Friday, December 13, 2013

The American Free Enterprise travesty

This week in Colorado, an administrative law judge ruled against a privately owned business, forcing the owner of a Lakewood bakery to go against his Christian beliefs and bake a cake for a gay couple celebrating their marriage.

When the polite refusal was voiced, the intimidation began. According to Phillips, the two both stood and stormed out of the store, one of them by his own admission making an obscene gesture and swearing something about an “(expletive deleted) homophobic bakery.”

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint against the owner; effectively violating his rights, so it could represent the rights of the gay couple. What?

So, now they are going to get a delicious cake, right?  I doubt it and this is stupid to put it mildly.

First, let’s throw out the complicated issue of the two men wanting to marry and let’s look at a private business and you and me. Let’s say you go into a private business and the owner smells like a barnyard, or the place is filthy, or the guy or gal takes one look at you and crunches up their face in disgust and proclaims he doesn’t serve people like you, whatever that is.

I’ll tell you what I would do. I would turn around and walk out of that place – especially if they served food or I was going to request they create a food item for me.

Would I go to the American Civil Liberties Union and file a complaint? Heck no. I would boycott the place, which incidentally is my strongest option and tell everyone I can influence to do as well.
I know, as well as you, that the word discrimination is a vulgar four-letter word, but let’s take a look at it.
1. The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, esp. on the grounds of race, age, or sex.  
2. Recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another.
I discriminate on a daily basis, especially when in public. Does this mean that I discriminate unjustly?  Unjustly and prejudicial here are the key words. In my inherently righteous mind, I do not.

I pick and choose how I react to other humans by past experience and my spiritual guide. Take for instance my view on crime and criminals. I discriminate against criminals, especially those who prey on society or commit acts of violence.

I discriminate against people who appear to be criminals or are about to make me a target. I discriminate against people who attempt to force their will on me or violate my space.  
I discriminate against anyone trying to force their religion on me, or make me violate my religious beliefs.

Does the American Civil Liberties Union really believe that the judge’s order is going to make gay people or couples rush down to this bakery and announce they are gay and request a delicious cake?  Not one in a million will do it.  Why?  I shouldn’t have to explain, but for the sake of argument I will.
To put it mildly the cake might contain undesirable ingredients. Bakers sell cakes because the public wants a delicious treat. The public also wants to believe the baker wants to sell more cakes, not make them sick.

On the other hand, the baker’s stand against what he believes is a violation of his religious views, might just cause a flood of supporting business.
There is another side to this that I feel needs to be brought to light and it is the same stance I took when the smoking ban issue was brought before our fair citizens. Neither the bakery in Colorado, nor a private business here in Baytown is owned by the U.S. government.
People shop in both places because they want to. The heart of free enterprise and capitalism is the business owner’s right to serve who they want. I still believe free enterprise allows the owner to put a sign in the front window which reads “No shoes, no service” or a sign which reads “Caution: tobacco smoke may be present.”

I agree that posting a sign which reads “White (black, fat, red, yellow, brown, short, ugly) people will not be served” is wrong, but if I knew I was not welcome there, why in God’s name would I go there in the first place? Again, I feel I must point out the obvious. I don’t want anyone spitting in my cake batter because they don’t want me in their private business and made that clear.  I just won’t shop there.

Free Enterprise: Freedom of private business to organize and operate for profit in a competitive system without interference by government beyond regulation necessary to protect public interest and keep the national economy in balance.

How in the world is it protecting the public interest to force a business owner to serve anyone against their religious beliefs, which SURPRISE, violates the First Amendment rights of that very person.  

It’s a travesty of the intent of the law and if it really is the American Civil Liberties Union, they represented the wrong party.


Barbara said...

The law is the law. Do I believe private business should be forced to go against their beliefs? No. BUT. When you choose to go in business with the public. . YOU CHOOSE to go by the laws governing the public. You can't have your cake and eat too. (I bet I made you smile) would I have forced someone by filing a lawsuit? No. I would walk away and take my money to a business who wanted it. And for sure if I was a guest. ..I would not eat the cake. Lol

Anonymous said...

Too many Californians have gone to Colorado to get away from too much government, then have demanded that Colorado be just like California. There have even been people who sued to demand that horses not whinny after dark. A private business has the right to refuse service to whomever they want and I think they should push the issue clear to the supreme court, if necessary. The first amendment guarantees freedom of religion. DT

Anonymous said...

I agree with the sentiment but disagree with the semantics

If discrimination is "The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people" then by definition you cannot discriminate justly. AC

Anonymous said...

A core problem on this planet is these belief systems. So maybe things like this need to happen in order to affect change. Is it right. No, but if this is what it takes then so be it. AEG

Anonymous said...

Very well worded, Bert. HTB

Anonymous said...

The first problem is judges have too much power at all levels. They are supposed to administer the laws not make up new ones. LW

Anonymous said...

Bert, in the famous words of 'Ed McMahon' of the 'TONIGHT SHOW'...."You are correct sir"! Doc

Anonymous said...

Would also be okay for the same bakery to not serve Asians or Blacks? I think most lgbt folks feel it's the same type of discrimination. RC

Anonymous said...

Bert, great piece and needs to be widely aired. We all should be free to make our living by the standards we keep. Two thumbs up. As a person who operates a small service business, I am very careful of the clients I choose...and keep. It's not a question of black or white, gay or straight, religion or nationality. In some cases not even whether or not they can afford the designs I create. My availability is based on whether they are willing to work with me in taking my advice and then maintaining the design's integrity. I don't believe I would work for anyone with horns and a tail though. SW

Anonymous said...

Well said. My only caveat would be the Baytown Smoking Ordinance, if memory serves, was put in place to protect the health of the workers in the establishment, not necessarily the customers. I guess you could say if you don't like the smoke at work, go work someplace else, but that's not always an option for some people. Employers should, in the base case, provide a safe and non-toxic workplace for their employees. LH

Anonymous said...

So, I can walk into a Jewish Kosher place of business and demand a cheeseburger and if they refuse to serve me based on their religion and traditions, I can scream discrimination? Seriously? I'm all for gay rights, but I'm also for the rights of the business owners. Nearly every eating establishment I've ever been to has had a sign that states: We reserve the right to refuse your business. Do they no longer have that right?
The baker also stated that he would have provided them with a birthday cake or another type of cake they wanted, but he his Christian beliefs prevented him from making a wedding cake ( read this on CNN website, I believe) I think this proves that he was not serving them on all levels, but just where his values would be challenged.
I was under the impression we have the freedom of religion??? Interesting piece, Bert. TC

Anonymous said...

When the story broke over a week ago I pictured two men on top a wedding cake. If you don't believe in gay or have no gay family members you hold to your belief. Seems people who have a gay family member change midstream for blood kin reasons and throw Christianity out to the curb to justify it. If the government can tell Jack what to think and say, that government we should fear. So if your looking for approval to force a business owner to run his business your way you also destroy his freedom, I stand beside the American business owner. SL

Anonymous said...

I'm definitely for gay rights. However, I understand that it's a private place of business and they can serve whomever they want. I don't agree with the bakery's discrimination, but they have that right. There are plenty of other bakeries out there that this couple can get a wedding cake from.

If anyone gets upset about this story based on the prejudice of the bakery owner, which I know many people will, they have the option to boycott it. That might hurt their business. That, or it could wind up like Chik-fil-a and the bakery could get a ton of support from people like Sarah Palin and end up making more money.

Anonymous said...

A lesson I learned a long time ago, "Don't piss off the people that make your food"!DB

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent article. I agree completely. I wonder though, did the couple sue or did the ACLU take this upon themselves in their behalf? It does happen. There was a case not too long ago where a Catholic private school was sued on behalf of two Muslim girls. They were demanding the school provide them a place and priveleges for Muslim prayer and release from all religious training. Turns out, the family was sending their girls there for the quality education, had no objection to the Catholic doctrine training and didn't care if their girls had Muslim prayer time or not. Further, they had not had any contact with the group suing and were shocked to learn of it. The case was later dismissed.

I cannot imagine anyone wanting a cake baked by someone that was forced by law to bake it......there is no telling what you would serve your guests.

Maybe I should sue all the bakeries and restaurants and force them to make everything Gluten FREE! really, how stupid would that be?


Anonymous said...

Oh boy, a religious conviction that when pressed becomes a prejudice. Something really smells here. Trampling of guaranteed rights by perceived rights. RP

Anonymous said...

Anti discrimination laws were created for hiring. DT

Anonymous said...

Another great read, thanks Bert. SL

Anonymous said...

Good article Bert. I was wondering the same thing you were, about why would someone go where they weren't welcome . . . and then read CB's post. Good stuff from you both,

But I swear . . . what are we allowing the lawyers to do with our country?

I've just thrown my hands up.


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