Cake or No Cake – Arizona’s Religious Freedom Bill

Pro-choice, eh? Except for those pesky times that someone wants to exercise their freedoms in a way that offends you. Right. Because pro-choice only applies to abortion. So then.

During my long morning bath, luxuriating with the New York Times (no Bon Bons, mommas jeans are T I G H T) I happened across the news about Arizona’s Religious Freedom Act which would enforce a business’s right to refuse service to gay patrons.

I will generously provide Cliff Notes for you if you are unaware of the reasons this bill has been proposed in the first place. Some Christian businesses have refused to provide services for a gay event and because of it they have been bullied, sued, shut down, and some are lucky enough to have received death threats. There was the printer who declined to produce the gay pride shirt.  A baker who had a policy of gay-rights-arizonamaking every cake you could possibly desire, just not cakes for same-sex weddings. A photographer who said that she would “gladly serve gays and lesbians—by, for example, providing them with portrait photography—whenever doing so would not require [her] to create expression conveying messages that conflict with [her] religious beliefs.” A florist who served her numerous gay clients for a decade but was sued when she declined to provide flowers for a long time client’s gay wedding.  I promise I will not point and laugh if you have not heard of these cases. Mainstream media doesn’t want to be proved wrong about the conflict between gay marriage laws and religious liberty, which was predicted by many a natural marriage supporter.  If you have not, do avail yourself to a big, gigantic, way more intelligent brain on the Matt Walsh’s blog and inform yourself. Ifyouwouldplease.

So, dear readers, here is my attempt to engage your critical thinking capabilities thinly veiled in a question so please set down your agendas and hop off your sacred cows and tell me true.  In the cases above, the business owners offered other services to their gay customers, sometimes for years, before they refused service for the gay event. Why?

I will give you a second to discuss.

It is because the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker do not know who is gay and who is not unless the service revolves around an activity. A BEHAVIOR.  I have said it before but I will gladly repeat myself because I am very service oriented. This fact (the one up there in the fancy italics) obliterates the comparisons between racial segregation and the “gay-rights” movement.  Sexual orientation is not like race.  Race does not depend on feelings, behaviors, and with whom you chose to identify.  Race is an immutable factor that cannot, will not, does not change no matter your feelings or actions.  You do not have to “come out” as black.  Sexual orientation, on the other hand, is much more nebulous.  There are plenty of folks who have varying degrees of same-sex attraction.  Some choose to be in relationships with the opposite sex only.  Some have been in gay relationships for a season of their life.  Some feel that this attraction is the defining characteristic of their identity and they exclusively couple with the same gender.  But it is the manifestation of that attraction expressed in behavior– specifically who you choose to have sex with- that distinguishes this “class” of citizens.

It is an activity alone that distinguishes people as gay. It is not the lisp, the effeminate gait nor the incredible fashion sense. Neither is it because of the butch haircut, the Subaru or the piercings that the above referenced businesses were choosing to deny service. It was an activity. Without the activity, gay people are indistinguishable from everyone else walking the planet. Under this bill, the only way that a queer customer would be refused lunch at the diner would be for her to stand up and declare “I have sex with women!” or make out with her girlfriend right then and there. Otherwise, you’re just the average diner, sister. Dontcha think that a restaurateur should be able to remove any lunatic shouting about their sex life or exhibiting gratuitous PDA in a diner?  Well hold on there missy. Not with this bill. Only the straight-identifying lunatics could be removed. That’s fair, right? If you have not remounted your sacred cow then you know the answer is a resounding NO.

Maybe you are offended that others do not celebrate your relationship, your attractions, and your activities and because of that they should lose their rights. Lose theirs so that others aren’t offended, right?   Well, with the current cultural trajectory, the citizens and businesses of this country will have to legally celebrate gay behavior or face financial repercussions. In fact, it’s already happened. The businesses above were sued because, though they were willing to serve the individual, they chose not to celebrate the activity.  That is what the Arizona bill is attempting to prevent.

Yay choice! No wait. I meant – Nay choice.

Often it is said, incorrectly, “but if they are a public business, they cannot refuse service to anyone.”  Wrong.

Is a Jewish tattoo artist required by law, meaning by force, to tattoo a swastika on the Aryan Nation President?  Is the black restaurateur required to take reservations for the annual KKK benefit?  Is Ted Nugent required to open his ranch up for the P.E.T.A. convention?

Nope.  Every business has the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason. No, really. Any reason. You argue that it would be bad for business for them to refuse service to any group and, in most cases, I agree that it is a ridiculously stupid way to do business. But that is for you to decide on your property. In your establishment. They choose in theirs.  And the market forces will have their way with them.

The law is actually redundant because all this “freedom to associate” business comes from our founding documents. It is a crying shame that we are so far adrift that laws are being enacted to shore up what is already established.

Personally, (because you know I sometimes like to make it all about ME!)  let me just say that I don’t think it’s a sin for a Christian to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, print a T shirt for a gay pride parade, or photograph a same-sex ceremony.  Just like I don’t think it’s a sin to attend a gay wedding.  These are areas where each believer needs to approach the scriptures honestly and figure out what God’s will is for them at that moment.  (See Romans 14, 1 Cor.8, 1 Cor 10.)  One believer may feel that by baking the cake, photographing the wedding, or printing the T-shirt that they are participating in or celebrating something that God rejects and therefore they decline. Individuals have the freedom in Christ to make that determination for themselves.  Others may feel that even though they oppose gay marriage as policy, they would like to serve their gay neighbor by helping them decorate for their wedding reception.  It’s not spelled out in scripture- let each believer come to their own conclusions in this area.

What I do not think we have a choice about, Christian reader, is whether or not to love those in our life who are gay. Pop culture says that the only way to love your gay friends is to affirm their behavior.  Pop culture lies. If Christ is your Lord, I would argue that you are to be God’s hands, feet, and words to them.  You can do this without endorsing their actions.  You must open your heart and home to them.  If you choose not to attend their wedding, you best make sure that you are attending their birthday party (and inviting them to yours!)  Water their plants when they are out of town, take them meals when they are sick, drop everything when they call. Sacrifice for them.  In other words, be a true friend.

When it comes to public policy however, according to our constitution, each person, business owner, and organization gets to make their own choices about what they do, who they serve and with whom they associate.

And while we are on the subject, can we extend the right to choose to the unborn as well?

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53 thoughts on “Cake or No Cake – Arizona’s Religious Freedom Bill

  1. You know, I loved what Matt Walsh had to say about this subject, but I was so happy to read your thoughts as well! Your brains (and perspectives) are equally big and intelligent, in my opinion. I am actually a former wedding vendor myself, so I’m deeply interested in these cases, and am working through (if I ever go back to the wedding industry) whether or not I would be able to service a gay wedding with my convictions being as they are. (I am beginning to think not). I really appreciate your acknowledgment (really in all your posts) that this is not an easy issue. Thank you for fighting the good fight here

    • Good. Pass this law. That way I can show my neck and they can be offended instead of me. They have to change the way they do things because I choose a different dress code. My choice wins, even though it’s their business. That’s how it goes right?

  2. Pink, that would be their right. You do understand what freedom of association means right? I personally would not serve anyone with a piano keyboard tie, couldn’t stand them in the 80’s wouldn’t provide service to anyone wearing one today. You have the right to refuse to associate for any reason you choose.

  3. For me this bill would return us to the days of separate water fountains, etc.; thus I’m really glad that Jan Brewer vetoed this bill. I’ve written a brief posting about the nuances and thoughts behind my take on this on my blog, (if you care to know the gory details). It was interesting to visit here and check out your take on it, though. Thanks!

    • Always good to hear your thoughts, friend. I understand your reasoning and know other Christians who come to the same conclusions. Curious, what would you say to the photographer who politely declines to photograph the gay ceremony, and indeed refers the couple to someone with better rates, but who is sued over their decision? Is the lawsuit justified? And would you advocate for laws which compel the Jewish tattoo artist to offer his services to the Arian Nation president? I see little difference in the two.

      • I guess I look at this from the landlord/tenant perspective, as this is how I make a living and there are clear laws about discrimination. I have to be very careful about how I go about choosing a tenant. I have to be careful about how my advertisements are worded, and the questions I ask when interviewing prospective tenants. I’m not allowed to discriminate on so many levels. I have no doubt that lifestyle and sexual orientation are a given in this regard.

        While I may not agree with how someone lives their lifestyle or with who they choose to bring into their bedroom, I’m running a general public business; I have to give everyone the same consideration and fair treatment, regardless of my personal views/opinions.

        If we’re offering services to the general public, the general public should be allowed to pursue those services, regardless of ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, gender, etc.

      • Just a note, Jews are forbidden to have tattoos. I know there might be radical Jewish tattoo artists, but it would be outside the norm. Off topic I know. And, I agree with the Warrioress; although, I respect your opinion.

  4. I would rather know that someone did not desire my visage to darken their businesses doorstep than to spend my fun tokens enriching said asshat. Talk about minority status, nearly everybody hates us gingers.

  5. Just a thought, as it hadn’t really been addressed but from what I’ve read on the bill it applies an extension of religious liberty frompl previous Supreme Court rulings. You claim you’re just getting your free exercise back to what the founding fathers envisioned. But from my own analysis, the bill doesn’t target the lgbt community nor does it target anybody in general. It just gives businesses the right to deny service to somebody based off their religious beliefs. Before the Civil rights, businesses were doing just that to the black community for their beliefs. The law in my opinion could be used to deny services to them just as much as the gay community. The language of the bill is very ambiguous and it’s an awful bill. I recognize the right to your religion but at the very heart of it, it is plain discrimination. And from what I know, God teaches us to love and accept our neighbors for their faults and for their sins. I doubt any of these businesses will deny service to those who get haircuts or to those who visit their doctors instead of their priests, even to those who mix fabrics. Your religion gives you the right to do a lot of things but it doesn’t give you a right to discriminate. It’s not your right to choose who gets in to heaven that’s up to God.

    • Jo Ramones, thanks for your comments and great to have you here. Our religion does not “give us the right to discriminate,” our Constitution gives us the right to exercise our religion outside of our homes and church buildings. And in the cases cited above, the business owners chose to decline service for a gay event. A gay bar can say that their establishment is for gay couples only. (Few would I assume, but they can.) There are organizations where you have to be a woman or black to be a member. And as Pink cited above, a Muslim establishment can require women to cover their heads to come in. I know very few Christians who would patronize an establishment that stated they wouldn’t serve gays or blacks. Market forces would demolish them. I certainly would not shop there. But this is not about making everyone operate their business the way you or I would. It’s about the constitutionally-protected right to make up your mind about with whom you will associate and serve.

      And on the subject of getting into heaven, that is not a constitutional matter. 🙂 That one is clearly spelled out in another document: in faith alone, by grace alone, in Christ alone. And I know many a follower with same-sex attraction who is on the Jesus train.

  6. Thank you! I don’t know who you are, but this is just right on point! I live in New Mexico, where one of your referenced cases originated. I tell you, when the state supreme court stated in their judgment, that you had “to give up your religious freedom as the price of citizenship”, I felt violated in a way I cannot describe. And what makes me sick was that no one seemed to care here. We have to protect our natural rights and those that are codified in the Bill of Rights. I fear, however, by the time most people realize that, it will be too late. Thank you again. All the best to you.

    • Thanks for your comments, Atomic Mom. I did hear about that statement you quoted. Funny. Because I thought that religious freedom was one of the signatures of our citizenship.

  7. Let me try this again, Usually I stay out of these forums but I wanted to say Great Job! You have articulated your points incredibly well and it is truly great to see someone who is not afraid to publicly discus one of the most glaringly obvious irony’s currently in the Land of the Free.
    As an American who currently lives in England, I get a better understanding of just how much Government control can crush what should be basic human freedoms. Thanks again!

  8. I object to the way you are picking on us Arians! We never go around beating up Jews, or whatever it is they object to, and you have no business insinuating that we do!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arian
    “”Arian” redirects here. For other uses, see Arian (disambiguation).
    Not to be confused with “Aryanism”, which is a racial theory.”

  9. By far, one of the most well-thought out and well-written analyses I have read on this subject. I have read so many opinions disguised as facts surrounding this bill, most of which do not truly deal with the crux of the argument. Well done!

  10. Reblogged this on Know the Truth and commented:
    Maybe you are offended that others do not celebrate your relationship, your attractions, and your activities and because of that they should lose their rights. Lose theirs so that others aren’t offended, right? Well, with the current cultural trajectory, the citizens and businesses of this country will have to legally celebrate gay behavior or face financial repercussions. In fact, it’s already happened. The businesses above were sued because, though they were willing to serve the individual, they chose not to celebrate the activity. That is what the Arizona bill is attempting to prevent.

  11. THANK you. THNAK YOU thank you THANK YOU for putting to words what I have been feeling about this every day. Personally, I think it is silly for a Christian to turn away business, but you know what… I still think the choice should be up to the individual. Not me. Who am I to force an action on someone else? What right do I have? No, each person’s walk is different and who am I to say what is for certain or not. I have yet to find a single instance in the Bible that touts we are to refrain from business transactions with sinners. I would even venture to say that God understands this more than we do, simply by what I have learned of Lot. God did not condemn him for living in the sin filled city, he only condemned the sin filled city. God did not destroy Lot and his family, he only sent condemnation to those that basked in sin. The very fact that Lot lived in the city tells me he probably ate, drank, served, and did business with sinners. This tells me that once again, we may be in this world but we are not of this world. To avoid sin entirely means we would have to be removed from the world.

  12. Just wondering. How would you feel about a gay photographer taking pictures at your Christian weddings? Would your religious beliefs have been violated in this scenario? Or how about a gay baker making your cake for your baptism. Would your religion be ok with that? What if you found out your wife’s hairdresser was also gay (seems a good possibility) Would your be obligated to find another hair dresser, baker, photographer?

    • Hi Larry. Thanks for the questions. If I were hiring a photographer, I would choose one with talent and good rates. I have bought cupcakes from a baker who gives out stickers that say “We love gay love.” The bottom line is that government should not compel patrons or businesses to betray their convictions. The government should not legislate that a business must serve or never serve or only serve a certain group. If I had a gay hairdresser, I may have a bit more style, come to think of it.

      • Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately, government has to get involved when the rights of individuals are being violated. If they didn’t get involved we would still owning slaves in the south and women would be considered second class citizens without the ability to vote. Dangerous for government to start taking sides based on religious grounds. Religion rights, are at best, selective based on interpretation.

    • Larry. The issue here is the willingness of the SERVICE PROVIDERS desire to take the business. If the gay business person wants to work for the Christians, great!! Good on them. They probably will be a successful entrepreneur.Seems to me that by the tone of your question you are stuck in the “all Christians hate gays” mentality that is peddled by most of the media. I suspect this might be your first visit to askthebigot and if it is, I implore you to spend some time reading.

    • I can only speak for myself, as a Christian, but I would have no problem with that whatsoever. This – for most of us, at least – isn’t about a desire to avoid associating or doing business with those who identify as gay. (In fact, I believe the teachings of my own Christian faith would consider it to be an unjust form of discrimination to avoid hiring someone because they are in a same-sex relationship, including in the context you mention.) The issue here is whether I, as a Christian, can be compelled by law to participate – and profit from – the celebration or expression of a principle or behavior to which I am opposed on religious/moral grounds. I believe the answer is no, at least not within the framework of the U.S. Constitution. And that goes for those whom I may wish to hire that disagree with whatever I might be asking them to participate in. Making t-shirts for a pro-life rally, for example.

  13. Our country was founded by people looking to make their own religious choices. The descendants of those who fled religious intolerance are the ones who have become intolerant of religion…..and it’s the elephant in the living room no one wants to mention. Good job, Askme!

  14. Caught you on the radio this afternoon, and was intrigued by your website name. I really like what you had to say in this article. I believe that as Christians we are to allow God’s love to flow through us into the world. His Love covers a multitude of sins. I think that your article lays out a good strategy on how to share His Love. Should government decide how I’m supposed to love my neighbor?

  15. I once knew a person who ran a bed and breakfast out of their own home. If someone called to make a reservation who was not married, she would turn them down for the time being but would offer them a free night when they got married. I thought that was a great idea. She never had a problem with this compromise. I definitely believe that if a business is operated in a person’s home that there should be an exception and they should NOT have to provide services to gay couples or anyone else whose activities are against their religious beliefs or other codes of decent behavior. All businesses restrict their services in one way or another – whether it’s “no shirt, no shoes, no service” or someone making too much noise in a hotel room.

  16. Why do you think the Christian right is so vocal about these cake bakers and so silent about actual human rights violations regarding gays? If I tried to discern what Jesus cared about through Christians on social media (which would be a bad exercise for many reasons, but anyway, impressions do matter) I would have to conclude that baking gays a cake is more egregious than making it illegal to be gay.

    Also, I’ve been in customer service. And yeah, I’d make you something even if you were a racist or a Nazi, because serving someone does not mean agreeing or endorsing someone’s views. I can understand a minister not wanting to bless or perform a gay marriage. I could even maybe get feeling uncomfortable as a photographer, because you must be very present and involved with a wedding. BUT cake or flowers? How does providing those things sanction anything? A cake or flowers are not personal proclamations and can be used for anything – they don’t make a wedding valid, they’re just things people do. Do florists examine the moral principles behind all celebrations? And again, are those people consistent in rejecting marriages that fall short of biblical morality? If someone leaves his wife and gets married, why do no Christian florists care about that? I can’t figure out a way to explain the lack of consistency other than a specific bias against gays. Sins are bad, but apparently some are worse than others and deserve to be singled out. And would a Christian be fine if someone refused to serve them (sorry, “chose”) because of their religion? Based on how many people balk about Christian persecution, probably not. Frankly, I would think that sort of law would open up religious discrimination beyond sexual issues. And my religion is not reducible to good or services that are not religious expressions. Cake ain’t communion.

    Furthermore, I believe in Arizona’s laws sexuality was not a protected category, so the law doesn’t even seem like it makes a ton of sense from a legal perspective. I’m pretty sure not of the example cases were in Arizona. And “Every business has the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason” is…just not legally true. Freedom of association is not freedom for businesses to discriminate certain classes of people. I think the fact that many good conservative politicians don’t support this law demonstrates that it’s a bad law, regardless of how people feel.

    • Anne, what human rights violations are you referring to? Your thoughts regarding who you would or would not serve are totally valid for you, just as mine are valid for me and the cake makers are valid for him or her.
      In the context of rights, to compel someone to provide you their effort or the product of their effort is soft slavery at best. So you actually DO have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason, as a right. If current law does not affirm this, it is in error. Laws and rights are not the same. For example, it used to be legal to own another human being. Can’t really say that law was aligned with human rights. So yes, that means you can discriminate against Christians, racists, gingers, skateboarders, nudists, Buddhist, clockmakers or whoever, and for any reason, in your own establishment. This is your right.

      • Well, specifically relevant and in the news is Uganda’s new laws (Nigeria passed a harsh anti-gay law recently as well) that criminalize homosexuality. I believe people with multiple charges of homosexuality receive a life sentence (revised from the original death penalty). Not reporting your gay neighbor is also a crime. Uganda is an extremely Christian nation with many ties to “Western” Christians – so the silence on the subject is a bit notable. Maybe there has been commentary and I haven’t seen it, in which case I’d be happy.

        Well, I’m not sure I would agree it is a “right” (particularly a “human right”) to refuse service. The sticky question then is, ignoring legality, is it someone’s right to not only hold racist thoughts and express racist views, but to then act on those views in the form of excluding certain races from receiving certain services? It becomes a big problem when an entire community refuses to serve a subset of that community and I don’t know how much the South would’ve changed without some legal action. Now, I’m not equating race with sexuality, but that is why I am not fully behind the idea of a “right to refuse service.” That goes beyond freedom of thought, speech or assembly.

  17. Here is what I learned from Anderson Cooper: Currently, in Arizona, there is no protection for LGBTs. Business owners can choose not to serve LGBT folks and there would be no legal recourse. The bill was called “preemptive” but there is really no point for it. Because of this, it does seem to be a merely discriminatory bill.

    The other cases that the blog references – the printer, the baker, the photographer, and the florist – were all in states that DID have anti-discriminiation laws based on sexual orientation. So the business owners that chose not to serve gay couples because of their (the business owners’ ) religious beliefs actually DID break the law. Of course there’s the moral component of it – all of us liberals take out our pitchforks and demand equality for all – but that’s not what this is really about.

    I commend the blog writer for an interesting angle. I’ve been following these cases and I had not heard the idea of it being based solely on behavior. It makes sense but based on what Anderson Cooper discussed, it now seems irrelevant.

    Here is the video in case anyone would like to watch it: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/25/anderson-cooper-arizona-anti-gay-law_n_4852674.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

    • Hi WorldTraveler. Thanks so much for stopping by and for your comments. I would love your thoughts on this:

      For it to be discriminatory as you discuss in your comments above, it must be against a class of citizens, yes? Question: can you have a “class” where the distinctions are mutable? What I mean is, I know many people who would have identified as L, G, B, T and/or Q for a couple years/decades of their life but who no longer do. I know others who lived for years as straight-identifying only, and who now consider themselves L or G or Q. Can you have a protected “class” when someone can identify as part of that class one day but not the next?

      • Religion is a protected class that falls under that category (e.g. you can change your religion from one day to the next or after a few decades). But since sexuality is not a legally protected class and religion is, I don’t quite understand the point.

        The Jewish tattoo case also doesn’t make a ton of sense to me, because in that case, the Jewish fellow would be rejecting the tattoo because of its content, not rejecting the individual for his ideology. Photography might have a content, but other wedding services don’t. I should also say in case it isn’t apparent, that I come from a staunchly Christian perspective and am not just being contrarian for the sake of it. I fully respect a minister’s right to choose who to marry or church’s right to set moral guidelines. I just genuinely don’t understand why there is an uproar over this.

  18. Ah, here’s the specifics: “The businesses were sued [in other states], but those efforts came under state laws that extended protected-class status to gay people. Arizona has no such law protecting people based on sexual orientation.”

  19. I am aware of the basic outline of this case but there may be subtleties I am unaware of, so please forgive me any ignorance, not being American and what have you.

    This really is a difficult call as there are so many avenues to say, ”Aha! But what if…”
    Race,Age, Sex, etc etc.

    However, on the face of it I believe it is the right of an individual, to be free to conduct business with whomsoever he or she sees fit, no matter how dumb the reason, and the free market will ( or should) prevail.

    And of course this is supposedly where the trouble begins…and it will, guaranteed!

    Should drug dealers be afforded the same right, one might ask?

    But why must the state get involved?

    This law should never apply to any state or federal run concern, only private business. (Including drug dealers?)

    Now, the knife cuts both ways of course, so if the religious-minded folk wish to be able to refuse custom on religious grounds ( as this is what this particular case is about, I understand) then:

    for example, they must:
    cease all protests and complaints (physical as well as media sponsored) against private abortion clinics.
    cease all efforts to have creationism taught at state run schools

    No doubt there are more examples, but these two will do to illustrate the point.

  20. I’m having a hard time understanding why people can’t make a distinction between a public establishment – such as a restaurant or retail store – and a private contractual arrangement between a vendor and a client. A public establishment is open to the public, and that means everyone (provided each customer is willing to abide by standards of conduct and dress – some restaurants require men to wear a jacket, for example, and health codes generally require everyone to wear shirts and shoes). A vendor considering a private contract, however, has the right to decline said contract for any reason whatsoever. Some businesses are both retail and private-vendor endeavors, and the owners should conduct each side of their business accordingly.

    We used several vendors in the planning of our wedding. It was each vendor’s right to accept or refuse our business for any reason whatsoever. If we’d chosen a gay florist, for example, maybe he/she wouldn’t have felt comfortable facilitating a wedding in a Catholic church – since we Catholics, after all, retain an intolerant, gender-based definition of marriage. And it would have been well within his rights to tell us to take our business elsewhere. Now, if I walk into his retail store to buy flowers, I expect to be served just like any other customer who walks in off the street. My beliefs – and his – shouldn’t be an issue, because I’m not asking him to participate in an activity that facilitates or endorses my beliefs (or even gives the appearance of facilitating or endorsing them). Just sell me some damn flowers and I’ll be on my bigoted way.

    Who wants an unhappy vendor at their wedding anyway? Our photographer sustained a serious injury to his finger on his way to our wedding. Lemme tell ya – if the photographer ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. 😉

      • Love this blog and love this post. And I didn’t mean to imply that those reading this blog (and certainly not the one writing it 😉 ) are unable – or unwilling – to make the same distinction. Just expressing my frustration with the debate generally.

  21. You actually as the owner of a restaurant DO have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason. Just because you provide your services to the public does not mean you loose the right to discriminate as you see fit. Just because we don’t like the ugly side of individual freedom does not mean we can try to prevent it and still say we believe in individual freedom. Can’t kill the dream in the effort to provide it for all.

    Ark, but what if race age, sex etc? Sadly it is your right to refuse service for any of the aforementioned reasons. In a truly free market such people wouldn’t last long, or would have a very limited customer base.

    Should drug dealers have the right to refuse service? Yes, and pushing the point with an American drug dealer could lead to bodily harm.

    As to the knife cutting both ways, a more accurate example would be a private abortion clinic could refuse services to a anti abortion Christian activist, and in this case a private clinic indeed would have the right to refuse service.

    As to cessation of efforts to promote creationist teaching or religion of any kind being taught in public schools. This doesn’t really apply to this debate in any way. That said however, religions and all theology should be part of education in public schools, In their proper place as part of a philosophy class for example. In regard to the origin of life specifically, the teaching should be purely truthful, meaning the answer “we don’t know” (as we don’t) should first be made clear and all the theory’s and hypotheses, both religious and non-religious, should be explored as possibilities that as of yet have no concrete evidence. That would be a more honest, informative and well rounded education.

    • I am no lawyer, but I don’t think you’re completely correct…

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_accommodations

      I know Wikipedia isn’t the most scholarly of sources, but this is a basic summary. Civil rights law historically has included both public and private establishments in the term “public accommodation”. As of yet, sexual orientation is not a federally-protected civil rights class. Some states have recognized it as such. The question, I think, is whether private vendors who contract to engage in a particular activity – one that is provided to individuals or entities separately, not within the same scope of services or goods sold to the public generically – are covered under the term “public accommodation”. I don’t think they should be, but my sense is that this will be the question the courts will decide – not whether it is okay to discriminate on religious – or any other – grounds, but whether declining to enter into a private contract constitutes discrimination at all, regardless of the reason. But it is late and I am addled. And again, not a lawyer by any stretch.

  22. Beth, your interpretation of law is correct, however the law is in error. I do not loose my rights simply because I choose to trade with others. I can not be compelled to trade in a way I do not wish to, or with people with whom I do not wish to trade. As trade is either in service, my life energy directly, or a form of currency, my life energy monitized, compelling me to do so is wrongfully taking part of my life. Sadly America has done a lot of wrong things for good reasons. In regard to the civil rights struggle in America, in our understandable haste we threw the baby out with the bath water and we robbed Peter to pay Paul. However I too am addled, sadly regardless of the time.

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