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I am all over the place on this one. I certainly believe that a private business owner has a right to refuse service for certain circumstances, but on the other hand, when a place is open to the public, exactly what those circumstances might be and what they are predicated upon is a very important consideration.

If we were to make a religious exception to enable some to exercise their conscience and beliefs in practice, where is the line drawn? Is there a clear cut line? Do we take it as a case by case basis? The fact that this is an LGBT issue certainly makes it a polarizing lightening rod in many communities that we all inhabit.

Any thoughts?

16 comments

  • Chet_Manly

    Chet_Manly 2 weeks ago

    You are absolutely right that this is a case worthy of much thought. I heard someone (and I can't remember who, I'm sorry) discussing this as drawing a line between providing a service and participating in an activity. Or define the situation more along these lines:

    Provide a cake to anyone
    VS
    Required to put a message on cake that is directly in contrast to a belief system.

    I'm not trying to answer the issue at all. This is an issue I kick around in my head frequently. Personally I'm trying to find the best way I my mind to define the issue so that we uphold constitutuinal rights/law and don't create a law with good intentions that can be somehow weaponized against other people. I also would be curious to hear comments on this site that span both sides of the issue. Good post, sir.

    Reply

    • nukk3r

      nukk3r 1 week, 6 days ago

      Refusing to provide a service is generally bad for business. My beliefs exist only in my head but my bills are not. I turn the commissions down only if a client is a douche, not because of their message, and I do it in a professional, non-personal manner. I've done a lot of work for different political parties, ranging from commies to liberals (in the classical sense). I charged more those I disagree with and made discounts for the ones I support.

      This baker could've taken the money and no one would have found out. He could even donate it to any anti-gay organization. Yet he decided to do it the hard way.

      Reply

      • daemon

        daemon 1 week, 5 days ago

        This "stand" the man took makes no sense to me, in any fashion. What did he hope to accomplish? How did he believe it might turn out for him? I truly wonder how "Christian" communities continue to sell him as a martyr to his/their cause.

        Do we have any deeply religious members here who could help me understand? I am the son of a Baptist preacher (who also was an explosives engineer for the DoD), a Navy veteran, an alumnus of Christian education and know all the arguments, but this one eludes me to no end.

        A constructive conversation with the more devout would certainly help, if they can engage without emotion and vitriol taking sway.

        Reply

        • Chet_Manly

          Chet_Manly 1 week, 5 days ago

          Sorry, I'm not devout. But I've talked (not argued but listened) with people who are. The way I see it that makes the most sense from a place of religion is something akin to: "I don't want to participate." Is this equal to a Jewish baker being compelled to make an ISIS or hezbollah cake? Perhaps. And I'm NOT equating a gay wedding in any way to those scenarios, just picking opposites that have a foot in religion and a foot in politics. Just don't my comment to be taken In a way it's not intended.

          Something I always try to include when this comes up is that I prefer a resolution that can be applied equally to everyone,...and then I acknowledge that I don't have an answer worked out in my own mind yet.

          Reply

  • LSUTigersFan

    LSUTigersFan 1 week, 6 days ago

    The government should not favor one belief system over the other. In this charged society, if someone who believes strongly in National Socialism (NAZI party), and they want a cake with "Heil Hitler" on it, and the baker refuses, would the same people against the baker now support the baker then? I suspect not. And in that situation, the issue is not about free speech. It is about feels.

    Reply

    • daemon

      daemon 1 week, 5 days ago

      You either provide a service to the public at large, or you do not. I still am stumped between the rights of a citizen and business owner and the rights of the public to purchase goods and services in a free market. I have no problem with anything on any cake at any time. But then, I literally can be paid to do anything. It is not that I lack morals and ethics, or that I love money, but I will provide any type of service for the right price at any given moment. I guess I am just a mercenary of life?

      Reply

      • Newellthe4th

        Newellthe4th 1 week, 5 days ago

        If you can literally be paid to do anything for the right price, no wonder you are having a hard time understanding. Doing anything for money would mean that you, in fact, do lack both morals and ethics by definition. But I assume that was hyperbole.

        The man believes that gay marriage is immoral. It violates his conscience to bake a cake that celebrates something morally wrong. He isn't refusing to sell his goods to gay people. He doesn't want to bake a cake for the wedding.

        Reply

    • cjcs

      cjcs 1 week, 5 days ago

      Totally different issue - your political beliefs do not make you part of a protected class. Your sexuality does.

      Reply

      • LSUTigersFan

        LSUTigersFan 1 week, 5 days ago

        Technically, a "protected class" is a legal term of art. That they are protected is a ruling by the court. There is nothing inherent in who they are to subject them to a protection from being offended. Not making them a cake does not bar them or restrict them from practicing their beliefs. Unless this is the only bakery in a 100 miles, they are not doing this for equality. They are doing this to MAKE someone who does not share their beliefs pay for the perceived offenses of everyone else who does not share their beliefs. That they are asking for compensatory damages proves my point. If it is ONLY about the cake, then order them to bake the cake. As they asked for monetary damages, my point is proven again.

        Reply

        • daemon

          daemon 6 days, 14 hours ago

          Well stated. And yet, I still find myself torn between both sides. I guess it is the principle of the matter on either argument, not the exact particulars of both plaintiffs.

          Reply

  • skilletboy

    skilletboy 1 week, 5 days ago

    My biggest issue with this argument falls on one singular point.

    No one would care - no one does care - when/if whites or Christians are the ones discriminated against.

    And there are people trying force behavior not out of "fairness" but simply out of their own biases. They're just being disingenuous in their motives.

    Reply

    • daemon

      daemon 6 days, 14 hours ago

      Do you have some good examples of how/when that whites or Christians are discriminated against? Those might be interesting to explore in discussion.

      Reply

  • Chet_Manly

    Chet_Manly 1 week, 4 days ago

    One more thought. Apply your opinion to both:

    1. Should a Christian baker be forced to bake a cake for a gay wedding or fined if they don't?
    2. Should a gay person who is a baker be forced to bake a cake for the Westboro Baptist church or fined if they don't?

    If you want to be consistent, I think the answer to both questions should be the same.

    Reply

    • daemon

      daemon 6 days, 14 hours ago

      This puts it nice and simple. I think the answer to both is yes. Public business is open to all. BUT, then my self preservation kicks in and I want to maintain the maximum amount of liberty for the private business owner. This conundrum sucks.

      Reply

  • jordan

    jordan 1 week, 4 days ago

    After 10+ years of working at state and local government, my answer would be: yes, allow bakers and other goods by service providers to refuse certain clientele but only after an extensive licensing and permitting process. The business in question would need to provide specific criteria for refusal of service. If moral objections are that intense for business owners, simply getting a permit stating those boundaries should be no problem. Customers can then readily know where their business is welcome and can shop accordingly. Businesses accepting all varieties of humanity can advertise accordingly.

    Reply

  • tinker9297 1 week, 3 days ago

    I am concerned how much our society is driven to legislate and excoriate with condemnation, thoughts and ideas that make people uncomfortable. I disagree with you and you disagree with me...so be it. If a man has a business that he runs which is also guided by his own principles or values, then so be it. Either his business model will thrive or fail. This is not life or death, or even harsh treatment. It is an expression of his faith, which has as much merit as the two me that choose to get married. The idea of the government picking winners and losers here is one destined to serve only people in power in the long run. I am baffled how people’s identity and value is so deeply rooted in what someone else might say or think about them. Find another baker or bake your own cake so you can move on and get over yourself.

    Reply