What Can’t Be Said

I’ve been mulling over the recent case of the Colorado baker refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. It has led me to finally understand how this kind of case differs from, say, Woolworths refusing to serve black people in the South in the 1960s. This has been an unanswered question for me, because the Woolworth’s example has been the way that people attacking the baker have framed the case—as a civil rights question about access to public services, the same as denying black people food and coffee in Woolworths in 1963.

And from the other side, it has been framed as an issue of religious freedom, of the right of a person to follow their deeply-held religious beliefs.

what he said 2.png

But it turns out that neither one of those is what is happening here.

Let me prefix my explanation by saying that I will be using “forbidden” words in this post. I’m doing so in order to emphasize a point. They are hurtful words that I would never use in my daily life; they are words that my beloved grandmother would have washed my mouth out with soap for saying; but they are words that are critically important to understanding the point I’m making.

Now, the issue in these cases has been, should a baker be forced by the government to make a special cake for something that offends the baker’s deeply held beliefs? In order to clarify the issues involved in this matter, let me ask the following two hypothetical questions, remembering that I am using forbidden words for effect. Here are the questions:

Should a Jewish baker be forced by the government to bake someone a special cake that says “Hitler was right to turn the kikes into soap!”?

… and …

Should a black baker be forced by the Government to bake someone a special cake that says “The KKK should hang every nigger that they can find!”?

That’s it for the banned words, they leave a bad taste in my mouth, but they make the point very clear. For me, the answer to both these questions is, Hell no, they shouldn’t be forced to do that!

And that highlights what I see as the difference between the Colorado baker case and the  Woolworths case.

The difference is, in the baker’s case the Government is forcing one person to carry a message for another person. This is NOT what was going on at Woolworths. This is not about refusing service, religion, civil rights, or gay rights.

It is about refusing to be a messenger for words we disagree with, which is a very different thing.

So let me propose a two-pronged test to differentiate the baker’s case from the Woolworths case. I would say that anyone is entitled to refuse a request to create something for someone IF:

1) The item in question is a special, one-off item and not a standard, off-the-shelf item,

and

2) The item is required to carry a message, either expressed or implied, in support of some cause or idea with which the maker does not agree.

Using this two-pronged test, neither the Jewish baker, the black baker, or the Colorado baker could be forced to create a special item containing a message that is odious to them.

This two-pronged test makes it clear that it’s not a religious issue. It’s not a civil rights issue. It’s not a gay rights issue. It’s not an issue of refusing service.

Instead, it is an issue of Freedom of Speech, or more to the point, an issue of Freedom NOT to Speak. I see nothing in the Constitution saying that the Government can force its citizens to say things that they object to, regardless of whether the objection is racial, religious, or for any other reason large or small.

And that’s what I learned from the story of the Colorado baker …


My best to all on a peaceful evening, clear on the land here with a low mist over the ocean … what a miraculous planet we inhabit.

w.

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141 thoughts on “What Can’t Be Said

  1. Yesterday I commented rather similarly on FB about this story. I think you’re right.

    https://www.dailysignal.com/2017/09/17/im-a-t-shirt-maker-with-gay-customers-and-gay-employees-i-still-was-sued/

    If I had a T-shirt business, I would certainly not print many messages: racist, sexist and anti-gay ones to start with. I wouldn’t print pro-Hamas or anti-Israel ones either. I think this guy is perfectly reasonable, as is the baker who refused to make a cake for a gay wedding: that couple could easily have found another baker, rather than legally harassing him for six years.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Willis

    Your argument is entirely valid however I would frame it a little differently. To me the baker is an artist. How does the Govt get to compel any artist to do anything? Can I demand that an author write something I want? I am thinking of Isaac Asimov (and zillions of others) who was frequently paid to create a chapter for a textbook. Somehow I dont’t think that those who demand their ‘rights’ to a cake would demand that Issac should be required to write a poem for me.

    I know, I know, I’m old…RIP

    Best

    Jack

    Liked by 3 people

    • I view it in that same framework – a request for a custom product by an artist or artisan. Framing it as issues of religion or freedom of speech muddies the water.

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  3. Yes it is speech, but also association. Association with the speech and ideas that violate ones freedom of conscience if forced to convey. Also association with the person or persons using force to compel the person to convey that message. Think about the Skokie case. A lawyer represents nazis seeking to march in Skokie. The lawyer is associated by the public with the nazis despite him not being a Nazi. Now, the lawyer can be compelled to represent the nazis in court because the lawyer is sworn as an officer of the court to represent all clients fairly and be a strong advocate for their case no matter how reprehensible it might be. Same for lawyers representing serial killers, mass murders, and child rapists.
    Cake bakers are not legally compelled like a lawyer to provide service to all. You cannot make a valid argument how doing so serves a valid public purpose that the market can provide simply by picking another baker.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. artist — that’s it exactly, what the artist does is a statement by the artist. The artist may be a musician and doesn’t want his/her song associated with certain politicians. The artist may be an actor and refuses to take parts of characters he/she doesn’t like. The artist gets to choose his/her art. The artist may refuse to make anything red for that matter, but forcing words into an artist’s mouth simply can’t be allowed to fly.

    Neither should gay couples be allowed to target Christians, knowing that they would refuse, knowing that they could bankrupt them and destroy their businesses and their lives. It’s getting to be commonplace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agree on the “not targeting Christians” thing. I’m surprised and disappointed to not hear voices from the LGBTQ+ community condemning the disproportionate response of the gay couple to being turned down – one of the two said that it made him cry in front of his mother, so his response was to attempt to destroy the livelihood of the baker and his employees. Not a good move, if you’re really interested in understanding and tolerance.

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      • Thanks, Pops. It’s been one of my recurrent questions as these things happen over and over … do these folks not understand that they are unnecessarily and wrongly making people hate members of the LGBTWTF community? Seriously, I have lots of gay relatives that I love dearly, and this nasty vicious suing of bakers pisses ME off … so what is it doing to the folks that are (were) undecided or ambivalent on the subject?

        w.

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        • I’m the same age now as Israel, the state created with enormous international sympathy and support for Jewish people after the horrific treatment meted out to them in the leadup and during WW2.
          But now consider the contempt that many “enlightened” people hold for Israel and its citizens, because they believe Israel has pushed beyond the threshold of empathy for their situation.
          My prediction is that in time, the gay rights agitators will arrive at the same point of public disdain as the Israelis suffer at present, because people will conclude that they’ve over-baked the push for sympathy and “rights”.

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  5. Thank you Willis, and all previous commenters, for putting so succinctly what the real response to this put-up-job should be.

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  6. There is much of your point about a “message” in the event, but there also is more. There IS the aspect of religion.

    To the true believer, the Bible clearly states that homosexuality is a mortal sin. Endorsement of sin is itself sinful. So, in essence, a compulsion to make a cake (or deliver flowers – less ‘message’ in flowers but the same legal case) is a compulsion to endorse the sin. I would assert it is closer to demanding that a Jewish butcher carve up and package your hog for you just as they would custom cut a sheep. Despite that it would render his whole shop non-kosher.

    To leave out that aspect is to diminish the issue.

    Similarly, ministers have been sued for not performing ceremonies. In many Christian sects, marriage is seen as a “3 way” of man, woman, and God “in holy matrimony”. To that point of view, a joining of two in mortal sin with God is a horrific thing to do. Compelling it is fundamentally saying that the religion is to be trashed. Again, not an issue of compelled speech so much as compelled action in sin.

    Now I’m not strongly Christian (more Buddhist in leanings) but I was raised in it. I know a lot of folks who truly do believe that were they to “endorse the sin” and participate in the process they would be damning their souls to hell. I find the notion of compelling them into that state repugnant. No forced communication needed.

    Then there is just the secular point that if you can compel me to provide service, I am no different from a slave. We all ought to be free to associate as we desire and to work as we desire. If I offend a large part of the potential customer base by my choices, I’ll feel it in an empty cash register soon enough. Freedom need not be free of consequences, but it ought to be free of lawfare…

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    • Mmm … thanks for your thoughts, E.M. I’m somewhere in the middle on this one. I do NOT think that people should be free to refuse to serve black people, for example.

      But on the other hand, I do think that no one should be forced to carry another man’s water, or their message for that matter.

      As to the question of making a special floral arrangement for a gay wedding, I would point to my two-pronged test—it is a special item, and it carries an implicit message (that gay marriage is something to celebrate, a message which is odious to certain religious folks), so nobody should be forced to do that.

      w.

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      • Can’t really go with you on this one. I think your two prong argument makes a distinction without a difference. In a government by and of the people then yes “equal” (all parties) under the law. In the private/economic sector I should be free to discriminate based on anything I believe. Usually economics levels it’s own field. There will be bakeries more than willing to cater to LBQT and whatever. And yes, I believe the bakery case was using the courts as targeting an agenda. (Same as climate lawsuits). I think Starbucks is committing suicide in their open door no purchase policy in areas where there are a lot of people that will take advantage of the policy. I also believe that Duncan Doughnuts (so far) is going to be delighted with the Starbucks policies.

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      • Well, you’re making me smile with a memory anyway. In the 80’s college/fraternity we were hosting a party. Very Animal Houseish; One of the girls had a little too much. Being so gallant, we figured maybe to let her sober up a little bit before taking her home. The Black Student Counsel was having a dance in the cafeteria so we figured (naively) we hang there for a little. We were the only white people there. The DJ was calling us out as unwelcome. So we had the “can we dance with you dates” moment. Actually we didn’t leave any troops behind but wow.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Taz. The problem lies in something called “The Tyranny of the Majority”. When I was a kid there were still states where white people and black people could not marry. How does that fit with “all men are created equal”?

        Power, particularly in a democracy, should never be absolute. Otherwise, the tyranny of the majority can deprive any minority of their rights under the Constitution.

        w.

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        • Tyranny of the majority; 100% with you there. Look to Hans Hermann Hoppe. Democracy the God that failed. Makes an interesting case that Monarchies are better suited rulers than democratically elected. The king has a vested interest in keeping and increasing the value of his property.

          I’ve thought about it a long time and never come up with a good answer. Maybe it’s the human family structure but humans seem to always want to construct some type of government structure. Any government beyond the kin circle seems to become both abusive and unstable.

          It’s like the United States current foreign policy (bombs away) War seems to be in human nature. Probably when the crops died then raiding made sense. Now we have a global economy where most all war is counter productive to cooperation. Tulip mania I don’t know.

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          • You can tell me if this Wikipedia article is fair or not, but in any case Hans Hermann Hoppe definitely looks controversial and provocative.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans-Hermann_Hoppe

            “a German-born American Austrian School economist, and paleolibertarian anarcho-capitalist philosopher”
            That’s an unusual combination of adjectives.

            “Hoppe writes that towns and villages could have warning signs saying “no beggars, bums, or homeless, but also no homosexuals, drug users, Jews, Moslems, Germans, or Zulus”.”

            Does that mean he would also say that towns and villages could have warning signs saying “only beggars, bums, homeless, homosexuals, drug users, Jews, Moslems, Germans, and Zulus”?
            The answer is probably yes:
            “As for homosexuality, it is entirely possible that some areas of the country, parts of Gotham and San Francisco for example, will require this practice, and ban, entirely, heterosexuality. If this is done through contract, private property rights, restrictive covenants, it will be entirely compatible with the libertarian legal code.”

            * * *

            Back to The Tyranny of the Majority, democracy has not failed just because it’s not perfect, it’s still better than the available alternatives. Someone could argue that a benevolent dictator, or an enlightened king, or a perfect version of communism might be better … if only human nature permitted them to exist outside of the imagination. One of democracy’s less known advantages is that it gives hope to the losing side. There will be another election and another chance to win. This usually has a calming effect because it’s much easier convince people to vote than it is to convince them to have a revolution. So it avoids some revolutions.

            But democracy is misunderstood. People think it is about voting. It is not ONLY about voting; the most important part is the discussion, the exchange of ideas, the trying to convince others of the good and bad effects of any action. To keep it short, just one example: slavery was not abolished because the slaves voted against it.

            Democracy as we know it is has had a long, hard evolution, mostly by the English, but the American Founding Fathers, after serious deliberations, improved it further. The catch is, it still relies on good will. It has checks and balances against human nature, although imperfect.

            These are trying times. The list of “what can’t be said” is long and growing. The attack on free speech, justified by the attack on hate speech, is an attack right to the heart of democracy. No free discussion, no democracy. Period.

            https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/06/facebook-twitter-censorship-unfair-and-unequal/

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          • The Wikipedia article was way more fair than I expected on a somewhat controversial topic. Particularly these days with SJWs gaining way more traction than they should. I think Mark Twain said something to: giving us the full benefit of their inexperience. Substitute cannibal for Nazi in an argument, one you may be able to live next to the other maybe not but it’s the individuals decision. Freedom to associate also provides the freedom to not associate.

            Libertarian principle is based in the Non Aggression Principle (NAP) You are not allowed to initiate violence on another individual or group. It’s why Hans’ arguments about excluding individuals and groups with covenants and agreements fits libertarianism. Stay where you’re wanted and don’t go where not and you end up reducing conflict. btw using government to initiate violence is also not acceptable as I guess was the case in the “baker” lawsuit. NAP is the cornerstone to preventing tyranny of the majority.

            Maybe I shouldn’t be on this blog because I hate Willis because he’s both smarter and a better writer than I am; which I really hate; and he has a good blog and he plays guitar !@#$%

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    • Religious freedom is not supposed to be just for certain Christian denominations, but for all faiths.

      Get ready for Catholic checkout operators refusing to swipe condoms in supermarkets, Hindu checkout operators refusing to swipe beef, Jewish checkout operators refusing to swipe bacon, Muslim checkout operators refusing to swipe alcohol or pork or music CD’s or to serve unveiled women or women unaccompanied by their husbands and so on. There will have to be special aisles for each religion and employers will be powerless to fire employees who refuse to do the job they’re paid to.

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      • Derek, to me the issue is forcing an artist to create a special object for something he disagrees with. In the Colorado case, the baker was clear that they could buy anything off-the-shelf … which totally negates your argument about checkout operators. Nobody in this thread has held that people can refuse regular transactions, just the creation of special objects.

        We’re discussing people who are forced to create special objects containing things or in support of things that they object to, whether on religious or other grounds. It’s not necessarily religious. I don’t think furniture makers should be compelled to put ugly legs on a special table if they object to doing so.

        w.

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        • I don’t think anyone should be forced to sign their name to a message they disagree with either, but so far as I know, the objection certain religious people have to providing goods and services to gay people is that by doing so, they’re “condoning sin”, i.e. *other people* sinning. That applies with equal force to checkout operators swiping condoms, pork, beef and beer through the scanner. They’re “facilitating sin” just as much as an innkeeper who lets a room to a gay couple.

          As for wedding cakes, they’re not even part of the marriage process, they’re for the after-party, i.e. the Reception and as such, the creator of the cake doesn’t ‘participate’ in the wedding any more than the cleaners do.

          Central to my calling out the protagonists for certain religious sects is hypocrisy, a sin condemned by the founder of the Christian religion, none other than Jesus Christ himself, and judging others without cleaning up your own house first. Jesus never uttered a word against LGBT minorities, and nor do the Ten Commandments. But he condemned remarriage after a no-fault divorce as adultery, a mortal sin condemned in both Testaments of the Bible as warranting burning for trillions of years in a lake of scalding sulphur.

          Why don’t they practise what they preach? Many, including the notorious Kentucky Town Clerk Kim Davis are into their 3rd or 4th marriages, and are knowingly and wantonly committing adultery on a daily basis. Yet we never hear of bakers refusing them a cake, nor to overweight people, even though Gluttony is a listed sin.

          I agree this is doing the LGBT cause harm, and I’m prepared to draw the line at writing messages of support for same-sex marriage. No-one should be compelled to write anything with which they disagree, but the real reason LGBT people are being singled out for refusal of service is that they want to stick it to us. We picked the wrong battle with the wedding cakes in my view, but the fight isn’t over. In 76 countries it’s still a crime for gay people to have a relationship with another gay person, and in 10 of those, the death penalty exists, all under Islamic jurisprudence.

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  7. All of these gay discrimination cases are false. In each one the “gay” couple sought out businesses which they knew beforehand did not support their life choice. Yes, choice. Each was intended to drag people into court and bankrupt them in order to push forward the leftist political agenda. IN the Colorado case both of the denied marriage participants were on multiple national “news” shows and admitted they targeted this business because they wanted to force him to make a product he did not want to produce. Political coercion, with a big dose of stealing other people’s money. Well past time for these “activists” to be prosecuted.

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    • 2hotel9, I wouldn’t say that they should be prosecuted, but they certainly should not be able to sue, and they should be called out loud and clear by responsible gay people. The silence of the larger gay community on this question is a mystery to me, since it has occasioned such bad feeling against gays in general.

      w.

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      • Yes, prosecuted. They are using the US judicial system to attack people based on political ideology. They should also pay all the legal costs inflicted on their targets and the public. And yes, our tax dollars are being stolen for this crap and we damned well should get every penny back. People are getting angry about this all this and a backlash is building. It ain’t gonna be pretty and the wrong people will end up hurt.

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    • Years ago, when the ‘legalisation’ of homosexuality was being debated in the English Parliament, one female MP is supposed to have said “As long as they don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses”. Now, it seems that the LGBwhatever activists are actively TRYING to frighten the horses!

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      • Acceptance was never the goal, forced compliance with the leftist political agenda has always been the goal. Civil unions have always been available for people who wish to co-habitat, and yet that was never good enough. A better idea is to remove government from “marriage” period. THAT will not be accepted by the lgbtwtf crowd, forced compliance with their agenda is all they settle for. Just as the palestinians will never accept a 2 state solution, the eradication of all jews is the only answer they will agree to. And once all jews are dead they will move on to all infidels. Same “thinking” in the leftist lgbtwtf, acceptance is not good enough.

        The backlash is growing, it will not be pretty when it comes and all the wrong people will be hurt by it.

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    • Unless you are me, you cannot know for certain whether being gay is a decision I made or not. Your sexuality is something you discover at puberty, not a ‘lifestyle’ you choose like living near the beach or buying a fashionable new pair of shoes. No heterosexual I know could choose to be gay because they find the very idea repugnant. But if you think being gay is a choice made by heterosexuals then it must be a choice you think you could make.

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      • Derek, I can’t speak for anyone else, but on my planet there are few things LESS important than whether for you or anyone being gay is a choice or not. I’ve got a stack of gay relatives, it’s not an issue to any of us. That’s who they are, none of us cares how they got there.

        I do care, however, when gay people, or any other group, tries to force people to create special things for them that they don’t want to create, and then they threaten the people with financial ruin if they refuse to knuckle under to the demands.

        For me, it’s bozo-simple. If a baker doesn’t want to bake some special message cake that I want, I go to another baker. If an artist doesn’t want to paint what I want her to paint, I find another artist. Life is too short to do otherwise. But here’s the thing …

        I don’t think that my gay relatives and friends realize just how much this vicious attacking of bakers and the like is hurting the acceptance of gays into society. You see it as fighting for your rights. We see it as y’all being vicious, vindictive jerks, and that has exactly zero to do with your sexual orientation. We’d say the same about a Christian trying to force a Muslim artist to draw a cartoon of Mohammed … FFS, if you want cartoons of Mohammed, go find another artist.

        You may not have noticed, but gay people are storing up a ton of ill-will by their unconsidered and inconsiderate actions in these cases. And all of your attempts to justify these kinds of actions are making folks like gay people even less … from this side of the aisle, it looks like you think you are special snowflakes who want special treatment instead of doing what everyone else does in that situation …

        FIND ANOTHER FRICKEN’ BAKER, AND DON’T WHINE ABOUT BEING OPPRESSED!!

        Please be clear that I say this because I’d like to see the day when gay people in general and my gay relatives in particular are treated just like everyone else … but to get there, you’ve got to follow the same social rules as everyone else, and that doesn’t include heartlessly driving bakers into bankruptcy …

        Best regards,

        w.

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        • I agree with you it’s wrong to force anyone to write a message they disagree with, and I also agree that this case and others like it are bringing the LGBT cause into disrepute.

          I have other issues with the motivation of certain religious sects refusing service such as hotel accommodations et al to gay couples. These issues are outlined at length in my responses to other commenters in this thread, so I shan’t type it all again (with iPhone thumbs!) and instead invite you to read and respond as you see fit.

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  8. It’s the same as ‘compelled speech’ that Jordan Peterson has spoken about in the context of transgenders. It’s becoming forbidden to hold an opinion that is regarded as politically incorrect. You can’t even joke about it. In London a guy observed to a mounted policeman that his horse was gay. He was immediately surrounded by police officers, handcuffed and put in the slammer. He was fined £80.

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  9. It’s not a civil rights issue. […]

    Instead, it is an issue of Freedom of Speech, or more to the point, an issue of Freedom NOT to Speak

    In the US, the freedom of speech is considered a civil right. The first amendment also protects us against compelled speech.

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    • Thanks, Lucia, always good to hear from you. I agree with you, but despite that the Oregon bakers were put out of business because they refused to let their speech be compelled …

      Best to you and yours,

      w.

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    • We’ve never really had unfettered “freedom of speech”. Last time I looked, it wasn’t legal to commit perjury, defame someone, incite crime, swear a false document or commit forgery.

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      • Really? During the last 5 days we have had several senior members of Congress publicly inciting violence against their political opponents, one of them scream the “God is on OUR side!” and none of them are in jail, so clearly “unfettered free-speech” does exist. For certain people, of course. And spare me the lame “its political speech” lie, inciting to violence is inciting to violence. Period. Full stop.

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        • In the 1969 Supreme Court Brandenburg v. Ohio decision, the court ruled that incitement of events in the indefinite future was protected free speech, however, encouragement of “imminent” illegal acts such as those you refer to, is not protected. If these statements were made as you describe them, then all it takes is a complaint from a civic-minded denizen, perhaps yourself, to kick off a prosecution.

          Incitement to riot is a felony under U.S. federal law.

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  10. “It’s not an issue of refusing service.”

    There used to be signs everywhere “No shirt, no shoes, no service”. Clearly intended to discriminate. There are restaurants where you are required to dress appropriately, some even require a tie. Obvious discrimination. But a reasonable case for it can be made. Any law overriding the individuals’ judgements, rational or not, should be considered very carefully.

    Say I am considering picking up a hitchhiker. If the way he dresses makes me nervous, I don’t stop. It’s my risk, so it’s my decision. Same thing if I am renting an apartment. If there needs to be more “equality”, the solution is not force. Try education or “building awareness”. Most “victims” automatically assume they were denied service because of their preferred identity choice; bad assumption, but a good one for getting media attention.

    “No shirt, no shoes, no service — not even if you are gay, not even if you are not white, and so on.”

    The groups targeting Christian bakers should try it on Muslim bakers… then we can bet on whether gay rights or religious beliefs prevail.

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    • There are already being laws passed in the progressive cities that forbid you to inquire about a person’s criminal past or refuse to rent to them for their looks.

      Oh, it’s all right for protected groups to discriminate. At least if they’re discriminating against (non LBGTQ) whites or asians and doubly so if their Christians or Jews. You know, the “oppressors”.

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    • Since muslims routinely crucify gays, by throwing them from building tops, setting them on fire, stoning or simply shooting them, we all know why gays don’t pull their scams on muslims.

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  11. Some irony here in that legalizing same sex marriages was sold on the idea that extending marriage to these unions did not take anything away from other people. Now we see the attempt to take away from others their right to disagree.

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    • Similar things were said during the Civil Rights bill passage. We were assured that there wouldn’t be quota’s for example and of course there are just that they’re couched in terms that obfuscate the fact.

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  12. Your right except that for progressives your rights and beliefs don’t count if they conflict with what they’ve decided are the rights of a protected class. IIRC the baker in question had no problem selling his cakes to gays, just not wedding cakes for gay weddings. Of course that’s not deemed acceptable to those progressives and it seems that acts that they would condemn if they were perpetrated against one of the own are perfectly acceptable if they’re inflicted on someone they deem pariahs. Imagine the reverse where a Christian came into a t-shirt shop owned by a gay or progressive and asked for a shirt that said “marriage is between a man and a woman” and the owner refused. Do you think that the civil rights commission of Colorado would condemn the owner?

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    • I get it about writing the message, but what about cakes for mixed-race weddings? Miscegenation is against the deeply held religious beliefs of many who opposed overturning the Jim Crowe laws of the 1960’s, and remains so today.

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      • Derek, thanks for the question about mixed-race marriage. For me it’s not a gay issue or a religious issue or a mixed-race issue. The problem is forcing someone to create a special work that they don’t want to create.

        It is immaterial whether it is a Christian wanting a Muslim artist to draw cartoons of Mohammed, or a gay couple wanting a Christian baker to bake a special wedding cake, or a white man wanting a black T-shirt maker to make him a T-shirt saying “The KKK should have killed them all”, or a cabinetmaker being asked to put claw-foot legs on a Swedish modern cabinet, or a mixed-race couple wanting a racist baker to bake them a cake with half black frosting and half white frosting. Here’s the issue:

        Artists and craftsmen should not be forced to accede to the whims of potential clients.

        They can if they wish, but they should not be forced to do so. Should Picasso be forced by the government to paint in a realist style just because someone is willing to pay him to do so?

        Note that this does NOT apply to off-the-shelf items, as was made clear in the Colorado baker case. The baker said that anyone is free to come in and buy whatever they wish off his shelves … but he did not want to be forced to make something special against his beliefs.

        My best regards to you,

        w.

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        • OK, as I said before, I agree no-one should be forced to write a message they disagree with, but if serving black people were against his beliefs, that would apply just the same as when serving gay people goes against his beliefs. If a person’s religious beliefs are allowed to permit refusal of service to gay people, then they must likewise be permitted to allow refusal of service to black people, or on any other grounds whatsoever. And by the way, I don’t know any people, gay or otherwise, for whom the ceremony of marriage is a “whim”.

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          • Derek, you’re missing my point, likely my lack of clarity. The issue is not religious or racial or sexual. Here’s a question for you:

            If a couple like realistic paintings for their wedding, should the government force Pablo Picasso to paint a picture for them in the realistic style the couple demands?

            Once you answer that I think you’ll see that we’re not talking about black people, gay people, or any subgroup. We’re talking about the creation of a special item and whether the government should force any artist or craftsman to work to the (often bizarre) specifications of anyone who walks in the door.

            Best regards, and thanks for your participation,

            w.

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          • As I have acknowledged elsewhere, no-one should be forced to write a message they don’t agree with, nor to paint a work of art outwith their sphere of expertise. But as I also mentioned in a response I made just now to another comment, the reason for the refusal in your example is fairly based on the painter’s unwillingness or inability to work in the field requested by the client. Again, in your example, the painter would refuse this to ANY customer, whether they be gay, straight, Jewish, Gentile, male, female, etc. However, if he would do a custom painting for a white person but not a black person then that is discrimination. If he would do the custom painting for Gentile but not a Jew, then that is discrimination. If he would do the painting for a straight person, but not an LGBT person, then that too is discrimination.

            The Halal bakery serves everyone, even though the vast majority of their client base will undoubtedly be Muslim, as does the Kosher bakery. I can go into a Halal or Kosher delicatessen any time, and I won’t be refused, even though I am a member of their disliked class. Nor can I demand that either of these stores serve me bacon, because they don’t serve that to ANYBODY. The same applies to the wedding cake. The solution for the Christian baker is to create products he can sell to anybody.

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  13. Should a sail maker be forced to make a sail that carries an “odious message”, and a reference to the maker of the sail, possibly in smaller print.
    Where does it stop ??

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  14. There is an important element of the argument you are missing.

    The CCRC held contemporaneously that THREE different bakers were justified in NOT serving a fellow named Jack who wanted baked goods that contained an “anti-gay” message. The bakers did not want to participate in a message they disagreed with.

    In the subject case, the governments own approval and disapproval of the message was the defining difference. If that isn’t a First Amendment issue, what is?

    Government approval of the message as key to the CCRC decision was the argument of the Thomas/Gorsuch concurring opinion. The tragedy was only those two put there name to the opinion.

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  15. What can’t be said. Here’s a classic Mark Steyn article on that.
    https://www.nationalreview.com/2013/12/age-intolerance-mark-steyn/

    Here are two jokes one can no longer tell on American television. But you can still find them in the archives, out on the edge of town, in Sub-Basement Level 12 of the ever-expanding Smithsonian Mausoleum of the Unsayable. First, Bob Hope, touring the world in the year or so after the passage of the 1975 Consenting Adult Sex Bill: “I’ve just flown in from California, where they’ve made homosexuality legal. I thought I’d get out before they make it compulsory.”

    I’ll let you look up the other one. “As Christian bakers ordered to provide wedding cakes for gay nuptials and many others well understand, America’s much-vaunted “freedom of religion” is dwindling down to something you can exercise behind closed doors in the privacy of your own abode or at a specialist venue for those of such tastes for an hour or so on Sunday morning, but when you enter the public square you have to leave your faith back home hanging in the closet.” (The closet is empty now after the gays have come out)

    I suspect the gay cake warriors are angry at all Christians, having been told the what the Bible says about it too many times, yet the cold blooded revenge makes one wish for a more Christian attitude.

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    • We are not “angry at all Christians”, although I suspect Jesus himself might be angry with those refusing service to us.

      Not all Christians are against LGBT people having the same rights they enjoy. Take as an example the fact that over 80% of America declares itself to be Christian, yet over 70% of America supports LGBT equality, with over 50% in favour of same-sex marriage. You can find this corrorated by numerous polls. This can only mean one thing: the vast majority of Christians support LGBT people having equal rights.

      There is a website “Not All Like That” to support such Christians, and I can name any number of Christian denominations who welcome LGBT parishioners with full sacraments including ordination to the clergy and same-sex marriage. For example, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Quaker, Unitarian, Metropolitan Community Church and quite a few Jewish synagogues as well. Why should their deeply held religious belief not be respected every bit as much as yours?

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      • Reading your comments you certainly appear to be angry with christians. Any anger for lgbtwft who are forcing their leftist political ideology on everyone else? Any for muslims forcing thier political ideology on other people? Just curious.

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        • I already explained that the majority of US Christians support LGBT equality, so how could I be angry with them? Moreover, Barack Obama is self-declared Christian, and did more than any president in US history to advance LGBT equality. Not only am I not angry with him, I admire him, not only for that, but for his attempts, although unsuccessful, to provide universal healthcare to all Americans.

          Can you please be more specific as to what you mean by “leftist political ideology”, and what I wrote that gives you the impression I am “angry with Christians”?

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          • You keep pointing to christians discriminating against lgbtwtf, mixed race people, mixed race couples. Yet you appear to have no problem with lgbtwtf activists pushing their leftist political ideology on everyone else. You have multiple posts detailing how awful it is that christians refuse to do XYZ for lgbtwtf individuals and couples, and you have nothing to say about lgbtwtf individuals singling out and targeting businesses for their sweet little judicial payday scams. It is not about equality, it is about getting a payout and bankrupting people, all based on ideology, not gender or sex or civil rights. It always comes down to pushing a political agenda and getting a payday by stealing from people they politically disagree with. If lgbtwtf want products or services they should simply go out into the market place and get them. That is not what they are doing, they are using the judicial system to attack their perceived political opponents. This has been a favored tactic of the political left in their global warming scam and is being used in many other fields of endeavor. Funny, we on the “right” don’t do this. Perhaps it is time we started.

            You are surrounded by trees because you are in the middle of a forest. Thank god America has enough properly thinking jurists on the Supreme Court that we can bring some of this leftist crap to a halt. Civil Rights apply to ALL Americans, singling out one “group” over another is anti-American and is balkanizing our country, which is precisely what the political left has been doing since at least the 1920s.

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          • I’m still not sure what exactly you mean by “leftist political ideology”, but in the absence of a clear definition from you, perhaps could you articulate what it is that you used to be able to do, that you can no longer do because of LGBT equality?

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          • The fact you refuse to even acknowledge the fact that leftist political ideology is the driving force behind these attacks against American citizens tells me all I need to know about you. None of these attacks are based in civil rights, they are 100% a tactic to ruin the lives of any person the political left labels as enemy. Good luck with that. It is not going to end well for those doing it, or those defending them.

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  16. Your second question is unnecessary. Should a furniture maker be required to put Regency claw feet legs on an Art Deco table? No. An artisan has a right to refuse a one-off contract. The baker doesn’t have the right to refuse sale of a standard item, but does have the right to refuse any one-off adaption that a customer might request.

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    • Gary, I still think it is a question of freedom of speech. Remember that the Supremes have already ruled (in the flag-burning case) that symbolic speech is speech, and art is definitely symbolic speech.

      Interesting question, though …

      w.

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      • Context. It’s a shop, not a public arena. Two people enter the room where one person wants to purchase something, the other wants to sell something. Transactions should comply with contract law and common practice. Flag burning is a single person expressing an opinion in a public space. Context.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Your illustration of refusal to put Regency claw feet on Art Deco table falls to the type of service offered, not to exclusion of a disliked class such as LGBT people from receiving the same service you would ordinarily provide to types of people you personally like, such as white heterosexual people. If you would provide the claw footed table to a heterosexual couple but refuse it to a gay couple, then that is discrimination.

      In the case of baking the wedding cake, that is a service the baker ordinarily provides to heterosexual people, but refuses to gay people. If you argue that his religious belief allows this, then by identical reasoning he can likewise refuse it to a mixed race couple on the grounds of his deeply held religious belief. Writing a message falls to freedom of speech, and I don’t think anyone should be compelled to write and sign their name to a message they disagree with.

      Like

  17. I make stuff out of wood, portraits, signs, stuff. You want a standard item off the shelf, have at it. You want me to make something special for you, I may or may not be interested.

    Now, make a federal case out of that. Do I need a reason to not make your special item, or is it simply enough that it does not interest me? Say I have fishing theme items, and you want tennis. Can you enlist the Government to compel me to make your special item?

    One need not include sex or religion or any other factor. Can you be compelled to make things on demand?

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      • Thanks, Derek, but again you miss the point. The issue is, can the government force an artist or a craftsman to do any wacky special thing that some random customer demands?

        Note that this involves only SPECIAL requests. So no, public accommodation has nothing to do with it—that is a standard, off-the-shelf item.

        w.

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        • Will, I have replied in detail to this point in another post a few moments ago, but in brief, no , I agree the government shouldn’t force anyone to create anything a random customer wants, so long as he refuses this to EVERYBODY, and not just members of the disliked class, such as African Americans, Jews, LGBT people, Muslims and so forth. If he will only make his products for white heterosexual Gentiles for example, then that is discrimination.

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          • Again you miss the point … Picasso wouldn’t paint for the “disliked class”, which was those who wanted realism. You agree he shouldn’t have to … yet you think that you, yourself, are in some special class to which the rules that apply to Picasso’s clients shouldn’t apply to you.

            You think that you can go anywhere, demand that any artist do anything, and if they refuse you play the Gay Card and demand that they accede to your whims.

            I’m sorry, but if a guy doesn’t want to produce a special painting celebrating either the NAACP or the KKK, that is his right, even if it is totally racist …

            w.

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          • No I don’t argue that at all. I specifically don’t think someone should be forced to create a work of art or write a message they don’t want to write, so long as they refuse it to everybody. Are you arguing for the right of an artist to put up a sign that says “no blacks, Jews or gays”?

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          • Derek Williams June 28, 2018 at 10:53 am

            No I don’t argue that at all. I specifically don’t think someone should be forced to create a work of art or write a message they don’t want to write, so long as they refuse it to everybody. Are you arguing for the right of an artist to put up a sign that says “no blacks, Jews or gays”?

            Absolutely I am arguing for that right. An artist should be free to refuse to create special works for anyone for any reason.

            Note that I also say that an artist does NOT have the right to refuse to sell a FINISHED PAINTING to “blacks, Jews, or gays”. That is protected by law, and rightly so. The critical issue is the difference between off-the-shelf, on-the-menu, standard items, and one-off specialty items.

            You have no right, for example, to demand that I draw a specific cartoon in a specific manner, NO MATTER WHAT MY REASON FOR REFUSING MIGHT BE! Maybe I woke up cranky. Maybe I don’t like you personally. Maybe I hate all white people. Doesn’t matter. I’ll refuse anyone’s artistic demands on me that I damn well please, and I don’t have to provide you with reasons.

            w.

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          • If you want people to be able to refuse a custom service to blacks, because they’re black, then the 1964 Civil Rights Act will have to be repealed. And on that, we shall have to agree to disagree.

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          • Derek Williams June 28, 2018 at 12:26 pm

            If you want people to be able to refuse a custom service to blacks, because they’re black, then the 1964 Civil Rights Act will have to be repealed. And on that, we shall have to agree to disagree.

            I’m sorry, but I find NOTHING in the 1964 Civil Rights Act that says an artist can be compelled to draw some particular subject or in some particular manner, for any reason or for no reason at all.

            If you think such a provision exists, please give us the Title, Section, and Paragraph of the part of the 1964 act that you claim would force artists to do so. [e.g. TITLE VII, SEC. 701 (c) ].

            Look, suppose a white guy goes into a shop with a black baker and wants a special cake honoring the KKK … but the baker says “A white KKK mob lynched my grandfather, I’m upset about that, so I’m sorry but I won’t make your cake. However, you’re welcome to buy anything on the shelves” …

            According to you, the government should force the guy to bake the cake … me, not so much …

            w.

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          • Derek Williams June 28, 2018 at 1:39 pm

            And here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Colorado#Discrimination

            “In Colorado, it has been illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, and credit since the category “sexual orientation” was added to the state’s Public Accommodations Law in 2008.”

            Thanks, Derek. My response to that is best expressed by Charles Dickens:

            “If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, “the law is a ass — a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience — by experience.”

            I fear that it is the vagueness of these laws that has led to things like the Colorado baker being sued. I find the following on LegalZoom:

            In the first case, the baker refused service to a customer who wanted her to bake a cake with anti-gay Bible verses on it. The customer argued that he was discriminated against because of his religious beliefs. But the court ruled that this was not discrimination because the baker had a consistent policy of refusing to create cakes that used derogatory language or imagery.

            I fail to see how the Oregon couple could be sued under the same law for “having a consistent policy of refusing to create cakes that used anti-Christian language or imagery”, since they believe that gay marriage is anti-Christian. One rule for gay people, one rule for straight people, I guess …

            Mostly, though, I’m arguing in favor of gay people being good neighbors, which sadly has far too often not been the case. Driving the young Oregon couple into bankruptcy just because they wouldn’t make a gay wedding cake has caused huge damage to the general acceptance of gay people … why would straight people want to accept gay people or do any business with gay people after seeing the gay couple cheered and feted by the gay establishment figures for their actions?

            Finally, I still say an artist or craftsman should NOT be forced by the government to create any special object for someone, no matter their reasons. If that’s against some law somewhere, then, well, “the law is an ass.” As a cartoonist myself, I don’t care if you are black or gay or some other “protected group”, you still can’t tell me what I must or must not draw. Not gonna happen, and I don’t have to give a reason.

            w.

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          • Again and again I keep saying no-one should be forced to draw anything, or bake anything against their will, so you are preaching to the converted, no matter how many times you hit me with the straw man. No-one should be forced to write anything they don’t want to write, or paint anything they don’t want to paint, or bake anything they don’t want to bake. But under federal law, they can’t refuse to make something for a customer because he is black, if they will make it for a white customer. Under Colorado state law, they can’t refuse to build something for a gay customer just because he is gay, if they will build it for a heterosexual customer. All the baker needs to do is to refuse the message writing service to everyone and make cakes that can anyone can buy.

            A Halal baker can’t be compelled to sell bacon, and he doesn’t, not to Muslims, not to anyone. Likewise a Kosher Deli. No-one is compelling them to create pork pies, nor anything else that violates their religious belief. Everything that is in their Halal or Kosher store they sell to everybody. Unlike the Christian baker, they only stock products they can sell to everybody.

            Far from the gay couple making an example of the Christian baker, I suggest it is the other way round. The Christian baker had been itching for a chance to show gays a lesson, and one day a gay couple walked right into his shop, making him an overnight celebrity, like Kim Davis, Memories Pizza and the florist who refused to serve gay couples. Their rivers-of-gold GoFundMe accounts mean they never have have to work again, along with the pile they’re making out of doing promotional book tours:
            https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/kim-davis-homosexuals-book_us_5a9583f4e4b0bef79e305b69?guccounter=1

            Baking a cake for a gay couple isn’t even part of the wedding ceremony, it’s for the after party. The baker isn’t ‘participating’ in it any more than the cleaners are. If the baker is trying to prevent the gay couple from ‘sinning’, then why doesn’t he refuse adulterers remarrying? If he believes miscegenation is also sinful, then he can refuse to serve interracial couples as well, yet we don’t see this. Why not ? Because they don’t really care about “sin” at all, they want to stick it to gay people. When it comes to refusal of public accommodations, replace the word “gay” with “Jew” and you get a whiff of where this is heading.

            Here’s the rub. Jesus never condemned homosexuals, and nor do the Ten Commandments, but he railed against adultery and hypocrisy. And what do we see these ‘Christians’ doing? Dripping with hypocrisy, Kim Davis is into her 4th marriage and so is an unrepentant adulterer. According to her own religious belief, she shouldn’t even be giving herself a marriage licence. Likewise with the baker, there is no record of his ever refusing to serve anyone except gay couples. Gluttony and adultery are suddenly “OK sins” when it’s themselves committing them. They want to stick it to gay people, and they’ll get their way once Trump replaces Kennedy on the Supreme Court, and Obergefell will be reversed.

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          • “Again and again I keep saying no-one should be forced” , and then you quote and link laws that FORCE people to do what they do not want to do. Round and round and round. Don’t you get dizzy?

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          • There is no law forcing anyone to make a flower arrangement or bake a cake. There are however laws preventing refusal of service to one group that you’d ordinarily provide another on the grounds of race. Good luck if you want the Civil Rights Act repealed.

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          • Derek Williams June 28, 2018 at 5:48 pm

            Again and again I keep saying no-one should be forced to draw anything, or bake anything against their will, so you are preaching to the converted, no matter how many times you hit me with the straw man.

            Huh? I’m not following that. As I recall you’ve said over and over that the baker should be forced to make a special cake for the gay couple. Did I misunderstand that?

            Me, I’ve said over and over that nobody should be forced to make SPECIAL ITEMS against their will, including the Colorado baker. I’m OK with hotels being forced to serve any and everybody. I’m not OK with someone telling me as a cartoonist what I have to draw.

            But you seem to think the baker SHOULD be forced to bake a special cake … that’s what I don’t get.

            w.

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          • No, as I keep saying, I don’t think he should be forced to bake anything or write anything he doesn’t want to, and nor should you as an artist, and nor should I as a musician.

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          • Just in case anything got “lost in translation” in my last response, a specialist cabinet maker can’t say to a black man, “you can buy my off-the-shelf cheap cabinet, but I don’t make the nice cabinets for blacks, only for whites”.

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          • Derek Williams June 28, 2018 at 7:41 pm

            Just in case anything got “lost in translation” in my last response, a specialist cabinet maker can’t say to a black man, “you can buy my off-the-shelf cheap cabinet, but I don’t make the nice cabinets for blacks, only for whites”.

            Can Picasso say to a realist “You can buy anything I’ve painted, but I only take commissions from people who appreciate abstract art”? And if so, how does that differ, not in law, but in morality from your example?

            I must say, I dislike the entire idea of “protected classes”. If one person deserves to be protected, we all deserve to be protected. For example, it is legal to say “I’ll serve Republicans in my restaurant, but I won’t serve Democrats”, but you can’t say “I’ll serve Jews but not Hindus in my restaurant”. You can’t be prejudiced against a young black woman, but you can be prejudiced against an old black man … and boy, lot’s of folks are …

            Good talking with you, you make me dig deep into what I do believe …

            w.

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          • Your other point about “protected classes” goes to the vulnerability of minorities, especially disliked minorities like Blacks, Jews and Gays. That’s why the 14th Amendment was necessary, to protect from what President John Adams called “tyranny of the majority”.

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          • Derek, I’m a cartoonist. Muslims say that folks like me should be killed for drawing pictures of Mohammed. So you’ll excuse me if I’m somewhat prickly on this issue. You say:

            “You can choose to be a Democrat but you can’t choose to be white.”

            Muslims are a protected group. So are Christians. You can choose to be either one. So … why are they “protected groups” while Republicans are not?

            Your other point about “protected classes” goes to the vulnerability of minorities, especially disliked minorities like Blacks, Jews and Gays. That’s why the 14th Amendment was necessary, to protect from what President John Adams called “tyranny of the majority”.

            What if some Christian (a protected group) comes to a cartoonist and insists that they draw cartoons of Mohammed? (another protected group)? What if a black man comes to a gay baker and insists that the baker bake a cake with an anti-gay message?

            Me, I think the issue is simple, and it has nothing to do with any protected group. I think that any artist or craftsman should be able to turn down any client’s request for a special item for any reason, or for no reason at all. Seriously. If you ask me to draw something I don’t want to draw, I should not have to justify my choice.

            Finally, since I think this should only apply to specially created objects, I don’t see this as an onerous burden. It has been pointed out that to get from their home to the Colorado baker whose life they tried to ruin, the couple had to pass five other bakeries. Which lets me know that they were acting out of spite, rather than because they had been deprived of something essential … if someone won’t make something special for you, there are lots of other fish in the sea …

            w.

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          • How do you know they didn’t walk past the five other bakers to go to the one with the best reputation? Remember, they had shopped there before, and were probably loyal to him – a respect not reciprocated by the baker. I’ll walk across town, past any number of other restaurants, to go to one with a great reputation, or one where I’m a regular.

            Let’s say, you want to get your portrait painted by the best artist in town, but he says he doesn’t paint black people. Or you want to have a hot rod built for your race gymkhana by the best car builder in the business, but he doesn’t do it for blacks, only for whites. Then, you go to the best restaurant in town, because you have heard of their degustation menu, but find out they don’t serve their Spécialité du Jour to blacks, only to whites. You want to have a private education, tailor made for your child of a particular ability, but again, they don’t serve blacks.

            Despite doing everything that society asked of you, working hard at school to get an education, paying your taxes and not breaking the law, the colour of your skin means you can never be respected and never order the best in the house. This is a daily reality for large numbers of blacks in the USA. It isn’t actually even legal, but it’s what you’re advocating that all the above businesses I cited as examples should be allowed to do, that an artist should be able to refuse clients on racial grounds, because of an atttribute they cannot change, the colour of their skin. They can’t ever get your best product because of racial prejudice. That’s discrimination, pure and simple.

            The reason that Jews, LGBT and African Americans have protected status under the Equal Protection provisions of the 14th Amendment is that they’re disliked minorities, whose rights can be obliterated by Tyranny of the Majority. The sad fact is that blacks have the greatest number of hate crimes perpetrated against them, with hate based homicides well over 13,000 annually, often by trigger-happy police who should be sworn to protect them. Next highest, also in the thousands, come LGBT whose murder rate is nearly double that of number of Jews murdered because they were Jews. And that’s in America, a high-income, first-world country. Some stats can be viewed here:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_crime

            A white man who sees the KKK marching through the street has nothing to fear, because he is white, but a black man knows they want to kill him, and will hunt him down. From that moment onwards the terror never leaves him. This is the reason for the passing of Equal Protection provisions of the 14th Amendment, because he and his ilk are only 14% of the US population, always subject to the whim of the majority. Should blacks have only 14% of the civil rights enjoyed by all other Americans, or should they have equal rights to everyone else and be able to dine, study, and commission works of art anywhere they damn well please if they can afford it?

            When did you ever see murder by the thousand of Republicans, just for being Republican, or heterosexuals, just for being heterosexual? Based on their stastical superiority, their murder rate should be 20 times higher than that of LGBT, Jews and Blacks, but we know that’s not the case. And yet there are still malfeasants who want “straight pride” parades, to stick it to ‘them gays’.

            Refusal of service to gays isn’t anything to do with religion and sin. If it was, then the baker, the butcher and the candlestick maker would be refusing service to adulterers and gluttons, but not only are adulterers and gluttons welcomed by these Pharisees, most of whom are themselves adulterers and gluttons, they’ve shamelessly elected one as President. Doesn’t it perplex you that the one and only “sin” they discriminate against, which by the way they’re not even being pressured into committing, is a gay person having a relationship with another gay person? No other “sin” bothers them but a gay person forming a relationship. They think if they make our lives unpleasant enough, gay men will see the error of our ways and start dating women. I don’t know about you, but none of my heterosexual friends had to be mistreated to start liking the opposite sex, attraction just happened spontaneously for them. The baker is forcing his religion on others who don’t belong to his church by refusing public accommodation. Actually, I would like to order a cake from the best in the business without getting a sermon from the baker about my sin. His religion is his private business, and no-one is saying he can’t believe whatever he likes, just don’t force religious belief on me.

            What exactly are the gay couple forcing on him? Are they telling him to marry the same sex? To perform the wedding ceremony? It’s a goddam cake, for the after party, not an orgy at the local sauna. if he doesn’t want to write the message, then he can hand them the icing gun and tell them to do it. Yes, as I said several times, he shouldn’t be forced to bake the cake, anymore than a Halal or Kosher butcher should be forced to stock bacon, but whatever he DOES bake should be available to everyone who is willing to pay for it. Just like the Halal and Kosher butcher serve everybody, without prejudice.

            I am for now assuming you’re white and heterosexual, and therefore don’t know first hand what it feels like for the black man facing refusal, or worse, on the grounds of his race, or the gay person being fired, evicted, shunned, disinherited, because of the way he was born, and cannot change. But unless the Civil Rights Act is repealed, or Obergefell is struck down by SCOTUS, along with various antidiscrimination ordinances in several states, refusals of service such as those I have outlined will remain illegal for the time being.

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          • Willis, I wish to correct a misquote that a friend has pointed out I made from the Wikipedia site on Hate Crime. In my hasty research, I mistook the 13,000 hate crimes documented against LGBT individuals to be homicides. A closer re-reading of the table has shown this to be incorrect. The statistic given doesn’t state how many of these against LGBT or the others in the table relating to Jews and African Americans are homicides. If I can locate that information, I’ll post it, but I apologise for my error on this citation.

            I’m still confident that Republicans aren’t a minority group that need state protection from hate crime, but if it turns out they are, now or in the future, then rest assured I’d support that equally, regardless of the fact that they are the political foes of LGBT equal rights.

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        • Willis, let me make it clear once again, I do NOT think the government should force the guy to bake the cake. No-one should be forced to bake a cake if they don’t want to. But refusal of service on the grounds of race is currently illegal nationwide. If he doesn’t want to sell cakes to black people, then he can’t sell them to white people either. To change that would require a repeal of the Civil Rights Act 1964.

          This link may be of assistance:
          https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/the-right-to-refuse-service-can-a-business-refuse-service-to-someone-because-of-appearance

          Anti-gay discrimination is currently legislated against only at the state level, not federally, despite many efforts to get ENDA up and running. Moreover, the new “religious freedom” acts springing up across America under Republican administrations now give employers the explicit right to fire gay people because they’re gay, landlords the right to evict gay tenants, insurance companies the right to refuse policies, schools and universities the right to expel gay students because they’re gay, doctors and hospitals the right to refuse treatment to gay people and so forth. It only has to be for a sincerely held religious reason.

          In the current case of the Colorado baker, the case made it to SCOTUS because freedom of speech and freedom of religion are both federal matters relying on the Constitution. The Court sided with Phillips, because his religious belief had not been respected, not because they thought he had a right to refuse his custom service to gay people. That is up to the laws of the state in which they reside.

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  18. Willis,

    You make a very good argument but have it contained within a narrow window to be valid. The real issue is Political Correctness in general and flourishes cloaked in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, civil rights, etc.

    Seems that if one can slide in under one or more of these constructs of freedom or rights and pacify the Thought Police, it becomes a new standard that other standards will be built on. Soon the standard standards will be no standards at all, just accommodation of the most far reaching of the newly protected class.

    There has become a mindset among left-wing activists that all things must change.

    Will restaurants be required to make special order vegan spaghetti sauce? Will a defendant face an accuser in a burka in court? We already have nameless accusers in court with fictitious/redacted names in rape charges. No background checks or past history allowed with regards to the accuser.

    The past 20 – 30 years of “women’s rights” have scared a lot of men from the institution of marriage, me included. If she gets mad and goes for a restraining order because you took the credit card away and yelled at her, well you’re moved out of your home, your guns instantly impounded, and you may be jailed until court proceedings. Oh yeah, now you have a criminal/court record.
    But the sad but funny pert is when a previously ‘militant feminist’ mother’s son is charged by law under the PC regulations/changes she advocated for. Or her daughter fails to find a mate to father and raise her children. Apples don’t fall far from the tree. But the best part is when the current activist fails to find a mate as a result of their present activism and attitude. I’ll bake them that cake and they can have it and eat it too.

    I have lived through the era of “quotas” and faced it in job opportunities, SBA lending and related as well as having to put up with being captive in all of it and needing to keep my mouth shut.

    Anyway, the Political Correctness Brigade is marching onward and getting real change through court action but for no other reason than just change based on a perversion of “rights”.

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  19. You don’t need to use the nazi or kkk examples. Just go to a gay baker and ask for a cake to be made with the following scripture on it: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” Leviticus, Chapter 18 verse 22

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    • Yep. And when they refuse sue the hell out of them and start a nationwide hate campaign to destroy them personally. Use the tactics of your enemy to defeat them.

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    • Selective citation. The same book of Leviticus (chapter 20 verse 9) commands that disobedient children be excecuted. It also commands that a married couple be both put to death for having intercourse during the woman’s menstrual cycle (chapter 18, verse 9). Try putting that on a wedding cake. More to the point, why are they allowed to get away with cherry picking the bits of the Bible it suits them to obey, while forcing their religious belief on others by denial of service?

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  20. I have an idea. Political strength is in numbers in the US (dollars included). A minority group organizes to promote their ‘religion’. They are persecuted and not given the respect they demand. They march and protest for their rights. The MSM acknowledges their rights and repression and calls for diversity. Traditional norms call bullshit but diversity is a Politically Correct goal and the actions of a few are not proof of those of the entire group. We just need to be more tolerant of others with different views and opinions. They are given protected status and must now be revered by all least you be jailed. We become a more diverse society, what’s not to like. You shall not judge a book of group by it’s cover or appearance. After all change is on the menu. You will be labeled a bigot if you don’t agree. That group is MS-13 and diversity requires you to embrace their ideology.

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  21. How about that incident over the weekend where a guy, going to dinner with his minister, was denied entrance/service at a restaurant in Indianapolis because the cross on his necklace violated the “Dress Code”?

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  22. …Instead, it is an issue of Freedom of Speech, or more to the point, an issue of Freedom NOT to Speak. I see nothing in the Constitution saying that the Government can force its citizens to say things that they object to, regardless of whether the objection is racial, religious, or for any other reason large or small….

    How does that fundamentally differ from being forced to serve a person if you object to that person’s race? I might feel very strongly that some races are sub-human and ought to be extermnated – and certainly should not be let into my coffee-shop. Simply letting them walk down the street without harrassment could, to my eyes, be equivalent to admitting that they have a right to exist (a statement I greatly object to).

    It seems to me that, as with so many imponderable questions (like abortion) we are faced here with an issue which has infinitesimal graduations, and we are trying to find a point at which is is logical to divide it. In this case there is a gradation of acceptable attitude – much like the ‘taking the knee’ controversy. And attitude can be inferred from words, actions or even facial expressions, while the law has to pick some dividing point where a grimace may be acceptable while a hand gesture is not…. The Greeks used the Sorites paradox to describe this situation, and the failure of philosophers to solve it satisfactorily probably indicates that it is not able to be resolved…

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Your “How does that fundamentally differ” paragraph isn’t so hypothetical. That is more or less exactly the Muslim extremist’s view, supported buy the Koran. Jihad. Not only do non-Muslims (and homosexuals) have no right to exist, they must be killed.

    Your last paragraph “as with so many imponderable questions” is almost the very definition of “politics”. If there is no consensus, then it’s political.

    “and the failure of philosophers to solve it satisfactorily probably indicates that it is not able to be resolved…”

    Liked by 1 person

  24. One of the problems I saw was the courts getting off on the “art” angle rather than the “speech” angle. Your hypotheticals are exactly right. There also is a religious angle: gay activists are gunning to force all churches to perform gay weddings under the same “cake” logic–it is just a service.

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  25. While I have some sympathy for a baker who doesn’t want to write an antisemitic or racist message on a cake, or to write something that suggests he supports same-sex marriage when he doesn’t, we also have to deal with the right this victory intrinsically grants to refuse service to a mixed race couple, which some religions oppose on scriptural grounds. Would the Supreme Court side with a baker who refused to bake a cake for a mixed race wedding?

    The thing that most irks me about this particular case and others like it, is the arrant hypocrisy involved. Jesus never spoke against same-sex relationships or LGBT people (and nor do the Ten Commandments), but he did preach against remarriage after divorce, and he condemned hypocrisy. The Bible clearly states that it is a mortal sin to remarry after a no-fault divorce, classified by Jesus as adultery. So why do we never hear about bakers refusing to bake cakes for their weddings? The answer is, they want to stick it to gay people. They don’t care about the serial adulterer in the White House, and half of them are already into their 2nd, 3rd or 4th marriages, so adultery for them is obviously an “OK sin”.

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  26. Willis – maybe there’s some more muddying of the waters with the Sarah Huckabee Sanders incident at the Red Hen restaurant (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44588939 ) where political reasons can be enough to refuse someone service. Of course, it may turn out to be bad for business to annoy half your customer base, but I don’t see that Ms. Sanders intended to take any legal action. She simply left when requested. The next thing was to make the knowledge of that public….

    Now there’s also Maxine Waters exhorting everyone to do much the same (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44608999 ) which seems to me to be fomenting Civil War. A slippery slope. Somewhat unpatriotic and undemocratic, too.

    Meanwhile, the Bible quotes here encouraged me to look them up to check veracity, and I find I’m committing a sin by wearing poly-cotton trousers (Leviticus 19:19 about a garment made of two sorts of thread mixed together). The same quote would stop mules being bred, as well as Ligers and Tyons (or at least it’s a sin to do so).

    Finding the right place to draw the line where some service may be refused and where it cannot be is a task fraught with difficulty. We live in a time where culture is changing very rapidly, and the ways we grew up with (and worked) may not be adequate to deal with the new conditions. Up until around age 13 I’d never encountered a black person until one came to our school to explain racial problems. It’s maybe worth saying that “survival of the fittest” applies to cultures too, and that the social rules in a culture have either evolved to enable people to get along without to much friction or the culture dies because it can’t cope. It seems to me that there’s a certain rate of change of culture that can be assimilated, and that trying to force it to change faster will cause problems – you have to wait for the older people to die off since they will mostly hold on to their traditional ways that may be totally against the new necessities.

    For the cake that we started with, there seems to have been no problem with actually buying a cake, but simply with the personalised message that they customer wanted. Simple fix for the happy couple, therefore – buy the cake, get some icing-pens, and write your own message on the cake. Everyone is happy. The legal prosecution seems to me to be simply revenge, and it should have been seen as that and dismissed (thus this can be seen as a failure of the legal process). If you want a non-Christian message written on a cake, don’t go to a Christian baker. This really ought to be be obvious.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Simon, you say:

      “Finding the right place to draw the line where some service may be refused and where it cannot be is a task fraught with difficulty.”

      I disagree. There’s a bright line between an “off-the-shelf” item and a special item. If I order scrambled eggs off the menu, I should get it.

      But if I say “Could you add a half cup of milk to the eggs and scramble the yolks separately”, that’s a special item and the cook should be (and is) able to say “No, we don’t do special orders”.

      And this should be true regardless of the reason for the objection—religious, personal, pro-something, anti-something, doesn’t matter. As I said above, should a die-hard realist be able to force Picasso against his wishes to paint a realistic picture for his wedding?

      I say absolutely not.

      Finally, you say:

      The legal prosecution seems to me to be simply revenge, and it should have been seen as that and dismissed (thus this can be seen as a failure of the legal process). If you want a non-Christian message written on a cake, don’t go to a Christian baker. This really ought to be obvious.

      True ‘dat.

      Welcome to the blog,

      w.

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      • The problem here is that while the “off the shelf” is for everyone, the custom made item is only for people who aren’t a member of the disliked class, e.g. gays/Jews/African Americans etc. If you would make the custom item for a white couple but not for a mixed race couple, then that’s discrimination. If you would make it for a Gentile but not for a Jew, then that’s discrimination. If you would make it for a straight couple but not for a gay couple, then that too is discrimination. The specialisation of the product is artfully and I believe disingenuously designed to exclude people who are members of the disliked class. What is being sought by certain Christians is the right to serve everyone except LGBT people, hence the narrow ruling of SCOTUS, and hence why people aren’t yet noticing the end result of legalising discrimination against this or that disliked minority, since it’s oniy gays impacted, *so far*.

        The slippery slope here is the sheer volume of conflicting religious belief, which perforce includes a Muslim baker’s righ to refuse to serve Christians, Jews, atheists, females without their husband present, or who aren’t dressed in Islamic attire. There is literally nothing that cannot be justified on the basis of religious belief.

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        • Derek, you say:

          “As I have acknowledged elsewhere, no-one should be forced to write a message they don’t agree with, nor to paint a work of art outwith their sphere of expertise. But as I also mentioned in a response I made just now to another comment, the reason for the refusal in your example is fairly based on the painter’s unwillingness or inability to work in the field requested by the client.”

          Picasso could paint in a totally realistic manner … he simply didn’t want to, for whatever reason.

          So as you have admitted, it’s OK for Picasso to be unwilling to do a special item in the manner requested by the client, NO MATTER WHAT HIS REASON WAS …

          Why, then, is it NOT OK for a baker to be unwilling to do a special item in the manner requested by a client, no matter what his reason is? …

          w.

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          • Yes, so long as he refuses to do this for EVERYBODY. But if he will do the custom painting for a white person, but refuses a black person then that is discrimination. Same goes for all the other disliked minorities I mentioned.

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          • Derek Williams June 28, 2018 at 10:48 am

            Yes, so long as he refuses to do this for EVERYBODY. But if he will do the custom painting for a white person, but refuses a black person then that is discrimination. Same goes for all the other disliked minorities I mentioned.

            Nope. Here’s why.

            Suppose a white KKK member comes into a specialty T-shirt shop. He doesn’t want something off the rack, he wants a special T-shirt that says “The KKK should have lynched them all when they had the chance!”, with a picture of a lynching.

            Then a black Louis Farrakhan supporter comes in right behind him and wants a special T-shirt that says “The KKK should have all been lynched long ago!”, with a picture of a lynching.

            According to you, the T-shirt artist should be FORCED to make BOTH shirts, because to refuse either one would be RACIST!!! The Horror!

            Me, I think the T-shirt artist should be free to do both, to refuse both, or to do one but not the other. You should not be able to force an artist or a craftsman to do what you want, that’s inherent in the nature of arts and crafts. They are personal statements.

            And as a person who has drawn cartoons of Mohammed with all that implies in terms of pressure to not draw them, I take your kind of oppression very seriously … so no, Derek, you do NOT get to tell me who or what to draw, regardless of whether you are gay, straight, white, black, Christian, or Muslim. That’s the point of America, we’re the “Land of the Free” …

            Liberals and liberalism were supposed to be all about freedom … so why do so many like you want to use the government to bend people to your every whim by screaming RACIST!!! SEXIST!!! ANTI-GAY!!! and the like at every opportunity?

            As I said before, the gay couples that have sued bakers, in one case into bankruptcy? Their childish, selfish actions have stored up immense ill-will against the gay community … and in part, that’s how we got Trump … so why on earth would you argue for more of that? Call me crazy, but I want LESS ill-will against gays, not more ill-will as you are advocating for …

            Like I said, the answer is simple: if you want a special cake for your special day and your baker won’t bake it, FIND ANOTHER BAKER!

            w.

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          • No, I don’t think the T-shirt artist should be forced to make either T-shirt if he doesn’t want to, and to refuse both or either would not be racist because he objects to the message, regardless of the person ordering it.

            If someone comes in and orders a T-shirt he should be free to make it or not make it as he pleases, so long as he doesn’t refuse someone because of their race, gender or sexual orientation, while allowing it to others because of their race, gender or sexual orientation – all of which are innate attributes, not chosen.

            If he makes KKK T-shirts, then both whites and blacks should be free to buy them, however if he says, “I only make KKK T-shirts for white people”, then that is discrimination.

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          • Derek Williams June 28, 2018 at 12:14 pm Edit

            No, I don’t think the T-shirt artist should be forced to make either T-shirt if he doesn’t want to, and to refuse both or either would not be racist because he objects to the message, regardless of the person ordering it.

            So you would agree that in the Colorado case, you don’t think the baker should be forced to make the cake if he doesn’t want to, and to refuse would not be anti-gay because he objects to the message, regardless of the person ordering it? Because that’s the essence of what you just said …

            w.

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          • That’s right. I don’t think the baker should be forced to bake anything he doesn’t want to, so long as he refuses it to everybody. The Christian baker could easily settle his problem by making products he can sell to anybody, without discrimination. For example, he could set up a stall where people choose their own message and a machine does it, or he could sell through his church, since religions are exempt from anti-discrimination ordinances, and from paying tax.

            Otherwise, racial discrimination is currently illegal federally, and other types under certain state laws under public accommodation provisions, so it really doesn’t matter what I think anyway. But to repeal the Civil Rights Act is a major step and I don’t know how much support there’d be for that.

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      • Willis – you said “I disagree. There’s a bright line between an “off-the-shelf” item and a special item. If I order scrambled eggs off the menu, I should get it.”

        I was thinking (when I wrote this) of whether you’d sell a large cooking knife to a man dressed in combat fatigues, a full beard and looking somewhat wild. There certain situations where it would be unreasonable to treat everyone exactly the same.

        The question to ask is “what would a reasonable person do?”, but that begs the question of what is reasonable in your culture. I wouldn’t hand a weapon to someone who appeared to be at risk of hurting someone with it. There are however soldiers in my extended family that have done some serious damage to others to stop them doing damage to innocents, so I’m happy that they have their weapons. They are good people. Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam IIRC) used to be a peaceful guy, but when he was asked about whether Salman Rushdie deserved the death sentence, stated that that’s what the book said so yes he did deserve it and it was right. An illustration of the differences in culture, and that what is reasonable in one culture may be unreasonable in another.

        As such, I am perennially uncertain of what is reasonable in the culture I’m living in since it is changing. Heisenberg Syndrome…. I do what seems reasonable to me at the time. I’d serve anybody anything unless it seemed risky to do so. Note that in discussing things over the net, I don’t know if the other person is black, white, yellow or blue, what sex they are, or indeed anything other than their words and the way they put them together. It also doesn’t make any difference face-to-face.

        Funnily enough Picasso learnt his craft doing some very realistic paintings, and I doubt that he lost that skill. He might have done a realistic painting if you’d asked him nicely (and paid him enough). Compulsion would however be wrong.

        Though I absolutely agree with the drift of your argument and the points raised, I still see difficulties in drawing that line in every situation. My preference is for zero discrimination – neither positive nor negative. Equality of opportunity as far as possible. You can’t however decree equality of outcomes – life is inherently unfair and we need to accept that.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks for your thoughts, Simon. I agree that we are required morally (although not legally) to try to prevent harm to others, so I agree with your example about selling the knives.

          Regarding your heartfelt call for “zero discrimination”, however, as a cartoonist myself, there are certain things and people that I wouldn’t do cartoons of, and others that you can’t stop me from drawing. So I’m sorry, but I’m gonna discriminate.

          For example, I’ve drawn cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. They’re here at the end of the post … usual caveats apply, if cartoons of the Prophet would offend you then DON’T CLICK THE LINK, DUH …

          So you can see why I take this pressuring of artists to do what either an individual person or some group or the society as a whole demands as anathema …

          w.

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          • Willis – the “zero discrimination” plea is because I’m an Old White Guy, against whom it seems to be totally politically correct to discriminate. Still, I want my doctor or dentist to be able to actually do the job well, and the designer of the car or aircraft I’m in to be competent, and not hired because the quota for diversity needed filling.

            I saw the Prophet cartoons a while back – I’ve been lurking for quite a time. Sad to live in a prophet-oriented society….

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        • “life is inherently unfair and we need to accept that.” Bingo! The refusal to accept this simple fact is at the root of many of our society’s problems. Far too many people “believe” that equality of outcome can be forced. You win the internet for the day!

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          • Are you really claiming that if you’re treated unfairly, you’ll just lie down and accept it? The vehemence of your rhetoric on the alleged unfairness of the treatment of the florist by the state suggests otherwise.

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          • When someone asks me to leave their place of business because they don’t want to serve me you can bet your ass I will leave. Clearly you would make a scene and then sue. Now we understand each other.

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          • The reply system on this blog somehow puts them out of sequence. My reply above I’ll try copying below:

            If it’s ok to treat people unfairly then why don’t you accept what you consider the unfair treatment of the florist but the state?

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          • Because the “law” specifically forbids the “state” to do so, pinhead. Or do you only use “law” to attack you political enemies? Certainly appears so from your comments.

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    • The Red Hen restaurant situation is a perfect example. Mrs Sanders was asked to leave so she and her husband left and went home, the rest of their party left and went to another establishment. A number of people from Red Hen followed them and harassed them publicly. THAT is where this all goes off the rails. When asked to leave an American says OK and goes. Leftists refuse to leave, escalate the situation and then sue.

      To make this all even worse we have cases like that of Barronelle Stutzman in Washington. She politely refused to do floral arrangements for a friend’s gay wedding, he was fine with it, they are still friends and sometimes even work together. The Washington state Attorney General is prosecuting her for refusing to make floral arrangements for a gay wedding. Not the gay couple, the AG. The same AG who publicly refuses to enforce US immigration laws and has directed his state’s law enforcement agencies to block ICE and BP from enforcing US immigration laws. This insanity is what leftist ideology has led us to, and Americans have had about enough of it.

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  27. Derek Williams June 29, 2018 at 3:38 am

    How do you know they didn’t walk past the five other bakers to go to the one with the best reputation? Remember, they had shopped there before, and were probably loyal to him – a respect not reciprocated by the baker. I’ll walk across town, past any number of other restaurants, to go to one with a great reputation, or one where I’m a regular.

    Let’s say, you want to get your portrait painted by the best artist in town, but he says he doesn’t paint black people. Or you want to have a hot rod built for your race gymkhana by the best car builder in the business, but he doesn’t do it for blacks, only for whites. Then, you go to the best restaurant in town, because you have heard of their degustation menu, but find out they don’t serve their Spécialité du Jour to blacks, only to whites. You want to have a private education, tailor made for your child of a particular ability, but again, they don’t serve blacks.

    Despite doing everything that society asked of you, working hard at school to get an education, paying your taxes and not breaking the law, the colour of your skin means you can never be respected and never order the best in the house. This is a daily reality for large numbers of blacks in the USA.

    No, that WAS the daily reality for black people. It hasn’t been that way for decades.

    Now, suppose you want to get your portrait painted by the best artist in town, but he says he doesn’t paint black people. So you sue him in Federal Court, and there are two possible outcomes:

    He paints a really crappy picture of you because he hates you, OR he refuses to paint it and he goes bankrupt.

    I’m not seeing any winners here. If an artist hates black people, that will shine through the painting … so why on earth would a black person want him to do their portrait?

    The same with the cake baker and the gay couple. Even if they could have used the power of the state to force him to bake them a cake, again only two outcomes:

    Either they force him to act against his deep religious beliefs and they get a crappy cake because now he actually hates them as individuals regardless of their sexual orientation, or they drive him into bankruptcy.

    Again, where are the winners in that deal?

    That’s the thing about artists and craftsmen, and their specialty items—if you piss the makers off, you’re sure to get an inferior product made for you.

    That’s why I differentiate between things that are on the menu, like the Specialite Du Jour (which despite your example actually is on the menu), and things that aren’t on the menu. For things that are on the menu, like employment, housing, and service in public establishments, I have no problem with the Civil Rights Act. But not when it comes to special requests.

    For example, if a black man goes into a restaurant and says “I don’t want anything on the menu, I want something special just for me”, your interpretation of the law provides no choice for the cook. He can’t say “No, I’m too busy”, because when he wasn’t busy he did it for another customer. According to you, he either has to accede to special requests for anything from anyone at any time … or he has to refuse them all. Otherwise, the black guy could say “You are refusing to serve me because you don’t like black people” and sue him into bankruptcy.

    Look, I understand your issues better than you might think. I lived for 17 years in black-majority countries where white people sometimes do get discriminated against, and it’s no picnic. I know that sinking feeling all too well.

    But I think that far too often these days, the remedy is worse than the disease … I say again, if an artist doesn’t want to paint your picture or a baker doesn’t want to bake your cake, you’d be a fool to force them to do so. You are sure to get an inferior product, and it engenders bad feelings for the group you represent.

    You still don’t seem to have grasped the nettle—gay people suing bakers has turned lots of folks who were neutral into people who now reflexively dislike and oppose the acceptance of gay people as just another part of life’s rich pageant … and to me, that’s a huge tragedy, in part from issues of fundamental fairness and in part because it affects my relatives.

    Thanks as always for your thoughtful and measured replies, such a discussion is rare in today’s far-too-polarized world.

    w.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve never been a fan of “do nothing”, and spent my life fighting injustice in one form or another, to the extent of my ability to do so.

      I wonder, would LGBT people, women and blacks have the rights they do, had we not marched and annoyed people at some point? Creating incidents like sitting down in the middle of London traffic, stopping cars, annoys the hell out of motorists, but it gets you a unique opportunity to grab the megaphone and argue your case on TV, radio and in newspapers.

      The marches we undertook in the 70’s got many of us arrested, spat on and bashed, but now I can marry the same man I could once have been imprisoned for loving. That all happened within my lifetime over the past 40 years. Activism works, so long as the cause is just, your arguments are reasonable, not unfair on others, and you work with allies. Minorities as tiny as the ones we have been discussing cannot do very much at all because of Tyranny of the Majority, and so straight allies have alwasy been crucial to our cause.

      I can therefore only agree with you, that forcing people to provide products and services to people they actively hate doesn’t sound smart, they may even poop in the cake for all I know, but sometimes courts fly ahead of the country. At the time of the passing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, when SCOTUS declared the Jim Crow laws unconstitutional, around 90% of the population opposed full equality for African Americans including miscegenation with whites. Now, the tables have turned, more or less full circle (if I may mix metaphors). The same has happened for LGBT equal rights, which were much harder to sell and we’re still nowhere near full equality. But in a similar way as for African Americans, courts flew ahead of the country, e.g. the Obergefell decision, even though that looks now likely to be reversed along with Roe v Wade with the new Republican majority SCOTUS.

      Unfortunately, as a result of the wedding cake debacle, we now have self-appointed champions of ‘religious freedom’, a collection of Pharisees if ever I saw them, fighting for the right to deny rights to LGBT minorities, that they nevertheless claim all too readily for themselves. I agree it’s been a cock-up from the getgo and as I said a day or two ago, I think we picked the wrong battle. That said, I don’t resile from a single word I have written on your blog, because these modern-day Pharisees’ self-righteous behaviour stinks to high heaven of hypocrisy and is about as un-Christian as you can get. I have come to think of Trump as the anti-Christ.

      Would Jesus have refused to bake a gay couple a cake? I very much doubt it. I think he’d have invited the couple in and held their hands as it got iced with a message of love. Nothing about the behaviour of Trump, the Republican Party, the Tea Party nor the Christian Right impresses me as remotely Christ-like. They are neither Christian, nor Right.

      I didn’t mention this yet, that the majority of my friends are practising Christians, as are most of my family. I was raised in the Christian tradition. Has a single friend of mine or a solitary member of my family ever shunned me , disinherited me or denied me happiness? Hell no. I have been fully supported throughout my entire life – by Christians mostly.

      I have never personally suffered rejection, or dismissal from employment, and the church most of my friends belong to, the Scottish Episcopal Church, not only welcomes LGBT parishioners with open arms, open hearts, open minds, and full sacraments, they ordain LGBT clergy and perform same-sex marriage.

      Jesus commanded us to love one another. If you are truly motivated by love, would you do half the things the current malefactors are engaged in?

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      • I don’t think the intention of the law protecting disliked minorities from discrimination is to force you to love them. You are legally free to love or hate whomever you want, and it is impossible to force you to feel otherwise, even at gun point, just as it is impossible to force a gay man to love a straight woman by punishing him.

        However I agree it can sometimes be difficult to determine whether the putative discriminatory denial of service to a member of a disliked minority is due solely to that dislike. It could be due to other factors, such as running out of raw materials, someone finishing a shift, or a decision to cease providing the service that unhappily coincides with the request for that service by a member of the disliked minority at that moment. One would expect that courts would throw out such unprovable cases, or better that they wouldn’t reach a court in the first place.

        I read the article you adduced about how the florist and her “friend” (I use quotation marks since we don’t have his side of the story in the article) whom she refused service to in the grounds that he is gay. I know that sounds provocative, since she previously sold him flowers, knowing he was gay, but had he been straight, she says she’d have sold him the flowers for his wedding. In this, she believes her role in the commercial transaction is facilitating ‘sin’, rather analogous to suing the owner of a gun shop for all the murderers committed using the products he sells.

        It’s probably the legally enforceable duty of the gun shop owner to refuse to sell a gun to someone, in the knowledge of its intended use to commit murder, but is it the legally enforceable duty or even the right of the business owner to prevent others from sinning? I go to my earlier example of Catholic checkout operators being allowed to refuseto swipe condoms, since without question, their intended use can only be sinful according to the Catholic teaching. If that’s their right, then so too is it the right of Muslim checkout operators to refuse to swipe beer, pork and seafood products. Unquestionably, these products will be used to commit sin according to Islam. Then we can go to Hindus refusing to swipe beef products, and so forth. There is literally nothing that a religion somewhere doesn’t justify.

        Now let’s turn to the question of interracial marriage, still regarded by large numbers of devout believers as grievously sinful. Can the florist or the baker refuse to design something for their wedding? Article below:
        https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2011/june/opposition-to-interracial-marriage-lingers-among.html

        The ‘Christian’ service providers don’t refuse service to adulterous marriages or to sell cakes to gluttons, or any of my other examples above; they just want to deny service to homosexuals. They’ll get their way from the Republican-owned Supreme Court, but once you allow refusal of service based on religious belief, you open a can of worms.

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        • Derek – religious questions are difficult to deal with since the Books are written with words that can be interpreted in several ways. For example the Koran (meaning “recitation”) was written without vowels in the oldest versions, so the 40 virgins could have been read as 40 raisins. Maybe a shock to a martyr…. As I noted earlier, according to the Bible wearing poly-cotton trousers is a sin because it’s two different threads. However, such beliefs can produce extreme violence if you try to force someone to go against them. This even spreads into science, with some extreme sanctions applied to people who question the standard theories (noticeable largely as regards to Global Warming, but also applies to other heresies as well).

          Christianity has made some adjustments over the centuries, from accepting that the Earth moves around the Sun to having openly gay bishops, but of course not all sections have gone at the same pace. Cultural changes take a while, since in general people accept as truth that which they were taught when young (and yes, that applies to science too). Things progress funeral by funeral. In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been a lot of kerfuffle recently with paedophile priests, and they are finally being publicised and jailed. Irish comedians have been pointing out the problem for many years, and everyone knew about it but the Church just moved such people elsewhere. Dave Allen used to do some close-to-the-bone pieces on that, and got death threats pretty often because of that. “Life of Brian” caused various religious people to go apopletic and call for it to be banned. Maybe the best film ever…. Comedy is the art of saying the truth in a way that that makes people realise the ludicrous side of it, and can lead to changes in society and culture because of that.

          Cultural changes thus take generations to achieve peacefully. Trying to accelerate them will lead to push-back from the people who retain the attitudes and beliefs they grew up with, though of course a percentage of the old people will be sufficiently flexible to think for themselves as to what is acceptable and what is not.

          You obviously doubt the florist’s account that Bob was her friend for 10 years. I’d accept that as the reality, and note that it wasn’t Bob who complained or started the legal proceedings. He simply went somewhere else for the service he wanted. A friend wouldn’t try to force someone to go against their principles, after all.

          The angry people who want their way of life to be accepted seem to forget that laughter is their best tool. Point out the things that are wrong and make people laugh at it, and it will change. Maybe slower than you’d like, but there’s that inertia in social change that makes such things a generational change rather than quick. Look up Alf Garnett (UK TV program when I was young – my dad didn’t allow it on since his attitudes were much like Alf’s), where the standard racial attitudes of the British working man were mercilessly lampooned. That probably had more effect on attitudes than a raft of laws about racial equality. Be less like Alf….

          It happens I have gays in the family, interracial marriage in the family, Jewish and Muslim friends who go back a very long way, and I don’t even know my own racial background since my dad was adopted. It’s however a fair bet that I’d have black ancestry since most Europeans do – people have been getting into each others’ pants for a very long time, and sailors are notorious for sexual exploits (and race wasn’t any barrier to joining a ship). Very few people can claim to be a pure racial type, and those that do are probably unaware of the truth.

          It’s maybe unwise to quote statistics at Willis. He’ll look up the figures and do the maths. Still, you may find it worth reading https://rosebyanyothernameblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/13/two-decades-of-diminishing-hatred/ to see that the standard apprehension that violence is increasing isn’t backed by the figures. You just hear about it more. Some statistics are skewed by non-reporting of incidents (see Sweden and Germany as a case) but the chances of being a victim do seem to be generally reducing. In Europe and the USA, at least. Mexico is looking a bit dangerous for politicians who want to strengthen the rule of law.

          Still, if you can make people laugh at some attitude, it seems to me you have a better chance of changing that attitude. Telling them they are wrong simply leads to a push-back where they will hold their beliefs more strongly because they feel persecuted. If instead they see their attitudes as laughable then they will change them.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Great point about humour, and a few chuckles along the way, thanks! I’ll take ‘40 raisins’ all the way to the bank to sit alongside “every sperm is sacred”.

            Even when we force naughty kids to apologise and shake hands, we know it’s not heartfelt at that moment. In my years as a schoolteacher, I’d sometimes mimic the way two bickering kids were yelling at each other, which usually had the desired effect of making them laugh at themselves (and at me). They’d say, “oh, Sir, you’re not supposed to talk like us!” Nevertheless, our hope is that the engagement process between sworn enemies, albeit forced, will change their attitude over time, just as engagement with Jews has taught us they’re not really intent on ‘eating Christian babies’, and LGBT people coming out has shown they’re part of our community and no threat to anyone. Likewise, England has been recently playing football in Russia.

            Re statistics, I already retracted a misquote I made, as I too am normally meticulous when it comes to adduced research. I also read the blog you linked me too and was very much encouraged by it, though it dealt primarily with race-based and not LGBT incidents.

            Pushing a cat towards the very saucer of milk it would ordinarily want might make it recoil and push back, whereas trying to drag it back by the tail will make it scrape claw marks on your best lino in its struggle to reach the selfsame milk.

            Humans aren’t entirely driven by logic, and do irrational yet predictable, and sometimes wonderful things, based on emotional stimuli. It’s difficult to engage on two dimensional iPhone screens in a way that direct, eye-to-eye discourse does, but one does one’s best.

            Liked by 1 person

  28. What is discrimination? I don’t think anyone should be beat up because they are gay. Laws against that are fine with me. I don’t think anyone who is not gay should be beat up because someone thinks they are gay. Nor should any non-gay be beat up because he is not gay. You can make laws for this.

    I don’t think a black person or a gay person or a woman or a Jewish person should be denied employment solely because of this fact. And in the case of the non-gay person or the non-Jewish person, neither should they be denied employment because someone thinks they are gay or Jewish. You cannot write good laws for this. Simply because you can never know what the real reasons were. The stated reasons may not be true. The “victim” doesn’t know, he can only suspect. The legal system can’t know on individual cases either. Statistically, they may be able to prove something in general. For example Harvard discriminates against Chinese students.

    There are almost a thousand murders in Chicago each year, and many more shot.
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-homicides-data-tracker-htmlstory.html
    This I can care about. They should make a law against it.

    But a cake? Give me a break! It’s all symbolic and rather pointless. Gays can marry, if they want to, fine. Marriage is really a business contract. Why does everybody think it’s just about sex? But this isn’t about marriage is it? It’s about forcing people to treat gays with a smile and love them. Force me to love you? That doesn’t work, except for Stockholm syndrome.

    Don’t bother arguing with me, argue with this woman, a florist in Washington state who the state has gone after with vengeance. The florist and the customer are friends and treated each other decently. But the Washington Attorney General is not a friend; and not a friend I would want to have.

    Because I believe that all people are made in the very image of God, I serve everyone who enters my shop and treat them with dignity and respect.

    But this doesn’t mean that I can agree to every request. If people ask for custom arrangements to celebrate events or express messages that run up against my religious beliefs, I have to say ‘no.’ (This is particularly true for events like weddings that I personally attend.) Even then, I’ll gladly create something else for them, or sell them any of my ready-to-purchase items.

    The florist’s eloquent statement is here:
    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/06/29/washington-state-florist-my-life-has-been-turned-upside-down-because-my-religious-beliefs.html

    Liked by 1 person

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