Could This Restore Christian Bakers’ Freedom of Conscience?

An idea that might help restore Christian bakers’ freedom of conscience:

The law in many states now requires that persons who deal in the wedding business extend their services to same-sex couples. I’m not aware, however, of any laws that require a store create and sell product that’s not in their inventory.

So I wonder whether a baker in Oregon (for example) could prepare a defined catalog of cakes she will offer to prepare for weddings. She produces only these design. She will sell these cakes to any customer who requests one. She will sell nothing that is not in her catalog. All of the cakes in her catalog are decorated prominently with the words, “Congratulations, Husband and Wife!”

If a gay or lesbian couple wanted to buy one of her cakes, they could do that. She would accommodate them freely and gladly, but she would offer them exactly the same selection of cakes she offers every other wedding customer.

I don’t know if there’s an analogous approach that florists or photographers could take, but I suspect that Christian bakers, at least, might be able to stay in business while expressing their freedom of conscience through this approach. There would be some loss of customers due to the lack of customization options, but some customers might be glad to work with bakers who had found a way to stand for conscience.

It’s an idea. I posed it to an attorney a while back. He had no definitive answer, but he said it might be work.  It would need someone smarter than me in both business and law, however, to determine whether how viable it really is.

If it works—Happy Independence Day!

Comments

  1. Earl Morton

    It seems logical and reasonable, so someone will surely decide it’s illegal. I’m being only slightly facetious. In at least some of the cases, it seems that gay couples ask a Christian baker to prepare their cake not because they are the best baker, or the cheapest, or the most convenient. It’s because the couple knows the baker will refuse, and that will give the couple the excuse to file suit and promote the LGBT agenda in the court and in the press.

  2. DR84

    A similar idea has been discussed on the Whats Wrong With the World blog a few times. Over there, Lydia McGrew pointed out that doing something like this could get someone in trouble for discriminatory signaling/discriminatory intent. Although, over there the idea was not that the cake was out of a catalog where the customer can make no requests, but instead every cake would come with man/woman figurines and/or be on a cake stand that says something about husband and wives. Maybe being in a catalog gets around the signaling problem, but I am doubtful of that. Of course, I am in no sense a legal professional so my doubts do not count for much.

    Given that that holding that marriage involves a man and woman has largely been settled in law as being the same as segregationist views, I imagine this suggestion would work as well as a baker only offering a catalog of cakes that say ‘only whites can marry’ on them.

  3. Gavin

    Wikipedia isn’t a legal advisor, but it’s a place to start.

    Disparate impact: In United States anti-discrimination law, the theory of disparate impact holds that practices in employment, housing, or other areas may be considered discriminatory and illegal if they have a disproportionate “adverse impact” on persons in a protected class….

  4. Post
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  5. SteveK

    DR84,
    Of course the discrimination is intentional. Anytime a businesses chooses to carry only certain products, it’s not carring other products. Not a problem.

  6. DR84

    It does seem obviously inconsistent to let Christian bookstores not sell gay “wedding” cards but to forbid a baker from selling only wedding cakes congratulating husband and wives. I am not particularly confident that many lawyers and judges care for things to be consistent, and in the present moment it is the bakers that are targets. In addition, the baker would still be making the cake. Bookstores do not typically make cards. No idea if that constitutes any kind of legal distinction, but I am pretty sure a lawyer would point the difference out if it came up in court.

    If that does matter, maybe the baker could incorporate the wedding cake catalog business separately from the bakery and then simply pass orders from the bakery to the catalog company to fulfill said order. I assume the catalog company would be untouchable, and since the bakery would not be making wedding cakes for anyone, they could not be sued either for not making a “wedding” cake for a same sex couple.

  7. Ray Ingles

    Whether or not it’d be legal, it’d be bad business.

    As I’ve mentioned before, my wife runs a cake shop. (June has been very busy, wedding and graduations and more. We’re going on a well-earned vacation tomorrow.)

    Wedding cakes are all custom-made these days. Shapes, flavors, decorations, etc. – all unique snowflakes. Brides come in with a picture of a cake they like, “but I want peach flowers instead of red, and can you have two falls that intertwine, instead of just the one…”

    At least based on what I’ve seen, I don’t see how a literal cookie-cutter cake business could survive.

  8. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    The world is changing, Ray, and some customers might decide to support that business just because of its creative solution to the gay-couple problem.

    Otherwise, yes, you’re right, I’m sure it wouldn’t work.

  9. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    Interesting suggestion. It brings questions to mind.

    1. How much did walking the second mile actually entail participating in acts intended for an immediate and obvious sinful purpose?
    2. Was walking the second mile an act of communication? If so, what did it communicate with respect to the truth of the situation?
    3. What other communication took place during that walk?
    4. How universally did Jesus intend us to apply that instruction? For example, if a soldier forced a Jew to walk one mile toward a site where fellow Jews would be massacred, would Jesus expect him also to walk another mile in that direction?
    5. Is this passage really about participating in sin, or is it more about being willing to let loose of one’s hold on one’s time and possessions, for the sake of not being held captive by them? Or something else?

    The above is relevant to what a person might decide to do under current law, in states where this is an issue. With respect to the larger question of that law itself:

    6. Does Jesus’ instruction here imply agreement with being forced to walk that first mile?
    7. Does Jesus’ instruction imply that a self-governing people should not exercise their constitutionally granted powers to remedy the injustice of being so forced?

  10. JAD

    I think a better solution would be for churches organize non-profit wedding planning consortiums. The consortiums would be formed by churches with similar beliefs about marriage (evangelical Protestants, for example) in a given metropolitan or rural area. The consortium of say 30 to 40 churches would hire a full time wedding planner as an administrator. One of the larger churches could provide office space and part time secretarial assistance. Bakers, florists and photographers etc. who want to protect their freedom of conscience rights would sign an exclusive contract with the consortium. In other words, they would be doing business exclusively with a church affiliated non-profit ministry, not individuals. Of course this would only apply to wedding related services.

    The consortium would pay the baker/ florist/ photographer from a fund that had been set up by the bride’s home church. The congregation would be encouraged to donate to the fund after she announces her engagement. Of course the bride’s family would be free to contribute substantially to this fund.

    Would this type of consortium discriminate against anyone? Well yes, it would discriminate against Jews, Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses etc. So? I don’t think they would have a basis for a lawsuit nor do I think they would even contemplate suing. They are, after all, also religions; religions by their very nature are exclusive. Of course people of other faiths would be free to create their own consortium’s
    .
    Would this idea provide sufficient business for a local baker/ florist/ photographer? If the consortium was large enough it could and would.

  11. bigbird

    On a more personal level, would you go to a friend’s gay wedding? Is going to their wedding endorsing gay marriage, or is it offering support to a friend despite their making a decision you disagree with?

    Would Jesus have attended gay weddings?

  12. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    I don’t think I would go.

    Jesus showed grace toward sinners but he never participated in a celebration of sin–which is what he would have understood this to be.

  13. Raz

    When I consider all the ills in today’s world, the millions slaughtered, starved and persecuted for no other reason than their faith, colour of their skin or ethnicity, I have to shake my head in utter contempt of so called Christians who feel the best use of their time is scheming about how best to avoid having to write ‘congratulations’ in icing on a cake for two men or women who love each other. Bravo, I’m sure your god is so proud.

  14. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    Raz, you made this look contemptible by taking the smallest piece of it and magnifying it to appear to be the whole thing.

    You seem to have no idea how much money, time, and energy Christians also put into relieving other problems.

    You can shake your head at a biased, prejudiced distorted view of us, as if we were hardly human; or you could look at us honestly. It’s your choice.

  15. G. Rodrigues

    @Raz:

    When I consider all the ills in today’s world, the millions slaughtered, starved and persecuted for no other reason than their faith, colour of their skin or ethnicity, I have to shake my head in utter contempt of so called Christians who feel the best use of their time is scheming about how best to avoid having to write ‘congratulations’ in icing on a cake for two men or women who love each other.

    What a noble sentiment. But maybe it has not escaped your attention, how you yourself might best employ your time; instead of wasting your time online bashing these scurrilous and supercilious Christians, personally help those “millions slaughtered, starved and persecuted”? Just a thought.

  16. Raz

    Tom I am looking at you honestly, you run a website entitled Thinking Christian and yet the only things you seem to ‘think’ or write about are denying rights based on faith based prejudices and the evils of secularism. I don’t doubt that some Christians dedicate their lives to helping others and even go as far as putting themselves into harms way to do so, but all I see on this site is people complaining about social progression, and as here, trying to figure out new ways to persecute a minority. Perhaps I was just bought up under a considerably more compassionate and milder form of Christianity, but what I see here feels distinctly un-Christian to me.

  17. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    That’s a distorted view, Raz.

    I’ve written over 2,000 posts on this site. 84 of them have the tag, “The Marriage Debate.” That’s less than half of one percent.

    On a very quick review of that 84:

    I’ve written one post you should read, setting forth my goals in this debate.

    I’ve written about twenty or thirty posts setting forth a positive view of marriage. That’s not about denying anyone any rights.

    I’ve written a lengthy series called “To Treat One Another As Humans.” That’s not about denying anyone any rights.

    I’ve written about thirty or forty posts explaining what’s wrong with arguments on behalf of gay marriage. That could be considered, by some, to be in the category you’re talking about. If so, it’s about 1/4 of 1 percent of what I’ve blogged about here. But consider that some of those include blog posts like this one, which has much more to do with correcting a really, really biased, prejudiced, and false view of Christians than it has to do with defining my beliefs about marriage rights.

    Consider also that what I’ve tried to do in every case here has been to make a reasoned argument for a position that I think is rationally sustainable. I think my position is right. I think it’s for the good of future generations, and also for today’s. I have positive motives. You think I’m out to deny rights, but I’m really out to try to support what’s good.

    So then consider also that your perspective that I’m “trying to persecute a minority,” is highly tendentious. I’m trying to make a case that your side is wrong. You’re trying to make a case that my side is wrong. My side is in the minority. Your side won. Does “trying to make a case” constitute persecution? Really?? Then you’re trying to persecute a minority! But no, that’s silly. I’m not trying to persecute anyone, I’m trying to make a case for what’s true.

    Consider also that your statement that I’m “the only things you seem to ‘think’ or write about are denying rights based on faith based prejudices and the evils of secularism.” That’s actually false. Where I’ve made my case here it’s been mostly on natural law, not faith-based information. The evil I’ve mostly written about with respect to marriage isn’t “secularism,” it’s the damage I think will occur in the next generation’s lives as the result of a continuing slide toward a culture that denigrates real marriage. My contention is that man-woman marriage is a distinctive human good with long-term good effects, and that man-woman adultery, man-woman extra-marital sex, and SSM all undermine that distinctive human good.

    Are you looking at me honestly? The fact say no.

    But you are, by your own words, looking at me contemptuously. I suggest you try to get past that and see reality more accurately.

  18. SteveK

    Raz,
    This blog post is asking a general question: How can Christian bakers express their religious convictions without breaking the law? It’s a good question to ask. Nowhere is anyone trying to figure out new ways to persecute a minority.

    There is no attempt to discriminate against individuals of any kind. There is, however, an attempt to legally refrain from participating in/celebrating events that the Christian religion says are wrong.

    Please don’t be one of those people that advocate forcing others to do something against their good conscience.

  19. Gavin

    Quick reminder: No one is being forced to do something against their good conscience. People have choices.

    Maybe someone is advocating for forcing others to do something against their good conscience, but I haven’t seen it on this issue.

  20. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    True. It’s also true, as you have studiously ignored, no one is being forced to make a living, either. You have the option not to make a living, just like the people who got forced out of their jobs and businesses.

    Maybe someone is advocating for forcing others to do something against their good conscience, but I haven’t seen it on this issue.

    You need to pay better attention, then.

  21. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    Another thing, SteveK: as you said, “Nowhere is anyone trying to figure out new ways to persecute a minority;” but there is someone on this thread expressing contempt, while acting as if he’s standing on the moral high ground. I wonder if that person sees the self-contradiction there.

  22. SteveK

    I wonder if a business can categorize their custom cakes as works of art rather than a commodity product. Sell art, not cakes. There’s definitely a legitimate amount artistic creativity that goes into making these cakes. The law seems to give artists a lot of say when it comes to how their art will be used.

  23. Gavin

    …no one is being forced to make a living, either.

    True.

    You need to pay better attention, then.

    Wow, that last one was tedious. Still, I could not find any example that wouldn’t have been avoided by saying “we don’t do weddings,” “we don’t do artificial insemination,” “we don’t take government contracts” or something similar. Want to point us to a specific example?

  24. SteveK

    You left this one out, Gavin.

    “We don’t sue businesses for not wanting to participate in our wedding”

    Yes, it all could have been avoided.

  25. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    Okay, then you’re right. No one is compelling you to make 3/4 of your living, just like no one is compelling bakers to keep 3/4 of their business.

    Gavin, look. You’re being obtuse. Can’t you see that?

  26. Philmonomer

    My 2 Cents:

    1) I’m willing to bet that there is a good chance this idea might work (legally speaking, and in theory). The bakery only sells the cakes in the catalogue. Anyone can buy any cake in the catalogue. They will sell to anyone. No problem.

    2) I’m also willing to bet that this idea would not work (as a business practice, and in reality). First, I’ve never seen a cake with “Congratulations, Husband and Wife” on it. I bet the market for people who would want such a cake is pretty small (although, I suppose there is the chance that the market could grow). And second, just about everyone wants a personalized cake. Given this, the temptation to personalize the cakes for the bakery would be huge. For example, someone wants red flowers instead of white (to match the wedding colors), someone wants the wedding topper to be this one, instead of that one, someone wants no writing on the cake, etc. At some point, the bakery would quickly cross the line into allowing some changes (for heterosexuals) but not allowing others (for homosexuals). A case could (easily) be made that the changes being allowed demonstrates that the bakery is willing to make changes, just not changes for gays.

    Finally, outside of actual writing on the cake, it is pretty hard to make a “heterosexual” cake. If your catalogue has a beautiful cake (say, with no writing on it), then any SS couple could (for example) request that cake–or request any cake in the catalogue but ask that the bakery leave the writing off–all it would take would be for the bakery to have left the writing off before (maybe even once?), and the bakery could (in theory) lose.

  27. SteveK

    Philmonomer

    Finally, outside of actual writing on the cake, it is pretty hard to make a “heterosexual” cake.

    Not really. It’s routine to make a product for a particular purpose with the intention of selling it only to customers that want to use it as intended. Could a business make a cake for the purpose of celebrating a traditional wedding ceremony? I don’t see why not. It’s a legitimate customer base.

    Can you refuse service based on a violation of intended use – like if a customer wanted to buy a cake so he could stomp on it in public? Yes, I think there’s plenty of legal precedent for that.

  28. bigbird

    I’m curious to see where people think the line should be drawn in business situations.

    Making a cake celebrating a SSM would seem to violate many Christians’ consciences. It would probably violate mine, although I’m not certain.

    But would supplying flowers to a SSM? How about supplying champagne? Or stationery? Or wedding cars? Or pumping the fuel for the wedding cars? Lines can get blurry fairly quickly for those in business (especially for those who’d like to remain in business).

    On the personal level, if one of my good friends were part of a SSM, I think I would be there. They would know my views, but they would also know my support in friendship even if I think their decision is wrong. Friends do stuff like that sometimes, and are around to pick up the pieces later if necessary. It would be different if my support was the enabler of actions I considered to be against my conscience – for example driving someone to an abortion clinic.

  29. Philmonomer

    SteveK,

    It seems like a full answer to your comment would require an exploration of discrimination law/protected classes/etc. Something 1) I don’t know a ton about and 2) don’t have the time to figure out.

    I think the short answer is that sexual orientation is a protected class in the states where the cases have been brought. Thus, the idea that the bakery can decide to make a product for a particular purpose with the intention of selling it to only to customers that want to use it as intended doesn’t work. If it did, a whites-only shop could refuse to make a cake for a black couple, because the cake was make for the particular purpose of a marriage between 2 whites only.

    I’m not sure about the legal precedent for refusing a service based on intended use. Do you have examples in mind? In any case, my guess is that you can refuse to serve anyone (for any reason), so long as the reason for the refusal doesn’t constitute discrimination (violates a protected class).

  30. SteveK

    Philmonomer

    If it did, a whites-only shop could refuse to make a cake for a black couple, because the cake was make for the particular purpose of a marriage between 2 whites only.

    At the foundational level your example is discrimination based on the race of the customer – who the customer is, matters – whereas my idea was to discriminate based only on the intended use of the product itself, regardless of who the customer is.

    I would sell my cake to a SS couple – any SS couple – as long as it was used for the intended purpose. I realize that people can fib and get what they want from me, but if they come out and say that it’s for their SS wedding, well then.

    I’m not sure about the legal precedent for refusing a service based on intended use.

    I can refuse to sell you a product if you tell me that you intend to harm someone with it. If I sell it to you then I am legally complicit and held liable should you follow through.

    So it seems the principle is that I can be complicit with regard to someone else’s intentions. What if I don’t want to be complicit – can I opt out?

  31. Philmonomer

    At the foundational level your example is discrimination based on the race of the customer – who the customer is, matters – whereas my idea was to discriminate based only on the intended use of the product itself, regardless of who the customer is.

    I don’t think that works. We are both discriminating based on the intended use of the product itself. In my example, the bakery could refuse to sell to a white person, if they knew the white person was just going to give the cake to 2 black people for their wedding. Here, my example is the intended use of the product: a marriage between 2 black people–or, 1 one black person and 1 white person, if someone was against miscegenation.)

    I can refuse to sell you a product if you tell me that you intend to harm someone with it.

    Sure. As I said, you can refuse to sell anything to anyone, so long as you aren’t discriminating. The reason you are not selling something is because of the intended harm they want to do, not because they are black/gay/etc.

    If I sell it to you then I am legally complicit and held liable should you follow through.

    So it seems the principle is that I can be complicit with regard to someone else’s intentions. What if I don’t want to be complicit – can I opt out?

    This is a complicated issue, and it seems like we are going further afield…. the short answer, is, yes, you can opt out, so long as the reason is NOT discrimination (violates a protected class).

  32. SteveK

    Philmonomer
    How would the color of a persons skin fit into the intended use of a cake? I can see that for maybe a skin cream or something related to skin – but a cake? In select instances there is a legitimate distinction and I would give the business to the right to sell, or not, based on the intended use. It might not make for good business, but so what.

    The important principle at work here is that the cake makers are not discriminating based on *illegitimate* distinction.

  33. Philmonomer

    It seems like you are setting yourself up as the arbiter of “legitimate” distinctions. However, we have discrimination laws/public accommodation laws (passed by the people/legislatures) that have already decided this. If you think they are wrong, you can work to change them.

    At any rate, I’ve got other things to do. Thanks for the responses.

  34. Gavin

    Tom @26

    No one is compelling you to make 3/4 of your living, just like no one is compelling bakers to keep 3/4 of their business.

    Right, it is just like that, except I don’t make a national campaign built on the claim that I am compelled to make a living, and further that it is a violation of my rights, and finally that we need special laws to protect me.

    There are two reasons I make this point about choices: 1) I genuinely do hope that people who, for religious reasons, cannot accommodate same-sex weddings are aware of their options. I think that “we don’t do weddings” is the best option available to them, which is not to deny potentially life-changing impact that choice may have. 2) I think that this “forced” rhetoric is fairly effective and I can blunt that effectiveness by pointing out that it isn’t actually true and that the truth isn’t actually that different from the situation we all face in aligning our professions and values within the context of legal requirements and economic necessities. (Thanks for helping with that last point by citing a similarity that everyone can relate to.)

    That is the thinking, obtuse as it might be, behind my comment. I think this view is fairly widely held, which doesn’t mean it is correct, but it does explain why a lot of people just roll their eyes when they hear these claims of persecution.

  35. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    Gavin, think a moment. You say,

    Right, it is just like that, except I don’t make a national campaign built on the claim that I am compelled to make a living, and further that it is a violation of my rights, and finally that we need special laws to protect me.

    You aren’t making a national campaign. That’s obvious.

    You are, however, making a claim that depends on the belief that these people aren’t compelled to do anything, including making a living. You are coldly and cruelly oblivious to the fact that laws that strip a person of their living might be nearly equivalent to laws that compel people to do certain things.

    I use “cold” and “cruel” with full knowledge and intention. It’s my assessment of your position here. It’s hard to believe anyone would persist in it the way you have.

    You say,

    the truth isn’t actually that different from the situation we all face in aligning our professions and values within the context of legal requirements and economic necessities.

    Did you face a completely unprecedented and unexpected mid-career $135,000 re-alignment fine and a gag order in the course of setting your profession “within the context of legal requirements and economic necessities”?

    You speak derisively of “needing special laws to protect.” It’s true: there is a need for special laws to protect. That very need was recognized in the late 1700s. That special law was the first one added to the U.S. Constitution. Speak derisively of that law if you like. Your very right to speak is guaranteed by that same law. Deride it while you enjoy it, you hypocrite.

  36. SteveK

    Philmonomer
    In #33 I didn’t say your example was illegitimate. I only said the cake maker situation was legitimate because as we all know it’s legitimate to distinguish between different types of cakes based on the nature of the celebration (birthday, anniversary, etc) – i.e. intended purpose.

    Regarding your counterexample I asked how skin color fits into the situation. I don’t see the connection between intended purpose and the type of cake, but I’ll let you explain the legitimate link before I make a decision.

  37. Gavin

    Tom,

    Did you face a completely unprecedented and unexpected mid-career $135,000 re-alignment fine and a gag order…?

    No, but I also didn’t break the law. The new law was in the news; it shouldn’t have been totally unexpected that breaking it would have some consequences.

    Also, the name calling is a new thing. Interesting move.

  38. SteveK

    Speaking of aligning our professions and values within the context of legal requirements, does Gavin think the homeless should realign by moving to another city when the city they are currently in makes it illegal to feed the homeless – or should the city realign its values by repealing the law and associated punishment?

    I hope the answer is obvious. Why it isn’t obvious in the case of the baker, I have no idea.

  39. Gavin

    I agree that the anti-feeding law should be repealed. It further burdens those already is a miserable situation in order to provide further comfort to the already comfortable. This is obvious.

    I think the situation is reversed with the anti-descrimination laws being discussed. Members of the LGBQT community have endured tremendous discrimination in all aspects of their lives–employment, housing, service from businesses, etc. This law is protects them, at the expense of placing requirements on business owners, who have more options. It is not easy to transition from making cakes to doing something else, but it is easier than becoming not-gay.

    The last to links from Tom in 21, listing what the Heritage Foundation views as threats to Christian’s liberty, is also an eye-opening glimpse at the many ways gays are marginalized in our society.

  40. DR84

    Gavin-

    Do you think it is completely obvious that “no discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation” means that bakers *must* bake cakes that celebrate homosexual conduct if they bake cakes for weddings? I dont. Frankly, I dont even think that is a reasonable conclusion. I think the various bakers, florists, and photographers that have lost over these laws have been justifiably caught off guard by their application. In most cases the how these laws are applied is very much not directly connected with how they are written.

  41. G. Rodrigues

    @Gavin:

    Also, the name calling is a new thing. Interesting move.

    When what is spoken is self-evident and known to everyone, it is not an insult.

    edit: huh, sorry, forgot to paste the most important point:

    But there is a logical point behind the charge, which apparently passed you by.

  42. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    Pejorative descriptive terms can be used in place of an argument or explanation, in which case they’re like playground name-calling, or as a summary of an argument/explanation, in which case they’re intended to help the other person catch the point more clearly.

  43. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    The new law was in the news; it shouldn’t have been totally unexpected that breaking it would have some consequences.

    The old law (the First Amendment) didn’t need to be in the news. It should not have been expected that the new law would be enforced in violation of the old one.

  44. Gavin

    DR84,

    It is obvious that refusing to provide a cake for a same-sex ceremony would have a disparate impact on the protected class. Disparate impact has been part of the interpretation of anti-desrimation laws for decades.

    Maybe they were surprised, but being surprised is not a defense.

  45. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Then being surprised (see your first paragraph in #38) isn’t grounds for prosecution, either.

    Here’s my point: the surprise/expected/unexpected thing is a red herring. You’re off topic. Nobody said being surprised is a defense. We’re saying the First Amendment is a defense. Do you see the difference?

  46. Gavin

    You asked if I had experienced an “unexpected” fine and gag order. If “unexpected” is a red herring I’m happy let it go.

    I was addressing DR84, who didn’t mention the first amendment, but asked about interpreting the law. That seems like a productive conversation that we could have here. I’ll try to stay on topic.

  47. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Touché! Except you’re wrong again. You’re not thinking clearly enough.

    Expectations are a red herring with respect to legal defense (though see below) or prosecution, but not with respect to

    the situation we all face in aligning our professions and values within the context of legal requirements and economic necessities.

    You can’t align your profession within any context at all without taking reasonable expectations into account.

    Expectations in this case are no grounds for prosecution. They can be, and often are, part of a defense argument. But I wasn’t going to press that point.

    As you discuss interpreting the law, I suggest you include the First Amendment. It is also the law.

  48. Gavin

    Tom, I will take your suggestion. Philmonomer, Thanks for the helpful link. I’m leaving for the day but should be able to respond later.

  49. SteveK

    Philmonomer
    Thanks for the link. On page 5 of the document, I do not understand how this statement can possibly be true, logically speaking.

    “The ALJ rejects Respondents argument as a distinction without a difference.”

    Suppose the owner can show that SS couples were served other types of cakes – let’s say, a gay couple buys a cake for gay friend’s birthday party – it would show that they are *not* discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.

    This would serve to show that the ALJ’s statement isn’t *necessarily* true in all cases where SS people are involved, and therefore the ALJ would have to prove that the discrimination was in fact based on sexual orientation rather than something else.

  50. Philmonomer

    SteveK,

    The next paragraph in the decision is helpful to your concerns.

    Also, think of an interracial couple, and a bakery that is against miscegenation. That bakery too, would serve all black people and all white people (for birthday parties, etc.)–but it seems clear the bakery would nevertheless be discriminating if it refused to bake a wedding cake for an interracial marriage.

  51. SteveK

    Philmonomer,
    The argument on page 5 can be reworded to expose the logical holes in the ALJ’s argument.

    The salient feature distinguishing birthdays from weddings is the nature of the event/celebration. Only people getting married engage in wedding ceremonies. Therefore it makes little sense to argue (as the ALJ is attempting) that refusal to provide a cake to people getting married is not “because of” the nature of the event/celebration.

  52. SteveK

    I’d expect the court to then ask:

    So your saying that it’s *possible* to discriminate on the basis of “the nature of the event/celebration” – that there can be a legitimate distinction with a difference contrary to what the ALJ claimed. Explain. How is the nature of a SS wedding event different than the nature of a heterosexual wedding event?

    This would allow the court to hear the baker’s religious convictions about the nature of marriage. The court may disagree with the baker completely but they could not conclude that the discrimination was indeed based on sexual orientation as the ALJ claims.

  53. Philmonomer

    SteveK,

    [I’ve deleted my comment. Frankly, I don’t have time right now–but thanks for the responses. Maybe I’ll get back to it later.]

  54. SteveK

    Philmonomer,
    The ALJ is claiming that the only possible reason a person can discriminate when it comes to a wedding is on the basis of sexual orientation. They argue that the only salient feature distinguishing a SS wedding from a heterosexual wedding is the sex of the participants. That is a false statement.

    If the baker were allowed to explain, another salient feature to consider is the nature of the relationship that is being celebrated. They are different by nature. This can be explained in religious terms and also in philosophical terms.

    Tom has written about the comprehensive relationship on several occasions, but here is one quote:

    the traditional view, in contrast, sees marriage as a comprehensive union which involves nurturance, shared lives, shared resources, shared physical intimacy, and childrearing

  55. G. Rodrigues

    @Philmomoner:

    Likewise, a bakery that had religious convictions that miscegenation was wrong would be basing its discrimination on its religious convictions–but we would still say that race (or sexual orientation, here) was the “reason” for the refusal to bake the cake.

    What you “would say” are the “real” reasons is quite irrelevant, no matter how shrewd your guess is (and it is just that, a guess). What is *relevant*, is what people *actually* say; and what a baker or a florist *actually* say is that providing service for specific event (same-sex “marriage”) is material cooperation with evil and therefore morally objectionable.

    If all you want to say is that *some* reasons for discrimination (and say, refusal to sign a service contract) are outlawed, than this is vacuous and has nothing to do with religion, since religious motivations are not per se and in the abstract, outlawed. A racist may or may not be a religious; in fact, historically, most of the motivations for racism were purely material and secular, with religion just providing a thin veneer of post-hoc respectability.

    If on the other hand, you want to run roughshod over the consciences of others than do not be so coy and say so; if on top of that, you want to employ the State’s coercive power to trample freedom of association and force a given service provider to enter into some specific contracts than say so.

  56. Gavin

    SteveK @52

    Showing that they don’t discriminate in the sale of birthday cakes is irrelevant to the question of whether they discriminate in the sale of wedding cakes. Offering no cakes to same sex couples would obviously be discrimination, but offering fewer options to same sex couples could still be discrimination.

  57. DR84

    Gavin-

    It is not necessarily discrimination for a baker to not make cakes intended for same sex “wedding” celebrations. It may be the baker simply does not make cakes explicitly intended for that purpose for anyone no matter what suspect classification they may fall under with respect to anti discrimination laws.

  58. SteveK

    Gavin,

    Offering no cakes to same sex couples would obviously be discrimination, but offering fewer options to same sex couples could still be discrimination.

    I don’t disagree with this much. I explain in #53, 54 and 56 that the discrimination is not *necessarily* because of sexual orientation – as it is claimed it must be – which means it’s possible the baker did not break the law.

  59. DR84

    Gavin-

    Also, do you think it would be fair and just for a gay baker to be fined $135000 for not making a cake intended to celebrate a “wedding” between two straight men. Suppose the baker believes that such a “wedding” is no wedding at all and in fact makes a mockery of gay people and what they have fought for.

  60. G. Rodrigues

    @SteveK:

    I explain in #53, 54 and 56 that the discrimination is not *necessarily* because of sexual orientation – as it is claimed it must be – which means it’s possible the baker did not break the law.

    If it were solely because of the sexual orientation, then the Baker, Florist, etc. would have no problems with two heterossexual men or women marrying each other, which is preposterous.

  61. Gavin

    SteveK (53,54,56) and DR84 (59),

    Let’s imagine that the bakery had actually posted a clear policy. Here are two possibilities:

    (1) We don’t sell wedding cakes for use in a wedding between homosexuals, even if they are of different sexes.

    (2) We don’t sell wedding cakes for use in same-sex ceremonies, even if the participants are heterosexual.

    I think that we all agree that (1) would put them in obvious violation of the law (even though the 1st amendment might save them none-the-less)

    I hope we can also agree that while the internal logic may be different, the practical effect of these two policies is exactly the same: Heterosexuals can buy a wedding cake for their ceremony, but homosexuals can’t.

    The judge is saying, and I agree, that the internal logic is irrelevant. Policy (2) has the undeniable effect of discriminating against the protected class (even though that is not the intent) and is therefore illegal.

  62. G. Rodrigues

    I hope we can also agree that while the internal logic may be different, the practical effect of these two policies is exactly the same: Heterosexuals can buy a wedding cake for their ceremony, but homosexuals can’t.

    Translation: “damn logic, you are still discriminating against protected classes. And by the way, here is a fine of $135000. But no one is forcing anyone to do something against their good conscience. No siree. We are not bigots like you.”

  63. SteveK

    G. Rodrigues
    Suppose a SS couple told the baker in confidence that they aren’t really in love and plan to divorce shortly after the wedding event (for reasons not stated).

    I can think of at least 3 reasons for the baker to opt out (not being in love, planning to divorce, false pretense).

    All reasons are based on the nature of the relationship – by nature the couple is making a mockery of marriage and the baker is exercising his right to opt out. The reasons for opting out have nothing to do with sexual orientation and the ALJ’s statement is again shown to be false.

    Someone may think the baker’s actions aren’t justified, but that changes nothing about the reasons. The law was not broken if sexual orientation is the violation.

  64. DR84

    People who belong to this protected class bases in their self identification as gay would still be able to get a wedding cake from the baker if they marry someone of the opposite sex. That baker treats them the same as anyone else. So, practically speaking, they can get a cake just like everyone else.

    That said, I am glad u are honest that the internal logic does not matter to you. That says it all.

    Also, I still hope you directly answer my question if it is fair and just to fine a gay baker $13500 for not making a cake for the celebration of a “wedding” between two straight men. For these issues, identifying as straight places one outside of the protected class after all. Whereas, the baker would be part of the protected class that pertains to the situation.

  65. SteveK

    Gavin,
    I will amend your statement

    (2) We don’t sell wedding cakes for use in same-sex ceremonies, even if the participants are heterosexual.

    The reason we don’t has nothing to do with a person’s sexual orientation. It has everything to do with our religious belief that a marriage is a sacred and holy union between a man and a woman, and that these types of committed loving relationships provide a healthy foundation from which a society can build upon and thrive well into the future.

    But as you already noted, the 2nd paragraph might as well be missing because the internal logic doesn’t matter to you.

  66. Gavin

    DR84, I am not going to answer the hypothetical question, but I am glad the other discussion went well.

  67. SteveK

    Here’s where your nonsensical logic takes you, Gavin.

    You deny me (a male) something, anything for whatever reason and I can rightfully sue you – and win. You discriminated against me based on my male gender because the practical effect is the same. That’s all the law cares about.

  68. DR84

    Gavin-

    OK, and I am correct to say it is your view that the $135000 fine levied against the bakers in Oregon for not making a cake intended to celebrate a “wedding” between homosexual women is fair and just? That has been my understanding of your position.

  69. Gavin

    SteveK,

    You displayed nonsensical logic, but it’s not mine.

    Also, the point I was making was only related to the point from page 5 of the ruling, arguing that there was discrimination. The issues of free speech and free exercise of religion are addressed later in the ruling. No one will be surprised that he explains it more thoroughly and eloquently than I could.

  70. Gavin

    DR84,
    I have no opinion on the fine. Obviously that is a huge amount of money. I have no idea how they arrived at that number.

  71. DR84

    Gavin-

    OK, but that they were fined at all is in your view fair, correct?

    If so, do you think it is fair for the gay baker to be fined for not baking cakes intended to celebrate “weddings” between two straight men because doing so is against his conscience?

  72. Gavin

    I’m not going down this road, DR84. I’m glad we had a productive conversation.

  73. DR84

    Gavin-

    We have already been going down this road, and having a productive conversation has lead us to this question. Perhaps you have a reason why this question is not helpful that you could explain. You have stated clearly you believe the bakers in Oregon broke the law. You have stated, in so many words, your uncertainty to how badly they should be punished. So, why can you not state whether you think this hypothetical gay baker would be a lawbreaker or not just as you believe the Kleins in Oregon are and if so, should be punished the same as the Kleins?

  74. G. Rodrigues

    @DR84:

    If Gavin does not give a fig about the “internal logic”, why should he give a fig about what is just or fair? Because the latter presupposes the former. As he said, the “internal logic” may be different, but — whatever. It is a fundamental principle of justice and fairness, that essentially similar situations should be treated similarly, and essentially different situations should be treated differently. But for this to work, one has to give a fig about the “internal logic”.

  75. JAD

    Here is some depressing news:

    Churches, like virtually every functioning corporation, protect against liability risks and the potentially ruinous costs of litigation through liability insurance. With same-sex marriage now recognized as a constitutional right — and with news of Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries awarding a lesbian couple $135,000 in damages for “emotional, mental and physical suffering” after a Christian bakery refused to bake their wedding cake — pastors are reaching out insurance companies to make sure they’re covered. And at least one insurer has responded with a preemptory denial: no coverage if a church is sued for refusing to perform a same-sex wedding.

    Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/420928/churches-gay-marriage-insurance

    Don’t think that this is just about freedom of religion. We’re in danger of losing freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of association… all our basic rights. Say goodbye to America. The country many of us grew up in is vanishing before our eyes.

  76. DR84

    No coverage…why? I can only think they either believe such a lawsuit is unthinkable or that it would be unwinnable. The latter is much more rational and ominous.

  77. DR84

    Also, I suppose the insurer could just be acting on principal and are willing to give up the money made by offering this coverage because it violates their conscience to protect who in their view are acting on bigotry.

  78. SteveK

    It appears in all these decisions that the actual reasons for refusing service don’t matter, Internal logic be damned as someone put it.

    Okay, we can play by those rules.

    Maybe the (temporary, we hope) best approach is to avoid giving a solid reason in the first place. Don’t saying anything about gender.

    In today’s touch-feely world “I felt uncomfortable” or “It was very stressful” or “We didn’t see eye to eye” is as sufficient a reason as any and you don’t need to elaborate when pressed. Just keep it at the emotional/vague level and repeat the answer when asked why you didn’t do business with this customer. Make the accuser prove that you discriminated because of their gender. You’re not doing that anyway.

    It’s a real shame that it has come to this.

  79. JAD

    One of the things that depresses me the most is the flat footed, inept response from so-called Christian “leaders.” I am not alone. Recently, for example, Fox News commentator Bill O’ Reilly “expressed frustration over the lack of unified action among religious leaders to defend the tenets of the Christian faith, which have received strong blows amid growing support for same sex marriage and ongoing debates about the religious freedom restoration act.”

    “It is very rare, [he said,] to see any high ranking Catholic cleric defending the faithful publicly. Protestants are a little bit better, but organised efforts to defend the Christian faith are rare. Therefore, the anti-religion people have a free fire zone to attack at will.”

    He continued: “There isn’t an organised attempt as there is in the gay lobby, abortion women’s reproductive rights lobby. You don’t have anything on the Christian side.”

    http://www.christiantoday.com/article/bill.oreilly.and.ann.coulter.call.out.christian.leaders.for.lack.of.action.against.attacks.on.christian.faith/51981.htm

    While there have been some modest gains on the pro-life side, those have been long time coming… It’s honestly too little, too late. I think challenges from SSM are much more serious. No Christian that I know of in this country has ever been forced against their will to have an abortion. However, there have been several people who have been fined, fired and driven out of business because of their opposition to SSM, even before the recent SCOTUS decision.

    The other side is winning because Christians, and other supporters of traditional values, have been out organized, out spent, out maneuvered and out snookered. Pep talks and pious platitudes are not sufficient responses. We need bold and decisive action and that requires bold and decisive leadership. Who at present is providing that kind of leadership? Name me some names… a name. I can’t think of anyone.

  80. SteveK

    JAD,

    We need bold and decisive action and that requires bold and decisive leadership.

    The more I think about it, the more I think the strategy needs to be something similar to what I said in #81.

    The message is clear, society doesn’t care about our *current* arguments regarding the right to religious freedom so let’s focus on what society does care about – tolerance, anti-bullying, anti-hate. Make our arguments center around these things.

    For example, in today’s culture a company can stop doing business with another person simply because that person holds a view that is intolerant of another group. We can do the same.

    The SSM machine is clearly intolerant of Christianity (anti-Christian) in the sense that they don’t tolerate others celebrating their Christian faith out in public – so let intolerance be our reason for cutting ties and not doing business with a person.

    The SSM machine is clearly bullying people and businesses to live against their good conscience, so let the fear of being bullied be our reason for not doing business.

    Say nothing about gender or religious freedom. Focus on the bullying, the anti-Christian attitudes (which in their language is ‘hate’) and the intolerance.

    Let these be our reasons until such time as they back off and give us our freedom back.

  81. DR84

    Stevek-

    I think they will just say it is perfectly fine to be intolerant of intolerance and keep on insisting it is us that are not being intolerant.

    Also, even if our arguments are not working in the sense that most people are convinced, they are internally consistent and sound. The arguments work and are far and away better than any argument for their view. I see no reason to abandon them or even just let them be the backup plan.

  82. Another Steve

    “I wonder if a business can categorize their custom cakes as works of art rather than a commodity product. Sell art, not cakes. There’s definitely a legitimate amount artistic creativity that goes into making these cakes. The law seems to give artists a lot of say when it comes to how their art will be used.”

    That was the argument made by Elane Photography and their attorneys. Her case was rejected by the NM Supreme Court and was appealed to the US Supreme Court, who chose not to take the appeal.

    That doesn’t mean that there won’t be another case later on that they will choose to take up.

  83. Shane Fletcher

    Hi JAD,

    “No Christian that I know of in this country has ever been forced against their will to have an abortion. However, there have been several people who have been fined, fired and driven out of business because of their opposition to SSM, even before the recent SCOTUS decision.”

    You are comparing them incorrectly. In this instance not being forced to have an abortion is akin to not being forced to marry someone of the same sex.

    Or refusing to supply flowers used to celebrate a same sex wedding is akin to refusing to sell flowers for the funeral/memorial of an aborted fetus. Has anyone heard of such a case?

    Sincerely
    Shane

  84. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    It’s similar yet different.

    Being forced to supply services to a same-sex wedding is a violation of conscience, just as being forced to have an abortion would be, so there’s similarity there; but there is definitely an extreme difference of degree, so in that way you’re right.

  85. JAD

    Is there really an extreme difference in degree? Why then have Christians allowed abortion to become a back burner issue?

    The last time I interacted with Shane he was a moral subjectivist. Is that still his position? If it is, what grounds does he have to make moral judgments about anything? There are no differences of degree from a moral subjectivist perspective.

    As to the other responses. Arguments, especially when they are ignored by the other side, are not actions. I said we need bold and decisive action and leadership. What actions has anyone been taken? What kind of actions should we be taking? Who are the leaders? Name some names. I can’t think for any.

  86. SteveK

    DR84
    “I think they will just say it is perfectly fine to be intolerant of intolerance and keep on insisting it is us that are not being intolerant.”

    The idea is to provide relief from being sued by not outright mentioning gender, not to convince them that our arguments are correct. The latter discussion can continue at another time. Emotionally charged situations are not conducive to good reasoning. Make them prove their case.

  87. SteveK

    JAD,

    Arguments, especially when they are ignored by the other side, are not actions. I said we need bold and decisive action and leadership.

    My proposal is to change the language we use while holding onto the same fundamental argument. It’s needed because society has changed.

    It’s been demonstrated again and again that if your reasons are stated in the *language of religious conviction*, the courts will find you guilty – so let’s appeal to less fundamental realities in order to be more convincing.

    That doesn’t mean you give up your religious convictions and stop living them out. It means you explain your convictions in language that society can relate to and understand.

    Example:
    Suppose you are asked to explain why the government shouldn’t force you to kill an innocent human being.

    You can explain why in language that references God’s divine nature, created purpose, sin, etc (which are the most fundamental realities that explain why), or you can explain why in language that references human value, justice, abuse of power, etc (which are less fundamental).

    Both are accurate ways of explaining the same objective truth.

  88. Chris

    I’m with Raz, near the top of this thread.

    Who the heck cares? I will never for the life of me understand why so much energy is expended on debating and arguing over how two people have sex or how two people can be married. Just let them do what they want.

    Who cares?

    I much prefer this website when the focus is on interesting questions like origins, creationism, arguments from design, morality (who you have sex with is not a part of that), the problem of evil, and all of the other interesting classical philosophical problems.

    More of that, and less about sex and gay marriage please.

    Anyway, just my opinion.

  89. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    You have a highly idiosyncratic definition of morality. Why, it almost sounds as if you think there’s no moral significance to one’s decisions about whom one shares one’s most intimate relationships with.

    How utterly strange of you to think that.

  90. JAD

    Steve K,

    You are still not seeing the distinction between arguments/ rhetoric versus action. When the state of Oregon issues a cease and desist order to Aaron and Melissa Klein that is an action (an order) not an argument. When Klein and his wife refuse to obey that order they are acting—taking a position– not just arguing. The state of Oregon is not interested in the Klein’s arguments. They are demanding that the Klein’s pay a $135,000 fine. (BTW that fine is due this coming Monday.)

    The Klein’s are evangelical Christians. What are evangelical churches and evangelical leaders doing to support the Klein’s? I suggested some things we could do earlier up at comment #11. Is there any merit to my suggestions? It would take some organization. But I can point out some ways the Christians have organized to meet similar challenges in the recent past. Why is nobody doing anything here?

    Sadly it’s the same old pattern. A cultural challenge presents Bible believing Christians with an opportunity; they squander the opportunity. Are we just going to keep abandoning people like the Klein’s? If I was Christian leader with notoriety and influence I’d be out in Portland right now talking, to local pastors seeing how we could band together and organize to help the Klein’s. This is just not about helping them. This is protecting our way of life. If you are a Christian the Klein’s are who we are.

  91. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    By the way, Chris, this post wasn’t about sex or marriage. It was about freedom of religion. Some of us think that’s interesting, too, in very practical ways.

  92. SteveK

    JAD,

    I suggested some things we could do earlier up at comment #11. Is there any merit to my suggestions?

    Yes there’s some merit there. I think it’s best to implement ideas like this *quietly* so not to garner the attention of the anti-Christian SSM machine. Perhaps this is why you don’t see a public leader. I can assure you that people are having these discussions.

    Related to your idea, the following idea isn’t structured as a religious organization but the effect is similar.
    ——–

    A separate business is formed that makes custom cakes, selling only business-to-business. They don’t advertise so only the cake shop below knows they exist.

    The retail cake shop sells only catalog wedding cakes, just like Tom described. In talking with customers in the store or over the phone, the cake shop learns that some customers share their religious views (i.e. they share the traditional marriage view).

    As a favor to these valued customers the cake shop mentions that they can go the extra mile and help them get a cake that is not a catalog cake. You see, they know about this other business and can pull a few strings – even get them a really good price.

    I know of no law that forces a business to be equally generous to every customer. You can do favors for some of your customers, but you don’t have to do favors for all of them.

  93. JAD

    SteveK,

    Yes there’s some merit there. I think it’s best to implement ideas like this *quietly* so not to garner the attention of the anti-Christian SSM machine. Perhaps this is why you don’t see a public leader. I can assure you that people are having these discussions.

    Acting quietly will not do. Read the opening chapters of Acts. Peter, John and James (John’s brother who is one of the first Christian martyrs, Acts 12: 1-2) were not implementing their ideas quietly. They were out preaching in public. They were not afraid of opposition or persecution. They were not afraid of being persecuted and imprisoned for engaging in civil disobedience.

    Aaron Klein has said, “For years, we’ve heard same-sex marriage will not affect anybody… I’m here firsthand to tell everyone in America that it has already impacted people. Christians, get ready to take a stand. Get ready for civil disobedience.”

    Aaron is courageously making a bold public stand, and the response from our Christian leaders is to quietly back him? That’s not leadership, it’s cowardice.

    As someone has been completely demoralized by the anemic “Christian” response in the past it’s very discouraging. This is not the first time I’ve seen something like this. I graduated from college in 1973, the same year SCOTUS decided Roe v. Wade. I am not at all assured. I am certainly not reassured.

    Quiet discussions are not what we need here. We need a plan of action. The Klein’s, and others like them, need to be surrounded, supported and protected.

    Like I said earlier if I was a Christian leader with national notoriety and influence, I’d have a plan… a message. I’d be out in Portland, Oregon right now organizing a response. It would be a public response. It would grab national headlines. I have an idea how to do that. Why don’t any of our so-called leaders? We can’t win this war with secret plans.

  94. DR84

    JAD-

    Yes, the response has been anemic and even cowardly by Christian. However, in the eyes of the secular culture and even among many professing Christians, the Klein’s are simply hateful people and modern day segregationist’s. They simply are not the type of people who are going to garner much sympathy

    With all the talk of Christian organizations and even churches possibly losing their tax exempt status for not supporting ss”m”, I do wonder how things will go *if* that does happen and the membership of an entire church gets arrested for not vacating after they lose their church because they cannot pay the taxes (or alternatively, lose it because they cannot pay up after losing a sexual orientation discrimination lawsuit). What will it take for leaders to step up en masse? Will it have to go this far? I am afraid it will.

  95. JAD

    DR84

    However, in the eyes of the secular culture and even among many professing Christians, the Klein’s are simply hateful people and modern day segregationist’s. They simply are not the type of people who are going to garner much sympathy.

    What are you saying? Because SSM activists have successfully demonized and vilified the Klein’s we just throw them under the bus? That’s pretty cynical. My point was that because the Klein’s are willing to take a public stand that we take that stand with them, not because it is the expedient thing, but because it is the right thing to do. Nothing we do at the present is going to be popular. To think anything else is delusional.

  96. SteveK

    JAD,
    Doing something quietly doesn’t mean doing nothing – it means being discreet. My comment about doing it quietly was in reference to your suggestion that we broadcast to the world in advance that we’re going to form these large religious targets. I’d rather not broadcast this and make it easy for the opposition to find and then sue out of existence.

  97. Patrick Reynolds

    Why be concerned over Christian bakers? How about Christian doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who shouldn’t be forced to work on gay and lesbian patients because of their Christian conscience?

    How about Christian EMT workers who shouldn’t be forced to respond to calls involving gays who are hurt because of their Christian conscience?

    How about Christians firefighters who shouldn’t be forced to work on the burning houses of gays and who, out of conscience refuse to go into burning homes to rescue those who are gay or their children.

    How about Christian police and other law enforcement agents who shouldn’t be forced to handle cases involving gays and lesbians?

    There are whole fields of work besides bakers and county clerks who shouldn’t be forced to have to deal with gays out of the perception that working with them or treating them medically somehow indicates support for their lifestyle.

  98. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    What conscience considerations are you talking about?

    We are NOT against treating gays and lesbians as human beings. Good grief, where did you get that distorted idea from? Are you TRYING to misunderstand us? It seems like it would be hard to get it that wrong. You’d have to start from the premise that we’re hardly human ourselves! (Do you believe that? DO YOU?)

    We are against treating same-sex marriage as something to celebrate. That’s different. If you can’t see that, at least we can.

  99. Patrick Reynolds

    We are NOT against treating gays and lesbians as human beings.

    You can understand my confusion. Human beings get married but since you oppose gay marriage then by definition you don’t treat gays as human.

  100. DR84

    Patrick-

    The institution of marriage involves male/female relationships, no same sex relationship is part of it. It has nothing to do with gay relationships, never has, never will, and never can.

  101. JAD

    SteveK,

    I have no problem being prudent and discrete as to how we would help the Klein’s on the business side. However, the Klein’s themselves are making a public stand. That is what needs to be supported.

    On the other hand, for my idea to help others like the Klein’s nationwide, it has to be shared with others in the Christian community at large. That can’t be done without disseminating the idea openly. Obviously, those on the anti-Christian left would also have access.

    One of the things that could be done by a well-known, well respected Christian leader is to hold a Billy Graham style evangelistic outreach in Portland. The Trailblazers arena, in the off season, would be an ideal location. A topic for one of the talks: Marriage is God’s Idea, not Man’s. I think that topic, the right speaker and public support of the Klein’s would be enough to generate opposition from the LGBT community. They’d give the event national publicity. Of course they’d also try to shut it down. How ironic, the so-called “liberal” left can’t tolerate free speech.

  102. Patrick Reynolds

    In some cultures marriage is one man, one girl, others it’s one woman and several men, others it is one man, several wives as well as additional girls/women on the side. Who gets to decide for everyone else what marriage is or isn’t? Why are you the ones who get to dictate to others who can and cannot be married?

  103. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Patrick, I have a BreakPoint article coming out in this sometime this week. Your misunderstanding here is all too common.

    Here’s an advance hint. Is there any association in all of American history between regarding someone as less than human and denying them marriage rights for that reason? There was in the period of the eugenics movement about a hundred years ago. Other than that, marriage right have not been denied even to those who were tragically considered less than human.

    Marriage is not granted or denied based on that decision grid. Marriage for same sex couples has never been denied for that reason. Those of us who still contest it do not do so for that reason.

    Maybe you can’t tell the difference, but we can.

    If that’s not clear enough, hang on for a fuller explanation Wednesday or Thursday.

  104. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    You say, “Human beings get married but since you oppose gay marriage then by definition you don’t treat gays as human.”

    An equally valid conclusion would be, “then by definition you don’t treat marriage as an institution for same-sex couples.”

    That’s equally valid in the strictly logical sense. Since it’s equally valid logically, then your conclusion is not entailed by the premises, and it’s invalid to treat it as if it were. The alternative interpretation I’ve suggested here is better supported by other facts, such as the fact that we do not, in fact, deny the services you think our beliefs would lead us to deny.

    The logic shows your conclusion does not follow, and the facts contradict your conclusion, so I think you would do well to drop the stereotype leading you to adopt that false conclusion. Stereotyping is unbecoming of you.

  105. SteveK

    Patrick

    Human beings get married but since you oppose gay marriage then by definition you don’t treat gays as human.

    Your argument seems to be that we should not oppose whatever human beings do. If you give that a moments thought, you’ll know this is not universally true.

  106. Patrick Reynolds

    #107. If you can show that there is a universal (recognized by all cultures and religions) definition of marriage, one that explicitly prohibits same sex couples from being married then I would like to see it. There have been several cultures who have recognized SSM.

  107. Post
    Author
  108. Patrick Reynolds

    What does that have to do with this discussion?

    Sorta obvious, I thought. You are advocating a specific form of marriage – one man, one woman – and I am asking where this is actually defined and by what authority. There are and have been many types of marriages that span time, religion and culture. Did you know that in the Indian culture one could marry a dead person? That was considered a valid marriage.

    You have stated that gays have no rights to marriage. Where does this come from? Who said they didn’t? Or is this just your opinion – that gays should not marry?

    I just want to know what universally recognized authority are you basing all your claims on and thus denying gays the right to marry. If this is a belief just within the Christian religion/culture then why should that adversely affect those who do not adhere to your religion/culture?

  109. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Patrick, look at what we’ve discussed here.

    1. You yourself pointed out in #100 that Christians do not discriminate against gays and lesbieans generally in area except (as you understand it) marriage.

    2. That in itself is prima facie evidence that we’re not (as you charged) treating gays and lesbians as subhuman.

    3. You concluded in #102 that our stance on marriage implies we consider gays and lesbians as subhuman.

    4. I showed in #107 that your logic in #102 is faulty; your conclusion doesn’t follow from the evidence or premises.

    5. Therefore your charge that we’re treating them as less than human is refuted by the evidence you yourself brought forth.

    This is not complicated.

  110. Patrick Reynolds

    You yourself pointed out in #100 that Christians do not discriminate against gays and lesbieans generally in area except (as you understand it) marriage.

    I never said that Christians do not discriminate against gays and lesbians (not lesbieans). I don’t know where you dreamed that one up, or why. On the contrary, Christians discriminate against gays and lesbians in housing and jobs. Christians can and have fired people for just being gay. Randal Rauser’s seminary, for example, will not hire gays and lesbians in any position. Numerous schools have fired instructors, both male and female, once it was found out that they were gay or lesbian, even though their job performance was rated excellent by both faculty and students. You should also check google news and see that several ministers, including some in Tempe AZ and in California have called for the mass killing of gays and lesbians.

    So what is your universally-recognized authority for declaring marriage to be only between 1 man and 1 woman?

  111. SteveK

    Patrick

    I just want to know what universally recognized authority are you basing all your claims on and thus denying gays the right to marry.

    Have you asked yourself the question: by what authority (recognized or not) do humans have *any* rights?

    Don’t you think this question needs to be answered before anyone can answer the question you just asked?

  112. Post
    Author
  113. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Re: #113: Yes, I’ll grant that in positions where our beliefs collide, and where beliefs are important to the job, we discriminate. D’oh.

    I’d be willing to bet Lambda Legal wouldn’t hire me as a strategist, either.

    So let’s keep the discussion on some reasonable ground, okay?

  114. Patrick Reynolds

    I answered your question in #110. You said that there were God-given rights to marriage and that did not include SSM. I just want to know what you base that on.

    My examples of Christian discrimination and treatment of gays included pastors advocating for their killing. One only treats people they consider to be subhuman that way.

    It is not a red-herring question. Since various forms of marriage, including SSM, have been recognized in various other cultures or religions what do you base your assertion that gays do not have the right to marry on? It it solely your religious belief/opinion? Seems like a fairly simple question to answer.

  115. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Your answer in #111 makes the specious assumption that if there is no universal agreement there is no authority and no definition. False. The herring stinks.

  116. Patrick Reynolds

    Let’s say that I am a baker or other business person – do I have the right to refuse service to heterosexual or Christian couples because doing so violates my belief?

    If I am a county clerk or marriage judge – do I have the right to refuse service to heterosexual or Christian couples because doing so violates my cherishly-held beliefs?

    Would you be okay with me refusing to serve you, your family or your friends and fellow believers because of your religion or sexual-orientation?

  117. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    RE: #117: I know of at least one atheist who has publicly said, “The only good Christian is a dead Christian.” Does that mean atheists think Christians are less than human? No. No more than one pastors’ stupid statement represents Christians in general.

    This is still not complicated. This is obvious. Your prejudice is blinding you. Let go of it, Patrick, for your own integrity’s sake, unless you want to live the rest of your life as a hypocrite, calling Christians prejudiced while practicing this extreme sort of bias yourself!

    And no, it’s not solely my religious belief or opinion.

  118. Patrick Reynolds

    Your answer in #111 makes the specious assumption that if there is no universal agreement there is no authority and no definition. False. The herring stinks.

    You still seem to refuse to answer my question. It is still not a red-herring. What is the reason that we should accept your reasoning that gays have no rights to marry? How would you show in an objective way that gays have no right to marry?

  119. Patrick Reynolds

    This is still not complicated. This is obvious. Your prejudice is blinding you. Let go of it, Patrick, for your own integrity’s sake, unless you want to live the rest of your life as a hypocrite, calling Christians prejudiced while practicing this extreme sort of bias yourself!

    How am I biased and to what?

    Several pastors have advocated the killing of gays even putting it up to a referendum in California. Others have advocated that gays and atheists should all be rounded up and put into concentration camps. These were said during various sermons and the audience applauded so it is not a case of one lone wolf advocating an extreme position.

    I just want to know what you are basing your assertion on – that gays have no rights to marry.

  120. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Your question in #121 is answered in #120, in my forthcoming, book, in books by Stonestreet and McDowell, Girgis, George, and Anderson, Reilly, Esolen, Brown, and others.

    And you know what’s funny? The way you ask the question, it’s almost as if you think there’s no answer we could give.

    I’m not “seeming” to refuse to answer your question. I’m calling it a red herring, for reasons already stated.

    Let’s say that I am a baker or other business person – do I have the right to refuse service to heterosexual or Christian couples because doing so violates my belief?

    Is that supposed to mirror some baker or business person’s approach to gay couples? If so, you’ll have to phrase the question more specifically.

    If I am a county clerk or marriage judge – do I have the right to refuse service to heterosexual or Christian couples because doing so violates my cherishly-held beliefs?

    Probably not, because when you hired in for that position you implicitly expressed your agreement to provide those services.

    Would you be okay with me refusing to serve you, your family or your friends and fellow believers because of your religion or sexual-orientation?

    That’s too broad of a question. If I wanted to buy a cake from you, I’d be okay with it. If I needed your EMT services while I was dying at the side of the road, I wouldn’t be okay with it.

    Think, Patrick, think. You’re oversimplifying life in your own mind. It’s your prejudices at play. Life isn’t that simple.

  121. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    “Several pastors.” (#122).

    Who? Which pastors? How many, really? Out of how many tens of thousands?

    Just out of curiosity, do you think you as a skeptic take a more scientific view of knowledge than Christians?

    Do scientists draw generalizations based on such incredibly unrepresentative samples?

    I just want to know what you are basing your assertion on – that gays have no rights to marry.

    Then read the links and the books. There are multiple complementary answers. Don’t expect me to rewrite all those thousands of words here.

    (My own book isn’t available for purchase yet. If you want the other titles to read, I’ll be glad to send you more specifics.)

  122. Patrick Reynolds

    I’d be willing to bet Lambda Legal wouldn’t hire me as a strategist, either.

    Actually, it would be illegal for them to not hire you based on your religious beliefs or preferences. It was written into federal law and upheld by many of those same judges who support SSM. Talk about irony – they were protecting your rights, too!

  123. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    You’re wrong again, Patrick, on the point that’s actually in question. It would be perfectly legal for them not to hire me based on my opposition to same-sex marriage.

  124. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Now, take a deep breath, please, and re-read this afternoon’s discussion.

    Have you raised a single point yet that’s stood up to scrutiny?

    If so, which one?

  125. Ray Ingles

    Tom –

    Who? Which pastors? How many, really? Out of how many tens of thousands?

    It’s not a majority, certainly. Not even a plurality. But neither is it a trivial number. And killing isn’t the only issue. There are plenty of clergy advocating for making homosexual behavior illegal, and and for speech restrictions on discussing homosexuality.

    I mean, Bryan Fischer isn’t some nobody. People running for President court the Family Research Council. The ADF aren’t a fringe group. Truth In Action isn’t just some podunk church in the woods.

  126. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Ray, get a life.

    You don’t go to anti-Christian web sites for information on what these people and groups believe about gays and prison, especially when those sites DON’T EVEN MENTION killing, which was (do you recall) the topic in question, on which you wrote, ‘

    It’s not a majority, certainly. Not even a plurality. But neither is it a trivial number. And killing isn’t the only issue.

    These links don’t mention speech restrictions, either. If they did want restrictions, and if it were (for example) restrictions on speech concerning sexual acts on public airwaves or in lower school grades, then you should agree with them, if you have any brains. If it were about promoting homosexual acts of intimacy in any public school, then I would certainly agree with them. I don’t think sexual acts of any kind should be promoted. I could provide more examples.

    You are incredibly deceived. Stop spewing it here. Check your facts before you try this kind of nonsense on a site devoted to thinking.

    Here’s how I know you’re wrong.

    First, I have friends who are ADF lawyers. They don’t want gays in prison (to take one example, borrowed from Brayton’s headlines).

    Second, I have a close friend who was on the ADF board for many years. He doesn’t want gays in prison.

    Third, I have a close friend who was COO for the Truth in Action ministry for many years. He doesn’t want gays in prison.

    How on earth did you ever come up with the insane idea that Good As You and Ed Brayton are reliable sources on this? How did you come up with the ridiculous idea that what they posted supports your thesis anyway?

    You have got to take a closer look at how you’ve been deceived, and how you’re deceiving.

    Fourth (with subpoints), here’s some more data for you.

    1. The ADF website has exactly three articles with the words “gays” and “prison” both appearing in them. Check them out. (Looking at what an organization says is an awfully good way to find out what they say.)

    2. Truth in Action has the same number of such articles. One of them is titled “Overcoming Hate with Love.” Is that the offense you’re faulting them for??????

    3. Guess how many such articles are at the AFA site (re: Bryan Fischer)?

    4. The Family Research Council has more than three, but it has the same number advocating gays going to prison: zero.

    Now, when you look at those Google searches, count how many of the links are about actual and/or potential left-wing desires to put pastors and Christians in prison.

    Your information (if I may do violence to that word by assigning it to whatever you call your last comment) is specious, wrong, misleading, insulting, inhuman, and finally, sourced in really stupid places.

    Do you consider that insulting? Think of what it feels like to be on the receiving end of the demeaning and degrading nonsense you’ve just spewed. At least I have some grounds for thinking that what I’ve written is true.

    Get a life.

  127. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Please pardon the angry tone of my last comment. It should have had a tone of complete ROFL, hilarious, can-you-even-believe-he-said-that? incredulity over Ray’s ridiculous assertions instead. My mistake.

  128. Ray Ingles

    Sorry, I’ll link to Christianity Today. Or Hardball. (MATTHEWS: So, we should outlaw gay behavior? SPRIGG: Yes. )

    Sorry about the “speech” one, forgot to include links. Here’s a link. And another. Fischer and Lively are hardly lone nuts with personal websites or something. And the main push for the restrictive laws they are praising (Russia, Uganda, Nigeria) comes from Christians.

    The sites I linked to actually link to the original statements. More statements than just their websites, too – testimony before governments, for example. If you think they’re taken out of context, feel free to present some. And the real search terms to use on those websites is “Lawrence v. Texas”, which vacated ‘sodomy’ laws. E.g. like this. Opposing that decision is supporting laws criminalizing homosexual behavior, period. Like, say, Truth In Action.

    Of course not everyone in each of these groups supports these positions. But there’s plenty of it, and the fact that you don’t see it is surprising. The ADF finally finally had to dismiss Fischer as an official spokesman, but still kept him around for his talk show… ’cause what he says is popular with a not-inconsiderable demographic.

  129. JAD

    Some have suggested that we look to the Pro-life movement as a way to move forward after the recent SCOTUS decision legalizing SSM. I don’t have a problem with that. There are probably some things we could borrow from the pro-life movement as we try to figure out how to respond to this new challenge.

    However, I think a better model would be the home school movement.

    A few years ago I attended my niece’s home-school graduation in South Carolina. Some people reading this may be puzzled by exactly what I mean. Do you mean her parents had a party for her? Well yes, but only after her official graduation, which was a full blown traditional cap and gown ceremony, held in a large auditorium, where hundreds of other homeschoolers had gathered along with their families to listen to commencement address and then walk down the aisle to receive their high school diplomas.

    Of course, I already knew that my niece had an active social life through her home-school association (which belies one of the myths about homeschooling). For example, she competed on home-school athletic teams (soccer and basketball), which competed against, not only other home-school teams, but even some regular private high schools. She was also involved home-school plays and musicals… went on field trips… went to home-school dances. I think there was even a home-school prom. Not only did none of this exist when I was in high school, it wasn’t even being dreamed about. (BTW she won some academic scholarships at some top public universities.)

    Earlier I suggested a way (see comment #11) in which churches could organize to help and protect business owners like the Klein’s. Obviously my idea would require some organization. Some people may balk at that and question whether or not it is feasible. But look what the homeschoolers have been able to do. The home school movement has very quickly spread nationwide. I don’t think it my idea would require anything like the degree of organization that homeschoolers have accomplished. Churches, after all, are already involved in the wedding business.

    Unlike Tom’s idea my idea would extend the umbrella of protection to other wedding related businesses—florists and photographer’s, for example. Is my idea the best idea? I don’t know. Does anyone have a better one?

  130. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    The CT article is behind a paywall.

    I don’t know what’s wrong with what was said on the Chris Matthews site about uncloseted gays serving in the military, and it sure as heck has nothing to do with prior conversation. Sprigg did support criminal sanctions on gay behavior, under intense interrogation by one of the most liberal news commentators in all of journalism. Do you have any supporting documentation of him saying anything like that when not being played hardball with?

    Anti-gay propaganda? Have you read “The Overhauling of Straight America”? Have you seen the propaganda they recommend–the out-and-out hate they’re perpetrating against us?

    But that’s a tu quoque, right?

    No.

    Bryan Fischer did not recommend propaganda. Read it again. His comments were against propagandizing. Read it. READ IT!

    And good grief, he made very clear analogies to other similar limits on speech in the public schools. Here’s a clue for you: When RightWing Watch posts a headline like, “Bryan Fischer Once Again Calls For Enacting Russian-Style Anti-Gay ‘Propaganda’ Laws In America,” read the article and find out whether the headline is true.

    Now, he does advocate for talking students out of homosexuality. Is that propaganda? Then I’m a propagandist. Then using reason and evidence and intelligence is propaganda.

    You have a sick definition of propaganda if you think that’s what Bryan Fischer was advocating here.

    Who the heck is Scott Lively, who does he represent, and why did you mention him? I’ve never heard of him or his organization. As far as Alexa is concerned, he’s a nobody. There are 226 sites linking in to his, as compared to 2,109 linking in to FamilyLife and 494 here at TC.

    If you can read the D. James Kennedy page and not sense that there’s compassion there, then I’m sorry for you.

    If you can read the writings of Christians here and still think we hate gays the way you describe, then you’re guilty of drawing evidence out of thin air and stereotyping to boot.

    If you think anyone who disagreed with Lawrence v. Texas wants gays silenced, imprisoned, or killed, you have a truncated view of what it means to have a conversation and to be able to think with a bit of nuance about a complicated issue.

    Black and white thinking much?

    If you want to pretend you can convince me that what I know about the ADF, Truth in Action, and others like it is wrong, because you’ve read it on some website, then you have another think coming. I am not a newbie around here. I am not going to let you get away with the nearly slanderous remarks you’ve made, as if I knew nothing about what you were talking about.

    I call on you to retract your calumny expressed against me and my friends.

  131. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Try this for a change, Ray.

    Ask me if I hate gays. Ask me if my friends hate gays. Ask me if we want them rounded up and put in jail. Ask me whatever you want.

    If you find out what my friends think, then you’ve found out what most of these organizations think. Because Ray, I’m not just sitting in my bathrobe blogging in bed. Many of the people you’re talking about–the ones in the mainstream groups, that is–are my friends.

    You’ve insulted my friends quite enough. You’ve pressed your false case twice now. You’re wrong, Ray, and I know it from personal experience.

    I won’t let you poison my website with your falsehoods, prejudice, stereotypes, and insults masquerading as researched fact, from websites whose anti-Christian hostility is transparent for everyone to see.

    Did you get that? I won’t allow it here.

  132. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    It’s one thing to trade arguments on issues.

    It’s another thing have to to listen to my friends being falsely and rudely accused by someone who thinks he knows a little bit about them based on what he reads on websites devoted to bringing them down, and myself being insulted likewise through my association with them.

    Disagreement is always okay. This rude nonsense, however, ruins my attitude and my day, and if it continues someone’s going to be disinvited from having the opportunity to ruin any more of it.

  133. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Correction at the end of #133. I wrote AFA when I meant ADF. It’s corrected now. I don’t have much of a personal connection with anyone at the AFA.

  134. d

    I have a hard time seeing how anything Ray posted compares to the all-to-typical ‘The Liberal Gay Agenda Is Coming To Throw Us All In the Gulag’ type posts, from Jad, BillT, SteveK, etc in pretty much every thread on this topic.

    Your blog might be poisoned – but Ray is generally a breath of clean air amidst it all.

  135. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Well, for one thing, he’s demonstrably wrong. For another, he’s wrong about friends of mine. What Ray has been wafting into the conversation has not been clean air.

    For another, your comment just now was inflammatory with its overstatement of what’s happening here on this blog. What you see here is likely colored by your own demonstrated prejudice, which to some degree, maybe a great degree, you apparently share with Ray.

    For another thing, if you take your rhetoric down several notches so it matches the way people are actually writing here, we’re not demonstrably wrong. There is calm, scientific, sociological research Sprint the existence of anti-Christian hostility among members off America’s elite, I have a blog post coming on that later this week.

  136. Ray Ingles

    Tom –

    If you can read the writings of Christians here and still think we hate gays the way you describe, then you’re guilty of drawing evidence out of thin air and stereotyping to boot.

    If you can read what I wrote as an attack on all Christians, instead of a report about what a subset believe, then you’re guilty of drawing evidence out of thin air as well, and black and white thinking.

  137. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Ray,

    I am practically sputtering in bewildered frustration.

    I did not read what you wrote as an attack on all Christians. Your “if” statement here refers to something you’ve made up out of thin air. It was a cute rejoinder, except it was a rejoinder to nothing that had been said.

    I read it as a report on what a subset believe, and I responded to it as such. I pointed out how you misrepresented that subset; how your report was in effect a misreport.

    Whether it was an attack on all Christians or some subset thereof, it was a false attack, and in many ways it was an attack on friends of mine, whose position you have seriously distorted.

    Now, do you or do you not understand that your attack is based on information you have gleaned from biased web sources which in many cases (Brayton, for example) didn’t even present evidence to support their own headlines, much less your claims here? Do you understand that you’ve been misled, and you’re propagating those distortions?

    Do you understand that that is what I’ve been complaining about here? Would you at least try to understand that much, instead of distorting my words, too, in the way you just have?

  138. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    To quote something I said last night:

    Disagreement is always okay. This rude nonsense, however, ruins my attitude and my day, and if it continues someone’s going to be disinvited from having the opportunity to ruin any more of it.

  139. SteveK

    d,
    All I’m trying to do here is figure out a way to stop people from being forced to do something against their good conscience. It’s happening. Do you see this as good?

  140. Gavin

    SteveK,

    All I’m trying to do here is figure out a way to stop people from being forced to do something against their good conscience.

    Are you looking for a way that does not have the effect of discriminating against gay people, or a way that does have the effect of discriminating against gay people? If you were looking for the former, or if either is fine, your search would be over because the solution is obvious: “We don’t do weddings.”

    Do you see this as good?

    If what you are looking for is a way that does have the effect of discriminating against gay people, then no, it is not good. It is quite the opposite.

  141. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Gavin, do you know that not all discrimination is unwise, uncalled for, unjust?

    Do you know that discrimination is not the single most important test of justice in all the world?

    Do you know that sometimes the decision not to discriminate against one class results unavoidably in discriminating against another, so that mere “discrimination” can’t be the only test of social policy?

    If so, could you re-write your questions in a way that takes some of that nuance into account? Because the way you wrote it, it almost sounds like you’re saying if there was discrimination against gays, then — Look out! and No need to ask any further questions! — there’s evil there!!

  142. Patrick Reynolds

    In other words, Gavin, when Christians discriminate against gays they do it for all the right reasons but when others discriminate against Christians, well that is just plain old Christian persecution.

  143. SteveK

    Gavin,
    Why limit yourself to only that solution? Another option is don’t get married. Still another is kindly buy your cake from another business.

    Why don’t you advocate these other options – specifically the last one?

  144. G. Rodrigues

    If what you are looking for is a way that does have the effect of discriminating against gay people, then no, it is not good.

    This is an enthymeme; there is a missing premise here. One obvious candidate is:

    (1) All discrimination is not good.

    But (1) is evidently false. There are various ways to change (1), but, as a matter of history, it is well-known that the Pretzel Logicians on the SSM side will be begging the question, or smuggling some liberal bias of their own, or commit some other egregious fallacy. In fact, Gavin, The Master Pretzel Logician, already said what amounts to “Damn logic!”, so it is a good bet that he will chop it here as well. At any rate, if he does not care about logic, why should we care about *his* arguments? Not that he has any, mind you. But the question still remains and is a perfectly natural one. He certainly does not care about our arguments, dismissing them with a wave of the hand, so why should we even listen to someone who does not care to dialog but only impose his will through the coercive power of the state?

  145. Gavin

    SteveK,

    I don’t advocate those solutions because the baker has no control over those things. Those are not practical solutions for the baker.

    I will advocate for another solution: “We would be happy to make a cake for you.” That’s practical.

  146. SteveK

    Patrick,
    If forcing people to find what they want at another business is persecution to you then who am I to argue?

  147. G. Rodrigues

    And if any more proof was needed, here is Gavin’s solution to the practical problem: “roll over”. Cute.

  148. Gavin

    Tom,

    “Yes,” to all of your questions, and none of that is relevant to the question I asked in 143.

  149. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Indeed. Gavin says that the whole problem of Christians finding it a violation of conscience is for them to happily violate their consciences.

    If that’s all conscience means in your world, Gavin, then good luck living there.

  150. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Gavin @151: See #147.

    Or did he miss what’s really going on? Maybe it was this instead:

    “I don’t give a s**t about your arguments, and you’re stupid to think I should. Therefore I’m right and you’re wrong.”

  151. Patrick Reynolds

    SteveK,

    If forcing people to find what they want at another business is persecution to you then who am I to argue?

    I have no idea how this fits into what I said. A for effort, though.

  152. Post
    Author
  153. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Patrick at 154: E for lack of effort. You could have explored how it fits in before you dismissed it with such a supercilious air of superiority. Or you could have asked. Instead you resorted to the argumentum ad smarterum, one version of which is, “I’m smart enough to discern the stupidity of your argument, therefore I can ignore it.”

  154. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Patrick, Gavin, even apart from our ethical differences on homosexuality and marriage, do you or do you not place some value on logical reasoning? Could you please demonstrate it if you do? You haven’t presented a single argument here that can’t easily be refuted. You’re not grappling with the issues. You’re treating them as easy and simple, lending your thoughts here to easy and simple refutations. Because honestly, you haven’t put up a single thought here that hasn’t been effectively rebutted, and so far you haven’t even made it hard for us.

    If you’re going to comment on a thinking sort of blog, put in the effort that belongs with it. Please.

    But it’s going to be hard for you, because the arguments you’re trying to give us aren’t easy to uphold. They’re not sound.

    (If you disagree with me on that, try harder to show why.)

  155. Post
    Author
  156. Patrick Reynolds

    #152
    So Christians can subjugate women for 1900 years or more, own slaves for 400 years, wipe out much of the Native population here in the Americas work to stop contraception but when someone asks you to bake a cake all of a sudden you get an attack of conscience?

  157. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Patrick,

    The premise of this question is filled with as much as invidious tendentiousness as the one you wrote on the other thread.

    If there were an argument there I’d answer it. Actually, you could find answers yourself if you would just do a search for those topics here on this blog. That would be the better way to go, because you’ve raised the kinds of questions that require an informed, thoughtful answer. (It’s easy to ask an inflammatory question, though, isn’t it?)

    But there’s no argument there, just prejudice, distortion, and hatred.

    And I’ll bet you thought we were the haters.

  158. SteveK

    Gavin,
    The solution to being robbed at gunpoint is not to stop selling products as you are advocating when you recommend to stop selling wedding cakes.

  159. G. Rodrigues

    So Christians can subjugate women for 1900 years or more, own slaves for 400 years, wipe out much of the Native population here in the Americas work to stop contraception but when someone asks you to bake a cake all of a sudden you get an attack of conscience?

    Remember guys, what Patrick Reynolds said of himself: “I have done nothing more than ask questions in order to learn.”

  160. Gavin

    Tom,

    I honestly cannot make any sense of your comments 144, 153, and 155.

    Regarding 152, my “make the cake” solution was in response to SteveK’s “don’t get married” solution. They are both ridiculous. Sorry I didn’t make that clear.

  161. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Gavin, your comment 143 seems to depend on the belief that discrimination is bad in itself, and that because it’s bad in itself, that badness trumps all other ethical considerations. Thus my comment #144.

    My comment 153 shouldn’t be that hard to figure out. You told me my comment 144 was irrelevant, without bothering even to inquire into what I meant by it (until now, that is). That’s an awful easy way out, you know.

  162. Patrick Reynolds

    Patrick, Gavin, even apart from our ethical differences on homosexuality and marriage, do you or do you not place some value on logical reasoning?

    I have been asking for reasons (logical or not) as to why you have an anti-gay agenda but all I get is insults from you rather than reason-based responses.

    If you can point out anything that I have said that is false then please do so but everything I have said is very verifiable.

    Sorry to disappoint you but I really do not hate you at all even when we disagree about gays. I have Christian friends that I love dearly. I have Christians co-workers that I enjoy working with. Do you have gay friends? I suspect you have to say that I hate you in order to avoid any rational discussion of the issues but please go ahead if that makes you feel better about yourself and your position on gays.

  163. Gavin

    Tom,

    My point is simple. The bakers can act according to their conscience and obey the law by saying, “we don’t do weddings.” This is so obvious that I am continually surprised when SteveK asserts that he is looking for a solution and that people are being “forced” to act against their conscience.

    Does anyone think this is false?

  164. Gavin

    Tom @164,

    Gavin, your comment 143 seems to depend on the belief that discrimination is bad in itself….

    Every time I mentioned discrimination in 143 I said “discriminating against gay people.” I do not think that discrimination is bad in itself, I think that discrimination against gay people, by a business that serves the public, in defiance of the law, is bad.

  165. Patrick Reynolds

    Tom,

    I’ve seen you insult and mock me but I have yet to see any refutation of what I have said. I am still waiting for you to contribute to a rational discussion on why gays should be discriminated against.

  166. G. Rodrigues

    @Patrick Reynolds:

    I have been asking for reasons (logical or not) as to why you have an anti-gay agenda but all I get is insults from you rather than reason-based responses.

    I will quote what you said in this very thread:

    So Christians can subjugate women for 1900 years or more, own slaves for 400 years, wipe out much of the Native population here in the Americas work to stop contraception but when someone asks you to bake a cake all of a sudden you get an attack of conscience?

    Here in this very paragraph, you state quite clearly for everyone to read, that *all* Christians, including the ones commenting on this blog (you even use the pronoun “you”), are the moral equivalents of slave owners and genocidal murderers. It is there, very explicitly, for all to see. And then add, as a rhetorical question, if we have no conscience, since we were capable of all those monstrosities, what is the problem with baking a cake?

    And you have the chutzpah, the gall to feign indignation at being insulted? Here, let me tell what you can do with your indignation: shove it where the sun does not shine.

  167. Patrick Reynolds

    #169

    Please tell me, Mr. Rodriquez, what did I say that is not true and accurate?

  168. Ray Ingles

    Tom, you said, “If you can read the writings of Christians here and still think we hate gays the way you describe”

    I was talking about other people – Fischer, Lively, Sprigg, Gushta, etc. It was in no way a personal attack on you. But you made it about you. I’m not tarring all Christians, or even most Christians, or even the largest subgroup of Christians, with an accusation. I’ve explicitly disavowed all of those notions.

    The attitude and intent I’m talking about is not common among Christians – anymore, in the United States. But their numbers are not negligible (2013 is the first year since 2003 that the Texas state GOP’s official platform didn’t call for recriminalization of sodomy), and their effect on other parts of the world is pretty terrible (Russia, Uganda, Zimbabwe again).

    Then using reason and evidence and intelligence is propaganda.

    We’ve talked about the term propaganda before. The main issue is that it’s often a very subjective call. “They do propaganda, we do educational outreach.”

    Case in point, when you say, “Now, when you look at those Google searches, count how many of the links are about actual and/or potential left-wing desires to put pastors and Christians in prison.” My links to commentary with sources are scurrilous vitriol, but your links to commentary with sources are perfectly trustworthy.

    Do you understand that you’ve been misled, and you’re propagating those distortions?

    No, I don’t understand that. And I don’t understand your defense of Sprigg. Do you think he meant what he said, or that he didn’t?

    What do you imagine the consequences of the repeal of Lawrence v. Texas would be?

  169. SteveK

    Gavin,
    I’m directing my comments to the bakers whose good conscience says to bake wedding cakes. I suggest you do the same when recommending a solution.

  170. G. Rodrigues

    @Patrick Reynolds:

    Do you engage in dialog with the moral equivalents of slave owners and genocidal murderers? Do you engage in dialog with people whose moral conscience is virtually non existent, that they are capable of committing such monstrosities? I do not.

    I have little patience for your idiotic, ignorant, insulting gossip. You cannot even be bothered to spell my name right.

  171. Patrick Reynolds

    Mr. Rodrigues,

    Thank you for your very prompt reply. I have never said that Christians of this age have no moral conscience. I merely pointed out that historically many Christians were able to do horrible (by today’s standard) things to people outside their own group that were in total agreement with their conscience and religious beliefs. And, at the time, they did it with full belief that it was good and what God wanted or commanded.

    I certainly do not believe that Christians of your or Tom’s caliber want bad things for gays I have to ask if maybe just being guided by one’s conscience and religious beliefs is enough. Based on just a historical perspective it does not seem to be a good or reliable guide and, as you can see, it can lead one to allow horrible behavior in people.

  172. Gavin

    SteveK,

    I’m directing my comments to the bakers whose good conscience says to bake wedding cakes.

    They should start a non-profit ministry that bakes wedding cakes. That solved the problem for the wedding chapel in Idaho, if I remember correctly.

  173. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Patrick @ #165 and #168: Show me one place where you’ve asked for a reason-based answer without loading up your question with tendentious and invidious assumptions, and I’ll provide the answer you’re looking for. The insults you’re getting have to do with your fallacious question-asking. I won’t answer a question explaining why I think my position is right, when the question includes the assumption that my position is wrong.

    Gavin, your point may be simple in #166, but we were talking about #143, weren’t we? If you want to just let go of #143, then we can move on to your question in #166. Fair?

    Your point in #167 is highly discriminatory, and I don’t think you see it. Tell me this, by way of clarification: is every act of discrimination against gay people, by businesses that serve the public, always and universally bad without qualification?

    Patrick @170: see #160, and kindly don’t raise the question again. It’s been answered, and you need to do your homework. By the way, note that the questions you raised call for informed, thoughtful answers, and for that kind of thing it’s really quite necessary to refer you to other sources.

    Ray #171: Yes, it was a personal attack on me. You attacked the ADF and Truth In Action, where I have personal friends with whom I agree. It was also a falsely based attack, built upon false information. I do agree with you that the attitude and intent you were talking about is uncommon. I don’t know why you ascribed it to mainstream evangelicalism, but maybe you’ve learned not to do that.

    My defense of Sprigg is that I do not think it’s fair to assume that a person’s response under that kind of interrogation represents their actual reflective beliefs. It appears to me he may have been cut off while trying to clarify and explain. Chris Matthews is prone to letting conservatives hang that way; he’s one of the most biased people in all journalism. So I don’t know what Sprigg really thinks, and neither do you.

    What do I imagine the consequences would be if Lawrence v. Texas were repealed? Court decisions don’t get repealed. They get re-decided. It would depend on how it were decided. I doubt it would lead to criminalization.

    Patrick @174: You are playing with words, and your historical understanding is still really quite distorted.

  174. Patrick Reynolds

    Tom,

    Patrick @ #165 and #168: Show me one place where you’ve asked for a reason-based answer without loading up your question with tendentious and invidious assumptions, and I’ll provide the answer you’re looking for. The insults you’re getting have to do with your fallacious question-asking.

    If you want to look for any piddly little excuse not to talk to me and have a reasoned, rational, discussion that’s fine with me. We don’t have to talk although I was really, sincerely, trying to understand you r position on the whole SSM issue.

    Thanks for at least admitting you were the one doing the insulting and not me. I admire your honesty here.

    Thanks and have a good day.

  175. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Patrick,

    I have to ask if maybe just being guided by one’s conscience and religious beliefs is enough. Based on just a historical perspective it does not seem to be a good or reliable guide and, as you can see, it can lead one to allow horrible behavior in people.

    First, your version of the historical perspective is not accurate, so I wouldn’t suggest drawing any conclusions from it. More interestingly, though, if being guided by religion or conscience isn’t a good idea, what alternative do you propose?

  176. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    LOL!!!! ROFL!!!!!!

    (“piddly little excuse” … “admitting you were the one doing the insulting and not me.”)

    I’m sorry, Patrick, but that just made my day. Thanks!

    Have a nice afternoon.

  177. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    One last reminder: when you’re asking for a “reasoned, rational discussion,” it’s been in this form:

    1. Tom: Let’s start by agreeing that my beliefs are correct, and then,
    2. Explain why your contradictory beliefs are correct.

    That’s not piddly, Patrick.

  178. Post
    Author
  179. Gavin

    Ok, Tom, let’s talk about 143. I don’t think this is an especially enigmatic comment, but here it goes.

    In 142 SteveK claimed:

    All I’m trying to do here is figure out a way to stop people from being forced to do something against their good conscience.

    I don’t think that is a complete explanation of what he is trying to do, and so I asked a question:

    Are you looking for a way that does not have the effect of discriminating against gay people, or a way that does have the effect of discriminating against gay people?

    I explained that I don’t think he is looking for a solution that does not have the effect of discriminating against gay people because a solution of that sort is obvious. I have not gotten a direct answer, but SteveK said something helpful about this in 172. I hope that leads to a constructive discussion, and if it does there is no need to directly answer my question.

    In 142 SteveK also asked a direct question:

    Do you see this as good?

    I answered with my opinion (with a restrictive qualification):

    If what you are looking for is a way that does have the effect of discriminating against gay people, then no, it is not good. It is quite the opposite.

    I am not trying to persuade anyone here, I am answering the question with my opinion. I hoped that I was answering it in a way that would at least help SteveK and others understand why the answer to his question is not an obvious, unqualified “Yes” in the eyes of everyone here.

    We all agree that searching for solutions is good. We don’t all agree that searching for solutions that have the effect of discriminating against gay people is good. We are probably not going to resolved that disagreement, but I think it is helpful to be clear about where we disagree, and where we don’t.

  180. Patrick Reynolds

    1. Tom: Let’s start by agreeing that my beliefs are correct, and then,
    2. Explain why your contradictory beliefs are correct.

    What should my attitude be?

    Patrick: Tom, my beliefs are wrong – what should I believe? Don’t bother with reasons, just tell me what I should think?

  181. BillT

    For those who oppose bakers, photographers, florists, wedding planners ability to decline to participate in SSM ceremonies could you answer this question. Do you see the kind of services offered by the above the same as or different than the kind of services offered to the public by people and companies that do things like oil changes, sell groceries, cut lawns, invest your money, sell houses or fix your refrigerator?

    In other words, is there something whereby we can differentiate the kinds of businesses that offer “arms length” business services and those that require a level of personal involvement that could be recognized and dealt with in some different manner?

    P.S. I haven’t been completely involved in this thread so excuse me if a raise a topic that has been broached earlier. If so please refer me to a post # and I’ll begin again there.

  182. SteveK

    Gavin,
    Regarding solutions : Your ‘have the effect of’ criteria is too focused on the outcome while ignoring other relevant things. You need to consider the reasoning that drives the outcome but you’re not interested in those relevant things. Internal logic be damned, remember?

  183. DR84

    Gavin-

    It seems to me that you have yet to establish that not making a cake for or not photographing a same sex “wedding” has the effect of discriminating against people that identify as gay (because they identify as gay).

    A photographer could for example tell a man that identifies as gay that wants the photographer to be at his same sex “wedding” that he would love to photograph his wedding if he were to have one.

  184. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Patrick, what your attitude should be is really not complicated. I’ve explained it more than once.

    If you want to know why I believe what I believe, go ahead and ask. You’re welcome to do that. But your questions have been, for example, “Where is there a Christian church that loves gays by supporting gay marriage?”

    Your question assumes that a church that loves gays must also be a church that supports gay marriage. It’s the same category of error as if a corporate attorney asked an environmental activist, “If you say there’s some environmental activist who supports corporate responsibility, well, I can’t find one. Where is there an environmental activist who supports corporate responsibility by promoting dumping only at night?”

    In this case the question assumes a tendentious definition of corporate responsibility. In your case the question assumes a tendentious definition of loving gays. The environmental activist would not accept the premise of the corporate attorney’s question. I haven’t been willing to accept the premises of some of your questions.

    Look at it this way: Suppose it were unknown which of us were right about gay marriage. Suppose there were, say, even a 10 percent probability that I was right. The way you asked the question, there was a 0 percent probability that I could have been right; because the only possible answer I could have given would have been one that conceded that you were right and I was wrong.

    Now suppose in my view there’s a considerably higher than 10 percent probability that I’m right. Why on earth would I consider it helpful to answer a question that requires me to begin with the concession that I’m wrong?

    And yet, when you did that I answered anyway, quite respectfully there in fact. When a few comments later I noted how you snuck a tendentious premise into your question you resorted to a tu quoque. Later you acted innocent about these premises; and later on you interpreted sarcasm with respect to that as hatred.

    Here on this thread you wrote another comment with tendentious premises.

    I’ll admit my answer in #160 was rather accusatory, but your sarcastic misinformation in #159 deserved it. I offered you advice, by the way, on how to find better information, but in #165 you said, “If you can point out anything that I have said that is false then please do so but everything I have said is very verifiable.” No, it isn’t. You need to do the reading I suggested to you. Further, in #170 you said, “Please tell me, Mr. Rodriquezn [sic], what did I say that is not true and accurate?” and you continued to hold to your position in #174.

    As for sarcasm, let’s also add your comments 145, 154, the end of 165, here,

    As for inserting false premises into your questions, see also #165 (I don’t have an anti-gay agenda, even though I have an anti-gay-marriage agenda);

    You said in #168, “I am still waiting for you to contribute to a rational discussion on why gays should be discriminated against.” That’s odd, because my whole contribution here, with you that is, has been to try to get you to quit throwing in fallacies such as assuming your conclusion.

    If you would ask a non-fallacious question you would get a clear answer. In fact, that was what you finally did, and what I’m doing now in response. Don’t you think we could have gotten a lot further a lot sooner if you hadn’t waited so long? (Although admittedly I’m giving you grace, because your question in #183 also displayed a fallacy, the false dichotomy.)

    Not only that, but I’ve been asking you contributory questions myself before now. See for example #178, which, if you’d truly been interested in a reasoned discussion, you might have answered, because it wasn’t a question based on any fallacies. (Even if you disagreed with the first thing I said in that comment, the question did not depend on such agreement.)

    Again, if you want to have a positive discussion leading toward mutual understanding, try not to phrase your questions in a manner that assumes that the only right answer is one that you agree with.

  185. Gavin

    SteveK,

    For the situation we are discussing, discrimination against a protected class by a for-profit, open-to-the-public business, I think that the outcome, especially an obvious, foreseen outcome, is the only thing that matters. If you think that there are other relevant factors please provide some evidence that those factors are legally relevant to determining whether there is discrimination in the situation under discussion.

    You may want to argue that the discrimination is protected by the first amendment or something, but that is a new argument. You were making the argument that this wasn’t actually discrimination because of the logic behind it. That is a misreading of what discrimination means in this context.

    You see, segregationists tried this internal-logic thing—poll taxes, literacy tests, red-lining. The internal-logic escape hatch had to be slammed shut, and it was slammed shut. Discrimination against a protected class is based on outcome, period.

    Note: I’m not actually sure about the difference between a “protected class” and a “suspect class.” If anyone wants to clarify that, I’d be interested.

  186. JAD

    It just occurred to me that there is an easy way that the Aaron and Melissa Klein could have avoided all their troubles. They could have lied. And they would haven’t had to tell any big lies, just little ones.

    Here is how it would work. A customer walks into the Aaron and Melissa’s bake shop and say’s she wants to order a wedding cake.

    “Okay, who is the wedding for?” Melissa asks. She writes down the names.

    She then asks, “When is the wedding?”

    The customer provides the dates.

    Next Melissa says to the customer, “Let me check my schedule.”

    She then goes into another room to check the schedule.

    If the names are male-female and the schedule is open she takes the order. If the names are not male female, Melissa goes back and politely tells the customer, “I’m sorry we’re completely booked that week. I just would not be able to do another cake.”

    No customer has the right to demand service under those circumstances.

    If the Klein’s had told a little lie like that just think of the trouble they could have avoided and no one would have been the wiser.

    What would be wrong lying in a situation like that? After all, those sympathetic with SSM agenda lie, distort and deceive with impunity. Just read some of their comments on this thread. They are either lying or they’re just plain stupid and ignorant. (Well, I suppose it could be both.)

    Obviously Christian’s don’t have that option. Furthermore societies based on dishonesty don’t function very well, which is another reason Christians need to fight and win this battle.

  187. Patrick Reynolds

    If you want to know why I believe what I believe, go ahead and ask. You’re welcome to do that. But your questions have been, for example, “Where is there a Christian church that loves gays by supporting gay marriage?”

    I was merely giving an example of one possible way for Christians to show love. After all you said that Christians love gay people. I was just trying give one possible example just to move the conversation along. I was hoping you would provide your own examples of how Christians show love to gays. It didn’t have to be only in the way my examples stated.

    If Bob said to me that he loved Lilly I would ask him in what way does he show his love for Lilly. Does he buy her flowers? Does he take her out to dinner? While those are all possible ways for Bob to show Lilly love, they certainly are not the only ways and the questions provide him an opportunity to clarify his statement. In the same token I presented possible ways to show love to gays but they are not the only ways and you were more than welcome to present ways you feel show love to gays, that’s all.

  188. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Patrick, if that was all you wanted you could have explained that after this comment rather than pulling that tu quoque.

    Or maybe, just maybe, you really don’t know the difference between a legitimately asked question and one that contains an illegitimate assumption hidden in it. Maybe, just maybe, you didn’t realize that I would have a bit of difficulty agreeing with you that a church that supports gay marriage is an example of a church that loves gays. Maybe you didn’t intend it to be considered a necessary feature of a church that loves gays. Maybe, just maybe you didn’t see the question-begging nature of this:

    What I don’t find Christian websites who show love for gays. I don’t find Christian websites who fight for gay rights. I don’t find Christian websites that want gays – as they are – as members of their congregations. I don’t find Christian websites favoring gay marriage and gay family units. I don’t find Christians websites that want to end discrimination against gays in housing and jobs. In short, I have a hard time finding websites that reach out to gays and want them to be included.

    And maybe you didn’t see the question-begging nature of this at #159 on this thread:

    So Christians can subjugate women for 1900 years or more, own slaves for 400 years, wipe out much of the Native population here in the Americas work to stop contraception but when someone asks you to bake a cake all of a sudden you get an attack of conscience?

    And maybe, just maybe, you still didn’t see it even after it was pointed out to you three times.

    Maybe you sincerely want to know what we think, and you just don’t know how to ask a question without throwing a bomb in along with it.

  189. SteveK

    JAD,
    “If the names are not male female, Melissa goes back and politely tells the customer, “I’m sorry we’re completely booked that week. I just would not be able to do another cake.”

    You’ve described the Greg Koukl tactic. There’s no need to lie though. Just say you’ll look into it and then don’t call back. If they call back and press for an answer say you have other commitments and leave it at that.

  190. DR84

    JAD-

    Indeed that is the Greg Koukl tactic as SteveK pointed out. Also, I am not sure that that lie is wrong based on the current circumstances and on top of that even a lie at all. Why must the baker be busy making a cake that day, maybe they are busy just being at home relaxing instead? They do not owe their potential customers a reason for what they are doing that day and why they are busy. In the present circumstances, this seems like a wise strategy for bakers, photographers, florists, planners, etc.

  191. DR84

    Gavin-

    If internal logic does not matter why does the outcome matter? How can you even determine what the outcome is…i.e. how can you even know when someone has been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or even just discriminated against at all?

  192. SteveK

    Also, DR84, the commitment I referenced is a commitment to Christ. You don’t need to explain that to customers though.

  193. SteveK

    Gavin,

    Discrimination against a protected class is based on outcome, period.

    We’re going in circles. We’ve explained repeatedly that the discrimination isn’t based on the person but since you refuse to accept this we’ll look *only* at the person and the outcome.

    To do that I’ll then repeat my comment in #70 – modifying it to be about a person in a protected class, a gay male – and you’ll again miss where this twisted logic takes you.

    Deny (outcome) a gay male (protected class) service for any reason and you’re legally in trouble.

  194. G. Rodrigues

    @Patrick Reynolds:

    I certainly do not believe that Christians of your or Tom’s caliber want bad things for gays I have to ask if maybe just being guided by one’s conscience and religious beliefs is enough.

    While I can handle your insults quite well, thank you very much (I am a big boy), feigned civility and pandering flattery breaks all the measures of my patience. So please, save your “Thank you[s]” and your “Christians of your or Tom’s caliber” for someone that actually cares.

    @SteveK:

    We’re going in circles. We’ve explained repeatedly that the discrimination isn’t based on the person but since you refuse to accept this we’ll look *only* at the person and the outcome.

    We are not going in cirles, because we are not even moving. And we are not moving because Gavin already made it abundantly clear that he is not in the least interested in arguments or logic. In the continuation of my #147, and given #190 in which he repeats his “Damn logic” baloney and curt dismissal (besides showing a complete and utter ignorance of the anti-SSM arguments, but that is par for the course),

    You see, segregationists tried this internal-logic thing—poll taxes, literacy tests, red-lining. The internal-logic escape hatch had to be slammed shut, and it was slammed shut. Discrimination against a protected class is based on outcome, period.

    could the Christian commenters here explain me why they think they should continue holding dialogue with Gavin on this issue? And I stress that my question does *not* have the intention of shutting down debate — anyone is free to discuss what they want, with whom they want, and I have absolutely no intentions to change that (or the power, come to think of it). Rather, I made a serious, natural question:

    At any rate, if he does not care about logic, why should we care about *his* arguments? Not that he has any, mind you. But the question still remains and is a perfectly natural one. He certainly does not care about our arguments, dismissing them with a wave of the hand, so why should we even listen to someone who does not care to dialog but only impose his will through the coercive power of the state?

  195. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    “Segregationists tried poll taxes, literacy tests, red-lining.”

    Now, just like them, we’re trying the First Amendment.

    I can certainly see the similarity. Can’t everyone?

  196. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    I do not believe in shutting down debate, but I have been known to get impatient with pretenses at debate, which would include conversations in which logic is dismissed in favor of “consequences” (as if consequences could be assessed apart from logic).

  197. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Ray @171, you asked what I think might be one of the consequences of some kind of reversal of Lawrence v. Texas.

    Here’s one. All the people here who are insistent that the bakery was wrong just because of the law and for no other reason (because apparently “It’s against the law” is all the reason needed) would find themselves singing a different song.

    Come to think of it, has anybody here other than Christians ever had opportunity to raise their voice against a law they thought was unjust? Has anyone ever thought about going to the Supreme Court with a law they thought was unjust?

    Naah… only Christians think about disputing laws. Only we think we’ve got a moral obligation to do that. I guess that means we think too highly of ourselves or something.

  198. SteveK

    G. Rodrigues,
    Deny a gay male (all gays) the money in your cash register because it’s not his and you’re guilty of illegal discrimination. Protected class + outcome = violation.

    Deny a gay male (all gays) a wedding cake because he’s at a hot dog stand and you’re guilty of illegal discrimination. Protected class + outcome = violation.

    Internal logic be damned!!

  199. Patrick Reynolds

    While I can handle your insults quite well, thank you very much (I am a big boy), feigned civility and pandering flattery breaks all the measures of my patience. So please, save your “Thank you[s]” and your “Christians of your or Tom’s caliber” for someone that actually cares.

    Thank you, Mr. Rodrigues, for letting me know how you feel. I will endeavor to do better in any future conversations we may have. I hope you have a good day.

  200. SteveK

    could the Christian commenters here explain me why they think they should continue holding dialogue with Gavin on this issue?

    I do it because it serves to clearly demonstrate what sin does to the mind of a human being. Sin is like meth.

    Just so he doesn’t think I’m throwing stones only at him, *all* of us have Gavin’s problem to some degree – but Gavin is openly and repeatedly unapologetic about it, and that’s the problem.

    He knows his mind isn’t working as a mind should work and he doesn’t care (internal logic be damned!!). The meth of sin is rotting his soul.

    The solution for Gavin and those like him? Repent and admit you have a problem. Step 1.

  201. David B.

    Sin is like meth.

    This is very funny. I love it.

    We bear truth and the responsibility of truth. Whatever the mores of the world, we live by our knowledge. I may sell a cake or a cracker to someone whose intended use of these items offends me, but I will never be made to feel guilty about my offense or my reasoning for it.

  202. JAD

    DR84 & SteveK,

    I’m familiar with Koukl’s tactic. I’m not comfortable with it. I don’t think a lot of other Christians would be, including some involved in the wedding business. So that’s not an option for us.

    However, I am a moral objectivist, not an absolutist. The difference? A moral absolutist would argue that lying is wrong under any and all circumstances. On the other hand, a moral objectivist like me recognizes that there are genuine “moral dilemmas.” For example, Christians, like the ten Booms, hiding Jews in occupied Europe during WWII. What do you do if the Gestapo asks if you are hiding Jews? For me that is a no brainer (thus the scare quotes around moral dilemmas.) Objectively, the morally correct thing to do under those circumstance is to lie, like Rahab did when she hid the Israelite spies. Of course, other Christians will disagree with me here.

    I just can’t justify Koukl’s tactic the same way I can justify the Rahab option. Maybe you can.

  203. Gavin

    DR84 @197,

    how can you even know when someone has been discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or even just discriminated against at all?

    Quoting from 63:

    Heterosexuals can buy a wedding cake for their ceremony, but homosexuals can’t.

    That is how you can tell that gays are being discriminated against. This is not rocket science.

  204. Gavin

    SteveK,

    I understand your argument about what you think the definition of discrimination should be. Intent is very important for your definition. You definition is a perfectly reasonable definition, and you are welcome to use it wherever and whenever you like.

    Just know that if you find yourself in front of a judge he or she will not be using your definition. He or she will use the definition that has been worked out in the judicial system over the last several decades. That definition is the one I have described. Ignore it if you like, just like the Kleins did.

    If you are genuinely interested in finding a solution to the problem of selling wedding cakes to gay couples, that solution should probably take into account the actual law as it is actually interpreted by our actual courts. Good luck.

  205. DR84

    Gavin-

    “Heterosexuals can buy a wedding cake for their ceremony, but homosexuals can’t.

    That is how you can tell that gays are being discriminated against. This is not rocket science.”

    People that identify as gay can buy cakes for their wedding ceremony, so long as they are having a wedding ceremony.

  206. Post
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  207. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    It might help you in this discussion, Gavin, to realize that we are aware of what the law says. For you to remind us that the a certain law can be used as a hammer is unhelpful, since we already knew that. The topic of discussion is whether that hammer is a just one, and how we can live according to conscience in view of what that law says.

    I know that you must have had similar discussions about some laws, where the law was a fact but the justice of that fact was not a given. We’re having it about this one.

  208. G. Rodrigues

    @SteveK:

    Deny a gay male (all gays) the money in your cash register because it’s not his and you’re guilty of illegal discrimination. Protected class + outcome = violation.

    Let’s do Gavin the honor of actually paying attention to the arguments, shall we? *Protected class* is a *legal* concept; just as *disproportionate* impact (or disparact). But disproportionate impact is not in itself illegal. For example, a hiring policy with disproportionate impact against a protected class is not illegal if the employer can justify the policy on the basis of the actual business necessities. Age is a protected class; but because of public safety concerns say, certain professions (e.g. aircraft pilots) have stricter age limits. So in order for the anti-SSM to defend himself against the charge, he has to justify that there is an intrinsic relationship between marriage and a couple whose members have different sexes. I’ll be damned, but is not that what the anti-SSM have been doing all along?

    But of course, Gavin does not care for logic, so this is all quite irrelevant.

  209. SteveK

    Gavin,
    Men age 70 can take money from their retirement account without penalty, but men age 40 cannot.

    It’s more ‘rocket sciencey’ than you’re willing to admit.

  210. SteveK

    Here’s another one…

    Heterosexuals can receive benefits for their contribution to society, but homosexuals cannot.

    Completely reasonable, but only if you consider the logic that Gavin refuses to consider.

  211. Ray Ingles

    Tom –

    You attacked the ADF and Truth In Action, where I have personal friends with whom I agree. It was also a falsely based attack, built upon false information.

    Sorry, can’t see it that way. The ADF has worked to prevent the repeal of ‘anti-sodomy’ laws in Belize, Jamaica, and India, as documented in the links I put up. I don’t think I’m remotely irrational or deceived to interpret their explicit opposition to Lawrence v Texas in light of that.

    Truth In Action opposed the U.S. State department policy of promoting LGBT rights elsewhere. But the way it was framed was all wrong, “We don’t need new laws to protect anyone from being beaten or murdered. Those laws already exist.” Not one word about, say, being thrown in jail. If they really opposed that, why not say it?

    I’m sure not all – quite possibly not even most – of the people who support and participate in these groups realize exactly what they are saying, or think through the implications of what’s left unsaid.

    I do agree with you that the attitude and intent you were talking about is uncommon. I don’t know why you ascribed it to mainstream evangelicalism

    I… er… didn’t. Can you quote the words where I did? The most I said was “not a fringe group”. That’s not the same as “mainstream”. (Again, the Texas state GOP put a plank calling for recriminalizing sodomy in their platform every year from 2003 to 2013. I wouldn’t call the Texas state GOP “mainstream”, at least for the nation, but does that mean they must therefore be “fringe”?)

    So I don’t know what Sprigg really thinks, and neither do you.

    Well, he’s certainly prone to misstatements, it would seem. Perhaps “I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions against homosexual behavior.” is one of those.

    Sorry I used ‘repealed’ instead of ‘overturned’. I will go flagellate myself with a legal dictionary or something. 🙂 That said:

    I doubt it would lead to criminalization.

    I have little doubt it wouldn’t, based on things like the stated positions of the Texas GOP.

    All the people here who are insistent that the bakery was wrong just because of the law and for no other reason (because apparently “It’s against the law” is all the reason needed) would find themselves singing a different song.

    Can I nitpick, too, and point out that you’re the only one here who’s used the phrase “it’s against the law” in this whole discussion? I don’t know anyone who’s said they were wrong “just because of the law and for no other reason”. For example, I think they were participating in the marginalization of a group that faces disproportionate and unjustified discrimination, which is the condition “the law” was devised to address.

    (That said, I agree with Volokh that businesses engaged in artistic expression like photographers and, by my experience, bakers, should have an affirmative First Amendment defense.)

  212. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Ray, I don’t know what those anti-sodomy laws are, what their penalties are, or how severe they may be. I do know that I know the ADF, and they’re not monsters. They do oppose homosexual activism, and repealing an anti-sodomy could be an instance of homosexual activism. Again, I don’t know what the context was surrounding the movement to repeal those laws, and which specific parts of that context the ADF interacted with. I do know the ADF, and they’re not monsters.

    Truth in Action was entirely right and correct to oppose the State Department’s policy of promoting LGBT rights everywhere. That’s a catch-phrase, after all, and in some interpretations of that catch-phrase I have been actively opposing LGBT rights here.

    I am not sure all of the people who support and participate in their activities would think your interpretation is anywhere near accurate, and guess what? They’re probably better informed than you are. In the U.S. at least, I know I’m better informed than you are.

    You can nitpick over my use of “against the law,” but then you’d be diving off the deep end, so I wouldn’t recommend it. People have been using that concept if not the words.

    Anyway, if you’re going to continue to regard the ADF and Truth in Action to be really bad people like you have been, then you cannot escape regarding me the same way. I don’t think you should be associating with me. I don’t think I should be associating with you, considering the way you’ve repeatedly insulted me here via my friends.

    Would you like to remain on this blog? Now’s your time to decide. I’ve had enough of this undeserved calumny, and I don’t need any more of it. You’re a guest here.

    You could say, “Tom, since you know them a lot better than I do, and since my opinions are coming mostly from biased sources that are looking for ways to insult these groups, maybe you’re right and maybe I’m wrong. I’ll retract what I’ve said.”

    You could say something like that, or you could say goodbye.

  213. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    Oh, and if you think Truth in Action are monsters for that PDF statement of theirs, then you really ought to distance yourself from me over that, too. I’m in full agreement with their statement.

  214. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    (Prediction: You’re going to say, “I never called them monsters.” Well, you thought of it, I’m sure. Now you won’t. You know what I meant by it, and you know that I know what you meant by what you’ve said about them.)

  215. AdamHazzard

    Tom, I’m inferring from your remarks here that you do not endorse the criminalization and punishment of homosexual acts between consenting adults (and that you want to distance yourself from those who do advocate that position). I hope that’s the case — am I correct?

  216. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    There are social forces in play in and around all of these legal issues. I do not support the social movements that have told us that homosexual acts are morally good or neutral. I do not agree with the social forces behind decriminalization, because they carry so much other baggage with them besides just that.

    Neither, at this point, however, would I support criminalizing or punishing such acts.

    As for distancing myself from those who would support such things, I doubt those decisions can be made on a single litmus-test issue, especially one that’s as prone to distortion by opponents as this one could be.

  217. AdamHazzard

    Just one follow-up question, and I promise to read your answer with interest and without further comment — I’m not trying to lure you into an argument. You say,

    Neither, at this point, however, would I support criminalizing or punishing such acts.

    “At this point?” Or on principle?

  218. Post
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  219. d

    Making cakes or taking photographs for human beings who happen to be gay….

    If you have a problem with these things…. Then you are barking up the wrong tree to complain about same-sex marriage…

    If you want to “fix” the “problem”, you need to lobby for change in public accommodation laws. Thats it. marriage, straight or gay, has nothing to do with any of it

    This is also an interesting case: http://tribuneherald.net/2013/08/23/kkk-wins-lawsuit-against-bakery-for-discrimination/

  220. d

    Tom,

    Its hard to see how any reasonable person can take anything you say in good faith on this topic.. since it seems to be your position that, well… you might opt to treat homosexuals fairly and equitably under the law… if their efforts to gain such status weren’t really just about misdirection, and/or creating stepping stone for some other dastardly nefarious purpose.

    Good lord man.

    Allow me to draw a parallel to the civil rights movement

    “Well, I would support equal rights for black people… but I think civil rights for blacks are just a stepping stone to reverse discrimination (aka. affirmative action)”

  221. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    But d, there is no real parallel there. I’ve explained that. See my more recent post on freedom’s end.

    Gay rights strategists were quite open about the stepping-stone approach.

    If I had believed they cared to be treated fairly and equitably under the law through civil unions, I would have been fine with that. I don’t think they wanted that; I think it would have been a manipulative tactic at best; and I don’t think civil unions stood a chance of lasting for that reason.

    In the end, based in my reading of acivists’ intent, I opted against civil unions because I don’t think they really wanted them. And if they didn’t, why should I?

  222. Post
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  223. David B.

    I don’t recall civil unions ever being a serious, permanent option. SSM advocates were going for 100 percent equality with OPM. They would not ultimately accept another option.

    I for one never opposed civil unions themselves in principle, and I guess that Tom and others feel the same way.

  224. Ray Ingles

    Tom –

    Prediction: You’re going to say, “I never called them monsters.” Well, you thought of it, I’m sure. Now you won’t. You know what I meant by it, and you know that I know what you meant by what you’ve said about them.

    You accused me of ‘black and white thinking’ before. I’m afraid I have to turn the charge back on you. Remember when you invited me to ‘ask you if you hate gays’? I’m going to have to invite you to ask me what I think of the ADF and FRC and TIA. You “don’t know what the context was surrounding the movement to repeal those laws”, but you’re quite certain you know my heart.

    Christianity holds that rejecting it is a moral failing. Ultimately, people who reject it aren’t just mistaken but are sinning, are culpably choosing evil. I don’t have to believe that about people who disagree with me. I can believe they are just mistaken, that they actually do have good intentions but have incorrect assumptions or education.

    Here’s Tozzi of the ADF: “…so long as the criminal law remains on the books, even if unenforced, a high school principal can exclude advocacy groups…” True, he says, “I am not here to advocate for draconian or cruel punishment, and I believe that application of any law must always be tempered with mercy”.

    But I can’t find any statement of his, or of any of the other groups and people I mention, that actually state that, say, jail time is ‘draconian or cruel’. And how is he to ensure a law is ‘unenforced’? Imagine there were a law against saying grace in public, but it was rarely enforced; how comforted would you feel?

    The FRC says it doesn’t support the death penalty for homosexuality, and doesn’t support “any other penalty which would have the effect of inhibiting compassionate pastoral, psychological, and medical care and treatment for those who experience same-sex attractions or who engage in homosexual conduct” – but it doesn’t actually come out and say that it opposes imprisonment.

    Benjamin Bull, executive director of Alliance Defending Freedom Global, applauded India’s Supreme Court restoring India’s law against homosexual behavior – which provides for penalties up to 10 years in prison. I saw no words whatsoever clarifying that, say, he’d prefer fines or counseling to jail time.

    What, exactly, am I to conclude? They want those laws to be retained where present, even restored when possible as in India. They think execution is too much, I’ll grant. But I can’t find anything – anything – clarifying what they think the penalties should be. And they don’t ever oppose or work to reform the actual laws on the ground that explicitly provide for jail time.

    I don’t have to think these people are monsters to think they are deeply wrong, even foolish. And I think my conclusions about their goals are pretty well-supported, by both their statements and their conspicuous silences.

  225. Philmonomer

    But d, there is no real parallel there. I’ve explained that. See my more recent post on freedom’s end.

    Gay rights strategists were quite open about the stepping-stone approach.

    If I had believed they cared to be treated fairly and equitably under the law through civil unions, I would have been fine with that. I don’t think they wanted that; I think it would have been a manipulative tactic at best; and I don’t think civil unions stood a chance of lasting for that reason.

    In the end, based in my reading of acivists’ intent, I opted against civil unions because I don’t think they really wanted them. And if they didn’t, why should I?

    Tom: I’m genuinely curious: would you have supported the elimination of marriage as a state institution (to be replaced by civil unions), and left marriage to be something that is conducted by one’s religious institution?

  226. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    No. There’s too much at stake in terms of finance, property, children, and so on, that the church is in no position to adjudicate. We need to have marriage law, so there needs to be state-recognized marriage.

  227. Philmonomer

    I’m not sure I follow. Under my scenario, the church doesn’t adjudicate anything. The state recognizes civil unions.

  228. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    I’m sorry, I misread your question. My bad.

    I guess I’d have to say I haven’t thought that one through. It would depend on how the debate played out rhetorically, at any rate, since there’s a bit of a chess game going on between gay activists and natural-marriage defenders.

  229. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    Ray, when I ended comment #218 this way, I wasn’t just whistling Dixie.

    You could say, “Tom, since you know them a lot better than I do, and since my opinions are coming mostly from biased sources that are looking for ways to insult these groups, maybe you’re right and maybe I’m wrong. I’ll retract what I’ve said.”

    You could say something like that, or you could say goodbye.

    You still have a choice.

  230. Philmonomer

    It’s a tricky question.

    I would support it (and I am for SSM). But the reality is that it would never happen (it is simply too difficult to make those changes, practically speaking).

  231. Ray Ingles

    Tom – I have a difficulty. I can’t ‘retract’ things I haven’t said – like that ADF etc. are “monsters” (or even “really bad people”), or that opposition to Lawrence v. Texas is “mainstream”, or that people on this site “hate gays”. I didn’t say any of those things. But you said that I said them, or were “sure” I really would have, or something.

    And what I have said, I believe I have supported. I’m sure you know plenty of people in those groups, and they are personable, likable people. But people can be personable, likable people and take positions that wind up having terrible ultimate consequences. (I know you can agree with that.)

    You’ve admitted you don’t know much about the state of ‘anti-sodomy laws’ outside the U.S. Inside the U.S., opposition to Lawrence v. Texas is pretty much a harmless quirk, since there’s so little chance of it being overturned. Outside the U.S., it’s rather less so. Look at Tozzi, blithely assuming that such a law will be ‘unenforced’. I’m willing to take your word that this is naiveté rather than subterfuge; apparently he’s projecting U.S. legal framework and culture onto another country. But there are people in Jamaica and Belize and India who will take scant comfort from that.

  232. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Ray, your statements toward them were hateful. Your support for it was thin, and it was sourced from people with an obvious desire to undermine and to take these groups down.

    Let me remind you of the context. You listed friends of mine as examples following this paragraph:

    It’s not a majority, certainly. Not even a plurality. But neither is it a trivial number. And killing isn’t the only issue. There are plenty of clergy advocating for making homosexual behavior illegal, and and for speech restrictions on discussing homosexuality.

    That were in answer to my questions,

    Who? Which pastors? How many, really? Out of how many tens of thousands?

    Which was in turn a response to,

    Several pastors have advocated the killing of gays even putting it up to a referendum in California. Others have advocated that gays and atheists should all be rounded up and put into concentration camps. These were said during various sermons and the audience applauded so it is not a case of one lone wolf advocating an extreme position.

    When I objected in #129 you refused to moderate your statement.

    Later you wrote,

    Tom, you said, “If you can read the writings of Christians here and still think we hate gays the way you describe”

    I was talking about other people – Fischer, Lively, Sprigg, Gushta, etc. It was in no way a personal attack on you. But you made it about you. I’m not tarring all Christians, or even most Christians, or even the largest subgroup of Christians, with an accusation. I’ve explicitly disavowed all of those notions.

    But you left the group I was concerned about in that list. And no matter what you think you did, you accomplished a personal attack on me via my friends. I’ve explained that nearly ten times on this thread, and it’s about time you noticed.

    So would you like one more chance to clarify what you mean concerning the ADF and Truth in Action?

  233. Ray Ingles

    Tom – Just to be clear… did you misread what I wrote as accusing ADF and TIA and so forth of advocating killing of gays? If so, I suggest you re-read. I didn’t. I was pointing out that you don’t have to advocate for stoning gays to death to be… problematic. Actually executing gays is an extreme position (in the U.S.) but it’s not the only cause for concern.

    What I talked about was “advocating for making homosexual behavior illegal, and and for speech restrictions on discussing homosexuality”. I think I’ve supported the former with regard to the ADF and TIA above and beyond the call of duty, in both the U.S. and outside it, up to and including imprisonment.

    The “speech” bit was Bryan Fischer and Scott Lively, as I linked. (BTW, looking back, I see that I wrote “ADF” when I meant “AFA” in #131; Fischer was a spokesman for the AFA, not the ADF.)

    you accomplished a personal attack on me via my friends

    If that were the case, much of what you say about atheists in general would be a personal attack on me, no? Unless you were actually talking about me, I haven’t taken anything you’ve written personally.

  234. Post
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  235. Post
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    Tom Gilson

    You ask,

    Tom – Just to be clear… did you misread what I wrote as accusing ADF and TIA and so forth of advocating killing of gays?

    See what I said just now: when I objected in #129, based on the original statements and their contexts, you refused the opportunity to moderate your comment.

    I think you’ve supported the idea that the ADF resisted the Lawrence decision while it was being made. If you have documented some place where the ADF has advocated a return to criminalization, I do not know where you did that. Similarly for overseas cases.

    There are both strategic and principled differences between resisting a change in some law and advocating for its return. I don’t think you’ve demonstrated any awareness of those differences, unless I’ve missed it somewhere.

  236. Ray Ingles

    Tom –

    If you have documented some place where the ADF has advocated a return to criminalization, I do not know where you did that. Similarly for overseas cases.

    #230 above: Benjamin Bull, executive director of Alliance Defending Freedom Global, applauded India’s Supreme Court restoring [emphasis added] India’s law against homosexual behavior – which provides for penalties up to 10 years in prison… They want those laws to be retained where present, even restored when possible as in India.

    There are both strategic and principled differences between resisting a change in some law and advocating for its return.

    Differences which are of strictly limited comfort if you’re in the group being targeted. The fact that ADF and TIA are willing to settle for gay people not being threatened with jail here in the U.S. is cause for only marginal rejoicing.

    Based on the evidence, it seems quite clear tom me that the ADF, and TIA, and the FRC (“Depending on the severity of the homosexual offense, a fine, prison time or even capital punishment is warranted.“) think homosexuality should be illegal when politically possible. Most don’t think it deserves automatic execution, thankfully, but that’s not the same as ‘legal’.

    Let’s turn it around. You’ve decried “hate speech” legislation and convictions before. Do you give “hate speech” activists credit for not enacting such legislation in the U.S., all because of that pesky First Amendment?

  237. DR84

    I believe I may have another solution for bakers to be able to continue to make couples wedding cakes without having to directly participate in the celebration of a homosexual relationship.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/06/azucar-bakery-anti-gay-message_n_7011202.html

    The solution is to follow the model of this baker. She refused to decorate a cake per a customer’s request because she did not support the message he wanted to convey (which was that homosexuality is a sin, and God loves sinners…this particular article gets that part of the story wrong). However she was willing to make a cake and sell him the tools so that he could decorate the cake however he wanted.

    If she can do that, another baker could tell a same sex couple they cannot in good conscience make them a “wedding” cake; however, they can make them cakes in various sizes and that couple can stack them and decorate them however they want. Maybe I am missing something (and please let me know if I am), but I believe this is very much parallel to how the baker in Colorado handled things.

    I also know for sure that this is possible, the baker that is making the cake for my wedding is only making the cakes. Do to circumstances they cannot reasonably assemble the cakes into something that identifiable as a wedding cake for us. We will be handling the stacking of the cakes into a tiered wedding cake and the final decorations. They are just giving us frosted cakes that could be made into any kind of cake.

    The symbolic aspect of a wedding cake is often overlooked in these discussions. This is not to say there is no gray area at all, but for the most part a wedding cake is recognizable even apart from a wedding. Most people if shown pictures of many cakes could point out the ones that are wedding cakes without needing to see the cake actually used in a wedding. I believe my solution may work because the baker, even though they are making cakes, is not making this particular symbol and communicating what this symbol communicates. What they sell to the customer, as they sell it, would not be recognizable as a wedding cake.

  238. Gavin

    DR84,

    If the baker offers the same cakes to everybody, it will be fine. The baker can have a policy of not making cakes that are clearly identifiable as wedding cakes.

    If the baker also sells completed wedding cakes, but only to heterosexual couples, that would be illegal.

    I agree that wedding cakes are identifiable, and carry the implied message “this is a wedding cake.” If they don’t want to make cakes that carry that message, they don’t have to make them, but they can’t make cakes with that message only for heterosexual couples.

  239. DR84

    Gavin-

    Doesnt the first amendment protect people from being forced to communicate messages they do not want to communicate? Do anti-discrimination laws trump the first amendment when they conflict?

    What you are saying here is that bakers can only express one message in their business, that both same sex and opposite sex couples can marry and have a wedding. It is illegal to communicate any other message.

  240. Gavin

    DR84,

    Doesnt the first amendment protect people from being forced to communicate messages they do not want to communicate?

    Yes, the first amendment protects people from being forced to communicate messages they do not want to communicate.

    Do anti-discrimination laws trump the first amendment when they conflict?

    No, not necessarily, but sometimes. As an example of this specific point (not an analogy), the first amendment does not protect your right to put up a “Whites Only” sign at your business. Anti-discrimination laws trump that specific speech.

    What you are saying here is that bakers can only express one message in their business, that both same sex and opposite sex couples can marry and have a wedding.

    No, I am not saying that. I do not know why you make that claim.

    It is illegal to communicate any other message.

    It is not illegal to communicate any other message. Again, I do not understand why you make this claim.

  241. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Gavin, the Whites Only sign example is true but not relevant here. The issue here is being forced to participate in speech that violates conscience and convictions.

  242. Gavin

    The issue here is being forced to participate in speech that violates conscience and convictions.

    Quick reminder: No one is being forced to participate in speech that violates conscience and convictions in these cases. Anyone can say, “We don’t do weddings.”

  243. Post
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  244. SteveK

    Anyone can say, “I’ll shop at another store because I respect people and don’t want to force someone to violate their conscience and because the law says they are guaranteed that right”

  245. SteveK

    Or they can make demands because they don’t respect people or their rights.

  246. Gavin

    DR84,

    I think the example that you cite in 243 is very helpful. Marjorie Silva, owner of Denver’s Azucar Bakery, did not want to engage in speech that would violate here conscience and convictions. She agreed to make cakes, but without the messages.

    She would sell William Jack the tools to put his message on them. Then the message would be his speech, not hers.

    Note that she was willing to sell supplies even though the customer said he would use them to convey a message she found offensive.

    You are right that wedding cakes convey a message: “This is a wedding cake.” The customer may then use the cake, a dress, an adorable ring bearer, etc. at a ceremony. These items help to convey the message “This ceremony is a wedding.” But that message is the speech of the people organizing the event, not the people who provide items for the event.

    Following the lead of Marjorie Silva, Christian bakers could say, “We will make you a cake that says, due to its design, ‘this is a wedding cake.’ What you do with it is your business.” The ceremony does not represent the bakers’ speech.

    I understand that some bakers may want to put more distance between themselves and speech that they object to, even if it isn’t really their speech. They can do that, but they might want to do that in a way that doesn’t violate anti-descrimination laws. I suggest “we don’t do weddings.”

  247. DR84

    Gavin-

    Really? Bakers can just make, in fall, something that celebrates a wedding and then in order to get around their conscience just tell themselves and everyone else they really didnt do that. That is not at all a solution and nothing at all like what Marjorie Silva did. If she followed your example, she would have written the words on the cake she did not want to write and then just said it was not really her speech anyway so she had no part it in.

    Please tell me you are kidding with this. You are not digging in deeply here and its not working. Then again, you did say internal logic does not matter, so not sure what I can expect out of you.

  248. DR84

    Gavin-

    That said previously…I am curious how far you are willing to take this:

    -Must a baker create a rainbow colored “wedding” cake for a gay couple?

    -Must a baker that does place man-woman figurines on wedding cakes also place man-man or woman-woman figurines on same sex “wedding” cakes?

    -Must a wedding photographer not only photograph a gay “wedding” but as part of the job must they also arrange the couple in romantic poses and even ask them to kiss?

    I assume for the sake of consistency the answer to all questions is yes, but I do not want to assume consistency on your part.

  249. Gavin

    DR84,

    Must a baker create a rainbow colored “wedding” cake for a gay couple?

    I think it would be fine and legal for the baker to have a policy against creating rainbow wedding cakes for anybody.

    Must a baker that does place man-woman figurines on wedding cakes also place man-man or woman-woman figurines on same sex “wedding” cakes?

    I think those figurines are usually connected. I think it would be fine to stock only opposite sex pairs. If the customer wants to buy two, (so that the customer can break them apart, and mix them up) the baker should sell them, but the baker does not have to do the rearranging.

    I even think that if the baker does sell individual figurines, it would be legal to refuse to put two same sex figurines on the cake. Putting same sex figurines on the cake changes the cake’s message from “this is a wedding cake” to “this is a same-sex wedding cake.” I don’t think the baker should have to make that cake. I do think the baker should make them a wedding cake and sell the customer two figurines so that the customer can put them on the cake, similar to the Azucar Bakery case.

    I haven’t looked at the photography cases, so I’m not going to comment on that.

  250. DR84

    Gavin-

    “This is a wedding” is the message that these bakers and other wedding related proprietors do not want to communicate.

    Granted this may have to require dealing with internal logic, but a gay couple (or anyone for that matter) could ask a baker to make them a wedding cake…the kind that says “this is a wedding”…and in the process let the baker know they are not having a wedding, not “marrying, and the cake is for a wedding-themed get together they are having. Let me know if you agree or disagree here, but I doubt anti-discrimination law would compel the baker to make this cake. The baker, in this case, would probably be free to say I dont want to make a cake that communicates “this is a wedding” for an event is not a wedding.

  251. Gavin

    DR84,

    If the baker doesn’t want his to make a wedding cake that will be used by a customer to communicate “this is a wedding” the baker can do that legally by not making wedding cakes.

    I really do like your suggestion in 243. It is a significant improvement on my suggestion. Bakers say, “we don’t make wedding cakes, but we make cakes that you can easily assemble into a wedding cake.” I don’t know if the some-assembly-required cake market is big enough to support such a specialized bakery, but it might be. That market is probably a lot bigger than the cookie-cutter, “Congratulations, Husband and Wife” market.

    I hope your idea works out for someone. (Of course, IANAL, not that anyone here is likely to take my advice anyway.)

  252. Gavin

    Sorry, I forgot to answer your specific question about the wedding cake for a non-wedding. The answer is I don’t know. Certainly there is less protection for people who are not members of a protected (or suspect) class, so this might be ok.

    I do think it is very odd that bakers police how their cakes are being used. Have any established a long record of refusing wedding like cakes for non-wedding events?

    Certainly in the case of Masterpiece Cake Shop in Colorado, the owner wasn’t sticking to this rule:

    S. Schmalz states that after learning of the Respondent’s policy, she later contacted the Respondent’s place of business and spoke to Phillips. During this conversation, S. Schmalz claimed to be a dog breeder and stated that she planned to host a “dog wedding” between one of her dogs and a neighbor’s dog. Phillips did not object to preparing a cake for S. Schmalz’s “dog wedding.”

    That certainly didn’t help the baker’s case.

  253. DR84

    Gavin-

    Why do you think it hurt the bakers case that he did not object to preparing a cake for the “dog wedding”?

  254. JAD

    One of the illegitimate moves that the secular progressive left keep making in the present debate over SSM is to argue as if there are moral absolutes. For example, they push equal rights as if they were absolute. But there is no such thing from a secular progressive (SP) perspective (there are from a Judeo-Christian one). SP’s like Steven Pinker have conceded as much. The goal of a mindless evolutionary process is not equal rights, its brute survival. If survival requires the domination and/or elimination of the weak, so be it. From a SP perspective, then, rights are arbitrary.

    Actually, on some level, they do understand this even though they won’t admit it. Being a secular progressive requires a lot of self-deception if not outright deception.

    We can clearly see the SP’s dishonesty and hypocrisy when we look at the way the Klein’s have been treated in contrast with the lesbian couple who a allegedly had their feelings hurt. The SP left continues to treat the lesbian couple as victims, while it continues to ruthlessly vilify, demonize and marginalize the Kleins. The lesbian couple had their feeling hurt. The Klein’s had their business destroyed. That is equal rights? Say’s who?

  255. David B.

    The goal of a mindless evolutionary process is not equal rights, its brute survival

    It’s worse than this, there is no goal at all. Survival just somehow happens–or not–in the course of events.

    When evolutionists advocate for ‘equal rights,’ each one advocates for his opinion and his alone. It’s insane.

  256. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Ray @242:

    You took Benjamin Bull’s comment out of context the way so, so, so many anti-Christian hate groups do so often. It was actually in support of the Indian Court’s declining to engage in judicial activism. Surely you’ve noticed by now that conservatives like the ADF (and me) consider judicial activism damaging to freedom in democracies.

    Your snide reference to “automatic execution” in 242 was incendiary and totally uncalled for.

    You say,

    Let’s turn it around. You’ve decried “hate speech” legislation and convictions before. Do you give “hate speech” activists credit for not enacting such legislation in the U.S., all because of that pesky First Amendment?

    But they’ve tried, and in local jurisdictions all across the country (college campuses in particular) they’ve succeeded.

    I don’t think you really want to be involved here as a guest. You persist in insulting your host’s friends. I’ve given you opportunity after opportunity to let loose of your insistence on doing that. You’ve refused.

    Goodbye, with thanks for all the good discussion, and regrets for the rest.

  257. AdamHazzard

    Tom, can you clarify your own opinion on legal sanctions against the LGBT community? In one of the links to the Family Research Institute provided by Ray, I found this:

    The historic Christian Church lobbied for laws against homosexual behavior, deeming it a personal and societal threat. Today, we should do no less. Depending on the severity of the homosexual offense, a fine, prison time or even capital punishment is warranted. The most important thing is to make it illegal, and thus keep those who fancy it (or seem addicted to it), off the streets, out of schools, with no ‘right’ to proselytize or advertise their preferences. (Current Russian law tries to do this without making the activity illegal; in most of the West, it must be made illegal first.)

    (http://www.familyresearchinst.org/2014/02/response-to-marvin-olasky/)

    I’m assuming you would condemn this statement. Am I right?

    (If you do endorse it, I’ll let this be my last post here. You’ve accused Ray of insulting your friends. In the same spirit, I can’t in good conscience engage in amiable dialogue with someone who would advocate for the imprisonment of mine.)

  258. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    I’m generally in agreement with Marvin Olasky, as linked to from that page.

    Homosexual practice in males is associated with increased incidence of many diseases and a reduced life expectancy. From that there could be a case made that it constitutes assault. I can’t imagine why the law would ever want to endorse it. If there is consent to the assault, however, it’s hard to see how it should or could be criminalized in our day.

  259. AdamHazzard

    Okay, thanks. Your statement is carefully worded, and I’m not sure what to make of the idea of “consensual assault” or the qualifier “in our day,” but I think we’ve established that:

    1) There are voices on the Christian right that support the criminalization and punishment of homosexuality, and

    2) You don’t wish to be one of them.

  260. DougJC

    Tom,

    Do you agree with Benjamin Bull that it was a mistake for the Supreme Court to decriminalize homosexual behavior?

    “When given the same choice the Supreme Court of the United States had in Lawrence vs. Texas, the Indian Court did the right thing,” says Bull, which was choose to “protect society at large rather than give in to a vocal minority of homosexual advocates.”

    From Benjamin Bull’s interview with the American Family News Network.

  261. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    DougJC, I just commented on how that quote was being used out of context. If you have a question, please make it an informed one, not one that’s based on a distortion, much less one that’s been identified so recently. Thanks.

  262. DougJC

    Tom,

    There’s no distortion. This is the American Family News Network (One News Now), reporting the quote, not some liberal press.

    Attorney Benjamin Bull is executive director of Alliance Defending Freedom Global.

    “When given the same choice the Supreme Court of the United States had in Lawrence vs. Texas, the Indian Court did the right thing,” says Bull, which was choose to “protect society at large rather than give in to a vocal minority of homosexual advocates.”

    The net effect is to protect the integrity of the family and by extension to protect traditional marriage.

    full article

    The quote you provide from the ADF site has no obvious intent to alter the plain meaning of the statement above. Being against judicial activism is also compatible with simultaneously believing that homosexual behavior is harmful to society and that it should not be legalized.

    You seem to have banned Ray Ingles mainly for voicing the strong suspicion that Bull and the ADF would like to make homosexual behavior illegal again if politically possible. In the absence of a statement from the ADF explicitly ruling that out, that seems to me well within the range of possible interpretation.

    Recall also that the ADF amicus brief to Lawrence -vs- Texas said nothing about judicial activism but made the whole issue about public health:

    The issue under rational-basis review is not whether Texas should be concerned about opposite-sex sodomy, but whether it is reasonable to believe that same-sex sodomy is a distinct public health problem. It clearly is.

    I have not seen the ADF retract this claim so it seems safe to assume the ADF still views homosexual behavior as a public health problem. It would hardly seem unusual to expect an organization to take additional political action against something it considers an ongoing “distinct public health problem”.

  263. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    The article from OneNewsNow was very short and provided no useful analysis or background. You say,

    The quote you provide from the ADF site has no obvious intent to alter the plain meaning of the statement above. Being against judicial activism is also compatible with simultaneously believing that homosexual behavior is harmful to society and that it should not be legalized.

    And your point is?

    You see, I am entirely convinced that homosexual practice is harmful to the participants and to society besides. The public health consequences of homosexual behavior are well known, and if the ADF had retracted its earlier statements on it I would be very disappointed in them. Science, you know. You do believe in science, right?

    Whether it should or shouldn’t be legalized is a context-dependent decision, so it might be that the decision in India was perfectly proper. Note, by the way, that context enters in here in significant ways. In the U.S. where it’s not currently illegal I don’t think it would be good to re-criminalize it. In some other location, in some other context where it’s not currently legal it might be appropriate to keep it that way. I don’t know India’s context well enough to comment further on that there, however.

    The same applies to the ADF. You say, “In the absence of a statement from the ADF explicitly ruling that out, that seems to me well within the range of possible interpretation.” Actually, in the absence of a statement from the ADF supporting the re-criminalization of homosexual practice in the U.S., it would be irresponsible to conclude they hold that position.

    The same goes for “It would hardly seem unusual to expect an organization to take additional political action against something it considers an ongoing ‘distinct public health problem’.” It’s one thing to contest de-criminalization, and another to support re-criminalization. They are two socially distinct actions.

    Your examination of the amicus brief missed this:

    Absent record evidence to negate every conceivable basis to support the statute, Petitioners are, in effect, asking this Court to engage in de novo fact finding. They are asking the Court to weigh medical evidence, without the benefit of expert testimony or cross examination, and find that same-sex sodomy does not raise a public health concern. That is not an appellate function nor even a judicial function.

    (Your explanation of why I banned Ray was not quite right. It was because of his persistence in insulting friends of mine. Read the whole thread for the full story.)

  264. Post
    Author
  265. AdamHazzard

    Note, by the way, that context enters in here in significant ways. In the U.S. where it’s not currently illegal I don’t think it would be good to re-criminalize it. In some other location, in some other context where it’s not currently legal it might be appropriate to keep it that way.

    As much as I’m in favor of irenic discussion where possible, I can’t in good conscience let this pass.

    You’re saying it’s acceptable, in principle, to imprison men and women for consensual adult homosexuality.

    We know what the history of that idea looks like. We know what bigotry looks like. You are a bigot, Tom.

    No need to ban me — I won’t be back — but I’ll happily accept a ban as a badge of honor.

    Hoping your thinking evolves on this issue.

  266. BillT

    DougJC

    Your focus on the ADF as a group that opposes legalization of homosexuality seems a bit myopic. You do know that Lawrence wasn’t a unanimous decision. Have you read the dissenting opinions from the other justices and their reasoning into why the decision was mistaken. The ADF isn’t alone in doubting the court’s decision or wisdom. You might do the same with Obergefell.

  267. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    AdamHazzard, you’re welcome to stay or leave, it’s up to you, but I didn’t say “imprison,” and you did say “bigot” based on a false extrapolation from my words. You were exploring my beliefs pretty carefully and responsibly up to that point, but then you exploded on me. I’m sorry you were so ready to find fault.

  268. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    I’m not sure who the “we” are that you’re referring to, by the way. I have an idea what hate, bullying, and bigotry (also here) can look like.

    If your “we” includes both you and me, then it includes those examples. If it doesn’t include me, then your excluding me is prejudiced and arguably bigoted.

  269. Kathi

    Would you mind clarifying your position? You are opposed to repealing laws in other countries against homosexual acts (or at least you think it would be appropriate to keep the laws the way they are), when the penalty is prison in every case I’m familiar with, but you are not in favor of imprisoning people for homosexual acts? Do you think the laws should be on the books but not enforced? Do you think there should be some other penalty?

  270. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Actually, I think I’ve made my position as clear as I can already, Kathi. There are contextual complexities involved, and if I tried to imagine/account for every one of them I’d be answering questions about it for the rest of the year.

  271. Kathi

    Would you mind pointing out where you’ve made your position clear? I’ve read most or all of the comments here and haven’t seen a clarification of this seeming contradiction.

    If that’s too much trouble, never mind.

    I’m not being snarky. I’d genuinely like to know.

  272. Post
    Author
  273. DougJC

    Tom,

    You say, “In the absence of a statement from the ADF explicitly ruling that out, that seems to me well within the range of possible interpretation.” Actually, in the absence of a statement from the ADF supporting the re-criminalization of homosexual practice in the U.S., it would be irresponsible to conclude they hold that position.

    And no one has concluded such, only voiced an opinion that, were there not an obvious political barrier in the US, the ADF holds beliefs that would cause it to support re-criminalization of homosexual practice. An opinion expressed is a statement of probability, not certainty, an educated guess in this case at hidden beliefs based on actions, behavior, and both what is said and unsaid.

    Your explanation of why I banned Ray was not quite right. It was because of his persistence in insulting friends of mine. Read the whole thread for the full story

    That I have and I saw your final step was taken for Ray’s voicing the strong suspicion that Bull and the ADF would like to make homosexual behavior illegal again if politically possible. I hold the same suspicion and hardly think that constitutes a personal insult. There were no other insults I saw that Ray did not disavow.

    But I’m sure it was not really this thread that justified your ban, though. Ray’s been your loyal opposition for, what, 3 years now? If he’s at all given to violating rules of decorum, something would have happened earlier. I think the problem is this. Ray’s been almost as prolific a writer as you on this blog. For every post, Ray has a comment critique. For every point, Ray has a counter-point. Ray has basically been a co-author of this blog but with the opposite point of view. You’ve fired your unwelcome co-author.

    Ah well. I’ll miss Ray’s cogent arguments and his endless patience and appetite for intellectual sparring, but I’m sure he’ll show up again somewhere else.

  274. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    You’ve still misunderstood, DougJC. I’m fine with intellectual sparring, or else I wouldn’t have had Ray as a “co-author” here all this time.

    You say, “If he’s at all given to violating rules of decorum, something would have happened earlier.” Yes, “something” happened earlier—frequently—and I never banned him for it. This time, though, he insisted on persistently insulting friends of mine. That’s an entirely new “something.”

    I didn’t ban him for the Benjamin Bull comment. I banned him because I gave him numerous opportunities to apologize and/or retract his insults (see 129, 134, 135, 138, 140, 218, 235, and 238, esp. 218 and 235). From July 14 until August 2 I waited. I was patient. He kept on refusing to do so.

    His fault in that last comment wasn’t so much that he did something wrong, it was that he persisted in refusing to do something right.

    He was insulting me as his host, I was patient with it for weeks, and finally I decided it was time to call him to account. If you want to invent some other explanation for why I did what I did, I can’t stop you, but I can at least show that there’s no basis for your invention.

  275. scbrownlhrm

    DougJC,

    IMO,

    FWIW,

    We all benefit from Ray’s company.

    But it’s the bit about executing, about killing insinuated in Tom’s and other’s direction with a wide, wide incendiary brush.

    EXECUTIONS.

    It’s that.

    A newcomer who visits and sees THAT go *without* a just response would only leave Tom looking *un*-out-raged by the thought of such a sickening thing.

    But we’re all outraged by even the thought…… including Ray I’m sure.

    Splashing that kind of paint around…. paint tinted with the color of killing….. it (it, not Ray) doesn’t merit tolerance.

    Yes, Christians define tolerance differently than some others might. But the sickening tint of *killing* laced in the paint merits intolerance.

    Ray’s usually quick to correct himself. We’ll see what the future holds. But plowing ahead with the incendiary….. killing…. well….

  276. GrahamH

    I have to admit I am not one to contribute too much to these social issues type posts; but I do not see any conceptual problem with a purely privately owned entity determining its own market, ethos and offerings – particularly where there are alternatives and competition. It is in many ways how we establish new markets and innovations.

    Government and essential services obviously a different matter; so too if there is only one grocery store in town. There are some practicalities, and I am no expert on the best way to deal with those.

    Otherwise I am leaning to agree with Tom on this post if I have understood him correctly.

  277. JAD

    What we have here is a thread that has degenerated into “tag team obfuscation.” Ray gets banned for being deliberately disruptive and three or four other internet trolls show up to take his place… If Tom has made any mistakes it’s been (1) putting up with Ray too long, and (2) not deleting his first comment on this thread, which had nothing to do (at least as far as I can see) with topic presented in the OP—something I and several other were honestly interested in and continuing to discuss. It appears our rights have been totally ignored by everyone, including the host.

    Francis Schaeffer did apologetics (before the internet) face-to-face in person, from and at his home in Switzerland. Some of his guests stayed overnight, some even stayed for days and weeks. I wonder if they were as rude and bold as the sanctimonious infidels who troll the internet. It doesn’t appear from what I have read that they were. It’s a lot harder to demonize and dehumanize your opponent when you’re meeting face-to-face. Schaeffer followed a simple policy: “Honest questions deserve honest answers.” Maybe we need to stop enabling people whose motives are less than honest. (Come on, they’re not hard to spot.) Maybe we need to start telling them where to go—someplace else.

  278. Post
    Author
  279. DougJC

    scbrownlhrm,

    But it’s the bit about executing, about killing

    the sickening tint of *killing*

    plowing ahead with the incendiary….. killing

    You are considerably confused here. The person who brought up killing was Patrick Reynolds in comment #122, not Ray. Ray acknowledged that those pastors who advocate killing are “not even a plurality” and moved on to a different issue: clergy advocating to make homosexual behavior illegal (#128). Tom took offense to the idea that the ADF (and other groups) are so advocating, and in response eventually Ray softened his position to one that the ADF isn’t advocating in the US but would probably do so if it was politically possible (#242).

    Indeed, if one is okay with laws prosecuting homosexual behavior in other countries (as the ADF clearly is and Tom has indicated this position as well), it’s hard to see why one would take any offense at all to the idea that one might similarly be okay with prosecuting homosexual behavior in the US if that potential were to gain enough public traction or political power to enact.

  280. SteveK

    Doug,
    Re: it’s hard to see why

    It’s not that hard for me. To understand why, you have to dig into the reasons. You’d want to look at the reason why the law is on the books. Just because there might be a reason in one county, it doesn’t follow that the same reason applies to the USA. Different situations require different laws.

  281. scbrownlhrm

    DougJC,

    It’s not hard.

    It’s about Tom, and, about some folks he knows, and, about prison, killing, and executions.

    Simple.

    A) Tom and some folks he knows. B) Prison / killing / executions.

    Tom noted:

    First, I have friends who are ADF lawyers. They don’t want gays in prison (to take one example, borrowed from Brayton’s headlines). Second, I have a close friend who was on the ADF board for many years. He doesn’t want gays in prison.

    That went on for awhile.

    Yet the incendiary brushstrokes about prison, about killing and about executions kept (somehow) making it into Ray’s comments.

    The responses from Ray was identical to your most recent comment regarding both Tom and people he actually knows (because Tom said that is the case with both himself and the folks he knows) with, “…..one might similarly be okay with prosecuting homosexual behavior in the US if that potential were to gain enough public traction….”

    All of that you say (and Ray said) in the face of #218 from Tom:

    You could say, “Tom, since you know them a lot better than I do, and since my opinions are coming mostly from biased sources that are looking for ways to insult these groups, maybe you’re right and maybe I’m wrong. I’ll retract what I’ve said.” You could say something like that, or you could say goodbye.

    And, yet again, all of that you say (and Ray said) in the face of #235 from Tom:

    Ray, when I ended comment #218 this way, I wasn’t just whistling Dixie. “You could say, “Tom, since you know them a lot better than I do, and since my opinions are coming mostly from biased sources that are looking for ways to insult these groups, maybe you’re right and maybe I’m wrong. I’ll retract what I’ve said.” You could say something like that, or you could say goodbye.” You still have a choice.

    Then in #242 the response is that the incendiary brushstrokes about killing and executing are still kept alive by Ray, who you say “dropped it” long ago somewhere around #128.

    You seem confused about #218 and #235 and about Tom and about his personal information about himself and people he knows and about killing and about prison. You even go so far as to infer that the folks Tom repeatedly brought up in #218 and #235 must have been lying to Tom because, per you, Ray got it right about said folks – you know – the folks Tom kept bringing up in #218 and #235 – folks which include (and this is the key, in case you missed it) Tom himself.

    To date, despite the nauseating repetitions of Tom with the likes of #218 and #235 (and…. and…. and….) it is the case that no one, not Ray, and, now, not you, as acknowledged that Tom and his acquaintances in said circles are, in fact, not only nowhere “near” any of those brushstrokes of prison, of killing, and of executing but are, in fact fundamentally opposed to them.

    As Christians and as those with basic reading comprehension we take it that Tom and his (said) acquaintances in (said) circles are opposed to the acts described in those (now inferred by you yet one more step along) incendiary brushstrokes of prison, and/or of killing, and/or of executions.

    As a Christian, I would not be here if I thought Tom and his (said) acquaintances in (said) circles were not fundamentally opposed to such things. As someone who can read, I take it he and they *are* opposed to such things.

    Do you, DougJC, agree or disagree with that “read” on their position regarding said brushstrokes?

  282. scbrownlhrm

    DougJC,

    Two things.

    First, I meant it when I stated that we all benefit from Ray’s company. So this isn’t coming from anyplace “over there”. I hope to see him back. I meant that too. One can’t help but learn from his level of analysis. I meant that too. Hence “this” isn’t “that”. Rather, this is just a description of the most obvious (and impossible to miss) problem in the world with which Tom is justifiably requiring a retraction.

    Secondly, I seem to have left something out:

    Tom noted:

    Third, I have a close friend who was COO for the Truth in Action ministry for many years. He doesn’t want gays in prison.”

  283. JAD

    Personally, as a Christian, I was not opposed to de-crimalizing homosexual behavior. (How do you effectively enforce such laws?) I am certainly not in favor of re-crimalizing it. However, I am in favor of increasing civil penalties when it comes to dangerous “unprotected” sex—heterosexual or homosexual. It is a complete myth that so called consensual sex causes no harm. Venereal disease can cause real and permanent damage, even death. People who spread such diseases by engaging in reckless behavior need to be held accountable. Victims need to be compensated for real pain and suffering.

    Our atheist interlocutors should have no problem with stiff civil penalties or using civil lawsuits to punish people. Look what they recently did to some bakers in Oregon for hurting the feelings of a lesbian couple– getting back to the original subject of the OP. Of course, I think that lawsuit was unjust. Hurt feelings and disappointment are part of life. They don’t result in serious long term damage. So called consensual sex can and does result in that kind of damage.

  284. Bill K

    Totally agree with JAD. Of course this is not just about punishing gays or deviant sex by other means so why stop there? It is also reckless behavior going out in public or to work with a cold or flu. This is quite serious – 3700 people died from flu in 2013. Lawsuits should put quite a dent in that!! And let’s not forget tuberculosis, measles, hepatitis, etc.

  285. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Lawsuits seem totally appropriate anytime someone who knows that he or she is a carrier of a dangerous infectious disease, or that he or she has been exposed to conditions that could likely make him or her a carrier, comes intentionally into intimate personal contact with another person in such a way that the infectious disease stands a high probability of being transmitted.

    This is especially true if that person hides his or her status as a potential carrier of a dangerous infectious disease.

    I’m assuming that’s exactly what you had in mind, Bill K. Am I right?

    (Maybe you and I both have lost track of how to insert sarcasm tags into a comment.)

  286. DougJC

    scbrownlhrm,


    about killing and about executions kept (somehow) making it into Ray’s comments.

    You are fundamentally misled if think any of Ray’s comments can be read to imply that the ADF or TIA supported killing or executions. That didn’t happen, it’s a non-starter for discussion, it has no relevance here.

    Now, as for “incendiary brushstrokes about prison”, the issue is that the ADF applauded India’s decision to restore the penalty for homosexual sex to a fine and up to 10 years in prison. Likewise, the ADF has supplied lawyers in Belize to defend the criminalization of homosexual sex where it can result in imprisonment for up to 10 years. Given this backdrop, it seems quite reasonable to hold the view that the ADF would like for all homosexual behavior to remain illegal.

    The question is whether one can reasonably hold an opinion that the ADF would like to go further, and re-criminalize homosexuality in the US. This view certainly can’t be claimed as fact, but what about expressed as an opinion? A statement of probability, not certainty, an educated guess at hidden beliefs based on actions, behavior, and both what is said and unsaid?

    I don’t hold this opinion, however, and based on Ray’s comment in #242, he doesn’t think so either. A possible evolution in his view in this thread seems to be result of Tom’s comments.

    As a Christian, I would not be here if I thought Tom and his (said) acquaintances in (said) circles were not fundamentally opposed to such things.

    How do you justify in your view the ADF working to keep homosexual sex illegal in other countries? Isn’t that actually keeping homosexuals in prison in the worst case?

  287. DougJC

    Correction in my last comment:

    The question is whether one can reasonably hold an opinion that the ADF would like to go further, and re-criminalize homosexuality in the US.

    This should read: re-criminalize homosexual behavior (sex) in the US

  288. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    This is the strangest phenomenon I’ve seen in months.

    There was a conversation.

    It involved all kinds of allusions to all kinds of groups making statements of various sorts, and all kinds of other groups being associated with all kinds of other groups.

    I objected in very specific and careful language to a certain kind of association being made between certain sets of groups.

    Now the whole thing is being replayed backward, with no regard to the carefully worded statements I made, or what I said about how those associations reflected on friends of mine (even if my friends were not being accused of doing the bad things they were being associated with).

    The result is that nothing that you’re saying here, DougJC, bears any relevant relationship with how the conversation unfolded.

    Not only that, but none of it bears any relevant relationship with the OP.

    Since none of it is relevant to anything of any real substance, how about if we all just have our last say (and DougJC, you can go ahead and make your predictable argument that what I said from the beginning wasn’t what I said from the beginning). Then I’m going to shut this thread down.

  289. scbrownlhrm

    DougJC,

    Yes, we get that your “read” or your take here is that Tom’s (said) acquaintances in (said) circles were actually lying to him (to Tom), or that Tom is lying to us about said acquaintances, and thus the truth is that they (and/or Tom) in fact are in favor of the acts described in those incendiary brushstrokes of prison, and/or of killing, and/or of executions.

    Feel free to plow ahead with that. Or, instead, pay attention to the friends / acquaintances issue.

    ~~~~~

    Hhmmm… just saw your post Tom. I’ll stop editing and leave it here. If deleted etc. I’ll completely understand.

  290. JAD

    Not to be unkind, but I am wondering how Doug did on the reading comprehension portion of those standardized tests? (In the U.S. it is commonly the SAT.) From what I see he has to be either stupid or dishonest and wilfully ignorant (not to mention being outright rude) to continue to argue the way he has. But, maybe he can explain himself… typically, all we are now hearing are crickets.

    To follow up the discussion on another subject (see #290-294,) knowing your legal rights is important, but being able to pay for a lawyer, when bringing a civil suit, is also something that also needs to be addressed. IOW having the right to sue doesn’t automatically get you a lawyer… Christians often think of charitable giving as dealing with basic needs: food, clothing… health care etc. I think we have no doubt been very negligent in thinking of a poor persons legal needs. However this is probably a topic for another thread.

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