December 16, 2014

When The “Wedding Cake” Shoe Is On The “Progressive” Other Foot

I’ve often asked what would happen if a pro-traditional marriage church sought a cake endorsing traditional marriage only from a gay baker (or if a Jewish baker were asked by a “Christian” Identity Church to make a cake for their St. Hitler Day celebration or the “Christian” Knights of the Ku Klux Klan sought a cake for the social time after their cross burning from a black baker). Well, looks like someone decided to find out how those gay bakers would respond – and it wasn’t pretty.

The mainstream media has done a lot of reporting on Christian bakers refusing to provide their services to those engaging in a gay marriage. These bakers have been called “bigots”, “fundamentalist wackos”, “homophobes” and many other invectives for simply adhering to their principles. They become the target of discrimination lawsuits that some didn’t have the funds to fight. These suits have put many bakeries out of business, eliminating the income of the owners. All of this because of an agenda that states everyone must share the views of an extreme minority or risk persecution.

But what happens when the tables are turned? Theodore Shoebat wanted to find out. After spending quite some time calling various gay bakeries asking if they would bake a cake for a traditional marriage ceremony, he quickly found out that tolerance is a one-way street in their eyes. Shoebat was cursed at, screamed at, and met with animosity, but the frosting on the cake as when he was asked why he would make such a request, as it would go against the beliefs of the baker. Sound familiar, anyone?

RightWingNews commentator (and fellow Watcher’s Council member) Terresa Monroe-Hamilton makes the following observation.

Theodore Shoebat called some 13 prominent bakers who are pro-gay marriage and requested that they make a pro-traditional marriage cake with the words “gay marriage is wrong” placed on the cake. He suffered anger and obscenities for his request. It appears these individuals feel you must submit to their lifestyle and requests, but the same is not true for Christians. How is that fair or right? How is that not discrimination? How is this tolerance in any shape, way or form?

Terresa is, of course, exactly right. And in a nation where “equal protection of the law” was a reality rather than something that is merely given lip service by the advocates of so-called “civil rights”, there would be prosecutions and persecutions of every single one of those bakers. But there won’t be.

V the K at GayPatriot makes a different observation, though.

And you know what… I completely defend their right to refuse to bake a cake in support of something they don’t believe in; because I don’t believe people forfeit their Constitutional rights when they open businesses.

It’s the gay fascist left who are the hypocrites.

And I agree with him as well. If the First Amendment means anything in terms of our right to practice our religion freely, express our beliefs or remain silent free of government coercion, or to associate or not based upon our preferences, then rejecting business from someone whose message is not one you are willing to help communicate is a completely legitimate exercise of one’s constitutionally protected liberties. But our government has long since rejected that notion under the rubric of “non-discrimination” and “civil rights” laws that have been deemed to trump the liberties explicitly protected by the Bill of Rights.

But what of the argument that all businesses should be open to all comers, and that by providing the service/product one is not endorsing the message. After all, that is what we hear from the proponents of gay marriage and forced cake-decorating, flower-arranging, and t-shirt printing, isn’t it? So why shouldn’t the government be stepping in to force business to create messages that are contrary to the ethical or religious beliefs of their owners? Isn’t that the fairest way for us as a society to proceed? Over at Reason’s Hit & Run blog, Scott Shackford hits the nail on the head.

If bakers are a "public accommodation" as is argued, there's no reason for them to refuse to make these cakes or cookies or what have you. The bakeries would not be saying "Gay marriage is wrong." They're just selling a cake to somebody who believes that. Just as making a gay wedding cake is not an endorsement of gay marriage. It's just fulfilling a customer's orders.

But it's wrong on both counts. Nobody should, by order of the government, have to make Shoebat's stupid cakes. And nobody should be forced to make gay wedding cakes either. Ethical and moral consistency requires demanding both or neither, not one or the other. Somehow some people see that it's obviously wrong for anybody to be forced to make Shoebat's cakes, but not gay wedding cakes.

Of course no one should be forced to participate in the communication of a message they disagree with and find repulsive. And certainly not if only some folks are going to face such government coercion. That is the sort of thing that the First Amendment was designed to prohibit.

Which brings me to a proposed statute here in Texas that would keep government on any level from forcing anyone to provide business services in a manner contrary to their religious or ethical beliefs. Prominent progressive blogger Charles Kuffner offers this objection to the bill and suggests that those who support such legislation haven’t thought it through.

We are all clear that these “freedom to discriminate” bills are, intentionally or not, also about the freedom to discriminate against Jews or blacks or whoever else you don’t like, right? I mean, every time they get pinned down on it, proponents of such bills admit as much. I don’t suppose it has ever occurred to the Donna Campbells of the world that one of these days they themselves could be on the receiving end of such treatment, if someone else’s sincerely held religious beliefs hold that antipathy towards LGBT folks is an abomination before God. I’m just saying.

Well, Chuckles, let me give you a hint – many of us (probably most of us) have thought it through and are willing to take the chance that someone may find us and our beliefs so offensive that they don’t want to do business with us. And while I will not speak for all the rest of us who believe that rights guaranteed by the Constitution can never be overridden by a mere statute, my response is “God bless America and the Bill of Rights – ain’t freedom a grand thing for everyone!” Over the last half century we have extended the concept of “public accommodations” so far beyond the original common law notion of places of where travelers could get food and lodging that the concept no longer has any relation to its original meaning. Outside of such establishments and emergency medical care (the right to life is preeminent – no more cases like that of Dr. Charles Drew should ever be legal), there is no compelling government purpose in prohibiting business owners from picking and choosing with whom they do business. After all, there is the quaint notion of “freedom of contract” and that a contract entered into under duress is not truly valid. How odd that laws designed to protect individual liberty would in fact limit individual freedom to such a degree! Personally, I prefer too much freedom to too little.

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