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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Things That Make You Say, "Why Should I?"

I rarely talk about certain hot button issues on my blog because I never know what kind of backlash I'm gonna get. But last week, I read an update about a bakery in Oregon that has me seriously reconsidering my viewpoint about gay rights and the gay community.

To briefly summarize the story, earlier in the year a bakery in the backward state of Oregon chose not to accept a cake order from a lesbian couple because it went against their religious beliefs. And as some gay couples on the left coast are want to do, they filed a discrimination complaint with the state of Oregon.

The state of Oregon, as most intolerant states are want to do, passed a discrimination law based on orientation that exempts religious organizations and schools, but strangely enough not businesses, which is about par for the course for so-called "tolerant" states.

The state responded by saying they would investigate and issue fines if needed (really?).

Fast forward to last week.

The bakery in question has been harassed, stalked, boycotted, death threats issued against them, and had other vendors they work with threatened.

Even their jackass of a commissioner, Brad Avakian weighed in on this. Avakian, who believes that the 1st amendment doesn't really apply to the state of Oregon, has stated that "Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, but that doesn't meant that folks have the right to discriminate."

WTF?

The family  has been harassed and boycotted so bad that the owner has had to take a full time job just to make ends meet. Since when is it right for you to dictate another person's life simply because they don't agree with your lifestyle choice?

The owner of the bakery has said that they'll probably close down should the case go against them (and sadly, it probably will), because they can't afford the $50K fine for standing up for their religious beliefs.

'Course, that hasn't stopped Avakian from throwing a Big Brother/1984/Cool Hand Luke-ism into the mix. He said that the goal is to never shut down a business, the goal is to rehabilitate, because we want them to learn from that experience and have a good successful business in Oregon.

Bullshit.

Since when does a state law triumph the 1st amendment rights of the individual to practice and follow his religious beliefs? Furthermore, how is it right to threaten the lives of a family business because they don't approve of your lifestyle?

I'm sorry but forcing someone to compromise their beliefs and shut down their business when they don't smacks of gross intolerance. Why should I be tolerant of your lifestyle and your wants and needs when you don't even have the common courtesy to tolerate mine?

For those shallow and holier-than-thou members of the gay community, I say, learn to suck it up and move on. By attempting to destroy another person's livelihood and threatening them, their spouse and children, you practice what you claim to hate: bigotry, intolerance and hatred.

Furthermore, you risk alienating those who might be open to accepting your viewpoint, your lifestyle and your rights.

Like myself.

I'm one of those older and relatively open minded individuals who over the years has changed his viewpoint about certain topics/issues. But this kind of stuff forces me to take a closer and harder look at those change viewpoints, and ask myself, "Why should I change my viewpoint when stuff like this merely reinforces the double standard that is pervasive in today's America?"

The answer may surprise you, and it'll most definitely surprise me.

27 comments:

  1. You know me, I'm a lover not a fighter. And I believe that affection, patience, and honest, two-way communication are the correct tools to use when it comes to resolving differences. Revenge isn't an effective way to open minds.

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  2. S.R.: No, revenge is not the effective way to open minds, but here in the States, it seems to be the only way that the gay community wants to play.

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  3. Would you have the same opinion if a business offering its services to the public refused to serve a black person, a jew or a woman on religious grounds?

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  4. Wow, that's certainly over the top it seems to me to take it that far. Personally, I don't know why they wouldn't have sold the couple a cake. But seeing as they didn't, then people need to move along. They don't have to buy from them, but death threats is pretty ridiculous.

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  5. There have been several similar case in the UK in the last couple of years - Christian couples who refused to have gay couples in their bed and breakfast accommodation. In the cases I recall they both went to court and the bed and breakfast owners both lost. (I think though that after losing appeals they are now both waiting to be heard in the UK Supreme court.)There was a lot of publicity in the papers. Personally, I felt the gay couples like you said in the US case should have "sucked it up" and moved on. While the law (in the UK) may be on the gay couple's side I think sometimes "turning the other cheek" may have been the best options in these case, especially as the gay couples got heaps of publicity prior to the court cases and a ruling against the Christian couples may result in the loss of their livelihoods. Sometimes the best way forward isn't always to stamp your foot like a child especially when your actions polarize opinions and can do more harm than good.



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  6. Debra: Let me answer your question with a question: Do you feel that it's right to threaten a family, issue death threats and destroy a livelihood just because you don't agree with their first amendment right to freedom of speech?

    Charles: They stated that they believe that homosexuality is a sin and thus to sell something to the couple would be going against their religious beliefs.

    Jane: Exactly. The problem is that the gay community here feels that they can do this kind of staff because they have the tacit support of the state, and in the case of the military, the tacit support of the federal guv't.

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  7. I felt the same way about Oprah recently when she raised a stink outside the United States crying racism over a purse a clerk would not show her in a Zurich Boutique. She said she did not want to name the store but of course the press follows her everywhere and the tale brought great publicity to the store and the owner is fighting back. I was shocked and very ashamed of Oprah Winfrey for this one-sided bashing.

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  8. "... it seems to be the only way that the gay community wants to play."

    Not the whole gay community, you get extremists in every walk of life.

    Unfortunately in life if you do make a stand, whatever your beliefs you will always then be open to attack. The owners of the bakery took that risk.

    I'm sad about the outcome but not surprised.

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  9. In Canada, this would not be seen as a free speech or freedom of religion issue. If you offer services to the public, you must do so without discrimination. That's the real issue. Of course, threats and violence are not to be condoned as a response to discrimination. But they don't justify the initial discrimination either.

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  10. G.A.: I read about that too. Supposedly the store didn't have the bag in a color that she was looking for or some such nonsense.

    In any event, when you cry wolf so many times, people eventually stop taking you seriously.

    Joe: I stand corrected. I shouldn't paint the entire gay community with the widest brush possible.

    But honestly, you shouldn't be attacked and ridiculed for what you believe in.

    Debra: There is a fine line between discrimination and religious beliefs.

    A person should be able to run their business according to their personal values and not what a state law may or may not say.

    I'm sorry, but I'm still of the belief that state law does not trump the U.S. Constitution/Bill of Rights.

    The real issue is not about discrimination but someone else inflicting their personal views on a business owner simply because the owner said no.

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  11. I live here and I've followed this closely. They're offering business services to the public, and they chose not to serve a gay couple, which is illegal. Is it OK to be an extremist on either side? No. But the bulk of the people in this state don't make death threats of any kind.

    Avakian is not a jackass. When he was our state senator in my district, he was very good at getting back to constituents and unlike many others, didn't grandstand.

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  12. M: So in your opinion state law trumps 1st amendment rights? To be honest with you, I don't think what the bakery did was illegal. They chose not to serve a gay couple because they believe that homosexuality is a sin.

    You shouldn't be able to force someone to compromise their beliefs just because you pass a law saying so.

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  13. I wonder if the bakery refused to make cakes for people that were getting remarried or living together because according to the Bible that's a sin too. Would they refuse to make a cake for a woman that didn't cover her head when she entered the store, or one that was wearing jeans, because that's a sin too. Oh would they make a cake for a female preacher? I bet they would, well according to the Bible women shouldn't preach, that's a sin too. Actually if you want to take this to an extreme, did they not make cakes for anyone that walked into their shop who lost their virginity before they were married, because that's a sin too.

    I'm a practicing Christian, and have been for over 30 years, I'm a Baptist, and times have changed, the church has changed, and some of the things written in the Bible are out of date etc.

    If this Bakery held this view that homosexuality is a sin, did they take a stand on all the other equally "sinful people" that come in their store too?

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  14. Joe: Excellent points, but I can't speak for what their actual mindset when it comes to what you've suggested. I would suggest that they did what because the couple in question probably presented themselves as a lesbian couple loooking to get married and they needed a wedding cake.

    But for me, I certainly don't go around asking people what they've done or what their orientation is because that is none of my business.

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  15. My state has decided that discrimination is not a First Amendment right. They can't refuse to sell a cake to a gay couple just like they can't refuse to sell a cake to an interracial couple, or a minority, or anyone else they think is "sinning." And I just hate it when people try to drag God into this.

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  16. M: With all due respect to you, the state has it wrong. You cannot decide to ignore a fundamental right for people to practice their religion as they see fit. Whether you agree with it or not, people can and do run their businesses as they see fit.

    If they want to run their business on religious principles (i.e. Hobby Lobby) what right do you and I have to tell them otherwise?

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  17. Interesting that you mention Hobby Lobby, and I really love the store. The one near our house in AZ has a incredibly camp, adorable gay man working there. He's great with with customers. But very "out there" if you know what I mean. Now I know they run their business on religious principles, and they seem to have no issue employing a gay man.

    You say "Whether you agree with it or not, people can and do run their businesses as they see fit." So does that a mean a store should be able to only allow white people to shop there if they are racist? Or not serve me as a I'm transgender if they are transphobic?

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  18. I would have just sold them the cake, but that's just my opinion. I work for a place that has uneven rules about who we will do business with. Example: a firearms manufacturer (yes), a local Muslim mosque (no.) I'd rather see that in reverse. :)

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  19. Joe: Some people actually do run their business here in the States as "whites only", and no amount of protests/threats/fines will get them to change it.

    As for your other example, I think that is stretching it just a bit, as I don't think you would actually offer up the fact that you're transgender to anyone. Is it anyone's business to know who you really are?

    From personal expirience, asking someone a question like that is tatamount to destroying an acquaintenceship and/or getting into hot water at your job.

    Lynn: Interesting.

    Apparetly our state has the reverse. They would have no problem in doing business with a mosque but major issue with firearms.

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  20. "Some people actually do run their business here in the States as "whites only", and no amount of protests/threats/fines will get them to change it."

    And do you think that behaviour acceptable?

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  21. Joe: Didn't say I find that particular behavior acceptable, which I don't. I was merely answering your point with a counterpoint.

    In the long run, if you don't want to patronize a particular business because they run it to a set of values that you may not like, that's fine.

    But don't threaten a family, their livelihood or tell them that this is how it has to be run.

    To me, state law doesn't always triumph federal law, federal law doesn't always trump state law, and federal law doesn't trump the Bill of Rights or the Constitution.

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  22. This isn't practicing their religion - it's not a church. It's a business and just like they can't deny an interracial couple service, they can't deny a gay couple service. They also told the couple, in an unsolicited comment, that their relationship was "an abomination." The state's law is the same as saying you can't refuse to serve someone just because their skin color is one that's different than yours.

    And a note for the commenters who think they should have just walked away, I ask you how any civil rights movement - including the women's movement - would have moved forward if everyone who had been discriminated against had done that.

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  23. So you said "Didn't say I find that particular behavior acceptable, which I don't. I was merely answering your point with a counterpoint."

    You don't think it's acceptable to to be racist, we've agreed on that, but you do think it's acceptable to be homophobic.

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  24. I agree with Joey's "What else is a sin?" point.

    I actually work with several loudly against gay right persons who I'm surprised aren't chastised for loudly declaring things like "It's wrong," n "It isin't natural" (Gay marriage laws). I'm betting if any gays were in earshot, there would definitely be a lawsuit against the company.

    Yes, tolerance is a two-way road. I do think not serving Gay or other segments of society is prejudiced behavior.

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  25. Joe: Let me ask you this, why is it that if you don't like homosexuality or even something like gay marriage, you're automatically labeled a homophobe (or worse)?

    M: Because sometimes it better to pick and choose your battles.

    And you're still trying to take a state law and make it supercede the Constitution/Bill of Rights.

    And so what if they voiced their opinion about that couple's relationship? Should they practice self-censorship just because you don't approve?

    Snaggle: And I'm sure that they would have a solid case.

    And I still think if a business owner chooses not to serve a gay couple (providing the couple is honest and forthright) it still boils down to freedom of religion.

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  26. Maybe there should be a way to put up a sign about their religious service preference to make it not illegal? Just a common sense idea.

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  27. Snaggle: Common sense is a dirty phrase for guv'ts to use.

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G. B. Miller

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