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 making 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?