Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Big Lie

Everybody has probably already heard about the Kleins, the bakery owners in Oregon who were threatened, intimidated, and hounded out of business for refusing to make a "wedding" cake for the "wedding" of two lesbians, right?

I think everybody should read Father Dwight Longenecker's blog post on the subject:
Putting aside the whole homosexuality issue,  what I find most disturbing about the report is that the local government backed up the homosexualists and Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries is launching a formal investigation of the Klein family. In a statement which is clearly meant to be conciliatory, Commissioner Brad Avakian said that he was committed to a fair and thorough investigation to determine whether the bakery discriminated against the lesbians.

“Everybody is entitled to their own beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that folks have the right to discriminate,” he told the newspaper. “The goal is to rehabilitate. For those who do violate the law, we want them to learn from that experience and have a good, successful business in Oregon.”

In other words, instead of going to jail or paying a fine the Kleins will be rehabilitated or re-educated. How chilling is that? In a famous essay on jurisprudence C.S.Lewis points out that the only just reason for judicial punishment is retribution–not rehabilitation or re-eduation. Why? Because the principal of retribution (not revenge) assigns a just punishment for a crime committed. When the punishment is completed the criminal has paid his price to society and it’s all over. Other motives for punishment–while seeming more humane–actually open the door to grave injustice. So if the motive for punishment is to protect the public does a criminal who is irreformable get a life sentence in order to protect the public? If rehabilitation is the motive is the person incarcerated until he is reformed? What if that takes a very long time but his crime is minor?

When rehabilitation or re-education is the principal of punishment, then the person may be incarcerated or…”housed in a therapeutic center” until he changes his mind. If re-education is the end goal, then a person could be locked away until he is effectively re-educated. A Christian, therefore, who refuses to change his mind may be locked up indefinitely. Would such a thing happen in the United States? Err, what about Guantanamo?

Read the rest here.

I know some people think that the gay rights movement, and especially the gay "marriage" movement, is really just a "live and let live" moment in our culture.  They are wrong--they couldn't be more wrong.  The gay rights activists have no intention of letting Christians live as Christians.  They will not be satisfied until everyone is forced to repeat the Big Lie:

"Two men can be married just like a man and a woman.  Two women can be married just like a man and a woman.  There is nothing special about the marriage of a man and a woman, and saying there is must be labeled as bigotry and hate.  We agree with society that those who say there is something different and special about the marriage of a man and a woman must be punished.”

I call this the Big Lie because that is exactly what it is.  The relationship of two men based in sexual sin can never be anything like the valid marriage of a man and a woman.  The relationship of two women based in sexual sin can never be anything like the valid marriage of a man and a woman.  While it is sometimes possible for a sinful relationship between a man and a woman to become a virtuous relationship (if they repent of their sin and are then validly married) it is never possible for a sexual relationship between two people of the same sex to be virtuous or holy or to produce grace for the people in that relationship.  At best they might be invincibly ignorant of their sin, or their culpability might be lessened by personal issues that keep them from giving full consent to the sin or having full knowledge of it.  But their relationship cannot produce virtue or goodness, by its very nature, any more than the relationship of an adulterer and his mistress can.

We live in an evil, post-Christian, materialistic and secular culture that has cut off the very idea of virtue from sexual conduct.  The 18-year-old virgin of either sex is more likely to be asked what is wrong with him or her than praised for the virtues of chastity, modesty, and restraint.  But up until now society has looked somewhat indulgently, if a bit patronizingly, on those Christians serious enough about their religious faith to shun fornication, adultery, remarriage after divorce, and other grave sins.  They don't understand us, but for the most part they haven't openly attacked us, either.

All of that is about to change, because the Christian view of gay "marriage" which I outlined above is inevitably and inescapably at odds with society's Big Lie which it wants us to chant and repeat as the price of living, working, doing business etc. in this nation.  A Christian cannot pretend that the "marriage" of two men or two women is real at all.  A Christian cannot assist in the celebration of such a "marriage" by offering his goods or services to the couple as if what they are doing is merely silly instead of gravely wrong and dangerous to their immortal souls.  A Christian, if he or she is a serious Christian, is going to have to walk away from any connection with the wedding industry if the price of doing wedding-related businesses is going to be to pour out libations to the gods of secularism.

But getting out of wedding-related businesses is just the first step for serious Christians who refuse to participate in the Big Lie.  Because the gay activists are totalitarians at heart, they will not rest so long as a Christian can say anywhere outside of his church building that a real marriage involves one man and one woman, and no other relationship is or ever can be a marriage in God's eyes, in the eyes of the Church, and in the eyes of Christians.  The gay activists will go after people for "hate speech," and if anyone thinks the First Amendment is all the protection we need, he or she should think again; I place no confidence whatsoever in the First Amendment's provision of freedom of speech lasting a second longer than the redefinition of the freedom of religion as the much narrower, much more restrictive "freedom to worship," a redefinition which is already well under way.

The end of a single bakery in Oregon, the loss of freedom of a single photographer in New Mexico: we keep being told that these things are no big deal, that serious Christians aren't going to be targeted or harassed or bothered in any way by gay activists in a nation agitating for same-sex marriage.  Guess what?  People whose agenda is to force those who disagree to participate in one Big Lie have no problem telling lots of other lies, too.  We will be targeted.  We will be harassed.  We will be threatened.  We will lose businesses and jobs and livelihoods.  And the gay activists will applaud, because they think we deserve it.

41 comments:

Pat said...

Red,

You keep saying sinful.

Where does that word appear in our civil marriage laws?

Patrick

L. said...

I avidly defend your right to call same-sex marriage "The Big Lie," even though I don't share your views.

People have a right to pick and choose who they serve as private individuals, but not as businesses serving the public. What about Catholics with a public business who refuse to do flowers or bake a cake for remarrying divorcees, or a couple they know is using contraception? Or a fundamentalist business owner who believes miscegenation is a sin and refuses service to interracial couples? Serving the public means serving everyone, even as you retain the right to clearly state your views -- as Chick-fil-A does.

Magister Christianus said...

Great piece, Red! I linked to it and offered some additional thoughts at http://bedlamorparnassus.blogspot.com/2013/09/cake-with-all-gluten.html.

vera said...

I was gonna agree with L., but Magister says it better. They did not refuse to serve certain people. They refused to carry a certain type of merchandise. He says:

"The Kleins did not refuse to serve homosexual customers. They simply said, in essence, "We do not make that kind of cake here." Take all other matters off the table for just a moment and look at the logic only. Are we really saying the satanist bookstore has to order me Bible just because I ask them to or that the tuxedo shop must sell me a pair of hightop Jordans because I want to buy them there? They must serve me, regardless of whether I am Jew or Greek, male or female, slave or free, but surely they do not have to provide whatever product or merchandise I want solely on the grounds that I want it. Surely business owners have the right to stock and provide the goods they want to sell and not others."

What do you say, L? Seems to me he nailed it. Unless they also refused to sell the couple their apple turnovers and their croissants... they should be able to choose what they do sell to the public.

Clayton Hennesey said...

That depends, Vera. If a bakery is only selling pre-made goods from a display case, you're right, they're selling a product, not a service. They're not offering a service to the general public.

However, if a bakery offers to create wedding cakes or any other product at a customer's request, not off the shelf, and offers anything more than additional copies of a standardized product they already offer off the shelf to all comers, they're offering a general service to the general public and can't, for example, refuse to serve Catholics by saying "we don't offer that sort of cake". In this latter case saying "we don't offer that sort of cake" is materially no different from saying "we don't serve that sort of customer".

The only way around this would be for a bakery to operate like a grocery store deli to the general public, selling only off the shelf goods, and privately make unadvertised, and to be safe, unattributable, cakes to their circle of friends and family. That would probably insulate them pretty well from litigation from any aggrieved or hostile party, gay, Catholic, or whoever might be next to come down the pike.

With civil rights laws you get, well, civil rights laws.

Clayton Hennesey said...

With civil rights laws you get, well, civil rights laws.

If you're worried about anti-Catholic or any other sort of anti-religious discrimination or persecution like getting redlined or having your kids beaten up and nobody noticing, you're going to want civil rights laws, not the Establishment Clause. With the EC you get to freely practice your religion, after which, without civil rights laws, others can then discriminate against you or persecute you after the fact of your having freely practiced what the EC protected.

Your best move then is to try to control who gets civil rights protection and who doesn't, maybe yes for Catholics and no for Scientologists and gays, or whatever you decide. Of course, with this strategy you always risk getting hoist on your own petard in an unpredictable future, but nothing's without risk, and that's what faith is for.

L. said...

Wait, Vera -- is a "gay" wedding cake really as different from a standard wedding cake as the satanic book/Bible, tuxedos/hightops example? Or is it identical, except that one will be served at a gay wedding?
Somehow, I have a feeling that if the couple had ordered a "straight" wedding cake (and put the two plastic brides on top themselves, later), the answer might have been the same -- or if the decided to serve apple turnovers at their wedding, they answer might have been, "Sorry, we don't serve gay apple turnovers."

What Klein actually said was, "I don’t want to help somebody celebrate a commitment to a lifetime of sin."

Red Cardigan said...

L., if that's what Klein actually said, then I'm even more in sympathy with them. Traditional religious believers DO believe that people who enter a gay committment of some sort are entering a deliberately sinful partnership that is quite dangerous for their souls. Why should someone who believes that be forced by the law to help "celebrate" such a terrible thing?

L. said...

Okay, Red, should someone who opposes interracial marriages on religious grounds be equally entitled to refrain from selling goods/services to mixed-race couples? (They would run afoul of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans racial segregation "by businesses offering food, lodging, gasoline, or entertainment to the public.")

Similarly, should Muslim-owned businesses be permitted to refuse service to Christians? Should Christian fundamentalist bakers who believe Catholics are hell-bound be permitted to refuse to sell a wedding cake to a Catholic couple, because they "don’t want to help somebody celebrate a commitment to [what they believe is] a lifetime of sin?"

Regardless of what you think of homosexuality (and you've made your own views perfectly clear), the crux of the matter is, should a business serving the public be permitted to refuse service to certain people -- and I don't mean, for violating dress codes, or being disruptive, intoxicated, etc. -- simply because the business objects to the religion/race/sexuality of the people? Our laws say no. One can choose with whom one associates as a private individual, of course, but a business serving the public has to serve the public.

Pat said...

Because sin isn't a legal concept and we're talking about civil laws.

Red Cardigan said...

L., people have gone around and around on this, but the Kleins said, "We don't make gay wedding cakes." Not "We don't serve baked goods to gay people." There is a difference--unless you think that bakers ought to be forced to make cakes celebrating whatever the people want to celebrate, including white supremacism, male chauvinism, or any other ideology the baker doesn't agree with.

Saying two men or two women can be married is an ideology, not a fact. It requires a philosophy of marriage that is at odds with many people's philosophy of marriage. You want to force people who disagree to shut up--well, that doesn't really surprise me, but don't think everyone's going to shut up just because that's what liberals want.

L. said...

Okay, so then clearly you're fine with bakeries that refuse to make cakes for Catholic weddings. Glad we cleared that up.

But I want to "force people who disagree to shut up?" Wherever did THAT bizarre notion come from?

Pat said...

"Saying two men or two women can be married is an ideology, not a fact."

Red, I'm pretty sure every court in the USA would disagree with the above statement.

To me, your stated views are VERY similar as if you did not believe in our civil adoption laws. If that were true, I conclude that your words would be very similar. The reasoning is very similar.

The family relationship created by our adoption laws is a fact, not an ideology or a philosophy. John and Jane adopt Billy. Billy is now their child. John is Billy's father. Jane is Billy's mother. Period. That is a fact. Any court or any legal or civil body looking at any question or issue of inheritance, tax, property, healthcare, etc. would start with the fact that Billy is the son of John and Jane.

If my personal or religious beliefs find it abhorrent that our laws allow this, it doesn't change fact.

vera said...

All fine comments. What a tangle! L., what do you say about the point Red raised, whether bakers ought to be forced to make cakes celebrating whatever the people want to celebrate? If someone requests a swastika in black frosting, or the confederate flag in a staunchly yank town, the baker must comply? All points of view must be accomodated? Somehow, this does not sit well with me at all.

Btw, when I lived in London many years ago, there was a bakery that specialized in cakes with penises, yonis, and naked bums. :-)

L. said...

Vera, you're making me wonder what kind of cake the gay couple requested! But what if they didn't want anything special? What if they wanted just a standard white, multi-tiered cake with butter cream frosting -- the most generic wedding cake ever? In that case, the bakers are refusing to sell them a standard product simply because they don't like how the couple is going to use (i.e., serve it at a same-sex wedding reception). Can a tuxedo rental place refuse to rent a man formalwear if he mentions that he intends to wear it to a same-sex wedding?

vera said...

L., in that case we are on the same page. This one is in the details. It's not ok to refuse to sell one's standard goods to someone whose lifeways you object to. But if the request is for for a cake with specific embellishments, then it is in their right to refuse, and I will back them in that. Sounds like you would too?

Red Cardigan said...

One thing to consider, though, Vera, is that wedding cakes often have to be delivered and set up at the reception by the baker (especially those involving tiers). So then you have the impossible situation for a Christian baker of having his or her bakery van visible at the venue and his or her employees participating in the set-up for a reception to celebrate the lie of a same-sex "wedding." If the wedding's caterer is picking up the cake and responsible for the set up, then selling a plain, generic white cake with no decorations, no "two brides" or "two grooms" figures on top, no "Congratulations Mike and Tim!" spelled out in frosting, etc. wouldn't pose that much of an issue, any more than if the caterer were picking up three dozen rainbow cupcakes. But most of the time when people want a wedding cake, they demand that it be personalized, delivered, and set up, posing an insurmountable problem for a serious Christian who owns a bakery when confronted by a same-sex couple.

Clayton Hennesey said...

I believe I already covered this in detail up above, Red, but how do you solve the problem of Catholics receiving special state protection from discrimination and persecution without extending the same thing to non-Catholics?

On what basis should legally sanctioned pariahs, that is, groups or individuals whom others are free to deny public commercial service to be selected?

I'm happy for you to claim and exercise your religious freedom, but how would you then go about dealing with others who choose to exercise the same freedom against you? Your fears of religious persecution have a real historical basis. Without the sort of anti-discrimination law you're objecting to, how would you go about preventing that history from repeating itself?

Red Cardigan said...

Clayton, as you said yourself, my fears of religious persecution have a real historical basis. Well, when Catholics can't get a job without signing a paper saying they commit to "diversity" which includes accepting and approving of gay marriage, when Catholics can't own a business without being sued for not facilitating gay marriage in some way, when Catholics can't work as public school teachers because the public school doesn't hire "bigots" and "haters," when Catholics can't work in law offices or government jobs because we are "bigots" and "haters..." what then? Will you stand up for us then? Or will you demand that we renounce our Church's teachings on marriage as the price of being included in society?

Clayton Hennesey said...

Red, obviously you don't have to answer the questions I raised if you don't want to.

As I pointed out, though, everyone else is going to demand and seize for themselves any public rights you demand for yourself. If you're okay with whatever those turn out to be for everyone involved, then I am, too.

Clayton Hennesey said...

Red, it sounds like what you're trying to describe is what might be called a selective conscientious objector status in public commerce. You'd like to be able to conscientiously object to engaging in certain public commercial transactions based on your religious beliefs without having to object to engaging in public commerce altogether.

If you're right, then there's no reason that same paradigm wouldn't also work exactly the same way in the arena in which conscientious objection originated, the military. A soldier who enlisted for a six year term would be able to selectively opt out of fighting in those wars deemed unjust by the Church while proceeding to fight in those wars the Church deemed just.

Pat said...

Red,

You've merely answered Clayton's question with another question. I, for one, would be very interested in your response. I think what he's asking (if I'm following) is would you agree to live in a country where a baker has the right to refuse to make a cake for a gay wedding, so long as the baker next door to him has the right to refuse to make a cake for a Roman Catholic wedding?

Red Cardigan said...

I would prefer that to a country where a Roman Catholic can't be employed as a baker without agreeing to denounce his faith and violate his conscience, which is where we are headed in this country today.

Pat said...

Red,

Thanks for that honest answer. But there's a third option: He doesn't have to be a commercial baker. It sounds like he wants to operate a business that serves the public, without serving the public.

If I wanted to be a baker AND I wanted to be exclusive about who ate my cakes, I'd work at a restricted country club.

vera said...

Hm. Should a baker have the option to refuse to take a plain (but fancy, needing a set up) cake to a KKK party? How about a "we love the confederacy" party? How about a nudist party? How about a black "honkies suck" party? How about a Jehovah's Witness party?

So many ways to get offended... Seems kinda unAmerican to go and pick and choose. Sometimes it's best to let commerce be commerce... and leave the bakers out of the melee.

Red Cardigan said...

All due respect, Pat, but you're still missing the point.

Why should he have to be a baker in a restricted country club in order not to have to bake a cake with two grooms on it and set it up prominently at a gay wedding reception? Christians who follow Christ's teachings on marriage (see: Gospel of Matthew) don't agree with gay marriage, and never will. You want to force them to approve or participate on the one hand, or remove themselves from serving the public on the other. Can't you see how totalitarian that is?

Pat said...

I'm not missing the point. The answer to your question is "No. That is not totalitarian at all".

I'm forced to serve the [____s] in my business, regardless of what my life experience, world history and my conscience tells me about them. Is that totalitarian? No. (And I'd rather not print the name of the group I'm referring to. I'm afraid you wouldn't print this comment if I did.)

So, I discriminate them (that is, I choose not to engage with them) in my home, my social life, my family life and wherever else I can. That's enough for me. But in the public marketplace, I respect our laws and don't feel its totalitarian at all that I have to sell them my food and liquor for their celebrations.

Similarly, the DMV lady who would like to deny your daughter a driver's license because DMV lady's personal religious beliefs hold that women should not drive (or vote) is not the oppressed victim of a totalitarian state when we tell her she must grant the license. She's just in the wrong line of work.

Can you not see how equitable this is? I have the right to exercise my personal religious beliefs but I don't have the right to be a discriminatory participant in public commerce.

L. said...

I asked the same question above -- if a baker has the right to refuse to sell a cake that he knows will be served at a same-sex ceremony, does another baker have the same right to refuse to sell a cake that he knows will be used at a Catholic wedding.

And the response was, "You want to force people who disagree to shut up--well, that doesn't really surprise me, but don't think everyone's going to shut up just because that's what liberals want."

I am indeed a liberal, but why would I want people who disagree to "shut up?"

L. said...

My hypothetical situation is not so far-fetched. Say a Muslim baker was privately living according to Sharia law -- he would similarly refuse to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. But he might also refuse to make a cake for a wedding at which he found out a Muslim was going to wed a Catholic infidel. Is that okay, too? (And let us say, for the purpose of this example, that the order is simply for delivery of a standard wedding cake, not customized with anything the baker finds objectionable.)

Red Cardigan said...

L., I'd honestly stand up for the Muslim baker's right not to bake a cake for a wedding where a Muslim was marrying a Catholic, if it violated his conscience to do so. Cakes are not essential to weddings, the couple can purchase a cake or baked goods elsewhere, and the Muslim's right to an untroubled conscience is more important to me than that the hypothetical couple gets to demand a cake from him.

Pat, your worldview is scarier to me than L.'s, because at least L. is saying "Plain standard cake with no message the baker disagrees with except that he's got to send it to a wedding between a Catholic and a Muslim." In your worldview, apparently, the president of the local chapter of the North-American Man-Boy Love Association could walk into a bakery and demand a cake for a party featuring little plastic statues showing men engaging in sex acts with boys and the words "True love knows no age limits!" and the baker would be forced to comply provided he decorates and sells party cakes to other organizations in the area. I find that totalitarian.

L. said...

Okay, Red, I give you points for being consistent.

And when it comes to custom decorating, I would say that a business that advertises itself as making cakes in the shape of ANYTHING should be compelled to change its message if what it really means is "ANYTHING of which we approve."

Pat said...

Red,

With as much respect as I can muster... You blew it.

Your most recent example involving(shudder)sex acts with children takes reasoned argument and casts it aside.

I'm too old and too wise to engage such foolishness.

Let me know when you're again ready to participate in reasoned debate.



Clayton Hennesey said...

Red, the problem you keep avoiding dealing with is that anti-discrimination laws aren't just limited to cake baking, they also apply to stopping people from not supplying Catholics and their children with food (retail and wholesale), for example, just because they're Catholic, or from driving Mormons across a continent. You understand how this whole thing works now, don't you?

Because my last two comments were never posted, I'm going ahead and emailing L. a copy of this one (hope I've got it right) so she can post it if there's something wrong with my post again.

L. said...

(Posting this on behalf of Clayton, another commenter, who guessed my email from my name, and asked me to try posting it because he might be having technical problems:)

Red, the problem you keep avoiding dealing with is that anti-discrimination laws aren't just limited to cake baking, they also apply to stopping people from not supplying Catholics and their children with food (retail and wholesale), for example, just because they're Catholic, or from driving Mormons across a continent. You understand how this whole thing works now, don't you?

Red Cardigan said...

Yeah, comments are still weird. Sorry if things don't show up--I'm trying, but I really think the problem is gmail's new comment notification/social box. I'll see what I can do about it.

Clayton, as to your point: if bakers refused to sell gay individuals cakes, cupcakes, or bread because they don't like gay people, I would be against that. But if bakers won't bake, decorate, and deliver a cake celebrating a gay wedding then that, to me, is not discrimination at all, but a lawful free speech decision on the part of the baker--just as the baker could refuse to bake a cake for a KKK party or the NAMBLA cake I mentioned above, for the same reason: that the baker finds the KKK's viewpoints or NAMBLA's goals reprehensible. Some of us find gay weddings reprehensible because we think they constitute a lie, and we don't wish to participate in that lie. Forcing us to do so anyway is like forcing someone to participate in the lie of racism or man-boy love or any other untruth.

We won't see eye-to-eye on this because some of you have decided that gay weddings are morally neutral such that everyone must be forced to approve of them as the price of doing business, though. This is a collision of worldviews that will not be resolved between us.

L. said...

So wait....it's okay to refuse service to EVENTS (such as a gay wedding), but not refuse service to individuals?
What if, as I said above, the order was for a standard celebration cake, and didn't include custom decoration or delivery? Or what if the couple (either same-sex, or Muslim-marrying-Catholic-infidel) wanted to serve plain old cupcakes at their wedding? Should it be okay to refuse to sell a standard product, if you don't approve of the way it's going to be used/event at which it's going to be served?

vera said...

Bummer. My comment is sitting somewhere in a spam folder.

vera said...

Bummer. My comment is sitting somewhere in a spam folder.

Red Cardigan said...

I'll look for it, Vera. This comment stuff is driving me crazy. It's one of the reasons I contemplated moving to Wordpress--except people who use Wordpress have lots of complaints, too.

Sigh. Oh, well, you get what you (don't) pay for...

Red Cardigan said...

Vera, I found your comment and a couple of Clayton's, all lurking in a "waiting for moderation" folder on the blog itself. I may just have to quit using the email notification system altogether.

In the meantime, your continued patience is appreciated!

vera said...

Thank you, Red!

Btw, I have no complaints re Wordpress, only praise. It all may depend on what you are trying to do with the platform, and how steep your learning curve is...