To read the article this cartoon is illustrating, go here.
The Supreme Court has ruled that homosexual marriage is the law of the land, based upon the belief that gay marriage is somehow a due process right. Marriage itself, perhaps, maybe, but as originally defined. This had nothing to do with denying anybody the right to marriage, but rather whether or not individual states could define what it looks like. Perhaps changing the definition to include same sex partners makes sense from a secular humanist worldview, but the problem is, last poll I checked, approximately 60% of Americans still identified themselves as Christian.
This ruling created a very sticky situation for many Christians who hold strong beliefs about sexual purity. How much of the power of the State is going to try and interfere with those beliefs and do Christians have protections to live and conduct their lives around those beliefs? As the Kim Davis situation has demonstrated, apparently, Christians are to conform or else….
When the cake lady first made the news, I thought, well, heck, only an extreme leftist kook would think it is okay to deny religious freedom to a sole proprietor. Getting into the mix of the debate, boy, was I sure wrong. The number of people who assumed that once you run a business you no longer have religious freedoms was shocking. So what are those protections for then? The closed door of one’s private home? To some, yes.
The reasons were broad, and the misconceptions were many. Because I feel like the ease at which people were willing to castigate the Christian business owners was so great, and because of the dangerous precedent this creates, I really feel like I need to address each debating point brought up. The LGBT movement has done a great job labeling any spoken word that isn’t lock step with their agenda as being hate-speech, thereby shutting it down. But, what is more hateful? Destroying the livelihood of a fledgling mom and pop business, bringing upon the couple poverty and ruin, simply because they wouldn’t do what their competitors down the street were happy to do? Or talking about such issues?
Christians do not have the right to force their views on others.
This is the first and most common objection. And I absolutely agree with them. Problem is, the Christian photographer did not go and seek out the gay couple and tell them they couldn’t get married. I would take issue with that. Rather, the gay couple came to her and told her, “by force of law, you have to photograph our wedding.” Excuse me, but who’s forcing who in this situation? Who is getting their freedom denied? The gay couple can simply pick up the phone and find another photographer. And if you know anything about the photography industry, you’ll know that 99% of photographers embrace homosexual marriage. The issue has never been about lack of accommodation.
In some cases, such as with the baker, the business owner even offered an alternative, a friend who would do exactly what the gay couple wanted. They were in essence saying, “I cannot do this because it would violate my beliefs, but I don’t want to deny you the right to these services, so here is the number of my friend.” By still pursuing the lawsuit, the gay couple in essence responded with, “You are not allowed to have those beliefs. We’ll do what we can to change them.” Who is being more tolerant here?
The 1964 Public Accommodation Act forbids Christians from denying service to anybody.
Boy, have I heard this one, and boy is it being misapplied in this situation. The problem is, using this objection is trying to paint over this whole situation with a broad brush, refusing to acknowledge or recognize certain very clear distinctions. If the Christian baker said to the homosexual couple, “get out of my store, you are gay,” I would defend the gay couple. That’s not what happened. The baker mentioned that they made birthday cakes for the couple in the past. So clearly, they are not denying service to the gay couple. The distinction is whether or not an artisan or craftsman, like the bakers, can decide what kind of products they produce. Or whether the state has the right to dictate to them the object of their art.
The analogy I keep hearing is, “Well does that give an auto mechanic the right to turn down a gay couple because it’s his religious beliefs?” This argument is not even analogous. Of course, the auto mechanic has to serve the gay couple. If they are doing the same transmission work on the gay couple’s car as anybody else’s, then, yes, they have to serve them. I defer back to the birthday cake example. Now if the gay couple came to a car airbrusher and asked to have “Gay Pride” spray painted on the side in rainbow colors so they could drive their car during Pridefest, the airbrusher should have the right to say “no, this is not the type of product I wish to create.” And if I was that airbrusher, I would protect my butt by referring them to a friend who would. The issue isn’t that he doesn’t want to serve the gays, the issue is that he doesn’t want to support that message!
That’s a huge distinction that keeps getting lost. The examples are numerous. Should a printer be forced to print porn if they disagree with it? Should a restaurant owner be forced to cook meat, in order to “accommodate” all of us meat eaters? No! In all cases, even the most leftist would say, if you want meat, go to a restaurant that makes it.
The other giant hole in the accommodation argument is the fact that most of these people finding themselves in trouble are actually independent freelancers, without a storefront or retail space. To the photographer, the caterer, the musicians–they are literally saying come and BE IN our wedding, or else we will destroy you. This has nothing to do with accommodation on the part of these freelancers.
I would be happy to take on a Christian project, even though I’m not Christian, I don’t understand why you Christians can’t do the same.
This is usually the final retort I hear. And to it, I say, that’s great! That’s your choice. I wish to support your right to make money however you see fit, and if that means creating art and product that violates your core beliefs, more power to you. No doubt there are some Christians that would still bake that cake, even in spite of their beliefs. The point is, that is your CHOICE, and that’s what I am defending.
If you decided NOT to create a Christian product (say an illustrator turned down a job from Focus on the Family), I would support that choice as well. In the case of the pizza shop, GoFundMe shut down the GoFundMe page that was set up to help the pizza business offset the costs of being targeted by a liberal reporter because the cause was in violation of their beliefs. GoFundMe refused their service to a Christian because of their beliefs! And these same LGBT people applauded GoFundMe for this courageous decision without even recognizing the sheer irony of it. Do I support GoFundMe’s right to do this? While I disagree with the decision, the answer is yes.
The judges who are siding with the LGBT movement in these cases are doing so for the purpose of advancing a personal agenda and without any amount of compassion for the Christians. It’s not enough for Christians to live and let live, as many have. They must change their thinking about homosexuality. If we cannot persuade them, then we will force them, by the power of the state. Lives ruined, First Amendment redefined… that’s what this cartoon is about.
PS, I’m not making any judgements on homosexuality, one way or the other, with this particular post, as I feel it would detract from the greater point that I’m trying to defend, and that is of freedom. I have many friends and some family who have chosen this lifestyle, and God bless them, I love them dearly and they are wonderful people. Sometimes defending freedom means defending people with whom we disagree.