WWJD?

As a conservative, I voted for Jan Brewer. I felt no qualms in doing so. I’ve been irritated with some of her choices of late, mainly her decisions regarding Child Protective Services, but I have been impressed with her refusal to back down on issues such as Second Amendment rights and immigration issues.

Now, as a lesbian, I’m sitting here with my breath on hold. The state senate and house of representatives have both passed SB 1062. Now all that waits is Governor Brewer’s decision – sign it into law, veto it, or take no action and let it become law.

The bill came about after multiple lawsuits and civil complaints brought against business owners in several states. Gay couples preparing to hold marriage ceremonies are running into bakeries and photographers who are refusing to do business with them because the business owners are Christians and don’t agree with homosexuality, let alone gay marriage. When this happens it makes the news. It also typically goes straight to court. Several states, including Kansas, Ohio, and Kentucky have all drawn up laws with the intent of preserving “religious freedom” and protecting business owners who want to refuse service to gays based on their religious beliefs. Arizona, however, is the first state to come this far in passing that legislation. All other states have dropped it.

I’ve read the bill. It’s short and simple enough to understand. The big problem I have is that it’s pretty ambiguous in its language. In short, the bill literally says that any business can refuse service to anyone and claim a “sincerely held religious belief” to avoid being sued or penalized by the government under discrimination laws. That means this would stand to affect more than just gay people; it could spread to racial and religious discrimination very quickly.

I have said before and will say again that I will only support gay marriage rights as long as the rights of churches to refuse to perform gay weddings is preserved. Churches should never be forced to engage in practices that go against their beliefs. For the record, I think if a caterer or a photographer doesn’t agree with gay marriage they shouldn’t have to be forced to do business with gay couples. I think that if a gay couple knows that they’re going to a Christian-owned business that won’t want to help with their ceremony, they’re inviting disaster in the form of poor, shoddy work. The problem that I have with SB 1062 is that it is far too broad and flings the door wide open for all kinds of discrimination to be excused by religion.

In reality, however, this is little more than an exercise in stupidity by the socially conservative hard right. This is more of the same from social conservatives who claim to want limited government and then turn around and expect the government to legislate personal and moral issues. Rather than minding their own business and learning to live and let live, they want everyone to snap to and agree to their brand of morality a la legislation. If anyone dared suggest allowing Sharia courts anywhere in the United States (something I vehemently refuse to support, in case anyone was wondering), these folks would be up in arms in a heartbeat, as well they should. But they have no issue at all with trying to legislate from their own pulpit.

Mushy moderates like John McCain and Jeff Flake know how strong their social base is and they play to it. During the last election, both Arizona senators openly supported the social conservatives who were worried about gay marriage and gave them exactly the answers they knew that base wanted to hear. Now that both of those senators have come out in the Gang of Eight and agreed to come to some kind of compromise on gun control, those socials are crying foul. They just can’t understand this kind of betrayal.

You don’t get to feign ignorance now. You were more worried about those damned social issues than you were about the economy, amnesty, taxes, healthcare, and gun rights. Because that was your primary concern, we’re all stuck with men representing us who are willing to sell us out. The problem is that you are still refusing to see that truth. The liberals are thoroughly enjoying the resultant mess and watching the conservative side implode. They are the ones that will win this war because you simply cannot let go of issues that have no bearing whatsoever on what’s really destroying us right now – the economy, Obamacare, amnesty, and rising taxes. Cities are going broke and some states are well on their way and we’re still kibitzing about gay marriage.

Of course, none of this is to mention the breathtaking arrogance of social conservatives. Your whole beef is that you should be allowed to refuse to do business with someone because they’re gay and you don’t agree with homosexuality. Do you really think Jesus would approve of putting up a sign in your restaurant asking gay people to stay away? Do you think Jesus would applaud you for turning away a patient because you didn’t want to treat a gay person? What would Jesus say if he were standing in front of you while you called all gay people pedophiles and screamed for them to be stripped of their rights? What happened to “whatever you do unto the least of these”? If you support this farce of a law, then go out and scrape that WWJD sticker off your car and take that cross necklace off. You obviously don’t remember what Jesus said about how you’re supposed to treat other people.

Comments

13 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Andyb,

    I have to say I am torn. I feel for the businesses that have been targeted (I bet that they were chosen because they were perceived as Christian and to make a case in public). I think a business should be able to refuse customers they don’t want to serve. On the other hand, I would just do the job because I’m all about making people happy. People should be able to go wherever and do business.
    I will also say in NH, Republicans were voted in to do a job and then put all these dumb laws through that wouldn’t help get jobs or help the economy and really don’t accomplish anything other than causing controversy.

  2. Patrick,

    I agree that liberty is at stake for business-owners. Having said that, it deeply annoys me that pols spend more energy on insubstantial fluff than real issues that would restore a little more momentum to this country.

    WWJD is another good title. I am a firm supporter of individual moral autonomy, but I am also willing to sit in judgment of people who do things out of spite.

  3. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again. I wouldn’t give my money to a business that chose to discriminate, but on top of that I believe that should be their right to make bad business decisions.
    At the same time, I feel the number of people who will take advantage of that (i.e. bad Arizona business people) will be negligible.
    All the same, the choice to pass this law is likely going to hurt Arizona and it’s a poor choice in an election year.

  4. I think if Brewer signs it into law or allows it to pass she’ll be committing economic suicide on the State’s behalf.

  5. Of course we have an election coming up for Governor this fall and the Republican primary soonish, so who knows what could happen after that.
    Christine Jones ALL THE WAY BABY!
    Sorry, that’s been my election mode moment for the day.

  6. Hi there – I am Polish, so my interest in the issue is purely intellectual. However, I though about what it would be if someone allowed people to discriminate on basis on nationality. That is, if I would go to the market, wanted to buy a carrot, and someone would say: “I am sorry, we do not sell carrots to Poles”. While I would be emotionally hurt and enraged, who would be really lost? The business owner lost opportunity to earn money. He would lose at least one potential customer, and potentially many more, as I would warn many my friends, many of them not-Polish. I would gain, because I would not support with my money some polonophobe, and instead my money would find a way to a more sensible way. If the business owner wants to hurt himself, why state should prevent him from doing it? Why the state should prevent him from being dumb arsehole, if he is hurting only himself?

    The only harm I see is if EVERYONE in the market would refuse to deal with me – so I think legislation should concentrate on preventing this kind of situation. Right now I can only think of, unfortunately, socialist-like solutions, like subsidies to people owning businesses which do not discriminate, in situation when discrimination becomes widespread.

  7. Damn, so many errors in so few paragraphs. I wish I could edit the comment after hitting the post button :)
    “thought”, “who would really lose” , “owner would lose”, “to a more sensible guy” etc. Sorry for that.

  8. Ferg,

    I’d rather a business be known as a bigot than to be silenced by gov’t and quitely spit in my wedding cake. If a business is to be bigotted, then picket them into bankruptcy and give them a taste of the free market.

  9. Michael,

    The governor should stay away from this law. At the same time, I would love to see a gay couple sue a bakery; then we can all see how smug, vindictive and rotten they are for doing so, slapping high fives on their moral superiority victory lap as a struggling business is crushed by their selfishness. As a gay man, If I ever wanted a wedding cake (which I never will), I wouldn’t bother with the business displaying the Christian fish in the window; more importantly, I would also never patronize the one with the rainbow flag, either, because that would mean they are Democrats. As a white gay man, I deal with more bigotry and frothing hatred from liberals puking about “privilege,” “racism,” “zenophobia,” “patriarchy” etc., so that permitting what very little money I have to fall into the hands of my mortal enemy, Democrats, makes no sense either. Extreme Christians dislike me for only one thing that is true; Democrats want to destroy me completely for several things that aren’t true. At least the Christian would pray for my soul; the Democrat openly gloats “your days are numbered…your type will soon be gone…when people who think like you are a dim memory…”

  10. Michael,

    Just adding this as little back-up to my last sentence above. I just found this typical leftie quote, “All the demographics that are opposed to gay marriage — they’re all going to be dead soon.” Oh well, such exquisite, delicate, tender and humane “love” from typical Democrats.

  11. JAE,

    I don’t think any claims against small business owners involved objections to serving gay customers because they were gay. My recollection is that it became a problem for these shop owners if the requested product or service was endorsing or celebrating gay ‘behavior” – which is considered sinful for Christians, and others. I don’t think a birthday cake or funeral arrangement request by a gay customer would have been (or ever was) rejected based solely upon the sexuality of the customer. I would also like to think that these same business owners would have balked similarly to a request for any product endorsing any other sinful behavior (unrelated to sexuality) according to their religious convictions and obligations.

    Apparently, there is a gay-owned tavern in SoCal that is reportedly refusing to serve any legislature member that endorses/supports SB 1062 and also refuses to permit bachelorette parties or other heterosexual functions.

    Actually, I don’t see how any of this doesn’t simply boil down to the old “we respect the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason” that most businesses practiced until recently – until so many of the faux-offended liberal mindset became so litigious. I support the SoCal restaurants’ choice as much as any other business that feels compelled (for whatever reason) to ever employ such an action. I like thinking that a business owned by gays can refuse service to skinheads or ‘klansmen’ for any reason without having to fear retribution by the government.

    The market will sort out the winners and the losers, and no one should suffer any pangs of consciousness they hadn’t already considered as a possible outcome of their actions.

  12. Patrick,

    It’s dead.

    ***
    Quote:

    Arizona SB 1062 was an Arizona bill to amend an existing law to give any individual or legal entity an exemption from any state law if it substantially burdened their exercise of religion, including Arizona law requiring public accommodation.

    It was one of several similar bills in U.S. state legislatures allowing individuals to refuse service based on religion, with some bills specifically protecting religious disapproval of same-sex marriage.[1] It was widely reported as targeting LGBT people, although sexual orientation is already unprotected by Arizona law.[2] Critics noted that it would have broadly denied anyone service on religious grounds. Supporters argued that it was simply restoring the legal status of the right to free exercise of religion as intended by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.[3]

    The bill was passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature and vetoed by Republican Governor Jan Brewer.[4]

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arizona_SB_1062

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