Okay, So Here’s My Final Question..

You would think that everything that could possibly be said about “religious freedom” in Indiana has now been said, written or mocked, and that it is past time for this blog to move on…but I do have one more question, and it hasn’t been asked or answered. At least, not that I’ve seen.

Let’s say I own a bakery, and Mrs. Unpleasant comes in and asks me to bake a cake for her DAR meeting. She’s one of those customers who always complains about something and is never satisfied, and I don’t want her business. Do I say: “Listen, you shrew, I don’t cater to impossible biddies, go somewhere else”? Of course not–at least, not if I have any brain cells. She’d bad-mouth my bakery all over town. Instead, I say “Gee, I’d love to, but I am so backed up with orders, I can’t squeeze this in.” Or “Darn! I have to wash my hair this week and won’t have time.” Or something.

So–this time, it isn’t Mrs. Harridan with the megaphone, it’s Adam and Steve, and they want a wedding cake. Wouldn’t I use the same sort of excuse? I mean, who is compelling  bakery/flower shop owners to declaim “Oh no, my Lord has commanded that I not participate in your sinful nuptials!”

Who’d know what my real motive is? Adam and Steve might suspect, but as any lawyer will confirm, suspicion isn’t evidence.

This leads me to think that  what these “godly” folks really want isn’t just the right to refrain from participating; they want the right to scorn and humiliate any hapless LGBT folks who might be unwary enough to try patronizing their establishments.

They don’t just want the right to “opt out” of baking that cake or making that bouquet; they want to be able to advertise their superior “godliness” without worrying about some silly legal commitment to equality or civility.

 

 

44 thoughts on “Okay, So Here’s My Final Question..

  1. I wonder how often this kind of thing really happens, whether in the bakery, mechanic’s shop, restaurant, or any other business that offers public goods and services. The caterer can say they are already booked for the requested date, the baker or florist can plead that they have already committed to other clients, the hotel can say they are full, etc. Sometimes the message is so subtle, it is hard to detect. In this case, the righteously entitled want to flaunt their good “Christian” beliefs so all their friends and neighbors can applaud the bigotry. If called out, they are so proud to announce their righteousness and indignation as they happily serve their divorced, adulterous, greedy, gossiping other customers who, of course, are also good “Christians”.

  2. Well the owners of Memories Pizza in Walkerton, IN are getting close to raising a million dollars in donations from all their sympathetic “friends” who listened to Glen Beck’ radio program and Sean Hannity’s Fox News Show about them saying they would refuse to cater a wedding for a gay or lesbian couple because of their religious beliefs so it looks like stating it outright certainly worked for them!
    Unbelievable or is it in Indiana?

  3. Exactly! We already have free enterprise. Sometimes the customer isn’t always “right”. If a customer has been particularly difficult in the past, a business should be able to politely deny service. Why this law was ever conceived has to be for as you said, “…they want the right to scorn and humiliate…”.

  4. Possibly a good idea. However, I’m not sure that the pizza shop owners could have done anything like this. They were asked what they thought of the RFRA law, not given a specific event with a specific date to respond to. Seems that often the liberals are just trying to pick a fight? (Let’s go find a Christian and try to get them engaged in a conversation where their back will be against the wall and force them to tell us something based on their ‘faith’ so that we can all ridicule, threaten and harass them, and then let’s call in the media to tell the world how hateful Christians are.)

  5. Those Bible thumping, pseudo Christians need to pick up their Bible to read – not thump. They should take a few seconds to read Matthew 25:40 before making any decision or opening their mouth…IF they believe they are Christians.

    Matthew 25:40; “Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of my brethren, you have done it unto me.”

    This quote can swing both ways; if you have said or done something positive to help another person, no matter who or “what” they are…or if you have said or done something negative against another person, no matter who or “what” they are. This is basic Christianity in it’s simplest form along with “do unto others” and “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. I am no Bible thumper but I do use it for research, reference and to refresh my memory. I use my copy of the Constitution of the United States and it’s Amendments for the same reasons. I have come to trust the Constitution and Amendments above the Bible thanks to the Republican bastardization of both. We might have a better chance of returning to the founding fathers goals when writing the Constitution and Amendments, including most of those Amendmentw which came after the founding fathers were long gone. Indiana’s RFRA has nothing to do with religion – especially since they are only refering to THEIR version of Christianity, no other religion qualifies as a reference.

  6. Susan, you don’t have to put their back to the wall. Just go and quietly listen to the casual conversations at any small gathering of these good Christians. Pretty soon you will hear the bigotry and self-righteousness come out. These folks are often all to willing to speak their minds when they assume they are in a group of people who will naturally agree with them. It has happened to me so many times that I have to believe that it is not just happenstance.

  7. I don’t think this was ever about real responses to real-world situations about cakes, pizzas or otherwise. It was about marking territory. The big dog wanted to show he was still the big dog and assert his authority. He just got smacked on the nose with a paper a little bit.

  8. Yes Prof. You are right. Anyone with half a brain (even Christians) should be able to get out of doing business with anyone they please without being unpleasant about it. They do it every day. (So do consumers. When I walk into a garage and I hear Rush L. blaring on the radio, I take my care to another shop. )The REAL purpose of this law had nothing to do with Wedding Cakes or Wedding Pizzas. This was the Church Bigots sicking their finger in the eye of Gay people one more time. They HATE GAY PEOPLE. It makes them crazy that the wedding issue is not going their way. These are angry people who love to hate gay people….for fun and profit. It has made a lot of money for them. Their fundraising letters would be pretty empty were it not for President Obama, Gay People, and Hillary. The do love to hate. And look at the million dollars awarded to the Pizza Bigots. That tells me that Hoosier Family Values have a long way to go in 2015.

  9. Guess it’s to be expected. Christians will always be hated. Period.
    From John 15 – 18 “When the world hates you, remember it hated me before it hated you. 19 The world would love you if you belonged to it, but you don’t. I chose you to come out of the world, and so it hates you. 20 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A servant is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you! 21 The people of the world will hate you because you belong to me, for they don’t know God who sent me.

  10. Give it a rest Susan. You Christians don’t need to spread your message anymore. We GET IT. We have had enough of it. For crying out loud, give it a rest already. Sheesh.

  11. As a matter of memetics, that persecution angle is evolutionarily advantageous. It’s built right into the DNA of the religion. When things are actually going bad, it tightens up the group. When things are going good, it causes the group to be sensitive to and resistant to even minor slights.

    Such a religion is much more likely to persist, spread, and maintain its cohesive integrity than one that is more “live and let live.”

  12. I have wondered if the Christian Baker with “strongly held religious beliefs” would decline to bake a cake with the icing shaped into a Menorah? Could the Christian Baker decline to bake a cake with Pope Francis on it??

    Pence and his Bible Thumpers have been bristling ever since their maneuver to outlaw same sex marriage failed.

  13. Soon after July 1 I hope a gay or lesbian couple will go into their pizza joint, order a pizza and while they are waiting start holding hands snuggling and other things a young “straight couple” would do…then the “rubber will hit the road” for real on this legislation.

  14. You really need to read the whole story in the Guardian Newspaper —- Yoga classes do not violate students’ religious rights, Californian court rules. – Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock and their two children had brought the lawsuit claiming yoga promoted Hinduism and inhibited Christianity.
    “No other court in the past 50 years has allowed public school officials to lead children in formal religious rituals like the Hindu liturgy of praying to, bowing to, and worshipping the sun god,” attorney Dean Broyles said in a statement.

    Paul V Carelli IV, a lawyer for the district, said there were no rituals occurring in the classroom and no one was worshipping the sun or leading Hindu rites. The district said the practice was taught in a secular way to promote strength, flexibility and balance. http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/04/yoga-classes-do-not-violate-students-religious-rights-californian-court-rules

    Wow, you just never know all the insidious ways that lurk in our secular society to attack Christianity. Thankfully the California Court through this out on it’s ear.

  15. Jim, I think you are misinformed. They said several times that they would serve anyone. And I believe them. Christians, in general, are not the narrow-minded, hate-filled people that they are often portrayed. The pizza shop owners were simply stating that they would take issue with having to ‘participate’ in helping with a gay wedding since they don’t agree with that lifestyle. It goes against what they believe so they don’t want to be forced to ‘help it happen’. Does that make sense? And your example is exactly the kind of thing that is often done just to be provocative. If I as a Christian don’t feel welcome in a particular place of business (which I sometimes don’t because I happen to know that the owners hate Christians), I just don’t choose to go there. Why pick fights?

  16. There are a certain number of people in any crowd who are bitter ignorant abusive small minded self centered bullies. How we used to laugh at the portrayal of that fact on “All In the Family”.

    I suspect that Rush Limbaugh is one of them but who knows, he could be like Carrol Connors was, just good at acting like one. But he discovered that there was a highway paved with gold that could be traveled by playing them, as in suckers, by playing them, as in acting.

    An industry was born.

    Some of theses folks can be found in the KKK. Some in churches. Some in business. Some in education. They’re pretty normal on the outside even as their soul rots on the inside.

    They are a resource for many other businesses as well as the entertainment business. The gun business comes to mind. But also the business of politics. And even some religion businesses.

    Their small mindedness invites manipulation and their response to any issue is way more predictable than whole people’s. Thus they are easily separated from their dollars, their votes, and their sensibilities modest though they be.

    Does Indiana have more than their fair share? It would appear so. That’s one of several places where the vultures are seen to be circling the carrion.

    Real vultures are helpful by cleaning up the dead meat so it doesn’t stink as long. The opportunist vultures create rotting meat as well as prey on it.

    Democracy allows for this but requires those who contribute to be active enough to offset the zombie population being herded by opportunistic cowboys (and girls BTW. Think Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann).

    I hold no hope for the demise of either the sub functional people or those who use them. Little hope even for population control. The farel will always live amongst us and those who prey on them will always chose that path rather than contributing.

    The best that we can hope for is their minority status and our dedication to a strong democracy. We saved the country in 2008 but it needs doing all over again.

  17. Christians aren’t a monolith. There are some who are saintly, some who are bigots, and the vast majority somewhere in between. One huge problem is with Christians who purport to speak for other Christians instead of merely for themselves or for the small groups of which they are part. When Eric Miller purports to speak for “people of faith” writ large, he’s engaging in calumny. There are perfectly agreeable people of faith tarred by association through no fault of their own.

  18. Many good thoughts here. Here is one from a different direction.
    While the negative things have already been said about the christian fascists, there is another dynamic in operation with quite a number of Christians.

    The call to witness is as strong as it is misused. Many conservative Christians are driven by the command to witness to their faith at every opportunity. Among these are of course the fascists, but there are a significant number who witness with fear and trembling. Fear of condemnation if they fail to “stand”. There are a fair many who recite what bad pastors have told them to say because they feel they must.

    A cause for grief.

  19. Susan S. your religion is filled with unhappiness. Your one answer is filled with nothing except some writer talking about hate. Every thing about your religion is about everyone being sinners and happiness only comes in some make belief spot after a person is dead. WOW ! What a wonderful philosophy!

  20. OMG! That’s EXACTLY what I have been thinking all along!!! A simple “we’re booked” is all it takes unless your purpose is to attack. And if your purpose is to attack, Jesus is calling on the other line and needs to speak with you IMMEDIATELY!!!

  21. I wonder if they (the Connors) will start selling Pizza Franchises.
    Seems to be a lucrative business to be in or not in, as the case
    maybe. Sit back and wait for the donations to mount up.

    Back in the real world, I agree with Doug’s Big Dog theory. The
    Pizza parlor gig did alert everybody to the massive scale/size
    that Bigotry to the Gay Community has reached.

  22. This conversation is generalizing the label “Christians” too much. I am willing to bet that most of the people objecting to RFRA classify themselves as Christians. And using the terms, “you Christians” and “you Liberals” and “you whatevers” are ad hominem generalizations that have no substance and don’t serve to move the conversation forward.

    To generalize more specifically, this is about *fundamentalist* Christian attitudes. The conversations that characterize these attitudes broadly as “Christian” are evidence of how that group has hijacked the term to assert their religious and political agendas.

  23. I must agree completely with Wallflower about generalizing the label Christian. There are plenty of Christians appalled by the sentiments behind RFRA and the bigoted speech surrounding it. Lumping all Christians together is both wrong and foolish. Isolate the groups that spread the hate, don’t paint them all with the same brush. It is the right-wing fundamentalists Christians, or if you prefer, Christian Taliban, that are the problem. The liberal, progressive Christians are opposing them and are not in league with them. Sneering at all Christians because of a few puts one in the same class as the fundamentalists them selves, simply with a different message.

  24. How about: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and render unto God the things that are God’s”? Businesses are licensed to collect sales tax and those providing food service are regulated by the Board of Health. If you are in the business of selling flowers or wedding cakes, you can’t refuse to comply with health regulations or refuse to collect and remit sales tax, or refuse to accommodate any member of the public based on your religious beliefs. Jesus said so.

  25. Confusius say person who won’t serve others pastry, ought get cake in face.
    . China 3rd century/ Indiana -2015

  26. For us data dogs:

    Make a symmetrical cross and label one axis “people” arranged from the worst to the best with benign at the center. Label the other axis “institutions” across a similar spectrum.

    Let’s define worst and best as resisting or increasing time’s bend toward moral justice.

    There are a few, but not many IMO, bad institutions. The KKK and Al Qaeda come to mind. I have to believe that they are inhabited completely by bad people. So the bad people bad institutions quadrant is relatively scarce but oh so destructive. Good people in bad institutions are rare.

    All good institutions contain I would guess a similar population of people all of the way from very bad to very good. The bad end makes the news.

    I would assume that most? All? Religions are good institutions with their share of bad leaders and followers.

    It’s harder to classify the neo GOP.

    I think American politics and business has devolved into a side of ever more value to customers vs ever cheaper products to increase wealth inequity.

  27. One of the sadder revelations occurred this morning on CNN or MSNBC–I was switching between them and waiting for TBS and the Final Four–when a lesbian couple took their 6-day old infant to a pediatrician. The moderator had the couple and their baby on the program. The pediatrician had previously announced to the couple that she would not be able to serve this family, because her feelings/emotions [insert any excuse there] could not be fully focused on the infant, but rather focused on the couple’s lesbian status, and she just couldn’t do that.

    Really?

    I say the couple and especially the infant are the lucky ones in that situation. The Hippocratic Oath does state, “First, do no harm.” The pediatrician should search her conscience and then go find other work. She doesn’t belong in the medical profession if all she can treat are “straight” families. How very sad.

  28. Thank you, Betty. Hard to believe these things happen to patients seeking needed medical care, but they do. I saw and heard a doctor refuse to even get near my gay friend Gene who has a serious injury. I took him to the ER where a very nice doctor ex rayed, cleaned and stitched a deep gash in the web between thumb and forefinger. Gene stayed with me overnight; in severe pain and violently trembling so we returned to the hospital early the next morning. A nurse uncovered the injury then went to get the doctor – a different doctor. He stopped dead in the doorway, looked at Gene and asked the nurse if he was gay. She replied she didn’t know but it had nothing to do with his injury. The doctor stated “He is only here to get drugs, remove the stitches and release him.” Gene’s condition worsened so we called the ER later that day; they had been trying to reach him at home after telling the original doctor what happened. They ordered us back immediately; the original doctor re exrayed the hand and discovered a tiny bone chip, infection had set in and they could not restitch it. The doctor told Gene if he received a bill for any of his treatment, to bring the bill to him at the hospital to take care of, he kept his word and continued to treat Gene at no charge till the wound healed. Your observation about the couple and their baby’s good luck that the doctor refused treatment; who knows what problems could have been ignored or caused by the lack of humane care by that pediatrician.

  29. Joann, I hope you and your friend Gene filed a formal complaint against that doctor.
    Susan, you are the type of person that gives those who really are good Christians a bad name and a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Stop the whining and claiming to be a victim.

  30. Doug is right on. Christians, like most other groups, are not monolithic. Neither are all fundamentalists. I am personally acquainted with fundamentalists who believe
    gay marriage is sinful, BUT they also believe hateful language and mistreatments of any fellow human being – including gays – are sinful.

    Society will continue to evolve in its thinking – especially if we help it along. Members of my own family used to think homosexuality was a choice, until we asked questions about just when did we each choose to become a heterosexual. Or “if our sexuality is God-given, how can any orientation be sinful”?

  31. I do not understand how parents, and officials under oaths for pay as child protectors and providers can passively support aggression toward any special needs child. Withering remarks and failure to nurture a captive child leads to that ‘failure to thrive’ pronouncement as surely as does deprivation of water to a lab rat.

    Also, I would as a journalism student or reporter check on the property owner’s stories. Is this a tax party to garner donations for a renter? Are the services out-lined in an employee manual, or justified under the Governor’s memorandum to executive clerks and others, the color of State law? How long in business at that address, in that name? Tax payment history? etc.

  32. I will add this. Indiana has a long history of discrimination against minorities using religion as an excuse for that discrimination. Think 1920’s and the KKK, the 1930’s when that same group moved onto the African Americans, the late 1940’s and 1950’s when it was atheistic communism and those same haters had moved on to being the John Birch Society. After that it was the Moral Majority and their damnation of hippies, humanism and liberals. In recent decades it has become those awful illegal immigrants and now the LGBT communities who draw the intolerance of the folks who have to hate someone. So, here is my point. The thousands of straight people out there who rose up against RFRA last week didn’t just do so because they support the LGBT community, although most do. No, behind the shouts of “Not in my state” was a lot of fear for themselves. Maybe next time it will be them that the haters go after.

  33. Thank you, Joann. It was a real eye-opener to learn that a pediatrician could not “in good conscience” treat a newborn child for the child’s very first visit to the doctor because the child’s parents are a lesbian couple.

    I hope your friend Gene and this newborn (now several months old) can receive proper medical services regardless of their sexuality or the sexuality of their parents.

  34. Doug Masson:

    Are you saying that homosexuality is not a sin in:

    1. Judaism

    2. Christianity

    3. Islam

    4. Baha’i

  35. Annoyed; the Bible states homosexuality (it refers only to men, so are lesbians approved) is an “abomination” which means it might be disgusting to some others.

  36. GALJohnson; a few minutes ago I read a Facebook post (did NOT read the entire article, the post scared me away); the governor of Kentucky stated, “The Kentucky law against gay marriage is not discriminatory because it is against straight marriage too.” This was almost enough to make me glad we have Pence as our governor – ALMOST. It also ALMOST sent me scurrying to find some old Sarah Palin or Michelle Bacman posts – ALMOST.

  37. Doug Masson:

    Are you saying that homosexuality is not a sin in:

    1. Judaism

    2. Christianity

    3. Islam

    4. Baha’i

    Depends who is declaring the sins, I guess. For example, the Bible has lots of stuff that used to be sinful but isn’t regarded as being so now. I know some folks will divide things into moral, ceremonial, and judicial — and say that the latter two can be discarded. But that creates loopholes big enough to drive a truck through so that, often enough, “moral” means “stuff in the Bible we want to hold on to” and “ceremonial and judicial” means “stuff in the Bible we find inconvenient.”

  38. Friend Sheila:

    Two Observations on this insightful (and, evidently insiteful) article:

    1. It is not that these folks want to protect their religious freedom, at all. They want to abolish the civil rights of “other”. Simple. Equality under the law? As nefarious a term being exhorted by these folks simply proves the point. No see, no hear, no do of “them”.

    The trouble is, they are making headway in doing precisely that: abolishing other citizens’ civil and equal rights. Despotism doesn’t always begin in the middle, or at the bottom; but it’s not unheard of. I think of citizens of Watts who were so enraged they burnt their own stores and homes to prove a point. Group-think (Oh, how I do not care for this term) or “mob mentality” (a true oxymoron, methinks) can be alleged, but almost never successfully employed as a legal defense. So? Let’s just create legislation to accomplish what our clubs and guns cannot.

    2. I note the net effect within the comments to this article having to do largely with the rationality, reasonability, or efficacy of “religion” itself.

    THAT is what these folks hope for. More than anything else, they hope for such “conversations” as these to simply prove their victimhood. I’m a Christian, and a retired Chaplain. I am a gay American citizen, Democrat/Progressive. Ya think “they” would have fun with me? You betchum.

    I cast a jaundiced eye, almost instinctively toward any organized religion. But when you tell me that having personal faith is a crime, or at least should be, you are no better than those who would lynch, or murder someone because they are of a different biology than yourself. Admittedly, I don’t protest in the name of my faith with a 20′ placard in front of a donut shop, either. Or a bakery, or a Pizza joint.

    In fact, I try never to “wear” my faith. It’s hard enough doing all I can to reasonably live it. I don’t need legislation to do that, other than that which my Constitution delivers to me as citizen–the only label I should have in this country. You can be assured, I’ve worn uniforms, held placards, protested and marched for that.

    Oh, that we all would in these turbulent times.

    Best Regards,

    Bud

  39. “Depends who is declaring the sins, I guess. For example, the Bible has lots of stuff that used to be sinful but isn’t regarded as being so now.”

    “The Bible” isn’t a religion or a faith.

    How about you take another crack at an answer.

  40. If a Christian baker who is constrained by her conscience to decline the wedding job were to give the kind of response that Sheila suggests, she would be lying, thereby violating the ninth commandment. That is why she would be honest in explaining her reason for not providing a cake to a same-sex wedding, not because she wanted to humiliate the person. If that were the motive, it would violate the law of love – that Christians are to love their neighbors as they love themselves. Thus the rejection of service should be kind and respectful and accompanied by referrals to competitors who she knew would be willing to provide the service.

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