Dear Idiots: Please Stop Making Me Defend The Bigoted Baker

I am pleased that the Supreme Court will be taking the case of Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker who refused to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple because, he said, they wanted it to be customized, and doing so would offend his faith.  His claim is based on the First Amendment, which prevents the government from making you say what you don’t want to say as much as it prevents the government from stopping you from saying what you want to.

Colorado’s courts denied that Phillips was doing anything but saying that he doesn’t like or respect gays sufficiently to make the exact same cake for them that he would make for non-gays.  I agree with their holding that his actions violated the public accommodations laws. I wrote when this case first reared its frosted head…

“The court’s conclusion  is impossible to rebut. The cake the baker was asked to bake for the gay wedding differed not at all from one he would normally sell a straight couple. In truth, this had nothing to do with expression. He was just refusing to serve a gay couple because of their sexual orientation. Selling them a standard cake would neither constitute, nor would it be recognized as a “message” in support of gay marriage.

The Court agreed that a wedding cake with a customized message celebrating a same-sex marriage as such might implicate First Amendment speech issues, but “we need not reach this issue,” the court said. “We note, again, that Phillips denied Craig’s and Mullins’ request without any discussion regarding the wedding cake’s design or any possible written inscriptions.”

In other words, Phillips was gratuitously and unnecessarily being a cruel jerk. An alleged Christian who is unable to detect the basic Golden Rule application in treating fellow citizens with the minimal level of respect inherent in allowing them to buy a standard wedding cake requiring no “Yay Gay!” or “Charlie and David Forever!” messages in pink frosting deserves no sympathy or quarter from the law. Could the couple have just shrugged and found another bakery? Sure, they could have. Linda Brown could also have just shrugged and found an all-black school to attend, too.

The gay couple are not the villains here. Jack Phillips broke the social contract, as well as the law.”

Now that SCOTUS has decided, by agreeing to review the case,  that he has perhaps a scrawny, shaky legal leg to stand on before thy kick it out from under him, Phillips and his lawyer are taking a premature victory lap, as if making it quite clear that you think gays are second class citizens is something to be proud of (and, sadly, too many still think it is.) Their publicity campaign took them all the way to The View, a wise choice. After all, nothing can make an unethical position seem more persuasive than when it is being attacked by idiots, and idiots of the left-wing persuasion are pretty much what ABC’s “Six Opinionated Female B and C List Celebrities Sitting Around Slamming Conservatives”  daytime show has to offer. (To be fair, the show usually has one even dumber right-wing idiot on hand to make the left-wing idiots seem astute by comparison.)

Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Kristen Waggoner had just told the panel that “The same laws that force Jack to design custom expression will force you to speak messages that you don’t want to speak. ” Well, not really, since the “custom” message that the couple wanted had nothing to do with gay marriage, was their message, not the cake-maker’s, would not and could not reasonably be attributed to the cake-maker, and thus was not forced expression. Sign makers can’t refuse to make “Wedding here!” signs for gay couples when they sell the same sign for heterosexual couples—no, even if he uses pretty calligraphy to do it. Caterers can’t refuse to cater a gay wedding by arguing that their canapes are “artistic expression.” Phillips is a bigot who thinks he’s found a loophole, just like Kim Davis, the clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, who claimed that her Christian faith barred her from authorizing same-sex marriages, even though they are now legal, even though authorizing them was part of her job.

Ah, but once Joy Behar, the most smug knee-jerk progressive and ignorant of The View’s ladies, weighed in, Phillips and Waggoner almost made sense.

“Oh come on. Jesus would have made the cake, ” she said. “Jesus, that’s a deal breaker. Jesus is going to make the cake.”

I’m sure that’s the basis on which the Supreme Court justices will rule, Joy. Their intimate knowledge, after definitive evidence is produced, that Jesus Christ would have made a customized wedding cake for this couple, despite the fact that he didn’t make cakes, wasn’t in business, wedding cakes were unheard of, gays couldn’t get married, and there were no public accommodation laws. “Jesus would agree with me” is the ultimate appeal to authority.

This is a legal issue now, not an ethical one. Though Phillips refuses to admit it, the ethical thing would be to treat these customers like any other customers: his actions are unethical, and Joy, you dolt, would be unethical whether Jesus would agree with him or not. What he and the lawyer are asserting is that the government can’t make him write a generic wedding message on a cake for a gay couple when he would happily accept the money of a conventional couple to write the exact same thing. There is an important principle involved, and that principle and the definitions it requires to be applied—like what is art, what is expression, and what is a public accommodation—have nothing to do with Jesus whatsoever.

But this another reason why so many Americans are ignorant and devoid of critical reasoning skills people who they assume know what they are talking about because they are on TV reduce complex issues to simple-minded nostrums, like “what would Jesus do?”

_______________________

Pointer: Newsbusters

 

 

88 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Character, Citizenship, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Love, Religion and Philosophy, Rights

88 responses to “Dear Idiots: Please Stop Making Me Defend The Bigoted Baker

  1. I really want to see what would happen if a flamboyant gay couple went into the bakery (the couple is already married) to ask for a cake to celebrate some random Friday. The cake will in every way be exactly like an extravagant wedding cake that he routinely makes. The purpose here is that he’s making it for a married gay couple but for a 100% non-religious reason. What would his action be?

    • Emily

      My understanding (I heard this second hand, and could be wrong) is that he in fact offered to make them such a cake, or sell them any off-the-shelf cake in his shop.

      • That is what he claimed.

        Of course, as the ultimate issue boils down to whether the plaintiff was entitled to summary judgment, the Supreme Court must take the defendant’s claims as true.

        I explained the relevance of this in a comment on another post last year.

        https://ethicsalarms.com/2016/04/09/considering-the-retrograde-mississippi-freedom-of-comment-of-the-day-2-conscience-from-government-discrimination-act-this-shouldnt-be-surprising-at-all/#comment-387812

        • SCOTUS does not have to take the plaintiff’s spin on the facts as true. It was summary judgment because to the crucial question, would you make this exact same product for a couple you don’t object to, the answer was yes. Res ipsa loquitur. Summary judgement: a violation of public accommodations law.

          • But they do have to take the defendant’s spin on the facts as true, because the summary judgment in question was granted to the plaintiff. The product, according to the defendant, is not the same for each customer. The defendant claims to design each wedding cake with each event.

            This implicates freedom of speech and free exercise of religion. The state, of course, can not require us to attend Catholic Mass. Nor can it require us to provide direct support for a Catholic Mass. An interpretation of religious discrimination laws to effectively require providing support for a Catholic Mass would raise substantial constitutional questions.

            Obviously, refusing to sell varnish to a Catholic due to moral opposition to Catholic theology is impermissible discrimination that can not be justifed by a ForWantOfaNail argument that the varnish might be used to varnish the pews in which parishioners sit to attend Catholic Mass. In fact, Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer was decided on the generic nature of the good in question. The Supreme Court held that the state would not be engaged in direct support of religious services merely by providing recycled rubber to a church when that same rubber was available to the general public.

            Now let us go to the example of a bench maker who opposes Catholic theology. If a Catholic requested that the bench maker make a bunch in accordance with a pre-existing design as advertised to the general public, the bench maker may not refuse due to the customer’s faith, even if he knows the bench will be used in the celebration of a Catholic Mass.

            But if the customers asks him to actually design a pew for use in a Catholic Mass, this changes the very dynamic. The bench maker would then be providing direct support in working with Catholics to promote and exercise their faith. Our principles of religious freedom means that the state should not require the bench maker to do this.

            there is no difference between making benches and making cakes in the context of anti-discrimination laws.

            This does beg another question. Laws against religious discrimination have been around for at least half a century. And yet, I am unaware of a case where a court had to decide whether laws against religious discrimination applied to the refusal of a custom good or service that was substantially related to a religious event or ceremony. Surely, if the Supreme Court had decided a case where, say, a business refused to design a custom good or custom service for a church and was sued for impermissible discrimination, that the outcome would be controlling here. And yet, I am unaware of any such case.

      • He refused to place the message on it they asked for that was not a “Hurray for Gay Marriage!!!” endorsement. (The more I think about it, the more I believe that he couldn’t even refuse to do that.)

        His”no Halloween cakes” analogy is wrong. Halloween is Halloween, just like a wedding is a wedding. No Halloween cakes=No wedding cakes. No gay wedding cakes= No Halloween cakes for Wiccans.

        Can’t do that.

  2. Chris

    I disagree, Jack.

    “What would Jesus do?” may be an irrelevant question to you. But it is an entirely relevant question to this Christian baker. You are right that what matters to the Supreme Court is the law. But in this scenario, Behar was trying to persuade a Christian who believes his faith prohibits him from baking a wedding cake for a gay couple. There is nothing wrong with appealing to such a person on their own terms. While Behar didn’t really make a strong case that Jesus would indeed have baked such a cake, it isn’t a bad starting point, as “What Jesus would do” is probably more important to this person than an argument more specifically rooted in ethics or law. He’s already shown that he doesn’t really care about those things, so Behar attempted to appeal to him based on what matters to him.

    • How does he not care about the law?

    • His faith has nothing to do with what Jesus would do: it’s a silly gotcha question. Jesus isn’t the Christian religion or any Church. He was the inspiration for church doctrine, based of hearsay and interpretation and translation. This isn’t “Jesus says.” That’s the kind of thing non-Christians (like Behar) say,

      • Chris

        Hm. I have heard a lot of Christians say “What would Jesus do?” When I was growing up in the church, we were taught that we were to model our lives on Jesus, and to follow his example whenever possible.

        You’re right that most Christians don’t do that, but you won’t find many Christians admitting to that.

      • Michael Cullinan

        “He was the inspiration for church doctrine, based of hearsay and interpretation and translation.”

        Matthew 19:4-6
        ““Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

        Jesus was quoting from Genesis 1:27. Obviously, there is no room for homosexual marriage here. Try to look at it through the eyes of the baker.

        It is impossible for two men or two women to come together as “one flesh” so that the wheel of life is continued according to the Divine plan established in Genesis.

        Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for the same acts the baker is demanded to make a cake in celebration of, an act of defiance and rebellion.

        They might as well tell him to give his middle finger to Heaven, make a cake for a Black Sabbath celebration, or renounce his faith.

        This is the same principle by which the early Christians faced death for refusing to burn incense in offering before a bust of the Emperor.

        If SCOTUS blows it on this , if the same arrogant majority that spun a new right out of whole cloth and inserted it into the Constitution decide to strike out the free exercise clause as well, then the establishment of a state religion will be complete, and it will be very bad.

        • Chris

          Matthew 19:4-6
          ““Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

          Jesus was quoting from Genesis 1:27. Obviously, there is no room for homosexual marriage here. Try to look at it through the eyes of the baker.

          There’s no room for lifelong celibacy if you take that passage as literally as you’re attempting to take it here, and yet we’re to believe that Jesus was intentionally celibate for his entire life. So it is completely illogical to take this statement as a condemnation against same-sex marriage.

          And of course, a business owner’s religious beliefs do not give him the right to refuse to give certain customers the same service he would give others. If Matthew 19:4-6 said “Thou shalt never bake a cake for a gay married couple, which will totally be a thing in 2000 years, for if you do you will never be able to wash the sinful batter from thy unclean hands,” the baker would STILL not have the right to discriminate against gay customers.

          Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for the same acts the baker is demanded to make a cake in celebration of, an act of defiance and rebellion.

          Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed for the sin of being discourteous to guests, not for gay sex. So if anything, it’s a better example of why the baker should shut up and bake the damn cake.

          • Michael Cullinan

            There’s no room for lifelong celibacy if you take that passage as literally as you’re attempting to take it here, and yet we’re to believe that Jesus was intentionally celibate for his entire life. So it is completely illogical to take this statement as a condemnation against same-sex marriage.

            Celibacy has nothing to do with that passage. It’s a simple affirmation of the primordial arrangement of marriage. Regardless, you do not get to dictate to someone else who takes that passage seriously what his theology has to be, do you?

            And of course, a business owner’s religious beliefs do not give him the right to refuse to give certain customers the same service he would give others.

            He absolutely does have the right, as anyone else does, to turn down a request to design, bake, and decorate a cake for something he believes to be an act of rebellion, i.e. the recently concocted legalism of gay marriage. Of course, he cannot put a sign on his door that says “Straights Only” and he’s not doing that. He doesn’t want to use his talents to make a custom cake creation, anymore than a Jewish piano player would want to perform at an event for Black Muslims.

            Lawyers may turn down clients if they have a fundamental disagreement with their position. In fact, they are encouraged to do so because pangs of compunction could prevent them from giving the case their all. If lawyers are allowed to decline cases over disagreements with their clients’ positions, then why not bakers? Is it a class thing, because “some animals are more equal than others?”

            Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed for the sin of being discourteous to guests, not for gay sex.

            Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for their defiance, rebellion, and abject lawlessness, as evidenced by what they tried to do with Lot’s guests. If you read Genesis 18, you will see that Abraham pleaded with God to not destroy the cities BEFORE the incident at Lot’s house in chapter 19.

            Also, in Jude verse 7:

            In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

            So yes, it was gay sex for which Sodom and Gomorrah were judged with doom, and want to force a baker to violate his conscience and be party to that.

            So if anything, it’s a better example of why the baker should shut up and bake the damn cake.

            Actually, it’s an example of what has been done to Christians before — “Just shut up and burn the damn incense!”

            • dragin_dragon

              Michael said, in a quote from the Book Of Jude:
              “…sexual immorality and perversion….”
              He then said:
              “So yes, it was gay sex for which Sodom and Gomorrah were judged with doom…”
              That’s a bit of a leap, don’t you think, from “sexual immorality and perversion” to gay sex? There’s lots of immoral sex acts, generally involving an unwilling partner, as well as things that could be called perversions. In my humble opinion, gay sex is not one of them…forcing me to find out what your sexual preference is just might be one of them. Whatever else it is, it’s WAY too much information.

            • I’m about to ban the deceitful use of “design” in this case. He was asked to make a made-to-order cake, and write what the purchasers wanted. That’s not a “design.”

        • Let us take some key quotes from the Colorado court of appeals opinion.

          Masterpiece asserts that it did no
          t decline to make Craig’s and
          Mullins’ wedding cake “because of”
          their sexual orientation religion.

          Masterpiece asserts that its decision was
          solely “because of” Craig’s an
          d Mullins’ intended conduct —
          entering into marriage with a same-sex Catholic partner — and the
          celebratory message about same-sex Catholic marriage that baking a
          wedding cake would convey

          We conclude th
          at the act of same-sex marriage Catholic rite wedding
          constitutes such conduct because it
          is “engaged in exclusively or
          predominantly” by gays, lesbians, and bisexuals Catholics.

          :But for their
          sexual orientation religion, Craig and Mullins would not have sought to
          enter into a same-sex Catholic marriage, and
          but for their intent to do so,
          Masterpiece would not have denied them its services

          I used Catholicism as an example, because Catholicism, an d religion in general, is closely associated with conduct.

          The First Amendment, incorporated against the states via the Fourteenth Amendment, forbids state from requiring persons to participate in religious ceremonies. And it forbids states from requiring persons to provide direct support to religious services.

          And all states forbid discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of religion.

          But here is where these laws clash.

          A state would go too far if it were to interpret such laws to require a person to sing at a catholic ceremony.

          But if a business refuses to sell an amplifier to someone due to theological differences with Catholicism, it can not be a defense that the amplifier might one day be used in a Catholic Mass or other ceremony. Accepting such a defense would make laws against religious discrimination toothless. Indeed, the Supreme Court rejected this type of defense in Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, No. 15-557 (Jun. 26, 2017)

          I have argued that designing a cake for a same-sex wedding ceremony constitutes active participation, wehjile baking a cake based on a pre-existing design already advertised to the general public would not.

          Here is what bugs me. Laws prohibiting religious discrimination in public accommodations have been around for half a century now. Surely there were some people who refused services or goods because they felt that providing such goods and services would support a religious ceremony with which it disagreed. Of those instances, surely some of those people who were denied would have sued, and the courts would have to decide whether the provision of a good or service provided direct support to a religious ceremony, and, if so, it violated the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.

          and yet, there was no precedent on point in the Coloraodcourt’s opinion. If there was precedenrt on point, it would have disposed of the defendant argument, one way or the other, in a short paragraph..

          Why were there no such cases arising from a religious discrimination context, cases which would have set precedent in Craig v. Masterpiece Cakeshop?

  3. First of all, I point out that Behar and company did not ask what Mohammed nor L. Ron Hubbard would have done.

    he cake the baker was asked to bake for the gay wedding differed not at all from one he would normally sell a straight couple. In truth, this had nothing to do with expression.

    The original judgment at issue was a grant of a motion of summary judgment from the plaintiff. A motion for summary judgment must be denied unless, taking the non-moving party’s non-conclusory factual allegations as true, the movant would be entitled to relief.

    This is important to remember because the administrative law judge who issued the judgment made no findings of fact other than that which was stipulated by the parties. While the parties stipulated that the defendant bakes wedding cakes and offers them for sale to the general public, none of the stipulations stated whether or not wedding cakes were individually designed for each customer, or were baked according to pre-existing designs advertised to the general public.

    The defendant has consistently asserted throughout the course of the litigation that the cakes are individually designed per order. See Petition for Writ of Certiorari, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, No. 16-111, at 4-6. Reply in Support of Peition for Writ of Certiorari, Masterpiece Cakeshop, 3-4.

    Indeed the Colorado Court of Appeal treated, as true for the purpose of deciding the appeal of summary judgment, that the plaintiffs asked the defendant to “design and create a cake to celebrate their same-sex wedding”. See <i.Craig v. Masterpiece Cakseshop, 370 P.3d 272, 276 (colo. ct. of App. 2015), quoted in Reply in Support of Certiorari, <i.Masterpiece Cakeshop, at 4 Again, when deciding whether granting summary judgment was erroneous, the appellate court must take as true opposing party’s non-conclusory allegations of fact.

    Treating as true that the plaintiffs asked the defendant to design the cake, this establishes that the wedding cakes are custom designed for each customer, not ” premade …sitting on the shelf”, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Reply In Support of Certiorari, at 4. If these cakes are custom designed, then it is speech, just as surely as designing a cake for baptisms or bar mitzvahs are speech. And such an infringemen tcan not be justified, and Collorado’s anti-discrimination provisions are unconstitutional to the extent that they would apply to customized or individualized services. the Supreme Court should hold so, and reverse the judgment.

    (It should be noted that just because the plaintiffs were not entitled to summary judgment does not mean the defendant was entitled to its own motion of summary judgment. Indeed, the Supreme Courtmay altogether avoid the issue of whether the defendant is entitled to summary judsgment, remainng the case all the way back to the administrative judge who would then have to hold an evidentiary hearing to decide dispositive questions of fact- in this case, whether the cakes in question are designed individually, or are baked according to pre-existing designs advertised to the public.)

    • Chris

      First of all, I point out that Behar and company did not ask what Mohammed nor L. Ron Hubbard would have done.

      Because the baker is not a Muslim nor a Scientologist, you moron.

      • valkygrrl

        Hubbard instead of selling the cake, would use it in a bet with Robert Heinlein over who would star a cake based religion first. Mohammad would have eaten the cake then gone off to conquer something, such is the way of warlords. Doug Rattman would have warned them that the cake is a lie.

    • Inquiring Mind

      Furthermore, Phillips refuses to design other cakes that are incompatible with his beliefs, including those that celebrate Halloween.

      The question for Jack is, does he think that the power of the state should be used to compel Phillips to use his talents to express a message he disagrees with?

      Furthermore, if we believe in equality, then shouldn’t Acuzar Bakery be forced to make cakes that reference Leviticus 18:22? Or is somehow religious discrimination okay when it’s done by the LGBT community?

      Colorado’s First Amendment apartheid cannot be allowed to stand. And yes, that is what we have here. We have the law being applied differently for one subset of the population than it is for another, more favored group by the political, media, and legal elites.

      • If it’s a blank cake, it communicates NO message.

        I would presume the cake baker would sell a blank cake to someone who fully intends on using it at a Halloween party, but refuses to specifically decorate it with Halloween motifs that his beliefs prohibit him from communicating.

        The law doesn’t care *where* the cake is going. The law cares if the cake bears a message the maker can’t, within their conscience, reasonably make.

        If the baker’s *blank* cake ends up at the white house, a church, a gay wedding, or a slapstick comedy routine, it’s irrelevent, the baker hasn’t communicated anything. If the baker balks at custom messages, then you start hitting possible 1st Amendment issues.

        • Inquiring Mind

          Exactly. And he says they wanted him to design the cake.

        • The law cares if the cake bears a message the maker can’t, within their conscience, reasonably make….

          …because of the nature of the message, not because of the nature of those requesting it. And that’s why he loses.

          Though I’m not certain that a sign maker isn’t obligated to make whatever sign he is asked to make. It’s not his message.

      • Chris

        IQ:

        The question for Jack is, does he think that the power of the state should be used to compel Phillips to use his talents to express a message he disagrees with?

        You didn’t read the post. Jack addressed this:

        Selling them a standard cake would neither constitute, nor would it be recognized as a “message” in support of gay marriage.

        IQ:

        Furthermore, if we believe in equality, then shouldn’t Acuzar Bakery be forced to make cakes that reference Leviticus 18:22?

        No, because that would be a message.

        Colorado’s First Amendment apartheid cannot be allowed to stand. And yes, that is what we have here. We have the law being applied differently for one subset of the population than it is for another, more favored group by the political, media, and legal elites.

        The law is applied the same for both groups. Gay bakers cannot refuse to make cakes for Christians’ weddings, either.

      • The question for Jack is, does he think that the power of the state should be used to compel Phillips to use his talents to express a message he disagrees with?

        Not at issue in this case.

        He can say no Halloween cakes for anyone. He cannot say no Halloweens cakes for this customer, but this one gets what he wants, because I approve of him and he has a right to have a party.

    • “The defendant has consistently asserted throughout the course of the litigation that the cakes are individually designed per order.”

      “Individually designed” is legally crafted wording. “Happy birthday Sue” and “Happy birthday Fred” written in different color icings are by this measure “designs.”

      • Yes, they are, and these designs constitute speech.

        • It’s a forced and disingenuous argument. They were not asking for anything special, and they were asking for THEIR design, executed by him. Just like a sign. This what SCOTUS will stop: A car shop that is asked to paint a car red before it drives a married same sex couple from the wedding to the reception isn’t delivering a custom design and “expression” because customers say, “We want a red car.”

          He’s using a contrived definition of expression to be an asshole, essentially, and the law says owners of public accommodations can’t be that kind of asshole.

          • Jack, I really think there’s a false equivalence in the comparison between the cake shop and the car shop. A car is not fundamentally geared towards a wedding, even if it is used for transportation to said wedding and to the reception afterwards. A wedding cake is fundamentally geared towards a wedding. A stronger comparison would be a body shop asked to detail a car with “Just Married” decals, indicating that the work being request is specifically about and ordered toward the wedding.

            As a general question, do anti-discrimination laws make any technical distinction between the order of being and the order of doing? Just having same-sex attraction is in the order of being, and the denial of services based on just having same-sex attraction is unjust. However, engaging in homosexual activity is a matter of doing, and a same-sex couple holding a wedding is something geared directly to homosexual activity, and therefore is also in the order of doing.

            The point of this ramble is that I find the comparisons with racial discrimination to be, in general, a false comparison. If we assume that someone is following the “Love the sinner, hate the sin” paradigm that Christianity espouses, the condemnation should fall on homosexual actions, not on the people with same-sex attractions. The refusal to serve a person because of race can only be a matter unjust discrimination because race is in the order of being. To refuse to serve a person solely because of the same-sex attraction is likewise unjust discrimination because the same-sex attraction lies in the order being. However, because same-sex activity lies in the order of doing, the question of denying service that directly supports same-sex activity falls on whether same-sex activity is moral or immoral.

            I understand that the real question here is whether providing a wedding cake constitutes direct support of same-sex activity. I think it does if the baker is custom-making the cake for the wedding. But my point in all this is really to ask whether the distinction between being and doing counts at all in the laws that this baker has come up against.

            • Chris

              The comparison was to interracial marriage, which is obviously on the order of doing rather than being. A baker cannot refuse to bake a standard cake for an interracial marriage even if he thinks it’s immoral. It is exactly the same.

              • Doing and being, I think.

              • Chris,

                My complaint about the general comparison with race was to highlight what I meant about the order of being versus the order of doing. But you do bring up a good discussion point. Interracial marriage is, I agree, in the order of doing. The difference here is that we by and large see nothing immoral (at least, not anymore) in interracial relations, but we are still in the midst of the argument about whether homosexual actions are immoral, with strong authorities on both sides of the issue. The problem would remain the same if we had strong authorities claiming that interracial sexual relations are immoral. Is customizing a wedding cake direct support of the interracial marriage? Can someone love dearly the interracial couple and still feel that providing the wedding cake is supporting something he can’t done?

                • Chris

                  Hm. I’m not sure what you’re counting as a “strong authority.” Interracial marriage was not approved of by a majority of Americans until 1991, yet this type of discrimination was illegal long before that–I’m not sure why the fact that some people still aren’t used to gay marriage means we should allow discrimination to remain enshrined in law.

                  • By strong authorities, I mean government bodies, mainstream religious institutions, academia, and well-respect public figures. You will find advocates for either side of the question in each of those. I suppose to clarify as much as I can, it isn’t a fringe sector that thinks same-sex actions are intrinsically disordered.

                    The reason I state this is because it isn’t a matter of people just getting used to a novel idea. The question of the morality of homosexual actions strikes a ontological chord. Are we truly free to use our sexuality however we wish, and no one is harmed by whatever we choose to do sexually, or are there boundaries we should not cross? If the latter, what are those boundaries and why do they exist? As long as there are disagreements on the ontology of man, there will be this disagreement about the morality of same-sex actions.

                    But 1991? That seems really late. I’m not doubting you, I’m just surprised.

            • “The condemnation should fall on homosexual actions, not on the people with same-sex attractions.”

              I think this is a dodge, Ryan, and often supported by the false assertion that being gay is a choice, or that it is reasonable to expect some who is gay to eschew the right to have gay sex, which is part of at least two of TJ’s “inalienable rights.’

              “I understand that the real question here is whether providing a wedding cake constitutes direct support of same-sex activity.”

              No, the real question is whether it is forced expression, and it isn’t, because if I ask to have X written on a cake, that’s my message, not the cake decorators, and obviously so. Nothing in the First Amendment says that a religious individual can withhold even symbolic or indirect support for basic societal necessities, like equal access to public accommodations and commerce. That’s why, in the original post, I paired the cake controversy with the clerk who wouldn’t sign Mmrriage certificates.

              “I don’t object to the fact that you are gay, just the fact that you want to live your life as a gay person while having all the rights that I have.”

              That’s what we call a distinction without a difference. And treating people who avail themselves of a legal human right as “sinners” is conduct, and invidious discrimination. The Baker can think what he wants, but he cannot withhold a product he would give to “non-sinners” without blinking an eye.

              Come on.

              • Chris

                Incredibly well said.

              • Jack,

                I think this is a dodge, Ryan, and often supported by the false assertion that being gay is a choice,

                It isn’t a dodge, because the distinction between actor and action is what permits us to desire to see someone in a right place when they’ve transgressed. When it comes to wrongdoing, that distinction differentiates punishment as corrective and punishment as vindictive. It is the distinction between someone being bad, and someone having done a bad thing.

                Also, I expressly placed same-sex attraction in the category of being, not of doing. I in no way espouse the idea that same-sex attraction is a choice.

                or that it is reasonable to expect some who is gay to eschew the right to have gay sex, which is part of at least two of TJ’s “inalienable rights.’

                This presupposes that homosexual actions are morally good or morally neutral. The rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness do not encompass the license to commit immoral acts. The heart of liberty is not being able to do whatever I want, but to be free from compulsion against doing what is good and right. Appealing to Thomas Jefferson doesn’t settle the question of the morality homosexual actions.

                No, the real question is whether it is forced expression, and it isn’t, because if I ask to have X written on a cake, that’s my message, not the cake decorators, and obviously so.

                I know you say the real question is different than what I posed, but I’m not sure I see the distinction. If the cake is in direct support of the wedding, it is forced expression to require the baker to make it, and vice versa, and if it is remote support of the wedding, then it is not forced expression. If there’s something I’m missing, would you be willing to clarify?

                I paired the cake controversy with the clerk who wouldn’t sign Mmrriage certificates.

                And what you’ve written on this issue has really made me stop and think about this issue harder than ever before. I’m not certain where I’ve landed on the Kim Davis case. I think there’s an essential difference between an employee of the state issuing something in support of same-sex activity and a private business owner issuing something in support of same-sex activity, because in the former case, the government employee is simply fulfilling the will of her employer, and thus her participation would be classified as remote support. But again, I’m still working this one out in my head.

                …like equal access to public accommodations and commerce.

                Okay, this one I admit I need some help understanding. How is a private business a public accommodation? I think you’ve addressed this elsewhere, but if you’d be willing to either go through it again or give me a link, I’d really appreciate it.

                “I don’t object to the fact that you are gay, just the fact that you want to live your life as a gay person while having all the rights that I have.”

                I didn’t write that. But I do object to a person seeking out actions that I believe are harmful to them. I won’t interfere if it is legally permissible, but if asked, I’ll make my position and understanding known, and I will decline to participate in the harmful activity.

                That’s what we call a distinction without a difference.

                Only because you set that up as a straw man. My statement is, “I don’t object to you having disordered desires, because we all have disordered desires. But just because you have that desire doesn’t mean that I can condone the action.” If there is something wrong with that statement, let me know what it is. Notice that it applies to any disordered desire. We can discuss what is or isn’t disordered elsewhere.

                • Chris

                  How is a private business a public accommodation?

                  Here, let me Google that for you:

                  http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Public+accommodation

                  As for the ridiculous idea that homosexual activity is immoral or “disordered,” prior to 1991 most Americans thought the same thing about people taking part in interracial relationships. It was still illegal to discriminate against those people, because business owners don’t get to make their customers live by their weird moral codes.

                  • Chris, thanks for the tutorial. As I have been now edified, I will continue to ask how a private business is a public accommodation when it is not a place of lodging per section 201.b.1, it is not a place that provides food to be consumed on the premises per section 201.b.2, is not a motion picture house per section 201.b.3, and not contained in any of the three aforementioned places per section 201.b.4. When I read the Civil Rights Act of 1964, I don’t see in it where this bakery is considered a public accommodation, so I’m asking for clarification.

                    I’m not focused in this thread about arguing whether or not homosexual actions are immoral, I will give you the benefit of the doubt that your argument supporting the morality of homosexual actions extends beyond:

                    Premise 1) People changed their minds about interracial relationships
                    Conclusion) Therefore, homosexual actions are acceptable.

                  • Further question. If the US Code section 12181 defines commerce as between States, between foreign countries, or within a state via another another state, does a bakery qualify as commerce if it doesn’t ship out of state? I ask these questions because I’m not an expert at law, and while I can read the code, I don’t know the history and cases. I can Google search, true, but I also like the ability to ask someone who already knows to help me understand nuances I might not catch on my own.

                    But I understand. I should be more prepared and not waste other’s time. I’ll try to do better in the future.

              • Michael Cullinan

                No, the real question is whether it is forced expression, and it isn’t, because if I ask to have X written on a cake, that’s my message, not the cake decorators, and obviously so. Nothing in the First Amendment says that a religious individual can withhold even symbolic or indirect support for basic societal necessities, like equal access to public accommodations and commerce. That’s why, in the original post, I paired the cake controversy with the clerk who wouldn’t sign Mmrriage certificates.

                The Supreme Court disagrees with you. In the case of Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian, & Bisexual Group of Boston the plaintiffs argued that a group marching in the parade with a banner of GLIB (gay, lesbian, intersex, bisexual) by its full name carried no “extrinsic message” and therefore was not speech that could interfere with the parade sponsors’ speech rights — i.e. it’s our message, not the parade sponsor’s, so they have no right to not let us join the parade.

                In a unanimous decision written by Souter, SCOTUS ruled that “the Council could not statutorily be prohibited from excluding the messages of groups it did not agree with, nor could it be forced to endorse a message against its will.”

                Just as you try to say, “that’s my message, not the cake decorators” they said, “it’s our message, not the St. Patrick’s Day parade organizers” but the Court ruled that people have a right to determine what messages their activities convey.

                • How in the world do you think that decision disagrees with me, or is even relevant? Terrible analogy. My parade, my messages. Easy. Of course it was unanimous. It’s not the cake baker’s wedding. It’s not the cake baker’s cake, either, once he sells it, nor his message. Nobody imputes what’s on the cake to the baker.

                  I guarantee that when and if SCOTUS take up the baker’s case, Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian, & Bisexual Group of Boston won’t be used by either side, or cited in the opinion. It isn’t on point.

                  • Here is what bugs me. Laws prohibiting religious discrimination in public accommodations have been around for half a century now. Surely there were some people who refused to provide services or goods because they felt that providing such goods and services would support a religious ceremony with which it disagreed. Of those instances, surely some of those people who were denied would have sued, and the courts would have to decide whether the provision of a good or service provided direct support to a religious ceremony, and, if so, interpreting religious anti-discriminastion laws to require the provision of such goods and services in those cases violated the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.

                    And yet, there was no precedent on point in the Colorado court’s ’s opinion. If there was precedent on point, it would have disposed of the defendant argument, one way or the other, in a short paragraph..

                  • Michael Cullinan

                    I guarantee that when and if SCOTUS take up the baker’s case, Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian, & Bisexual Group of Boston won’t be used by either side, or cited in the opinion. It isn’t on point.

                    UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, an admitted gay marriage supporter who specializes in free speech, commenting on an amicus he submitted in the case of Baker v. Hands On Originals, the case where an appeals court overruled a lower courts decision that the shop had to print t shirts for a gay pride event:

                    And the (Hurley) argument is also consistent with Craig v. Masterpiece Cakeshop, Inc., 2015COA115 (Colo. Ct. App. Aug. 13, 2015), which held that a baker may not decline to bake a wedding cake with two men on top.

                    In fact, Hurley has already appeared in an amicus for Craig v Masterpiece and doubtless will appear again, the precedent being practically unavoidable. There has to be a clear bright line keeping the State from coercing expression to which people object in principle. Thus far, the Colorado courts have ruled that only lawyers are allowed to have principles and compunctions. It’s time to for bakers, florists, and photographers to have equality with lawyers.

                    • It’s not expression. The two gay men on the cake is distinguishable from a message in the current case that did not have any gay content at all. Again, the cake was no different from one the Baker would have made for a straight couple. Hence no forced expression, unlike the two little men. The same with the gay message on the T-shirt. If the message had been one that the T-shirt printer would have made for a a non-gay parade group, he would have lost.

                      This is a case about bigotry, where the baker is trying to concoct a First Amendment rationalization.

  4. dragin_dragon

    Jesus, given that he was a CARPENTER, would likely have built a sturdy but attractive table to put the cake on.

    • We assume he was a carpenter based on the notion that sons most likely ended up in their father’s professions (though ossification of profession didn’t occur in the Roman Empire until Diocletian mandated it – if I recall correctly). Still, though not a dejure practice, it was certainly likely.

      The neater take away is not even that Jesus was a ‘carpenter’, but rather a ‘τεκτον’ transliterated as “tekton”. A greek word, which you can see it’s modern relative in the term “architect” Tekton was a term that covered not just a capenter, but even up to masons and down to simply handy-men.

      Being called on a skilled designer, a tekton could be relied upon to plan, design AND build a final product from a variety of workable materials. That neater takeaway then is that, as we believe, the Son was not only present but a participator in Creation, that is the ultimate masterplan, design and build, and then potentially joined the earthly profession before going on to the greater mission of masterplanning, designing and building his church, piece by piece, from rough hewn and ugly components what will ultimately be a beautiful and polished structure.

      More than just a woodworker.

      But that being said, I think the “what would Jesus do” question is just another cudgel of “I think YOU should do what I want you do and since I’m relying on you to not really know what Jesus did, I’ll assume you think he was just a squishy and touchy feeling guy, I think my appeal to emotion and authority will work”.

      I mean really, if you are going to believe the Jesus story, then you can readily see what Jesus DID…you don’t have to wonder what he *would* do…

      If you aren’t going to believe the Jesus story, then why bother picking and choosing his squishier aphorisms to advance your own political view…if you are only going to pretend like someone of his sayings matter, then you have to ignore any of his more off-the-wall claims and his terrifying claims of the future. That is, relegate him to the looney-bin pile. But if you are going to do that, why on earth should I believe that you think his other sayings have value?

      • Very nice comment, Tex. I wish people who put forward any “Jesus would have…” arguments would actually buckle down and give detailed evidence from the Bible and Christian Tradition that actually supports their claim. There might be a more reasonable discussion that ensues, especially when anyone looks at where Jesus eats with sinners, pardons sinners, refuses to condemn sinners, but still ends with “go and sin no more.”

        • dragin_dragon

          While the Bible and Christian Tradition are nice…for Christians. Since I am NOT a Christian, I would prefer some actual facts, despite my tongue-in-cheek comment that Tex replied to. For a start, was there an actual person, named Jesus? I don’t know…I’ve heard ‘Roman Records’ (the ORIGINAL bureaucrats) showed one, I’ve heard they didn’t. I have heard one theory that makes as much sense as any other, that he was a tradesman, possibly with delusions of grandeur, who liked neither the Romans, the Zealots nor the pharisee’s and became a very vocal activist. If he did exist, one thing is for sure; he pissed the Roman’s off, bad enough to make him an example. However, this MAY be irrelevant as it is the belief system of the baker that is being used as his defense. And I am still unclear…did the couple or did the couple not ask for a message on the cake?

          • dragin_dragon,

            If someone is going to appeal to Jesus as authority, I don’t think it actually matters whether Jesus existed. If we suppose for a moment that Jesus was just a fictional character, or that instead, someone was asking whether Gandalf or Obi Wan Kenobi would bake the cake, it is still valid to cite the information we have about these characters to determine what they would do. If we started saying that Gandalf would have advocated some political viewpoint, we would expect that such a claim be supported by the collective works of J.R.R. Tolkien, and whatever insight we could glean by the traditions handed down to Christopher Tolkien from his father.

            However, there’s the side question of whether the person cited as an authority is actually an authority. I wouldn’t really take Gandalf as an authority, because he is a fictional character. But I do believe that Jesus is a real person and that the four Gospels approved by the Catholic Church accurately encapsulate the life and teaching of Jesus. Therefore, what Jesus says has an immense influence on me. Similarly, I wouldn’t put much credit in what the prophet Muhammad says, because I don’t consider him an authority. But a Muslim would care very much what Muhammad says, regardless of my disbelief.

            But, you’re absolutely right to want facts. One of the issues with the general trend of putting all kinds of different words in Jesus’ mouth is that there tends to be a dearth of facts to support those words. Many run counter to what is written in the Gospels and the writings of Jesus’ immediate disciples, who in theory knew what their teacher said. However, if the Gospels are not a reliable source of information about Jesus, then we know next to nothing about him, and therefore he becomes a tabula rasa onto which we can project whatever thoughts and desires we have. The only other early sources we really have about Jesus are brief mentions of him in Tacitus’ Annals and Josephus’ Antiquity of the Jews, and neither go into Jesus’ teachings.

            • Chris

              Interesting points here, Ryan.

            • dragin_dragon

              Ryan, that was pretty much my point. If he was real, we have very few facts about him, the 4 gospels not-withstanding. If he was not, how relevant is a ictional character? Obi-Wan Kenobi may be a HELL of a swordsman, but I’m not sure I’d trust his philosophy…nor would I trust the philosophy of a 16th century actual swordsman like Yamato Musashi. Different era, different values.

              • Very true. So, if I were going to try to convince you about something that Jesus said, I wouldn’t start by quoting the Bible at you. I’d first try to establish that Jesus existed, then I’d try to establish that the Gospels are accurate historical documents. If you don’t think the Gospels convey anything close to reality, I would be doing you a grave disservice by trying to cite them as an authority.

                However, if you instead were going to argue with a Christian about what Jesus might have said, you would probably have a more convincing argument if you referenced sources the Christian held to be authoritative.

                • dragin_dragon

                  So true. However, I am EXTREMELY unlikely to argue about anything Jesus said or did with anybody, since I have no clue, either in reality or biblically.

  5. Zanshin

    Hi Jack, not trying to slap you with some gotcha’s but two remarks:

    a. In the title you suggest that you did have to defend the bigoted baker but after careful reading this post I can’t find where you do defend the baker.

    b. You wrote, “What he and the lawyer are asserting is that the government can’t make him write a generic wedding message on a cake for a gay couple when he would happily accept the money of a conventional couple to write the exact same thing.”
    I think this statement is false. As I understand it, the baker and his lawyer are asserting that it was a custom design and therefore his refusal to cooperate is protected by the first amendment.

    • That’s not what occurred, though. He is calling it a “custom design” which appears to be deceit. They weren’t asking for the Sistine Chapel: they wanted a cake that looked a certain way, and had a message on it. That’s all. Sure, you can call that a “custom design” to try to make the “this is art not commerce” argument in court, but its disingenuous. I worked in Baskin Robbins for a summer job. Someone would ask for a chocolate mint ice cream cake with “Happy Anniversary to the Wilsons.” We did not call that a “custom design.”

      When X attacks Y with bogus argument Z, and Ethicist JM explains why X’s attack is bogus, A is, in that moment, defending Y against attack, hence “defending Y.”

      • A heavily qualified “defending”…as in “collaterally” and “by chance” defending. The guy is receiving by moral luck your defense only because you are attacking a silly argument that you would have attacked in almost any other circumstance.

      • That’s not what occurred, though. He is calling it a “custom design” which appears to be deceit. They weren’t asking for the Sistine Chapel: they wanted a cake that looked a certain way, and had a message on it

        The original case was decided on summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, which means that the original case assumed the veracity of the defendant’s claims and interpreted those claims in the light most favorable to the defendant. Thuis, for the purposes of deciding whether summary judgment was appropriate, we must assume arguendo that the defendant was asked to design the cake in question. See Craig v. Masterpiece Cakeshop, 370 P.3d 272, 276 (stating that the plaintiffs asked the defendants to design the cake) (Colo. ct. of App. 2015), quoted in Reply in Support of Certiorari, Masterpiece Cakeshop, at 4 .

        Sexual orientation is like religion, in that it is a status closely correlated with conduct. A business in Colorado that refused to sell scrap rubber to a Catholic Church would be in violation of Colorado’s anti-discrimination l;aw. a claim that requiring such a sale would constitute compelled participation in Catholicism, in violation of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, must fail because, among other things, the mere provision of generic goods and services does not constitute facilitation of the promotion or practice of religious belief. see Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, No. 15-577, slip op. at 9-10 (June 26, 2017) see also concurring op. of Breyer, J., Trinity Lutheran Church, at 2.

        But then the question regarding the application of anti-discrimination laws to stati closely related to conduct is when it approaches requiring businesses to be complicit in the conduct in question.

        Can an architect refuse to design a church for Catholics because of disagreement with the Church’s teachings on homosexuality? It appears to me that designing a church would constitute complicity in the promotion of its doctrines in a manner that merely supplying recycled rubber or other construction materials would not. Indeed, a state that offered the services of an architect to help design a church would seriously implicate the Establishment Clause.

        This generic/custom dichotomy which I have explained in other comments both here and in this post . applies to religious ceremonies even more forcefully than the design of religious buildings, religious ceremonies that include, but are not limited to, baptisms, ordination of clergy, and yes, weddings.

        Whether or not the offer of a particular good or service constitutes facilitation of a religious ceremony is determined on a case-by-case basis,. often after an evidentiary hearing, turning on many factors on whether or not the good or service was available to the general public, whether it is of the same design, etc. And our Establishment clause jurisprudence is especially instructive, as while a state can not deny goods and services because it may be used in a religious ceremony, see Trinity Lutheran Church, it may not provide these goods or services in close coordination with the ceremony.

        Which boils down to this case at hand. Designing a cake for a wedding ceremony (as opposed to baking a cake in accordance with a pre-existing design advertised to the general public) definitely constitutes participation in the ceremony,

        • Can an architect refuse to design a church for Catholics because of disagreement with the Church’s teachings on homosexuality?

          An architect is not a public accommodation. A bakery shop is. If this baker had an online consultant business as a “cake designer,” that might be a valid analogy. If an anchitect has a Cathedral store, and refused to sell a cathedral with Roman arches requested by the customer because the customer was a Scientologist, he’d be breaking the law too.

          • Yes, if the cathedral was pre-existing, or made-to-order based on a design advertised to the general public.

            This may turn out to be the case in Masterpiece Cakeshop. The courts just never ordered an evidentiary hearing because they held the plaintiff was entitled to relief even if the plaintiffs requested a new design as the defendant alleged.

  6. Rob Palmer

    You have a point about speech and expression, but don’t stores have the right to refuse business for any reason? The state can’t compel you to transact with someone, right? If someone looks at me funny, or I don’t like his face, or he smells, etc; get out of my store, no soup for you. I may be ignorant of the specifics of the law here, so someone please enlighten me.

    While this may be upsetting to the principle of ethical business practices it seems completely acceptable under the concept of free association.

    • Chris

      The Civil Rights Act prohibits businesses from discriminating against people for their race, religion, sex, or national origin. You can refuse service because you don’t like someone’s face. You can’t refuse service to someone because they are black.

      Many states have discrimination laws that go further than this, and some have laws that specifically protect orientation.

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        In PA you can still kick a gay couple out of your diner. Not so in NJ, where the LAD (Law Against Discrimination) is very broad. Veterans status, occupation, and affiliation should probably be protected too if we are going to protect orientation. If there’s no reason to turn someone away because of his orientation, why should it be ok to turn him away because he exercised a different legal option election day, or served his country, or because of his chosen career?

        • Chris

          I actually support broader anti-discrimination laws that protect the categories you refer to, Steve. I know in some states veteran status is covered, and IMO that should be protected in all 50 states.

    • Not any reason. Not based on “invidious” discrimination in specified categories. Hence the Civil Rights acts, which have been gradually expanded to more than just race. Even if its legal, such refusal is unethical in all systems unless there is a valid reason—like a disruptive customer or a thief.

  7. Becky

    I think part of the reason they elected to hear THIS case and not another like the pizza from Indiana is probably that he said they could buy any other one, but he wouldn’t ‘design’ one for them. The pizza and other like cases they said flat NO, not the way this guy did it. It’s merely the public accommodation as put forth many times above. The real question to me is what the concurring and dissenting opinions might be. But at base, if none of these people had been dicks about it, and just lied and said, “Oh, I’m sorry, we are full that date! We can’t possibly fit you in,” and sent them to another bakery, we might not have any cases. But the shop owners are determined to be dicks. Pretty ‘Christian,’ dicks!

  8. Chris

    As a side note, “The Bigoted Baker” is really one of the worst Sherlock Holmes stories.

  9. Steve-O-in-NJ

    I have a few questions for the liberals out there, actually a few hypotheticals:
    Let’s say someone’s nephew is graduating the police academy and he wants a cake with a simple badge and the words “to protect and serve, congratulations Officer Joe.” The baker dislikes police and says “sorry, I don’t do cakes for guys who hassle ordinary citizens and kill young black men.” I bet you have no problem with that, let Officer Joe go down the block to the guy with the FOP sticker on the window.

    How about if my cousin is coming home from Afghanistan and we want one with an American flag and “welcome home Sgt. Sam, thanks for your service?” Can the baker say “sorry, I’m a pacifist, and I don’t do pro-war stuff?” I bet you have no problem with that either, Sgt. Sam’s family can go see that other baker who hangs the American flag with a yellow ribbon tied to the staff out every morning.

    What about if someone’s son is about to get confirmed and he wants a cake with a simple cross and “Congratulations, David Thomas Sebastian Rhodes” using the kid’s confirmation name? Is it ok for the baker to say “sorry, I’m an atheist and I don’t do religitard stuff like that?” No problem, right, let David’s parents go talk to the baker with the statue of St. Nicholas on the shelf and Mass cards taped to the wall. Do you start getting uncomfortable if instead it becomes a bar/bat mitzvah and a star of David? Or is it ok if the baker says “I’m not anti-Semitic, just anti-Zionist.” I bet you would really start getting uncomfortable if it became a Muslim family and a crescent and the baker said “sorry, I won’t make a design for the sworn enemies of my country.”

    Change it up a little and say the local chapter of some peace group is having a celebration and wants a cake with a dove and an olive branch and the message “Peace, salaam, shalom.” Can a more old school baker say ” take your hippy-dippy nonsense elsewhere, we’re Americans here?” How dare he, right?

    How about the most obvious, where there has just been one of those special elections we just had a few of and someone wants a cake saying “Congratulations, Congressman Mike” to the winner, but the baker supported the other candidate, can he turn the winner down? I bet it depends on the party of Congressman Mike, right? If he is one of those horrible GOPers who wants to slam the doors of this country and condemn kids to death by taking away health insurance, then that’s just fine, let him go see the guy with HIS poster in the window. But if he’s one of those nice, tolerant, oh-so-smart Democrats, then how dare this guy say no?
    Either coercion is OK in business or it’s not. If it is, then everyone should have to serve everyone, no matter how they feel about the request. If it’s not, then anyone should be free to turn anyone away for any reason, or no reason.

    • Chris

      Wow, that’s a lot of assumptions packed into one post, plus a lot of questions that you could have answered yourself had you read through the comments on this thread before writing your own..

      I have a few questions for the liberals out there, actually a few hypotheticals:
      Let’s say someone’s nephew is graduating the police academy and he wants a cake with a simple badge and the words “to protect and serve, congratulations Officer Joe.” The baker dislikes police and says “sorry, I don’t do cakes for guys who hassle ordinary citizens and kill young black men.” I bet you have no problem with that, let Officer Joe go down the block to the guy with the FOP sticker on the window.

      I actually do have a problem with that, as the baker would be acting like an unethical, bigoted jerk.

      However, unlike the case Jack referred to, his actions would probably not be illegal. Police officers are not a protected class in any state as far as I’m aware of. Businesses can discriminate against police officers, though doing so is wrong as well as inadvisable–do they really want to piss off the people who might have to come help them if they get robbed?

      How about if my cousin is coming home from Afghanistan and we want one with an American flag and “welcome home Sgt. Sam, thanks for your service?” Can the baker say “sorry, I’m a pacifist, and I don’t do pro-war stuff?” I bet you have no problem with that either, Sgt. Sam’s family can go see that other baker who hangs the American flag with a yellow ribbon tied to the staff out every morning.

      I have a problem with that too, for the same reasons. Although I think in some states military service is protected in anti-discrimination law; am I right about that, fellow ethics alarmists?

      What about if someone’s son is about to get confirmed and he wants a cake with a simple cross and “Congratulations, David Thomas Sebastian Rhodes” using the kid’s confirmation name? Is it ok for the baker to say “sorry, I’m an atheist and I don’t do religitard stuff like that?” No problem, right, let David’s parents go talk to the baker with the statue of St. Nicholas on the shelf and Mass cards taped to the wall. Do you start getting uncomfortable if instead it becomes a bar/bat mitzvah and a star of David? Or is it ok if the baker says “I’m not anti-Semitic, just anti-Zionist.” I bet you would really start getting uncomfortable if it became a Muslim family and a crescent and the baker said “sorry, I won’t make a design for the sworn enemies of my country.”

      Every one of these examples is classic religious discrimination, and has been illegal in every state since 1965. They are also all unethical and bigoted.

      Change it up a little and say the local chapter of some peace group is having a celebration and wants a cake with a dove and an olive branch and the message “Peace, salaam, shalom.” Can a more old school baker say ” take your hippy-dippy nonsense elsewhere, we’re Americans here?” How dare he, right?

      Unethical, but legal.

      How about the most obvious, where there has just been one of those special elections we just had a few of and someone wants a cake saying “Congratulations, Congressman Mike” to the winner, but the baker supported the other candidate, can he turn the winner down? I bet it depends on the party of Congressman Mike, right? If he is one of those horrible GOPers who wants to slam the doors of this country and condemn kids to death by taking away health insurance, then that’s just fine, let him go see the guy with HIS poster in the window. But if he’s one of those nice, tolerant, oh-so-smart Democrats, then how dare this guy say no?
      Either coercion is OK in business or it’s not. If it is, then everyone should have to serve everyone, no matter how they feel about the request. If it’s not, then anyone should be free to turn anyone away for any reason, or no reason.

      Damn! You finally got me on one! If he’s refusing service to a Democrat candidate, he is a horrible bigot and should be punished to the full extent of the law! If he’s discriminating against a Republican, he should get a medal!

      Of course, that’s sarcasm; either way, the baker would be acting unethically, but legally.

      What do they say about assumptions? They make an ass out of ump and tion?

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