The Conundrum Of The Tolerant, Excessively Honest Jeweler And The Gay Couple’s Rings

rings

It’s not a photographer, chapel, baker or pizza place this time, indeed not even a business that discriminates or that said that would ever discriminate. As for the allegedly aggrieved gay couple involved, they did not choose the establishment looking for a fight or to make headlines, nor do they claim they were treated differently than any other couple would be, or that they were discriminated against.

Yet here we are again.

Canadians Nicole White and Pam Renouf, a same-sex couple, went shopping for engagement rings a few months ago, and eventually  found Today’s Jewelers in Mount Pearl, in Newfoundland, which specializes in custom-made rings. Everything went well as they ordered their rings and agreed on a price—the service, the atmosphere, the professionalism was all as it should have been. “They knew the two of us were a same-sex couple,” White said.”I referred some of my friends to them, just because I did get some good customer service and they had good prices.”

One of her friends took such an endorsement and went in to Today’s Jewellers to buy a ring for his girlfriend. There he saw a recently posted sign in the store. This sign:

sign

He took a photo, and sent it to White.

The couple went to the store the following day, and complained about the sign. Esau Jardon, the co-owner of Today’s Jewelers, was unapologetic.He said that he  posts several signs in his store throughout the year related to his beliefs, and that he saw no reason to stop doing so. “I just said it was very disrespectful, it’s very unprofessional, and I wanted a refund,” White told the news media. “I have no issues with them believing in what they believe in. I think everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. But I don’t think they should put their personal beliefs inside their business.”

White and Renouf  demanded a refund, and Today’s Jewelers refused, until the story began circulating on the web and the jewelry store began getting the Angry Progressive Mob bullying treatment, with online attacks and smears on social media. Finally the jeweler decided that discretion is the better part of valor (Shakespeare’s “Henry IV, Part I”) and gave in, up and out. White and Renouf were allowed to return the ring and get a full refund.

What’s going on here?

The ethics verdicts:

1. White and Renouf did nothing wrong, unless it was to sic the gay marriage advocates on a small business. They felt that the rings would have unpleasant associations now, and I don’t blame them. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to come up with circumstances unrelated to gay marriage that would justify returning the rings…If a bloody shoot out occurred in the store after the purchase…if the owner had dozens of bodies of small boys stuffed in a crawl-space…it he revealed as a Nazi war criminal in hiding…if he was discovered to be a cannibal…if he was a member of a terror cell…if he was struck and killed by a hit and run driver moments after they left the store…if they learned that the ring had been previously owned by victims of a serial killer still on the loose. Et cetera…I can go on like this for days.

White says the rings were meant to be a symbol of love, but the sign “tainted” them. I understand. Everyone should understand.

2. The jeweler also should understand. While he didn’t have a legal obligation to provide a refund, what he did, in the eyes of his customers, which is the ethical way to evaluate the situation, by posting the sign constituted the ethical equivalent of a bait-and-switch. Once White and Renouf had every reason to look back on the purchase of the rings as a pleasant experience dealing with  a supportive, kindly member of the community who wished them well. Now it has become an interaction with business harboring negative thoughts about them and their union, while being “tolerant” for profit.

I wouldn’t want to keep my rings under such circumstances. Would you?

3. Esau Jardon was indeed within his rights, and because he does not discriminate regarding whom he serves,  barely avoids wrongdoing, but just barely, which is nothing to be proud of. His sign gratuitously insults a potential class of customers, and accomplishes the same result, or close to it, as he would with a sign that said “Fag couples are not welcome in this store, but if you insist, we’ll take their money and smile while doing it.” The practice of stratifying merchants, artisans and businesses according to religious beliefs and politics is noxious and harmful to pluralism, democracy, and society. This is too close to the line for me, and I also agree with White that it is unprofessional.

4. There are some pundits who are condemning the critics of the Today’s Jewelers’ for forcing the company to refund the money. There is nothing wrong with a public debate over such an incident, and as long as the tactics don’t cross into Memories Pizza territory, the criticism is unwarranted.

5. That extends only to criticism of the initial refusal to refund, however. If a business has made it clear that it will not discriminate in any way, it should not be visited by avenging pro-gay marriage Furies for simply being candid about the owner’s views on the matter.

 

123 thoughts on “The Conundrum Of The Tolerant, Excessively Honest Jeweler And The Gay Couple’s Rings

  1. I like the sign and see nothing wrong with it. Jargon had to sell the two women their rings in order to avoid progressive media attacks and possible vandalism to the store. Homosexuals are a vicious minority. However, there are still some people in the west who hold Judaeo-Christian values dear to their hearts. The sign advocates those values vis-à-vis marriage. Sure, give them their money back, but that the sign insults potential customers, so what? What if he posted a sign that said, “This establishment will prosecute thieves to the full extent of the law?” Now he’s offending thieves. I know what you’re going to say. Apples and oranges. Not really. In order not to offend anybody and maintain a belief in egalitarianism, i.e., nothing is better than anything else, no signs can be posted anywhere. Is that what you want? That would be a funny position for an ethicist to take.

    • You don’t think comparing thieves, as in criminals who actually take things illegally from the store, and gay couples, who give money to the store, do nothing whatsoever that harms the owner or anyone and who just want to have the same rights as other loving couples isn’t comparing apples and oranges? Wow.

      Hell, it’s comparing apples and velociraptors.

      • Well, I was in a hurry and couldn’t think of anything else. Please strike that line from my post. You’re right about apples and oranges. However, in that they are both beliefs, they are similar. It’s the content that messes up the analogy.

        • But that’s just it…

          In order to show that homosexual acts are analogous to any other *bad* acts, such as thievery, or vandalism, or child molestation, or rape, or arson, or drunk driving, or pillaging, or treason, etc, which is what I think you are going for, then one must demonstrate how homosexual acts harm *someone else*. Because in all the other conduct I listed, including thievery, there is a victim, which is why the conduct is unethical.

          In Christianity, the belief is that homosexuality harms the individual, but our political structure is one in which we generally allow individuals a huge amount of leeway to harm themselves (if homosexuality even did that). So our Christian views in that regard can’t be imposed…

          • Good point. According to Paul in Romans, homosexuality is a punishment in itself. Do you think the gay lifestyle breeds happiness and contentment. Homosexuals have a higher suicide rate and a shorter life-span than the non-homosexual population. “Therefore, God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves…men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” I think anyone who has a homosexual friend and cares about him will encourage him to seek help and not encourage him to continue in the lifestyle. If you have time, go here. It is written by a former homosexual. It is revelatory.
            http://www.virtueonline.org/books-were-front-porn

            • “Homosexuals have a higher suicide rate and a shorter life-span than the non-homosexual population.” So do blacks. Does that mean they are being punished? Gays may have a higher suicide rate because they are stressed out by bigots like you. AIDS probably lowers the lifespan. The fact is that neither stat is reliable, and implying it is some kind of punishment for sin is certifiable.

              • Seventy five percent illegitimacy. Fifty percent drop out rate. Sky high crime rate and percentage of the prison population. Staggering numbers on welfare and handout programs while showing little incentive to stand on their own. Overwhelming sense of entitlement based on group identification.

                Not all black Americans fall into this trap or endorse it by any means. Those who reject it are among America’s finest citizens. Somewhere along the way, choices were made that led some to be Herman Caines and others to be Al Sharptons… or Michael Browns.

                It IS a lifestyle choice, Jack. In both cases.

                • He was discussing homosexuals. Not “african-americans”.

                  However, on the topic of your comment.

                  I protest most vehemently.

                  Your characterization either leaves out a broad category or is very very very unfair.

                  You get those citizens who transcend race politics as fomented by the Left, in which case, they aren’t black. They are mainstream Americans and color is IRRELEVANT.

                  Then you aren’t left over with 2 categories: Al Sharptons and Michael Browns.

                  Nay. That is grossly unfair to the average black *victim*.

                  You see, Al Sharpton is a rotten savage Robber-Baron. You see, on the Democrat Vote Plantation, where loyal black slaves produces votes by the millions for Democrats, Al Sharpton types are the rotten turn-coats who have betrayed their people to be a “high ranking slave” on the plantation, who is just one step lower than the Democrat whip cracker himself.

                  Only he’s cut himself a great deal. He’s making himself quite comfortable keeping his people down. He’s the Uncle Tom “race” traitor.

                  Then you get the next category, which you didn’t name. The poor black everyday man, who, since birth, has been conditioned to victimhood (slavery) by a well oiled Democrat machine (plantation). Barring serious rebellion, freedom of thought, and real education, he will never escape their clutches.

                  He is a victim through and through.

                  Then you get your Michael Browns. They are angry with their situation, only they don’t recognize their true enemy. They fall in line and become just another criminal while trying to rebel.

                  You really really really do a disservice to the horribly Democrat-maligned-and-enslaved black community by breaking them down into the 3 categories you describe.

                  • Tex: To you or I, race is and should be irrelevant in human affairs. That’s the ideal. In practice- SORROWFULLY- those who politically depend on the Divide & Conquer/Bread & Circus strategy have, with abhorrent success, separated a large swathe of the black population of America from the mainstream and perpetuated a subculture of dependency, irresponsibility and lawlessness. Their future as citizens depends on that condition being broken. Frankly, I wouldn’t know how to go about it, now. The present occupant of the White House seems to have successfully negated any previous movement in that direction. I see hope here and there and pray that the goodly number of black pastors who have chosen to stand against this upsurge of racial manipulation succeed in bringing about a new awakening across the entire population. I hope. I pray. But I’ve seen it come to nothing for decades. What has been done with the African derived people in this country since the death of Dr. King is criminal and a waste of the human spirit.

                    BTW: I was just responding to a post from my email and forgot to look above it for what prompted it. I guess I’m just so worn out with this racial insanity that I tend to take it up from a gut level at times.

      • well then how about a christian a REAL christian that loves God and believes his word completely going into a store w gay flags flying and pics of same sex ‘married’ couples…where are their rights at being offended? that can be construed as personally disrespectful and hurtful.

  2. When RFRA was throwing people here in Indiana into a tizzy, the anti-RFRA people posited that, “Gay people want to give you money. You’re a business. Why wouldn’t you want to take money?”

    My thoughts were, “Because once they take the money of gay customers and it’s discovered that they don’t agree with the lifestyle, you’ll take them to task for being willing to take gay people’s money”. So here we are.

    With all due respect, it seems to me that these business owners can’t win. If they don’t take money for their goods & services from every customer, they get tossed under the media bus. If they do take money for their goods & services from every customer, they get tossed under the same bus. This may not be a straight-forward case of running to the Progressive Mob, but the PR results are the same: a business is under fire for the owner’s personal beliefs…despite him serving the customers well and accepting their money.

    • I have a lot of personal beliefs that might lose me clients. I keep them to myself, my close associates and the voting booth. If I proclaim them and suffer for it, it’s my own choice. You have a right to have beliefs and act on them, but when you advertise them, you are responsible for your own fate.

      The sign was at least stupid, and gratuitously offensive.

      • Jack, that is a patent falsehood. You most certainly share your personal opinions openly multiple times daily. All your potential client has to do is read a few of your multiple daily blog posts.

        • Excuse me, AJ, but it is not a patent falsehood, and I’ll expect your retraction and apology.

          I wrote: “I have a lot of personal beliefs that might lose me clients. I keep them to myself, my close associates and the voting booth.” That is absolutely true. If you think I post all of my opinions on every topic under the sun here, you are deluded, and mistaken about the breadth of both my interests and the limits of this blog. By definition, the beliefs that I think are inappropriate to post aren’t posted, and you have no idea what they are. You also have no basis on which to say they don’t exist. They aren’t posted here.

          Outrageous presumptuousness and bad logic on your part.

          • I am sorry you feel that way, but if you think none of the opinions you express could offend a potential client you are mistaken. Just in the past few days you potentially caused a number of Catholics to find you offensive. Even personal beliefs you don’t consider to be controversial can cause some to choose not to do buisness with you. The difference is how vocal the offended party is. Advocates of non-traditional marriage have shown themselves to be loud and aggressive while advocates of other causes will just cross the street and spend their money elsewhere. Seemingly meaningless choices to you mean a lot to others. I personally like know individuals who, when possible, will not do business with anyone who drives a foreign built auto, root for the wrong sports team, or is not a military veteran, even when it means paying more. So, maybe my choice of phraseology chould have been “patently absurd” instead.

            • I didn’t say that, either. I know literally any stand I take might cost me clients. That does not mean that I expose my every lucid thought here. One reason I got into the ethics field is that most ethicists refuse to comment on anything publicly, because they are afraid of losing clients. That makes them useless. I promised myself I wouldn’t be like that. I can’t be bought. That costs me a lot of money, every year. I wish I had the money, but an ethicist without integrity is a phony.

              • Your integrity is one of the main reasons I read your blog on a near daily basis. I obviously misinterpreted what you meant about keeping your beliefs close to the vest. And for that I am sorry. I also used a stronger word than I meant, please forgive me for that.
                And, keep up the great work. I enjoy your honest opinions, even when we disagree.

                • Thanks, AJ—I’m sorry I bristled. I work really hard trying to be candid and fearless, and I catch flack from my business partner for being too controversial. This is a live issue right now because I recently killed a post about a law firm I had just signed on to teach. But not before a fight…

    • Yup, I think of the baker and the cake discussed here a while ago. If they do the wedding cake even though they are against gay marriage and now it is unethical for them to take money from the couple because the cake will be “tainted” by the baker’s belief (or the florist, I don’t really remember the details).

      Looks like the only way out is for the owners to serve everyone and shut up. Either that or I’m missing a subtle distinction that Jack is trying to make here. I’d love to know where we’re supposed to draw that line (and I mean that sincerely… personally I believe the jeweler did nothing wrong, but I’m open to being convinced otherwise).

      • You can begin with the distinction between a cake, which gets eaten, and a ring you wear for the rest of your life. The couple wasn’t suing the jeweler, just asking to return the ring. Wouldn’t you in their place? Sure you would. It’s reasonable.

        • Oh that! Yes, on that I agree. He should just refund the rings and be done. I think posting that sign is both bad business and idiotic, but not necessarily unethical. Refusing the refund crosses the line (I had missed that part on my first read).

          Thanks for the response.

        • I think he should have refunded the rings with a restocking or labor fee. Whatever time he spent making the custom rings he won’t get back.

          What i think some people are missing is the timing issue. If he had posted it first, but still served them, then he would have just cause to not accept the return at all and it would have been an actual parallel to the prior incidents.

            • Maybe. That’s not the logical conclusion though-

              The first step after him posting the sign would be the gay couple choosing to shop there or not…

              Of course it is probable that they would not, but it is possible they still would anyway, in which case, based on this shopkeeper’s conduct, he would have sold the rings anyway.

              It’s only an ethical equivalent of an *inadvertent* bait and switch.

              Unless one can prove that the shopkeeper took the sign down for the entire negotiation, manufacture, and closing of those particular ring deal.

              In which case, that still may or may not be a bait and switch- he may have taken the sign down *out of consideration* of the couple. Recall, it was the busy body friend of the couple who decided to, quite frankly, needlessly bring the sign to the attention of the couple.

  3. Since when is stating a deeply held traditional belief a gratuitous insult? The millennia-old definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman IS under attack. Is it a justified and necessary attack that will result in positive change? Maybe. A lot of people think otherwise. “Sanctity” is a morally loaded word, but fits the morally loaded subject; marriage isn’t just a pliable social custom or a legal contract, it’s also a sacred religious rite.

    If the aggrieved couple did indeed sic the Social Justice Warriors berzerkers on the business, then that was a nasty, vindictive thing to do. But maybe they never intended for that to happen…if that’s the case, then it’s a conundrum of unintended consequences. Otherwise, I wouldn’t call this a conundrum at all.

      • Wouldn’t the public nature of this debate be a sufficiently valid purpose? People who support same-sex marriage are loudly advertising their support everywhere; why can’t people who oppose it speak their piece too?

        Plus, the Niggardly Principles, much like the Golden Rule or “turn the other cheek,” can only go so far. What happens if some vocal group of people has decided that the very existence of a contrary opinion is intolerable and anyone who speaks it must be punished?

        • Here I go, replying to myself again…

          Your A to my Q is circular and makes no logical sense. It’s an insult when it is one, because it is one?

          • Not circular in the least. the belief itself is insulting, like believing women are inferior. Simply framing it as a “sincere belief” doesn’t make it less of an insult.

        • There is no need for the debate to take place in a place of business where all are supposedly welcome, and should be. Plenty of appropriate fora that don’t do any harm at all.

          • That’s a good point — there was no need to have the debate forced on people in a jewelry store.

            “The belief itself is insulting” is not a good point. The guy who put up the sign could say the exact same thing (come to think of it, that’s basically what his sign was saying). It still amounts to “it is because we decided it is, and your contrary beliefs don’t count anymore.” It’s 100% subjective.

        • What happens if some vocal group of people has decided that the very existence of a contrary opinion is intolerable and anyone who speaks it must be punished?

          The only answer those vocal group of people deserve is “fuck off, slaver”.

  4. What if the jeweler posted a sign saying “Adultery damages marriage. Let’s keep adultery out of marriage.” Would all the couples out there who commit adultery have a right to get their money back?

    • If I were buying a wedding ring for the mistress with whom I cheated and broke up my first marriage, damn right I’d want to have a ring from somewhere else. What about a poster about the dangers of obesity for someone marrying a fat wife? A sign about Armenian genocide with a Turkish couple? Children of llegal immigrants with a “Send them back to Mexico!” sign? How about a black couple who buy rings before a Repeal Brown v. Bd of Education sign goes up?

      And note, please, I didn’t say, nor do I believe, they had a RIGHT to get their money back.

      • The more I think about this, I start to believe that this is one of those situations where “agree to disagree” applies: You don’t agree with my lifestyle (side note: typing that phrase make me feel yucky) and I disagree with your beliefs. We’re not going to change either, but we would both be happier if we don’t have any further contact. Let’s cancel our previous commercial transactions and continue our separate paths.

        Not ideal, but what one would expect of civilized people.

        • The first reasonable justification of that phrase, which I generally detest as a copout used by people incapable of supporting their position but unwilling to listen to the opposite point of view, I ‘ve ever heard.

          • I hate it too. I like to imagine it was originally used as the prelude to dueling or a challenge to a fistfight for ironic/dramatic effect.

  5. This was certainly not a bait-and-switch. Should he have refused to make the ring? He would have been bankrupted with fines by the state Human Rights Commission. Should he have said, “I agree to make this ring and smile while doing it because I am required to do so by law, but I believe that gay marriage is an abomination”? (Or as you translate that sentiment, “Fag couples are not welcome in this store, but if you insist, we’ll take their money and smile while doing it.”) Again, the HRC would probably have tried to bankrupt him, and certainly the baying terroristic Angry Progressive Mob would have been sicced on him.

    The rings were custom-made. He had no moral obligation to return their money without deduction for the time he had spent working on the rings. If the couple cared so much about his personal and political beliefs, they should have asked before they wasted his time.

    • I said it was “the ethical equivalent of a bait-and-switch.” If I say that a baseball spitball scandal is the baseball equivilent of “Inflategate,” then I don’t expect readers to write, “What are you talking about? You can’t inflate a baseball!”

      Here: I’ll explicate. The store presented itself as completely supportive, unbiased, friendly, accepting and professional, thus baiting the couple into feeling comfortable and inclined to buy a permanent part of their attire, symbolic love and union from these merchants, then, after the transaction and the money was committed, the merchants revealed that their presentation was a fraud. They did not regard the couple as worthy of marriage. They regarded them as part of an attack on society. The store was not accepting, it was disapproving, anti-gay and biased. The couple felt like it had been deceived, because what occurred was THE ETHICAL EQUIVILENT OF A BAIT AND SWITCH>

      • If he in fact told them, “I’m completely supportive of your decision” or leaped with apparent joy, that would be the ethical equivalent of a bait and switch. If he merely agreed to make their rings and was cordial during their professional interaction, then he was only doing what was required by law. Compliance with the law does not imply approval or support. Between those two extremes are the more ambiguous cases.

  6. This is what I’ve been saying for a very long time (and for some reason often gets removed from left leaning comment boards): I want those signs. I want them gigantic and visible, because I don’t want to spend my money there. I want bigots to wear their bigotry on their sleeves, so I don’t have to deal with their toxic self righteousness.

    • That goes for left as well as right. Go ahead, post your not-so-clever insults about conservative figures. I’ll pass you right by. I don’t need a side of liberal self-righteousness with my sandwich or a dollop of Israel hate in my coffee or a free scoop of anti-theism.

  7. From Aesop:

    A Man and his son were once going with their Donkey to market. As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: “You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?”

    So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way. But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: “See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides.”

    So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn’t gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along.”

    Well, the Man didn’t know what to do, but at last he took his Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said: “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey of you and your hulking son?”

    The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the donkey’s feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned.

    “That will teach you,” said an old man who had followed them:

    “Please all, and you will please none.”

    • Isn’t the ethos of merchants supposed to be to try to please all who come to the place of business? Who goes into a store and says, “I’m so insulted that there’s no anti-gay marriage sign here! It’s outrageous!”?

      I love that fable, though.

  8. You already know my feelings about gay marriage, so there’s no need to go into them now. That said, why would the guy put a sign up advertising a political stance? In his business? The next bunch of responses are going to be “It’s a religious belief, not a political one”, to which I would reply “Ridiculous”. When marriage is defined by the state and regulated by state laws, opposition to a particular state law becomes a political stance, albeit based on a religious one. Would he put a campaign poster for Mitt Romney in his showroom? Maybe, maybe not. It would certainly have been offensive to Democrats. Would a freshly-engaged Democratic couple have a right to a refund? No, on customized rings they do not have such a right, but it would have been good business, just as it would have been in this case. But then again, a business, if it wants to STAY in business, should not take a publicly-advertised stand that is virtually guaranteed to piss off half or your clientele. And they DAMN sure shouldn’t advertise that stance after accepting business based on presenting themselves as having another belief.

  9. Well, I did say it was dumb for businessmen to put their prejudices and controversies on the front door, they’re just making themselves less competitive in the marketplace. That said, how about this scenario: a jeweler is conservative, but keeps his opinions out of his shop. He sells a set of commitment rings to a gay couple. One of the partners is friends with someone who is involved with elections, who reveals that the jeweler gave $1,000.00 to an anti-gay candidate last time out. They return the rings, saying that had they known his stance they would have taken their business elsewhere, and kick up a stink with the local media. Different ethics verdict?

    • Yes. After all, corporations are people, and the shop isn’t biased, just the owner. I’m sort of kidding, but it’s the Chick-Fil-A scenario, right? Nobody should want to see all of society stratified into conservative and liberal care dealerships, banks and pharmacies. Your opinions and beliefs are private, personal and tolerated and respected as such, until you bring them into the marketplace.

      • Essentially, yes, although I wasn’t specifically thinking of Chik–Fil-A . Sounds like the marketplace of ideas and the marketplace of goods and services are two separate marketplaces. My main question here was that the shop owner in my hypothetical didn’t put his beliefs out there, and but for this chance association with the elections person, the couple would not have known anything about his beliefs. Maybe it’s generally better not to dig too much into your vendors’ views.

          • Maybe not. By the same token, maybe it’s better not to wear one’s views on one’s sleeve. A number of Irish performers have put out posts/tweets/statements crowing about the recent referendum there with all the talk of victory of love over hate, etc., etc., but it shouldn’t come as a surprise to them if they lose their American audiences in the South and the Midwest. I know, art and views are supposed to be separate, but when the performer puts it up on the web for all to see, it’s hard to ignore. One such group got a rather long thread with fans either crowing about or condemning the result. Whoever made the post had to know that’s what was likely to happen, but made the post anyway. If some fans withdraw their support, they can’t say they were surprised.

      • But the reactions amount to boycotts, which you abhor.

        The fair marketplace would be one in which, should a shop owner choose to post their views, the community individually decides to frequent or not frequent a shop…

          • Yep, but the inevitable reaction by the virulent component of the community in question cows the rest of the community into going along, it amounts to boycotts.

          • I think the reason I have a hard time buying that distinction is because the situation isn’t often that cut and dry. “I’m not shopping here.” Is ok. “Boycott x” isn’t. Where on that scale does “I’m not shopping here because y, and I’m putting it out there that these guys do y, because I think that if you knew that, you would choose not to shop there as well.” fall? And how is that structurally different than a boycott?

            • Yes, this has bothered me as well, and I sat and pondered it just this morning. After considerable meditation, on the surface, 10,000 people choosing independently to not shop at Store X because of Conduct/Belief Y looks no different than 10,000 people not shopping because group Z tells them not to shop at Store X because of Conduct/Belief Y does not seem different. Sure, the 10,000 people still have to choose to join the boycott.

              We cannot decide that it is unethical because the “harm” done to the company, because not choosing to shop at a place DOES NOT HARM IT unless you are willing to concede that you harm EVERY SINGLE establishment you do not shop at, even if you have no need. That is absurd.

              No, bottom line up front, the unethical nature of boycotts is twofold – it is abuse of power and ignorant decision making, but it is mostly abuse of power.

              The problem we face in life is we have 1,000x more decisions to make than we have time to make the most thought out decisions. So what do we do? We inevitably place some of our trust in other people’s recommendations to speed up our decision making process. Well, if any one of these various groups or individuals gets a fire to hate on a particular store and tells the entire group of people who reasonably rely on them for advice to quit shopping at that store, and you get the 10,000+ people who, *trusting* the group to act in good faith, quit shopping at the store, when otherwise, given enough time to decide for themselves they may not choose to quit shopping there — you get the seeds of abuse of power.

              If you are a trusted individual or member of a trusted group, it is incumbent on you not to use this delegated power to guide other people’s decisions to fulfill your own anger. Sure you can inform as much as you want, but that’s it, you can’t recommend a decision without such recommendation being solicited. It becomes abuse of power, knowing full well you have a horde of people who *don’t have the time* and therefore rely on your advice.

              The second component making boycotts unethical is that the horde of people who don’t have the time often blindly go along with boycotts without putting any thought into it. They surrender their ethical role as soon as they don’t question the boycott and do their own research.

              I think that’s the key difference between 10,000 people trusting the decision of a small group to boycott a place and 10,000 people independently coming to the same conclusion.

              • 1) No one finds any real problem with what I’ve asserted

                2) I wrote too poorly for people to bother trying to figure out what I said to see if there are problems with my assertion…

                3) I did figure Humble would respond…

                • Sorry, I didn’t see this until now…. For whatever reason my Email doesn’t always get notifications.

                  “The problem we face in life is we have 1,000x more decisions to make than we have time to make the most thought out decisions. So what do we do? We inevitably place some of our trust in other people’s recommendations to speed up our decision making process.”

                  Absolutely. We can’t possibly make an informed decision about everything that effects us at all times, we don’t know enough about medicine, law, investments and taxation to simultaneously be our own doctor, lawyer, broker and accountant, and so we shop those specialties out to people we trust.

                  But 1) That doesn’t absolve us of the consequences of those decisions, 2) the people we choose to listen to are our responsibility, and 3) there’s nothing saying that if you’ve chosen to listen to someone on a subject, their suggestions aren’t in line with what you’d do were you more informed.

                  If someone in a position of power says “This business was mean to me, stop shopping there”, then yeah, we have a problem. But if someone says: “These guys have traditional marriage signs up in their window, I won’t shop there, and I don’t think you should either.” I just don’t see that as a problem. Which is why I’ve always asserted that while individual boycotts could be unethical, boycotts themselves aren’t unethical per se. (Unless you want to draw a distinction between the two scenarios and label the latter something other than a boycott.)

                  • “we don’t know enough about medicine, law, investments and taxation to simultaneously be our own doctor, lawyer, broker and accountant, and so we shop those specialties out to people we trust.”

                    I’m not talking about the very reason we have a market – that is we all have specialty skills that provide value that people trust us to supply. I’m discussing whether or not we allow others we trust to unfairly cause us to actively not trade with someone we otherwise would have or whether or not we, out of anger or bias, cause those who trust in us to unfairly actively not trade with someone they otherwise would have.

                    However, back on topic, I think your commentary falls neatly in line with my assertions.

                    “But 1) That doesn’t absolve us of the consequences of those decisions,”

                    “2) the people we choose to listen to are our responsibility,”

                    That our decisions are our responsibility doesn’t absolve them of their ethical nature. As I said, the problem with boycotts is twofold. The second problem being that we, with no further research, surrender our decision making to someone who is acting out of anger. The surrendering of decision making processes without periodically refreshing why we trust a particular source, or without looking into calls that that source makes that are major movements such as a boycott, would be Unethical on the participant’s part.

                    ”and 3) there’s nothing saying that if you’ve chosen to listen to someone on a subject, their suggestions aren’t in line with what you’d do were you more informed.”

                    The result of which would be moral luck.

                    If someone in a position of power says “This business was mean to me, stop shopping there”, then yeah, we have a problem.

                    “But if someone says: “These guys have traditional marriage signs up in their window, I won’t shop there, and I don’t think you should either.” I just don’t see that as a problem.”

                    That instance isn’t a boycott. But if you turned it into one, and enough people join it without doing the research (ethical breach #1), then there is highly relevant other *positive* information that the boycott-advisor is leaving out, such as the gracious service and accommodation, the quality of the product, etc, all because of a personal grievance. And they leave it out, knowing that the boycott-participants trust them hook-line-and-sinker, which is abuse of power (ethical breach #2).

                    To sum up, boycotts are unethical because they rely on participants not doing their research:

                    1) Which is unethical on the participants part for making a decision that could affect another person without making a fully informed decision.
                    2) Which is unethical on the boycott organizers for using that trust to bring about their own personal agenda, which is generally independent of “full information”.

  10. Arg. Unless someone else is willing to do the deep meditations on this and perhaps compose an essay, I suppose it’s worth delving into any relationship between and corporate campaign donations…

    And free speech.

  11. I disagree with your analysis here Jack. What the shopkeeper did was in bad taste, but his ethical obligation ended when he sold them the rings and treated them fairly. He doesn’t have to create lasting, feel-good, memories for the couple — just jewelry. In my mind, this is no different from Chik-Fil-A. Customers are free to boycott, but they shouldn’t demand their money back because in retrospect their chicken sandwiches didn’t taste as good. (And I’m not unsympathetic to the couple. My husband was against buying me a diamond because of the evils associated with the diamond trade. He wanted a different stone instead. I wanted a diamond because it goes with everything and doesn’t break — I’m very clusy. So, I often think about that disagreement when I wear my ring.) If the couple didn’t think getting equal service was enough, they should have inquired about the shopkeeper’s political views before making their purchase. And I hope that they are going to do so for their cake, wedding band, hall, etc.

    • 1.I didn’t write that he did anything unethical in regard to the past customers, Beth:

      “Esau Jardon was indeed within his rights, and because he does not discriminate regarding whom he serves, barely avoids wrongdoing, but just barely, which is nothing to be proud of. His sign gratuitously insults a potential class of customers, and accomplishes the same result, or close to it, as he would with a sign that said “Fag couples are not welcome in this store, but if you insist, we’ll take their money and smile while doing it.” The practice of stratifying merchants, artisans and businesses according to religious beliefs and politics is noxious and harmful to pluralism, democracy, and society. This is too close to the line for me, and I also agree with White that it is unprofessional.

      2. I wrote that in the eyes of the ring customers, the conduct matters.

      3. It’s not like Chic-Fil-A, because Chic-Fil_A’s owner made a personal statement that does not appear in any stores.

      4. Unless you wear the sandwich for the rest of your life, it’s not a valid analogy.

      5. Neither is the blood diamond, since the significance isn’t personal, nor does the corrupt diamond trade have direct application to the marriage.

      • For me, the analogies work.

        When I wear the ring, I often remember the argument. So, the ring’s sentimental value is tarnished a bit because of my husband’s conduct. Presumably, this is why the customers want their money back — the rings were made by somebody who doesn’t believe in their right to marry. This cheapens the ring in their eyes.

        Re Chick-Fil-A, of course it is the same. If the sign didn’t exist, but these same customers found out that this store owner gives to anti-gay rights causes, they STILL would have demanded their money back. It’s not the sign that matters in their eyes — it’s the belief of the store owner. That is why I have to side with the store owner here. I’m sure I wouldn’t like him, and he certainly is a crappy businessman, but he has the right to believe however he wants as long as he agrees to make them their rings at a fair price.

        Re all your comments in bold — not only do I get that, but I agree with you. Yes, this stratification is harmful — but that is how our societal rules work. “I have to serve you, but I don’t have to like you. In fact, I don’t even have to pretend to like you.”

      • “His sign gratuitously insults a potential class of customers…”

        Wait a minute, Jack. Would you be upset about “gratuitously insulting” neo-nazis? I believe that it’s important to ask whom you are insulting. The sign states a belief that had been held in high esteem for most of our history. Suddenly it’s offensive because a minority of men and women have decided to violate nature and make a mockery of marriage as being that a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and that the two shall become one flesh. Moreover, this is a group of people who are insulted by many things most of us wouldn’t even think of as offensive. So who’s making up the rules here? Where is the line between an insult and not an insult? What if Mr. Jardon had a cross or crucifix on the wall of his business and it offended a group of atheists? Jardon is guilty of only one thing: he’s old school, he still believes what everyone believed 100 years ago, and he is probably sad about the downward direction our civilization is taking. Shame on him.

        • Silly, emotional, rationalized argument without substance.
          1. “It’s always been this way” is pure rationalization.
          2. Comparing Nazis to law abiding citizens based on the sexuality is deranged homophobia…though the logic is the same used by the real Nazis, justifying killing gays.
          3. Yes, and women were deemed second class citizens for a large part of that same history. Stating that a class of citizens don’t deserve human right is per se insulting to that group.
          4. “Suddenly it’s offensive because a minority of men and women have decided to violate nature and make a mockery of marriage as being that a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and that the two shall become one flesh.” the guy that wrote that thousands of years ago had an excuse for his ignorance. You don’t.
          5. “This is a group of people who are insulted by many things most of us wouldn’t even think of as offensive.”
          HUH? And also, so what?
          6. “What if Mr. Jardon had a cross or crucifix on the wall of his business and it offended a group of atheists?” This thread is a bad analogy competition. The presence of a cross takes nothing from an atheist, and there is no insult suggested or implied. An atheist who objected would be a bigot, pure and simple.
          7. “he is probably sad about the downward direction our civilization is taking.” Yes, letting human beings live together with the blessing of the state is “downward.” Such crap.

          • [dangerously veering off-topic]

            >Yes, letting human beings live together with the blessing of the state is “downward.”

            With all the gay marriage discussions, unequal tax treatment for the married and unmarried and entanglement of church and state by allowing ministers to perform lawful weddings the phrase above (taken out of context, obviously) does not sound so crazy.

            Let the government deal with prenups through contract law and scrap everything else that elevates marriage in the eyes of the law. You are free to celebrate your commitment however you want. A more modest proposal, as implemented by other countries, is to make a clear distinction between “civil marriage” (as recognized by the state, can only be performed by a judge) and “religious marriage” (which the state does not really care about at all).

              • 🙂

                If you ever come to the NW let me know and we can discuss how to rebuild civilization over a couple of beers.

              • Actually, now there’s two a’ youse. At least on this issue. But Jack is right, civil and religious unions are so inextricably entwined as to be inseparable without a major upset to the system. And the system, such as it is, is so screwed up at this point, I’m not sure it could stand the upset.

            • That’s a great solution in fantasy land, but since it is too late by far to untangle religious and civil marriage, what’s the point of raising it? Abstract ethics are useless, and thus not truly ethical.

              • My second proposal does exist in other countries, so I wouldn’t completely rule it out (especially now that we have so many immigrants from a place where that is the law). I know, I’m a hopeless optimist.

          • “Yes, letting human beings live together with the blessing of the state is ‘downward.’ Such crap.”

            And there lies the difference between you and I, a clash of worldviews. You hate my worldview and insult my God. You’re obviously a person that doesn’t respect boundaries. But that’s okay. Crapping on Christianity is in vogue these days, and I’m sure you’d never say anything unkind about Islam, Buddhism or any other religion. You’re a little biased, though, don’t you think? Opposing points of view make you very angry. Not that you’re silly or emotional. Not at all. However, the reference to women as being second-class citizens is really stupid. There is a historical context to that history which you patently ignore because you don’t care about truth. You care only about prevailing over your opponents. You care about winning. I especially like your hyperbole, e.g., “deranged homophobia,” not that you are silly and emotional. Oops! I already said that. But what is homophobia, Jack? Can you define it, or is it simply disagreement with your bias? The bottom line is that you favor homosexual marriage and I don’t. Therefore, I’m wrong. You’ve retaught me an important lesson, though, Jack: don’t try to reason with unreasonable people. Have a nice evening in spite of your angry, puerile and mean-spirited post.

            • And there lies the difference between you and I, a clash of worldviews. You hate my worldview and insult my God.

              Again, utter crap. I don’t hate any world view at all, just conduct that hurts people and society, whatever worldview it springs from.

              You’re obviously a person that doesn’t respect boundaries.

              You’re obvious a mutton head. I don’t even know what you are referring to. I’m a lawyer and an ethicist: my life is about delineating boundaries. I don’t respect gratuitous, superstitious, mindless boundaries based on phony authority with nothing more to support them. As should you. As should any rational and fair person.

              But that’s okay. Crapping on Christianity is in vogue these days, and I’m sure you’d never say anything unkind about Islam, Buddhism or any other religion.

              Oooh, such a victim. Back off. Anyone who has read this blog at all will find that statement absurd. I don’t “crap on Christianity” and I don’t play favorites with religious misconduct. Do some research here. You are making a fool of yourself.

              You’re a little biased, though, don’t you think?

              I’m biased? You presume that innocent gay couples are destroying civilization, and I’m biased? I am not biased in the least on this topic. I know what I am talking about legally, ethically and biologically.

              Opposing points of view make you very angry.

              I’m not angry, you twit. I asked for a rational justification for your emotional and irrational assertions, and was eager to read them.You are giving me this.

              However, the reference to women as being second-class citizens is really stupid. There is a historical context to that history which you patently ignore because you don’t care about truth.

              I have no idea what distinction you think you are making. I raised that in connection with your assertion that traditional restriction of rights were a justification for continuing to restriction. There is no difference, except in your mind. Both women and gays were marginalized based on ancient biases. They need to expire.

              You care only about prevailing over your opponents. You care about winning.

              Demonstrably untrue, again, as anyone who visits here knows. You are just throwing around accusations because you have no substantive arguments to make.

              I especially like your hyperbole, e.g., “deranged homophobia,” not that you are silly and emotional. Oops! I already said that. But what is homophobia, Jack? Can you define it, or is it simply disagreement with your bias?

              Sure! Your quote:

              “Suddenly it’s offensive because a minority of men and women have decided to violate nature and make a mockery of marriage as being that a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and that the two shall become one flesh.”

              This statement defines homophobia, as well as willful ignorance, you vile, smug bigot. Homosexuals don’t decide to be gay, it isn’t a violation of nature, and its not a mockery of marriage.

              The bottom line is that you favor homosexual marriage and I don’t. Therefore, I’m wrong.

              No, you’re wrong because you want to mistreat a segment of the population based on ancient taboos and ignorance, and don’t care about law, equal rights, science, fairness or common sense. You’re wrong because same-sex marriage hurts you not one bit, but disallowing it hurts loving couples. You’re wrong because your arguments, if they can be called that, boil down to “We’ve always discriminated against gays” and “How do I know? The Bible tells me so.” The fact that I happen to have been open minded and analytical on this issue and you are incapable of being so is irrelevant to why you are wrong.

              You’ve retaught me an important lesson, though, Jack: don’t try to reason with unreasonable people. Have a nice evening in spite of your angry, puerile and mean-spirited post.

              (Yawn) You do realize that there isn’t a single substantive argument in this whole rant, right? On this topic, hopefully not others, you are clearly incapable of learning any lesson at all. I gave you 7 substantive rebuttals to your comment, and you responded to one of them, and not substantively, just saying “We disagree,” and snottily. Yes, I already knew that. The arguments against permitting gay marriage have failed in every state court, every humanities forum, every unbiased debate, and exactly for the reason shown here: you got nothin’, and you don’t have the integrity to say, “Gee, I guess we’re wrong and have been doing wrong.”

              I have been waiting for a single, substantive argument explaining why loving couples of the same sex shouldn’t have the same right to form a respected union like any other loving couple, and instead i see either rationalizations, lies (“gays decided to violate nature”), superstition, scare-mongering, or 2000 year old edicts from the Middle East. Then I have to read deflections like this comment. All I asked for is a coherent argument. You flunked, so you insult me.

              Sad, weak, and pathetic.

              • Did you just delete Crispin’s reply to this? I thought it was the perfect gem of a deranged rant. I was expecting to see a new banning from you. Rats.

                    • It strikes me, Jack, that Crispin is just another of a rapidly increasing number of people who have just seen too much fawning over the Deviant Agenda over the past several years and the fraudulence of its basis. I may not have given way to anger as he apparently has, but I wouldn’t argue with many of his points. People of skewed sexuality and without shame for it are natural enemies of the Christian faith. Their activists have made no secret of their goal of marginalizing God and then wiping out the faith of Jesus as soon as they can. By “virtue” of their agenda and their lifestyle, such people are inherently sick, destructive and a danger to decent society. It wasn’t very long ago, either, that the plain logic of this was almost universally acknowledged. That, however, was before it became a political issue and perversity became the new “civil rights”.

  12. Here’s crispinrobles last three comments…yes, he’s banned:

    “You’re such an asshole it’s hard to believe. Quit putting words into my mouth like implying that AIDS is punishment for sin. You are a jackass par excellence

    and..

    “You’re wrong because your arguments, if they can be called that, boil down to “We’ve always discriminated against gays” and “How do I know? The Bible tells me so.” The fact that I happen to have been open minded and analytical on this issue and you are incapable of being so is irrelevant to why you are wrong.”

    You’re full of shit. You took words out of context and dressed them up to excoriate them. You’re open-minded? If you actually believe that, you’re one sick puppy.

    “I have been waiting for a single, substantive argument explaining why loving couples of the same sex shouldn’t have the same right to form a respected union like any other loving couple.”

    You’re full of shit again. This discussion revolves around a couple of rings and a sign. You haven’t been waiting for any such thing, but now you claim you have.

    and, just for Beth, I’m including this masterpiece that came in after I banned him, which Beth called the “perfect gem of a deranged rant.” It is pretty good:

    You’re a liar, Jack. Saying that God is ignorant is tantamount to calling him a fool. It’s a direct attack on Scripture and on God.”Zeal for your house has consumed me.” You add words to what I’ve said and erect straw men to ridicule. I never said “gays decided to violate nature.” Moreover, I never even hinted that I want to mistreat anyone. But according to your crippling bias, you assume that disallowing homosexual marriage is like gassing Jews in Auschwitz. I say bullshit. You don’t even know me; yet you call me “a vile, smug bigot.” What kind of person throws that kind of shit at someone they’ve never met and don’t know except through writing on a blog? You have anger issues, my dear sir. If you call me vile and evil, what words do you use for something like ISIS, for someone or something that truly is vile and evil? Your vitriol betrays your hatred of Christianity and of anyone who espouses a belief in it. It’s all over the subtext of everything you spew. I think that that is certainly part and parcel of the gay rights movement. Christianity and the Bible are enemies of the movement. But keep twisting words, keep calling people names, keep erecting straw men, keep up the vitriol and hate. You’re winning a lot of disciples that way. Too bad this disagreement happened because as I’ve read this blog, I’ve found myself in agreement with you about 90% of the time and have enjoyed reading it. I touched a nerve. Then you unloaded your venom like a spitting cobra. You fly off the handle like an insane person on PCP. Why? Because I think this topic is too close to you to discuss civilly. Why such anger? Nobody gets out of here alive, so why live your life insulting and reviling people you do not know? What animus inside you motivates you to such heights of rancor and hostility? You will say it is because your righteous sensibilities cannot tolerate vile bigots. So no need to answer because I already know what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it, and I don’t need anymore of your shit.

    To be fair, I called him an ignorant ass, and was waiting for the explosion, which came. However, the claim that gays choose their lifestyle, in this day and age, can only be made by an ignorant ass. His justification is one of the beat-down, self-denying, self-hating gays who convince themselves that they were evil and had to “reform.” Evidence shows that pretending you are not gay is neither healthy or real. That is called adopting a heterosexual lifestyle.

    Nor did I place words in his mouth. He argued above that a gay death rate at younger ages validated the Biblical edict that homosexuality is harmful. He wrote:

    “According to Paul in Romans, homosexuality is a punishment in itself. Do you think the gay lifestyle breeds happiness and contentment. Homosexuals have a higher suicide rate and a shorter life-span than the non-homosexual population. “Therefore, God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves…men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” I think anyone who has a homosexual friend and cares about him will encourage him to seek help and not encourage him to continue in the lifestyle.”

    Of course, if gays die younger (and that stat is questionable), one reason is AIDS. If you make that fatuous argument, you are tracking with Pat Robertson’s argument…and the Westboro Baptists…that AIDS is a divine punishment for immoral conduct. Crispin wanted to allude to these slanders but didn’t want to take responsibility for them.

    I gave him multiple chances to make a real argument, and took time raising the question that positions like his raise. I wasn’t especially nice about it, because his text crossed the line from sincere religious belief into pig-headed, hateful bigotry. He just responded with denials and deflection along with indignation.

    I’m sorry to hear that he agreed with 90% of the posts here. Something’s wrong there, if people who reason like him think I’m persuasive.

    This is an ethics blog. If all a commenter has to offer is morality…”here’s what my religion” says, and “God is always right,” which is essentially crispin’s point after all the posturing, he or she is on the wrong blog, or at least the wrong issue. Ethics is dismissed as “weighed morality” by such people, meaning that God has already told us what is right, and it’s not our place to challenge Him and his ultimate wisdom, and use our inadequate logic and fact to reach a different conclusion. I don’t want to rattle SMP’s cage on this issue again, but at least when he argues that gays are the scourge of the earth he offers arguments other than what the Bible says and thousands of years of tradition….and he respects hierarchies sufficiently to avoid being as insulting to his host as he is to some of the guests.

    Opponents of gay marriage, I detect, are becoming increasingly angry, desperate and irrational, as is their leadership. Mike Huckabee has even said that he would defy the Supreme Court when it declares gay marriage a right, and he’s running for President. The lack of proportion, consideration, tolerance, common sense, respect and fairness, not to mention an appreciation for stark reality this displays is upsetting. Gay marriage should not be a major issue at a time like this, when the world is falling apart in chunks, a full scale race conflict is not only underway, but being intentionally fueled by a major political party; a monstrous presidential candidate is being conceded the office despite 75% of the nation believing her to be a liar, and THIS is what conservatives are having meltdown over?

    My good friend who is an innovator and a teacher and who built a school with his own ambition and dreams finally being able to sanctify his long term relationship with another terrific human being, have a family, and having it respected in law and society—that’s worth alienating the nation and losing elections to people like Hillary Clinton over? Madness. The loud trumpeting of the mentality of people like crispinrobles is marginalizing religion, making Christianity looks as bad as radical Islam, warping politics and hurting people, and if that’s going to be the case, I am not going to treat their statements—they aren’t arguments—with kid gloves.

    If a commenter is going to argue for making gay Americans second class citizens…and it is on that basis that the courts are almost unanimously rejecting gay marriage bans…he better be willing to offer a substantive argument and answer specific questions, and make some pass at convincing me that he has a belief that is sincere and considered and not based on the ancient canard that gays”choose” to be gay and thus are sinful and dirty. I don’t care that crispin was taught that, as I’m sure he was..so was I. Then I grew up. Then I got to know literally hundreds of gay men and women, worked with them, got to know them, and got to know their loved ones. Then I learned that the characterization of them was nothing but ignorant, and based on fear and bias, fueled by one of the areas of ancient religion that had become embarrassing archaic and obsolete.

    Crispin to the contrary, I do not demand that everyone agree with me; I’m often wrong, and I like to know it when I am. But when I ask for answers when someone takes a position here, “It’s my religion…don’t attack my religion!” is not an acceptable ethical argument. If you can’t do better than that, move on to another issue where God isn’t calling the shots.

    And simply because I actually know gay couples and am not condemning them in the abstract does not mean I am “too close” to this issue. I know a lot about this issue, and have thought a lot about it, read a lot about it, pored over the court decisions, and yes, I know a lot of gay Americans, That makes me qualified to discuss it rationally. People like crispin are too red-faced and apoplectic to check, but I was vocal about the unfairness of the attacks on the Prop 8 vote, and the succession of conflicted judges who overturned it. I do NOT have a dog in this hunt, except the ethics dog.

    • So I take it you’re not a MOD fan (metal group of the 80s whose lyrics included “AIDS like the plague is from God, for he sees something wrong in His eyes.”)

        • I only heard of them in passing at the time, as friends would repeat some of their lyrics. I googled the lyrics just to see what that was all about, and had to pick my jaw up off the floor.

        • I’m not sure how anyone could see AIDS as a punishment for being gay, especially since at one time, the fastest growing group statistically was heterosexual black females. AIDS is about as non-discriminating as you can get…it kills 100% of its victims and could care less about race, religion, sex or sexual preference. Unless God’s just pissed at ALL of us.

        • You and Bruce Banner, you Hulk, you. Crispin missed one, one that I have always thought was hilarious…”Of course the Bible is absolutely correct. It’s the Word of God. It says so right in the Bible.”

    • I’d only say, Jack, that a good Christian would not normally employ those kind of words. Coming from the other side, it’s par for the course, though. Evil deeds begat evil words- and vice versa. Crispin should remember that and get a grip before he becomes no better than what he opposes. I respect your opinion on the broader issue, while being unable to agree in principle. I consider sexual deviance to be, at best, a human tragedy.

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