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Colorado Baker Targeted Again 
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Post Colorado Baker Targeted Again
The NY Times informed me this morning that Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado has been targeted again, this time by a customer wanting a cake created in a particular way that would celebrate her seventh anniversary of gender transition.

His lawyers say that he has been targeted by potential customers eager to test the limits of the law.

This raises, for me, a number of difficult questions. While I think Jack Phillips ought to bake that cake, the fact that he sells his cakes as artistic creations and is being asked to make particular types of cake requiring creative input suggest to me that those "eager to test the limits of the law" are going to get the limits put more narrowly than they would like.

As a strategic matter, therefore, I would plead with such customers to cool their heels. I can make a reasonable case that we would have Hillary Clinton for President right now if LGBTQ people had been willing to wait a decade after Obergefell to "test the limits of the law."

This in turn raises the question whether I have any business publicly criticizing oppressed minorities for their strategic decisions. I am on their side - does that mean I should just shut up and support them, rather than trying to direct the efforts of the cause? Probably. But of course that raises further strategic questions about whether they should alienate people who are also sympathetic but much less willing to shut up about the public strategy.

I could always make my points privately and then whatever irate response they make would not count against them with moderates.

One thing I realized, turning this over in my mind this morning (it's Friday morning, here) is that by pushing America to show its "true" colors (truth here depending on whether you think the Electoral College is the right way to elect a President) they have managed to give me and other privileged people a taste of the obnoxious treatment to which they are normally subjected. In that sense, I am more able to sympathize.

Unfortunately I keep thinking that was entirely unnecessary. I know it is unfair to blame the 2016 debacle on Bakergate and the clash with religious freedom. Any of 16 other things could just as easily have gone differently and turned that oh-so-narrow election the other way. But if they had asked me before the election I would have said (did, in fact, on the internet) that it is better to persuade people on matters of conscience than to overrule them.

We are not talking about making people go an hour out of the way to use a public restroom. We are talking about getting a celebration of a cherished occasion made by someone who things that occasion is an abomination.



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Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:22 am
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Post Re: Colorado Baker Targeted Again
He ought not to do anything he doesn't feel comfortable with. He has the right to honor his religious convictions and stay true to his worldview as long as it causes no direct harm to anyone, or places them in harm's way. To my knowledge, he's a private citizen as well.

Gender transition is not a "cherished occasion" protected by law. This business is being targeted by anti religiously biased individuals.

You are trying way too hard here to be a conformist for the sake of being accepted as a progressive champion.



Last edited by ant on Fri Aug 17, 2018 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Fri Aug 17, 2018 9:40 am
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Post Re: Colorado Baker Targeted Again
Here is something interesting about the Colorado case that got no attention (left wing biased media) but was a clear demonstration of the hostile and distasteful treatment the baker was subjected to by the Civil Rights Commission that initially considered his case:

Quote:
On July 25, 2014, the Commission met again. This
meeting, too, was conducted in public and on the record.
On this occasion another commissioner made specific
reference to the previous meeting’s discussion but said far
more to disparage Phillips’ beliefs. The commissioner
stated:
“I would also like to reiterate what we said in the
hearing or the last meeting. Freedom of religion and
religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimi-
nation throughout history, whether it be slavery,
whether it be the holocaust, whether it be—I mean,
we—we can list hundreds of situations where freedom
of religion has been used to justify discrimination.
And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of
rhetoric that people can use to—to use their religion
to hurt others.”
Tr. 11–12.



The Supreme Court took note of these remarks and opined as follows:

Quote:
To describe a man’s faith as “one of the most despicable
pieces of rhetoric that people can use” is to disparage his
religion in at least two distinct ways: by describing it as
despicable, and also by characterizing it as merely rhetori-
cal—something insubstantial and even insincere. The
commissioner even went so far as to compare Phillips’
invocation of his sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses
of slavery and the Holocaust. This sentiment is inappro-
priate for a Commission charged with the solemn respon-
sibility of fair and neutral enforcement of Colorado’s anti-
discrimination law—a law that protects discrimination on
the basis of religion as well as sexual orientation.



This type of brutish disregard for the baker's religious autonomy protected by the Free Exercise Clause was one reasons why SCOTUS ruled in the baker's favor.

This latest "test" to compel the baker to recognize the "cherished occasion" of a sex change operation is a feeble attempt to harass the baker because of his religious beliefs.

I'm wondering what kind of reception someone would get if they asked a gay-owned bakery to help them celebrate their heterosexual marriage by baking them a cake with frosting that reads - "The most cherished marriages are between a man and a woman"
Mind you, I personally do not believe those words to be true. The only question I have is how accommodating would that business be?



Fri Aug 17, 2018 11:38 am
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Post Re: Colorado Baker Targeted Again
ant wrote:
He ought not to do anything he doesn't feel comfortable with. He has the right to honor his religious convictions and stay true to his worldview as long as it causes no direct harm to anyone, or places them in harm's way.

Certainly he has the right to. I just think he should have different religious convictions. If I had the chance to talk to him, I would explain why, but he is not under any moral obligation to agree with me.

ant wrote:
Gender transition is not a "cherished occasion" protected by law.
There is such a thing as law protecting a "cherished occasion"? I would like to know more about this.

ant wrote:
This business is being targeted by anti religiously biased individuals.
Well, yes and no. Their bias is solely on account of the bias of the religious people. They would have no trouble with most Progressive Christians, for example.

ant wrote:
You are trying way too hard here to be a conformist for the sake of being accepted as a progressive champion.
Alas, I will never be a progressive champion. My wife, for example, is disgusted by my non-conformity with progressive views. As best I can tell, she voted for Bernie in the primaries and does not understand why I didn't. But seriously, I am just trying to explain a dilemma as I experience it.

You are welcome to disagree, but your diagnosis of my situation is a bit off. I am not trying to fit in, but rather I understand the motivations for critiquing my view and have considerable sympathy for them. It's just that for me the strategic issue outweighs the ethical issue.



Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:47 pm
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Post Re: Colorado Baker Targeted Again
ant wrote:
Here is something interesting about the Colorado case that got no attention (left wing biased media) but was a clear demonstration of the hostile and distasteful treatment the baker was subjected to by the Civil Rights Commission that initially considered his case:
Well, I mainly only read the New York Times, but it is considered left wing by most conservatives, and it was pretty fulsome about explaining both the stupid things the commissioners said and the SCOTUS response to that.

I certainly take the commission's point. Equal protection of the laws means people don't get to use their prejudices to discriminate against others, even if those prejudices are religiously based. That is pretty clear about discrimination against Jews and Muslims, for example, and I don't have a big problem with applying it to LGBTQ individuals as well. On the other hand, their job is to balance, as fairly as possible, the interests of the various groups in the society and the requirements of non-establishment of particular religious views (including "none"). Since we are talking about wedding cakes, not, for example, a place to sleep for the night, I think they not only did a poor job of that balancing but went overboard in lumping the case in with slavery and the Holocaust.

ant wrote:
This latest "test" to compel the baker to recognize the "cherished occasion" of a sex change operation is a feeble attempt to harass the baker because of his religious beliefs.
I think it almost rises to the level of harassment. The people seeking to test the limits of the law are honest believers in equal protection applying to anyone who serves the public. They feel that equal treatment is their right. They just have trouble seeing the question through any other lens, and therefore have trouble seeing the other principles that are also at stake.

ant wrote:
I'm wondering what kind of reception someone would get if they asked a gay-owned bakery to help them celebrate their heterosexual marriage by baking them a cake with frosting that reads - "The most cherished marriages are between a man and a woman"
Mind you, I personally do not believe those words to be true. The only question I have is how accommodating would that business be?
Well, I am not sure this is equivalent, because the implied disparagement of other marriages has no equivalent in the case of someone who "just wants to be treated equally to others." But I do think these limit-testers have a serious empathy problem, perhaps born of the lack of empathy shown them for lo, these many decades.

But let's try this on. A gay-owned bakery is asked to help celebrate the occasion of a person "liberated" from the "sin" of homosexuality, through conversion therapy, by remembering the sixth anniversary of their liberation. Does anybody seriously think it would be wrong of the gay baker to say, "I can't do this!" ? Then why not cut the same slack for our religious baker? I mean really, is it that important to compel people to go against their convictions in this matter?



Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:11 pm
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Post Re: Colorado Baker Targeted Again
Well, when you go out of your way to make yourself a target, don't act surprised when you become one.



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Sat Aug 18, 2018 11:50 am
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