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American society has concluded that bigotry and discrimination cannot happen in the public square.  Further, it is quickly reaching the place where gender orientation is protected the same as race.  One possible conclusion the courts may make (I'm not agree or disagree--just predicting):

 

1.  A business (not a church or other house of worship, but church-run ones would be included) cannot be allowed to refuse product or service to customers on the basis of protected categories.  So, certainly no denying business because, "I don't serve Pagans, LBGT, or races I don't agree with/like."

 

2.  On the issue of LBGT weddings it may end up depending on the venue and the officiant. 

 

If the wedding is secular (Justice of the Peace offciates), then a religiously-oriented vendor might be required to provide services/products.

 

If the wedding is religious, but is not of the same religion as the vendor, then the vendor may be required to provide services/products.

 

HOWEVER, if the wedding is religious, and is of the same religion as the vendor, then the vendor may be able to claim RFRA protection.  Why?  Let me provide an example.  I bake cakes, and I belong to an A/G (or LDS) church.  An LBGT couple comes to my shop and says they are having a wedding over at the Methodist Church, and could I bake a cake for them.  I say I will not, because, as a Christian, I believe the Bible prohibits same-sex marriages.  Since this wedding is happening in a Christian church, I find the ceremony to be profane and sacrilegious.  Kill me or jail me, but I will not be a part of it!

 

I could see a judge siding with the defendant.  His/her religious belief and practice would be substantially burdened forced participation.  The government does not have a compelling interest in forcing that.  There are other sources for cakes.  Even if the wedding party had to ship one in, that would be less of a burden than requiring a religious person to engage in what s/he views as a corruption of a sacrament.

 

THOUGHTS?

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I hope you're right but I'm skeptical. Obviously it depends on the judge and his political ideology.

Yes, I know ideology shouldn't be a determining factor, but unfortunately it is, and it will become more so as time wears on. 

 

Personally I don't believe there should be ANY laws restricting discrimination by private individuals in their personal or business lives, unless of course they accept public money to do so.

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Personally I don't believe there should be ANY laws restricting discrimination by private individuals in their personal or business lives, unless of course they accept public money to do so.

 

We've had many discussions here on this . . . but with the exception of a few posters it seems to devolve into well if you let businesses discriminate then xyz won't get zyx and that would be wrong so we need the government to force the businesses to provide zyx to xyz.

 

It is IMO extreme hypocrisy.  Either you let businesses discriminate freely (even if we don't agree with their discrimination) or you don't.  Unfortunately, people don't see it that way.  As long as they (people commenting) agree with the discrimination (i.e. bakers not baking cakes) they fight for businesses rights, but the moment they don't (i.e. a restaurant not serving a certain race) they fight for government intervention.

 

Once you start forcing businesses to provide goods and services in one case, all it takes is popular opinion to shift and now you are being forced to do something you don't like.

 

Either one is for freely allowing businesses to serve whomever they please or you aren't. . . not really a middle ground on this.  Which is one reason why I do not like the Church's recent stance on this.  While I see the reason why they did it, and even though it may currently be a necessary stance . . . it is a losing stance that only buys (hopefully) more time.

Edited by yjacket

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Ironically, during the era when businesses were not serving races, it was mostly because the government enforced the separation of races.  Jim Crow was not the idea of racist Chamber of Commerces.  That was the government restricting businesses too.

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My take, for what it is worth. I support religious freedom, and I support non-discrimination. I believe that most, but not all, on each side do as well. In other words, contrary to the hype, the discussion isn't religious freedom vs LGTBQ freedom, but rather where we draw the distinction.

I firmly believe that just because you go into business you should NOT be required to check your beliefs at the door and I firmly believe your religious freedom extends to business decisions. Yet, I also believe there are limits to how far those privileges should extend. At the risk of introducing yet another analogy:

If you are LDS and decide to open a business, let's call it a restaurant, you should be entitled to believe anything you want. You want to believe that Joseph saw Jesus in the Grove? Great. You want yo believe that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet? Excellent. If you want to use that belief structure in operating your business, for example you choose not to serve alcohol in your establishment, then you have my complete and unwavering support. If someone were to suggest that you are no longer permitted to believe as you do, or that you must serve alcohol against your beliefs, then I'll be first in line to cut a check for your legal defense fund.

Where I don't think religious freedom should apply is in the refusal of a service that you already provide because you disagree with the beliefs of a customer or client. Believing alcohol, shellfish, or pork products is bad is completely within your religious freedom rights. Choosing not to serve alcohol, or shellfish, or pork products at your establishment is and should be totally within your control. Yet, when you refuse to serve a client a cheeseburger because you know or suspect that from time to time, indulge in a beer, or a shrimp salad, or a ham sandwich, THAT is discrimination that should not be protected under religious freedom. If you serve cheeseburgers by choice then you need to do so equitably to all customers.

That is where I think we will end up.

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RM's stance is where I think the line should be drawn. I think any law-abiding and paying customer should have access to everyday business in spite of beliefs.

But... Asking someone to participate in a ceremony or event against religious beliefs, including providing service for a wedding, deserves further consideration. That's above and beyond selling a gay man a hamburger.

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RM's stance is where I think the line should be drawn. I think any law-abiding and paying customer should have access to everyday business in spite of beliefs.

But... Asking someone to participate in a ceremony or event against religious beliefs, including providing service for a wedding, deserves further consideration. That's above and beyond selling a gay man a hamburger.

I think some forms of service are, by their nature, expressive; and one should have at minimum a free-speech right to decline to participate in such expressions.

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I think some forms of service are, by their nature, expressive; and one should have at minimum a free-speech right to decline to participate in such expressions.

 

I think JAG was the one who proposed the compromise that I think I found most comfortable:  If you keep it in stock, you can't discriminate on who you sell it to.  But baking (and especially decorating) a cake is not something 'in stock.'  The photography isn't 'in stock' and so I think it's fair to allow the one producing those expressive goods to discriminate on their religious beliefs.

 

I worry that some of the RFRA bills being floated around are attempting to make it possible for a cashier at the grocery store to refuse service to a same sex couple on religious freedom grounds.  And that's a contingency I find unacceptable.

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RMGuy brings up another issue.  Should Catholic pharmacy owners be required to stock "morning after" pills?  I say not.  He would seem to imply not.  Yet, for many it is a given that they should be required to do so.  Similarly, some want to insist that all doctors, regardless of religious conviction, be required to train in and provide abortions. 

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PC, I concur with your pharmacy example in so far as they are the actual owner (not franchise) of the enterprise. I appreciate JAGs thought on the concept of expressive service. My initial thoughts were someone different, but I find some validity in his concept and so need some time to consider...

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It is IMO extreme hypocrisy.  Either you let businesses discriminate freely (even if we don't agree with their discrimination) or you don't. Unfortunately, people don't see it that way.  As long as they (people commenting) agree with the discrimination (i.e. bakers not baking cakes) they fight for businesses rights, but the moment they don't (i.e. a restaurant not serving a certain race) they fight for government intervention.

 

You and I are in complete agreement here. I'll never understand how any Latter-day Saint can argue that he/she has a "right" to someone else's service, or a right to FORCE someone else to provide a service he/she thinks should be provided? It just boggles my mind. 

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Where I don't think religious freedom should apply is in the refusal of a service that you already provide because you disagree with the beliefs of a customer or client. ...If you serve cheeseburgers by choice then you need to do so equitably to all customers.

 

I’m curious, RM? Can you explain why you believe it’s moral to FORCE someone to serve an individual they’d rather not serve for whatever reason, and can you also explain where the RIGHT to do so comes from?

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It just boggles my mind. 

 

Me too.

 

I've written pages of responses and the best conclusion I have come to is that in general people don't have a very good ideological framework to work with when it comes to laws. It appears that most people believe that laws are for enforcing whatever they feel is morally right and/or morally wrong. In very small homogeneous societies this can work okay because if one disagrees one can simply form their own small homogeneous society.  

 

Unfortunately, in this country rather than encouraging small homogeneous societies we encourage very large heterogeneous ones. And this leads to extreme conflict as the larger the group the less and less values become shared across the entire population.  Due to this heterogeneous nature and the desire to create laws that enforce one's morality on everyone we end up having extreme culture wars.

 

For some reason, most people cannot see laws as literal force and they cannot seem to take law down to the most basic level . . . when is it morally right for me to force my neighbor at the point of a gun to do what I say and if he doesn't I have the the right to kill him?
Edited by yjacket

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American society has concluded that bigotry and discrimination cannot happen in the public square.  Further, it is quickly reaching the place where gender orientation is protected the same as race.  One possible conclusion the courts may make (I'm not agree or disagree--just predicting):

 

1.  A business (not a church or other house of worship, but church-run ones would be included) cannot be allowed to refuse product or service to customers on the basis of protected categories.  So, certainly no denying business because, "I don't serve Pagans, LBGT, or races I don't agree with/like."

 

2.  On the issue of LBGT weddings it may end up depending on the venue and the officiant. 

 

If the wedding is secular (Justice of the Peace offciates), then a religiously-oriented vendor might be required to provide services/products.

 

If the wedding is religious, but is not of the same religion as the vendor, then the vendor may be required to provide services/products.

 

HOWEVER, if the wedding is religious, and is of the same religion as the vendor, then the vendor may be able to claim RFRA protection.  Why?  Let me provide an example.  I bake cakes, and I belong to an A/G (or LDS) church.  An LBGT couple comes to my shop and says they are having a wedding over at the Methodist Church, and could I bake a cake for them.  I say I will not, because, as a Christian, I believe the Bible prohibits same-sex marriages.  Since this wedding is happening in a Christian church, I find the ceremony to be profane and sacrilegious.  Kill me or jail me, but I will not be a part of it!

 

I could see a judge siding with the defendant.  His/her religious belief and practice would be substantially burdened forced participation.  The government does not have a compelling interest in forcing that.  There are other sources for cakes.  Even if the wedding party had to ship one in, that would be less of a burden than requiring a religious person to engage in what s/he views as a corruption of a sacrament.

 

THOUGHTS?

 

My dear friend and confidant - It is my opinion that many "Christians" and otherwise religious people are missing a great opportunity to bring a witness of truth and faith.  I want to make a couple of points here.  First is that good people can use the work place (freedom of speech) to bring better understanding of important messages.  I think many Christians are missing that opportunity.  If someone wants a Christian that believes that marriage  between a man and a woman is sacred at their wedding - I believe good Christians should be there.  That they should have business cards printed that expresses their beliefs and that they should exercise their firsts amendment rights and advertize their service.

 

Jesus said to take the truth everywhere - to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. Certainly we should not refuse those that know who we are and know what we believe that would openly invite us to be there with our opinion.

 

Actually it is my opinion that in most cases there is no intent to patronize Christian businesses but that there is a dark effort of hatred to bring about prejudice against certain Christians of particular beliefs.  I would take a nonrefundable deposit and sign a contract to be there with the cake and my business cards.  And if given the opportunity I would loving serve those that would do business with me - and share with them important messages concerning my beliefs of service, sacrifice and other such things for the benefit of others and show such love by example.

Edited by Traveler

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Bytor, I think the LBGT community is arguing that opposing bigotry trumps freedom of speech or religion.  So, the baker can oppose servicing a racist, but not someone in a protected group.  Makes my head spin too.

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I think that the creator and owner of a hamburger can do, or not do, whatever he likes with that hamburger, regardless of whether he made it to sell to a customer, or whether as a form of artistic expression. If he refuses to sell his hamburgers to people he doesn't like, either one of two things will happen - he will go out of business, or potential hamburger buyers will go elsewhere. Neither consequence seems important enough to over-ride freedom of religion. However, I can see that this approach would not work well in areas where there is a shortage of hamburger sellers, or where the commodity being sought for is more important than hamburgers, eg, housing. In the cases of very important goods and services, or a limited number of suppliers of goods and services, it may be appropriate to modify the principle somewhat.

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Bytor, I think the LBGT community is arguing that opposing bigotry trumps freedom of speech or religion.  So, the baker can oppose servicing a racist, but not someone in a protected group.  Makes my head spin too.

 

I actually believe that the LBGT community - dispite the fact that religious preference is also a protected group - would be more interested in keeping Christians from coming to their wedding than Christians are interested in being there to minister Christian values.  I really think this is all a witch hunt by LBGT.  If the Christian business advertizes support of traditional marriage - but is glad to provide the cake and take every opportunity to minister traditional marrage values that this whole problem will disapear - the accursers will take their business somewhere else and pretend that the problem never happened.

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RFRAs are legal licenses to discriminate. 

 

Back in the era of Jim Crow, a boat load of Christian businesses claimed that their religion prohibited them from ever treating black people like they were human.  In fact, the LDS Church wouldn't even allow blacks to hold the priesthood until the 1970s.

 

Now-a-days discrimination against blacks has mostly fallen out of popularity and the new thing is discriminating against LGBT people.  And the children of the racist business owners of half a century ago are now claiming that it is their religious freedom to discriminate.

 

If a business doesn't want to serve certain clientelle, then they probably shouldn't be in business.  Refusing customers is the antithesis of business.  The entire idea of business if having customers buy your goods and/or services; not turning them away because your religion says that they are lesser beings.

 

 

Personally I don't believe there should be ANY laws restricting discrimination by private individuals in their personal or business lives, unless of course they accept public money to do so.

So you would be alright if the vast majority of businesses in the United States started posting signs on their doors that say "no Mormons allowed"? 

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RFRAs are legal licenses to discriminate. 

 

Back in the era of Jim Crow, a boat load of Christian businesses claimed that their religion prohibited them from ever treating black people like they were human.  In fact, the LDS Church wouldn't even allow blacks to hold the priesthood until the 1970s.

 

Really?  Can you name some of these Christian businesses?  Is there some evidence of the scriptural reasoning they had?  Frankly, I do not believe this.  There were some who argued against interracial marriage, based on a flawed understanding of the Tower of Babel incident, but I am not aware of any teaching that Christians were obligated not to cater to other races. 

 

Now-a-days discrimination against blacks has mostly fallen out of popularity and the new thing is discriminating against LGBT people.  And the children of the racist business owners of half a century ago are now claiming that it is their religious freedom to discriminate.

 

Again, I'm not familiar with Christian businesses refusing to do business with LBGT people.  The controversies have been over those businesses that do not want to participate in a religious sacrament (marriage) that they believe to be a profane sacrilege.

 

If a business doesn't want to serve certain clientelle, then they probably shouldn't be in business.  Refusing customers is the antithesis of business.  The entire idea of business if having customers buy your goods and/or services; not turning them away because your religion says that they are lesser beings.

 

Again, where is your evidence that Christian businesses are refusing service because they view LBGT folk as "lesser beings?"  The issue is whether government has the authority to compel businesses, on the threat of bankruptcy, to participate in a religious sacrament that they consider profane and sacrilegious?

 

So you would be alright if the vast majority of businesses in the United States started posting signs on their doors that say "no Mormons allowed"? 

 

Why would they do that?  What non-LDS sacrament are 'Mormons' attempting to force upon non-members?

 

 

BTW, here is a link to an article entitled "Interview with a Christian."  It presents a mock interview very much like the above:  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/05/opinion/sunday/rosss-douthat-interview-with-a-christian.html?_r=0

Edited by prisonchaplain

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However, I can see that this approach would not work well in areas where there is a shortage of hamburger sellers, or where the commodity being sought for is more important than hamburgers, eg, housing. In the cases of very important goods and services, or a limited number of suppliers of goods and services, it may be appropriate to modify the principle somewhat.

 

The "shortage of sellers" polemic always rears its ugly head whenever someone wants to hedge a quasi-pro-discrimination stance. But it's a specious argument at best.
If a "shortage of sellers" is sufficient excuse for forcing an individual to sell a product or service to someone they would rather not sell to; then conversely, a "shortage of buyers" should be sufficient excuse for forcing an individual to purchase a product or service from someone they would rather not purchase from. 
It's impossible to logically argue that one is moral while the other is immoral. 
 
The sad fact of this whole sorry business is that the proliferation of anti-discrimination laws will prove to be an overflowing  scourge on freedom and liberty, primarily because there's no limit to the scope of such laws. Almost any economic behavior (along with a great deal of other behaviors) can be defined as "discrimination". 
Is a college accepting students based on SAT scores not discriminating against those who don't do well on standardized tests?
Is a restaurant serving expensive food not discriminating against the poor?
Is a modeling agency hiring only thin, attractive women not discriminating against fat, homely women?
When you purchase a hamburger from Burger King are you not discriminating against Wendy's?
When you buy a PC aren't you discriminating against Macs?
 
And if Blacks can be a protected class, why not Melungeons or Mestizos or Cajuns or Gaels?
And if Muslims can be a protected class, why not Candomblists or Santeriaists or Jainists or Druids?
And if Homosexuals can be a protected class, why not Asexuals or Pedophiles or Gerontophiles or Zoophiles?
And as long as we're at it, why shouldn't fat, short, stupid, or ugly be protected classes?
 
Where will this anti-discrimination idiocy end? 
Sadly, it won't, and the principles of "freedom of association" and "equal protection under the law" will ultimately end up null and void.

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So you would be alright if the vast majority of businesses in the United States started posting signs on their doors that say "no Mormons allowed"? 

 

Yes, I would be alright with it. 
And ya know why? 
Because I actually believe in freedom and agency. They aren't just meaningless words to me. 
I don't believe I have the right to force someone to do business with me if they don't choose to do so, no matter what the reason, nor do I believe I have a right to ask the government to force them either! 
I guess I'm just funny that way. 

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Yes, I would be alright with it. 
And ya know why? 
Because I actually believe in freedom and agency. They aren't just meaningless words to me. 
I don't believe I have the right to force someone to do business with me if they don't choose to do so, no matter what the reason, nor do I believe I have a right to ask the government to force them either! 
I guess I'm just funny that way. 

 

 

That and knowing Mormon's like I do... I can promise some LDS business person will decide that they can make money by offering things to their fellow Mormons that no one else wants to...  And I would be more then happy to give them my money...

 

That is the free market for you... when it is allowed to run

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So you would be alright if the vast majority of businesses in the United States started posting signs on their doors that say "no Mormons allowed"? 

 

Some years ago I got in a conversation with a private music teacher who, after kicking out two students he discovered to LDS, actually did create such a sign for his music business.

 

Now, he was also a gay atheist. By your bias, he had every right to do that and actually should be commended.

 

Come to think of it, I personally believe it was his right as a private business owner.

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RFRAs are legal licenses to discriminate.

You don't need a legal license to discriminate beyond the Constitution. The RIGHT to discriminate is coded into the Bill of Rights.

For example - you have the RIGHT to do whatever you need to do to keep your funny-looking next-door neighbor from getting within 100 feet of your children. Your small business is simply an extension of you.

Back in the era of Jim Crow, a boat load of Christian businesses claimed that their religion prohibited them from ever treating black people like they were human.  In fact, the LDS Church wouldn't even allow blacks to hold the priesthood until the 1970s.

 

Now-a-days discrimination against blacks has mostly fallen out of popularity and the new thing is discriminating against LGBT people.  And the children of the racist business owners of half a century ago are now claiming that it is their religious freedom to discriminate.

If a business doesn't want to serve certain clientelle, then they probably shouldn't be in business. Refusing customers is the antithesis of business. The entire idea of business if having customers buy your goods and/or services; not turning them away because your religion says that they are lesser beings.

The Constitution gives everybody certain inalienable rights, two of which are the freedom of religion and freedom of association. So yes, you have the right to say I will not sell donuts to funny-looking people in exactly the same manner as you have the right to say I will not sell a child's picture to a child porn addict. BUT... one's rights end where the other person's rights begin, so a balance needs to be struck.

The Civil Rights Act is a law that gave exceptions to the Bill of Rights for the purpose of exacting rapid social change so that the rights of a specific minority group can be brought into balance with the majority. This was only specific to certain groups that are under Human Rights duress - e.g. Black People, Women, Disabled. Funny-looking people were not under duress, so they are not included in that protected class.

So you would be alright if the vast majority of businesses in the United States started posting signs on their doors that say "no Mormons allowed"?

Yes. Being Mormon is not a protected class.

Now, there is a law that supercedes freedom of association in the matter of hiring employees - you, legally, can't refuse to hire a qualified candidate just because he's Mormon. That's a separate law from the Civil Rights Act.

Now, RFRA is another law that was created to restore Freedom of Religion. This was signed into law after the DEA won a Supreme Court case against the Native Americans when Native Americans sued them for infringement of religious liberty in smoking their ritual pipes containing hallucinogens. The Supreme Court interpretation to "balance the rights" between Freedom of Religion versus Ban on Prohibited Drugs did not agree with Congress' intent, so Congress overturned the SC's decision by enacting RFRA to protect the religious liberty of Native Americans... so they can continue to smoke their pipes in their tribal rituals as they have done for hundreds of years.

Now, Congress made an adjustment to RFRA to make the law only applicable to Federal cases. So, the States drafted their own RFRA's. 19 States have their own RFRA's. Indiana and Arkansas are just now drafting their own RFRA's.

And somehow... this, ALL OF A SUDDEN, becomes a social problem. It is not even being gay that is causing this problem - gays have no problem buying cakes anywhere - heck, they can even buy sandwiches from ChickFila! It is simply GAY WEDDINGS that is the problem... so, all of a sudden GAY WEDDINGS is an EXTREME SOCIAL PROBLEM that is now compared to BLACKS not being able to drink out of public water fountains.

Do you know that you can walk into any cake making store in the entire nation and you'll have to really put your shoulder to the wheel to find one that will not serve a gay wedding where it is legal in that State? And now you think NOBODY HAS THE RIGHT TO OPEN A BUSINESS THAT SAYS "NO SHIRTS, NO SHOES, NO ENTRY"?

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