It is nice to find a Republican who, at least on one issue, acknowledges reality.
The GOP governor of the state of Georgia, Nathan Deal, has strongly denounced a proposed “religious freedom” bill that would exempt religious bigots from prosecution if they discriminate against people with different sexual orientation.
What really impressed me, however, is that Deal didn’t oppose the bill just because it could trigger a boycott of the state (as similar bills have done in other states) and hurt their economy. He opposed it on religious grounds. Deal argued that Jesus preached love and acceptance of society’s outcasts, particularly those scorned by religious institutions:
What the New Testament teaches us is that Jesus reached out to those who were considered the outcasts, the ones that did not conform to the religious societies’ view of the world … We do not have a belief in my way of looking at religion that says we have to discriminate against anybody. If you were to apply those standards to the teaching of Jesus, I don’t think they fit.
What that says is we have a belief in forgiveness and that we do not have to discriminate unduly against anyone on the basis of our own religious beliefs. We are not jeopardized, in my opinion, by those who believe differently from us. We are not, in my opinion, put in jeopardy by virtue of those who might hold different beliefs or who may not even agree with what our Supreme Court said the law of the land is on the issue of same-sex marriage. I do not feel threatened by the fact that people who might choose same-sex marriages pursue that route.
The religious right should realize that they should not feel threatened by same-sex marriage. Or to put it more bluntly, if they are threatened by it, then they don’t have much of a religion. They make a huge mistake when they try to legislate their religious beliefs against gays.
Deal has some good advice for social conservatives with a persecution complex:
I hope that we can all just take a deep breath, recognize that the world is changing around us, and recognize that it is important that we protect fundamental religious beliefs. But we don’t have to discriminate against other people in order to do that. And that’s the compromise that I’m looking for.
My guess is that he is a Republican with a gay family member or other loved one… like Dick Cheney.
I could be wrong I suppose.
Just Me, I don’t find it hard to believe that there are Christians who actually follow the teachings of Jesus. On the contrary, I am surprised that there aren’t more of them.
So after 2000 years someone is saying that Christians have been practicing christianity wrong, and this (any new ideology) is the real christianity?
Hassan, there has not been uniform Christianity for anything even approaching 2000 years.
Either theology or morality, any group of christian that can get as close to original time will have more weight than recent theology or morality.
When was the first time a christian scholar (knowledgeable about bible and christian history) suggested that homosexuality is not a sin rather something to be celebrated? I am assuming not long ago (if any)
I think one has to distinguish between discrimination and First Amendment freedom. It is one thing to say that a baker cannot refuse to serve a person simply based upon that person’s race, religion, gender, sexual preference, etc. It is quite another thing to force that baker to, in effect, endorse conduct that his religion says is immoral, by forcing the baker to bake a cake with an inscription celebrating the wedding of Steve and Bob.
Consider the case of a gay baker who refuses to bake a case for a church function that requests one decorated with words from the Bible labeling male homosexuality an abomination. Should that baker be liable to pay legal damages for anti-Christian discrimination?
I think not. Reasonable tolerance, extended in all directions, is the smart way to go. And it’s what the First Amendment requires, IMHO, just for that reason.
CARTER, this is what I been suggesting to site for a while. Government should not force anyone (like making apple create backdoor in its OS) to do business that will be part of violating their strongly held beliefs (security for users). A baker cannot ask or discriminate a person ordering cake, but if they want him to do cake for wedding, baker should be able to refuse for any or no reason whatsoever. No one should be compelled to do business.
Hassan, I can easily answer your (likely rhetorical) question. In John 8:7, Jesus tells the gathered crowd who is about to stone an adulterer “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her”. Does this “suggest that” adultery “is not a sin rather something to be celebrated?” Absolutely not, it only says that it is not up to us to judge.
In fact, Jesus goes even further. In Romans 2:1, he says “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”
Carter, to me this means that if you refuse service to someone, service that you are supposed to provide to everyone, then you are passing judgement. This is no different than what happened during the fight for civil rights. There were people whose “sincerely held” religious beliefs included discriminating against blacks (indeed, the KKK was a religious organization, and Mormons did not allow blacks to be ordained even as a lay priest until 1978).
Now, today, if a baker refused to bake a cake for a wedding between an interracial couple (with the correct colored figurines on top), would you claim that “reasonable tolerance” requires us to respect their position? Or that a county clerk could refuse to issue them a marriage license?
Carter, your gay baker example is just silly. Why would a church have a function with a cake decorated with words that promote hatred? Even if I take it seriously, discrimination against gays is illegal, so any baker (gay or not) would be within their rights to refuse to participate in something that has a strong appearance of being a hate crime. Besides, is discriminating against gays really a fundamental religious belief?
Now, having said all that, I am a moderate, so I understand that change is slow. But the proper response to people who are behind the curve is pity and compassion, not promoting this as their first amendment right. Deal said it all in my last quote from him in the original post. The world is changing around us (for the better), and it in no way infringes upon religious freedom.
“Now, today, if a baker refused to bake a cake for a wedding between an interracial couple (with the correct colored figurines on top), would you claim that “reasonable tolerance” requires us to respect their position?”
If it was a bona fide RELIGIOUS belief [as opposed to a pretext of a religious belief], I would argue that freedom of religion requires the government tolerate that position. BTW, I am unaware of any major religion that has such tenets.
“Or that a county clerk could refuse to issue them a marriage license?”
No, because the clerk’s JOB is to enforce the law.
“Carter, your gay baker example is just silly. Why would a church have a function with a cake decorated with words that promote hatred? ”
Why would a gay couple care want to cause distress to a devout baker, with so many other bakers out there?
And what evidence do you have that devout Christians who do not countenance homosexual behavior are all “haters”. Even if they were, which I don’t believe, the First Amendment gives them the right to be. Similar to how freedom of speech gives you the right to express your “hatred” for say, Donald Trump. [At least until Trump gets elected and revises the Constitution :)]
” is discriminating against gays really a fundamental religious belief of yours?
Unfounded personal attack on me. What evidence do you have? Just because I defended Christians? Apparently my argument was unsettling. FYI, the answer is no. But the Constitution protects religious viewpoints I disagree with.
“Pity and compassion”
Yes, putting them out of business and fining them thousands of dollars is soo merciful. Why don’t we just try re-education camps, a la Mao-Tze-Tung? Or just maybe burn all copies of the Bible.
“and it no way infringes upon religious freedom”
Not yours. Reminds me of the story of the man who refused to give his son a drink of water, after the boy asked for a drink. The man said, “I’m not thirsty, why should you be.”
Sorry, I didn’t intend to accuse you personally of discriminating against gays. I just couldn’t see how discriminating against gays would be a fundamental religious belief of any religion. It was meant to be a general question. I fixed it.
Other than that … How do we decide what is a “bona fide” religious belief? There are religions that use illegal hallucinatory drugs as part of their ceremonies, but they don’t get an exemption.
I gave two examples of religions that discriminate against blacks. I can easily name more. It seems obvious that eventually we will feel the same way about discriminating against gays as we do about blacks. Yeah, there will still be racists and gay haters, but they will learn to hide their feelings. Change comes slowly.
Why would you think I hate Donald Trump? And I did LOL at your comment about him changing the constitution.
I feel you ignored my major argument, that the real Christians don’t judge people, so this cannot be a “bona fide” or “deeply held” religious belief. Or that if a baker refused to bake a cake for an interracial couple, most people would not accept that as ok.
“if a baker refused to bake a cake for an interracial couple, most people would not accept that as ok.”
Agreed. Most people would probably also not support many constitutional protections we have, if asked. That’s why we need a constitution.
“Why would you think I hate Donald Trump?”
Surely you jest.
“I gave two examples of religions that discriminate against blacks.”
In the past. Not that it matters, for First Amendment purposes.
“There are religions that use illegal hallucinatory drugs as part of their ceremonies,”
Where can I find one?
“they don’t get an exemption”
That’s because illegal drug use is deemed to be a dangerous criminal act, with potentially adverse physical consequences for the user, and for crime victims of users who rob to pay for drugs. Not so with cake bakers or florists.
“I feel you ignored my major argument, that the real Christians don’t judge people, so this cannot be a “bona fide” or “deeply held” religious belief. ”
Admitted I ignored it. I apologize. I ignored it because I don’t feel it’s my place to tell others whether they are good Christians or not. I say, as long as they aren’t hurting anyone, live and let live. And I don’t think that a Christian refusing to bake a cake with with gay content is hurting anyone enough to gut the First Amendment, at least so long as there are other bakers around to turn to. Let common sense flourish!
Iron Knee, I am not sure if you are refuting me or giving proof for my point of view. Whatever Jesus said was understood by christians for thousand of years. Not sure what it means to “judge”. Does it mean not to judge whether something is sin or not, or not to judge people as everyone is sinner? How did Christians scholarship throughout the centuries understood and practiced it?
CARTER, anyone who objects to homosexuality is shunned, made miserable, made to lose business, job either pretending to use free market or government.
Apple CEO is openly for gay marriage and he can talk about it all day long without any repercussion. If any CEO (Mozilla for example) dare to hold opposing view, and privately contribute to cause without making much fuss about it, has to be made to suffer for his views. Where gay agenda people fail to use free market, they use government to fine people and fine businesses.
Liberals only oppose forcing of morality if it is not what they believe. For them their morality is superior (they have full right to believe so). but they force on others as well believing it absolute truth.
Response to Carter:
> Agreed. Most people would probably also not support many constitutional protections we have, if asked. That’s why we need a constitution.
Maybe you don’t understand the law. If a business is private, then it can discriminate against anyone. Private clubs can, and do, explicitly discriminate against blacks. But when your business serves the public, then it becomes illegal to discriminate based on certain listed traits. And now, according to the supreme judges of the constitution, being gay is one of those traits. This is a classic example of why we need a constitution — to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority.
>> “Why would you think I hate Donald Trump?”
> Surely you jest.
I’ve said on more than one occasion that I don’t hate Donald Trump. Hating Trump would be like hating a dog for taking a shit on your new carpet. 🙂
>> “I gave two examples of religions that discriminate against blacks.”
> In the past. Not that it matters, for First Amendment purposes.
Ok, how about religions that discriminate against Jews. Still some of those around. Or to be completely up-to-date, how about religions that discriminate against Muslims?
>> “There are religions that use illegal hallucinatory drugs as part of their ceremonies,”
> Where can I find one?
Right in your backyard — Native American religions. Then there’s Rastafarians.
> Not so with cake bakers or florists.
I would strongly argue that discriminating against minorities is far worse a problem than private use of most drugs. Didn’t we fight WWII and Hitler about the former? Drugs? Portugal decriminalized all drugs, and things got better, not worse.
> I don’t feel it’s my place to tell others whether they are good Christians or not.
Actually, you are. How can you use terms like “bona fide” without judging? Who gets to decide whose beliefs are good? You are just passing the buck.
> And I don’t think that a Christian refusing to bake a cake with with gay content is hurting anyone enough to gut the First Amendment.
A rather conservative Supreme Court doesn’t agree with you. Neither do I. My whole point is that you would not excuse discrimination against blacks, or Jews, or Muslims, but you think that people who discriminate against gays get a pass because they aren’t hurting anyone? Why? History is against you.
Response to Hassan:
> Apple CEO is openly for gay marriage and he can talk about it all day long without any repercussion.
Any repercussion? Are you asserting that nobody boycotted Apple because they have a gay CEO? Are you delusional? Try Googling “Tony Perkins boycott Apple” and see how many hits you get just for one example.
I can refuse to support any business for any reason. There is no law against that. Nobody is saying that you should be required to shop at a gay bakery.
On the other hand, as I just said, a business that serves the public cannot discriminate based on certain explicitly listed traits. That is a fundamental part of our country — stated right up front in the Declaration of Independence — that all people have an inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness.
> Liberals only oppose forcing of morality if it is not what they believe.
Bullshit. The ACLU defended a neo-Nazi group’s right to free speech, even though they did not agree with what the group was saying. See https://www.aclu.org/aclu-history-taking-stand-free-speech-skokie
If I find that you are the best baker in town and want one of your cakes then you should bake my cake, regardless of my beliefs, as long as it doesn’t break a law. If you are in a business serving the public then you must serve all of the public, not pick and chose who you want to serve. If you don’t like that then you should find a different career. That holds true of pharmacists who don’t want to dispense birth control pills. County clerks who don’t want to give marriage licenses to people they don’t approve of, and just like it held true for the college students who sat a Woolworth’s counter in Greensboro, NC, in 1960. You say I have an option to find a different baker, I contend that the baker has the option of finding a job that will allow him to work without the stress of baking a cake for someone he does not like. But I have to add, that if I was aware of your attitude, I would probably have the cake checked for contaminants before eating it. 🙂
“But when your business serves the public, then it becomes illegal to discriminate based on certain listed traits.
It’s only illegal if a state’s law’s says that it is. Not every state has such laws. And such a law cannot trump the Constitutional protection of freedom of religion.
” And now, according to the supreme judges of the constitution, being gay is one of those traits. ”
I’m not aware of a case that says so explicitly. Obergefell was decided on other grounds (right to marry), as far as I remember.
“I would strongly argue that discriminating against minorities is far worse a problem than private use of most drugs. ”
Really? No one ever died from lack of a cake. We’re not talking about anything else.
“This is a classic example of why we need a constitution — to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority.’
Yep, and at the moment fundamentalist Christians are the minority.”
“How can you use terms like “bona fide” without judging?”
Only judging the sincerity of the belief, not the merits.
“Who gets to decide whose beliefs are good?”
No one. But judges judge sincerity all the time.
“A rather conservative Supreme Court doesn’t agree with you. ‘
Nope. This case hasn’t reached the court yet. It’s uncertain how the Court would rule. Basically, Obergefell was decided on Libertarian grounds by J. Kennedy. A libertarian probably would see things as I do. OTOH, if Scalia is replaced with someone like Ginsberg,Breyer, Kagen or Sottomajor, then your position will likely prevail.
“My whole point is that you would not excuse discrimination against blacks, or Jews, or Muslims”
To the contrary, I would allow such discrimination, provided it involved protected first amendment conduct, and didn’t harm the “victim” in any significant manner.
Would you force a Muslim baker to , say, put an image of Mohammed’s face on a cake if requested by an atheist group. Or are some minorities more protected than others?
It’s called freedom of expression and religion. Not popular in 1776, or 2016. But essential and quintessentially American.
Iron Knee, I boycotted apple, but no one at apple is forcing their CEO out. People could have boycotted mozilla as well without forcing their CEO out.
My “inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness” means I do business with ethics and morality that I want. I should have right to not write software (like apple is objecting government) for beliefs I hold dear. I should not be made to participate in activities I do not like. If I am not mistaken there was a case where guy refused to print shirt with hate/racist speech (and he/she won).
Not mentioned is the brainwashing. Those over 70 were brainwashed to hate Japanese and Germans.
Now I read in former comments, not on this one, that we are supposed to hate Muslims. That’s the new brainwashing. Ignorant people do not realize the Muslim Religion is based on the old testament. Abraham. In the new testament Jesus is a Saint to the muslims, yet we are supposed to hate Muslims which Christians have been doing since Mohammed started the Muslim Religion. “I am the only one,” said Jesus. Yes, well others like Trump think they are the only one.
I happened to have a father who was non existent and a very liberal mother so I learned no hate values. In school we were taught comparative Religion so we weren’t prejudiced there either. Now in my area the schools are teaching comparative Religion. My fourteen year old grandson already knows that the Judeo/Christian/Muslim Religion is all based on the 6000 year old Jewish Religion.
And that, of course, is based on Pagan times. How many Religions have celebrations in December because there is very little light so crops can’t be harvested and people get SAD so we have to have events that perk us up until the days get longer?
Hassan, you better believe that had there been enough intolerant people boycotting Apple (i.e. enough to hurt their brand) then there would have been a shakeup at the top.
Getting way back to the top of the thread, I think you’ll find many people unswayed by the argument that the older belief is the correct belief. The Inquisition was closer to the founding of Christianity than any more tolerant Christians are today; does that make the Inquisition’s brutality closer to Christ? At the end of the day I think the bigger question is should modern society operate on Bronze Age morality?
THATGUY, there was no boycott of Mozilla.
Well, we can always count on “family values” issues to touch a nerve and explore what makes us tick. Of course, those values don’t happen in a vacuum, they’re integral to the culture, time and religious banner we’re born under and taught to us from a very early age. In last Friday’s episode of Real Time, Bill Maher, in his New Rules segment and with his usual biting sarcasm, had an excellent summary of how our personal experiences and perspectives help to shape those values, and how they can literally reverse course and run counter to expectations as a result, citing Republican anecdotes as prime examples of this phenomenon.
It turns out that your values, like the universe in general, are relative and, generally as well, have a lot to do with your relatives.
Hassan, actually, there was a devastating boycott of Mozilla by the open source community. Mozilla is completely dependent on that community — without them, there is no Mozilla. It would be as if all the shareholders of a company sold their stock at the same time, while simultaneously all the employees went on strike.
There was also another boycott of Mozilla once it had ousted its CEO due to the boycott mentioned by IK. That time, by the anti-equality camp. Due to the differing size and impact, one was clearly more effective than the other.