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what is the religious issue with baking a cake?

 
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I don't want to pollute the Thank you SCOTUS thread with this so starting a new one.

Yesterday, conservative and faith based groups immediately said they were trying to seek exemptions. A snippet of the article:

Jim Daly, the president of Focus on the Family, a prominent conservative Christian group based in Colorado Springs, said he was worried that Christians would be subjected to “prejudice and persecution” if they stood against same-sex marriage. He suggested that a variety of issues were likely to be litigated, including whether the ruling would force Christian universities to house same-sex couples in dorms for married students and whether cake makers and florists would have to work same-sex weddings.



When I read about the Supreme Court decision, my first thought was to wonder who this part of conservative/religious camp would go after next (my guess was transgender.) But apparently, they aren't ready to move on yet and are still on same sex marriage. With respect to the quote what is the big deal for the cake makers and florists. Their jobs are to provide cakes and flowers, not to bless a wedding. In fact, neither of those roles even has to watch the wedding. Many people do things at their jobs that they don't agree with. It's not like they are being asked to do something illegal.

The Hobby Lobby case (where a religious employer claimed they shouldn't have to be pay for health insurance that includes contraception) implies there are likely to be religious exceptions to "allowing" or "serving" same sex unions. I don't even know what that would mean; hence the quotes. Allowing this group of Christians to claim they don't need to follow the law feels like a horrible precedent and I hope it doesn't happen.

On some level, I want to hope market forces would intervene. You don't want a job at this wedding. Fine. Less $ for you. I think that's too idealistic though.
 
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Quite frankly, I never understood this argument. Freedom of religion doesn't mean the freedom to discriminate -- how can anyone base an argument on the right to discriminate, and expect that it will be a winning argument?

Of course, the scary answer here is that they don't see this as discrimination at all. Oh well.

Henry
 
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I'm not sure. I don't think they view it as discrimination. I think they view it as not wanting to do something that their religion doesn't endorse. Which is different to me than things religion prevents. Like asking an Orthodox Jew to work on Saturday. (and even there are exceptions to that like EMS personnel).

There's also an aspect that religion can only be used so far as an excuse. Old religions or cultures (I forgot which) required human sacrifice. Nobody could do that today in the US (and most other countries) and claim they have to be allowed be because religion says so. I'd like to think the line of when it is absolutely allowed is drawn at things that are illegal. I wish it were drawn elsewhere, but that seems like a hard line.
 
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In my opinion, the whole "religious freedoms" thing is a smoke screen for discrimination. Far-right Christians (who, in my experience are a minority -- a very vocal and loud one -- and who don't seem to actually have a good grasp on what Christ actually taught) would rather gays and lesbians (and transgendered) simply disappear.

I've heard the argument that "If Bakery A doesn't want to serve you, just go to Bakery B". And while that might seem persuasive, it doesn't scale. What if Bakery B also won't serve? What if Bakery A is the only bakery in a small town? What if Grocery Store A also decides not to serve? And the Hair Salon? Well, then we're right back to separate water fountains.

It's especially troubling for public servants. What of the county clerks who refuse to issue legal marriage licenses? Judges who refuse to perform the weddings? If their religion prevents them from doing their jobs, then they need to find jobs where their "closely held beliefs" does not interfere with their duties.

And no sane person is demanding that churches confer matrimony to same-gender unions. That's a straw man that gets pulled into the debate far too much.


 
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Bear Bibeault wrote:I've heard the argument that "If Bakery A doesn't want to serve you, just go to Bakery B". And while that might seem persuasive, it doesn't scale. What if Bakery B also won't serve? What if Bakery A is the only bakery in a small town? What if Grocery Store A also decides not to serve? And the Hair Salon? Well, then we're right back to separate water fountains.


Right. And that's why we need laws. Incidentally, NYC taxi-cabs have an explicit non-discrimation rule. If they refuse to pick someone up because they are X, they can get in trouble. This is an issue so at times, the city has paid people from group X to try to hail cabs to catch them.

Bear Bibeault wrote:If their religion prevents them from doing their jobs, then they need to find jobs where their "closely held beliefs" does not interfere with their duties.


Agreed. The job requirements aren't secret. There's reasonable accommodation which is one thing. And even that faces challenges (Transit places banning religious head coverings is discrimination). And modern people adjust. As do their religious establishments.

There's also the question of how much one should have to accommodate claims of religious beliefs. There was a story about a women being asked to move so an Orthodox Jewish man wouldn't have to sit next to a woman. I'm glad that didn't happen to me as I wouldn't have reacted well. I'll change my seat to let a parent sit with a young child. I wouldn't change my seat because someone said he "couldn't" sit next to a woman. That's how plane's work. You don't control who you sit next to. Plus that's *not* what the religion says. It says they shouldn't touch a woman. I don't make a habit of touching people I sit next to on planes. And modern Orthodox men sit next to women on the subway. Incidental/accidental contact is ok. If the man on this plane really believes in the archaic position on not touching, he stick to the modes of transportation available at the time and not fly. I care where I sit on a plane. If he doesn't want to sit next to a woman, he should ask the flight attendant if he can move. Preferably to a back/middl undesirable seat that isn't taken.

I suppose the point of that rant is that I agree that the closely held religious beliefs thing belongs in quotes. Religion only when convenient shouldn't be protected.
 
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This bakery issue has already been through the courts in the UK:

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/may/28/gay-cake-bakery-owners-appeal-against-discrimination-verdict-northern-ireland

Personally, I think somebody in the wedding cake business who doesn't want to make cakes for gay weddings is probably in the wrong business for their religious convictions. You don't meet too many Muslim or Jewish pork butchers, after all. On the other hand, if I wanted to buy a cake for a gay wedding, I might be a little cautious about buying it from these people - you could get a nasty surprise (anybody remember the chocolate pie from "The Help"?)...
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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chris webster wrote:This bakery issue has already been through the courts in the UK


Wow. It's an actual thing.

chris webster wrote:Personally, I think somebody in the wedding cake business who doesn't want to make cakes for gay weddings is probably in the wrong business for their religious convictions. You don't meet too many Muslim or Jewish pork butchers, after all.


Funny you should mention that. I have seen a Muslim lady working at the deli counter at a supermarket. She didn't refuse to slice the ham. The job doesn't require touching or ingesting pork. It does involve touching the wrapper of the pork. She knew this before starting and accepted it. Just like she accepts that *other people* eat pork. Presumably if she wasn't ok with it, she wouldn't have taken the job in the first place.

chris webster wrote:On the other hand, if I wanted to buy a cake for a gay wedding, I might be a little cautious about buying it from these people - you could get a nasty surprise (anybody remember the chocolate pie from "The Help"?)...


I was thinking about withholding business as a "solution" yesterday. Two problems - one is the "what if they are the only shop in town. The other is what happens if it becomes a shop were everyone with that opinion goes? Then they do even batter for discriminating. So supply/demand can't be the only solution. I wasn't thinking about serving non-food. Which seems like a quick way to another lawsuit.
 
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:

chris webster wrote:This bakery issue has already been through the courts in the UK


Wow. It's an actual thing.


Not just bakeries, either:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/09/bed-and-breakfast-gay-couple-appeal
 
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Just because you have the right to do something, it doesn't mean you must insist on doing it. To me life is all about accepting that other people might feel differently to you, and trying to come to a compromise when a conflict of interest might arise.

If I was gay and I wanted to get a cake for my wedding, and I wanted the slogan "Gay Marriage Rocks", and I went to a bakery and they said that slogan is against their beliefs but that they are happy to bake me a cake without that slogan on it, then I would respect their choice and go to another bakery. OK, so it has caused me a bit of a hassle - so what? It isn't as if I am having to walk 5 miles to get some water to survive like many people in poorer countries have to do. The problem is that we in the West have become so spoilt that the moment something doesn't go our way, we kick a fuss over it.

Should the case arise that I am unable to find any bakery that bakes me a cake with that slogan, I would then just get a normal cake, and then have that slogan written on some card and put on top of the cake. Yeah, it might not be exactly what I wanted, but it isn't a major issue.
 
Bear Bibeault
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The argument that anyone can just get a cake somewhere else doesn't work.

Separate but equal just doesn't work; that's been extensively demonstrated in the past.

As soon as you say "This class of people can't use these facilities, but that's ok, there are other facilities they can use", your argument becomes invalid.

It doesn't work with bathrooms, it doesn't work with bus seats, it doesn't work with water fountains, it doesn't work with lunch counters, it doesn't work with schools, and it doesn't work with bakeries.

Allowing discrimination somewhere because there's somewhere else the discriminated-against-party can go to is still discrimination, and it creates a two-tier society, and allows some venues, such as smaller cities, to simply not have any places those discriminated-against-parties can use.

You're also conflating the argument by adding wording. I've rarely seen a wedding cake that has writing on it, and there was no writing in the Sweet Cakes case. The couple was turned away simply because the owners wanted to refuse them service because of who they were, not because they wanted a message that went against the grain of the bakery owners.
 
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Bear Bibeault wrote:Separate but equal just doesn't work; that's been extensively demonstrated in the past.

As soon as you say "This class of people can't use these facilities, but that's ok, there are other facilities they can use", your argument becomes invalid.


Agreed! I was actually discussing this with someone last night (in the context of disabilities, not sexual orientation.) It was about the responsibilities of a two story motel without an elevator. Not a tiny bed and breakfast. A hotel with about 100 rooms.

My position was that if you ask for a ground level room in advance and say it is because you are unable to get the second floor, they should accommodate you. Half the rooms are on the first floor after all. The other person's position was that the person who can't go up a flight of stairs should stay somewhere else. This was a hypothetical conversation. There's certainly something to be said for the person who can't get to the second floor choosing to stay at a hotel where all the rooms are accessible. That's market forces. Choosing to favor one configuration. It's another for the hotel to make "stay somewhere else" your solution.

Back to the cake. The couple that needs a cake should certainly choose to give their business to someone who doesn't make it a hassle to buy a cake. However, that choice shouldn't be imposed on them by someone else. Which is what happens when the bakery refuses to sell the cake.
 
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Bear Bibeault wrote:
Separate but equal just doesn't work; that's been extensively demonstrated in the past.

As soon as you say "This class of people can't use these facilities, but that's ok, there are other facilities they can use", your argument becomes invalid.



But that isn't my argument. Maybe we are talking about different cake incidents, I am talking about the one in the UK:

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jul/08/bert-and-ernie-gay-wedding-cake-northern-ireland-ashers-bakery

Of course I am not proposing that you should be allowed to deny someone a service based on their race, gender, sexuality etc. However, refusing to put a slogan on a cake isn't denying someone a service.

1) If a Christian couple went to a gay bakery and said they want a cake with the slogan "Gays are evil faggots", should the bakery have the right to refuse to bake a cake with that slogan? Absolutely.
2) If some white supremacists went to a printing company run by African-Americans and asked to have t-shirts printed with the slogan "blacks are less intelligent than whites", should the printing company have the right to refuse to print t-shirts with that slogan? Absolutely.
3) If some neocons went to a printing company run by liberals and asked to have leaflets published with the message "socialism is evil, the USA must invade and overthrow the government of any country that is socialist", should the printing company have the right to refuse to print the leaflets? Absolutely.
4) If a gay couple went to a bakery and said they want a cake with the slogan "Gay marriage rocks", should the bakery have the right to refuse to bake a cake with that slogan? Absolutely.

You see, I find the slogans/messages in cases 1), 2) and 3) abhorrent, and I am fine with the slogan in 4) - however, the world doesn't revolve around me, and I have no right to decide what people should and should not find abhorrent. If a Christian couple find gay marriage abhorrent, then they have a right to refuse to make slogans supporting gay marriage.
 
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Ahmed Bin S wrote: However, refusing to put a slogan on a cake isn't denying someone a service.


Sure it is. The bakery makes cakes and puts frosting text on them. That's part of their business.

In your examples, #1 is hate speech so they can refuse on those grounds. #2 is a gray area because one could claim it is about something else (thin argument I know.) #3 isn't a protected category of people so up to the bakery.

We have laws that protect class #4. So it is different.
 
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Ahmed Bin S wrote: If a Christian couple find gay marriage abhorrent, then they have a right to refuse to make slogans supporting gay marriage.


Do they That's the point of this thread. I don't think do have the right to refuse. They do have the right to chose a different occupation if they don't want to do it.
 
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Ahmed Bin S wrote:

Bear Bibeault wrote:
Separate but equal just doesn't work; that's been extensively demonstrated in the past.

As soon as you say "This class of people can't use these facilities, but that's ok, there are other facilities they can use", your argument becomes invalid.



But that isn't my argument. Maybe we are talking about different cake incidents, I am talking about the one in the UK:



Yes, I was talking about the US "Sweet Cakes" incident. The UK case is different because it involves wording, and therefore speech. I'd say that is a completely different topic than the OP asked about. Slogans apply not only to cakes (and specifically not generally to wedding cakes which rarely have writing), but to any printed matter; t-shirts for example.

Speech is a more nuanced matter because free speech laws, libel laws, political speech laws, and hate speech laws, which vary widely across jurisdictions come into play. But most of the cases you mention involve hate speech, and is quite different from a slogan of say "Praise the Lord", "Congrats Adam and Steve" or "Go Packers".
 
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:

Ahmed Bin S wrote: If a Christian couple find gay marriage abhorrent, then they have a right to refuse to make slogans supporting gay marriage.


Do they That's the point of this thread. I don't think do have the right to refuse. They do have the right to chose a different occupation if they don't want to do it.



The point is that they do not have the right to offer different levels of service to different classes. That's the very definition of discrimination.
 
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:
Sure it is. The bakery makes cakes and puts frosting text on them. That's part of their business.

In your examples, #1 is hate speech so they can refuse on those grounds. #2 is a gray area because one could claim it is about something else (thin argument I know.) #3 isn't a protected category of people so up to the bakery.

We have laws that protect class #4. So it is different.



Bear Bibeault wrote:
The point is that they do not have the right to offer different levels of service to different classes. That's the very definition of discrimination.



Ok, so take away the faggots from "Gays are evil faggots" to leave "Gays are evil" - this isn't hate speech now, this is someone's belief. Should a bakery run by gays have the right to refuse to put slogans on a cake that says "Gays are evil"?

So if 3) is up to the bakery, then the bakery is denying someone a service based on their political belief, and is therefore discriminating.

So why is one form of discrimination acceptable and another form not? And if the law protects one group from discrimination, and not another group, then the law is ... discriminatory.
 
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Bear Bibeault wrote:
Yes, I was talking about the US "Sweet Cakes" incident. The UK case is different because it involves wording, and therefore speech. I'd say that is a completely different topic than the OP asked about.



So I see. Please accept my apologies for not reading the posts in this thread properly and just jumping in and making the discussion into what the OP did not intend.
 
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Ahmed Bin S wrote:
Ok, so take away the faggots from "Gays are evil faggots" to leave "Gays are evil" - this isn't hate speech now, this is someone's belief.


No, still hate speech.

So if 3) is up to the bakery, then the bakery is denying someone a service based on their political belief, and is therefore discriminating.


This sounds suspiciously like the tiresome circular argument about not tolerating intolerance itself being intolerant.

The argument that not allowing people to discriminate is discriminatory is a logical fallacy and no basis upon which to enact policy.
 
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Bear Bibeault wrote:[
No, still hate speech.



1) What is and what isn't hate speech is subjective.
2) Not all hate speech is a legal offence.
3) If someone believes that gays are evil, then they have a right to say that. If someones wants to deny people the right to say things because they deem it offensive, then they are one of those individuals who goes on about how people should have the right to freedom of expression, but what they really mean is people should have the right to freedom of expression but only if they do not find it offensive
4) Imposing what you find objectionable on others is fascism.
5) The ACLU defended the Neo-Nazis right to march through the Chicago suburb of Stokie - yes, that's correct, they campaigned for people with abhorrent views to have the right to freedom of expression even though the ACLU found those opinions abhorrent.

Now the only time I believe hate speech should be a legal offence is when there is direct incitement of violence. That is the ONLY time one should be able to say "that is hate speech, you are not allowed to express it, and if you do, you will be charged".

Anyway, going back to my original point, saying "Gays are evil" is NOT a criminal offence. It is a belief of someone. Now I might find this belief abhorrent, but I, nor you, nor Jeanne, nor anyone else in the world, has the right to deny a person to express that belief of theirs.
Therefore, a person putting the message "gays are evil" on a cake isn't breaking the law. Therefore, a bakery run by gays that refuses to bake a cake with that slogan for a Christian who believes that gays are evil is discriminating against that person based on their religious belief.

So, again, my question is, why is it ok for someone to discriminate against someone else when you find the slogan offensive (gay bakery discriminating against Christian fundamentalist), but not ok for someone to discriminate against someone else when you do not find the slogan offensive (Christian fundamentalist bakery discriminating against gays)? Either you should believe that everyone has the right to refuse to put a slogan on a cake or you believe no one has the right to refuse to put a slogan on a cake.
 
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Ahmed Bin S wrote:Anyway, going back to my original point, saying "Gays are evil" is NOT a criminal offence.


I never said that it was. But no court is going to consider someone refusing to print hate speech, however it is defined, as discrimination; it falls into a special class, again, depending upon jurisdiction.

It is a belief of someone. Now I might find this belief abhorrent, but I, nor you, nor Jeanne, nor anyone else in the world, has the right to deny a person to express that belief of theirs.


Therefore, a person putting the message "gays are evil" on a cake isn't breaking the law.


No one said any of these things.

But again, the whole hate speech topic is a red herring. The incidents are not about someone being sued for refusing to print hate speech.

So, again, my question is, why is it ok for someone to discriminate against someone else when you find the slogan offensive (gay bakery discriminating against Christian fundamentalist)



Either you should believe that everyone has the right to refuse to put a slogan on a cake or you believe no one has the right to refuse to put a slogan on a cake.


False dichotomy fallacy.



My main issue is that it is discriminatory to refuse service to a class of people. Refusing to print particular slogans is a different colored horse, and to be honest, not one that I'm particular passionate about.
 
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Bear Bibeault wrote:
But again, the whole hate speech topic is a red herring. The incidents are not about someone being sued for refusing to print hate speech.



And even if it was, there is no protection for someone who want to print hate speech. The first amendment may give very broad freedom of speech, but there is no right in using all forms of media (or force media to republish), including through the use of cakes. Hate groups are not a protected group -- so, hence, no discrimination against a protected group.

On the other hand, there is protection against discrimination, when you provide a service for one group and not another. There is nothing about the cake for the gay couple that would be different than any other couple. It is clearly discrimination against a protect group.

Henry

 
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Well put, Henry.
 
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Bear Bibeault wrote:I never said that it was. But no court is going to consider someone refusing to print hate speech, however it is defined, as discrimination; it falls into a special class, again, depending upon jurisdiction



Actually, a business CAN refuse a service on hate speech grounds. If I have a hotel, and you book it for a conference, and then I realise your conference is going to be about how blacks are less intelligent than other "races", then I can refuse you the service and tell you I will not be hosting your conference because I consider it "hate speech", even though the organisers might not consider it hate speech and might genuinely consider what they are saying to be true.

This happens all the time.

Bear Bibeault wrote:
No one said any of these things.

But again, the whole hate speech topic is a red herring. The incidents are not about someone being sued for refusing to print hate speech.



I am discussing another incident. As I said, I apologise for not reading the posts properly, just reading the title, skimming the posts, and then mistakenly posting about another incident.

However, it is perfectly normal in debates for a topic to move from one specific scenario to other similar scenarios. I am discussing another scenario - this doesn't make it a red herring.

If Jeanne feels I have digressed and she wants the discussion to return back to her original point, I am more than happy to stop posting in this thread.

Bear Bibeault wrote:
False dichotomy fallacy.



But it isn't really.

Should people have the right to refuse putting a slogan on a cake that they find offensive? What the slogan says is irrelevant, and whether it is actually offensive to the overwhelming majority of the population is also irrelevant.

I say everyone has the right to refuse putting a slogan on a cake if they find it offensive. I think if you (not you personally!) get up in arms about something as trivial like this, then you should go and live in a poor country where people have no jobs and are not even guaranteed a meal a day, and maybe then you will realise just what a first world problem getting upset over something like this is.

When I was living with my parents in London, I used to take a bus home after getting off the tube. There was this Mediterranean shop outside the station that did the most brilliant chicken pizzas, and often I would feel like grabbing one and taking it home on the bus so I could eat it whilst relaxing on the sofa once I was home. However, I never did, because that bus route used to be used by a lot of Indians, many of who were vegetarians, and I thought they might not like the smell of chicken.
Now I had a right to take my chicken pizza on the bus, but just because I have a right to do something, it doesn't mean I should do it and have complete disregard of how others might feel. We should try and be as accommodating as possible, and if someone finds the slogan you want put on a cake offensive, then try and be accommodating instead of demanding that they put it on for you.
 
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Henry Wong wrote:
On the other hand, there is protection against discrimination, when you provide a service for one group and not another. There is nothing about the cake for the gay couple that would be different than any other couple. It is clearly discrimination against a protect group.



But some fundamentalist Christians believe that if you are gay, you are evil.

There is protection for religious groups too. The only time religion will not be protected is if it goes against the law. However, spreading the opinion "gays are evil", however abhorrent it might be, isn't against the law.

Therefore, if you refuse to print a slogan "gays are evil" on a cake, this is discrimination against a group. That person is being discriminated against because of their religious belief.

Therefore, if you follow the "discrimination argument", a gay bakery should have no right to refuse a Christian fundamentalist from getting a cake with that slogan.
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Ahmed Bin S wrote:I say everyone has the right to refuse putting a slogan on a cake if they find it offensive.


Just because you say it doesn't make it so. I started this thread based on that certain groups were looking at lawsuits to try to "get" that right you presume they have. If that was so, there wouldn't be a need for a lawsuit.

Ahmed Bin S wrote: I think if you (not you personally!) get up in arms about something as trivial like this, then you should go and live in a poor
country where people have no jobs and are not even guaranteed a meal a day, and maybe then you will realise just what a first world problem getting upset over something like this is.


Nobody said this was the largest problem on earth. Just because there are bigger problems doesn't mean we shouldn't discuss things. Or try to make things better. For that matter, why have laws in the US. After all, many things aren't a big deal if you compare them with problems that people in poor places deal with.
 
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Ahmed Bin S wrote:
Therefore, if you follow the "discrimination argument", a gay bakery should have no right to refuse a Christian fundamentalist from getting a cake with that slogan.



Sorry, but this whole argument, is just silly. It is a long chain of points, all with issues, held together with "therefore" and "therefore". I can't argue something like that when I don't even agree starting with the first point.

Also... Following the first point, ignoring everything in the middle, you get to a conclusion that someone (who hates evil) should be allowed to make a deal with someone they consider evil. Why would this happen? Unless, of course, the relationship is with someone not evil. In other words, if you agree with the conclusion, then the first point (which is the foundation) doesn't make sense.


Anyway, at this point, all I can do is agree to disagree.

Henry
 
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Ahmed Bin S wrote:
Therefore, if you follow the "discrimination argument", a gay bakery should have no right to refuse a Christian fundamentalist from getting a cake with that slogan.



In thinking about this some more, I think I can form a more clear response, if the argument was simplified... meaning get rid of the argument, and jump right to the conclusion.

If the whole argument was removed and you simply said... "a bakery should have no right to refuse a Christian fundamentalist from getting a cake with an anti-gay slogan", then I would completely agree.

If the argument was "a gay bakery should have no right to refuse a Christian fundamentalist from getting a cake with an anti-gay slogan", then this becomes a gray area. And in fact, I am leaning towards disagree. Why? Two reasons. First, there is no reason for the Christian fundamentalist to want a cake from the gay bakery. And of course, this leads to the second reason, in that it is done out of hate.

The purchaser of the cake isn't getting benefit from the cake, as much as forcing someone to make that cake out of hate. And I would side against the hate.


And finally, if the christian fundamentalist order the cake without knowing that the baker is gay, then is told as such, but kept the order anyway... then it becomes a completely gray area. And quite frankly, I don't know which side to fall on.

And of course, this whole discussion is about the interpretation of the laws (discrimination, freedom of speech, etc.), and not about which side I like more than the other.

Henry
 
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Having lived in Vancouver (the 'San Francisco' of Canada) for a fair portion of my life - not to mention being a lifelong am-drammer - I firmly believe that education and inclusion are the keys, not legislation.

There, gays are an accepted part of the community - chances are that your boss or your MP or your bartender is gay - and because of that people don't spend a lot of time agonising about it. Furthermore, if you or any business tried to discriminate against gays, you'd be laughed at - and as far as I'm concerned, ridicule and humour are far better ways of changing attitudes than legislation.
And I believe it works both ways: Because gays are accepted, there are very few who feel the need to be "militant" about it. It's simply not an issue any more - for either "side" - and you can go a long time without even knowing that someone is (or isn't) gay, because it simply isn't important.

That said, blatant discrimination of any kind needs to be punishable; but my view would be to err on the side of protection of rights rather than curbing others. You can't regulate thought, and in a liberal democracy everyone has the right to be an a***hole.

So: a taxi service that refuses to pick up gays (or Muslims, or black people)? Take their license away - but do it because they're not providing a public service, not because they're discriminating. A private club that doesn't allow gays/blacks/Muslims? Leave them be...but by all means get the press involved.

It's possibly worth noting that even such bastions as the Royal & Ancient crumble eventually; and in September 2014 they finally voted to admit women.

Winston
 
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So, an update:

Peter Tatchell, the most prominent LGBT campaigner in the UK for the past few decades, now argues that a Christian bakery should have the right to refuse a pro-gay slogan on a cake.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/feb/01/gay-cake-row-i-changed-my-mind-ashers-bakery-freedom-of-conscience-religion

And the case has been adjourned for three months after the Northern Ireland Attorney General intervened.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-35474167
 
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So far so good... business owners now have that right. Next step: Employees should have that right. Expect to see Muslim cashiers refusing to check pork products through their tills. And why not? Employers shouldn't be interfering with the religious rights of their employees.
 
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Paul Clapham wrote:So far so good... business owners now have that right. Next step: Employees should have that right. Expect to see Muslim cashiers refusing to check pork products through their tills. And why not? Employers shouldn't be interfering with the religious rights of their employees.



I don't think they now have the right, they have always had the right - if a Holocaust denier went to a Jewish printing company here in the UK and asked for leaflets to be printed denying the Holocaust happened (legal in the UK), the Jewish business would have the right to refuse. This is because there has always been the right to refuse to promote political or religious messages to which you are a conscientious objector.

No company that sells pork products would employ a Muslim as a cashier unless the Muslim agreed to check pork products through the tills. Therefore, if the Muslim takes on this role, the Muslim cannot refuse to check pork products through on grounds of religious rights.

In the UK the major supermarkets do try to be accommodating - so if they want to employ a Muslim as a shelf-stacker and the Muslim made them aware that he or she doesn't want to handle pork products, then the duty manager will ensure the Muslim stacks other products.

Compromise - a wonderful thing which unfortunately a lot of people are not willing to do.
 
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Ahmed Bin S wrote:No company that sells pork products would employ a Muslim as a cashier unless the Muslim agreed to check pork products through the tills.



But here's discrimination raising its ugly head again! People are restricted from employment because of their religious beliefs!

But no. None of this stuff is because of beliefs. People can believe what they like. All of this stuff is about actions. Actions are more important because they can have effects on other people.
 
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Paul Clapham wrote:[. . . None of this stuff is because of beliefs. . . . All of this stuff is about actions. . . .

But to a large extent people's actions are determined by their beliefs.
 
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:

Paul Clapham wrote:[. . . None of this stuff is because of beliefs. . . . All of this stuff is about actions. . . .

But to a large extent people's actions are determined by their beliefs.



Not for most people. Even people whose beliefs tell them that other people are second-rate and can legitimately be harassed or harmed can go for days without acting on those beliefs, and it's possible to train people to refrain entirely.
 
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Ahmed Bin S wrote:I don't think they now have the right, they have always had the right - if a Holocaust denier went to a Jewish printing company here in the UK and asked for leaflets to be printed denying the Holocaust happened (legal in the UK), the Jewish business would have the right to refuse.


Ah, but that's back to the rights of the business again. I think Paul's question is more along the lines of:
1. Does that same business have the right to refuse to employ a Holocaust denier?
2. Does a Holocaust denier have the right to refuse to print a document about the Holocaust?

Indeed, can a business even identify itself as "Jewish"? Obviously terms like "kosher" and "halal" hint very strongly at religion, but it seems unlikely that, for example, a butcher with either moniker would be able to refuse employment to someone simply because they eat (and therefore presumably handle) pork in their private life.

Winston
 
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It seems to me that this "rights" business is about power relationships. People are given some rights by law in order to even out inequities in relationships where one party typically wields power over the other. So you've got men vs women, where men tend to have power, and in many countries you've got white vs non-white where the whites tend to have the power. In the employer/employee relationship it's obvious where the power lies most of the time.

If you consider "men's rights" and "white supremacist" movements you'll see what happens when power-holders try to play the "I have rights" game, they often end up looking foolish.

Religion -- well, in a lot of countries there's one religion which wields power and others which don't. So you'd think the other religions should have "rights" and the powerful religion shouldn't need them. But in this cake-making issue it's people from the powerful religion who are claiming "rights" and therefore they are looking a bit foolish.
 
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Paul Clapham wrote:It seems to me that this "rights" business is about power relationships...


I don't often give cows on forums like this, but that's a very astute observation.

I'm not sure that it covers the more contentious issues like teachers who teach Creationism or Holocaust denial in the public school system, but there is definitely an element of what you say even in those cases. I'm just not sure, as the son of a Pole who lost many of his family in Majdanek, that it's something that can be compromised on.

I'm not even sure they're equivalent: The first could be construed as misguided, while the other is clearly pernicious - an attempt to re-write history by people whose doctrine is so perverse that they could never get anyone to follow it unless all that documentary (and statistical) evidence isn't true.

But as a general statement, I'm with you completely.

Winston
 
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Interesting points in this thread. A fun read for sure. Here's my two cents.

If i walk into your store and ask for service, you must provide that service, regardless of who i am. However, if i ask for service in support of X, Y, or Z, you can refuse, lest it be construed that you support X, Y, or Z. In the case of the bakery, a cake is a cake. But being asked to write a message on it that is not normally written, is rightly refused. In the case of the homosexuals, they wanted a Xian couple to write their names. The OT calls such activities an abomination, that is, on par with idol worship, an absolute no-no in judeo-xian religions. If they refused the cake, that would be a problem. If they refused writing Congratulations, that would be a problem. Writing their names is rightly refused, especially as they can go elsewhere. And, methinks, the couple specifically went to that bakery to cause issues.

There is this notion that certain groups are protected. That is hogwash. No group is "protected" because that would be discrimination. The appropriate term is the it is recognized as an orientation, and thus falls under the no discrimination laws. Protected sounds like you have special status. That's offensive to me. No discrimination, however, is a two-way street.

Ultimately, this whole marriage thing is absurd. Marriage in the Western World is a Judeo-Xian invention, which the government recognized for convenience. Since it has been found to be discriminatory, the government should simply stop recognizing it. Rewriting what it is, is an affront to hundreds of millions--if not billions--of people. The government should get out of the dating game, and instead only recognize what is needed, like dependents for taxes, or the like. Everything else can be handled by contract, or belief in your personal house of worship, which can define anything, anyway you'd like. Stop encroaching; problem solved.
 
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Brian Tkatch wrote:
Ultimately, this whole marriage thing is absurd. Marriage in the Western World is a Judeo-Xian invention, which the government recognized for convenience. Since it has been found to be discriminatory, the government should simply stop recognizing it.


This has long been my position. When I'm asked about support for gay marriage, my response is that we're asking the wrong question. The real question here is why is the government in the marriage business in the first place? Marriage is a contract between two people and a ritual before whatever god(s) they believe in. It's none of the governments business. If my spouse and I want to jump a broom and call that marriage, that's up to us and nobody else.
 
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