May 2014 – Should the government punish a Jewish photographer because he refuses to take pictures for a gathering of skinheads? Should the government levy fines against an African-American printer who refuses to print posters for a Ku Klux Klan rally? Should a homosexual artist be forced to design signs reading “God Hates Fags!” for the infamous Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka?
The answer to all of these questions is a resounding “No!” And to be honest, the government and the judicial system in our chaotic, amoral culture would probably stand behind those individuals and protect them from having to violate their moral convictions. Unfortunately, however, there’s one group that is increasingly falling victim to political correctness and finding that their moral convictions are rarely upheld by government or liberal courts.
“Who might that be?” you ask. Well, let me illustrate.
In Portland, Oregon, Melissa Klein was the owner of Sweet Cakes Bakery, a small storefront operation. Her husband Aaron helped her. Last year two lesbians walked into the bakery and said they wanted Melissa to bake them a wedding cake. The Kleins said they were sorry, but their Christian convictions are that marriage is between a man and a woman, and they would not be comfortable baking a cake for a same-sex ceremony.
Afterward, one of the women filed a complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries claiming she was a victim of discrimination. The same thing happened in Colorado to a Christian florist and in New Mexico to a Christian photographer. They declined to participate in gay or lesbian “weddings,” and they were punished by their respective state governments. In Oregon, the bureau spokesperson said the Christian couple needed to be “rehabilitated.” They subsequently had to shut down their business.
In the wake of such an assault on religious freedom, some states, including Kansas, Arizona and Mississippi, have considered or are considering legislation to try to protect small business owners like the Kleins. But the evidence is strong that many leaders in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered movement (LGBT) want to force Christian business owners out of business.
However, at least one person in the LGBT community sees this for the slippery slope that it is. In a recent column, radio talk show host Tammy Bruce wrote: “As a gay conservative woman, I supported Arizona’s religious freedom bill, which was just vetoed this week by Gov. Jan Brewer … Under these rules, freedom of conscience is squashed under the jackboot of liberals, all in the Orwellian name of ‘equality and fairness.’ Here we are dealing with not just forcing someone to do something for you, but forcing them in the process to violate a sacrament of their faith as well … If we are able to coerce someone, via the threat of lawsuit and personal destruction, to provide a service, how is that not slavery? If we insist that you must violate your faith specifically in that slavish action how is that not abject tyranny? ... Of all the people in the world who should understand the scourge of living under constant threat of losing life, liberty or the ability to make a living because of who you are, it’s gays.
“Horribly, the gay civil rights movement has morphed into a Gay Gestapo. Its ranks will now do the punishing of those who dare to be different or dissent from the approved leftist dogma. To all the young gays who tweet and email me that this is about ‘equality,’ how exactly? Forcing someone to do something against their faith has nothing to do with equality for you, has nothing to do with bigotry and has everything to do with a personal, spiritual understanding of right and wrong. In other words, I tell them, not everything is about you. ...”
This does beg the question about freedom of religion, freedom of association and what the government can compel its citizens to do.
The government should not compel business owners to engage in any transaction that violates their conscience. The Gay Gestapo (of which not all gays and lesbians are a part) is now pushing well beyond “live and let live” territory into using the law to punitively enforce their political and social agenda.