I know I’ve been absent for a while, but with finals at school and the holidays I haven’t had much time to write anything serious. But I’m back (at least for the moment…) and decided to write an entry on one subject that I’ve been watching, and that is the story about Masterpiece Cakeshop. I’ll go ahead and give a little background on this first… Two men (I’m not sure of their names) liked the cakes that Masterpiece Cakeshop made, so they decided to purchase one for their wedding. When the owner, Jack Phillips, found out that it was for a same-sex marriage, he refused to make the cake for them. The couple filed a complaint, and the state brought a case against the Cakeshop based on Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws. The Colorado court, upheld their laws and informed the Cakeshop that they would be required to follow the anti-discrimination laws and (go figure) not discriminate against people based on their sexuality. I’m going to address a few of the things Phillips has said, as well as some comments I’ve read regarding the issue. In a Huffington Post article, Phillips is quoted as saying:
“I don’t plan on giving up my religious beliefs…”
First off… No one is asking Phillips to “give up his religious beliefs.” I’m not sure if Phillips realizes, but when you apply for a Business License, you are agreeing to follow all State and Federal laws regarding businesses. Those include all anti-discrimination laws from the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to whatever legislation concerning equal rights and fair treatment that have come along since. In other words, if you open a business that serves the public, you agree to serve the public! We saw this type of discrimination during the civil rights movement, where racist restaurant owners would refuse to serve African American’s, or interracial couples.
One of the comments that I see quite often is:
“Why don’t they just go to another bakery?”
While this is a good question, it ignores the question:
“Where does it stop?”
How far are we willing to go with this? Sure, this time it was a simple cake… What if there ARE no other convenient businesses nearby that offer a specific service? What if the nearest business offering the service you need is 3 to 4 hours a way? Is it fair to say that, say, an African American has to travel 3 to 4 hours simply because a racist white person doesn’t want to serve them? Why should it be different for a gay person? What if tomorrow a Catholic Hospital decides they don’t want to perform life saving techniques on a gay person and they are forced to go to a hospital 2 hours away, by which time they would be dead? Are we going to start allowing segregation of schools, towns, and neighborhoods again? In spite of how simple it would be to simply say “Just go somewhere else” anti-discrimination laws exist for a reason, reverting back to how it was before the civil rights movement would be a massive devolution of our society.
Another quote that irked me a bit was:
“Although I support same-sex marriages, I believe that Mr. Phillips is, in effect, being persecuted because of his religious convictions.”
First off… I don’t think that Mr. Phillips has any idea what true “persecution” is. As I stated before, Mr. Phillips applied for a Business License and agreed to follow all State and Federal laws, including those regarding anti-discrimination. Persecution would be for government officials to grab him off the streets and say “bake cakes for these gay couples or else!” Persecution would be for angry mobs of people to storm his church and burn it to the ground. Persecution would be for the government to make reading the Bible or praying a crime punishable by law. Requiring someone to follow all state and Federal business laws that they agreed to when they applied for their business license is not persecution, in any way, shape, or form.
“So you want to set up a system that masks bigotry instead of allowing it to be in the open so one can avoid that particular business. Ok as long as you want to keep it going…”
Having read a few of this persons comments, his opinion seems to be that anti-discrimination laws do nothing but allow racists / bigots to hide in the shadows, and implies that we should just do nothing because apparently the “free market” will take care of the problem. Unfortunately, as we have seen with examples like Chick-Fil-A and Barilla Pasta, when their owners make blatantly homophobic statements that make the LGBT community and their allies want to boycott them, the other bigots come out of the woodwork and flock to protect these businesses. Look how many supposed “Christians” rushed to Chick-Fil-A to support them when a boycott was even thought of by the LGBT community! The “free market” doesn’t do anything to change the way these people act or run their business, in fact it helps to keep it going. Just like during the Civil Rights movement, these things only change when there is legislation against discrimination. People who become victims of discrimination have to have legal means backing them up. People with ingrained bigotry aren’t just going to change because they wake up one day and decide “you know what? I’ll stop hating those people!” Societies perception has to be changed through civil discourse and finally legislation. It takes time, it takes strong, vocal people, it takes peaceful protests, and people willing to see it through, but things will change. Unfortunately, that’s just how things work.
By: James Garcia (12/11/13)