Monday, April 27, 2015

"Live And Let Live" No Longer Applies

This is a rather sensitive topic that draws all kinds of opinions. The opinions in this post are mine and mine alone. I will not address the issue of same-sex marriage but the issue of those who object to it on religious grounds and the fact that those people, who until now have been protected by the First Amendment, are seeing their rights stripped away by the very people who demand tolerance of different beliefs.

An administrative law judge in Oregon, working for the Civil Rights Division of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, has ruled that an Oregon bakery that refused to participate in a same sex wedding by baking their wedding cake, because their evangelical Christian beliefs are that marriage is between a man and a woman, must pay the "victims" $135,000 for pain and suffering.

The bakery, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, has already closed because of the cost of defending their stance on same sex marriage and because other businesses sympathetic to the couple have severed ties with them. Now they are going to be forced to pay $135,000 to the couple, who claim they suffered at least 88 different physical ailments because the bakery refused to make them a cake for their wedding.

That list included “acute loss of confidence,” “doubt,” “excessive sleep,” “felt mentally raped, dirty and shameful,” “high blood pressure,” “impaired digestion,” “loss of appetite,” “migraine headaches,” “pale and sick at home after work,” “resumption of smoking habit,” “shock” “stunned,” “surprise,” “uncertainty,” “weight gain” and “worry," and 72 other physical ailments.

Really? Because one bakery refused to bake you a cake for a same sex wedding that wasn't even legal in the state at the time? Please.

I can't help but wonder how this couple will survive everyday life in the real world if they get that ill from simply being told "No, I won't participate in your wedding." If they are that fragile how will they ever deal with a real problem?

The First Amendment states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

But in 2015 America, the First Amendment no longer applies to everyone. It is being modified by liberal judges to say that only some people have the right to freedom of speech and no one has the legal right to oppose same sex marriages based on their religious beliefs. You have the right to your religious beliefs as long as they include your acceptance and possible participation in same sex marriages. And we'll force your silence if you believe otherwise.

Liberals feel the same way about conservatives in general. The liberal motto has become "You are entitled to your beliefs as long as they don't disagree with mine." They scream for tolerance but their tolerance consists only of people tolerating them, not the other way around. This case proves it. Christians are being forced to forego their Biblical beliefs to pacify a minority group. Think it would happen if a Muslim baker refused to make a cake for a Jewish couple? Not on your life.

Is it any wonder that some governors are seeing a need to defend religious liberties in their states? Objecting to being a participant in a same-sex wedding is not discrimination. It is (or should be) freedom of choice - even for business owners. After all, in the Burwell vs Hobby Lobby, Inc., case the judge ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, saying that because of their deeply held religious beliefs they would not have to pay for a certain type of birth control because of those beliefs. It should be the same with a same sex-wedding. Christians who believe same-sex marriage is wrong should not have to participate in it - either voluntarily or by coercion.

Refusing to participate in a same-sex wedding is not discrimination against against homosexuals. In the case of every business that has been on the news lately, gay people were not refused service in the stores. If a ha person wanted a birthday cake he/she got it. If a gay person wanted photographs taken of their child's graduation or their grandmother's funeral or whatever, he/she got them. The only time they have been refused service was their request to participate (by baking a special cake or taking photographs) in their same-sex wedding.

It's not about discrimination - it's about participation in an activity that one objects to based on Biblical beliefs. And now it has become about being forced by the government to participate.

When Sweet Cakes by Melissa was handed the decision supporters of their actions immediately opened a GoFundMe account - a web page that allows the public to donate funds to support people who need it. But after complaints from gay-rights advocates, GoFundMe closed the account saying the account violated their policies in defense “in defense of formal charges of heinous crimes, including violent, hateful, or sexual acts.”

From the Washington Times:

“The campaign entitled ‘Sweet Cakes by Melissa‘ involves formal charges. As such, our team has determined that it was in violation of GoFundMe’s Terms & Conditions.”

“The money raised thus far will still be made available for withdrawal,” said GoFundMe.

Except the bakery's actions were not heinous crimes. They weren't violent, hateful or sexual. They were simply disagreement based on personal beliefs.

The couple says they suffered physical and emotional damages because the Kleins refused to make them a cake. They are married today and their lives haven't really changed much - except that it seems they're about to come into some cash.

The Kleins, who have five children and who no longer have their business as a source of income, must feed their children and pay their bills anyway. And now they may have to come up with $135,000 to pay to the couple. So who is really suffering here?

The administrative judge handed down his 110 page written decision and gave the Kleins 10 days to file an appeal. Their lawyers say that may not be enough time to properly review the decision and file appropriately. The Kleins are learning what liberal "tolerance" is first hand.

In my humble, uneducated opinion, these cases should be the same as the Hobby Lobby case. Businesses should not be forced to participate in a ceremony they find objectionable due to their closely held religious beliefs. The couples are not being denied the right to get married. They're not being denied general services from the businesses because of their lifestyles. They're being refused their request for participation in their wedding ceremony based on what at one time was the guaranteed freedom to practice one's religion unhindered by the government.

It seems that particular First Amendment right is no longer valid. One protected class is having their rights stripped away because of another protected class. I would venture a guess that if Sweet Cakes by Melissa had as much money as Hobby Lobby their case may have resulted in a different verdict. But instead, Sweet Cakes and others are now out of business due to the loving "tolerance" of a few same-sex couples.

All I can say is...  forced tolerance and the destruction of families to make a point does not sway people's opinions in a positive way.

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