4 Mar

Gay Wedding Cakes, Religious Freedom and the Return of Slavery in America

                                       

The most common definition of a slave is: A person who is the property of and wholly subject to another. There is another definition however: A person entirely under the domination of some influence or person. Slavery has been outlawed in the US for 150 years, but some people want to bring it back… but not necessarily in the form you might think. Uncle Sam of course is not a master and citizens are not his slaves. The government – at least not the government defined in the Constitution – doesn’t have the right to tell Americans who they have to work for or who their businesses have to serve.

It can however, at least according to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, demand that businesses that offer to provide services to the public not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. That means however that if you are offering to sell cakes, you must not decide that you will sell cakes to men and not women, to Jews but not Christians, to blacks but not whites, or to a native born American but not a naturalized citizen born in Canada.

Interestingly, other than religion all of the limitations are innate, things that people are born with or had from birth. That prohibition also applies to the later characteristics defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The CRA says what a business can’t do, it can’t discriminate based on a clear set of criteria… but it says nothing about what they must do. A black chef can’t legally refuse to provide service to someone who walks in simply because he’s white. He can however choose not to provide service to him when the man tells him that the event is a celebration of KKK history. That’s discrimination, but it’s legal discrimination and its well within the chef’s rights.

The CRA lists specific criteria upon which a business is not allowed to discriminate: race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. But that’s it. Other than those reasons any business can choose who they would like to serve. A 7-11 store is well within its rights to say “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service”. By the same token a gun store can choose not to sell a gun to a drunk person and business can choose not to hire people with tattoos. A community can limit its inhabitants to those over 55 or a storekeeper with a Napoleon complex can choose to never serve customers over 6 ft. These restrictions may or may not be prudent, but none of them are illegal as businesses have the right to choose to whom they provide services within the framework of the CRA, the ADA and the Equal Protection Clause upon which both are based.

Which brings us to the issue of bakers and photographers and others. The question is, working under the shadow of the Equal Protection Clause, do such businesses have the right to refuse to provide services for a gay wedding, something their faith tells them is a sin? Absolutely. Do they have the right to refuse to provide services for a gay wedding? Absolutely. Should they be protected from lawsuits for doing so? Of course.

The point is, in almost every one of these cases the service providers did not refuse service because someone was gay. Rather, they declined to participate in an activity their faith tells them is sinful. Indeed the baker in the case actually offered to let the gay couple purchase any one of the cakes in his shop. He was simply refusing to bake a gay themed wedding cake.

The distinction between the activity and a customer’s gayness or lack thereof may be a fine one, but it is an important one. The CRA says businesses cannot discriminate against customers based on various innate or unchangeable characteristics. Significantly, the characteristic of being gay is not among them. Which means that theoretically businesses have the right to discriminate against gays or 22 year olds or journalists with no threat of government sanction. Nonetheless, most Americans oppose discriminating against people for their sexual orientation and the businesses in question were not doing so. (Similarly, 85% of Americans believe service providers should be allowed to decline to participate in gay weddings.)  They were simply declining to participate in an activity that their faith says is sinful.

The jilted couples in these cases looked to the government to force the said businesses to provide the services they wanted. In all three cases the government obliged stating that the religious objections of the business owners were trumped by the couple’s equal protections. That is both unfortunate and absurd. If the government can force a Christian baker to bake a cake for a gay couple, can it force a Muslim grocer who does special orders to special order pork? Can it compel the aforementioned black chef to cater the KKK’s event? Can it force a vegan landlord to rent his building to someone wanting to open a steakhouse? The answer of course is no, no and no and the reason is because Americans are not slaves and the government has no right to compel them to do things that go against their moral convictions.

That is likely news to people in government (and their liberal enablers) who believe they are the masters of the American people. They are not. Americans are free and by constitution they have given government limited powers – even if the government is increasingly obliterating those limits. Of those freedoms,  religious freedom is among the most important.  It is what brought the Pilgrims to America 400 years ago and it’s been a hallmark of American society ever since. A government commanding its citizens to do things beyond its scope is never a good idea, which Obamacare demonstrates on a daily basis. A government commanding its citizens to do something that goes against their religious faith is even worse because it undermines the fundamental legitimacy of the government itself. If these rulings stand, if the most basic freedom to abstain from participating in activities your religion tells you are sinful is now largely gone, then the progressive barbarians are no longer at the gate… they’ve entered your home, taken control of your life and have carte blanche to force you to do whatever it is they demand – or face ruinous consequences otherwise. Such is the kindling with which revolutionary fires are often started…

About Vince

The product of a military family, growing up in Naples, Italy and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and being stationed in Germany for two years while in the Army, Vince spent half of his first quarter century seeing the US from outside of its own borders. That perspective, along with a French wife and two decades as a struggling entrepreneur have only fueled an appreciation for freedom and the fundamental greatness of the gifts our forefathers left us.
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158 Responses to Gay Wedding Cakes, Religious Freedom and the Return of Slavery in America

  1. George Wells says: 151

    @Nanny G #144:

    I am familiar with the material you reference – having been on the opposite side of this argument for my whole life, I haven’t missed too much. And your understanding of it is impressive. What I am not comfortable with is the fact that EVERYTHING in the Bible has been rewritten and revised and rethought repeatedly for the past two thousand years, and within the resulting collection of “Books” one can find verse justifying just about anything. None, NONE of the original documents have survived. And in spite of the many centuries of trying to produce an internally consistent document, it isn’t. Apart from the loss of exclusivity (and the resulting financial windfall enjoyed by the Church) one of the main reasons the Church fought so hard for so long against the publication of the Bible in living languages was because there IS so much nonsense in it.

    Today, at least SOME Christians (not so many, unfortunately) are aware of the inapplicability of some of the Mosaic Law. The problem that I see was that the repudiation of those tenets occurred A VERY LONG TIME AGO. By the time Acts was written, maybe the governing body of the Christian faith had figured out that stoning smart-mouthed children was barbaric, but they certainly were still holding fast to the Old Testament proscriptions against homosexuality.

    It is only within the past 100 years that homosexuality has been studied at all, and only recently have its causes come into critical view. Since the matter of “causes” hasn’t been completely resolved (and “causes” play a critical role in understanding what God’s intention might be, as “choice” seems to be the last hope of justifying persecution of gays) it will likely take the Catholic Church another 500 years to admit its mistake. In the mean time, we are left with a whole bunch of so-called “Christians” who advocate persecution as the solution to the homosexual question.

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  2. George Wells says: 152

    @redteam #146:

    I am endlessly fascinated by your confused use of the English language. Following are some definitions of “gay”. You will notice that “Behavior” (in your context seeming to connote sexual acts) is not a part of the definition of “gay”. This is in keeping with the use of the term “homosexual” by psychologists and psychiatrists, who recognize that it is the mental orientation – not the act – that defines human sexuality. A person who hasn’t had sex for 50 years doesn’t become asexually oriented. His or her preferences remain as they always were. If a gay man stopped having sex altogether, what, you think he becomes hetero?

    gay (gā) adj. gay•er, gay•est
    1. Of, relating to, or having a sexual orientation to persons of the same sex.
    2. Showing or characterized by cheerfulness and lighthearted excitement; merry. (etc.)
    n.
    1. A person whose sexual orientation is to persons of the same sex.
    2. A man whose sexual orientation is to men: an alliance of gays and lesbians.

    1. jovial or happy, good-spirited
    2. a homosexual male or female

    gay adjective \ˈgā\
    : sexually attracted to someone who is the same sex
    : of, relating to, or used by homosexuals

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  3. Redteam says: 153

    @George Wells:

    sexually attracted to someone who is the same sex

    Are you saying, or implying that attraction is not an ‘action’?

    So now you’re disagreeing with Nanny G who said:

    You don’t know Scripture, Redteam, if you think it says a status is a sin.
    It is behavior that is sinful, not status.

    From that I would say that she’s saying you’re not gay unless you participate in gay activities.
    I thought you agree with her earlier when you said, in 141

    The term “gay” is synonymous with “homosexual” (check your dictionary) and NEITHER are dependent upon “behavior,” as he is suggesting.

    So, you’re saying that a person driving 55 in a 55 zone is a ‘speeder’ if he is naturally inclined to speed, whether or not he actually ever ‘speeds’ or not.

    It seems as if you are saying that a person that has never participated in any gay activity is gay if he ‘thinks’ he may be?
    I may have problems with the English language, but at least I don’t have problems with reasoning or logic.

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  4. Redteam says: 154

    @George Wells:

    2. Showing or characterized by cheerfulness and lighthearted excitement; merry. (etc.)

    how is that shown if no ‘activity’ takes place?

    1. jovial or happy, good-spirited

    how is that shown if no ‘activity’ takes place?

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  5. George Wells says: 155

    “George, you have to respect the right of individuals in countries to make and enforce laws that impact the people within that country. If they see a need to exterminate homosexuals, then they must have determined that is best for the country.”

    Sounds eerily like the arguments in favor of appeasing Adolph Hitler when he, Himmler et. al. devised and implemented their “Final Solution” to the “Jewish Problem.” Exterminating Jews was determined to be in the best interests of the Fatherland.

    Do you REALLY want to be making that argument????

    I sure hope that the next Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States agrees with you and says so! LOL!

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  6. Redteam says: 156

    @George Wells:

    Sounds eerily like the arguments in favor of appeasing Adolph Hitler

    So your argument is that I’m a Nazi.
    You are proud of the fact that more Americans are becoming enlightened to the ‘truth’ and are getting more tolerant of gays. Why wouldn’t you feel that people in a different country have an equal right to make a different decision for their country? Don’t you think they are sincere?
    I clearly said: “I do want to make it clear that I do not favor laws to exterminate homosexuals, or to prosecute them just for being homosexual. But if they want to get into heaven, they’re gonna have to get right with God. “

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  7. George Wells says: 157

    @redteam #153:

    “Are you saying, or implying that attraction is not an ‘action’?”

    YES!

    “Attraction” is a state of mind. Action is when you DO something. Not the same thing.

    People identify themselves on the basis of which gender they are attracted to, not on the basis of who they are having sex with. I’ve had sex with women, but I don’t identify myself as a heterosexual, or even as a bisexual, because those terms do not reflect my attraction to other people. “ACTION” is “OVERT BEHAVIOR” – while “ORIENTATION” reflects only “ATTRACTION”. An individual might NEVER act on his or her attraction. That wouldn’t make him or her be less of a homosexual, it would simply result in him or her being classified as a “non-practicing homosexual.”

    I wouldn’t presume to say that NOBODY believes in the definitions you are coming up with, as you undoubtedly got these ideas from SOMEWHERE. But I would sure be interested in any peer-reviewed (in other words: authoritatively vetted) literature that is taking your position on this.

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  8. George Wells says: 158

    @redteam #156″

    Didn’t say that you were a NAZI, did I? No. Said that your argument SOUNDED like the arguments for Nazi appeasement. I am sure that the Nazis were “sincere” in their belief that they were justified in exterminating the Jews, and I’m sure that Ugandans feel equally sincere about killing gays. How ever does “sincerity” justify crimes against humanity?

    “Why wouldn’t you feel that people in a different country have an equal right to make a different decision for their country?”

    Because of the lessons learned after World War II. We learned that it is NOT OK for a people to blindly follow their leaders in the conduct of crimes against humanity, and this lesson has been incorporated into every corner of our justice system – even the Uniform Code of Military Justice makes allowances for the refusal to follow orders that are illegal.

    ReplyReply

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