Aug 29, 2013

Narcissism at its worst: "You must affirm what I do - no matter what you think"

" law! Or else ..." (see the link to this story here)
Bigotry towards black folks, brown folks, and women (among others) is wrong (one place I would draw from for this is Galatians 3:28). Hatred or true oppression towards someone who practices homosexuality is wrong, as in name-calling or violence. These are implications of the truth we are all made in the image of God (Genesis 1-2), or the Imago Dei. We have infinite value, dignity, and worth which is unalienable from what it means to be a human person.

Since that is foundational for the concept of human rights, it follows that there is real allowance for freedom of conscience as well as the right to actually practice your beliefs. Obviously, all these things can be "qualified" and nuanced but this is the basic source that Christian ethicists, theologians and indeed, political theorists have drawn from as they discuss inherent rights and the proper jurisdiction of the legislative powers.

This right (freedom of conscience) should be 'taken away' by sheer force of law. Why does the state have the right to tell a private citizen how to run their affairs in this way? This is governmental overreach. We all should be concerned about that because the "powers that be" can change quickly - and so can public opinion. It is shortsighted to celebrate when we think "our side" gets a victory. It seems wise to ask our self: is this way of forcing people to affirm things they have a conscientious objection towards consistent with individual autonomy and self-government (this would include free speech). There is even an argument for artistic expression (freedom of speech) to consider - here is a foray into that train of thought here.

Consider a scenario where, say, Fred Phelps and his people wanted to use a large format printing company to print out some of their HATE signs. They go to a design and print business owned by a same-sex couple who refuses them once they see the design the group wants. Would you say, the print shop should be required by force of law to to do the printing job? Or are they allowed to say NO? What do you think?

Who decides who is a protected class? Shouldn't all citizens be a protected class? Who gets determine these things and why? Many advocates speak in strictly legal terms - but what is MORAL, not just legal? Those questions are complicated in our courts today but it seems more important and insightful to ask a person their underlying rationale for why they think a law is a good one - or not.

To me, this looks a lot more simple (in this case and in many cases like it): people who disagree specifically with homosexuality are told to change heir mind or to keep it to themselves - do not do anything that expresses disagreement in any meaningful way. Be aware of how this same frame of mind is being played out with the free speech rights of pastors, for example, in places such as Canada (this specific case has had movement since then, but still). How long it will take the US to go all the way with these kinds of rulings? It certainly is happening in the rest of the West.

I am not saying Christians (or any other group) should NOT serve same-sex clients - I am saying they can, if they want to, and they should not have to if they don't want to. Shouldn't this photographer have freedom of choice here? 

It seems obvious she should have.

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