Tag Archives: religious freedom

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.



This Business Serves Everyone

The mis-named “Religious Freedom” bill is gliding through the Indiana General Assembly, where–despite polls showing the movement’s loss of members and power– lawmakers still tremble at the thought of crossing (no pun intended) the Religious Right.

The bill is a transparent effort to dignify discrimination by businesses offended–offended, I tell you–by the very idea of taking money for goods and services from same-sex couples. Of course, by its terms, it will allow establishments to turn away anyone they dislike based upon “sincere religious convictions,” so the potential for mischief is great, but everyone knows that the intended target of the measure are those uppity homosexuals.

Of course, as Erika Smith has pointed out, merchants can already discriminate against gays with impunity, since Indiana’s civil rights law doesn’t protect against discrimination based upon sexual orientation–so an additional “We’ll show you!” bill will basically serve to announce to the rest of the country that Indiana is a state where bigots hold sway.

We may not be able to muster sufficient rational candidates and voters to fill our legislative chambers with grown-ups and nice people, but that doesn’t mean reasonable Hoosiers don’t have recourse. I am delighted to learn of “Open for Service.”

Welcome to Open For Service! We are a grassroots campaign built to honor businesses that will not turn a customer away for any differences. To register your business, it is $10.00 for a sticker and web badge with the proceeds going to SCORE a national non-profit that mentors people who would like to start a business of their own. Join us, hang out and promote an “open minded economy!”

The stickers say “This Business Serves Everyone.”

One of the great virtues of capitalism is that consumers can choose where to spend their dollars. I patronize Costco rather than Walmart because I want to support businesses that treat their employees well and avoid those who don’t. I have the right to never set foot in Hobby Lobby, or buy sandwiches from Chik-fil-A–in short, a market economy offers me the right to make choices based upon any criteria important to me.

So if, as I fear, this piece of nastiness passes into law, I plan to patronize stores with stickers–and to ask hard questions before spending my dollars at stores without them.

Well, Lookee There! I Actually Agree with Eric Miller. Sort of.

In one of the recent missives sent out by Advance America, Eric Miller gave the reasons why he is (surprise!) supporting Scott Schneider’s “Religious Freedom” bill.

For one thing, it’s because that bullying government (the one that makes it possible for folks to do business) shouldn’t be able to make retail establishments treat gay customers the same way they treat other members of the general public on whom they depend for their livelihood.

Okay–I know you will be surprised when I say that isn’t the part I agree with.

And there was something about transgendered use of bathrooms–for some reason, the “Christian” right is absolutely fixated on bathrooms. I don’t agree with that, either–I don’t even understand that.

Here’s the part I agree with: “A church should not be punished because they refuse to let the church be used for a homosexual wedding!”

I totally agree with that. So does every U.S. court that ever addressed the issue. There’s this pesky little clause in the First Amendment called the Free Exercise Clause, that for some reason Eric Miller must have missed in law school–and among other things, it absolutely protects churches from having to perform rituals that are contrary to their beliefs.

I’m sure that when Eric Miller learns about that bit of what we lawyers call “blackletter” law (so called because such legal principles are so settled and foundational), he’ll amend his fundraising email.

And pigs will fly…..