Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge, And he who hurries his footsteps errs.
Last week I wrote two very pastoral articles concerning the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In How Shall We Respond, I asked conservatives to examine their own views and sinfulness and to reach out with humility in the love of Christ in discussing this issue with those who hold a different point of view. A Letter to Greg was a response to a good friend of mine from seminary. In it I conceded the point that if our country is moving away from a faith-based legal system – then it follows that faith-based restrictions must also fall.
While I will always strive to be pastoral in my writing, today I have to be a little more pointed. In that Letter to Greg, I asked a very important question: Are we replacing one tyranny of intolerance with another? In the discussions on Facebook, I got a lot of feedback on what moral system will guide our laws. But I got no response to that question concerning a “new intolerance”.
It is a relevant question. At this moment, a bakery in Colorado is being sued by two men who wanted the shop to make a cake for their wedding. The shop owner refused, stating that his religious beliefs prohibited him from accepting their patronage. The story can be found in a variety of places: Fox News, Huffington Post, The American Spectator, NBC. If the owner of the bakery loses this case, he can be fined and sent to jail.
Here is my question to those to the left of me: Is this really what you want?
As a business owner, I have put a lot of effort, time and money into an operation that is now coming into its own. Web design and consulting is a competitive industry. However, I will not design adult websites. Neither will I design sites that promote a political or religious viewpoint that I believe is contrary to Scripture. There is a lot of money to be found in these ventures, but my belief structure prohibits me from doing them. Are you telling me that I no longer have a choice? Are you telling me that while I have to acknowledge your religious beliefs, you no longer have to acknowledge mine?
Will churches who rent out their facilities for marriages and other events be sued because they turn away engagements on religious grounds? Will lawyers now be forced to take on whatever case comes their way? Will pharmacists be forced to dispense drugs that facilitate an abortion? Will parents be forced to provide their children with a sex education that includes teaching that homosexuality is acceptable?
Truly this is not the America you want, is it?
The lawyers for the case site the First Amendment as the basis for their law suit. But time and again, the courts have ruled that the Bill of Rights does not generally apply to privately owned businesses. For example, while the government cannot tell you how to dress, your employer can mandate what you wear to work – within reason: American Bar Association. Neither can employees be assured of freedom of speech or privacy in communications: The Internet Library . While the Second Amendment guarantees the right to own and carry firearms, businesses are still free to turn away customers who carry them into their place of business: Restaurants.com. Clearly, the Bill of Rights was never intended to go beyond the bounds of the Federal Government.
The answer here, of course, is to let the free market decide. I will not do certain websites. I am not rolling in the cash that doing those sites provides, but at the same time the clients that I do have like that fact. If I own a restaurant and want to allow smoking, then the market will decide if turning away people who object to smoking is financially feasible. And if a bakery in Colorado only wants to do cakes for certain weddings while turning away others, is it really a matter for the courts to decide if that business can be successful?
Or perhaps that doesn’t matter.
Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, some great decision, offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever, ’twixt that darkness and that light.
-James R. Lowel