With this month being “gay pride” month, these business/customer clashes are bound to be at the forefront of many people’s minds. You know the ones: a baker who declines to bake a cake for a Homosexual wedding, a photographer who declines to do an engagement shoot for a homosexual couple.
I have several concerns with the current trend toward coercing the business’ owners compliance.
1. A person is not an event. An event is not a person.
This is the most apropos point. The businesses in question, in no instance that I have heard of, have actually refused to provide services for homosexuals. They have, rather, declined to do business involving homosexual events.
Refusing to have a part in a homosexual wedding ceremony is not the same thing as refusing service to a person because he’s homosexual.
This is a very important distinction. If a baker will bake a cake for a homosexual individual for his birthday, but won’t bake his wedding cake, that is clearly not discrimination against a person. It’s making a choice about what types of events and ideas your business will support.
In any other context, most Americans would view this as obvious. Should a Christian church-owned publishing house be required to print Buddhist books? Should a Jewish or Muslim chef be required to cook and serve pork? An atheist t-shirt maker to print evangelistic t-shirts for the local church youth group?
All of these businesses should be willing to do business with any of the people represented, but they should also have the right to refrain from types of work that violate their beliefs.
2. Even if the issue is truly discrimination, this is not the government’s place to intervene.
It does, but it shouldn’t. Regardless of how morally right or wrong a business owner is, the government has no appropriate jurisdiction to compel him to do business with any particular person or in any particular capacity.
There are lots of things that are morally the right thing to do. It’s right to tell the truth. The government doesn’t come force me to tell the truth to my husband, kids, or friends. (Although they can if I’m under oath, because they have a compelling interest in my honesty when I’m taking part in a governmental proceeding.) It’s right to love your neighbor. The government doesn’t come force me to take the neighbor cookies or shovel the snow from his front walk, or save him the better parking space.
3. Where does it end?
I know that “slippery slope” can sometimes be a logical fallacy, but where government is concerned, it is a valid consideration. It is a well-established historical fact that men with power are inclined to gather as much power to themselves as possible. “Given them an inch and they’ll take a mile.”
Because the issue that instigated this was homosexuals complaining of discrimination, it is stuck in our minds as an issue of homosexuality – but it isn’t that at all. If the government can force a private business owner to do the kind of business they believe he should be do with the people they believe he should be doing it with, where is the line to be drawn? Letting the government decide is treading on pretty dangerous ground. (Especially when a limited few are passing – or refusing to pass – the relevant laws, in direct opposition to the expressed will of the people and/or their duly-elected representatives, taking our voices entirely out of the equation.)
Will a clergyman be forced to perform a wedding ceremony for a couple he believes biblically ought not to be wed? Will an anti-vaccine organization be forced to advertise in favor of vaccines? Will a vegan company be required to provide real leather options for people who want them?
In other words, the fact that it’s “homosexual” encounters with businesses that have made the news emotionally charges matters and obfuscates the real issue: who has the right to tell a business what kind of business they must conduct? And even if you’re on the “right” side of this issue right now, how will you feel when the same principles are applied in a different context where you find yourself on the “wrong” side?
Should Business Owners Be Forced to Provide Services for Homosexuals? Three Concerns is a post from: Titus 2 Homemaker
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