LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Discrimination – both just and and unjust

Jack Phillips bakes beautiful cakes; but five years ago, he refused to use his skills to make a wedding cake to celebrate a same-sex marriage ceremony. He said it would violate his Christian faith and hijack his right to free speech and expression.

An article in the New York Times asks the question, “Cake Is His ‘Art.’ So Can He Deny One to a Gay Couple”? The answer should be a resounding “yes”. Why? Because of the US Constitution. Both of these basic human rights are listed in the Bill of Rights’ First Amendment; “Congress shall make no law… prohibiting the free exercise of religion; or abridging the freedom of speech …”

Our Declaration of Independence specifies, “…That to secure these [unalienable rights, endowed by their Creator] Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

Securing our unalienable rights then, is the first duty of government. So when Mr. Phillips contends that the government should not be allowed to compel him to endorse a message at odds with his beliefs, he is right because the federal government is not protecting his unalienable rights. Unalienable rights cannot be taken away, cannot be transferred by the person that owns them, and cannot be trumped by new “special” rights.

The couple he refused to serve filed “civil rights” charges. They said they had been demeaned and humiliated as they sought to celebrate their union. “He simply turned us away because of who we are.” Why they were turned away is completely unknowable and is therefore only speculation. But one has to wonder if Mr. Phillips was specifically sought out for who he is and how he runs his business.

The case is a conflict between a Colorado state law banning discrimination and the US Constitution’s First Amendment’s protection of free speech, and religious freedom. The Supreme Court will hear the case this fall.

Constitutional law supersedes any conflicting state law and the court should have declined this case, and referred it back to Colorado state courts, with the admonition that discrimination is part of human nature, and cannot be banned in its entirety.

Human nature is discriminatory. We all discriminate to decide what is desirable or undesirable, safe or unsafe, pleases our senses or not. For instance, who do gays associate with? And where do they live? Many choose to associate with other gays and live in LGBTQ communities; isn’t that discriminatory? But don’t they have a right to associate with, and live where, they are comfortable? Does that infringe on anyone else’s rights?

Discrimination is a two-way street and there is just and unjust discrimination. Christians who refuse to celebrate a same-sex marriage using their God-given talents, and gays living in a comfortable community, are both examples of “just” discrimination. Forcing a Christian to be involved in a ceremony against his religious beliefs, and businesses refusing to sell products or services to gay customers simply because they are gay, are “unjust” discriminations.

If there are state discrimination laws that are being violated, then those laws are constructed poorly and should be revised. Gay rights end where individual unalienable rights begin. There should be no special rights and no favored classes in these United States. We are all equal under the law.

Would you hire someone who disagreed with your celebration, for whatever reason, to provide any product or service for that occasion, taking a chance that you may be humiliated in front of all your friends? Most of us would like to find someone who is supportive of our cause, our celebration; someone who is qualified to, and will take pride in, performing a service everyone in attendance would be proud of.

This offensive attitude and rush to sue is wrong, divisive, and confrontational. This is neither the Christian way nor the American way. We must have respect for opposing views and agree to disagree, without persecuting each other.

Armand Carreau
Bridgeville

 

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