How to make slaves to the state in the name of “diversity”
You’ve heard it all by now. Bakers are being forced to bake cakes for gay weddings, photographers are being forced to participate in gay weddings, chapels are being forced to officiate gay weddings, etc. And it’s all being done in the name of “equality.” Liberty, of course, is never mentioned.
This is not a religious issue, it’s a liberty issue.
There are those who would make this a religious issue but I believe that it is both short-sighted and unprincipled to do so. Yes, it’s true that most of the cases that we’ve had thus far have involved religion and religious objection, but it is certainly possible to have a case that doesn’t involve religion. Laws that exclusively exempt religious people from following laws that others must follow, do nothing but give religious people special privileges. This is both unconstitutional and inconsistent. There are any number of reasons that a proprietor might refuse service to a customer — and they don’t all involve religion.
But because we have made it about religion, we now have a false argument that has created a division between religious people and non-religious people. This doesn’t have to be the case. After all, at the heart of all of this, it’s not about religion, it’s about liberty. If we would all stay principled, we can avoid problems like this in the future.
Many have a fundamental misunderstanding of what a right is.
There are those who would say that customers have a right to buy something. And this is absolutely true! But here’s the distinction: They don’t have the right to force someone to sell them something. Gay people, straight people, religious people, non-religious people, rich people, poor people and any other group of people have the right, in the United States of America, to purchase a cake. They don’t, however, have the right to force someone to bake them a cake. This should be obvious.
Forcing people to work against their will is slavery.
There is no other way to describe it. The reason they might not want to do the work is utterly irrelevant. If a baker is forced to bake a cake, or a photographer is forced to take pictures, or a plumber is forced to unclog a drain or a farmer is forced to harvest his crops or if any other person is forced to perform labor against his will, it is slavery plain and simple. You can pretend that it isn’t. You can try to justify it by using words like “equality” or “fairness.” You can even demonize the opposition with ad hominem attacks and demagoguery. But the fact will remain, forcing people to work against their will is slavery. And it’s immoral.
Business owners have first amendment rights too.
The typical response to this is always something to the effect of: “if you advertise a service or product, you must be able to provide it with no exceptions.” But this is ludicrous on it’s face. A person does not give up his first amendment rights just because he started a business. Advertising for a business is not the same thing as entering into a contract. I see Lexus ads all the time but I can guarantee you that the Lexus dealership will not give me a Lexus for the amount of money in my bank account. I am ineligible to purchase a Lexus. I am not a potential customer even though they advertised to me as if I was one. “Yeah! But not having enough money is different!” Why is it different? If you have no *principled* response as to why it’s different, then you have no good argument. Furthermore, as I’ve already stated, a business owner might have any number of reasons to refuse service to a potential customer: Lack of money, unruly behavior, difficult delivery logistics, lack of customer license, product or service disputes, age, appearance, etc. It would be a ridiculous fool’s errand to try to determine which of these things should be “illegal” and which shouldn’t be.
We must remain consistent.
A potential response to the above argument is to suggest that all of the other reasons listed for refusing service directly affect the bottom line of the business and, therefore, should be permitted. But, again, not only is this not true, there are plenty of examples that parallel quite nicely with the current controversy. For example, should the gay owner of a community meeting facility be forced to rent it out to, say, The Westboro cult? Obviously not. Should a Christian web developer be forced by the government to design a pornographic website? The vast majority of people would rightly say “no” (remember, this is an analogy, not a comparison). But if they are to remain consistent, those who use the old “If you advertise, there must be no exceptions” argument, must argue that a developer should be forced to design a pornographic web site. These hypothetical scenarios and the current controversy all involve a refusal of service based on (dare I use the phrase) conscientious objection. These businesses should reserve the right to refuse service if they so choose.
Who gets to decide what kind of objection is acceptable?
Whenever analogies like the one above are used, the response often meanders around to the notion that only certain types of objection should be allowed or that we should have certain “protected classes.” In other words, we should define when a business can refuse service and when it can’t. But is that really what we want? Do we really want an all-powerful government determining the things that are acceptable and things that aren’t? Who wins? The people with the most lobbyists? The largest special interest group? Similarly, do we really want the government defining identity groups and then determining which of them should have special rights? Of course not! But that’s exactly what would be (and is) happening.
Free people should be able to enter into contracts with one another.
Rarely have I heard anyone disagree with the notion that people should be able to enter (or not enter) into contracts freely. When a customer purchases something from a business, the two entities have entered into a private contract. The terms of that contract are nobody else’s business. Similarly, the reasons one might choose not to enter into a contract are also nobody else’s business. This is not a hard concept. Yet, for some reason, this principle goes out the window when the feelings of a member of a so-called victim class are on the line.
As usual, liberty is the solution.
You know, I would complain all day if a company didn’t serve me for some petty reason. I would blog about it. I would alert the media. I would protest. I would call for boycotts, etc. But here’s what I would not do: I would not expect (or want) the government to coerce that business into serving me. After all, I’m free to shop somewhere else. I’m free to start my own business and do what I please with it. I’m free to never interact with the business that rejected me. I’m free to live my life as I see fit. And really, that’s the beauty of liberty. All people are free to make their own decisions. No one owns anyone. No one’s identity is defined by bureaucrats. No one is forced to do something they don’t want to do. Yes, within liberty, someone’s feelings might get hurt but that’s life. Yes, within liberty, there will be people who behave badly. But I would take that liberty over an authoritarian government any day.
Wilco, as one of America’s most politically conscious bands, have taken drastic measures in canceling their Indiana show. Many fans have reacted
by posting on Facebook comments that they feel they’re being punished
by the band for a law many of the fans don’t support. Yet true fans will understand.
The next big protest over Indiana’s newly-passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act comes from the entire state of Connecticut. (Or, at the very least, its governor.)
Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy has banned all state-funded travel to the state of Indiana, effectively refusing to funnel money into a state that has legalized discrimination.
Malloy signed an executive order Monday blocking state-funded travel to Indiana and other states that permit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
"When new laws turn back the clock on progress, we can’t sit idly by," Malloy said on Twitter. "We are sending a message that discrimination won’t be tolerated."
Indiana is already hurting bad. Gov. Mike Pence can’t figure out how to defend the law, businesses all over the country are turning their backs, and we’re still figuring out how the law is actually going to take shape. Who in Indiana possibly thought that this could have been a good idea?
On Tuesday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) repeatedly compared the controversial religious freedom law he signed last week to an existing federal law backed by Democrats, despite the fact that the Indiana law has additional language that facilitates discrimination against LGBT citizens, critics say.
The federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed by former President Bill Clinton in 1993, was designed to ensure that religious minorities are protected from laws passed by the federal government that may inadvertently lead to discrimination.
On Tuesday, Pence repeatedly invoked Clinton’s name to drum up support for his law. Read on here.
British teachers threaten police action if parents allow kids to play video games, use Facebook
Across the pond, the assault on liberty and parental rights just keeps on going…
Parents in England risk being reported to the police if they let their children play violent video games like Call of Duty, according to a letter sent to the homes of students at a group of British schools.
The letter, which went out to parents in February but has recently garnered worldwide attention, was sent from the principals at the Nantwich Education Partnership, a group of primary and secondary schools (the British equivalent of elementary, middle, and high school). According to the note, there is a concern among teachers about the “levels of violence and sexual content” students are exposed to in certain video games. “If your child is allowed to have inappropriate access to any game or associated product that is designated 18+ we are advised to contact the Police and Children’s Social Care as it is neglectful,” the principals wrote, referencing the UK version of social services. “Access to these games OR to some social media sites…increases early sexualized behaviors (sometimes harmful) in children AND leaves them vulnerable to grooming for sexual exploitation or extreme violence.” The letter mentions the video games Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Dogs of War, and the social media and messaging sites Facebook and What’s App.
“Our city thrives because we have welcomed and embraced diversity. And RFRA threatens what thousands of people have spent decades building. Discrimination is wrong. And I hope that message is being heard loud and clear at our Statehouse.”
Sure, atheists may think of themselves as a moral person, but moral according to what? There are atheists that are as moral as Christians, but by what standard are they acting morally? And their perceptions of morality can change. God’s commandments haven’t. And remember, what’s okay for one atheist, may not be for another. As far as Christians go, you’re going to have some Christians who think something is okay when it is not, but the bottom line is that we have a standard to go by. That doesn’t change. And that standard is what protects the balance of freedom between people. Some people choose to interpret the instructions selfishly and justify their actions by assuming that ‘the Lord will condone this’ or ‘only God can judge me,’ etc. Again, this violates the Commandment to not take God’s name in vain. The Commandment of God is what protects the balance of freedom between people.
Unfortunately, selfish people only see it as ‘us Christians want to impose our beliefs onto them’ - that we’re trying to impose a theocracy. Just because they can’t do what they want which comes at the forced expense of someone else’s rights. They don’t care that what they want infringes on another person’s rights. They only see it as someone else is being mean to them because they can’t do whatever it is they want to do.
I’m not attempting to get preachy with this post, I just thought Zo did a great job of explaining the concept and origin of morality.
I’ve had this philosophical conversation before, but morality is a set of principles and values that are taught and which must be held accountable. You can be a moral atheist, as he said in the video, but whether you like it or not, those morals most likely had a Judeo-Christian origin. Also, your morality must be held to an account by something more powerful than yourself - this cannot be government, because government is comprised of fallible men. For the same reason, you cannot be held accountable by society. You cannot be accountable even to yourself because you are also corruptible to your own selfish will and desire. So, who are you accountable to then? It is a very onerous personal question to ask one’s self.
I honestly believe the further people or a society as a collective push themselves away from our predominant Judeo-Christian values, the less morality will exist. This is how cultures fall.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) and state Republican leaders have been playing damage control this week, claiming that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is not a law that enables anti-LGBT discrimination. Meanwhile, however, the conservatives who advocated for the bill have been spurning this attempted walkback, asserting in the process that the goal was ensuring discrimination all along.
At the forefront of the conservative reaction is Micah Clark, who serves as executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana and who stood right behind Pence as he signed the bill. Speaking Monday to Tim Wildmon, head of the national American Family Association, Clark explained that conservatives should oppose any effort to clarify that the law does not legalize discrimination. “That could totally destroy this bill,” he explained.
Clark has been publicly advocating for the bill as a means for allowing anti-LGBT discrimination since December, long before the legislation was even drafted. This directly contradicts the claims made Monday by House Speaker Brian Bosma (R) and Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R) that the legislation never had anything to do with discrimination.
Eric Miller, Executive Director of Advance America, is another anti-LGBT activist who stood by Pence as he signed the bill. Advance America praised Pence for signing the bill last week, openly stating that it would allow wedding vendors to refuse to serve same-sex couples and allow Christian businesses to refuse transgender people access to restrooms. Miller was quoted as saying,
“It is vitally important to protect religious freedom in Indiana. It’s the right thing to do. It was therefore important to pass Senate Bill 101 in 2015 in order to help protect churches, Christian businesses and individuals from those who want to punish them because of their Biblical beliefs!” Pence and Miller, it turns out, go way back.