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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Not Allowing Businesses to Discriminate Against Gays Oppresses Evangelical Christians

Posted by on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 7:37 AM

And businesses that don't discriminate against gays oppress evangelical Christians too. So... basically... if you hate gay people and refuse to serve them, shout it from the rooftops because freedom. If you don't hate gay people and are happy to serve them, keep your fucking mouth shut because freedom.


Comments (27) RSS

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sperifera 1
You just can't fix that level of stupidity.
Posted by sperifera on April 30, 2014 at 7:54 AM · Report this
Dr. Z 2
Well, to be perfectly honest about it that's what our side is doing too: it's okay to express progay sentiments, but if you're antigay shut your yap because justice.

That said, I see this as the inevitible renorming of society. These are mutually exclusive points of view: pick one. It's an easy choice because prejudice is a dangerous thing to openly tolerate in a free society. It is destabilizing. I see this renorming as the way of things, just as it happened with racism. Just as open expressions of racism are no longer tolerated, so too will open expressions of homophobia not be tolerated.

A second difference is that nobody's religious beliefs are being threatened.

Andrew Sullivan is full of shit. He's trying to tap dance around in the middle of an issue that has no middle ground.
Posted by Dr. Z on April 30, 2014 at 8:30 AM · Report this
seatackled 3
Let Santorum and Pat Robertson and Maggie Gallagher commit suicide first and then maybe we'll talk.
Posted by seatackled on April 30, 2014 at 8:33 AM · Report this
seatackled 4
Or at least have them brutally beaten in a school bathroom several times each.
Posted by seatackled on April 30, 2014 at 9:13 AM · Report this
But what about the rights of these guys . . .…
Posted by Ken Mehlman on April 30, 2014 at 9:19 AM · Report this
#2 not the same thing at all (I like the rest of your post but going to challenge the false equivalence in sentence one). You have a right to express anti-gay sentiments, but you don't have a right to be free of the consequences, including being boycotted or fired or called a bigot or banned from certain internet chatrooms. If you express pro-gay sentiments, the same things can happen and have happened, and historically, those pro-gay sentiments have often been self-censored for fear of repercussion.

The problem for the bigots today is that the anti-gay rhetoric is now being opposed by a critical mass and they are actually having to deal with the consequences of their words.

Also, I thought we were clear that intolerance to tolerance was not a real thing? Would you really say it's the same thing to say "I am gay and proud" and "I hate gay people and think they shouldn't have equal access to the rights and benefits of society"?
Posted by sophist2 on April 30, 2014 at 9:41 AM · Report this
Fortunate 7
When Catholic schools are firing teachers for supporting same sex marriage, and Christian groups across the country are boycotting any one or thing that even hints at being pro gay, and Christian groups led a campaign aimed at getting Ellen DeGeneres fired as a spokesperson for JCPenny because she is gay, then claiming that people doing the same thing back at them is a thread to free speech is so hypocritical.

I'll begin to even entertain the idea that boycotts and economic consequences are wrong when the other side stops using them. Until then to not use them while they use them all the time would just be stupid.
Posted by Fortunate on April 30, 2014 at 10:17 AM · Report this
Ophian 8
Ack! Total failure of reasoning.

If I put a sticker in my shop window indicating non-discrimination I haven't denounced, criticized or bullied anyone. The equivalent would be for Buddy Smith to put a "biblical values" sticker in his shop window. Technically, he hasn't bullied anyone either.

Now my sticker is going to bug him, and his will bug me, but so far we're even. The difference is that people will know that his sticker implies discrimination. And he knows they will know it. And he knows that for every Fundamentalist his sticker attracts, real Christians will prefer my sticker. Not to mention secularists, Pastafarians, Queers, &c.

He is just upset that my sticker is way more popular than his. That is simply the consequence of being on the wrong side of history.
Posted by Ophian on April 30, 2014 at 11:18 AM · Report this
AFinch 9
@2 - the missus and I had a lengthy debate about this vis-a-vis Sterling last night, and we drifted on to Eich: when is it OK to fire someone for their views? Acts of discrimination are different from speech; how would it be if the anti-Obama fantasies of "firing every employee with an Obama sticker on their car" had been borne out? That was an incredibly popular meme on the right in the wake of the '08 and '12 elections: Obama is going to cost us jobs, so the Obama supporters get fired first.

However repellent Sterling's views (and the man him self - that guy looks like a troll), they were expressed privately and in and of themselves have no effect on his business dealings. The Eich case gets stickier - money is indeed (according to the right) speech, so his donations were merely speech; they also don't appear to have had a direct bearing on his actions as a Mozilla Exec. Still...if his attitudes cause business harm to Mozilla..don't they have a right to oust him? Should Eich's job have been protected simply because he was exercising free speech on a matter entirely unrelated to Mozilla, even as Mozilla was shedding users rapidly? When does the thrust of it shift from persecuting Eich to corporate self-defense?

Of course, none of that comes into play here...this sticker - this speech indicating the business owner doesn't discriminate - isn't harming Christians, even indirectly. Their own decision to discriminate is. They are free to maintain their views privately and not actively discriminate - refuse to serve - openly gay people, then they'd be fine. They could avoid a boycott. The public has the same right to boycott as you have to express your views. If Eich had maintained his views privately, by not making donations and engaging in public speech, he'd probably still have his job. Clearly the public has spoken and the chick-fil-a guy still has his job.

The first amendment protects you from government persecution over your speech, but it does not protect you from other private citizens and corporations from rejecting and shunning you.

I'm not sure we should be comfortable with speech and thought police, even if we are re-norming things. With the tide swinging so much in favor of equal rights, now is not the time to be vindictive in victory.
Posted by AFinch on April 30, 2014 at 11:41 AM · Report this
Dr. Z 10
@6: I just prefer not to be a hypocrite if I can manage to avoid it. Progay or antigay: choose. This by no means implies equivalence. What it does imply is that there can be no middle ground on this civil rights issue, Andrew Sullivan notwithstanding. One side must ultimately prevail, and the other will be driven underground. Before Stonewall the shoe was on the other foot. That is a far cry from saying they are the same thing. Jews were not equivalent to Nazis. MLK was not equivalent to George Lincoln Rockwell. And Freedom to Marry is not equivalent to NOM.

@9: Eich wasn't fired. He resigned. And he wasn't in just any job either, he was CEO and an officer of the company. The pressure for him to leave came from the perfectly sensible opposition of Mozilla's own staff and trading partners.
Posted by Dr. Z on April 30, 2014 at 12:31 PM · Report this
Wow, someone in North Carolina's religious community FINALLY read the damned amendment to their state constitution that they voted for.

If they don't bother to read and comprehend their most sacred text before playing god, why would we be surprised that they don't read and comprehend constitutional amendments before voting them into law.
Posted by Blind Faith on April 30, 2014 at 12:49 PM · Report this
AFinch 12
@10 - I'm sure he "resigned" under some pressure; a distinction without a difference.

I agree with you that there is a distinction about the public face of a company versus some faceless employee. I'm not sure how we quantify it cleanly. Even if staff and trading partners weren't upset, if the loss of install base was costing the company, there is a fidicuary duty completely orthogonal to personal opinions on marriage equality that takes precedence.

Posted by AFinch on April 30, 2014 at 12:57 PM · Report this
Dr. Z 13
@12: well, yeah. Mozilla is an open source, community based development. Eich was becoming a major distraction - especially after it surfaced that, in addition to giving a grand to Prip 8, he'd been doing this for years and had donated to Pat Buchanan's 1992 presidential campaign.

One of the developers put it eloquently: he wasn't going to dedicate himself to making Mozilla successful if the CEO was going to turn around and redirect the fruits of that labor to depriving him of his constitutional rights.
Posted by Dr. Z on April 30, 2014 at 1:29 PM · Report this
Ophian 14
@ Finch & Z:

The right to personal conscience should be protected, even when unpopular. As pointed out, that doesn't mean protection from any consequences, only government action. [Mozilla had every right to force the resignation of an officer who could not act as a public representative of their brand.]

While I'm against bigotry, I'm not sure I can say I am against discrimination. What--if any--is the difference between a Christian caterer refusing service to a gay wedding, and a Jewish printer refusing to make the flyers for a Nazi rally?
Or a Christian landlord refusing to rent to a gay couple versus a Black landlord refusing to rent to a Klansman?

I know with whom I agree, but I can't see any logical difference. I can't find the clear bright line that separates one from the other. Any thoughts?
Posted by Ophian on April 30, 2014 at 2:14 PM · Report this
venomlash 15
@14: Gay is something people are. Cross-burning and sieg-heiling are things people do. Traditionally, our anti-discrimination statutes protect categories central to people's very identity.
Posted by venomlash on April 30, 2014 at 2:33 PM · Report this
Dr. Z 16
@14: how about because it's against the law for a business serving the public to discriminate on the basis of race, sexual orientation or religion?

No one is discriminating against Christians. They remain perfectly free to worship any way they choose. However, a business is not a church. It serves the public, and it may not unlawfully discriminate. The discrimination here is occurring against the gay couple, not the Christian owner.

To take your argument to its logical conclusion, the owner of a lunch counter would be perfectly within his legal rights to refuse to serve blacks. The owner of a bus company would be perfectly within his rights to provide separate seating for blacks at the back of the bus. Hotels and restaurants could deny them service.

We've already tried your approach as a society, and we found that it didn't work. Now we have nondiscrimination laws.
Posted by Dr. Z on April 30, 2014 at 2:34 PM · Report this
Ophian 17
Whoa there, Dr. Z @16! "We've already tried your approach..." I'm not advocating that we scrap anti-discrimination laws and let The Market sort it out. It is not my approach that we are talking about.

[Though I am kind of in favor of "sticker wars" where there are not yet anti-discrimination laws, but mostly because I think that the good guys would win.]

Mostly I posed the question because I haven't been able to come up with a solid and easily stated distinction, and would prefer a more robust defense of anti-discrimination law. At the same time I am wary of "unpopular" views being demonized [I'm queer, socialist and people have suffered enough].

As much as possible I want to protect the personal right to conduct one's self according to beliefs that I might not agree with [Christian homeschooling] but have better clarity as to when the line is crossed [denying medical treatment to minors due to faith]. But sometimes the area is pretty gray [circumcising infants, while common, I find totally unconscionable].

I think venomlash @15 makes a solid point about intrinsic qualities, but I'm still not able to see the solid grounding I would prefer. In the case of gay wedding accommodations could there not be a right to conscientious objection? I believe it is legal for a pharmacist to not provide certain services if there are other reasonable resources in a community. [To be clear, I find faith-based pharmacy to be idiocy, but I think it is important to protect the right to idiocy up to the point that it harms others.]

Is there a difference between a printer declining to provide flyers to a Pride event and to a Klan rally? "I don't mind that you are queer/white, but I do not want to be part of your public promotional event."

I am actually looking for greater clarity, not just advocating for the devil for its own sake.

Posted by Ophian on April 30, 2014 at 3:18 PM · Report this
Shorter #2: free speech is only OK if its acceptable speech.
Posted by progressive fascism - its the new cool on April 30, 2014 at 3:54 PM · Report this
operating a business is only possible because of public goods flowing from the taxes paid by all of us. the roads and sidewalks that bring the customers, the police that protect the property the courts where business owners sue their deadbeat customers etc. are paid for with the taxes collected by from all citizens; gay, straight, black, white or otherwise.
by what reasoning can businesses accept the taxpayer support of the physical and legal infrastructure that makes business possible while denying access to some of those taxpayers who are footing the bill?
Posted by armitageand halsted on April 30, 2014 at 4:45 PM · Report this
@ 17

The best I can come up with is what a Supreme Court Justice said about defining pornography. I know it when I see it.
Posted by kwodell on April 30, 2014 at 4:49 PM · Report this
What 19 said.
Posted by kwodell on April 30, 2014 at 4:51 PM · Report this
@17: It's not as hard as you're making it out to be. A printer can set limitations on what they will print, for example, no cussing, no slurs, no racist/sexist language or imagery. It's hard for me to imagine a KKK rally flyer that wouldn't fall into such a category. While a flyer for Pride could be vulgar in some aspects, one doesn't have to be. A printer could say, "Nope, not printing up an ad with a guy in a thong," but be okay printing up a differently designed poster.

It's Plato vs Aristotle all over again: Be vs Do.
Posted by clashfan on April 30, 2014 at 5:03 PM · Report this
Dr. Z 23
@17: The lack of clarity you are concerned about is precisely why these nondiscrimination laws exist. Making it illegal to discriminate on certain grounds avoids the a la carte approach you would seem to be advocating. Once you start permitting conscience-based exceptions in public services there is no longer any bright line, as you point out. It's a slippery slope right back to Jim Crow.

Courts have no easy way to evaluate whether someone is discriminating in "good faith" or "bad faith", as it were; and the courts themselves don't exist in a vacuum, they are subject to the same prejudices as the rest of society. So once you start allowing "conscientious objections" by wedding caterers or florists, or pharmacists, why stop there? How about public officials like county clerks? Or police or firefighters, or anyone else?

We have nondiscrimination laws because history tells us that particular groups have been singled out for adverse treatment (e.g. firings.) Immutability is a factor, yes, but religion isn't immutable yet it is still a protected category because of history. Being a minority is also a factor, but women aren't a minority and they're protected too. Historical patterns of discrimination are probably the surest guide, and come closest to the heart of the issue.
Posted by Dr. Z on April 30, 2014 at 5:55 PM · Report this
AFinch 24
I know with whom I agree, but I can't see any logical difference. I can't find the clear bright line that separates one from the other. Any thoughts?

@23 is right: you are having trouble because they are entirely subjective, exactly the same (analogous to one another) and a perfect example of why public accommodation laws are needed.

To point to the issue that concerns me: what if the tables are turned and the freedom of conscience is the disadvantaged (less powerful) actor. CEOs are fine and well, they can fight back. What about the wage earning housekeeping staff who gets fired for having a "HOPE" sticker? That's speech and by your logic - some discrimination permissible - then the "discrimination" against the worker is their entire livelihood - no golden parachute like either Eich or Sterling.

Yes, the African American landlord must rent to the Klansman if he's a landlord. I'm 100% with the ACLU on this one (they've gone to bat for the KKK more than once).

What I think is difficult with Eich is that you get into that grey area where his views and attitudes were having a profound impact on the performance of the company, and therefore his job performance (CEO being generally responsible for the performance). He can legitimately get booted on the basis of poor performance of the company (weak code/product, dropping install base), not on the basis of his views, even if the poor performance proceeds from public bias against his seems like semantics, but there's a rule to follow there. The public is punishing him and the company for his views, but the company is punishing him for performance (all this raises the question: why didn't Mozilla vet him a little better?). Contrast with the CEO of Chik-fil-A: his attitudes did not ultimately adversely affect the company, so no basis for forcing him out (not sure he doesn't have a controlling interest in the company anyway).

I think the argument about the intersection with public goods (@19) isn't viable and the real basis for public accommodation laws is that access to services and society has to be protected. Without meaningful access to and participation in societies' services, 'freedom' is only a concept. In the days of Jim Crow, black families literally had no place to stay when traveling, for example (see: The Negro Motorist Green Book). The anti-marrige equality crowd has tried to fight for a religious exemption precisely by pointing to the idea that "gee, you can just go to a different caterer|baker|photog".

Similarly, the freedom to engage in political speech free from government persecution is meaningless if you lose your job for voicing, outside of the workplace, political opinions. Honestly, I'd rather protect the weaker majority at he cost of letting a few Eichs and Sterlings get away.
Posted by AFinch on April 30, 2014 at 6:59 PM · Report this
Dr. Z 25
@24: well said. As to the unpopular conscience-driven actor: we have had them throughout the history of the world: Martin Luther, Emile Zola, Thomas Beckett...popularity is different than moral force. After Stonewall moral force was all we had, we sure as shit didn't have popularity on our side.

It is moral force that is winning the battle for marriage equality and gay rights, even without a charismatic figure guiding and leading us. Gay rights is the first crowd-sourced civil rights campaign, in a manner of speaking.
Posted by Dr. Z on April 30, 2014 at 9:40 PM · Report this
Ophian 26
operating a business is only possible because of public goods flowing from the taxes paid by all of us. the roads and sidewalks that bring the customers, the police that protect the property the courts where business owners sue their deadbeat customers etc. are paid for with the taxes collected by from all citizens; gay, straight, black, white or otherwise.
by what reasoning can businesses accept the taxpayer support of the physical and legal infrastructure that makes business possible while denying access to some of those taxpayers who are footing the bill?
--armitageand halsted @19

Thank you. Accession to the social contract....

Thanks kwodell @21.
Posted by Ophian on April 30, 2014 at 11:05 PM · Report this
Evangelical Christians have to step up to the plate and get with the program. This isn't the '60s any more. 12% of the population is gay......and they vote. Good luck republicans, you guys will lose so bad in 2014 and 2016. My condolences, but you deserve to lose because of your ignorance.
Posted by longwayhome on May 1, 2014 at 8:28 PM · Report this

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