Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Freedom to Coerce

To start, I don't have it out for the LGBT community. I don't mind what they choose to do with each other using their own resources, more so when they aren't compelling me to partake. This doesn't necessarily compel me to celebrate the recent SCOTUS decision. This post isn't going to bemoan the SCOTUS decision, or lament the cultural decay of the West. However, it will take a long hard look at what has happened to freedom of association.

If you've been living in a cave for a little bit, you likely haven't heard of the case involving Aaron and Melissa Klein, a married couple from Oregon who own a bakery called Sweet Cakes. They've recently declined the opportunity to serve Laurel Bowman-Cryer and Rachel Cryer, a lesbian couple slated to get married. Why deny the opportunity to sell your product? It turns out that the Klein's are devout Christians, and it so happens that Christians, as many religious groups are inclined, find homosexuality offensive in the eyes of the Lord.

It seems the engaged couple may have missed the memo over the past few thousand years. Traditional religious participants across a wide variety of faiths still, and will continue to, find homosexuality offensive. This includes several denominations of Christianity (except the Unitarians), Islam, Judaism, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints, and likely more.

So outraged by this shocking and unheard of revelation, Laurel saw fit to file a complaint with the Department of Justice. She was further outraged to learn that, as a direct result of her action with a public entity, sensitive private information of hers could be learned very easily. It is important to note the liberal left's outrage at this, completely disregarding the fact that this same tactic was used to map private, registered, and law abiding gun owners in the state of New York following the Sandy Hook massacre. While the left cheered then, they certainly aren't cheering now.

The situation begs inquiring minds to ask, “When am I allowed to make a decision to not partake? Am I still within my rights to associate with who I do or don't want to?”

While I anticipate that most of the readers here have no sympathies or associations with the left, I submit the following scenarios to the left. I'm genuinely interested in response from those who sit left of center on social issues, so please send this to your friends that are likely default fans of the Cryer couple.

A Jewish baker is approached by a Neo Nazi group. Said Neo Nazi group wants to celebrate the Holocaust, and commission the Jewish baker to craft a cake in the shape of a Swastika. Is the baker within his rights to refuse service?

An african american seamstress is approached by a Klansman that has torn his signature robes and hoods, rendering the garments unwearable. Said Klansman commision the seamstress to repair the garments. Is the seamstress within her rights to refuse service?

A homosexual artist is commissioned to paint a mural by malignant individuals who want to celebrate the anniversary of the death of Harvey Milk. Is the artist within his rights to refuse service?

I imagine this still isn't enough for the social justice crowd, so I'll keep going.

What if an Armenian catering company was asked to cater a celebration of the Armenian Genocide? Or a Lakota sculptor was asked to make a statue of James W. Forsyth, colonel and leader of the Wounded Knee Massacre?

I can hear the objections already. “It's not the same, you can't possibly compare.” These scenarios may not be comparable in name, but they are certainly comparable in spirit. The issue at hand isn't individual instances, but the ability to coerce an individual to partake in an activity that said individual finds offensive. Should said individual refuse, they run risk of enduring the same fate as the Klein family.

Social Justice advocates who are cheering for Laurel, Rachel, and the powers that be in Oregon should be just as concerned as the spiritually devout. An unfortunate and disastrous precedent has been set where having a set of values leaves you utterly vulnerable and at the mercy of courts, lawyers, and bureaucrats.

A refusal of service due to belief isn't unheard of, but also encouraged, by the likes of those who would defend the Cryers. In the case of Governor Susanna Martinez, she has been refused service by Antonio Darden, her former hairdresser and a homosexual. The reason? Her stance on gay marriage.

Consider, for a moment, if Governor Susanna Martinez did to Antonio Darden as the Cryer's are doing to the Klein's. Consider, a quote from Antonio Darden provided by the Huffington Post, regarding his refusal to provide a product and service he would otherwise provide, particularly regarding the formula for coloring the Governor's hair:

"A lot of people think that the formula, when it’s made from a hair colorist, that it’s your right to have," he explained. “It isn’t. You came here for me to formulate and do your hair color. Normally I sell the formula to people if they want to go to a different salon that is cheaper. I normally give the formula to clients if they’re moving out of state because I care about my clients. But I would not give that formula to her."

Per Darden, many businesses are following suit and refusing business to Governor Martinez. I can't imagine those advocating for the Cryer's would advocate for Governor Martinez, even considering the spirit of the situation is identical. Both Darden and the Klein's are within their rights ethically. They've made a choice to not spend their resources to provide service. They've since not taken anything tangible from the party requesting service. The relationship has ended, and everyone should move on to other opportunities.

To otherwise be compelled to serve an activity or individual one finds offensive is something that, looking through the broader scope, effects all of us, and may ultimately discourage otherwise capable individuals from participating in the market as owners and entrepreneurs, and one can only wonder what innovative goods and services society will not see as a result.

Permission to reprint or reproduce is granted and encouraged, provided a link is included back to this post and/or blog, and the author is credited as Black Flag.

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