“The most important point from today’s Supreme Court decisions”


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A remarkable observation from Cassandra Showell Hedelius:


Most important point from today’s Supreme Court decisions: If you, like me, believe that the law has perfectly legitimate and important reasons for encouraging the stability and flourishing of relationships which tend to produce offspring, and if you, like me, are tired of being told by smug friends that you must of necessity be irrational, immoral, and hateful toward your fellow citizens in that belief, then today’s decision was about you. Five justices of the Supreme Court, led by Kennedy, have now proclaimed as a matter of law that you are most certainly irrational, immoral, and hateful toward your fellow citizens. The court joins popular culture, at least half the nation’s elected representatives, and far more than half of the nation’s permanent bureaucracy in declaring you unworthy of reasoned engagement on the most important policy debate of our time.



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  • Darren

    Is there a full written article to Cassandra Hedelius’ words.

    • DanielPeterson

      No, I think that’s all there is.

      • Darren

        Well, I find her very much correct.

  • RaymondSwenson

    There is a civil penalty action here in Washington State to punish an independent flower shop for declining to make money by creating special arrangements for the same sex wedding of a long time gay customer. It is not enough that she lost the commission, she must be punished for being a conscientious objector to personal participation in what she believes is offensive to God. So the supporters of gay rights will now feel perfectly justified in turning traditional Christians, Jews and perhaps even a Muslim into the Dhimmis of their new rainbow society.

    • Lucy Mcgee

      How is it that our Christian nation was finally able to overcome its disregard for the civil rights and liberties of other humans and now be willing to accept the discrimination against a minority group based on them wanting a wedding? Seems a bit hypocritical.

      How would you feel if a restaurant owned by an atheist discriminated against you because you decided to pray out loud at the table? Say the restaurant owner was a conscientious objector to what he believed to be offensive to his unbelief, and felt that your public prayer might be offensive to others within earshot as well? Wouldn’t that be ridiculous?

      • Scott_Lloyd

        Not ridiculous at all.

        I would recognize that the man was within his rights to try to preserve a certain ambiance in a commercial establishment that he owns.

        Moreover I would not be materially harmed by being prevented from praying aloud at the table. I could as easily pray silently or pray at home.

        Forcing someone to provide goods or services that violate his conscience is oppressive. That’s the long and the short of it.

        • Lucy Mcgee

          And should the store owner have the right to refuse service if the customer went ahead and prayed before eating, even after a warning from the store owner? Would the server be justified in snatching the meal away as the last “amen” was spoken? Would the owner be justified in calling in security to remove the offender because they prayed and tried to eat after their meal was served?

          • brotheroflogan

            Yes. It’s HIS restaurant. It does not belong to you, Lucy.

          • DanielPeterson

            Yes, he should.

          • Scott_Lloyd

            As so often happens in instances such as this, you are trying to uglify and horribalize the example to make your point, in the process making it out of proportion to what you are trying to compare it to.

            Even so, you are failing to persuade.

          • Lucy Mcgee

            If you don’t think such a thing will be visited upon our legal system, if it hasn’t already, you are mistaken. There are those, I know some personally, who believe it is their God given right to pray before a meal, aloud, while clasping hands, and who would likely pick a fight with anyone trying to stop them. And there are those “militant atheists” some of whom certainly own restaurants, who might be ill tempered enough to stop the practice for the sake of their belief, even if it meant alienating their religious customers.

            I’m not trying to persuade you Mr. Lloyd, simply wondering out loud. And by the way, I have zero problem with anyone praying in any public venue anywhere. I’ve sat harmlessly through hundreds and hundreds of prayers and even joined in an “amen” so as to be a polite dinner guest. I’d be offended with a store owner who made such a public spectacle and would not return to their restaurant.

          • Scott_Lloyd

            I support your right to absent yourself from the restaurant, just as I enforce the right of the restaurant owner to enforce his own rules of decorum therein.

      • DanielPeterson

        I would have no problem whatever with that restaurant owner enforcing his own rules. None.

        And I don’t agree that resistance to the idea of gay marriage constitutes “discrimination” (in the sloppy popular sense of that term) against homosexuals, any more than opposition to sibling marriage suggests prejudice against siblings.

        For an excellent statement of a case against same-sex marriage, see Anderson, Girgis, and George, “What is Marriage?,” and the allied website.

    • David Joseph Post

      It has been law in Washington for a long time that sexual orientation is a protected group and cannot be discriminated against on that basis, and in exchange for a license to operate her business to the public she agrees to those terms.
      She had supported their acts of love before, being a longtime customer I can only imagine some flowers being picked up for Valentines Day, their anniversary, and other romantic occasions having to do with their relationship. But when it becomes them wanting to make a lifelong commitment she then suddenly becomes conscientious about their actions and refuses service.

      • brotheroflogan

        So the government gives her a “license.” Isn’t that a bit turned around? I mean, why can’t I sell flowers without agreeing to do everything the government wants me to do? Requiring a license is not the grant of a right, it is the deprivation of a right unless you jump through government’s hoops.

        • David Joseph Post

          I’m actually quite flabbergasted at your reaction to a business license. Perhaps you are new to business, but every business operates with various business licenses, usually state and local municipalities; depending on the type of business they may also need specific licenses for dance floors, serving alcohol or having strippers.

          You could just sell flowers privately, but you couldn’t run a business open to the public selling them.

          Is it jumping through hoops to make sure your business isn’t spreading disease to customers in a restaurant? Or to ensure a considerate amount of handicap parking spaces? Or to agree to only sell alcohol to those 21 and over? Is it jumping through hoops to agree on paying taxes on gross income from sales which the state collects? Or to treat individuals with respect, including your employees?

          It is our representatives who have required these licenses as well as the people who have elected them, and enacted laws and measures to ensure that all are treated equally and ethically.

          • brotheroflogan

            I happen to be an attorney who sometimes helps clients get those very licenses and sometimes sues government entities when they wrongly deny those licenses to my clients. So I am very familiar with the reasons for them. I just disagree with the political philosophy that the right to do business comes from the government rather from God or from the fact that we are human. I also disagree that government can take away our right to sell flowers to the public for reasons unrelated to health, safety or honesty of the proprietor.

            This man was always perfectly willing to provide flowers to anyone, gay or straight. The gay man was a “long time” customer. The owner merely declined to provide flowers that were intended for an immoral act.

            Let me ask a question: would it be wrong for him to refuse to provide flowers to a KKK event based on moral grounds?

          • Lucy Mcgee

            I’d like you to explain how it is that a Christian society could for so long discriminate against their fellow humans, in the most serious of ways, and then be so self righteous as to try and deny marriage to same sex couples. This to me seems the epitome of hypocrisy!

          • brotheroflogan

            Couples do not have rights. Only individuals have rights.
            I am not being self righteous if I honestly believe that gay marriage is bad for society and for gays themselves because it takes them farther from God by celebrating a sin. You may think I’m wrong, but if I have this sincere belief then it is not hypocracy.
            It is just too convenient to cast me as the bad guy to make yourself feel self righteous, coming to the rescue of who you see as the victim. But I am not the one who made them gay. I am not the one who created marriage either (which obviously has a certain purpose. Can you tell me what that purpose is?)
            Making me the bad guy so that you can feel good about being the hero of gays is bullying behavior.

          • Lucy Mcgee

            You didn’t answer the question. I don’t feel self righteous because religion decided that same sex marriage is immoral, when only a few decades ago it allowed the worst sort of discrimination against fellow travelers for centuries, all based on some biblical passage interpretation which made whites believe they were in some way superior to those of darker skin. Most today understand that we all share a common ancestry.

            Religion, for centuries allowed this long lasting human drama and multitudes were enslaved and discriminated against. That doesn’t give one much hope that ancient scripture is very useful when deciding what is or isn’t moral, given its past egregious failings.

          • David Joseph Post

            Let me pose a question: I believe teaching young men that masturbation is a sin to be an immoral act akin to child abuse because of the plain falsity of the claim and the psychological damage done to the youth. If you come to my store to buy snacks for a young men’s meeting where you are going to teach this should I be able to deny business based solely on our differences of belief?

            Now lets say that you live in a town with one florist, let’s say that he is a catholic and I’ll assume you are LDS. You want to have a reception for your marriage. You’ve bought flowers from this florist before, for prom, for your first date, valentine’s day, your 2 month dating anniversary, etc. When you finally decide to get married you go to him because he’s made these awesome arrangements which you have seen at others weddings and you always loved his work. When he hears it is for your wedding reception at an LDS chapel he tells you, “Sorry, but I just don’t believe that LDS are Christians and that temple marriage constitutes a true natural union that God intended, so I can’t sell you flowers.” Should that be allowed?

          • Anyotheruser

            Yes. I can disagree with them, and refuse to do any business with them, but I don’t believe I should dragoon the state into forcing them to do business with me.

            And frankly, this also already happens from time to time.

          • DanielPeterson

            I’m genuinely curious to understand how you can know that the claim that “X is a sin” is “plainly false.”

            What empirical, or statistical, or logical argument can you provide that would demonstrate such a thing in a way that would convince everybody “plainly”? Is it demonstrated by a chemical test? By careful measurements? By grammatical analysis? By some sort of DNA comparison?

            And, yes, I would say that the florist has precisely that right, though his exercise of it proves him to be a jerk and though it will (and should) deprive him of Mormon (and, ideally, other) customers.

  • Michael Hoggan

    My problem with the Supreme Court’s recent DOMA and Proposition 8 ruling: Dred Scott

    I do not have a university degree in history, though I have taken several history and philosophy classes both at the high school and university level. I likewise do not hold a JD. However, one hardly requires a JD in order to grasp basic
    historical civics.

    Imagine that the year is 1857. Slavery is legal and common in most parts of the world, including in many states in the United States. Many people throughout the world and in the US view slavery opponents as religious busybodies guided by “an irrational animus” towards their people and/or culture. In the United States, many people consider private property rights to be inalienable. Slave-owners, therefore have an inalienable right to their slaves. To attempt to deprive them of their property is to violate their civil rights. In their thinking, if people are allowed to own anything, they should be allowed to own other people.

    Since the 1790′s a system has gradually developed in the United States whereby some states have allowed slavery and some states have banned it. A balance of power has been carefully maintained between slave and free states. The
    constitutional doctrine of “states rights” is used by both sides to protect their status.

    Then in 1857, in the Dred Scott case, the Supreme Court uses the judicial review process to declare antislavery laws throughout the country unconstitutional. Free states no longer have a choice about permitting slavery. They are forced to
    accept it.

    We need to keep in mind that the abolition movement was very religious in nature. However, there were also secularists who opposed slavery on broader cultural grounds. Their opposition to slavery was derived not from some abstract notion
    but because they found the practice both morally (in a religious sense) and culturally (in a secular sense) odious.

    We also need to keep in mind that the Constitution in 1857 looks almost exactly the same as it did in 1803, when Chief Justice Marshall first declared the “judicial review” doctrine. The sole exception is the 12th amendment in 1804, which made some adjustments to the election of Presidents and Vice Presidents. The Dred Scott decision wasn’t based on any changes in the Constitution, it was based on the particular ideology of the 1857 Supreme Court.

    A decade later, slavery was illegal throughout the US due to the 13th amendment. I have no idea if it will be possible, or necessary, to make an amendment to the US Constitution defining marriage as “one man, one woman. However, to my knowledge, most people didn’t think an amendment banning slavery nationwide was possible or necessary in 1856-1857.

    Note: The US Constitution hasn’t changed at all since 1996, when DOMA was passed. The most recent amendment was ratified in 1992.

    For anyone interested in further information on the status of slavery (globally and nationally) in the 1850′s, or on President James Buchanan’s “skunk-like” role in the Dred Scott decision, I recommend the following books

    Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell (2005). Specifically the “Real History of Slavery” chapter. I don’t like the title, but I do like the book and Sowell is African-American.

    The Leaders We Deserved (And A Few We Didn’t) by Alvin Stephen Felzenberg (2008). There is a section on James Buchanan from pg. 53-56 and an “unflattering” blurb on pg. 269.

    • Lucy Mcgee

      It is also interesting to note that Thomas Paine, a deist and fervent objector to slavery, was excluded from power during the early years of the formation of our Republic for his strongly held abolitionist views.

      • Michael Hoggan

        Precisely, There were a wide range of people who were opposed to slavery. Just as there are a wide range of people today who are opposed to same sex marriage or the homosexual political agenda in general.

        As Thomas Sowell notes, abolitionists faced violent opposition even in the North.

  • DanielPeterson

    Yes, I would.

    I might also choose not to patronize such businesses.

  • DanielPeterson


  • Michael Hoggan

    I hope that the right of states to define marriage as “one man, one woman” will be upheld over the ensuing months and years. I find Kennedy’s rhetoric to be nauseating and would love to have access to all of the Oval Office’s communications with the Supreme Court over the past 10 months. James Buchanan asked Justice Taney of the Supreme Court to “hold off” on rendering a verdict in Dred Scott until after the 1856 election. I’m curious if the Oval Office’s current occupant was likewise involved.
    Here’s my biggest problem with the “freedom to worship and that’s it” theory of jurisprudence. There were several places around the world in the 1790′s where people could “worship” in a non-state church as long as they kept their heads down, mouths shut, and paid the customary bribes. In some cases the bribes were formalized as taxes, fees, or fines, but you get the picture.
    The Constitution and Bill of Rights were designed to permit people to open and actively practice their religion and to allow members of all religions to vote, hold office, participate in public debates…etc. It is a shame that so many people today refuse to accept that.