‘Religious Liberty’ Bill Would Legalize Discrimination, Protect Anti-Gay Federal Officials

LGBT activists are up in arms – and rightfully so — after the introduction of a bill that would provide a legal loophole for anti-gay discrimination.

Idaho Republican Raul Labrador proposed a bill to the House of Representatives this week that serves no other purpose but to protect federal officials who seek to discriminate against LGBT people, particularly same-sex couples. It’s called the ”Marriage and Religious Freedom Act,” and it was inspired by the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a key provision of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. Apparently, Labrador and others identified an “immediate need” to advocate for religious groups who believe they were deeply wronged by DOMA’s partial repeal.

After the court’s decision, “there were a lot of ideas about what to do,” Labrador said. “Some people looked at overturning it, or doing a constitutional amendment. I looked at the immediate need, which is the protection of religious institutions and churches, so that they can continue practicing their religion as they see fit.”

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID)

If passed, the law would “protect [religious] groups from discrimination by the government.” (Because religious groups are clearly victims of DOMA’s downfall.) Like similar bills that legislators have proposed in state and local governments, it would create an outlet for officials who don’t agree with marriage equality on religious grounds to legally discriminate against same-sex couples — and all in the name of “good conscience.” This time, though, lawmakers are proposing to allow discrimination at the federal level, essentially seeking to reinstate DOMA. From The Advocate:

The legislation seeks to allow federal employees, grant recipients, and government contractors the right to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages if such unions are against their religious beliefs. It also aims to create a legal framework to assist religious people who believe their conscience has been violated in suing the federal government for infringing on their religious liberty.

The bipartisan bill has about 60 cosponsors, but it’s completely unnecessary. As The Advocate points out, protections are already in place for people who want to opt out of LGBT-inclusive practices based on their religious beliefs. The U.S.  Constitution, for example, has strong protections for religious liberty, and the government does not require any clergy or other religious officials to perform same-sex marriages.

“There is no evidence that federal programs have or would discriminate against people because of their religious beliefs about marriage,” said Fred Sainz, a spokesman with the Human Rights Campaign. “What is clear, however, is that this legislation would give a free pass to federal workers, recipients of taxpayer-funded grants and others to discriminate against lawfully married couples.”

Backlash against the proposed bill has been overwhelmingly pro-religious freedom and pro-faith communities, demonstrating how these legislators have a very different idea of what “religious liberty” actually means:

“Every American understands the importance of protecting the rights of people of faith to hold and express their beliefs, including about the equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” Human Rights Campaign legislative director Allison Herwitt said in a statement. “But our Constitution and laws already strongly safeguard that liberty. The purpose of the legislation introduced today is simply to let federal employees, contractors, and grantees refuse to do their jobs or fulfill the terms of their taxpayer-funded contracts because they have a particular religious view about certain lawfully married couples — and then to sue the federal government for damages if they don’t get their way.”

As with every piece of legislation rooted in so-called religious freedom, this bill also paves the way for discrimination against a hoard of other non-Christian groups, too.

“This bill will set a very dangerous precedent,” Sainz added in an e-mail. “Accommodating religious beliefs on marriage may only be the beginning. The bill’s language makes clear that it should be interpreted as broadly as possible. Should federal workers and those who do business with the government get to turn away anybody they do not like based on religion — unmarried pregnant women? Atheists?  Muslims?  Or even another member of their own faith with different views?”

Another vocal critic of the bill is the Washington D.C.-based group Interfaith Alliance. Here’s part of the statement they released:

“The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act peddles the false notion that religious liberty and marriage equality are at odds, which is patently untrue,” said Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance. “The stated purpose of this bill is to prevent the adverse treatment of anyone because of his or her views on marriage. Yet this bill would result in the adverse treatment of same-gender couples who have made a lifetime commitment to the person they love through marriage. We must see this bill for what it truly is — discrimination against LGBT Americans and the further misappropriation of religious liberty to achieve that discrimination.”

“Misappropriation of religious liberty” is a brilliant way to sum this up. Once again, Christian communities consider themselves victims any time LGBT people take a step towards becoming equal citizens under the law. I don’t know what it says about these individuals and their marriages if committed same-sex couples are so threatening, but it’s clear that something’s off. Religious beliefs don’t justify discrimination of any kind, and especially not legalized, institutional discrimination. Simple as that.

About Camille Beredjick

Camille is a recent college graduate working in the LGBT nonprofit industry. She runs an LGBT news blog at gaywrites.org.

  • Tainda

    “Protection of religious institutions and churches, so they can continue practicing their religion as they see fit”

    For fuck’s sake (sorry)

    NO ONE is trying to say religious institutions can’t practice their religions as they see fit.

    The government is NOT a religious institution! Government employees do not (should not) have a religion while they are at work. They do not need to be protected. If I refuse to do any legitimate part of my job, I should be fired.

    • MyScienceCanBeatUpYourGod

      “NO ONE is trying to say religious institutions can’t practice their religions as they see fit.”

      Sure they are. Many religious institutions “see fit” to wage war on women, attack science, shoot abortion doctors, strap bombs to your ass and blow yourself up in a crowd, drop airplanes on cities, etc…

      • 3lemenope

        All wolves are lone wolves when they do bad things.

      • beatonfam

        Religious institutions vs. religious people. Society cannot tell various religious institutions what to practice. But, if you as an individual accept a job outside your church, you cannot bring your discriminatory views into your public work place. Society cannot tell you what to believe in your private life but the second you step outside your home and church you may not push your beliefs on anyone else. That includes workplace discrimination. When someone applies to your company whether they are straight or gay, religious or not it’s none of your business. If you know that your work will require you to perform certain tasks you feel your religion prohibits then you should get a new job. Certainly don’t take a job where you know upfront you will refuse certain tasks.

  • BobaFuct

    It’s really sad that I look at the politics in my home state of Idaho and say “I’m glad I live in Virginia.” At least the federal-level politicians from VA are mostly sane, despite having a state legislature filled with absolute nutjobs. In Idaho, everyone is a nutjob (yep, including my family…).

    The sad thing is that, for Idaho at least, it will probably never change. Most people there know exactly jack shit about politics and care even less about actual policy. They just “know” that Republicans are good and Democrats are bad, so they just vote straight-ticket without a thought. If you can get on the ballot with an “R” beside your name, you’re basically guaranteed to be elected for as long as you care serve.

    • Emsubo

      Hey, now, it’s not my fault that the Rebup majority gerrymandered the crap out of our districts so that I’m effectively unrepresented at the state level (and barely at the local level)–I live in a very liberal area of Boise, and we’re always on the hit list when it comes to taking away representation. It is very frustrating to know that there are many people who hold the views I do, but we have no effective Congressional representation because our districts are drawn so that the city of Boise–where many more-liberal Idahoans live–is split across two districts by the R-controlled state legislature, intentionally taking away our representation and any possibility of electing a D to national office. The inmates seem to be running the asylum around here–so I, and my neighbors and friends, do what we can locally to make our schools and community the best they can be…and we hope that more Ds get elected from other states so Labrador and his cronies can’t run things into the ground from DC! Idaho is too beautiful of a state and too great of a place to live to hand it over to the nutjobs. Too true about an R after the name on the ballot–pretty sure “Kermit the Frog-R” would be elected governor here if the other option was “Accomplished Statesman and Intelligent Person-D.”

    • godlessveteran

      Virginia – the state mandated rape probe state. And you’re glad to live there?

      • 3lemenope

        It’s all about context. If it were Virginia vs. Hawaii, then that’s one thing. But this is Virginia vs. Idaho.

        Yes, losing one limb is indeed better than losing two, even though losing any limbs is not, strictly speaking, a good thing.

        • godlessveteran

          Got it.

  • # zbowman

    This isn’t even freedom from religion the LGBT community’s having to fight for. It’s freedom from other people’s religion.

  • Sam Black

    So… Per this legislation one could legally discriminate against ANY married couple and cite the apostle Paul’s instructions to not marry as your justification?

  • LesterBallard

    I’m feeling friendly.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Pervert.

  • islandbrewer

    But people with racist religious views need to discriminate against black and brown people, too… because of Aryan Jesus! Not allowing racial discrimination discriminates against their religious views! Liberals are so intolerant!

  • baal

    I think there is a silver lining here. This relabeling of plain bigotry as religious freedom might be a good tactic currently but it’s a losing strategy for them. The push back and response to the bigotry is getting language and political support (memes) for removal of religious privilege.

  • Beth

    I don’t have to pay taxes b/c of my religion,…oh wait they already do that.

  • Greg G.

    The right to swing your fist ends at the next person’s nose. The right to practice your religion ends when it is practiced against the next person.

    • rwlawoffice

      And your right to demand products and services from me end when that request would violate my religious convictions.

      • David Kopp

        That’s the most asinine thing I have ever heard. You do not get legal protection to not follow laws you don’t like. I don’t like that my taxes support your scammy churches, but you don’t see me using my deeply held beliefs to then not pay taxes. This is a society… if you get the benefits, you have to play by the rules.

        • Stev84

          Well, he also one of the most asinine people to ever walk on the planet.

        • rwlawoffice

          If a law requires me to provide a product or service that would violate my religious beliefs, than that law is unconstitutional.

          • Glasofruix

            I don’t think you understand your constitution that well.

            • God’s Starship

              pssst….. he hasn’t actually read it….

            • rwlawoffice

              I know it very well thank you.

              • Glasofruix

                Then your blatant ignorance of it is deliberate or are you a real idiot?

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                Then you’re lying to protect your bigotry. Does Jesus love it that you do that?

              • Spuddie

                You just chose to ignore its most common and long standing interpretations of it in favor of illogical stupid stuff.

          • Sven2547

            The “free exercise clause” does not grant the right to impose your belief on others, which is exactly what you propose.

          • Matt Bowyer

            Your religious beliefs do not trump the law of the land.

            • rwlawoffice

              Laws of the land are trumped by the constitution if those laws violate the rights protected in the constitution. Religious beliefs and the right to freely exercise those beliefs are protected in the constitution despite you desire for them not to be

              • 3lemenope

                So far as I know nobody here has a problem with free exercise being in the Constitution. But of course, that is because they have an accurate sense of what “exercise” means in that context, something you’re missing.

                But take five steps back. Let’s start with the Biblical justification for not doing commerce with people you think are immoral. Is there any?

                • Rwlawoffice

                  Sure, the bible teaches that I am to stay away from sin and not participate in it. If I am being asked, even in a commerce situation to engage in the promotion of sinful behavior, I am obligated to decline. Further, I am not supposed to derive my money from behavior I view as sinful. For example, if I owned a book store, I would not sell poronography.

                • RobMcCune

                  Problem is your seeking the right to deny services that have nothing to with “the promotion of sinful behavior.”

                • rwlawwoffice

                  I disagree. Why do you want to deny me the right to operate my business according to my religious beliefs just because you want to engage in behavior that my faith views as sinful? If I was a married photographer and a woman wanted me to take topless photos pf herself for her boyfriend, am I forced to do that as well, because I am in the photography business?

                • RobMcCune

                  Bad analogy, it’s more akin to refusing to take any photos whatsoever of a woman you know (through presumably sinless means) has been photographed topless.

              • Glasofruix

                As it was shown numerous times to you, your freedom stops when someone else’s freedom begins. Your are NOT free to discriminate.

              • RobMcCune

                Actual religious beliefs of the individual are protected by constitution, what you desire is for bigoted discrimination and malicious actions be arbitrarily protected.

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                despite you desire for them not to be

                Why are you lying about people before Jesus, Robert?

                • Rwlawoffice

                  You really should not try to speak for someone you don’t believe in. It’s obvious you don’t care what he would think.

                • Spuddie

                  You really should not pretend to speak with authority on a subject you are ignorant of.

                  You know nothing about the constitution or law in general, but you hold yourself out as someone whose views on the subject should be taken seriously.

                  You may work in a law office, but you are not a lawyer. If I asked your opinion on the best brand of paper clips, your expertise might come into play.

                • 3lemenope

                  You really should not try to speak for someone you don’t believe in.

                  C.L. didn’t. For a lawyer, you parse poorly. Read more carefully.

                  It’s obvious you don’t care what he would think.

                  After you’re done parsing the above (answer: C.L. was inviting you, who does presumably believe in the divinity of Jesus, to explain your actions on this here thread [including alleged deliberate falsehoods about multiple persons] to that deity, who presumably being wise and just could then judge this exchange one way or another, and then inform you, the believer in that deity, in your rightness or not in the current course.) …clearly what matters is not whether C.L. cares what Jesus thinks. It’s whether you do.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  The clear implication is that he knows what Jesus would think and doesn’t believe I am holding up to that standard. View his other posts if you don’t believe thus is his implication. It is a very common game by him. I stand by my post.

                • Spuddie

                  Love thy neighbor? No not that.
                  How about judging lest be judged? Nope.
                  Removing the beam from ones eye before commenting on the mote in thy brother’s. Not even fucking close.

                  Whatever standards you are upholding are more of people who burn crosses as opposed to a guy nailed to one.

                • rwlawoffice

                  So not agreeing with someone is not loving them? Pointing out that my faith views certain activities as sins is judging the sin not the sinner, and I am judging myself to the same standard. And where did I ever say that I do not sin as well so i have ignored the beam in my own eye?

                  The standard of the one I strive to be like told the sinners to go and sin no more, you are forgiven. Living a life in such away as to sanctify my salvation by striving to be more like him. He accepted the sinner but he told them to repent of their sins. He never did say that sin was ok.

                • Spuddie

                  Discrimination in a place of business is not simply disagreeing with them. It is an act of hate. You are a self righteous liar who has to wrap your opinions around god because you are far too cowardly to own up to them personally.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  Accurately quoting the teachings of Jesus really angers you. But I thank you for stating the difference between us so clearly- you view following my faith and refusing to provide a product or service that you want as hate. That is the position of the LBGT community. Yet you call yourselves tolerant and loving. In reality you are intolerant and self centered. Very UN Jesus like of you.

                • 3lemenope

                  Refusing to provide a publicly advertised product or service that I want due to some aspect of my person is hateful.

                  See, your argument, in essence, is that you can’t provide the product because to do so, you are “participating in” the sin of which you disapprove. Let’s leave aside that as a lawyer, pretty much all your clients, one way or another, are seeking to extend or make more profitable things that your religion considers sins, not least the love of money itself. In what conception of either your religion or professional standards would it be acceptable to lecture a potential customer about their own life? Because by refusing service, that is exactly what you are doing. It’s an uninvited disquisition on the value of people not yourself, and the way they live their lives, and an explicit statement that they are not as good as the general public and do not deserve what you had previously offered without condition to the public at large.

                  As you well know, this is a scummy thing to do. You know this because if people did it to you, you’d have no confusion as to their scumminess.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Good job of dodging the point by whining about it being made.

                  Actually, no, my bad, that was a terrible job you did. Poor snookums.

                  Why do you use dishonest evasions to cover up lying before Jesus?

              • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

                A gay couple has the constitutional right to get married.
                A county clerk does not have the constitution right to be a county clerk. If he can’t perform some accepts of the job, then he should have that job.

              • cary_w

                So you must be a supporter of polygamy, and of parent who kill children who misbehave or allow them to die from curable diseases, and all that crazy stuff. That is quite the extreme position. The rest of the country thinks your religious freedom ends when you start breaking the law of the land.

                You may sincerely believe that God approves of polygamy (it is mentioned many times without being condemned in the Bible, you know) but until the law allows it in these United States your marriage to a second or third wife will not be legally recognized. The ironic thing is that my same-sex marriage is now legally recognized in a bunch of states. So my gay spouse has a bunch of legal rights that are being denied to your plural wives.

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                You’re being awful quiet on that firefighter question above.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  Because its ridiculous. Christian faith would support saving a life regardless of sexual behaviors of anyone in trouble.

                • 3lemenope

                  What is your scriptural source for this assertion?

                • rwlawoffice

                  The book of James would be one source. Loving thy neighbor would be another.

                • Kodie

                  It sounds rather complicated and I don’t trust Christians to make the right decision. Mostly because I’ve seen what happens when people rely on god to make decisions, since god seems to send different messages to different people, since it’s really themselves they are listening to, since there is no god. Bigotry mixed up with morality makes a chaotic society.

          • decathelite

            Should a restaurant manager refuse to serve Asians because he believes they the devil spawn? What if it’s his deeply held religious belief? Should a firefighter be able to opt out of putting a fire at a gay man’s house because he deeply believes gays are immoral?

            The law is: if you serve the public, you do not get to pick and choose the parts of the public you want to serve, no matter what your beliefs are. Especially if you are on the public dime as a government employee

            • doug105

              Just wait till a Muslim at a DMV somewhere refuses to give a drivers license to a christian woman. Should be good for a
              few laughs.

          • baal

            “than that law is unconstitutional.”
            No. That is not the law. You’re doing advocacy for what you want the law to be but that isn’t it (and it never has been). You don’t have an absolute right to carry out your religious beliefs.

          • Greg G.

            Then you have no business providing products and services that can cause conflicts with your religion. Get a job you can do!

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            Your religion states that kings are divinely ordained. Therefore, the establishment of the United States of America in defiance of the King of England is, according to your religion, Unconstitutional.

            If you were bright enough to have read anything about the history of the Declaration and Constitution, you’d learn that major elements in them were negative responses to religion and its alleged “rights”.

            • Rwlawoffice

              Actually you are so wrong it’s hilarious.

              • Glasofruix

                Well then, please enlighten us.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  Not worth the time. It is wrong on the Christian faith, it is wrong on the role of kings in the bible and it is wrong on the history of our country. But cl doesn’t want to be educated. Facts and truth get in the way of his snarkiness.

                • Glasofruix

                  You just proved to everyone that you’re full of shit, not really a surprise.

                • Stev84

                  More full of shit than usually really. He was always a stupid troll, but this a whole new level of stupid for him.

                • Glasofruix

                  I was thinking the same, he sounds more retarded than usual.

                • rwlawoffice

                  Let me give you the short hand answer. Christianity teaches that there is only one King,Jesus. Nothing in Christianity teaches the the King of England is divine or divinely selected such that he could not be overthrown. The founders of our country were not violating their faith when they overthrew king. In fact they were standing up for their faith and their God given rights to be free.

                  As for the Declaration it establishes that our rights come from a supreme being and not man.The country was founded not as a theocracy but on the principles that religion should be allowed to be freely exercised. That is why the First Amendment says that no law shall be passed that infringes upon the free exercise of religion. It was too keep government out of religion just as much as it was to keep religion from being established by the Government.

                • Spuddie

                  The declaration is not an instrument of law. It never had legal authority nor set the basis of our government. Referencing it like the bible is silly bullshit.

                  The founders were openly hostile to the idea of giving religion the weight of legal authority. They were also hostile to the notion of using religion as an excuse to attack the liberties of others. Your spiel takes a massive dookie on their works in favor of silly bigotry.

                • rwlawoffice

                  The thoughts in the Declaration are embodied in the constitution. The fact that our rights come from a creator and not from a government is the whole basis of a limited government as called for in the Constitution.

                  The purpose behind the first amendment was for no law to be passed to prohibit the free exercise of religion. That comes about by not establishing a state theocracy and it also comes about by not allowing the government to pass laws that would require activities that would prohibit the free exercise.That is why when a law does invade religious liberty, the government must prove that it does so in the lease intrusive way possible and that there is no other way to achieve its results without the infringement.

                • Kodie

                  The purpose behind the first amendment was for no law to be passed to prohibit the free exercise of religion.

                  This seems to be the root of your gross misapplication of the 1st Amendment. Your superstitions are not allowed to diminish or injure anyone. No matter what you sincerely hold as true and sacred, you will be called on it as soon as it causes harm.

                  9/11 terrorists had sincerely held religious beliefs, you asshole. Do you think that matters more than the people whose lives were cut short that day?

                  I don’t think you think denial of service is as drastic as terrorism, but that is where your heart is coming from. You are so superstitious against selling one cupcake to a homo, that they should be, in your perfect world, turned away often enough to break down and coerced to change who they are, to be more like you, so kind and sinless, you dirty rotten fuckface. Your terror plot won’t win.

                • Spuddie

                  “The free exercise of religion does not excuse compliance with otherwise facially valid laws prohibiting actions the state has unfettered interests in controlling.”
                  -Anton fucking Scalia!!! The arch originalist in employment division v smith 1990.
                  http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0494_0872_ZO.html
                  The link has a long history of showing how your interpretation of the first amendment has been full of shit fr over a century.

                • 3lemenope

                  The fact that our rights come from a creator and not from a government is the whole basis of a limited government as called for in the Constitution.

                  I’m not a person who is quick off the draw on calling out falsehoods. I don’t like the way people accuse folk of being liars willy-nilly; it’s a serious accusation, and usually there are better explanations for a seeming lie.

                  But the above really has no other explanation. Limited government is an idea that comes directly from Hobbes, Locke, and Classical Liberalism more generally, and its singular purpose is to complete the purpose of government; governments exist to defend people(‘s property) from their neighbors, and limited government exists to defend people(‘s property) from their government.

                  God isn’t in there at all, much less as a source of rights; limited government in no way depends upon natural or God-given rights; Locke famously conceived of a contractarian government structure long before he had developed any conception of natural rights, as he simply felt that the original position of humans makes it best to assume they are functionally equal. In contrast, the Bible is fairly clear that you’re to take whatever the secular authorities dish out to you and then say “please ser, may I have some more?” King says jump, and it’s like Jesus said jump.

                  You made your statement up, whole cloth, and I have to think since you’re educated you made it up deliberately to bolster your position.

                  You lied.

                  Naughty.

                • rwlawoffice

                  The quotes of our founding fathers show that I am not lying nor am I wrong. They repeatedly acknowledged that our right to be free and our liberty is a right that comes from God and they established a limited government to protect those liberties. Here is just one:

                  “Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed the
                  conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?” – Thomas Jefferson

                • Kodie

                  Even if you believe that is true, why do the business owners get to wield far more power than the customer? Where are the customer’s freedoms? Why does a believer get to supplement the power they have in the general public by denying service to people they don’t like than the customer has if everyone in business decides not to serve them? What if my religious beliefs are to retaliate against a business that won’t sell to me what it sells by throwing a brick through the window? It’s my freedom to break your window. God gave me the right to judge your religious business as your religious business judges me or people I know. God gave me the right to express my religious beliefs by harming people who harm me or people I know, the way they harm people.

                  Or you could get it through your thick skull that nobody has the right to cause harm to others just because they deeply wish to do so.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Nothing in Christianity teaches the the King of England is divine or divinely selected

                  Romans 13.

                  My god but you are ignorant. I think I’ll needle you about this one for a long time to come.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  You are correct that Romans 13 teaches that governments are under the will of God and that Christians are to follow the law. You are incorrect that this means that Christians cannot rebel against these leaders if following them would violate their faith.

                  But I will stand corrected on the statement I made and would state it more accurately as this- god has instituted human government and no government exists apart from him, but that doesn’t mean that he approves of all their actions and he doesn’t approve of corruption, brutality or tyranny. When that exists it would also be within God’s will to remove that leader.

                • 3lemenope

                  You are incorrect that this means that Christians cannot rebel against these leaders if following them would violate their faith.

                  Where in the book does it say that?

                • Glasofruix

                  That is why the First Amendment says that no law shall be passed that
                  infringes upon the free exercise of religion. It was too keep
                  government out of religion just as much as it was to keep religion from
                  being established by the Government.

                  Nope nope nope, it was meant to keep the gouvernment out of religious business and religion out of the government’s. As of the free exercise of religion it means that nobody can say to you how or what to believe (or not to believe), not that you can get exemptions from the law of the land because Jeebus… You’re free to believe whatever you want, but once you’re out in the public you have to behave according to the general rules established by the society you live in.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Pfffhahaha!

                  European monarchies were based on the concept of the Divine Right of Kings, taken directly from the Bible. Holy shit but you are uneducated. This is common knowledge. It’s WHY the Declaration had to be written the way it was: because the doctrine was still in play and was a primary element justifying England’s rulership over the colonies.

                  “The laws of Nature and Nature’s God” was not a Christian reference to a supreme being. It was a deistic description of the spiritual, an assertion that England did not have a monopoly on divine authority. It was not about freedom of religion; if it had been, then Separation would have been a stronger component of the Constitution. It was about independence from England’s religion and the politics justified by that religion.

                  Just, LOL. Thanks for playing.

          • 3lemenope

            If a law requires you to provide a product or service that would violate your religious beliefs, then you’re in the wrong business.

          • Spuddie

            As would any laws forbidding my practice of human sacrifice, polygamy,and marrying children. ;)

          • Esquilax

            Any religious belief, or just your own? Should muslim government clerks be able to refuse to recognize christian marriages? Should jews be allowed to ignore hindu couples? If it’s my sincere religious belief that absolutely nobody should be allowed access to government services at all, should I be protected in my job for essentially refusing to do it at all? Or are we just in the market of special pleading for jesus, here?

          • smrnda

            My religious belief is that I should get out of paying anyone my god tells me I shouldn’t pay. Try using that in court.

          • Kodie

            There is no law that requires you to provide a product or service that violates your religious beliefs.

            • Rwlawoffice

              Tell that to Elaine’s photography or Arlene’s flowers.

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                Point to the part of the New Testament where Christians aren’t allowed to sell things to those who are assumed to commit specific “sins”. Then, please explain how you think it is ethical to refuse, on religious grounds, representing a woman in court against her physically abusive ex-husband because she divorced him, thus committing adultery according to the Bible.

                While you’re thumbing through, look up the parts in it about respecting the law and about Jesus being willing to associate with anybody.

                I have, many times, sat down and talked to people whose reprehensible actions caused harm to others, simply because they didn’t have anyone else to talk to and vent a little, and I was someone far enough removed from the situation to not have a grudge against them. I’ve given money to people I knew to be thieves because I could see that they were hungry. I’m sure many other people here have done the same, and many dozens of commenters here do more than I ever have, even discounting the differences in income and opportunity.

                Meanwhile, you are advocating denying strangers who have harmed NO ONE the right to their love and happiness based on your squicky presumption to a say in their lives, your venomous need to gloatingly remind them, every chance that you get, that people hate them, your unquenchable thirst to make them feel less human.

                Christ would be so proud, eh?

              • Kodie

                Right – there is no law that requires Elaine to take photographs or Arlene to sell flowers. These are businesses of their choosing, and as business-owners, they have to obey business laws. They sell services and products to the public and gay people are members of that public and marriage is legal; in that public context, it is legal for gay people to marry or there is no law preventing an unofficial marriage ceremony. This is what people do for their dogs, and you are complaining about people who love each other and deserve equal rights.

                Elaine and Arlene are under no legal requirement to sell photography or flowers, but they do. If they don’t want to sell their services or products to a particular class of people, they can shutter their businesses. They aren’t being required to sell goods or services to the public.

                And I keep reminding you – providing decorations or mementos of the occasion is not supportive of the ceremony, they are accoutrements of a party. What your religion is against is parties for gay people. Too bad, they chose to serve the public.

          • David Kopp

            Just because you say it doesn’t make it so. Laws prevent ritual human sacrifice, which is part of many religions. Would you argue that they should be allowed?

          • Itarion

            If a law requires you to provide a product or service that violates your religious beliefs, while you are operating in a purely religious capacity, then that law is unconstitutional.

            Which is why religious institutions are generally less scrutinized than secular institutions. We have a secular government.

            But what would happen if a law, by not requiring you to provide a service due to religious beliefs, caused someone else’s religious beliefs to become violated?

          • David Kopp

            Just because you say it doesn’t make it true.

      • Oranje

        “demand”

        I love studying rhetoric.

        • Spuddie

          corrected. Well i guess it makes up for the fact HE hasn’t studied law.

          Damn discus + iPad = dumbass post on my part.

      • smrnda

        Employees earn their compensation, which includes benefits for the legal spouse of their choice. Permitting employers to decide *which spouses* qualify based on their convictions means that employees are more or less serfs. If it comes to a conflict between an employer who doesn’t want to *subsidize* a marriage they don’t agree with and the rights of all legally recognized unions to get the same compensation, the opinion of the employer should be considered just the opinion of an oppressor nobody should listen to.

        I am not a Christian. Should I be allowed to refuse to hire Christians since I don’t want to *subsidize* Christianity by them taking some of their money and giving it to a church?

        Compensation is a not a gift – it’s whatever workers rightfully deserve which they are taking back from the employers who are trying to steal from them. Firms contracted by the government need to abide by all standards of fair compensation, whether it’s paying prevailing rate or offering spousal benefits.

        • 3lemenope

          Unfortunately, this response, while pristinely logical and crystal clear, is just too damn long to fit as a tattoo that should go on the inside of the eyelids of employers everywhere.

          • smrnda

            I’m sure that with the right tools, someone could make it fit, though they would need to install some sort of light source to make sure it was adequately visible, or perhaps some high-contrast color so that every time an employer closes their eyes to the light of logic, they will see it there…

            • 3lemenope

              Kickstarter, here we come! :)

      • trj

        Tell that to your employer. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to hear you’re discriminating in the job he hired you to do.

      • 3lemenope

        Someone else making a request can violate your religious convictions?

        Look out, that question mark is HYPERCHARGED!

        • rwlawoffice

          If denying that request would result in a criminal fine, then it is the force of law that violates religious liberty. For example, a photographer that is ordered to attend a same sex wedding that would violate her religious conscious under the threat of a criminal penalty.

          • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

            Typical Christian privilege. the rest of us have to endure things we don’t like and even strongly morally disapprove of all the time. Welcome to the club. If you want to discriminate, don’t take a job that serves the general public. Other people have rights to. Taking pictures of something or baking a cake that will be served at an event is not construed by any sane person has your approval of anything. It’s just earning a living. The rest of us have to do it. Grow the fuck up and stop whining about it.

          • decathelite

            The New Mexico Supreme court opinion on your wedding photographer:

            In the smaller, more focused world of the marketplace, of commerce, of public accommodation, the Huguenins [the photographer] have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people. That sense of respect we owe others, whether or not we believe as they do, illuminates this country, setting it apart from the discord that afflicts much of the rest of the world. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship.

            • rwlawoffice

              This is why this case should go up to the Supreme Court to correct what the court held in New Mexico. It is my belief that the New Mexico court was incorrect.

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                Your argument requires you to believe that the Civil Rights Movement was incorrect.

                • rwlawoffice

                  Not at all sparky.

                • RobMcCune

                  You believe religious belief trumps discrimination laws, so why make an exception for this discrimination law?

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Stamping your foot and saying, “nuh uh!” does not negate the many dozens of times your argument has been deconstructed and refuted, snookums.

                  But hey, if it helps you pretend that you aren’t prevaricating before Jesus, it’s all good, right?

              • Glasofruix

                Oh grow up already, nobody gives a shit about what you believe…

                • Spuddie

                  Thanks to the First Amendment nobody has to. :)

              • decathelite

                And when it fails there, who are you going to complain to, God? Because God is imaginary. Did it ever cross your mind that if God exists, maybe this New Mexico supreme court ruling is His will? Probably not, because you have a tiny god that is powerless, and relies on powerless people who are unable to execute His tiny will.

              • Spuddie

                It is your belief the Civil Rights Act of 1963 does not exist. It does not make it so. Your argument was shot down almost half a century ago.

                Does it ever give you pause that you employ the same arguments as the KKK and segregationists?

              • kaydenpat

                And I am looking forward to the say when the Supreme Court upholds the New Mexico S. Court decision. Anti-gay bigotry should be something behind us. It’s embarrassing that some Christians are fighting tooth and nail for the right to discriminate.

              • cary_w

                … and that’s why we are all really, really glad that you are not on the New Mexico Supreme Court!

          • 3lemenope

            For example, a photographer that is ordered to attend a same sex wedding that would violate her religious conscious under the threat of a criminal penalty.

            What is one to do with a wedding photographer who advertises as a wedding photographer but when is approached by people who want that person to take photographs of their wedding is all of a sudden like “but not your wedding; because of my Jesus I don’t believe in your wedding”? Well, if I don’t believe in your Jesus but you’re still loudly claiming that you are, in fact, a wedding photographer, so I’d have to say “tough cookies, take pictures”.

            Let me ask you something. Once upon really not that long ago, folks in this country used religious arguments to support their belief that there are fundamental differences between races of humans and that they should be able to refuse a person of a different race their publicly-offered services. If you were there, in the ’60s when legislation was considered and ultimately passed that told such religious people to STFU, would you be whining about how the government is infringing on people’s religious liberty?

            Also, “conscience” and “conscious” mean very different things.

            • Glasofruix

              Something tells me that he totally would…

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              He’s already been asked this several times. The sick bigot whines about how the person asking is somehow exploiting black people by pointing out his behavior.

              He gets really quiet about his other argument that firearms dealers are responsible for crimes committed with their wares, though…

              • 3lemenope

                Eh, he usually just ignores the question when I ask it. And I ask it a lot.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Have you? I’m sorry I missed that. I must have been too caught up in my obsessive needling. ;-)

            • Rwlawoffice

              There is a fundamental difference between race and behavior so the comparison is irrelevant. What the LBGT community is asking people of faith to do is engage in behavior or support behavior that violates their religious beliefs. That is far different than an innate characteristic like race. If you don’t believe me, ask those that were involved in the civil rights movement who are appalled that this is being compared.

              • Spuddie

                There is no fundamental difference in discriminating against others because you are just a nasty bigot and claiming god tells you to be a nasty bigot.

                The actions are the same. The effects are the same.

              • RobMcCune

                It’s no different, it’s discrimination justified by religion. Even if it were about behavior many cases of discrimination have nothing to do with what christians find morally objectionable and are actually going against the individual, not the behavior.

              • islandbrewer

                Civil rights vanguards like MLK’s close friend Bayard Rustin?

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayard_Rustin

              • cary_w

                “What the LBGT community is asking people of faith to do is engage in behavior or support behavior that violates their religious beliefs.”

                No, they are asking photographers to take pictures of an event or bakers to sell them a cake. If its a violation of your faith to take pictures, then you really need to get another job! Taking pictures at a wedding does not imply support of the wedding. Do you really think photographers check out their clients before accepting a job to make sure no one they’re photographing is violating their religious beliefs? That’s absurd! They are being hired to take pictures, not to judge whether the wedding is morally correct or not!

                • rwlawoffice

                  That is the question isn’t it. I disagree with you. What if this same photographer was asked to take pictures of two people as a couple that the photographer knew was an adulterous affair? Should they be forced to do so?

                  Of what if a bed and breakfast owner refused to rent rooms to unmarried couples regardless of their orientation. Why should the same sex couple be allowed to sue and not the heterosexual couple?, What gives the LBGT the special right to demand services from a business that would violate that owner’s religious beliefs when others don’t have that same right?

                • Spuddie

                  Yes, they have to. It’s not their decision to make such judgments. You hold your business out to the public, you owe a duty to serve the public.

                  As for the b&b you make a phony straw man point. The unmarried couple can sue as well. See my first point. It’s telling you have to make a fictitious argument to support such an indefensible support of bigotry.

                  Since law is not your strong point, maybe you can direct me to the best brand of paper clips.

                • rwlawoffice

                  My view of the law is exactly on point Spud. You are simply wrong.

                • Glasofruix

                  Just because you think somebody’s wrong, doesn’t make him so. Your opinion holds no value here anyway.

                • smrnda

                  The law in the US is clear that non-discrimination in public accommodations required. Religious liberty does not entail a ‘right to discriminate’ any more than it can include a right to kill people.

                • Spuddie

                  Only if you ignore the last 50 years of jurisprudence and legislation. You have no expertise or professional knowledge of the law, so I can’t fathom what you would base such an opinion

                • Spuddie

                  As long as you ignore 50 years of jurisprudence and legislation.

                  You certainly do not have the expertise or knowledge for your opinion to be taken seriously. Tech limitations keep me from block quoting Scalia’s concurrence where he called your argument stupid (free exercise allows to opt out of civil obligations)

                • Spuddie

                  Not according to over a century of law concerning the free exercise clause. Your view of the law is not based on knowledge or professional expertise. Your opinion on such subjects does not have to be seriously. You are an ignorant lying fool.

                  So tell me about the best paper clips.

                • RobMcCune

                  What gives the LBGT the special right to demand services

                  The fact christians take special care to deny them services at every turn, and generally make their life more difficult.

                  that would violate that owner’s religious beliefs when others don’t have that same right?

                  Actually, others do have that right. According to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, anyone denied services for their race, color, religion, or national origin, has the right to public accommodation. This is true even if the owner goes to a church that views mixed race couples sinful. Numerous state and local laws have extended that right to homosexauls.

                • smrnda

                  The law is clear that if you rent to the public, their marital status is irrelevant and you cannot discriminate.

                  Why is ‘being an asshole to other people who don’t agree with my puritanical views on sexuality’ so important to so many Christians? I never see the same urgency devoted to say, giving away all their $$$.

              • smrnda

                Sometimes ethic minorities are put in a position where, by changing their names, customs, or language, that they can gain privileges. That happened to Native Americans – the idea held by some bigots was that if they adopted the culture of white people, they could get more privileges.

                Is my disability ‘behavior’ and not an ‘innate characteristic’ because it involves having seizures instead of say, being missing a limb? The belief that people can stop being GLBT has about as much credibility that seizures are volitional behavior.

                Also, you’re trying to divert the discussion to an ‘oppression olympics.’ Race and orientation are not the same, but people still kill people for both.

              • 3lemenope

                There is a fundamental difference between race and behavior so the comparison is irrelevant.

                Please elucidate the fundamental difference. I’m not just taking it on your say-so that they aren’t comparable in a way relevant to how the analogy was deployed. What about race and…ah, I see. “Behavior”. Nice try. Hey, welcome to the 21st century, where even the assholes who were in business selling bullshit “therapy” to try to “fix” people otherwise, have now admitted that sexual orientation really is pretty much innate, and so they closed up shop.

                Seriously. Wake up or shut up. Talking to you about this is like talking to a really tenacious flat-earther hold-out. When you’re wrong on facts and presuppositions, nobody is ever going to take you seriously.

                What the LBGT community is asking people of faith to do is engage in behavior or support behavior that violates their religious beliefs.

                What the LBGT community is asking professionals to do is do their fucking jobs, please. If you think sincerely held belief excuses you from professional responsibilities you are sorely mistaken.

                If you don’t believe me, ask those that were involved in the civil rights movement who are appalled that this is being compared.

                Last I checked, most of the surviving leaders from that era are quite heartily supportive of GLBT rights and embrace the comparison, and see it as a natural continuation of their work. There are a few exceptions, mostly confined to those who, like you, are stubbornly immune to facts regarding the innateness of sexual orientation.

                • rwlawoffice

                  So if I owned a florist shop and I sell to homosexual people all day long, but my faith prohibits me from participating in a same sex wedding, how is that not behavior? Why should I close my shop just because you want me to engage in that behavior with you? What gives you that right to force that decision?

                  I am very familiar with quite a few civil rights leaders who are furious that the LBGt community has jumped on their shoulders and are trying to make this comparison. Every day they wake up the same race that they went to bed, yet there are examples after examples of people flowing between different sexualities that even the LBGT community say is fluid. I have spoken to a few of these people myself. Years lived as homosexuals, saying they were born that way and then changed and have remained changed for years.

                • Spuddie

                  It is not your profession to attend a wedding.

                  Name one civil rights leader who claims so. You are full of shit. This is the second time you have made that lie. Civil rights groups are very comfortable with the comparison and made public efforts to that effect.

                  Name one ex-gay which can’t be chalked up to religious based coercion. That claim is also full of shit.

                • rwlawoffice

                  Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King is one example.

                  Go to the website Parents and friends of ex gays and you will see plenty of stories of people who have left the homosexual lifestyle. But you will discount all of their stories because it doesn’t fit with your agenda.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  It isn’t a lifestyle. The science is known. Epigenetics has been explained to you. You’re a foul-minded bigot and a liar.

                  Bernice King is well discredited by her insistence that she is psychic and knows what her father thinks from beyond the grave, in direct contradiction of known facts about him. ANd yet she still doesn’t lie as baldly as you do. Feel free to try again.

                • DavidMHart

                  Being the daughter of a civil rights movement leader does not make you a civil rights moment leader yourself.

                • smrnda

                  The evidence of people ‘leaving’ rests on a small number of anecdotal reports which show a heavy self-selection bias. All reputable studies show that change in orientation does not happen, and even in the rare cases that it’s claimed to have happened, it’s mostly a change in behavior without a change in attraction. The plural of anecdote is not data.

                  Regrettably, conservative religious people can’t understand the standards for evidence, instead relying on anecdotes and personal testimony.

                • Spuddie

                  Bernice king is not a civil rights leader by anyone’s definition. These things are not passed down by genetics. She leads nothing. The people who do lead such efforts have been unambiguous about the commonalities between gay rights and racial civil rights.

                  So you want me to cite the people most likely to have coerced someone into ex gay therapy. Even it’s practitioners admitted they were full of crap. It was reported on this site some time ago. I discount their stories because they admitted them to be false. You are a liar for pretending otherwise.

                  When have you stopped lying?

                • rwlawoffice

                  You asked for one civil rights leader and you try to discredit her. I gave you a group of people who have professed to be homosexual and now are not and you discount them. Figures. When the facts get in the way of you calling me a liar, you ignore them and do it anyway.

                  Other civil rights leaders would include T.D. Jakes, The Coalition of African American Pastors, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth (original founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King).

                • Spuddie

                  You are still lying. You are just trying to be clever about it.

                  She isn’t a civil rights leader, she does not lead or have a major role in any organization devoted to civil rights. As for the Coalition of African American Pastors, that is not a civil rights organization either. It is a right wing shill organization. It has as much to do with Civil Rights as Vichy did to the French Resistance.
                  http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/politics/story/2012-08-06/black-pastors-gay-marriage/56922742/1
                  http://equalitymatters.org/blog/201208080002

                  Claiming these are civil rights leaders is at best a gross misrepresentation at worst, more bullshit on your part.

                • Glasofruix

                  You’re not participating, you’re selling fucking flowers.

                • smrnda

                  If I take photographs of a car accident, am I participating in an accident? Documentation != participation. Last I checked, photographers were hired guns, not guests at weddings.

              • Nancy Shrew

                Except a lot of racial bigotry is based on perceived behaviors and stereotypes of certain groups (loudness, stupidity, violence, stinginess, laziness, dishonesty, etc.). I mean, bigots kind of flip-flop on how innate these behaviors are, but as usual your arguments are bullshit.

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                There is a fundamental difference between race and behavior so the comparison is irrelevant.

                Both are birth conditions, and this has been explained to you, so no, you’re lying again.

                Your argument that it’s okay to discriminate against black people still stands.

                ask those that were involved in the civil rights movement who are appalled that this is being compared.

                And now you’re arguing that disabled people shouldn’t make use of or bring up anti-discrimination laws because black people “did all the work.” Jesus wept but you are foul-minded.

          • godlessveteran

            They’re there to take photos, not engage in forced buggery, dumbass. No religious rights are violated.

          • RobMcCune

            The bill as I understand it, only applies to the federal government and it’s contractors. How would that affect a wedding photographer?

            • 3lemenope

              It helps them sue the fed (it’s the *other* component).

          • baal

            I don’t see where “forced violation of religious conscious” is the same thing as “protected liberty interest in religion”. You only bridge that gap by allowing bigotry or “being near gays is icky” as valid religious interests. Even then, you still have to balance the “icky” groups rights to have services and goods (pursuit of happiness) (and more if they are a protected class).

            • rwlawoffice

              that is because you are not religious. People who hold religious beliefs live them, they don’t just belief them. Thus when they own their own business, the government should not force them to provide products or services that violate those beliefs.

              • Glasofruix

                In other words, christians should have privileges that exempt them from the laws everyone’s supposed to follow, what’s next? Right to kill brown people on sight?

              • 3lemenope

                People who hold religious beliefs live them, they don’t just belief them.

                But generally what they shouldn’t do is demand that the world change to meet the strictures of their religion. Because it’s their religion, not the world’s.

                Restrictions in your religion getting in the way at work, in bed, in comversations with friends, just generally getting you down? You can either

                a. demand that the world change so you can continue with minimal discomfort

                or

                b. live your beliefs the best you are able given imperfect conditions

                or

                c. get a better religion

              • smrnda

                A key belief I have is that, as a member of a pluralistic society, that I should not impose my beliefs on others and that I should accept that not everybody lives by my rules. I have no interest in using a position of power to force others to abide by my beliefs, nor do I have any interest in refusing to do business with people if I don’t agree with their religious beliefs. If I was taking photographs, I’m not going to *refuse* to serve Christian clients because I disagree with their beliefs.

              • mbetty

                So if a self-employed medical professional who practices Atheism refuses to provide care to a dying Christian (because what do you call one dead Christian?…A good start), then you’re good with that and it’s acceptable according to your interpretation of this issue?

              • Kodie

                People who are against gay people getting married are in no way violating their own beliefs by selling a cake.

                Let me ask you a different question though:

                Would you say you are a douchebag bigot or you just support the right to be one? I don’t know what kind of law you pretend to practice, but let’s say a gay couple is having a dispute with their neighbor over where the property line is – would you take their case or refuse to be party? Make up a case like that in your pretend law expertise and how in danger you are of performing vigilante justice by refusing cases based on the clients who call you on the phone.

                If what you sell is a cookie, can a gay person buy it as a present for his boyfriend or is it just the wedding RECEPTION, CATERING, and DECORATING (but not officiating) industries that you are worried about? Should a gay couple get a citation about their home and need to hire professionals to remedy the problem before the city fines them, what are your ideas here about who they can call, if businesses are allowed to refuse to serve people because they are Christians in business of turning away clients based on who they might be fucking in that house?

                What do you say, douchebag? (It’s just a guess).

                • rwlawoffice

                  My concern is that people be allowed to express their religious beliefs in how they operate the businesses they own. They don’t leave those at the door of their business. I don’t believe that anyone has the right to force their beliefs that certain behaviors are not a sin on businesses they think they are and force them to participate. When it comes to the people in the wedding industry they have served the homosexual community in a lot of other aspects, but would not participate in a same sex wedding because of their religious belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. Why would you force them to participate in that knowing it would go against their faith? Are you always a bully to get your way or only against Christians?

                  As for the property line dispute, there is nothing in my religion which says that i could not participate in that dispute. However, there are other legal issues for a same sex couple that could conflict with my faith, such as a pre nup or civil union agreement.

                • Spuddie

                  Liar. Your concern is that your bigotry against gays won’t have public social and legal sanction anymore.

                  You believe it is perfectly fine for Christians to force their belief on others through denial of services to the public despite a self created duty to serve them.

                  If your boss asks you to proofread a prenup for a gay couple, it is your job to do it risk being fired. (you are not a lawyer so its safe to assume you are probably at best a non-JD para)

                • Rwlawoffice

                  Spud your argument has devolved into name calling and lies. Very unfortunate. But you are incorrect. Practicing law for over twenty years.

                • Spuddie

                  I accept the name calling, but the only lying has been on your part. You are just annoyed that I know your argument better than you do.

                • rwlawoffice

                  You simply don’t. You have a difference of opinion that is all. You really should look up the definition of lying. You misuse that term as much as you misuse the term bigot.

                • Spuddie

                  Its not a difference of opinion, you are making a patently false argument. You are asserting a legal argument which has over a century of being considered meritless and silly starting from Reynolds v. US (1892?) going as recently as Employment Division v. Smith (1990).

                  You know your argument to be false and had it shown to you on numerous occasions. That is as good a definition of lying as I can think of.

                • Mira

                  “Practicing”, eh? Let us know when you get good at it.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Your religion directly says to obey the law. Refusing to take up a case for a couple engaging in lawful activity, such as marriage, is in conflict with your stated beliefs, because it shows disrespect for the law. Thanks for playing.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  Wrong. But is always nice when an atheist who has nothing but disdain for Christ and his teachings tries to say what those are.

                • 3lemenope

                  Far more common are Christians like you who just make up what you think Jesus’ teachings might well have been because you either can’t read or don’t care to what the religious text actually says.

                  You put an awful lot of emphasis on the fact that the people pointing out you know very little about your own religion don’t hold it or its tenets in great esteem. I’m curious why on Earth you think that matters? It doesn’t affect either what the religious rules say or your seeming inability to understand them.

                • rwlawoffice

                  Most of those who hold the religion in disdain do not know what it holds but point out their opinions on their limited knowledge. When they point out what they think the religion holds, they are usually very wrong because they view it in a biased way to fit their agenda, taking bits and pieces out of context or refusing to see the overall picture that is taught in scriptures.

                • baal

                  I hold religion in disdain for its real world impacts. As best as I can figure, it’s a net negative value for the human race and the planet. No I’m not showing my work. I make this point to show that I don’t hold religion in disdain merely for the ideas in the bible nor alternative reality promulgated in its various churches.

                • baal

                  Also, let’s not forget what you’re arguing RW. You’re saying that affirmative discrimination against the LGBT community is a fundamental part of your religion that you are entitled to under the “free exercise” of religion clause in the U.S. Constitution. You’re straining my credulity RW. We don’t actually need to understand the minutia of your faith or faith-world-view to say you’re taking much too big a bite out of the apple.

                  You’re also still ignoring the ghettoizing impacts of your position were it federal law.

                • Kodie

                  Well first of all, you’re a hypocrite. Why would it be against a bakery’s religious beliefs (bakeries are not people, they have no religious beliefs) to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding, but it is not against a “lawyer”‘s religious beliefs (a lawyer is a person and can have religious beliefs) to settle a property dispute for a married gay couple? If they are already married, then the bakery says they can buy a cake?

                  Secondly, cake isn’t part of the wedding, it’s part of the reception. The “wedding” industry is really the party industry, the parties include when two people have joined together in marriage, but can also include 1st holy communions, bar mitzpahs, birthdays, corporate events, and etc. So, say you get a Jehovah’s Witness client who is sued because they won’t bake a birthday cake. Or a Jewish photographer who won’t take pictures of a 2nd-grader ingesting the transubstantiated body of Jesus Christ for the first time.

                  Do you think that’s normal to go into a business and then deny your services because you disapprove? I am not forcing a person, I am forcing their bakery, that they chose to open to the public, and in no way does a cake have any part of actually wedding the couple. It is to feed their guests. You schmuck, you schmuck, you schmuck.

                • Rwlawoffice

                  We disagree Kodie but I will not resort to calling you names. A Preston’s business is not different then themselves. They have the right to run their own business according to their faith, when the government passes a law that invades that, the problem is the law.

                • Kodie

                  When a person’s religion violates the law, that problem is the religion. You didn’t address any of the examples I or anyone else gave, because you agree with them or disagree?

                  Is it within a Muslim’s religious rights to fly an airplane into a building or not? Is it within a Christian’s right to threaten the public with denial of service to coerce them back into the closet? And we don’t talk about it a lot, like, a lot, but how do you figure that religious merchants are participating in a wedding when they’re not the officiant?

                • rwlawoffice

                  The laws that invade on a person’s religious liberties are always balanced against those liberties. That is how it has always been. In these discrimination statutes that would require a business owner to provide services or products that would go against their religious beliefs, the law must be judged on whether it is an unreasonable invasion of those liberties and whether there is a less intrusive way to address the concern. In the context of requesting certain services such as those related to same sex marriages, that is the issue that will be ultimately determined by the courts.

                  That is far different from a Muslim driving a plane into a building so the comparison is asinine. A Christian business that says that it will not participate in a same sex wedding ceremony ( and despite your belief, I do think that taking photographs or providing flowers is participating) is hardly forcing anyone back into a closet. There are plenty of businesses that would not have this religious faith objection.

                • Kodie

                  Oh, the comparison is not asinine. Your Christian merchants are being thugs to try to control part of the population from doing what is lawful. You cannot differentiate when your rights intrude on the public whether you murder them or deny them services once you decide to go into business.

                  In these discrimination statutes that would require a business owner to
                  provide

                  services or products that would go against their religious
                  beliefs

                  And you keep saying this! Nobody is requiring these people to go into business, and nobody is forcing them to sell a product or service. Your issue is with selling those products or services to certain people you judge. Clue: It’s none of your business what other people do. As a business owner, it is none of your business what the products you sell are going to be used for, and not for you to judge and discriminate. If you sell flowers, those flowers can be used to make a decorative swastika parade float, and it’s not your job to interfere. I mean, the Westboro Baptists have to buy their magic markers from someone! It doesn’t mean Sharpie endorses their position.

                  You don’t think past what you want to be true. Being a bigot merchant is exactly in the same category of massive violent terrorism since you’re using it to coerce a population to your beliefs. You’re using it as a bludgeon to the freedoms others have, and no, businesses do not have freedoms that people do. Once you voluntarily go into business, I repeat – NO ONE IS FORCING ANYONE TO SELL ANYTHING – your personal religious beliefs are not relevant to the public you serve. You are a thug, you are a terrorist to the general public. Muslims hate American values and they went to deliver that message, and Christians hate homosexuals and they are wielding weapons to send that message to the public also.

                  Since that doesn’t get through to you, no matter what anyone says, I do resort to calling you names. You live in a hateful dark hole you call “loving your neighbor” that is so self-righteous and judgmental. You’re allowed to stand up for your personal beliefs, but you’re not allowed to inflict it on other persons by wielding the bigger tool of business on them. You are in favor of terrorism, you said it, you can’t differentiate a religious belief from a religious belief, and you can’t differentiate illegal means to express them for the purpose of harming the general public. Sure, nobody dies when they can’t buy a wedding cake, but people suffer. People have freedom in the US, it is not up to your Christian vigilantes to dispense a separate version of the law via business ownership, just as it would be illegal for them to throw a brick through a window to send that message. You can’t use your business as a brick.

                • phantomreader42

                  “rwlawoffice” admits he doesn’t actually know anything at all about the law:

                  A Preston’s business is not different then themselves.

                  No, a person’s business IS different from their self. The whole point of creating corporations is to have the business exist as an entity legally distinct from the owners of said business, so assets and liabalities can be distinguished, among a bunch of other things. Declaring that the business is legally inseparable from the person completely defeats that purpose. Of course, you don’t actually know anything about that, because that would require at least some rudimentary understanding of law, and you never had any such thing.
                  And AGAIN, your religious beliefs do not give you the right to ignore any law you find inconvenient, and on some level you know that, but you keep fleeing in terror from all questions because you’re too much of a dishonest asshat to admit that your flimsy excuse for defending bigotry has fallen apart.

                • Glasofruix

                  My concern is that people be allowed to express their religious beliefs in how they operate the businesses they own. They don’t leave those at the door of their business.

                  They do. They have to follow the rules, believing in skyfairies does not exempt them from the law.

                • DavidMHart

                  We have laws requiring those who provide services to the public to do so in a fair manner to protect people who are members of minority groups from people like you. You have the right to believe that gay people are icky, or that Huitzilopochtli demands freshly-sacrificed human hearts. You have the right to say those things. You have the right to meet with like-minded people in your free time to re-affirm your mutual belief in those things. But the moment your acting on those beliefs start to rub up against other people that don’t believe them, that is the moment when laws can start to infringe, and the more severely the actions inspired by your religious beliefs harm other people, the more restrictions the law will apply. Now, obviously, refusing to bake someone a cake in your capacity as a business that is open to the public is less of an imposition than strapping them down and carving their heart out. But they are both infringements of the other person’s legal rights – the right not to be murdered, and the right to equal access to public services.

                  The only fair way to treat this issue is to notice that, because of the variety of incompatible beliefs out there, it is simply impossible to accommodate them all – accommodating some inevitably means denying others, so the compromise we strive for is: allow people to believe their beliefs as an absolute right; allow people to preach their beliefs as a right which is qualified only by the requirement not to commit fraud or incite violence; and allow people to take action on the basis of their beliefs only so far as doing so does not infringe on other people’s rights (which includes the right not to be refused service just because the business owner doesn’t like you).

                  Otherwise, what could you possibly say to a Huitzilopochtli worshipper who proposed to sacrifice your heart to the might sun god? Should such a person be allowed to live his religious beliefs or shouldn’t he?

                • smrnda

                  If I run a t shirt shop, and some Xtians come by to ask me to make some “Vacation Bible School” t shirts, I don’t get to turn them way because I don’t share their beliefs. If I print ‘atheist bar crawl fall 2013′ shirts, and I have to provide the same service to the Xtians.

                  I would also voluntarily do so, since I don’t want to be a shit to other people.

                  If I was asked to take photos at a pagan Zeus worshiping ceremony, I’d do it. If Xtians asked me and were paying, I’d do the same. I’m not deeply invested in making a performance of being nauseated by other people’s beliefs or lifestyles.

                • baal

                  Why do faithful business owners focus on the sin of gaiety only and happily serve other sinners (all of us but including adulterers). That type of uneven religious enforcement makes the shop owners arbitrary and capricious.

              • godlessveteran

                Excellent! Let me develop a life-saving drug or device so I can prohibit any sales to Christians because it’s against my beliefs to help them live.

              • C.L. Honeycutt

                Therefore you are not religious, because you routinely lie and espouse bigotry in direct defiance of your stated belief system. Congratulations.

              • baal

                You’re not addressing my point advocate. Reiterating your position is not a reply. You should at least concede that your religious free exercise clause is encumbered and then argue the encumbrances must be minimized as much as possible. Sticking to a 100% “i win” contrary to the past case law is unreasonable.

          • Greg G.

            The Bible says it’s OK to buy and sell slaves, even your own daughter. Where is the Bible against selling your services to sinners?

          • cary_w

            How does attending a gay wedding violate your beliefs? Your religion may not allow gay weddings, but YOU are not the one getting gay-married. Where in the Bible does it say it’s a sin to attend a ceremony that is not part of your religion? Are there really restrictions in the Bible on providing services to non-believers? Maybe there are, I’m not much of a Bible scholar, but my Christian friends are always trying to tell me that Christianity is all about love and forgiveness and that Jesus hung around with prostitutes and the poor and down-trodden. Are you telling me that my friends a “not true Christians” because Jesus really said don’t provide services to any non-believers?

            You would have a point if the government was trying to force YOU to gay-marry or use contraceptives or something that is against your religious beliefs, but I don’t understand how you can say YOUR beliefs are violated when SOMEONE ELSE does something against your religion.

          • TheG

            What weddings have you been to where the photographer is forced into sex acts. Having lesbian sex may have been against her beliefs, but there is no way that you can cite scripture that sows that taking a picture violates religious beliefs. Maybe personal taste that was influenced by religion, but unless she was a member of the Southern Holy Church of Undocumented Softball”, you’re seriously mistaken.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            By your argument, it was Unchristian of Jesus to hang out with prostitutes and thieves, because He disapproved of their actions.

            • Rwlawoffice

              Really you should not try to argue what is unchristian given your obvious disdain for Christianity. And agin you are wrong. Jesus, like a lot of Christians would hang out with sinners but would not approve of their sin. He would point it out and tell them to go and sin no more. In other words he would not accept their sinful behavior .

      • Glasofruix

        So if you are a pharmacist, you want the right refuse to sell HIV medication to a gay person because his very being violates your religious convictions? My, aren’t you an asshole…

        • rwlawoffice

          religious people have been involved with helping people suffering from the ravages of AIDS for years. So no, I don’t think that my Christian faith would prevent me from giving life saving drugs to an AIDS patient.
          It would be consistent with the Christian teaching on alleviating suffering, even if that suffering is the result of what a Christian would deem immoral behavior.

          • Spuddie

            But not religious people like yourself. Your type have been the ones who have made such people suffer unnecessarily. Contributed to their suffering in the name of self righteous bigotry.

            No, you do not get to claim your beliefs are equivalent to those who truly understand compassion and love of mankind.

          • RobMcCune

            Sorry, if it’s a deeply held religious conviction, pharmacists can flat out kill people by withholding medication. It’s what you believe, deal with it.

      • godlessveteran

        If your business serves the public, and isn’t a church, you WILL serve all customers or close. Unless you agree I have a right to refuse service to Christians.

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        Yes, actually it does. Do you really want to live in a world where everyone can simply refuse to serve customers or do any part of their job based on their religious convictions?

      • RobMcCune

        Do your religious convictions demand that you refuse do any business with someone who is different from yourself?

      • God’s Starship

        My religion demands I drive on the sidewalk. Get out of the way, pedestrian! Liberty!!!

      • baal

        Let’s see how this looks written out.

        My atheistic-religious conviction is that religious adherents should be convicts. Let’s get the boys, round you folks up and set you in jail. It’s a sort of converse blasphemy law. Anyone espousing a belief against the natural order of the natural world must be jailed for offending the State and disordering society by relying on supernaturalism.

        (For the reading impaired, this is a what-if scenario and not my actual beliefs. To see a real world case of just the opposite, visit Egypt in Sept. 2013. It’s hardly a slippery slope argument when you have real world examples of the down side of the slope to point to.)

      • Spuddie

        Nope. Still wrong ignorant crap no matter how many times you have repeated it and been shown otherwise.

        Unless you are a private members only club, you have to serve the entire public if you provide goods and services openly.

      • kaydenpat

        According to which Supreme Court law?

  • Damien

    What exactly is the worst case scenario if this bill passes?

    • Scott_Lumry

      Damien, I can only paint what could be the worst case for me, personally. I also believe the worst case is that we can NOT say what exactly would happen, we can only guess. And anyone who does not have a marriage recognized by a particular religion, no matter how legitimate, may have to deal with some very difficult outcomes.

      Living in the state of Louisiana, whose representative, John Fleming (R), has co-sponsored the bill, it could be quite devastating to go to a federally funded facility (i.e. veterans admin, social security, disaster relief, etc…) as a couple legally married in another state and have the clerk push away from the table and disappear if we indicate that we are married and that individual’s religious indoctrination precluded our being married. Then, suppose, the whole staff at that level is occupied by those of the same religious lifestyle choice.

      Suppose my partner has a heart attack in Many, LA and is taken to the hospital that receives Medicare/Medicaid funds. The hospital, being operated by a catholic business, refuses to allow me to see him because I am not related to him and they certainly do not see my marriage as a marriage. Perhaps they load him on a chopper and send him off without informing me of the reason or the destination, simply because their religious views do not accommodate my

      • beatonfam

        I would say they can believe what ever they want in the parish hall. The second they open a business to all in the community they must follow the laws. Catholics run a lot of hospitals. That is a business not a church. Will some companies try to get around it by saying it’s their religious convictions? yes. Too bad. The law is the law. If you don’t like it close down or face the consequences.

        • Scott_Lumry

          I would agree with you except there is now a law being considered that allows for the exemption based on religious beliefs. The law is the law until it is changed.

          • beatonfam

            Yes, the law could be changed at anytime. I am not convinced that this proposed bill will pass any test against the constitution particularly in light of the recent supreme court decision. Could it happen? yes. I am optimistic that the house will see this guy for the reactionary nutjob he is.

    • Sven2547

      Turning millions of Americans into second-class citizens, for starters…

      • Stev84

        Gay people already are second-class citizens.

        • Itarion

          So let’s fix that.

    • 3lemenope

      The Senate will have to waste precious time and resources killing it with fire, which is almost certainly what will happen.

  • ShoeUnited
  • Lauryn

    This is one of those things that make me so proud of where I work- and how we try to fight this blatant discrimination! I’d bet you they made these same straw man arguments during the civil rights era.

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    Political Rule Number 13.b – The size and number of American Flags in the background are in a inverse relationship to the decency of the candidate or politician standing in the foreground.

  • rwlawoffice

    What is going on all across the country is why this bill is needed. Elane’s photography case is a classic example. I wish that everyone recognizing the constitution was enough to protect religious liberties, but as has been shown time and time again, it isn’t. Clarity in a statute without the need for a costly federal lawsuit simply to protect your rights would clear things up.

    • David Kopp

      Federal government has different rules there, sparky. If you can’t be a public servant if you refuse to serve a portion of the public because of your imaginary friend. Pretty sure Jesus said something about rendering unto Caesar and all that, respecting the secular government…

    • 3lemenope

      A classic example of what people have been desperately trying to tell you for a while now:

      Believe what you want. Do what you want. As soon as you hold yourself out to the public as a professional purveyor of services, however, you are duty bound to provide the service. Even if your clients make you feel icky because they have a different skin color or different genitals or preferentially post-coitally cuddle with a person of the same sex.

      I can’t help but think you whine about this so very often because the law is a profession, and you can’t stomach providing services to people whose personal choices offend you.

      • rwlawoffice

        Not at all. My concern is to protect religious liberties. In my opinion laws such as the one that was used to fine Elane’s photography invade upon those religious liberties and are unconstitutional. This will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court but until it is, the legislation like the one that is being proposed will clarify the situation.

        • godlessveteran

          So glad you agree I have the right to refuse to hire or serve Christians.

          • Jasper

            He probably does, because he knows that they outnumber us, so it’s not much of a threat. These people have a really hard time understanding anyone else’s position without first going through it themselves. They just can’t put themselves in anyone else’s shoes, most of the time.

        • Glasofruix

          You’re free to believe in your nonsense, you are not free to discriminate based on said nonsense.

        • baal

          “religious liberties”
          Hrm. You’re smurfing things again. The constitutional protection is to free exercise of religion. I.e. what you do in your church or how you live your personal life. Once you get to work (even if you own the workplace), you’re in public space or private but ‘work’ space different rules apply. Even then your ‘liberty’ is still encumbered by the criminal code and by local civil ordinances.

          If my religion requires me to go naked, I’m not exempted from public decency laws – that’s not true for much of India were certain holymen’s poverty vows include no clothes. In another example, the bible is clear that stoning is acceptable but here in the U.S., that’d be assault at a minimum or more likely a higher charge (murder, attempted murder). They do still stone in some places. So too it is with these anti-discrimination laws. You get to swing your religion only until it hits my nose. Then it’s not ok.

          I don’t see how making it harder to have gay weddings or government licenses has a legitimate role in how you worship your god.

        • RobMcCune

          My concern is to protect people from small minded people who seek any means available to them to censure others. In my opinion this bill provides legal cover to people doing just that to gay couples. Many, if not all of these “religious conscious” cases amount to a person discriminating, and claiming “religious conscious” after the fact.

        • Spuddie

          Also the fact you are not actually in the legal profession in any substantial manner. So it’s not like you have any particular expertise in the subject

        • Kodie

          You don’t have the religious liberties to chop off my hand for stealing.

        • phantomreader42

          You have no interest whatsoever in protecting religious liberties, because you have no idea what religious liberties are, and you refuse to learn despite having it explained to you repeatedly. Relgious liberties are NOT a magical exemption from any and all laws you don’t feel like following because your imaginary friend doesn’t like it.

    • Oranje

      “simply” “protect”

      • 3lemenope

        “your”

        • baal

          “shown”

          • 3lemenope

            Funnily enough, my significant other decided to have a bit of rhetorical fun and started dismissing annoying argument claims with “Oh, I see you’re still using X. Well, X has unfortunately been widely discredited.” With no follow-up.

            It’s *amazing* just how many people won’t challenge the counterclaim, even to ask by whom it has been discredited, never mind how.

            • baal

              RW isn’t a slouch. Our three comments pointing out words being used in special or clever ways points out just how badly RW needs to bend reality in order to get to his conclusions.

    • smrnda

      The law is clear, you just don’t like what it says. Once you extend your services to the public, you aren’t free to pick and choose who you will discriminate against. “Religious liberty” means you get to go to your house of worship, pray at home, distribute your holy books and follow the rules of your religion as an individual.

      A business has no religious ‘rights’ since it is not a person, but an abstract legal entity held to completely different legal standards. Among these is a requirement to follow the law when it comes to non-discrimination.

      A church – the actual house of worship – doesn’t have to marry anyone they don’t like. However a FOR PROFIT business has to serve the public without discrimination. You can serve Jesus or serve $$$, and once you choose to serve $$$ you have to follow the rules for money-grubbing businesses.

      • rwlawoffice

        Religious liberties are not limited to our hearts, minds and the four walls of our churches. It extends to the businesses and the other aspects of our lives. The owners of businesses don’t lose those rights because they enter into business. The recent cases from the courts on the health care mandates are sorting this out now.

        As for a house of worship having to marry anyone it doesn’t like, that is the law right now. However, it is being challenged right now in Britain where a same sex couple is demanding to be married in the church of their choosing because to deny them this right would be discrimination. It will only be a matter of time for this argument to come here.

        • 3lemenope

          Do religious liberties extend in an unlimited fashion? Is anything that falls under the rubric of religious practice automagically legally protected?

          Can a business owner whose religious beliefs encourage making racial distinctions be allowed to not serve people of certain races? Ought they be allowed to deny service on that basis?

          • baal

            I’m not willing to grant RW his expansive and a-historical view of “free exercise” includes any “religious liberty” he can think up. That phrase at law in US history was more or less restricted to the 4 walls or private lives.

            • 3lemenope

              Yeah, I know, but I was drawing his position out so I could do a reducto.

          • kaydenpat

            Rand Paul would say yes. Unfortunately, there are probably millions of Americans who would answer in the affirmative. Thankfully, the Supreme Court says no.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Trying to change the subject only works if you’re not a dimwitted liar, Robert.

          The Church of England is tied up with the state.

          Why are you a sick liar?

        • smrnda

          The argument is applicable to the UK but not to the US. The UK has an official state church which receives government money. That’s the price of state/church entanglement, and given the firm separation between the 2 in the US, there’s no grounds for the same type of action. There’s not even any demand; the few cases that have been presented as churches being ‘forced’ to marry same-sex couples involve for profit venues that are open to the general public, not an actual church acting in its capacity as a church, just acting as a ‘for profit for rent venue.’

          Businesses are subject to anti-discrimination laws. You can, within reason, run a business in line with your religious beliefs, but when it comes to *discriminating against anyone* you don’t. I can *choose* to only serve vegetarian or kosher food, but I cannot choose to only serve vegetarian or Jewish customers. If I cater, I cannot refuse to cater an event because of the demographics of the clients.

          Workers’ health care should not be held hostage to the opinions of their employers as to what health care is moral. The law *must* spell out what adequate health care consists in or else an employer can refuse any treatment on whim alone, and that means that employees *do not get* health care. Health care to employees is also compensation; it is not a ‘product’ being offered. The law must protect workers at the expense of employers’ opinions, and I have no problem saying that.

          • Stev84

            It doesn’t happen in the UK either. In the UK there are civil registrars who perform civil ceremonies.

            Also, the vaunted “separation of church and state” is hardly as firm as you believe it to be.

            • smrnda

              I will agree that it is not (church/state), and I was not totally informed of the UK situation.

              All said, I learned from a Brit that there is a longstanding provision in English law that you can’t turn away people for lodging if they can pay, regardless of your opinions of their ‘lifestyle’ on another blog. Wanted to spread the word on that.

              • Glasofruix

                As in most other european countries. If you have the cash and are willing to pay for an “advertised” product or service, the ones who provide cannot refuse to sell just because you happen to be gay, black or whatever.

        • Kodie

          Then, see, religious people are unfit for work. Problem solved. You can’t live in this world, just die and get to the next one already.

        • phantomreader42

          Your religious delusions do not give you any right to ignore the laws of this nation. Whoever told you they did is a liar and a traitor, and you are an idiot for believing them.

    • Sven2547

      You don’t have the “religious liberty” to run a business in a way that ignores business laws.

    • godlessveteran

      So glad you agree I can refuse to serve Christians.

      • trj

        I’ll just take a wild guess that rwlaw would be first in line to cry bloody murder if an atheist actually followed up on rwlaw’s own argument and for ideological reasons refused to somehow serve a Christian.

        • godlessveteran

          I’ve sparred with the ass before. He says I can’t do it because of the law. Duh. Privilege for thee, but not me, apparently.

        • rwlawoffice

          What would be the basis for you to refuse to offer services to Christians? That information is needed to answer the issue. If it is based upon religious grounds, you may very well have that right. If you could show that an atheist had a deeply held religious belief then you may have an argument.

          • 3lemenope

            What would be the basis for you to refuse to offer services to Christians?

            If we’re talking law, then you well know that a court is *not* empowered to visit the contents of a particular person’s beliefs to see whether they match the predominant beliefs that fall under the person’s stated religion. And, since we’re talking law, you *also* know that atheism is treated as a religion for all intents and purposes under the law.

            So, an atheist must merely say “because serving Christians is against my beliefs as an atheist”, and it doesn’t matter that not serving Christians is not normally a tenet of atheism.

            But you knew that already. Because law.

            • Stev84

              Maybe not. I’m pretty sure he is lying about being a lawyer.

              • Glasofruix

                A really shitty one if he’s not though.

              • Spuddie

                To be honest, I don’t think he ever said he was a lawyer. It is obvious he isn’t. Not even a law student.

                He is the equivalent to the creationists who by virtue of their own amateur half-asserry, believe they know more about science than every doctorate holder in the field.

                • baal

                  He ‘feels’ like lawyer to me. He does some number of lawyer argument tricks that are usually learned in law school (a place I’ve been).

                • Kodie

                  @baal –

                  He ‘feels’ like lawyer to me. He does some number of lawyer argument
                  tricks that are usually learned in law school (a place I’ve been).

                  I don’t think he’s a lawyer. I had a friend who thought he sounded like a lawyer and all he did was read a lot on the subjects he cared about arguing, had an interest in lawyering, and after all I came to know him well enough, he wasn’t that smart about where he got his information or discerning enough not to be manipulated by shitty arguments. If he had an opinion, he was always right because he had “citations”, and he developed a pompous, manipulative style, was very thorough, and never could see the other side made a good point – not just because that’s what lawyers have to do, but because he sincerely believed he was always right no matter what you say. Rwlawoffice doesn’t have the same kind of writing style, but I don’t think it’s that hard to develop techniques if one is interested in coming off like a know-it-all and, as far as anyone can tell, an actual lawyer.

                  I think he’s like my ex-friend is – wished he’d studied law and is actually a frustrated pretend lawyer.

                • Spuddie

                  He writes and argues like someone who is around lawyers but lacks the baseline knowledge of one. my guess is he is a paralegal. Someone who types up legal arguments/papers at a lawyer’s request and thinks he knows the law by association. Like how a doctor’s receptionist may think they know about medicine.

                  Any 1L 1st year law student) or can point out how silly his argument is concerning the free exercise clause. I have yet to see him cite something that would indicate basic know-how either.

                  As I said before,

          • godlessveteran

            My belief they are vulgar immoral vermin. I need no other justification by your standards.

          • Glasofruix

            Nice double standards there…

          • RobMcCune

            It doesn’t matter, it’s all religious conscious, so it can be made up as he goes. Just like christian discrimination.

          • God’s Starship

            According to my lord and savior Sha Ka Ree, I am not required to offer services to anyone who willfully refuses to understand the free exercise clause despite repeated attempts to have its actual meaning explained to him.

          • trj

            Like 3lemenope says, to invoke religious exemption all I have to do is say “it’s against my religious beliefs”. Juridically, I don’t have to explain or justify myself beyond that.

            So no, you don’t actually need any additional information to answer the issue. If I simply say “For religious reasons I refuse to serve you” it would de jure be sufficient reason, and accordingly it would be perfectly legal for me to deny you service in whichever way I choose – if we follow your own argument.

            You seem to be saying that the more religious fervor someone has, the more they should be able to exempt themselves from civil laws (which is not what the law says, but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that you want to extend the courts’ powers to investigate people’s beliefs). So let me ask you: if a Christian has a deep religious belief that dark-skinned people are inferior, do you think that person should be granted exemption to refuse service to them on the basis of his religious beliefs?

          • smrnda

            My belief is that Christianity is false and destructive. I should not be forced to aid in the dissemination of an ideology I find false and dangerous. I should be permitted to refuse to hire Christians since then, my $$$ might go to funding this cult, and I should be able to refuse to service Christian organizations so that I will not be complicit in their crimes.

            I don’t think you’d really support me there, or else you just think *Christian* beliefs deserve more protection than others.

          • RobMcCune

            Sorry, you don’t want that test applied to christian beliefs, so it should not be applied to atheist beliefs. Also, you shouldn’t want a legal requirement to show that beliefs are deeply held, or else the discriminating christians you’re defending would not have a leg to stand on.

          • kaydenpat

            Oh, so we can discriminate based on our religious beliefs — but not based on any other reasons? Makes so much sense. What if a non-Christian religion decides to discriminate against Christians? Would that be okay?

          • Kodie

            I hate them, they leave shitty “tips” that look like money, and they shouldn’t be allowed to eat in restaurants I fictionally work at or own. That’s a deeply held conviction with my god, me, according to all you Christians. I don’t have to have a religious conviction if I believe something, it is my deeply held conviction, since I make my own rules.

            How do you like it when people hate the fuck out of you and refuse to do business because you’re you?

            • smrnda

              Those tracts that look like money are SO FUCKING OBNOXIOUS! Yeah, dangle what looks like 50 dollars (which is HUGE MONEY to a server – maybe even life/death serious) only to spout the same trite Jesus-pitch they’ve been hearing their entire life.

              • phantomreader42

                Anyone who leaves those as a tip should never receive food in a restaurant again, only pictures of food, and required to pay full price for it anyway.

    • baal

      No. This bill is not needed and Elane’s Photography should not have a new special christian right (privilege) to discriminate against the LGBT community. Life in the U.S. would be worse if that were law. Think if everytime you goto a store, the store quizzes you on your beliefs and then refuses service if you are gay, POC, or christian merely for being gay or POC or christian. It’d make business sense to group your business with other like minded bigots. An entire strip mall of vendors would likely jump into whatever is the most majoritarian bigotry. This would also create pressure then to segregate society into ghettos according to discriminated class. The gays over here with gay accepting stores, the POC accepting stores over there and the christian accepting stores in a third place.

      Do you ever consider the likely outcome of the rules you want? I suppose I could see alternatives to my scenario above but it looks a lot like 1950′s style classist first class / second class / dregs history with all the huge, immoral and free reign to abuse that that history entailed.

      Really, your views are horrible RW.

      • Anna

        I don’t think Robert cares. He knows full well that he’s never going to be discriminated against. He feels comfortable because he’s in the majority, and he doesn’t appear to care about “sinners” being refused services. Or else he must think they deserve it as punishment for their perceived transgression.

      • cary_w

        Ha ha. I had to google POC (yes, I am a clueless old fogey) but it really wasn’t necessary because your argument makes perfect sense no matter what POC means!

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Again with your sick argument that the Boy Scouts would be ethically justified if they were to reject kids based on skin color. I wish you knew Jesus, Robert.

    • Spuddie

      What is going around the country is antigay bigotry is being called out for what it is and being treated like other pernicious forms of bigotry under the law. Christian privilege is being exposed to national level scrutiny.

    • kaydenpat

      If Elaine’s photo business serves the public, it must serve the entire public and not discriminate against certain segments. Otherwise, we’d be going back to the bad old days when business owners could refuse to provide service to people on the basis of race, for example. I’m surprised that you as a Christian would support such ugly and hateful discrimination.

    • Kodie

      Photography isn’t performing the ceremony. It’s a commercial transaction that has nothing to do with gay people getting married.

    • phantomreader42

      You made this same incredibly stupid argument months ago, then fled in abject terror when called on how stupid it was, and your unwillingness to even try to support it. I’m not going to waste time writing a response that I know you’re too much of a coward to address, so I’ll repost a response I made last time:

      No, you’re the liar as always. You whined that anti-gay bigots should be allowed to ignore laws against discrimination because the invisible man in the sky said so. There are only two ways you could believe that kind of idiocy. Either you think that ANYONE can ignore any law they feel like if they say god demands it, or you only want YOUR cult to be above the law. When the first option was pointed out to you, you whined and whined and whined and said that wasn’t what you meant. But when the second was brought up, you fled in terror and refused to answer the questions.
      Here are some of the questions you’re too much of a coward to answer:

      Is the fact that the government does not allow you to wantonly murder Wiccans without consequence “demanding that Christians engage in behavior that violate their religious beliefs” due to that bible verse about not suffering a witch to live?

      why should anyone take your drivel seriously, much less allow you to ignore or rewrite law based on it?

      So, someone who kidnapped a guy and cut out his still-beating heart, then said the gods told him to do it, WOULD NOT BE CHARGED WITH MURDER?

      Or are you still only demanding that YOUR cult be exempt from the law?

      You hold to the notion that your right to free exercise of religion allows one to discriminate against others openly.
      Why would it not apply to Christian Identity (KKK’s religious wing) against racial minorities? According to you, religious expression trumps anti-discrimination laws.

      How is your whining about not being able to discriminate against people your cult doesn’t like NOT endorsing discrimination against black people, when cults have existed and STILL exist that officially consider non-whites subhuman?

      So you can refuse service to Jews and blacks if your sect doesn’t like them then? Absolutely not, and we as a society settled that 40-plus years ago.

      Would it actually, literally kill you to stop lying for ONE COMMENT?

  • Brett N

    Huh. A Republican politician who is taking the initiative to stamp out liberty for the LGBT community. Guess who’s in the closet…

  • godlessveteran

    I believe my religious freedom gives me the right to pummel the shit out of anyone attempting to violate my rights. Fundie scum, be warned.

  • Matt Bowyer

    They have a funny definition of liberty.

    • Jasper

      It’s technically liberty… just at the expense of everyone else… they want so much liberty that they have to take some of ours… for instance, the liberty to live in a country where one isn’t discriminated against wrongfully.

      These people need to get through their heads that their religious beliefs don’t make them special, and above the law.

  • Sven2547

    I’ve said it before but it bears repeating:
    Of all the stupid and fallacy-ridden reasons to oppose marriage equality, ‘it violates my RIGHT to discriminate against people’ is perhaps the most nasty and shortsighted.

  • Jasper

    If they’re trying to establish legislation that lets them do things the rest of us CAN’T do… that’s not so much “liberty” as much as Privilege.

  • Brian Kasper

    So a bill to protect Racism. I don’t think that is something that should pass. This is so silly. Why can’t people stop trying to tell others how to live when in no way does the others personal life interfere with their own?

    • Glasofruix

      Because religion…

  • http://twitter.com/thom1956 Tom Schott

    Such utter bullshit – and blatantly unconstitutional.

  • Stev84

    Raul Labrador is a Mormon with a BYU degree. ’nuff said.

  • mbetty

    So they’re asking to be free from discrimination to discriminate? Is it just me or should public officials be evaluated for mental illness before they can take office?

  • AxeGrrl

    Sen Gretchen Whitmer’s response to “Matt’s safe school law” in the Michigan senate a couple of years ago is just as perfect as a response to this. If anyone here hasn’t seen it, you should (it’s less than 3min):

    http://youtu.be/zDK-ja8PLgg

    (her speech is just as kick ass now as it was the first time I watched it)

  • FM

    Unfortunately nobody has the balls to challenge the whole ‘religious freedom’ idea. I don’t believe that religion has any place in public. Religious Freedom shouldn’t mean that you can say and do whatever you wish in the name of religion. I believe that any freedom should be weighed against the cost to the entire population of any particular society. Protection should be given to all equally – not any particular group regardless of the nonsense that they believe. Everyone has to do their part for the society that they live in. Groups that think they are exclusive do nothing but fail the entire society.

    It would be really nice if we could stop distinguishing ourselves as being different because we belong to this group or that group. Why can’t we be “people” working towards a better life for all people? Why can’t we just do it for our own sake and not the sake of imaginary gawds?

    FMF
    Canada


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