A Dishonest Court. A Dishonest Case.

I’ll begin with a warning: This will be a bit longer than my usual post, because I’m livid.

I began to write about 303 Creative v. Elenis, the case brought by a website designer who wants an exemption from Colorado’s civil rights/public accommodation law. She claims her “sincere religious beliefs” prevent her from “endorsing” same-sex marriages, and wants the Supreme Court to exempt her from the law’s non-discrimination requirement. She is asserting that the First Amendment–which among other things  prohibits government from compelling speech–protects “artists” and those engaged in “expressive” work from endorsing behaviors they consider sinful, and  further asserts that the act of providing a wedding website would constitute such endorsement.

Initially, I just intended to argue that framing this conflict as a Free Speech issue is dishonest.

.As David Cole pointed out in the New York Times, 

The right question is whether someone who chooses to open a business to the public should have the right to turn away gay customers simply because the service she would provide them is “expressive” or “artistic.” Should an architecture firm that believes Black families don’t deserve fancy homes be permitted to turn away Black clients because its work is “expressive”? Can a florist shop whose owner objects to Christianity refuse to serve Christians?

Cole points out that artists don’t have to open businesses in the first place.

Most writers, painters and other artists never do; they pick their subjects and leave it at that. The photographer Annie Leibovitz, for example, does not offer to take photographs of anyone who offers to pay her fee but chooses her subjects. She is perfectly free to photograph only white people or only Buddhists.

Cole also reminds us that  businesses open to the public are free to define the content of what they sell. “A Christmas store can sell only Christmas items without running afoul of public accommodations laws. It need not stock Hanukkah candles or Kwanzaa cards. But it cannot put a sign on its doors saying, “We don’t serve Jews” or “No Blacks allowed.””

The lawsuit frames a website designer as an “artist” who should be exempt from public accommodation laws because her product includes an “expressive” element. As Cole points out, multiple businesses are expressive: interior decorators, landscape architects, tattoo parlors, sign painters and beauty salons, among others.

I intended to argue that, on the ground of dishonest framing alone, the plaintiff should lose. But then I did some further research, and what I found appalled me.

I already understood that this case had been intentionally  constructed–manufactured– to appeal to our newly theocratic Supreme Court majority. The plaintiff has the same lawyer who brought the bakery case a few years ago raising the same arguments. The Court essentially “punted” on that one, returning it to Colorado without reaching the merits, and this case has clearly been manufactured to try again.

But that isn’t the half of it. Robert Hubbell provides the ugly underside.

It turns out that this case does not involve an actual “case or controversy”—as required by the Constitution.( In the United States, courts are not allowed to issue advisory opinions, only to decide actual, existing conflicts.)

In general, the jurisdiction of federal courts is limited to real disputes in which the plaintiff can show actual injury. (That is a gross oversimplification of a complicated judicial doctrine, but stick with me for a moment!)

 The 303 Creative “controversy” was manufactured by a religious advocacy organization (ADF). The plaintiff is a web design company that might—in the future—offer such services for weddings. But the plaintiff does not yet offer that service, may never do so, and (therefore) has not yet been asked to provide those services to a same-sex couple. Nonetheless, the plaintiff asks the Court for an advisory ruling about its obligations under a Colorado statute prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

No same-sex couple has ever asked Smith to make them a wedding website; in fact, she has never made a wedding website for anyone. Her work to date focuses on local politicians, dog breeders, contractors, and houses of worship—not celebrations of life events.

Smith one day might be asked to make a same-sex couple’s website, ADF asserted. And when that day comes, she wants the right to say no.

The first question any lawyer–or any law student– would ask is: in the obvious absence of an actual case or controversy, why did the Court agree to hear this case? I’m afraid the answer to that is chilling: because this is a Court with a rogue, theocratic majority intent upon imposing  religious beliefs held by a minority of Americans on the rest of us–intent upon making the U.S. a “Christian nation.”

There’s more. It turns out that the Colorado statute already has language that would allow Smith to refuse to make a custom website for same-sex couples.  Only  if the business offers “off the shelf” website designs for sale to the general public would she be required to sell them to anyone who wants one. This so-called “artist” wants the Court to say that she can refuse to sell a standardized product to same-sex couples.

Let’s get real. If a business owner really, sincerely doesn’t want to work with particular customers,  it is supremely easy to evade nondiscrimination laws. The proprietor can always say something like, “Gee, Mrs. Smith, I am so backed up with orders that I can’t meet your timeline,” or “I’m so sorry, Mr. Jones, but I’m short-handed right now”…there are lots of ways these pious bigots can refrain from “participating in sin” without trumpeting their disdain or trying to change the law to encourage others to discriminate.

I will also note that the use of such all-purpose excuses would allow Smith to deny service to other “sinners”–surely her “sincere” religious beliefs would prohibit sales to adulterers or women who’ve had abortions, or atheists…interesting how these “godly” folks are laser-focused on just one sin…

It’s depressing enough to realize how many “Christian soldiers” are fixated on making life miserable for us “others.” It is absolutely terrifying to realize that the Supreme Court of the United States is controlled by theocrats intent upon eviscerating the wall of separation erected by the First Amendment’s religion clauses in order to enforce their version of “morality” on all  Americans.

Iran has morality police. How’s that working out for them?

 

48 thoughts on “A Dishonest Court. A Dishonest Case.

  1. Wow, thanks for this post. I knew something about this whole case stunk so I really appreciate the clarity. So many on the right are judgmental and so busy getting into everyone’s personal business where they don’t belong. It’s gross. These people are evil. I have no hope that scotus will side with the constitution and therein lies the problem. Ick

  2. Iran has the “Morality” Police and Saudi Arabia and Indonesia pretty much the same. Indonesia just made it illegal for unmarried people to have sex, including tourists. This is the same path the US is on. It will soon be a one party theocracy but will still call itself a “democracy”. Empires usually last about 200 years and the empire of the US is right at that age.

  3. Bigotry, racism, misogyny, zealotry and such, make a person less intelligent than they otherwise could be, mostly because these sentiments are not logical. So if the court disagrees with the logical conclusion of a case, then the court must cheat in order to ‘win’.

    With this particular court and all their ‘sentiments’, they will end up cheating a lot before this term is up. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is a great example of such ‘cheating’. Stay tuned.

  4. This case, as in other recent Supreme Court cases denying the personal rights of citizens in general, SCOTUS has lowered itself below the level of the “inferior courts” by taking on what should be considered a “frivolous” case in her attempt to avoid Colorado’s local laws and judicial system. This brings to mind a quote by President Obama regarding the close relationship between he and Vice President Joe Biden that they probably couldn’t order a pizza in Indiana. Has any legal organization in Indiana attempted to take a case to SCOTUS to fight Mike Pence’s RFRA and anti-LGBTQ laws? Or have local Republican lawmakers quashed any effort before it could begin?

    Like Trump’s approval and encouragement of racism, bigotry, antisemitism, anti-LGBTQs, etc., etc., etc., and using violence to support personal views, our Constitutional rights are all on shaky ground. As an EX-president and a private citizen Trump remains above the Rule of Law with the right to appeal to SCOTUS to hear his personal complaints. Our elections are no longer our “court of last resort” to use our vote to right the wrongs and oust the criminal element sitting and will be seated January 1st as Trump and his “Big Lie” supporters are still in power, including their majority in the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

    “It is absolutely terrifying to realize that the Supreme Court of the United States is controlled by theocrats intent upon eviscerating the wall of separation erected by the First Amendment’s religion clauses in order to enforce their version of “morality” on all Americans.”

  5. That this Supreme Court decided to hear this particular case says more about the Court than the merits of the case.
    An admonishment is in order. Be careful what you wish for you zealots; government sanctioned bigotry is a two edged swoard.

  6. Question: If making a website (or baking a cake) for a same sex couple would cause the maker to participate or endorse gay marriage, why doesn’t selling an AR15 cause the seller to participate murder? Asking for a friend.

  7. I think I’d have put “sin” in parenthesis for this sentence”folks are laser-focused on just one sin…” since it appears the autocratic theocrats have deliberately misread the bible as well as law.

  8. EXCELLENT QUESTION, Andy Austin!!! Yet one that no card carrying, gun toting, Republican will give you a sane and logical answer. This “greatest country of all” is tumbling down an abyss. Until the right leaning extremists can be shut down and/or brought back to a proper decorum, we are doomed.

    I have enjoyed watching Chris Cuomo again on News Nation and he keeps touting that independents, a rapidly increasing number of people, are the mainstream of the country. Well, these independents best step up in every subsequent election to correct this pitiful state America is in. We can’t change the reign of SCOTUS, but maybe saner heads CAN increase the number of justices, install term limits at every level of government, and somehow right the ship.

    Our mostly undereducated populace needs to be taught history again, how this country began, the melting pot of immigrants from all countries of Eastern Europe as well as Africa. The current influx of immigrants is how we keep this country populated with melting pot culture. Our past history is what supposedly made us great in the first place. Let’s show each other and the world that our open arm policy is the best way to ensure our future.

    Our former president’s failure to respond properly at the beginning of the pandemic brought death to MANY of the elderly people who worked hard to make the greatness endure. These were the very people who would have questioned the president’s intention, had they lived. Those elders who were spared, and the younger people of voting age today, need to pick up the torch, to save this country from anarchy, authoritarianism, or just plain despotism and savagery.

  9. My only question is, why would a gay couple want to support a bigoted “artist”? There are plenty of other website designers. Once the community learned of this particular bigot, they’d avoid them.

    Are the gays in Colorado picking this fight, or the Christians?

    Sadly, the Christian Nation is dying on the vine, so fear is dominant even if they claim God has it all figured out.

    With all the pot smokers in CO, there is still way too much angst. Increase the potency, Vern.

  10. Is it possible for the highest court in the land to sink any lower? Stay tuned. Film at 11.

  11. The question isn’t “Why would a gay couple want to support a bigoted artist”. It’s the “slippery slope” of allowing anyone to withhold service to a group they disapprove of due to “deeply held beliefs”. As a gay man, I would certainly avoid a business owned by a bigot, but what about the services that I have no control over or choice in selecting? What if an emergency room doctor refuses to treat me because he believes gays are sinners and should be allowed to die and go to hell? Yes, that’s an extreme example, but it’s the logical end to this type of discrimination.

  12. Okay, Andy, should my website firm be allowed to refuse to work with Nazis or White Supremacists because they violate my personal beliefs?

  13. I don’t really think it’s fair to equate the LGBTQ+ community (or Jewish people, or African Americans) with Nazis. I think (sane) people can agree that Nazis are not a marginalized group that should be protected from discrimination.

  14. Todd, is it a violation of “personal beliefs” or “religious beliefs”? Are athirst beliefs religious beliefs?

  15. Andy, the ACLU would, rightly I think, disagree with you on that. There is no group that should not be protected from discrimination. The law should be the same for everyone.

  16. Instead of trying to distinguish between religious and personal beliefs, it might be better to refer to both as freedom of thought. Which, BTW, is not the same as freedom of action. The real question, as Sheila indicated, is “does this action cause harm to another?”. No harm, no crime. As someone who has experienced discrimination, I can attest that it is certainly harmful. It is devastating to be turned away from a public business.

  17. The pot potency is just fine, Todd. Some of us old hippies consider it rocket fuel compared to decades past.

    To the point of this idiotic lawsuit: Colorado Springs is the Mecca for Christian evangelical America. It spreads out like the fetid nonsense it is. OF COURSE, this version of SCOTUS will hear this case and rule in favor of the web designer. Easy call. It’s been the intention of the Republicans to seat these damned fools for decades beginning with Thomas.

    There’s nothing fair or judicious about this court. It’s all ideologue all the time. The law clearly means nothing to these chosen fools. Then, one must remember who put them there. Republicans. Stupid, power-mad, non-legislative Republicans.

    So, this soon-to-be “landmark” vomit will get touted by the extremist minority as a gift from God, and the remaining 75% of rational people will just shake their heads and start reading Dr. Stan’s doomsday missives and agreeing.

  18. I don’t speak up much here….just lurk….. BUT today I’ll ask a “What’s the difference??” question and share one of my monthly “free” links to the WaPo so that you may read the story…..

    Is Christian refusal to serve LGBTQ+ community different is some significant manner from Feminist/LGBTQ+ refusal to serve Christian Conservative groups at restaurants???

    https://wapo.st/3BhoRI8

  19. Back to the “artist” argument. This person is more like an advertising agency who gets a distasteful client like a cigarette company. As an individual agent, you may not like it, but you use your talents and skills to put out the advertising. If you were forced to become a cigarette smoker because you took on this account, I could see how your were harmed or injured. In Colorado, the “artist” is not being forced to marry another women.

    How did this get past the lower courts? There has been no injury. The plaintiff has no standing to bring a lawsuit. Shouldn’t the initial advice have been, come back to me when you have suffered harm or injury.

    I’ve been following this one for a long time, and it’s an entire load of manufactured BS. I had not actually seen a list of the organizations funding this until now, and that taints the whole thing even more.

  20. Sharon Miller, I doubt that the Supreme Court will look at the question the same way you do. See Jeffrey Nelsons contribution this morning.

  21. Great to rant on Sheila’s blog, but I hope the attorneys for this case have done all the research that Sheila has done and are able to state clearly the nuances and argue against the false website maker’s position from the perspective of the conservative right. That’s the only position they see.

  22. Great to rant on Sheila’s blog, but I hope the attorneys for this case are able to state clearly the nuances and argue against the false website maker’s position from the perspective of the conservative right. That’s the only position they see.

  23. Todd; White Supremacists and Nazis violate democracy, Rule of Law and the Constitution of the United States of America. Your beliefs are meaningless when considering their goals for this nation; as are my beliefs and everyone else’s. They are against the Oaths of Office taken by all government officials at Legislative, Executive and Judicial levels. But there appears to be no authority to force any Oaths of Office be upheld; when you think about it, the Oath Keepers are probably more efficient at keeping those who uphold their oaths and ousting those who don’t.

  24. Laws are laws,

    There are Man’s laws, and there is God’s law! Either some points of conflict concerning secular law and theocratic law? Absolutely, should there be? That’s another debate for later on.

    The main point is being a free moral agent, so the scripture talks about that very thing. Every individual no matter their spot or stripe is free to follow their own conscience. And, even if that conscience allows them to go against God’s law, which would be either the Abrahamic covenant, the Mosaic law, or Christ’s law.

    Being a free moral agent allows an individual to be known by their beliefs and conduct! There’s nothing wrong with that, that’s why we are not automatons.

    Romans 2:14, 15 reads;
    “For when people of the nations, who do not have law, do by nature the things of the law, these people, although not having law, are a law to themselves. They are the very ones who demonstrate the matter of the law to be written in their hearts, while their conscience is bearing witness with them, and by their own thoughts they are being accused or even excused.”

    One’s conscience can be their guide, it’s like stealing and feeling guilty, or killing someone and feeling guilty, it’s an inherent right or a co’knowledge within oneself that allows any particular conduct or condemns any particular conduct!

    A relatable example would be, a person of the Jewish faith celebrating Christmas! The Jewish faith does not claim Christ as the Messiah and therefore, he’s an individual that holds no special place in that faith… Would a person’s conscience bother them? The Mosaic law although it talks about the coming of a Messiah, does not include Jesus Christ’s existence by name in its Canon.

    So by faith, those who practice Judaism, should not believe in Christmas, and Christians by faith should feel that the Mosaic law has been fulfilled. But, that’s not what happens is it?

    Liberal-minded folks really don’t see the problem with a celebration, Easter, Christmas, Hanukkah, the Passover, and all other religious centric celebrations and beliefs, whatever spot or stripe, anything is acceptable to have a party.

    But, getting away from your religious dogma and enjoying a dabbling in other beliefs, one’s conscience becomes tainted, becomes washed out, one would tend to doubt their own beliefs and their conscience would not bear witness to them on this subject.

    So they separation of church and state is a necessary thing. Because there are so many dogmas and beliefs, it should be kept in the home or House of worship! Public businesses should not be allowed to discriminate based on religion, ethnicity, race, or lifestyle!

    Ecclesiastes 11:9 reads;
    “Rejoice young man, while you are young, and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and go where your eyes lead you; but know that the true God will bring you into judgment for all these things.”

    2nd Timothy 4:12 reads;
    “I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his manifestation and his kingdom: preach the word; be at it urgently in favorable times and difficult times; reprove, reprimand, exhort, with all Patience and the art of teaching.”

    So, the old and the New testament make it clear, that any individual cannot judge another individual, dad comes from a much higher authority. Secular law and theocratic law do not necessarily go hand in hand. Especially with all of the religions in this country especially. So secular law is to treat everyone the same. We follow our conscience, we do what we want and what we please, and if you believe in that sort of thing, judgment will come after death. And if you don’t believe in that, then I suppose folks will find out one way or the other!

    So biblically or secularly, no one should be forced to believe something that they don’t. That’s way way above mankind’s pay grade.

    If one’s conscience tells you, or allows you, live your life believe your beliefs have faith in your faith, have hope in your hope, and don’t worry about anything down the line unless you have some sort of an epiphany. But that’s still your epiphany, and no one has the right to force that on anyone else. And secular government, courts, politicians, whomever, don’t have the right to force religious belief on one single person in this country. And that was actually brought out quite well by supreme Court Justice, Robert Jackson.

    He stated in his opinion, ” those who begin coercive elimination of descent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.”

    Also, he stated; “The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from political controversy. One’s fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote, they depend on the outcome of NO elections.”

    And one of Justice Robert H. Jackson’s best quotes; “public schools have the essential role of educating the young for citizenship…. Small and local authority may feel less a sense of responsibility to the Constitution, and agencies of publicity may be less vigilant in calling it to account….. Public education should not strangle the free mind added source or teach youth to discount important principles of our government as mere platitudes.” ‘Education should give students the ability to make informed choices about what to believe;’ “if there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox and matters of politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion! Or, force citizens to confess by word their faith therein.”

    So, there you have it!

    So is the supreme Court going to overturn Justice Jackson’s ruling on the issue? There is already a judgment against discrimination and a forcing of belief in particular doctrine. Faith has always been a personal choice, and a person is free to believe it! But he is not free to force that belief or faith on anyone, whether that belief is secular or theocratic.

  25. My bet is that this case was brought to the supreme clown court via a wealthy religious person that donates a lot of money to the Supreme Court Historical Society. I recently read a story about a former leader of a powerful evangelical religious group that swayed the court on religious cases.

    Alito and Thomas openly and shamelessly abuse their positions and Roberts has made no effort to hold them accountable. There needs to be much higher ethics standards for ALL judges and those standards must be enforceable.

  26. I grew up in the segregated South. I remember the signs on the walls: “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” Here we go again…

  27. First, Adam and Eve said it was all about sin. Then came Abraham who said it is all about power. Then Moses came along, held up the stone taba, and said it is all about the law. Then came Jesus who proclaimed it is all about love. Then Freud comes around to say it is all about sex. Then comes Einstein who pauses, …. Hmmmmm. Well …. It’s all relative.

  28. I have always thought that “standing to sue” and “case or controversy” were necessarily intermixed and think this case should have been ended via motion at the trial court level.

  29. The comments display some confusion over what constitutes discrimination under civil rights laws. I addressed that issue during the bakery case, and I’m posting it here. Hope it helps to clarity:

    As the Supreme Court prepares to take up one of the persistent “I won’t bake a cake for ‘those people’” cases, a friend asked me to explain the difference between a merchant who refused to do business with a Neo-Nazi group and one who refused to serve gays or Jews.

    It’s an important distinction, but not an immediately intuitive one.

    Civil rights laws were initially a response to businesses that refused to serve African-Americans–many of the proprietors claimed that their religious beliefs prohibited “mixing” the races (much as those refusing service to LGBTQ folks today base that refusal on religious teachings). Those civil rights measures–later expanded to protect other groups– were based upon an important principle that undergirds our legal system.

    Our system is based upon the premise that your right to be treated like everyone else depends upon your behavior, not your identity.

    As a result of that important distinction, I can post a sign saying “No shirt, no shoes, no service.” I cannot post a sign saying “No blacks, no Jews.” I can “discriminate” between customers behaving properly, and those who are disruptive, are unwilling to pay, or are otherwise exhibiting behaviors that I believe are harmful to my ability to ply my trade.

    I cannot discriminate based upon my customers’ race, religion, or–in states that have inclusive civil rights law–sexual orientation or gender identity.

    The confusion between a merchant’s unwillingness to have her business associated with the KKK, for example, and unwillingness to serve LGBTQ customers is reminiscent of arguments raised when Indiana was (unsuccessfully) trying to add “four words and a comma”(sexual orientation, gender identity) to Indiana’s civil rights law, which still does not include protections for gays or transgender individuals.

    During those arguments, opponents of the added protections asserted that “forcing” a business to serve gay customers would be indistinguishable from forcing a baker to make a cake with a swastika or forcing Muslim or Kosher butchers to sell pork.

    That comparison, however, is fatally flawed.

    If I go into a menswear shop and ask for a dress, am I being discriminated against when I’m informed the store doesn’t sell women’s clothes? Of course not.

    Civil rights protections don’t require the baker who doesn’t bake swastika cakes, or the butcher who never sells pork to add those items to their inventory. Civil rights laws do keep the baker from refusing to sell the cakes he does make to “certain people.”

    The kosher butcher doesn’t have to carry pork, but he can’t refuse to sell his kosher chickens and beef to Muslim or Christian customers, again, so long as those customers can pay and are abiding by the generally applicable rules of the shop.

    The distinction may not be immediately obvious, but it’s important. The essence of civil rights is the principle that you can be denied service for your chosen behaviors, not for your identity.

    I hope that helps…

  30. Theresa, I read what you suggested and I’m confused about what you meant. Would you please elaborate?

  31. I agree with you on the case and controversy issue. I too wonder how there could be standing for the federal courts since nothing has really happened yet.

    Regarding the underlying issue, several court rulings have made a logical a distinction between simply opening one’s doors to customers and compelling a business owner to provide a skilled service to a customer, such as baking a wedding cake or planning a wedding. The latter business owner should be allowed to decline work that conflicts with his or her beliefs. While the former should be required to serve all customers regardless of their sexual orientation, race, religious beliefs, etc. That is the distinction the Court is going to make and correctly so in my opinion.

    (I keep telling my attorney friends that there is a day they’re going to come for us…that they will say that we can’t turn down clients who have political causes we don’t believe in. But they don’t believe that standard will ever be applied to lawyers. But it will.)

    I don’t believe that you’re going to eliminate discrimination by forcing on people views that are contrary to their deeply held religious beliefs You can’t eliminate discrimination by substituting it with another form of discrimination.

  32. Sheila, re. “you can be denied service for your chosen behaviors” Does that mean only behaviors you do in that establishment or behaviors you do off-site or have done in the past? Surely not the latter as that would open up a multitude of cans of worms. But if the former, then wouldn’t you have to serve the Nazis (just as an example)?

  33. Sharon–the behavior is not limited to what happens in the establishment. Just the other day, a restaurant in (I think) Virginia refused to serve a group that had lobbied against abortion and same-sex marriage.

    Civil rights laws are aimed at discrimination based upon a category of identity–Jewish, Black, LGBTQ, etc.

  34. Sheila, I read about that and I think the restaurant was wrong to refuse service. Here’s the rub. If you allow that kind of discrimination you are right back to where we started. I could refuse service to an LGBT group because they March in gay pride parades and advocate certain changes in the law that I find repugnant. Or to look at it the other way around, why couldn’t Nazis be considered a “category of identity?”

  35. The civil rights laws specify which classes are protected. The restaurant claims it wasn’t refusing service because the group was Christian, but because they had LGBTQ waitstaff. This may not have been a wise move, but it isn’t a violation of civil rights.

  36. Sheila. Interesting. So you are not protected from discrimination due to the fact that you are a person but only if you happen to be a member of a group that has been identified by the law as deserving of special protection. I did not realize that.
    So if I go to a restaurant and am told that my sweater is too ugly to be tolerated, I can be refused service? If so, couldn’t that kind of excuse be used to oust even a member of a protected group?

  37. Or to follow up, would I need to be given any reason at all? Does the proprietor have no obligation to serve me entirely at his own discretion?

  38. Sharon nails it.
    The restaurant’s “reason” was simply that the staff was a “marginalized/self-described victim” group.

  39. The lies and deceit I fully get! Thinking of the Richmond, VA restaurant which refused a “Christian” group’s reservation because of the impact on Queer Identified and non-Women feeling unsafe – a “public accommodation denial” – made me think: I have slightly mixed feelings- primarily agreeing- my only “d
    Doubt is In trying to get the full impact upon the “oppressed class”. If it were a Strongly Jewish Deli- and a group of Swastika wearing Nazis, I would support rejection. Is this group similar? – Do the “Bad Guys” – need to Actually Do Something Offensive – and then be kicked out – or do we acknowledge that “discrimination” is ok – in one way – but not in “the opposite way” – I have a hard time we would agree – that a restaurant should accept customers – wearing shirts that openly expressed derogatory – gender, gender-orientation, and racial terms – words that I would NOT say or write – I could imagine for example – besides the offensive nature – some, understandably might feel like – being assaulted or even killed was a threat – from the words!

  40. Let’s contrast two groups of men (although one group includes an awful woman, as well), and decide which group is more decent, more moral, better for humanity and the world. On the one hand, there are the people on the Supreme Court dishonestly mis-framing “originalism” with the ultimate goal of making the USA into something it was expressly created to NOT BE. Then, you have the Iranian mens’ football (or soccer, if you prefer) team standing up for the rights of women in their country, a stance which is both immensely important and immensely risky.

    My heart is with the Iranians. (And, I should note, especially with all the brave women and girls seeking a better world, at great personal peril, in the protests in Iran.)

  41. Thanks, Jeffrey Nelson, for the link. A quotation from the “Christian” Family Foundation’s president crystallized the issue for me. She said, ““A lot of people are outraged that a restaurant wants to make a litmus test at the door….Everyone should be concerned that people are being denied service based on their politics.”

    The Family Foundation and their ilk are not exercising rights based on “sincere religious beliefs.” They’re making their claims based on their politics. These people are political ideologues, as are neo-Nazis and other brown shirts. The “litmus test” of religious belief isn’t applicable in these cases. No religion worthy of the classification excludes others on the basis of immutable characteristics (ethnic or national origin, gender identity, biological sex, etc.). I’m not a Christian (I’m an atheist), and I would never, ever discriminate against somebody because they were. However, I would, and reserve the right to, refuse to advance their political agenda by creating a website to promote a hateful ideology.

    It’s pretty easy to see where that line can (and in my opinion, should) be drawn.

  42. We, humans, are defined by two sequential evolutions, cultural then genetic. When our environment changes due to pressure in a previous environment we adjust, say by relocation as one example, then find behavior that’s culturally adapted to a new location. Our natural selection then very slowly tries various random physical adaptations then eventually promotes the better ones with updated versions of all of us.

    One pressure that forces adaptation is overpopulation. In the past that has been a localized problem that was solved by migration, but what about when we fill up the whole earth and then, due to energy gluttony, our waste from our source of it changes local weather and sea level all over the earth which further limits the space we have to live in?

    We are now searching between more competitive (right wing) and more collaborative (left wing) behaviors for effective cultural adaptation. We will adapt because we have to, not because we want to.

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