if arrogant persons hold a majority in a state legislature, they might pass a law that requires public schools to lead students in a daily prayer to the protestant deity. In fact, this has happened. Fortunately, such laws are unconstitutional because the First Amendment says government power cannot be used to establish religion.

  • Like the preacher who said in a sermon from a pulpit that evil libruls are silencing his preaching from the pulpit.

  • Good answer for a Constitution-hater. The Federalist Papers are not part of the Constitution but and exposition of what the Constitution is, intended to inform the people who enacted it about what exactly they were enacting. As such, it is an invaluable resource for those who are sworn to uphold it, and it is regularly cited by the SCOTUS in its opinions. Sorry if that doesn’t suit — perhaps you could write them a letter advising them to take a class or something. ?

    As for the 1st Amendment, for the first roughly 150 years of our history the 1st was properly viewed as a restriction upon federal power only. Some states had their own established churches, and all had state constitutional provisions for religious freedom. As was the case for the Danbury Baptists (Jefferson’s famous letter to whom the libs often cite but do not actually read), with whom JEFFERSON said he sympathized in their quest to disestablish Connecticut’s state church but he could do nothing to help them because he was only president over the federal government and thus had no power to meddle in religious affairs.

    It was only when 20th century tyranny-mongers decided to mangle the 14th Amendment into a federal power grab that the craziness started. The 14th was intended by its framers and ratified solely to give citizenship to black former slaves and to get rid of the “black codes” which set up penal systems which applied only to blacks, and was acknowledged as such by the SCOTUS of that generation. The notions of “selective incorporation” and “substantive due process” were made up out of thin air to turn the federal “no-go” zones listed in the BOR into a club against the states —first to benefit big business, then later to benefit social “progressives.” It was wrong-headed either way, however, and a repudiation of everything a federal republic stands for. It ‘s funny that a few libs have started to fall back in love with federalism now that the scotus is starting to swing right. Most however, continue to prattle about the constitution without understanding it while tantrumming for what they want.

    It’s also funny that, were it not for the bogus “selective incorporation,” you could actually have gun-free states now.

  • And that ruling was instantly recognized for the monstrous error that it is, leading to Congress passing the aptly-named Religious Freedom Restoration Act, unanimously in the House and with only three Senators voting against it. Since the Supreme Court ruled against those provisions applying to the states, 21 states have followed suit. And that error continues to be recognized with every law and regulation that contains religious exemptions.

    And the reason why that decision has been so widely panned is obvious. Just as an example, if a state determines that circumcising baby boys is a violation of their right to bodily integrity and bans the practice, according to the Supreme Court it isn’t a violation of Jews’ ability to freely exercise their religion in spite of forcing them to leave the state either before the birth or within days after to carry out one of the fundamental rituals of their religion.

    Another example of our instinctive understanding of the fallacy of general applicability is the law exempting conscientious objectors from the draft.

  • Have you ever heard of the “Golden Rule”? That is what I was referring to. According to Hilell (did I spell his name right?) it is the whole of the law, all the rest is commentary. Advice on how to treat others as you wish to be treated. Good advice, from many cultures, Confucius called it the Ethic of Reciprocity.

  • The 14th Amendment clearly and intentionally expanded the protections of the Bill of Rights to all levels of government.

    I know yoy must be super special and important, but disagreement with Shawnie5 does not make one a “Constitution hater.” Grow up.

  • The 14th Amendment clearly and intentionally did no such thing. It’s primary drafter, John Bingham stayed directly that it was not designed to alter any existing relations between citizens and their government, only to create more citizens.

    Disagreeing with me doesn’t make you a Constitution hater. Despising the nature of our federal republic, the creation of which was the entire point of the Constitution, does.

  • The point is that the Supreme Court disagrees with you on your Free Exercise analysis. RFRA is a constitutional amendment masquerading as a statute. Without a ratified constitutional amendment, Smith is the law of the land for what the Free Exercise Clause means.

  • I believe the so-called “Golden Rule” is a religious text, with the ancient Egyptian goddess Ma’at in the story “The Eloquent Peasant” saying “Now this is the command: Do to the doer to make him do.”

    I am not sure it advances your argument, prescinding for a moment from your out-of-character insertion of religion into the discussion.

    I would wish, were I to become a rapacious murderer, to be stopped, judged, and punished.

    In the same way I would not wish the fundamental principal of the rule of law, including democracy or democratic processes, to be suspended because I happen to object to the outcome.

    That is why I endured eight years of Barack Obama fairly quietly.

    This sort of thinking degenerates into things like “Can’t we all just get along?”

    The answer is “No.”

  • LOL! Well, that certainly explains the children of the elite setting fires, rioting in the streets, and screaming at the sky at their expensive universities, while the poor and powerless deplorables of middle America, who were not even worth the time of the Clinton machine, voted the progs out of DC. Not.

  • We have this thing called the “Constitution” to balance equal treatment under the law for ALL, not just the majority.

    Marriage and civil rights aren’t reserved for only the majority…

  • And the Supreme Court never gets it wrong? It doesn’t even accept the logic of its own rule — if General Applicability is a true rule, then every law carving out a special exemption for religious belief, rather than protecting our right to freely exercise our religion instead violates the Establishment clause. But you wouldn’t know that, from how the SC has ruled since then.

  • The Democrats and their neoliberal globalization program was, like this regime, for increasing inequality. Although their methods are slightly different and they have different leaders, both parties are supporters of
    the corporations and their greedy owners. The recent Democratic regimes created the disastrous situation for the middle class in the middle of America. Our situation is going to get worse with the current government of, by, and for the rich. The Billionaires won,t save us.

  • The Constitution, as it is written, protects certain rights whether they belong to those in a majority or in a minority. For one example, you have a free speech right.

    Every right has limits. A law which infringes upon a right is examined under one of three standards, the highest of which is strict scrutiny.

    This means that – as the Constitution was written – there was no right to marriage at all, nor right to abortion. Both were non-Federal and dealt with at the state level.

    The reasoning in the two cases that “found” these rights is so circuitous as to defy imagination. However, as things stand these “rights” have been erected by judicial fiat, and that’s the law of the land. Neither has a thing to do with “equal treatment under the law for ALL”.

    Another poster has pointed out that despite a lot of political gibberish, abortion continues unabated. The solution is not a new Supreme Court decision. The solution is provided in

    Article Five of the United States Constitution.

    There is no mechanism in the Constitution to override an amendment except another amendment. Period.

  • If you’re talking about Masterpiece Cakeshop, no “custom cake with specific components to express a particular sentiment” was requested. The couple had not even begun to discuss a design before the baker rejected them. And while he considers all his cakes to be “custom” cakes, he never offered to sell them a premade wedding cake. Although his counsel appeared to concede at Supreme Court oral argument that this would not constitute compelled speech, the list of things he said in his own words he offered to sell did not include even a premade wedding cake.

  • I am sitting here reading the filings and briefs and it appears that the couple wished to engage the baker, who did custom cakes to order, to do so for their same sex marriage.

    As I read it his shop did not make “premade” cakes.

    When you get a few moments please reference what you’re sourcing your comments from.

  • I was just reading the oral arguments, where the baker’s attorney at least hypothetically conceded that if he had a premade cake in his window, there could be no compelled speech in compelling him to sell it because any speech had already occurred. Not sure whether he actually had any cakes in his window but this was the question Justice Ginsburg asked counsel right off the bat.
    I can’t open the ACLU’s site with all the court documents right now for some reason, but I remember the baker’s quote which was reproduced in one of the court rulings, and I verified it through news sources, including Christian ones: “I’ll make you birthday cakes, [baby?] shower cakes, sell you cookies and brownies, I just don’t make cakes for same-sex weddings.”

  • By your own admission, gestation law overrules state law and for good reason. We’re not some loose confederation of states, we’re a nation with national civil rights for all, no matter which state an American citizen visits or resides.

  • “but disagreement with Shawnie5 does not make one a “Constitution hater.””

    It usually marks someone as honest and with a lot of patience.

  • I believe you’ve led yourself down the garden path with the hypothetical.

    If you have read any of my comments at all my position has been and remains that if this baker had a shelf of identical cakes, ready-made and ready to go, and refused to sell one as-is to the couple, it would be violation of the state law.

    Were they black it would be a violation of Federal law.

    “I’ll make you birthday cakes, [baby?] shower cakes, sell you cookies and brownies, I just don’t make cakes for same-sex weddings.” says “I am happy to make a custom artistic expression in cake for things that do not violate my beliefs.”, which of course is the thrust of the Masterpiece argument – the baker cannot be compelled by law to make statements contrary to sincerely held beliefs.

    This should help with the cites:

    http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/masterpiece-cakeshop-ltd-v-colorado-civil-rights-commn/

    Overall I think it’s a much better resource than the ACLU website.

  • Sorry, phone autocorrect. I’ve changed it above to read “federal law”. (I shouldn’t text and coo at the same time, ha! 🙂

  • I assume this is what you’re referring to:

    https://litigation.findlaw.com/legal-system/the-supremacy-clause-and-the-doctrine-of-preemption.html

    However, for the Federal government to legislate or rule make it has to have jurisdiction over the subject of the law.

    Under the Constitution the regulation of abortion and marriage was reserved to the states.

    The convoluted reasoning the SCOTUS used to assert jurisdiction was certainly tributes to law school training and imaginative thinking, but as law it was completely bogus.

    I do agree that having done so, the only remedy is amending the Constitution to tie the hands of the Gang of Nine over matters about which they wish to legislate rather than adjudicate.

  • Please point to where the Constitution specifically dictates that marriage and abortion should be state decisions and that the federal government shouldn’t ensure equal civil rights for all Americans regardless of in which state they happen to live.

  • Please point to where the Constitution gives the Federal government jurisdiction over marriage or abortion.

    The assumption is – or at least was – that every power not specifically given to the Federal government was left with the states or the people. So, you have to point to the grant of jurisdiction.

    If abortion was not a civil right in 1789, then no one was being denied equal civil rights for over 200 years being denied an abortion. Same with same sex “marriage”.

  • The SCOTUS simply doesn’t know at this point WHAT they think about the Establishment Clause. They have gone back and forth too many times over the years and now have too many contradictory precedents to juggle. They ought to be honest about the mess they’ve made and start over.

    Of course, they could hardly have made anything EXCEPT a mess out of the attempt to turn what was clearly meant to be a safeguard of the states from the feds into a club for the feds to use against the states.

  • Was going to say the same thing but you beat me to it.

    What part of ENUMERATED POWERS do these people not understand?

  • So, slavery… Up to the States, eh?

    And it’s simply marriage, not “marriage”. No “scare quotes” needed if you want to still have a conversation. I have a real, valid, legal and sacramental marriage. Period.

  • Yes – slavery was up to the states.

    It took a Civil War and an amendment to change that.

    No, it is not marriage, anymore than two women and a man is “marriage”.

  • Any part. If a Federal court asserts jurisdiction over daylight saving time, it must involve an enumerated power or it wouldn’t have done it. It’s the most circular thinking I regularly encounter.

  • Andrew Seidel is an employee of Freedom From Religion Foundation:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_From_Religion_Foundation

    where he supervised four staff attorneys and two legal fellows, whose primary job is writing threatening letters to small towns, schools, and the like with specious legal arguments threatening various legal actions.

    Founded by the late Anne Nicol Gaylor, it appears to exist currently to provide her daughter, Annie Laurie Gaylor, and her husband a good living.

    Its track record in court is atrocious, although you would never know that from its website.

    Mr. Seidel, along with others including the last presidential administration, would like to restrict religion to inside the four walls of church, temple, synagogue, or mosque, and then only if the priest, minister, rabbi, or mullah does not say something which annoys him.

  • I see you implied that someone who disagrees with you is less than honest – again.

    Try some new material.

  • Who, exactly is the “little guy with the slingshot”?

    Seidel?

    He represents a collection of nutcases.

  • To write “Funny how in all these instances no customers besides homosexuals ever get questioned in order to determine whether or not they score sufficiently high on the morality index.” you’d have to be completely unaware of the frequent comments by Ben in Oakland decrying failures in “morality” on the part of “Christianists” and other “religionists”.

    Let’s not strike inappropriate aggrieved poses.

  • Here’s a funny for you. You will observe that the potato upvoted my hapless interlocutor above for attacking the relevance of the Federalist Papers. To another poster on another thread, however, he had this to say: “Either you need to quote the Federalist Papers on the subject or you are just making ridiculous leaps of inference (based on dishonest interpretations of political speaking)”

    Here’s an even funnier funny: not being a reader, he never cited and most probably never heard of the Federalist Papers until I referred to them in the course of debate.

    This is why being called “dishonest” by the potato is nothing but a compliment.

  • A fair description of the situation — SCOTUS Incorporated a section of the Bill of Rights against the states that it never should have, tried to find a bright, objective standard by which future courts could apply the Free Exercise clause, and since has been unwilling to accept the logical consequences of combining those two decisions.

  • The courts have ruled that marriage is now a basic right for all couples, regardless of sexual orientation. And thus, this is not up to a majority in a national election.

  • But a constitutional democracy protects the rights of minorities from the tyranny of majorities.

  • It protects the rights that everyone has from the tyranny of majorities.

    What it doesn’t do is identify specific “minority rights” and protect them.

  • That is the general interpretation of the idea, and I agree with it. But in our constitutional democracy, specific “minority rights” are protected in laws, not the constitution itself. Look at the laws against discrimination of protected classes of citizens.

  • No, the phrase “minority rights” appears nowhere in the Constitution.

    What is established is rights – the Bill of Rights being the primary example.

    Then what is enforced is protection of those rights, even if they are exercised by a minority.

    No law against discrimination provides any minority with a single right that is not a right of every other citizen.

  • I have agreed with your interpretation. “Minority rights” is a consequence of our constitutional democracy and will be for most similar governments.

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