- The American Conservative - https://www.theamericanconservative.com -

How To Ruin a Christian Business

Remember Dreher’s Two Laws of the Culture War?:

The First Law of the Culture War: Conservatives are always and everywhere the aggressors. 

The Second Law of the Culture War: The existence of conservative values, traditions, and institutions constitute acts of aggression. 

Well. A Lexington, Ky., t-shirt company is under investigation by the city’s human rights commission.  [1] Why? It refused to print Gay Pride t-shirts for a local gay rights organization. More:

The owner of “Hands On Originals,”  [2]a well-known t-shirt company in the region, declined to print the shirts for the city’s Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO) [3] because it would conflict with their Christian convictions.

The privately owned company is now accused of violating Lexington’s Fairness Act – which protects people and organizations from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

More:

“No business owner should be forced to violate his conscience simply because someone demands it,” he said. “The Constitution absolutely supports the rights of business owners to decline a request to support a message that conflicts with their deeply held convictions.”

Raymond Sexton, the executive director of the Human Rights Commission told Fox News that “Hands On Originals” will be “required by law to participate in the investigation.”

“We have subpoena power and have the backing of the law,” he said. “We are a law enforcement agency and people have to comply.”

The county school system has frozen its business with the company pending outcome of the investigation. Should the company be found guilty of discriminating against the homosexuals Sexton said they could be subjected to fines. Note well that Hands On Originals offered to find another company to print the t-shirts that would honor its price, but the gay group wanted to use the power of the state to make an example of the Christian business.

“Our feeling on that is, separate but equal wasn’t okay during the civil rights movement and it’s not okay now,” Aaron Baker told the television station. Baker is board president of GLSO.

Blaine Adamson is the managing owner of “Hands on Originals.” He defended his company in an op-ed that appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader and unequivocally denied that he is guilty of discrimination.

“I decided to pass on the opportunity because, as a Christian owner, I cannot in good conscience endorse groups or events that run counter to my convictions,” Adamson wrote in the op-ed.

Of course he’s guilty of discrimination, in the same way that a gay-owned t-shirt company would be guilty of discrimination if it declined to print t-shirts for, I dunno, Christians Defend The Family Against Sodomites Day. So what? In the wake of the controversy, the GLSO has had lots of offers to print their t-shirts [4]. This is not about them being denied access to t-shirts, or having to pay more for them because they’re gay. Remember, Hands On Originals offered to find another t-shirt printer to do the job at the same price. This is all about using the power of the state to stick it to a Christian business.

The owner of the t-shirt business says:

“Over the past 20 years, we have declined to produce several other products with different messages than the one at issue here because we disapproved of whatever message it was, and it never had anything to do with discrimination. “People reading this may disagree with my view on the current issue, but I hope they will join us in supporting our right to decline an order that promotes a view so contrary to our personal beliefs.”

Again, I think he’s technically wrong to say this has nothing to do with “discrimination.” He apparently means “discrimination” in the sense of malicious or legally actionable discrimination. Still, his point is sound: he’s not singling out gays for special treatment here. He has a record of declining business for causes that violate his principles. Again I say: so what? I don’t blame the GLSO for being offended, but the illiberal action of bring the state down on the heads of these people, who tried to work out a compromise, is troubling. If a gay-owned t-shirt company declined my business because they didn’t agree with the message I was asking them to put on a t-shirt, but was polite about it and offered to help me find a competitor who could fulfill my order, I might be offended by their refusal of my business, and I might tell all my friends not to do business with them. But to try to bring the power of the state down on their heads? No.

You say, “Would you make this argument about a company that was discriminating against blacks?” No, I wouldn’t — but that’s because I don’t believe that homosexuality is analogous to race. Besides, aside from some fringe folk, there are virtually no people in this country whose religion morally stigmatizes race. Christianity, Islam, and Orthodox Judaism do stigmatize homosexuality.

You may think this is wrong — liberal Christians certainly do — but you have to live in a country in which many millions of people believe these teachings are morally true, and important. Morals are changing, and fast evolving in a direction that is much more accepting and affirming of homosexuality. That can’t be denied. What is troubling is the unwillingness of so many homosexuals to recognize and respect pluralism, and its requirement that we tolerate a lot of things we don’t like, for the sake of communal peace. Anyway, I feel so strongly about religious liberty that I would not be the least offended if a Muslim t-shirt maker declined to make a t-shirt advertising a Christian festival, on religious grounds — as long as he was respectful about it, and especially if he offered to find a t-shirt maker who would. It is more important to me to uphold the principle of freedom of religion than that the state compel the Muslim t-shirt maker to violate his conscience to serve my desires.

If gays in Lexington could not get their t-shirts printed by anybody else in the area because no t-shirt maker would take gay business, I would be more sympathetic to their cause. If there were laws in place forbidding the accommodation of a gay clientele, a la Southern segregation laws, I would definitely be on the side of gay customers. Neither is remotely the case here. The real offense by Hands On Originals is thoughtcrime.

Hands On Originals [2] is apparently known for being a Christian company (see its website; they have an explicitly Christian division that prints things for churches, church camps, etc.) . It seems that the GLSO picked them out to make an example of them, to test them. Who, then, is the aggressor in this skirmish of the culture war? When people claim that it’s right-wing propaganda that gay rights are a threat to religious liberty, think of this case. Hands On Originals was willing to meet the GLSO halfway to accommodate the organization’s needs without violating its own corporate conscience. It wasn’t enough for the GLSO to be tolerant; it is determined to force this Christian business to submit. I find that the plea for “tolerance” from liberals is often a mere tactic to be used against conservatives; as soon as liberals are in a position to enforce their own orthodoxy, they are ruthless in so doing. This clash was unnecessary, inasmuch as it was possible to work out a mutually acceptable compromise for both sides. The Christians were willing. But these gay-rights supporters are not willing to be tolerant of a merchant who doesn’t share their beliefs about homosexuality. They would rather fight the culture war.  Some humans have more human rights than others.

Advertisement
89 Comments (Open | Close)

89 Comments To "How To Ruin a Christian Business"

#1 Comment By Samson J. On April 3, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

* Should a doctor be permitted to refuse to treat gay patients?

Stop using this analogy, folks. A doctor who cares for homosexual patients is not thereby promoting their lifestyle.

#2 Comment By JohnH On April 3, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

Many seem to be missing the point… it is not the same as going to a doctor or restaurant. The medicine the Dr provides is not going to promote the belief the doctor may find against his religious beliefs in a community (rather, it would be tending the sick, as Christ instructed), nor is the food served at a restaurant (‘feed the hungry’). Refusing anyone that sort of service is actually bigoted. These are product the Dr. or Restaurant already was providing.

This business owner was being asked to have his business generate a promotion for an ideology against his religious beliefs. Businesses cannot be forced to produce a new product that they do not want to produce. That is sheer lunacy.

#3 Comment By David M On April 3, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

Unfortunately, it appears Hands On Originals were the ones that made the mistakes here. News reports indicate they did submit a bid for the printing job and backed out after they won it. Mistake #1, not paying close enough attention to the jobs they were bidding for, especially considering their stated wish to discriminate. Mistake #2 was not just printing the shirts after their bid was accepted, and then fixing their bidding process if they didn’t want it to happen again.

I will admit to being a little confused on why they cared about printing the shirts anyway, as the shirt design itself isn’t worth getting worked up over.

#4 Comment By Polichinello On April 3, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

The test for religious liberty absolutists is examining how they would react if they were the victim of the expression of religious liberty. Imagine, for instance…[ed. insert laundry list of lame examples here]….

I would go elsewhere in every case because there are other options, and that is EXACTLY what you have going on here. The gays can find all sorts of vendors anywhere in town or on the web to take care of their needs, and the vendor was giving them names, trying to help. That’s the suit looks more persecution than prosecution.

Otherwise, everyone should follow Eddie’s advice, and just say, “F*** off, it’s a free country” with no further explanation.

#5 Comment By Jake Lukas On April 3, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

I am a Christian. If I owned a print shop and Fred Phelps and his ilk asked me to print their message t-shirts, I would refuse. They, being who they are, would very likely sue. Here is a test for those who are against Hands On Originals: should I be able to decline the likes of Phelps?

I would note, living in the Bluegrass, this is not altogether atypical of the sort of schizophrenia one can find in Lexington. Most Kentuckians are quite sane and get on just fine, in spite of what madness the news might speak of in late March.

#6 Comment By A. G. Phillbin On April 3, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

On First Amendment grounds, I side with the t-shirt business. No one has the right to force you to say or publish anything you don’t wish to, unless the gay group in question really wants a prominent disclaimer on their t-shirts. (“the views on this t-shirt do not necessarily reflect the opinions of x company…”)

That having been said, why do people have trouble distinguishing this from a right to public accomodation, such as employment, housing, etc., if they pay for it? If a straight person asked that business to print said slogan, they would have refused. If a flamboyantly gay person came to them with a religious slogan for them to print, I’m sure they would have gladly served them. If they didn’t do either of the above, then they would be practicing rightfully illegal discrimination. Discrimination laws are about discrimination against PERSONS, not against viewpoints that one wishes not to express.

Learn WHERE to draw these lines.

#7 Comment By Al On April 3, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

MBrown said:

Again, he wasn’t refusing service because the customers were homosexual. He was refusing service because the service that they required violated his conscience.

I get that. But if you say on your web site that you “conduct business with all religions” – I think I make a reasonable assumption that, if I am Hindu, and I require a T-shirt that says my religion is the only path to enlightenment, that you will print it.

If not, then you should say something to the effect that you only print stuff that accords with Christian principles.

Why explicitly say you “conduct business with all sexual preferences” when you have no intention of printing messages that reflect the wishes of all sexual preferences? It’s not something that they had to say at all.

#8 Comment By Rob C On April 3, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

The manager seems to be a decent person and has indicated that they employ and serve everyone. Part of me feels like he kinda set himself up here to play the martyr, but whatever…

Considering that the withdrawal to complete the work was done with an offer to help facilitate and does not appear to have been done in a way that was hostile or meant to shame anyone I’m siding with the shop owner here. There are real instances of discrimination that need to be brought to light and addressed – this just ain’t one of them.

I can understand why the gay group feels that they are being discriminated against – the logo itself simply says “Lexington Pride Festival” it’s not like there is anything vulgar or even overtly “gay” about it. But at the same time I do think the gay group could have made this an opportunity to build bridges instead of contributing to further alienation.

If they had worked with the manager and said – hey, we understand where you’re coming from, we’ll work with the company you recommend, it may have made an impact of the manager and maybe next time he would have taken the job. Or maybe not. But, I bet there would have been a level of good will and communication that would have occurred between them that is impossible now. I think that’s too bad.

Peace

#9 Comment By Thomas Aquinas On April 3, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

Apparently, making a t-shirt, unlike sodomy, is not an act between consenting adults.

#10 Comment By Thomas Aquinas On April 3, 2012 @ 5:08 pm

Mike writes: “THe idea that a business open to the public can hide behind the First Amendment to avoid public policy they don’t like is a legal fiction and a made-up special right. There’s no logical reading of the First Amendment that suggests (or been upheld by the courts) that says random believers are free to ignore laws by pointing to their religious texts. We’d end up in business and contractual chaos if people could decide to contract or do business at random, based on whatever they decide is their religious belief or tradition that day.”

Same goes for marriage. Where will it lead if everybody got to decide for himself or herself what marriage is based on their own sexual orientation? We’d end up in familial chaos if people could decide to contract a “marriage,” based on whatever they decide is their marital tradition that day.

#11 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On April 3, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

Re: The test for religious liberty absolutists is examining how they would react if they were the victim of the expression of religious liberty. Imagine, for instance, your wife was turned away from the only store in the community selling something you really wanted because Orthodox Jews didn’t want to interact with women. Or imagine you are in line at Whole Foods, and the Muslim clerk in a hajib refuses to serve you because you have bought bacon and wine. Or imagine going to a hotel for the evening, only to discover the owners who are Unitarians who refuse to allow you to stay there because they’ve decided you aren’t respectful to the environment because you are carrying bottled water.

Sure, I wouldn’t care. Who cares? Since when do we have a right not to be inconvenienced? Unless it’s the only store around, or whatever, I’d go somewhere else, or wait for a different clerk. Stores do usually have multiple clerks, and most places have multiply places of business.

I don’t even object to homosexuality, but this stuff is just a bit of self-indulgent whining.

#12 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On April 3, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

Why would you go to a Muslim place of business to have a Christian shirt made? That’s just weird, and perverse, it’s like annoying people for its own sake. It’s childish.

#13 Comment By MIke On April 3, 2012 @ 6:47 pm

“Same goes for marriage. Where will it lead if everybody got to decide for himself or herself what marriage is based on their own sexual orientation? We’d end up in familial chaos if people could decide to contract a “marriage,” based on whatever they decide is their marital tradition that day.”

Except for, you know, a legal regime for marriage.

These “conscience” arguments create anarchy in the marketplace where the consumer literally has no idea when they will be unable to contract or do business, because an individual or business can suddenly decide they have a conscience concern ad hoc.

That’s why this approach has been rejected since the Civil Rights era because of concerns that “conscience” was merely a proxy for racism.

#14 Comment By Turmarion On April 3, 2012 @ 7:40 pm

VikingLS: The Lexington-Fayette County School system IMHO is a far greater evil than GLSO btw.

Having lived there at various times of my life for a decade or so, I’d have to agree completely!

#15 Comment By Dave D. On April 3, 2012 @ 7:47 pm

I have to side against Hands. The linked article shows the design, it’s just the logo of the parade. I don’t think it’s enough to warrant a conscience exclusion. It’s a relatively neutral good. Kind of like if the marchers went to a Christian fast food place and ordered food-it would be discrimination not to serve them, because serving food really isn’t ideological, but neutral. I think the case is very strong when the good itself violates conscience, not the customer.

But yeah, it’s stupid to try and destroy a business over this. It’s not like there is a magical surplus of them or anything.

#16 Comment By stef On April 3, 2012 @ 7:59 pm

It doesn’t matter whether religions which discriminate on the basis of race are a “fringe” or not. The question about religious liberty absolutism still stands. Should a printing business owned by Christian Identity or British Israelites, who serve the general public, be entitled to refuse trade to African-American customers?

#17 Comment By PeterK On April 3, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

this reminds me of the New Mexico photographer who refused to photograph a homosexual union.

Just recently I read a story about a Wegman’s that had hired a young Muslim woman who refused to handle pork products and alcohol has part of her duties as a cashier. so what does Wegman’s do? they put up a sign asking customer who are buying pork or alcohol to not use that cashier.
talk about special accommodations. I suspect that Wegmans realized that the young woman was probably a CAIR plant and didn’t want to risk the bad PR if they told the cashier she had to handle pork etc.

“protected” folks always push the envelope demanding that they be accommodated no matter what

#18 Comment By Roger II On April 3, 2012 @ 8:31 pm

Although I am one of the more liberal posters here, I think this might be a bit of an overreach by the human rights office. As others have noted, it does not appear that Hands On Originals refuses to serve gay customers. Instead it refused to print a pro-gay message on T-shirts. The owner made a serious mistake in bidding for the work, though — it seems pretty likely that a gay rights organization might want pro-gay messages on their T-shirts (and he has admitted that he bid on the project). My only concern, which isn’t present in this case, is what would happen if this were a small town with few T-shirt printers and they all refused? And the religious freedom argument would clearly permit a non-Christian printer to refuse to print “Jesus is Lord” T-shirts.

#19 Comment By Erin Manning On April 3, 2012 @ 8:54 pm

Roger II: I would totally support the right of an atheist printer to refuse to print “Jesus is Lord” T-shirts, even in a small town. I would also support his right to refuse a too-ugly or too-complicated design, political buttons for a candidate he despises, or anything in hot pink for no expressed reason at all. Owning a business should not make one a de-facto serf to the zeitgeist.

Of course, most of the pre-made Christian kitsch t-shirts are probably being made in atheist China, like most of he overpriced-yet-ugly Catholic statues and medals and many Bibles and other religious books–so at some point a business owner has to decide if he, too, will sell out for money or stay true to his beliefs. Thing is, it’s his call–and sometimes, in some markets, NOT selling out is the smarter business decision.

I mean, if Rod won the lottery and started his own wine shop, should he be forced to order and sell non-alcoholic wine to prove that as an Orthodox he’s not discriminating against strict Baptists who reject alcoholic beverages? What if a couple of Baptists want some really cheap, horrible-tasting non-alcoholic wine for their wedding, and threaten to sue Rod if he won’t accommodate them? Is there any point in even having a business if you have to violate your principles any time a customer throws a sufficient level of fuss?

Where’s the theology and geometry of that?

#20 Comment By hattio On April 3, 2012 @ 9:07 pm

Rod,
I don’t exactly disagree that this is specifically brought to this company to engender controversy and a case. However, I was struck by one comment you made

“Besides, aside from some fringe folk, there are virtually no people in this country whose religion morally stigmatizes race. Christianity, Islam, and Orthodox Judaism do stigmatize homosexuality.”

Of course, in years past, it was entirely common for mainstream religions (especially in the South) to condemn certain races generally and the mixing of races specifically. Now, after years of court battles and culture battles, no respectable christian group does so. I hope you can see how motivating that would be to those who believe the stigmatization of homosexuality is wrong.

#21 Comment By sjay On April 3, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

I get that. But if you say on your web site that you “conduct business with all religions” – I think I make a reasonable assumption that, if I am Hindu, and I require a T-shirt that says my religion is the only path to enlightenment, that you will print it.
If not, then you should say something to the effect that you only print stuff that accords with Christian principles.

That’s pretty much how I did interpret the message on their website.

#22 Comment By TP On April 3, 2012 @ 9:33 pm

This is NOT discrimination against the people, but the Message. If the same people came with tee shirts for other topics, the owner would gladly print the tee-shirts. He is NOT descriminating against the people, but the Message. There is a distiction.

#23 Comment By Monterey On April 4, 2012 @ 12:25 am

“It refused to print Gay Pride t-shirts for a local gay rights organization. More:”

The world we now live in….you can’t even have personal convictions anymore. Now you must embrace the sin, as well.

#24 Comment By Franklin Evans On April 4, 2012 @ 9:07 am

Let’s look at this from the business standpoint, focusing on a good or service that is likely to be wanted by the general public regardless of other labels they may carry.

Can you really imagine such a business advertising that it will refuse to sell its goods or services, especially under circumstances from which most reasonable people will think twice about wanting to do business with them? Can you say “shoot myself in the foot with one hand tied behind my back”? I knew you could…

Any business that intends to refuse service under any circumstances has two choices: Limit their profitability from the start by making the ethical disclosure of its policy, or put itself in the focus of controversy later with the jack-in-the-box disclosure. It changes the primary question, at least for me: why go into business in the first place if you plan to contradict a mainstream social attitude?

To clarify, I will add that Hands On Originals I’m sure did not sit down on its second day of business and think these things through. One can understand their predicament without condoning it, and if nothing else tone down the “hate-” fill-in-blank rhetoric. People are people, most people do not get out of bed every morning intending to express hate. Demonization is wrong in both directions.

#25 Comment By Steven On April 4, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

Al,

You say “Perhaps you shouldn’t promise to conduct business with all-comers if you don’t really mean it…” when quoting the website, but you’ve apparently misread what you quoted. It never promises to conduct business will “all-comers,” but rather comers of all stripes. It even provides a a pretty good disclaimer notifying of the prerogative to refuse certain orders based on the content of their message. It seems pretty straight-forward.

#26 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 5, 2012 @ 1:04 am

MBrown and Mary Russell summarize what is really at issue very well. Mike’s examples, put in the context of Brown’s and Mary’s categories, actually affirm both of their analyses very nicely.

“Our feeling on that is, separate but equal wasn’t okay during the civil rights movement and it’s not okay now,” Aaron Baker told the television station.

This “human rights” case is the usual sad result of substituting analogy for facts and reasoning. (Mitchell’s critique is merely blaming the civil rights laws for the absurd logic of those who seek an infinitely elastic analogy to their own pet project).

One of the Supreme Court’s better decisions in this area, written by that notorious reactionary neanderthal culture war conservative, David Souter, was Hurley v. Irish Gays and Lesbians of South Boston. Essentially, the court ruled that parade organizer’s rights of free speech trumped the claims of the gay and lesbian group under the Massachusetts public accomodations act. The state could not impose the speech of the gay and lesbian group on the St. Patrick’s Day parade organizers.

Applying this reasoning, and in line with Mary’s apt distinction, a business owner should be free not to participate in promulgating an expressive message that they disagree with. That doesn’t mean the electrical utility can refuse to supply power to an office housing an organization the CEO disagrees with… why not? Because the act of providing electricity is not part of the message. The act of printing the message on the t-shirt is, as is the act of photographing the wedding. Radio stations might be subject to greater scrutiny — because they have a public license to use a limited resource (bandwidth). Still, the Supreme Court allowed an NPR station in Missouri to refuse a sponsorship message from the Ku Klux Klan, because airing the message would be, in part, the station’s speech.

Given all these sensible ways to resolve the issue at hand, Dreher’s two laws come across as kind of whiney, not to mention entirely unproductive.

#27 Comment By Mike On April 5, 2012 @ 5:40 am

A business owner, who opens the doors to the public in order to contract and make money, is not a private association which is the heart of Hurley. That’s where the reasoning that it is free to ignore public policy for the sake of conscience, falls apart.

#28 Pingback By Tolerance is not a one-way street | Questions and Observations On April 5, 2012 @ 8:59 am

[…] T-shirts are a “human right” now (via The American Conservative): The owner of “Hands On Originals,” a well-known t-shirt company in the region, declined to […]

#29 Pingback By True Tolerance Isn’t A One-Way Street On April 5, 2012 @ 9:13 am

[…] T-shirts are a “human right” now (via The American Conservative): The owner of “Hands On Originals,” a well-known t-shirt company in the region, declined to […]

#30 Comment By Jennifer Smithfield On April 5, 2012 @ 9:18 am

As much as I’d love to start bashing Louisville’s Fairness Act, there is one little problem that keeps me from doing so. The owner of the T-shirt company BID on the project!!! Yes, that’s a little fact that hasn’t been widely publicized; but he did. Not only did he bid on it, but he offered to find other companies who could meet his price when he decided to back out. I can’t support a company that was willing to bid on something at an obviously competitive price then back out. It’s one thing for a privately owned company not to offer goods/services from the outset. This is a different matter—they knew the organization and the purpose of the shirts and should never have bid if they had no intention of honoring that bid.

#31 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 5, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

Mike, you are missing the point. I could also cite the Barnette case, over requiring public school students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

The point, whether in purely personal private speech, or in the commercial sector, is that you can require access to all, without imposing on the individual concerned (in this case, the business owner), a legal duty to participate in speech the individual finds odious.

Example: If I run a hotel, I cannot deny accommodations to a guest on the grounds that they are a Nazi. However, I can deny them permission to hang a Nazi flag over my front door.

If I am selling ham sandwiches, I cannot deny a sale to someone on the ground that “you are Catholic” (or German, or black, or even on the ground that someone is Jewish). However, if I am Jewish, and running a restaurant, I don’t legally have to put ham sandwiches on the menu, even though it might be food, and it might be what a customer wants.

A variation on what Mary Russell said: if someone asks for a t-shirt that says “I love boobies,” (a current breast cancer fund raising slogan), I can’t say, “No, I won’t sell that to you because you are gay.” But if someone from Komen Foundation asks me to make the t-shirt, and I think it is in poor taste, I can say, no, I don’t think I want to devote my time and craft to producing any such thing.”

#32 Pingback By Tolerance is not a one-way street | FavStocks On April 6, 2012 @ 2:44 am

[…] T-shirts are a “human right” now (via The American Conservative): The owner of “Hands On Originals,” a well-known t-shirt company in the region, declined […]

#33 Comment By Paul Nichols On April 6, 2012 @ 7:39 am

I’m against ALL discrimination laws. I think that any company should have the right to conduct their business with whomever they choose. AND that works both ways – if a gay business owner refused to do business with me because I was Catholic, I’d “shake the dust”. The government really has no business telling a business owner who he has to conduct business with. Or not.

#34 Comment By Tminusfun On April 7, 2012 @ 1:24 am

Franklin Evans wrote: “It changes the primary question, at least for me: why go into business in the first place if you plan to contradict a mainstream social attitude?”

Your implying that opposing gay activism is somehow anti-mainstream, and therefore buying into the liberal narrative that nothing but their viewpoints are acceptable in the public sphere.

I guess nobody should do anything in public unless they kow to liberal ideological fashions?

#35 Comment By Franklin Evans On April 7, 2012 @ 9:12 am

Tminusfun: I imply nothing specific. I made a general statement and it is validly applied to all sorts of “mainstream” social attitudes.

Indeed, you are better off using my statement as a lens instead of a roadblock. Use it to examine things both contemporary, near past and far past. In reverse order, you can use it to examine the first businesses opened by non-Christians wanting to be open on Sundays. You can use it to examine the first movie theaters who wanted to show films — especially ones made outside the US and its censorship — that contradicted local “morality” codes. And today you can use it to observe public universities backing off from holiday closings, complete with guaranteed tolerance towards students and faculty wishing to observe those holidays without any negative consequence. Look at the debates and rhetoric around those, and tell me that one side or the other demands kow-towing.

Look to the objective consequences. Putting motivations and words in my mouth will not progress the discussion.

#36 Comment By Peterk On April 7, 2012 @ 9:22 am

“It wasn’t enough for the GLSO to be tolerant; it is determined to force this Christian business to submit.”

an acceptable form of bullying in the minds of liberals

#37 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 8, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

Peterk, “liberals” has nothing to do with it, except in the twisted polyglot caricatures of convenience that pretend to define “liberals” and “conservatives” in post-modern politics. Liberals believe in the free market, including the free market place of ideas. Conformity to a single social and intellectual standard can be derived from several other philosophies, including some conservative ones, some social-democratic or communist ones, but its not liberal.

Paul Nichols, in the best of all possible worlds, I would agree that a business owner should not be subject to any antidiscrimination laws. In the best of all possible worlds, any good or service I wanted would be available from a variety of independently owned and operated businesses, run by people covering a wide range of ethnic, religious, social, and political demographies, so that nobody would be denied much of anything, and everybody could sort out who and what they felt comfortable with. In a world of monopolies, or where a given business may be the only one in town, or the only one offering a given service within ten miles, we simply don’t have the best of all possible worlds.

Given the long history of MAKING racial distinctions mandatory in our country, forcing people to conform to them, by law, by mob violence, by social ostracism, on the axiomatic assumption that some races are categorically superior or inferior, I believe it is absolutely essential to put as much force into pushing back the other way: in public settings, and public accommodations, that simply won’t be allowed any more.

I would still make some distinctions between “public accommodations” and a private business plying a simply craft. E.g., you can go buy groceries from a store owned by a man who despises you, but do you really want a lawyer representing you who believes you are scum?

The larger problem I see is when every conceivable demographic self-defined “interest group” wants the whole world to love and respect them as a matter of right. Albeit there is a history of criminal penalties for homosexual acts in this country, there is no history of denying homosexuals marriage licenses. It has simply never been an issue until the last thirty years or so.

#38 Comment By ThomasH On September 25, 2013 @ 9:13 pm

I’m sympathetic to the firm’s desire not to print a message that it does not agree with. What is galling is seeing it label it’s anti-gay attitude as “Christian.”

#39 Comment By Rae On November 27, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

The persisting and pressing on the company and owner is more of a crime than saying no. These people are only tolerant and peaceful if you share in their views. This company was obviously targeted and set up for this. Absolutely ridiculous! Who is protect those who practice Christianity,not just say they are Christian; the two are quite different. Pretty sure if I wanted a position at the LGBT as a practicing Christian, they would not hire me based on believing the Bible is 100% Truth because that would cause friction and division. As a practicing Christ follower I would not look to this organization for a position or anything else. If I did, it would be with intent. This group had obvious intent yet hides behind a bunch of smoke in mirrors. I pray that the one responsible for the set up is brought forth and justice is done. Stay strong Brother, your treasure is in Heaven ,and God sees you as one approved. Thank you for not compromising the Word.