This week, Indiana became the latest state to sign a religious freedom bill into law. The legislation protects a private citizen's or private business owner's right to act according to their religious beliefs when deciding with whom to associate and do business.
Gay activists are incensed at this move, not because it targets them, but because it doesn't. Indeed, there is no language in the bill stipulating anything one way or another in regards to gay people; it simply affirms the rights of private individuals and companies. Gay tyrants have only turned it into an "attack" on them because they demand, as per usual, special treatment and exemptions.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence holds a news conference at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Thursday, March 26, 2015. Pence has declared a public health emergency in response to the HIV epidemic in Scott County. Seventy two cases of HIV have been confirmed in the southern Indiana county. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Despite everything they've ever claimed, they aren't looking to be treated like everyone else. They want their rights enshrined in a special place, above, beyond, and transcending those of normal folk.
Usually, they get their way. Not in Indiana, though. And this fact has, of course, sparked the usual round of protests, boycotts, mewling, and whining, this time coming everywhere from the NCAA to a popular video game convention, to some "Christian" churches to all of these people. The mayor of San Francisco also announced a boycott of the state, and the CEO of SalesForce.com has canceled all company travel into the accursed region.
[Note: interestingly, Sales Force has put a hex on the entire bigoted state, yet they just acquired an Indiana tech company in a $2 billion deal. It seems strange to buy a company in Indiana and then ban travel to Indiana. Unless, of course, they were planning on relocating anyway, thus taking jobs away from many residents, and now they've latched onto this religious freedom bill as a convenient cover. Hmmm.]
In any event, all of this hysteria, and only because Indiana had the audacity to pass a law that was actually already adopted in 1791, back when it was called "The First Amendment." I went to public school, so I never learned much about this mystical decree, but I'm told that it comes from an ancient script known in some circles as "The Constitution" -- or was it "constitution"? Well, whatever you call it, supposedly it, like, had all this cool stuff in there about, you know, religious liberty and freedom of speech and stuff.
You'd think that a state law protecting freedom of speech and religion would be rather redundant if the ultimate law of the land already ratifies these as integral, God given liberties, inherent to our humanity and in keeping with the demands of Natural Law, but that's how times have changed. The Bill of Rights is effectively meaningless and its precepts moot. If any of its contents are to be preserved, individual states will have to go back and write them again, like some kind of cheap Hollywood remake of an old classic.
That's what Republicans in Indiana did, and not for nothing.
In this March 10, 2014 photo, Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips decorates a cake inside his store, in Lakewood, Colo. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
This isn't one of those instances of a law passed for symbolic reasons or to make a bunch of sedentary representatives look productive; it was enacted because gay crusaders have long since taken to forcing themselves on private citizens and business, which is especially ironic considering literally their entire philosophical position rests squarely on an argument for "freedom of association."
The examples are too numerous to list in one post, but if you want to take a trip down Gay Fascism Lane (which is an actual street in San Francisco, according to the brochure), start by investigating these examples:
-The t-shirt company charged with human rights violations for the crime of not printing gay pride shirts.
And, though not instances of governmental intrusions, gay fascists have, in their single minded pursuit of ideological conformity, also set their sights on Catholic priests who follow Church law; fast food restaurants whose owners haven't pledged allegiance to their cause; Christian TV hosts on the Home and Garden Network who talk about the Bible sometimes; football commentators who don't properly worship at the altar of a gay defensive end from Missouri; reality stars who talk about the Bible sometimes; tech CEOs who donated to legislation protecting traditional marriage, and many, many others.
In all of these cases, offenders have been threatened, blackmailed, bullied, boycotted, fired, or legally punished for, in the minds of the gay mob, "discriminating."
Also, in all of these cases, not a single gay person was singled out, victimized, persecuted, or otherwise preyed upon for being gay. The bakers and bridal shop owners and florists and t-shirt companies and photographers never once "refused service to gay people." They refused to participate in activities involving gay people, but they never said, "you are gay so you may not purchase a cupcake in my establishment." Why would they do that anyway? The act of serving a delicious pastry to a homosexual is not, by any Christian teaching I've ever heard, intrinsically immoral. Nobody is refusing service to gays just because they're gay. That's not the point. That's not what's happening.
We are only talking about people who opted not to play an active role in a gay wedding ceremony or gay pride festival. And, on the other side of that coin, we're talking about gays who wish to force private individuals to play that role, whether they like it or not.
That's the issue.
So is the Indiana bill necessary? Tragically, yes.
Still, I have a problem with it, and it has nothing to do with the law itself. My issue is with how it's sold.
Take a look at what Gov. Mike Pence said after signing the legislation:
“This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it.”
Nicely done on signing it, but cut the crap, governor.
We will never win this argument if we keep pretending that gays do have a right to be free from discrimination, but a business owner declining to do business with them somehow doesn't count as discrimination.
Nonsense. Of course it's discrimination, and of course it should be legal.
Look, I checked the dictionary.
Discriminate: to make a distinction in favor of or against a person or thing on the basis of the group, class, or category to which the person or thing belongs; show partiality: to note or observe a difference; distinguish; to differentiate.
When you choose not to partake in a gay wedding, you are making a distinction against it based on the category to which it belongs. You are showing partiality. You are observing a difference. You are distinguishing. You are differentiating. You are discriminating. And so what?
There is no right to not be discriminated against. I realize that we have invented this right, but it does not actually exist as a constitutional or moral reality. To say that we have the right to be free from discrimination is to say that no individual can ever make a distinction for or against us or our actions based on group, class, or category. This is absurd on its face. We all engage in this sort of discrimination on a daily basis. We all decide who we associate with, and in what manner, and to what degree, and in what form, based on, yes, discrimination. Whether positive or negative, critical or complimentary, we discriminate -- make distinctions, decide for or against -- all the time, constantly, forever. It's part of being human.
How could we have right to be free from those distinctions and differentiations? What does that even mean? Where does this right come from? Certainly not God, seeing as how He bestowed us with the mental facilities to discern, which is another synonym for discriminate.
Certainly not from the law, given that the law is the Constitution, and the Constitution specifically protects the right to discriminate in the very First Amendment to the Bill of Rights. So this is a "right" rooted in nothing more than the whims of pandering politicians. In other words, it isn't real. It is grounded in nothing. There is no thought or philosophy behind it.
Now, we certainly have the right to be free from unfair or prejudicial treatment by the government. But that's not what we're talking about here. These photographers and wedding venues aren't run by the state; they're run by people, and those people do all sorts of discerning over who they do business with and the manner in which they do it. It would be rather impossible to run any sort of successful enterprise otherwise.
Let's look at this another way. The right to discriminate -- that is, the right of a private individual to make decisions for or against another individual or activity -- is an active right. It protects my ability to do and say things. It protects, or it is supposed to protect, my power to exercise agency over myself, my property, and my business. That is the nature of a human right, and human rights are elemental principles that speak to our inherent dignity and worth as rational beings. That's why the Declaration of Independence outlines "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," proposing that all people should be granted these things, because we are entitled to them by the very nature of our humanity.
I can see, then, how agency over my property and my business can be called a human right. Without that agency, I am deprived of that which makes me human. This all makes sense. It's coherent. It's cogent. It's consistent. It might, in practice, lead to hurt feelings and -- horror of horrors -- it might force a gay person to search Google for another of the 12 thousand bridal shops in their geographic vicinity, but the fact that it poses a possible inconvenience to another person does not undo the right itself.
[sharequote align="center"]Nobody is refusing service to gays just because they're gay.[/sharequote]
So how does the right to not be discriminated against factor in? When the t-shirt company or wedding venue or photographer or baker or candlestick maker declines to do business with us, which of our human rights have been infringed? The right to access baked goods? The right to a wedding reception at the venue of our choosing? What's the underlying liberty we're trying to protect? When someone murders you, they haven't infringed on your right to not be murdered, they've infringed on your underlying right to life. What, then, is the liberty at the foundation in this case? The right to a product or service made or provided by another person? Well, if we have that right, when does it develop and where does it end? Are we all suddenly bequeathed with the inalienable right to affordable wedding photography the moment Susie Q down the street decides to open her own freelance business? Do we have this right even before she opens? Is she compelled by some mysterious cosmic force to become a photographer so as to fulfill society's entitlement to her photography services?
And if we have a right to the photography, how can she even justify charging for it?
I mean, does she own her business or not? If we are entitled to it, I suppose she doesn't. Should she run all of her business decisions by us? How does that work? Should she hire Gallup and conduct a national poll of some sort? Certainly it goes without saying that if you ask her to come snap a few pics at your next orgy or Klan meeting or Klan orgy she must absolutely oblige. To refuse would be, by every definition, discrimination, and that would infringe on your right to not be discriminated against.
Ah, well, I guess this is all academic. Gay rights activists aren't worried about taking their arguments to their conclusions, or grounding them in any kind of comprehensible philosophical bedrock. All they know is that some people would prefer not to be involved in some of their activities, and this fact hurts their feelings, and therefore laws must be made and fines must be handed out and human rights charged must be levied. Constitution be damned. To hell with logic, reason, and consistency. This is about giving them what they want, how they want it. It's got nothing to do with rights, really, which is why the argument based on rights is so staggeringly stupid and half baked. They haven't taken the time to form it, because who cares? This really boils down to the idea that these business owners are being mean and homophobic, and that's not nice.
Picture of the wedding cake of Rodrigo Borda and Sergio Miranda taken after they got married at the civil registry in Montevideo on August 22, 2013. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
That's as intellectual and substantive as this discussion really gets on their end.
I guess I'm just wasting my time here.
Maybe I should stop fighting it. After all, the right to never be refused service has some interesting and entertaining potential.
Yeah, I think I'll swing by the car dealership down the street, walk in half naked, and demand they make me a tuna sandwich. I know they have a dress code and they sell cars, not tuna, but these are my rights and I want to go in shirtless and I want a tuna sandwich. If gays have the right to baked goods and wedding pictures, I have the right to shirtless tuna eating sessions at Bob Williams Chevrolet. They want that, I want this, and in the world of progressivism, we have the right to what we want because we want it.
It's not a great argument, but it's fun, I have to admit.
Addendum: I know people will argue against my tuna sandwich analogy by proposing that car dealerships aren't required to serve me sandwiches because they don't make sandwiches, whereas photographers take pictures and bakers make cakes, so they ought to be forced to do those things for gay weddings. But that argument doesn't work because, for one thing, the businesses could easily contend that they specifically service straight weddings. They aren't in the business of doing gay weddings anymore than the car dealership is in the business of making tuna sandwiches, they might say.
You will likely respond, I'm sure, that they shouldn't be allowed to service just one particular type of wedding, but you haven't and you can't explain that theory. You're proposing that a gay couple can walk into a business and be magically infused with the right to a service that the business doesn't even provide. If that's the case -- and again, I'm waiting for anyone to even come close to explaining how that works and where that right comes from -- then, as a universal principle, I should also have the right to demand other services from businesses who don't, can't, or don't want to provide them.
Second, whatever business they're in, the fact remains that the concepts of private property rights, free speech, and religious freedom all actively affirm an individual's natural human right to decline to do business with or associate with anyone for any reason. You are advancing the notion that these explicit, fundamental liberties are superseded and annihilated by the competing right of an individual to access my private property and attain goods that I have made or services I perform. But if natural rights exist at all, they cannot be in competition. To put it simply, one of us has the right to my private property -- me or you. If it's me, I can obviously decide who I invite in and for what reason. If it's you, I can't. I am working with the radical idea that I have a right to my property, and you to yours. It's a complex equation, I know, but it's the only one that makes any sense at all.
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