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Religious Freedom Restoration Act

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Part of me sees the good and the bad to this act. Yet at the same time we have freedom in Christ so acts like this should not be so man and government centered.

 

I'm merely stating that the approval of man is not needed when Christians decide yes or no on a topic based on their own personal convictions. God is the final judge and the government finally saying yeah it's okay doesn't impress me, because I already know right and wrong from the Word and Holy Spirit inside me.

 

This whole bill being a topic of "Religion" puts the focus on what man thinks is right from wrong. Instead we should ask "What does God say is right from wrong in His Word?"  I don't like to say I'm religious I like to say I have a intimate relationship with God. True believers have already had freedom in Christ from the beginning of time.

 

I just want to point out that this law is not about Christianity. Being "man and government centered" is the only option. I don't want the government asking what the Bible says about something before making laws any more than I want them asking what the Quran, Book of Mormon, or any other holy book says.

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@Buster Cannon  I understand your point but they provide Pizza. They're not going along and being asked to watch them on their wedding night, just to provide some pizza. And when does it stop???? Doctors refusing gays?  Pretty sure there might just be a line in the bible about treating others as you would like to be treated!... and that doesn't crop up just once.

 

I mean there are millions of examples I can give you. Religion sadly separates one man from another. You seem a nice guy, I wouldn't refuse to help you with something because we have a different belief. I sure as hell wouldn't make a song and dance over some food. As far as I'm concerned they should have served and not treated people as if they were not worthy... of some bloody pizza.

 

The Surgeon point is the one i'd make. Those people have lives in their hands and yet they operate on all put before them. Imagine the chaos if atheists started operating on atheist and began refusing to treat anyone who didn't understand science to their level. If they started saying 'some of you dismiss science so you can no longer benefit from our knowledge'. Or if men began refusing to operate on women. Or white doctors refusing anyone of different race.  Do you think a homosexual surgeon would turn away some bigot? People have an extraordinarily bizarre desire to put up barriers and keep people apart. It's a real shame.

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@Amarillo    You think it's ok to refuse people because of Race?? Not only that, I think you have a 'Blatter' esque understanding of what the word 'slavery' means.

 

You seem... toxic. And yet you're whinging because you feel you and your ilk are being persecuted?  Your post is so unclear so maybe i'm just reading you wrong but how does denying someone service, based on race, fit into any argument about 'freedom'? How does that person have freedom? What 'freedom' to fuck off and try and find a restaurant that isn't racist? Freedom to walk into the street and die because a group of lunatic, racists have banded together and protected their right to be free from having to serve those they consider beneath them? I really hope it's just my connotation of your words. I really do. 

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What's more important for a Christian: offering your services to whoever is in need of it, or choosing who is worthy of your services by the choices people made and lifestyle they live?

 

@JDmantel: I think Amarillo was arguing against the bill because the situation could escalate to legal racial discrimination llD;;;

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@Hanachu   He said that if you wanted to refuse based on race then you shouldn't have laws preventing you from doing so. And clearly his slavery bit is OTT.

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People who support these laws have never had the moral high ground and never will.

 

 @JDmantel: This was my basis when assumed Amarillo was against the bill. The stuff before it was too confusing otherwise ^^;

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@Hanachu  He might just be blowing off steam and as a result it might have led to numerous connotations, or he might really think it's ok to refuse if you don't like other races. And that all those racists serving different races are slaves!! Either way I wish he'd been clearer.

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@Hanachu  He might just be blowing off steam and as a result it might have led to numerous connotations, or he might really think it's ok to refuse if you don't like other races. And that all those racists serving different races are slaves!! Either way I wish he'd been clearer.

 

My guess is that Amarillo is a libertarian of some sorts, which is a political position that might be kind of difficult to understand if you are not from the US. Basically, in this case, it would mean Amarillo is opposed to laws such as the Civil Rights Act because, so long as someone is not actively violating the rights of minorities by say, punching them in the face, they have the right to be as racist/homophobic/etc as they please, and the government shouldn't interfere in it. Specifically, when it comes to something like a restaurant, the government telling a citizen how to use their private land, resources, & etc is forcing that citizen to sell their labor in a way the citizen does not wish to, which Amarillo equated to slavery. I know people who believe the FDA (food and drug regulation) should be disbanded for the same reason.

 

The US is already like this to a pretty great extent when it comes to free speech: some countries, like Germany, have effectively made it illegal to be a Nazi. But the US is so protective of our free speech that, while we might think Neo-Nazis are disgusting wretches of human beings and we'd never eat in a restaurant that was even across the street from one owned by a Nazi, we defend their right to express their Nazi opinions so long as that doesn't translate into actual violence against other human beings (which is a clear violation of their right to life).

 

I don't agree with all of libertarianism, but I felt the need to explain for those who might be a bit confused. Defending someone's "right" (there's obviously some debate over how much of a right it really is) to be racist, or to run an unclean restaurant, is not the same thing as condoning the actual act of kicking out black customers or giving people listeria. (Sorry if I put words in your mouth Amarillo, I'm just making a guess based off of what you wrote in your post.)

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Of course you should be allowed to believe whatever the hell you want. Freedom of speech is important. But he isn't talking about saying or believing racist drivel, he's talking about actively not serving people due to their skin colour. Freedom of Speech is one thing, people acting on their beliefs is something different entirely. You can have racists that don't do anything and those that will degrade or even attack people. If he's all for freedom then denying somebody the right to pick up a piece of pizza with their legal tender doesn't fit into this at all. It's the complete opposite. Your connotation of his words is that he is a libertarian, my connotation was that he was being... sinister. You trying to say i'm confused, I am! But you said yourself, you're guessing. I'm reacting to the only piece of clear (well almost clear!) wording. I don't give a damn if he's a racist or a libertarian defending racists under some ludicrous freedom argument that totally denies the other person any sort of freedom. Denying people service based on race is anything but 'freedom'. It's repugnant and backward beyond belief.  However if I've got the wrong end of the stick i'll retract my assertions. But not the one about him being totally unclear!

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@Buster Cannon  I understand your point but they provide Pizza. They're not going along and being asked to watch them on their wedding night, just to provide some pizza. And when does it stop???? Doctors refusing gays?  Pretty sure there might just be a line in the bible about treating others as you would like to be treated!... and that doesn't crop up just once.

 

I mean there are millions of examples I can give you. Religion sadly separates one man from another. You seem a nice guy, I wouldn't refuse to help you with something because we have a different belief. I sure as hell wouldn't make a song and dance over some food. As far as I'm concerned they should have served and not treated people as if they were not worthy... of some bloody pizza.

 

The Surgeon point is the one i'd make. Those people have lives in their hands and yet they operate on all put before them. Imagine the chaos if atheists started operating on atheist and began refusing to treat anyone who didn't understand science to their level. If they started saying 'some of you dismiss science so you can no longer benefit from our knowledge'. Or if men began refusing to operate on women. Or white doctors refusing anyone of different race.  Do you think a homosexual surgeon would turn away some bigot? People have an extraordinarily bizarre desire to put up barriers and keep people apart. It's a real shame.

 

You're again conflating simply serving a particular segment of the population in a general sense with actually being required to personally witness certain behaviors. Also, like I said earlier, medical professionals hold people's health and lives in their hands, and government is already heavily involved in the medical profession, anyway. Besides, you can't simply go to another paramedic if you're having a heart attack, and the one who shows up at your house chooses not to treat you. You can go to a different pizza place if one won't cater your wedding. (Who has pizza at a wedding, anyway?)

 

Since we're considering the slippery slope argument, anyway, do you think a black photographer should have to photograph a KKK rally? Should a Jewish deli owner be required cater a Neo-Nazi convention?

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As far as the Christian photographer goes here are my thoughts. Honestly I think he should have taken the pictures. I believe homosexuality is wrong. That's what is says in the Bible. However, taking their pictures doesn't mean you support gay rights. If we segregate ourselves from them then soon they will need their own city, photographers, doctors, hairstylist and so on. This is not the way to show them the truth. I love them as people, but hate their sin.If they ask what I think I will share and tell them right from wrong. But I don't condemn people that is God's job.

 

That's your belief, but does your belief extend to believing the photographer should face criminal or civil penalties if he or she feels participating in someone else's sin would be sin for him or her?

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Also, I must repeat what I've read from other sites. If a black guy owned a t-shirt store and a white supremacist walked in and asked him to make him a shirt, he probably would. If he asked to make it saying "kill blacks" he probably would refuse strongly... and the same with a Nazi and a Jew. This is freedom of belief and expression AND religion, and I believe you can refuse someone from your business if you own a business. It makes you an a**hole, sure, but I think you should be able to. Here is an example of the opposite: “anti-gay†statement that was refused.

http://www.chieftain.com/news/politics/3270437-120/cake-gay-religious-colorado

 

I haven't read other sites about this issue, and I hadn't read this post when I made my post with similar themes above. However, I am glad to know others are thinking along the same lines. 

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My thoughts are quite complicated and, to be honest, I get very overwhelmed with it all. Anyway, I don't really think will matter. The way I see it, most people already have their mind made up, and aren't willing to think about others points. Which means that whichever 'side' you take, someone is going to hate you. Hate is hate, either 'side' you're on, if you're hating it's bad. So, here's the way I see it (in the short story version)... It's more about politics and professionalism, than it is about religion. If you're getting married, and you go to a place that doesn't want to serve you (for whatever reason, in this case because you're gay), you should probably be more concerned about finding someone that is going to want to help make your special day the happiest it can be, rather than trying to make a political statement out of it, and calling out how wrong you think they are to the rest of the world. Seriously, unless you're looking to make a political statement, your wedding day should be more important than whether, or not, someone agrees with you. Which, really, only causes sides to have to be taken and hatred to be perpetuated. On the other side, if you're a business owner who doesn't want to support something because of your belief system, why would it be so difficult to simply tell the people "I'm not able to do this for you, for .... reason, but I respect your right to live your life as you see fit. So, I can recommend a few business that are very good, if you'd like". Which, I don't understand why anyone would have a problem with because this is what you'd be told if the business were overbooked, or unable to do what you're asking, anyway. The way I see it is this, you can't expect people to respect your views and life, if you aren't willing to respect theirs... even when the two oppose each other.

 

edit: Also, to be clear I do believe that Gay people should have the right to marry, even though my faith is against it. Why? Because marriage may have started out as a religious institution, but it's more than that, now. The state should have to recognize it, but individual institutions and churches should have the right to decide whether to support it (as in having the ceremony). Simply put, we live in a world that is diverse, there are many varying views and with that means someplace will be available.

 

I do believe that my state already has it, but I don't know what it fully entails.

 

edit to edit: I guess what I'm saying is I just don't understand a need for a law like this. We are a country that was built on the freedom of religion, and the pursuit of happiness... details as to how these things should be accomplished was not a part of the guidelines. I guess they just expected us to be able to respect each other... go figure.

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Honestly who would want pizza at their wedding anyhow?

 

Yes. I know this bill is not for Christianity only, that's why it generally says religious. As a Christian I feel it's not relevant because I've never needed mans approval to live a life that glorifies God. It's pure opinion, based on my beliefs.

 

Also I know fellow Christians have their own convictions but how are taking pictures of gay people sinful?

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The bill doesn't say anything about singling out gays when it comes to businesses refusing service. It just simply reaffirms that the state or local government cannot substantially burden an individual or business's right to exercise their religion. But that didn't stop some gay rights activists from throwing a hissy fit over this bill as if they were the exclusive target. They, like so many other groups out there, seem to still believe that we have this imaginary right to be free from being discriminated against. That may be true when it comes to the government (even though they still do in practice), but that's not what this bill is about. 

 

In fact, narrowing this issue down to religion is also shortsighted because it's so much more than that. It's about private property rights. If you own a property, you have the right to run the establishment as you see fit and refuse service to whomever you want. It's no different than deciding who you allow into your own home. Nobody else has a right to your property or services any more than you have a right to theirs.

 

In America, our core values are the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Refusing service to someone doesn't deny them any of these rights. As far as I'm concerned, you have the right to pursue a slice of pizza, a wedding cake or any other privately owned service. But by no means are you entitled to those things inherently.

 

Forcing a business to serve you not only make them a slave to their own property, it is also counter-intuitive on principle. A business is run by bigots in your eyes and yet you want to force them to take your money so they can stay in business? Wouldn't it make more sense to boycott them and drive business away from them?

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Wow that couple who refused to serve Pizza have made half a million... in donations.

Paint me cynical.

It's all a scam

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This bill is so damn ridiculous. No matter how you feel about someone you should never discriminate. 90% of "christians" have sex before marriage. Would christians refuse to serve them as well. I was watching fox news (I know) and they interviewed a christian bakery. When asked if they would serve gays they said no it goes against their beliefs. If asked if they would serve people who are divorced or had kids out of wedlock she didn't have a problem with it. Hypocrisy at its best. If an atheist refused to serve a christian they would be mad. If an atheist or gay doctor refuses to treat a christian it's unethical. This country is going backwards.

And how would you know someone's sexual orientation just by looking at them? Unless you ask. They can say yes or no. Money is money.

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If he's all for freedom then denying somebody the right to pick up a piece of pizza with their legal tender doesn't fit into this at all. It's the complete opposite. 

 

The question is whether the right of the business owner to determine which customers they will or will not serve trumps the right of the client to have access to their services.

 

Personally, I come down on the side of clients on this one. Why? Because it may be hard to imagine if you live in a metro area, but it *is* possible that minorities in some areas could find themselves completely shut out of various services. Maybe "No f*gs allowed" becomes a SELLING point, and suddenly LGBT people in Nowhere, Texas, find themselves totally unable to go out and do much of anything. I could see this scenario repeating itself with other groups, such as Muslims. And while you may say 'just move' or 'open your own business'... not everyone has the money or opportunity to simply pick up and move, and such a minority likely doesn't have the capital or the client base to sustain their own business. (And how are you to get out, anyway, if no one will sell you gas or rent you a room?)

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@Invincible  Surely it's counter intuitive for a business serving pizza... to refuse to serve pizza... for money... :P

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I feel like this is a step backwards to the 'whites only' days. I don't normally post on these types of topics. I'm a christian who believes that love is love and God doesn't make someone the way they are just so they can be jugded. If you think its right to turn people away for sexual preference or race, then be prepared to have a lot of patrons, like me, turn away from your business.

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90% of "christians" have sex before marriage.

Really? Do you have a source for that or did you just pull that out of thin air?

You can't talk about hypocrisy without also acknowledging the fact that the gay rights movement rave on and on about tolerance and acceptance when many of them resort to bullying businesses who disagree with them with lawsuits:

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/catholic-couple-fined-13000-for-refusing-to-host-same-sex-wedding-at-their

http://www.startribune.com/272282461.html

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/06/03/baker-forced-to-make-gay-wedding-cakes-undergo-sensitivity-training-after/

http://www.kentucky.com/2012/11/26/2421990/city-rules-hands-on-originals.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/07/supreme-court-gay-wedding-photography_n_5104699.html

The gay rights movement can sometimes be just as bigoted and closeminded as the people they fighting against when they decide to force their beliefs onto other private individuals. I really don't have any respect for anyone whether they are Christian, gay, Muslims, Jew, man, woman etc who engage in this kind of petty and bullying behavior. There are many gays I know and respect who understand the concept of personal autonomy

That's really the main issue here. We can argue how people of this religion should act all day long, but it's ultimately irrelevant to rights. So a business owner may be a hypocrite, so what? They are not obligated to explain themselves when it comes to their own property. No one is forcing you to patronize their services. But we are seeing butthurt individuals who are forcing others to serve them because they feel entitled to other people's property. That is the epitome of arrogance and selfishness. It's no different than allowing a homeless man to sue a homeowner for refusing to offer him shelter and food when he asked for it. If that's the case, no one would have true ownership to what they have and anyone can make a legal case to take away other people's things that's not their's.

On a side note, we live in a time when our society as a whole is more accepting of other backgrounds. It's unlikely that a business who discriminates against a group will stay in business for long anyways.

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I don't know much about this bill. As I understand it, the wording wasn't clear enough about what counts as a valid reason to turn a customer down, so everyone is saying that this means a Christian restaurant owner could refuse to serve someone a meal because of their sexual orientation. So the first thing I'd say is, that has to be clarified, because I think everyone can agree that there's a problem if that's the case.

 

Putting this particular bill and its wording to one side, and just looking at the wider issues: Can businesses refuse to serve people based on their sexual orientation? I think the answer is quite obviously no. But that's not what this is about. Most businesses have no problem with serving gay people, but just don't want to take part in same-sex weddings. There is a big difference between refusing to serve a person, and refusing to take part in an action. People don't choose their sexual attractions any more than they choose their skin colour, which is why you can't turn someone away simply for having a particular sexual attraction. But people do choose their actions, and what events they take part in, and I don't think there's a problem with refusing to cater for a particular event.

 

If a bakery won't make a cake celebrating cohabitation, or a cake celebrating a divorce (yes, unfortunately, they do exist), no one thinks that's discrimination. But if the same bakery won't make a cake for a same sex wedding, that's discrimination? Ah, you say, but that's different. Only gay people have same-sex marriages, and those are the only kinds of marriages they can have, so this specifically targets a gay person getting married. The problem is, that's not true. As was pointed out in that awful movie, 'I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry', the law does not say that marriage is between two gay men, two gay women, or a straight man and straight woman. The law as it stands says that any two people can marry, regardless of their sex, and doesn't say anything at all about sexual orientation. If I wanted to marry my female friend, I could register for a civil marriage ceremony tomorrow. Likewise, you don't have to be straight to marry someone of the opposite sex, and it does happen.

 

Let's take an example here. Suppose you have four couples looking for a wedding cake, and they each visit two bakeries for cake estimates. The four couples are:

 

1. A straight man and woman (who we'll call Jack and Jill)

2. Two gay men (John and Joe)

3. A gay man and straight woman (Oscar and Constance)

4. Two straight men (Chuck and Larry)

 

Jack and Jill visit Bakery A and Bakery B, and both A and B tell them they're happy to make their cake. John and John visit the two bakeries, and both A and B tell them that they are unable to to make the cake. So far, this tells you nothing about whether the bakeries are turning them down because they won't support a particular action, or whether they are discriminating based on sexual orientation. 

 

Oscar and Constance arrive at Bakery A, who are happy to make their cake. When Chuck and Larry arrive half an hour later, they turn their order down. On neither occasion do they even have to ask about the sexual orientation about their customers, because it's, frankly, not relevant to Bakery A. They believe that marriage is between a man and woman, and that's the rule they have on making their cakes. Whether the man and woman involved are gay or straight makes no difference to them - either way, it's a marriage.

 

Oscar and Constance arrive at Bakery B to check their prices. The owner of the bakery takes one look at Oscar and says, "Look, pal, I know who you are, and I know you used to have boyfriends. I don't care if now you want to settle down with a woman and start a family: I'm not making you a wedding cake." Chuck and Larry pop in next to see if Bakery B will make them a cake, and the owner first turns them down, but when he realises that they're actually two straight men, he has a laugh about his mistake and agrees to make them a cake. In this case, I think you'd probably have a case against Bakery B, because it's clear in this case that it is about sexual orientation - they are willing to provide two straight men a service which they won't give to two gay men, even though the event they're catering for is essentially the same event. I think a court has a good case for saying that they're discriminating against a customer, not just choosing not to cater a particular type of event.

 

Ah, you say, but realistically, 99% of same-sex weddings are going to involve two gay people, and likewise 99% of gay people won't marry someone of the opposite sex. That's true, but it shouldn't make a difference. It's still the owner's decision what types of events they'd like to provide goods and services for. It might be far more likely to be two gay people who would want them to cater for that sort of event, but as long as they're being consistent (i.e. not making cakes for any same-sex weddings, regardless of sexual orientation), then it's not unfairly discriminatory to say, "We only make cakes for weddings between men and women" - you can be any sexual orientation you like, and still get that cake from them.

 

Now about what I think is the wider issue - should businesses be allowed to refuse to participate in events that they feel violate their conscience? Do we really want to live in a world where the government tells you, "Either commit a sin, or we'll shut your business down"? If one business won't supply something for your wedding, just go to another.There is no shortage of cake stores in the world - I have two within walking distance of my house, and I know for a fact that at least one of them is fine with making cakes for same-sex weddings. Even if there were no cake stores that would supply you a cake, you can hardly argue, "Well, I have a legal right to have a cake at my wedding." There's no such thing as a right to cake.

 

Say I went to a photographer while planning my wedding, and everything's going fine until I give her the location. When she realises it's a Catholic wedding in a Catholic church, she tells me that she wouldn't feel right about filming a wedding there. If it's going to be a wedding mass, she doesn't want to film any of it, because she doesn't believe in the Eucharist, and she thinks Catholics are committing idolatry. I might be annoyed or even angry that I have to get another photographer, but I see no reason why I should have the legal right to take her to court because she didn't want to violate her conscience. Why should i have the right to say, "You have to film my wedding, even if you think you could go to Hell for doing so"? That's not tolerance. Tolerance is saying, "I think you're wrong, I'm disappointed that you don't agree with what I do, but I respect your right to practice your beliefs as you believe God wishes you to do." She might be offending me, but she's not causing anyone any harm. Someone mentioned doctors refusing to treat gay patients - firstly, that's to do with sexual orientation, not refusing to take part in a particular event, and secondly, that's a serious life or death situation. But cakes and photos? It's not a big deal.

 

There's a Christian cake store in Northern Ireland right now who refused to make a cake which said, "Support Gay Marriage". It wasn't even a wedding cake, just a regular cake for a pro-same-sex marriage event. They said they couldn't make a cake which carried such a message. Six weeks later, they received a letter saying they were being taken to court. The case was famous enough that the Prime Minister mentioned it in Prime Minister's Question Time, and said he supported the customer not the baker. One of the legal experts has pointed out that if they lose this case, then it sets a legal precedence that would mean no business could refuse to make products carrying any message, even a Muslim baker who was asked to make a cake with an image of the prophet Mohammed. So far, more than £8,500 has been spent on the court case, but they've set aside £40,000 in total. The whole thing is just ridiculous.

 

(EDIT: Wow, just looked at the length of this post. I've written yet another essay...)

 

xxx

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