Sensitivity Training for Supporters of Traditional Marriage vs Chairman Mao’s Re-education Camps. How Do They Differ?

First Amendment on scroll1

 

Americans have long deplored “thought police” and “re-education camps” in Communist regimes.

We have thumped our chests and demanded human rights for those in other climes. We have been appalled by the violations of the basic civil rights of their citizens by totalitarian states; rights that we took for granted. These governments seemed and actually were hell bent on enforcing emotional/moral/social conformity at the price of individual liberty, religious freedom and the rights of free speech and thought.

Americans have practically written the book on condemnation of such actions by other governments against their hapless citizens.

So, why are we doing the same thing to our citizens?

I’ll be first to admit that sensitivity training is less violent and draconian than marching people through the streets in front of jeering crowds and then consigning them to re-education camps for years. But the difference is a matter of degree. The underlying principle of government-enforced mind control is the same.

In fact, the re-education meetings in which people denounce one another and confess to their lack of revolutionary fervor that are conducted by these same regimes seem eerily close to sensitivity training as it’s currently being used by our courts and various “civil rights commissions.”

I started thinking about this because of the court-ordered abuse of the civil rights of Jack Phillips. Mr Phillips is the owner of what must be the only bakery in Colorado. He is also a new social and economic Christian martyr.

As so often happens with the people who turn out to be the real heroes, Mr Phillips seems an unlikely candidate for the title. He’s a small businessman, a baker by trade, just trying to make an honest living. He didn’t go out looking for trouble. He’s no grenade-throwing political activist with a vast talk-show following. He doesn’t wear $1,000 suits and he probably hasn’t had a single voice lesson to prepare him for his new life in the public sphere.

He’s a baker. He owns a bakery. He makes donuts and apple fritters and stuff.

So how did Jack Phillips the baker become a Christian martyr?

It’s simple. He refused to violate his faith.

He didn’t, mind you, bother or even try to engage anyone else. He simply followed his own beliefs by living them in his own life with his own actions. These beliefs led him to refuse to bake a cake for a gay wedding. And that made him the target of the culture cops.

Because, you see, wedding cakes are a human right. Religious freedom, not so much.

That is the question here, not wedding cakes, but religious freedom. I am not advocating for a particular position by Christians on the great cake-baking question. I am advocating for the right of free Americans to follow their faith without being forced into re-education (brain-washing) as punishment for doing so.

The cake-baking issue is distinct by virtue of the pettiness of the demands of those who want to coerce others on the one hand and the enormity of the principle involved in the actions of those who resist on the other. The extra issue of forcing people into re-education for practicing their faith is also enormous. And chilling.

I can only surmise that the offended parties couldn’t find any other baker in the whole state of Colorado to bake their cake. Why else would they drop all the lovey-dovey premarital stuff and spend their time dragging Mr Phillips into court? It’s not like he refused them service. They could have bought all the donuts and cupcakes they wanted. He refused to bake a cake for this one specific purpose, which was against his religious beliefs.

But in the brave new world of government-enforced political correctness, acting on religious beliefs by living them is not allowed. No one is allowed to believe and adhere to a morality except the group morality of the almighty politically-correct zeitgeist. It appears that violation of this bit of absolute totalitarianism is a new kind of crime, and by that I mean a literal, criminal act.

After going through all the good times that everyone who has ever been in a courtroom knows all too well, Mr Phillips found himself guilty as charged of being publicly Christian. I believe the specific legal verbiage was a tad different from that, but that’s what it amounted to.

He has been court-ordered to bake the blasted cake and — get ready for this — go to “sensitivity training,” and send his entire staff to the same training, where, presumably, they will get their brains washed out and cleaned of any remaining individual thinking. He’s also supposed to re-write his company policies to reflect the values he’s been ordered to learn to believe.

On top of that, he has to submit quarterly reports to Colorado’s “Civil Rights Commission” (which seems an odd name for this group) to prove that he’s baking up a storm for gay weddings everywhere.

How does this differ from Chairman Mao’s re-education camps? By degree. How does it differ from governments forcing people to attend re-education groups? You got me.

And, since this sort of government bullying of private citizens was unthinkable not so very long ago, I tend to regard that matter of degree as a moving dot on the line toward totalitarianism.

Mr Phillips, for his part, says he’s not going to change his company policies. “My God is bigger than any bullies they’ve got,” he said.

As for the sensitivity training designed to rehabilitate Mr Phillips into believing what the government demands he believe, that may not work out, either. “My 87-year-old mom works here, and she says she’s not going to be rehabilitated,” he said.

When quizzed about how he would respond if the Supreme Court of the United States orders him to bake the cake and get his brain washed out, he said, “There’s civil disobedience. We’ll see what happens. I’m not giving up my faith. Too many people have died for this faith to give it up that easily.”

This is left-wing-nut totalitarianism. But we can’t get away from it by a blind flight to the right. There’s plenty of right-wing-nut totalitarianism, too. Blindly empowering either one of them is going to do us in.

The real answer is up to his elbows in flour in a bakery in Colorado. Ordinary people who will not compromise their faith and are willing to take the hits involved in standing for Jesus are the answer. We have to say “no.” And by “we” I mean all of us pew-sitting Christians who’ve been going along to get along.

Because extraordinary ordinary people like Jack Phillips are the only real heroes there are.

 

The video below discusses the way that Christians are being blocked from certain professions for holding traditional Christian beliefs. It also gives us the example of another brave person who is standing for her beliefs in the face of enormous government pressure; in this case from a government-funded university.

 

  • Jeff Jankowiak

    I urge you to not put this man on the martyr pedestal. As a budiness man he needs to know sndvobey the laws of the jurisdiction. What if he refused to pay taxes becsuse he was a war pacifist. What if he did not believe in interracial marriage? Does that nean he ca discriminate and turn away couples. No he cannot. He may not like the laws but he can move his business to a jurisdiction tgat does not have these laws in the public square.

    • Torrance S

      - Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; Render unto God the things which are God’s

      what happens when the two come into conflict?

      - We ought to obey God rather than men

      • James1

        So… Caesar is not also required to render unto God what is God’s?

        It is not right that Caesar usurps what is God’s, no more than Caesar’s subjects are wont to do. In the case of a “government of the people, by the people and for the people,” if the people are to render unto God what is His, the government should follow as well.

        We now advocate allegiance to a moving target, subject to the whim of the mob. Simply because something is legal does not make it right.

    • FW Ken

      Same sex marriage is not in the same category as inter-racial marriages because sexual preference is not like racial identity. Moreover, he has made clear that he serves persons with same-sex attraction, he may well not participate in the glorification of their relationship. In fact, what he had done is stop selling wedding cakes of any kind.

      How will Caesar get his pinch of incense now?

    • fredx2

      You forget that there are competing values here.
      The Constitution gives us freedom of speech and association. It also protects freedom of religion. Anti Discrimination laws must be subject to constitutional requirements. So there are two competing forces at work here. It is not as simple as saying “Well the state passed a law, so he must comply” Of course states passed gay marriage bans, and gays don’t just knuckle under and obey, they are fighting those bans in the courts. So you can’t have it both ways.

      • Richard A Imgrund

        No state passed a ban on homosexual marriage. States passed various laws which treated marriage, but always with the understanding that marriage was a certain kind of relationship between a man and a woman. And then advocates for sodomy have managed to get influential judges and lawmakers to pretend that the whole point of marriage was to create some great “thing” that we can punish homosexuals with by denying to them.

    • AnneG

      Jeff, Colorado does not recognize same sex marriage. And, all of your excuses are specious. This is about one issue, two men getting”married” and insisting that this baker make them a cake. It is only important if you believe people have the right to force you to do something. Why should he have to move when they can go someplace else. I am sure they did this to force him. It is an attempt at thought control, just like Stalin.

    • Elizabeth K.

      If he’s willing to pay the price for it, and it seems he is, why not? The point of freedom is in the hard cases, not when everything is sunshine and lollipops and you like the people involved. If a law places a cake above religious freedom, the law is wrong.

  • AnneG

    If diversity is such an important value why doesn’t the professional association require all counseling students to take theology classes, Catholic, Calvinist, evangelical, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist? They seem to be showing preference.
    For the baker, I’m glad he’s standing up. Let’s see what the courts do.

  • fredx2

    The essential problem is that the state has decided it can define morality, and is then insisting that every person in the state must conform to their view of morality. In essence, 51 percent of the electorate can decide what the other 49 percent MUST believe.
    This gentlemen should challenge in court ANY attempt by the state to use coercion to “re-educate” him.
    Such re-education efforts are fundamentally obnoxious to basic American values. One would think it could be challenged as violative of First Amendment rights. The state has no business trying to re-educate anyone; our minds are our own, and the state is limited to punishing our acts. It should not be forcing us to mold our thoughts in ways they find pleasant.

  • Sus_1

    It’s the same thing as companies creating sexual harassment policies to keep men from harassing women at work. There’s nothing wrong with it.

    • ucfengr

      How in any meaningful way is not wanting to bake a cake like harrassment?

      • Elizabeth K.

        It’s not. They have nothing to do with one another, and it’s nutty to try to equate them. And it dilutes the issue of sexual harassment. Let’s just start with the obvious–the customer is not an employee.

  • hamiltonr

    Watch your language Captain America.

  • hamiltonr

    Thank you Ray.

  • hamiltonr

    Note: I delete insults on this blog, including insults to me.

    • FW Ken

      You missed one.

      • hamiltonr

        I miss quite a few, usually on purpose. :-)

  • Elizabeth K.

    This is insane.

  • Lark62

    I would think that there is quite a large difference between a slave labor camp and being told to treat other people how you would like to be treated.

    The news stations, for ratings, mischaracterized the training. The baker is supposed to ensure that his employees obey the law. The are not told what to believe, just how to act when providing a service to the public.

    We as a nation tried “separate but equal.” For decades, the Green Book was published to help African Americans find hotels and restaurants, because in many towns there were no places that would serve them. It wasn’t pretty. We learned that in the area of goods and services provided to the public, our nation works best when all money is green.

    Laws that require all people to be treated equally are good. These laws should be honored.

    • Mike

      “Laws that require all people to be treated equally are good. These laws should be honored.”

      People YES! but not events! No one is questioning whether a gay basketball team should be able to get a cake from anyone it wants; the issue here is something sacred timeless deeply believed: marriage and what it means in society and what it stands for and for millions upon millions upon millions of ppl it will always be one man and one women and so to force them to violate their deepest held beliefs is plain and simple wrong and has not place in a free and TOLERANT society.

  • george-a

    An article I found on this man says he is giving up the wedding business altogether. I hope he starts baking cookies … then I could mail order his products …

  • FW Ken

    Right.

    Judges are not scientists. They can claim anything they wish, but when they make spurious claims equating sexual preference to racial identity, then they promote unjust laws.

    Anyway, the Constitution says nothing about sodomy. Is an inspiration that can change. If wouldn’t be the first bad decision overturned.

    But you missed my point, to be found in the comment about the pinch of incense.

    And please, if it were “just a cake”, would there be all this fuss?

  • FW Ken

    This baker does serve gay people.

  • Fred of Rick

    Did you really think about that statement. Rome thought Christians where insane to die rather than make an offering to Caesar as a god. Jews died because they would not eat pork. This is part of who the best of us are and these are our role models. The worst of us will be deterred by the small punishments, but what about the others.

  • Elizabeth K.

    I find that analogy problematic. First, I assume that were you in the position to do so, you would be a government employee, which seems substantially different from owning a private business. But yeah, I suppose if you had a moral objection to it, and you were willing to go to jail, or whatever, to stand up for your belief, then kudos to you. It would then be the time for the question of whose rights trump whose to be argued in the public square. It seem ludicrous, of course, because it’s not a question at issue, here. Now, the difference would be whether you, as a public employee who knowingly took a job that included handing out licenses to women, would have a conscience protection against doing so; would that right outweigh my right to mobility? Perhaps it would work the way other conscience protections do; if I could easily access another way of getting a license, then you would be able to refuse.

    But to clarify my initial point: Jeff’s question contained, as an example, the pacifist who refuses to pay taxes. Conscientious objectors have gone to jail in this country: isn’t it their right to do so? That was my point.

    • pesq87

      Not sure I follow your point 100% but I will say, yes you have to pay your taxes even if you dont like them. Objectors are free to move to Ireland or Iran or Israel or wherever the tax laws are more appealing.

  • Elizabeth K.

    The problem I see with your argument, though, is that when we’re looking at competing rights, natural law (in America) takes precedence over other civil rights. So, someone who believes in executing gays is allowed to express their (repugnant) opinion; however, they are not allowed to execute gay people, because a gay person’s right to life is the first right, and takes precedence over anyone’s right to express their belief in a nonverbal way. His religious freedom can’t take precedence over someone else’s basic right to life. Laws against murder in our country are based on this basic claim: the right with which our Creator endows us to have our lives not be taken from us for any reason, religious or otherwise. The question in this case, as I understand it, isn’t about his right to discriminate; he doesn’t have that right. The question, though, is whether as a business owner he has freedom of association and the ability to interpret his religion as he sees it: so if baking a cake constitutes material cooperation with gay marriage for him, I think we can allow that, as long as there are other cake bakers around with whom the gay couple can do business. It’s an admittedly thin line, I know, but I think the baker has rights in this scenario to not have to do work if he doesn’t want to–that’s actually a (very small) form of slavery, is it not?

  • FW Ken

    So before 1997, gays should have obeyed the anti-sodomy laws.

    • pagansister

      Bedroom police? IMO anti-sodomy laws should be used only in rape or child abuse cases or other violent situations. If 2 consenting adults are agreeable, should they be arrested? No. I doubt that before 1997 guys were paying attention.

  • hamiltonr

    I deleted your comment Shaun because you spent about half of it insulting me. Thank you for revising.

    • Shaun G. Lynch

      Rep. Hamilton, I’d like to apologize for the insulting statements towards you that I included in my original post. I was, and still am, profoundly angered by the content and especially the tone of your article (for reasons detailed elsewhere on this page), but I was out of line. You were right to delete it. Mea culpa.

      [BTW, it looks like you deleted a comment insulting me... someone accusing me stomping my little feet and screaming that I'm normal. Thanks for that. For the record, my feet are average sized, I rarely raise my voice, and whatever the polar opposite of gay is, is what I am. I don't understand how anyone, male or female, can be sexually attracted to men... but I'm happy my wife is.]

  • FW Ken

    God is not the subject either of us is arguing. Obedience to conscience transcends specific religious doctrine.

    You didn’t say whether gays ought to have abstained from sodomy prout to 1997.

  • Ted Smith

    Honestly, I never thought about the baker. We got married 10
    years ago. It wasn’t even legal. We went to a hotel and bought the package
    deal. We went to the food tasting and at the end the planner said. “What about
    the cake?” I said, “I guess it should be white, right?” “And flavors?” she
    asked, writing everything in her notes. “You decide, I’m sure it’ll be fine.” I
    concluded, Bob shook his head in agreement. That was the end of the cake
    discussion.

    The real religious discussion was about the service. My
    partner, Bob, wanted a “full-on” Catholic mass. I was raised Southern Baptist. We
    met in the middle at Lutheran. (I don’t
    have a problem with faith, I just don’t like religion because people seem to
    get obnoxious.)

    Bob’s friends, mostly Catholic and Athiests. For my part, while I did a poor job of reconnecting with some people that should have been
    invited, a fact that I regret to this day, my friends, corkers and colleagues
    were mostly Jewish.

    So part of the Part of the “full-on” mass meant serving
    Communion to our guests, because Christ was of service. That’s right, here I am,
    at my wedding, a Gay Agnosticish/Protestant pushing a Catholic communion to
    Jews. Ha Ha! Let’s just say, not an easy sell.

    But apparently, while I was sitting at the wedding lunch
    counter, I was really supposed to be concerned about the religious ideology of
    the baker? So Religious Bakers of America, bake the cake, or not. Whatever.

    Just when you go into services on Sunday and take communion,
    consider it from us.

    • pagansister

      May I ask a question? You mentioned that your partner originally wanted a full on Catholic mass. Would the Church have married you 10 years ago, when if I understand correctly, the Church still doesn’t recognize or perform SS marriage? Obviously I don’t know where you live, but I hope your marriage is now ” legal”.

  • pagansister

    This may seem naive, but how is baking a wedding cake any different than baking a cake for a person of color, or a person who is of another faith? A cake is a cake. The money to buy that cake is just as legit as that of anyone else. That fellow drew a fine line between baking/selling to homosexual persons but decides that those folks can’t eat his cake because they are having a ceremony that he disapproves of. I’m sorry. His baking a cake doesn’t mean he approves of the ceremony. It tends to remind me of the days when black people (no matter how famous, as some singers/actors etc. were) couldn’t use the same entrance to a venue, or eat with the “white” people in a restaurant etc. Just my opinion. I lived in the segregated south. People were able to refuse to bake a cake for “colored” weddings in those days. How is his refusal different?

    • Mike Blackadder

      How about when a couple of skinheads come into your bakery and say that they want you to bake a cake that says ‘White Power!’? You are saying that it is discriminatory for the baker not to make that cake. You are saying maybe that you support a situation where the baker should be forced to make that cake even though he feels strongly against participating in a white supremacist party, that he should be forced to change his company policy to make sure that nobody expresses any opposition to white supremacy.
      My view is very much contrary to yours. I think that the baker actually has a right to say that he refuses to accept a contract from the two skinheads and build them a cake that says White Power on it. If, on the other hand these two skinheads come into the bakery and ask to buy a tray of cookies then maybe I it’s true that the baker ought to simply serve them and leave his views out of it. Though I would also say that if these skinheads starting drawing swastikas on the walls in marker that he would have the right to ask them to leave.

  • SirThinkALot

    I say let him refuse. He’s the one denying himself a paycheck just to feed his own bigotry. And in any case hes far from the only baker in Colorado, and I highly doubt every single one of them will reject gay couples.

    Thats why I’m convinced these sorts of stories are really just ‘stunts.’ Ifs not about the cake or the wedding, if it were they could just go to another bakery. Its really about humiliating people who are opposed to gay marriage. Some might say they deserve to be humiliated, but even so, lets call it what it is shall we?

  • Richard A Imgrund

    All human beings have a right to adequate food, clothing, shelter and medical care, which is why public accommodation laws have seemed to be necessary in this country. Do you really understand a wedding cake to be the same thing as food to which every human being has a right? Because it it isn’t. It is a work of art commissioned to celebrate an event, and the artist chooses to refuse the commission. The baker didn’t refuse to sell food to an active sodomite. He refused to participate in a manifestly immoral event. Nobody disputes that he would have sold a dozen doughnuts to the fellows, or even a generic wedding cake in the showroom (if there had been some).

  • Richard A Imgrund

    What if? That’s a good question, because in this country we used to have the concept of legal standing, which required that actual harm be shown to be done. Are there in fact no other bakers around willing to bake the cake for this pseudo-couple? Is finding one an undue hardship?

  • FW Ken

    You’re evading, Bill. Your argument is that laws are to be obeyed. Are they? Or only certain laws?

  • FW Ken

    Except, of course, that being gay isn’t like being black. Total non-sequiter. Black people really suffered in this country. Gays have to go down the street to another bakery.

  • FW Ken

    Except for assisting in the wedding they wish to simulate.

  • pagansister

    In your opinion, FW Ken, sexual preference is in no way comparable to race. Race is part of who one is, and obviously one is born the “color” they are. Being attracted to a person of the same gender is also part of who a person is. Would the baker in this case be in trouble if he had refused to bake a cake for a Jewish wedding? Those of the Jewish faith aren’t Christian and don’t affirm Jesus as the son of God. I’m sure he doesn’t agree with that belief. IMO, the baker is not affirming anything—he is baking a cake that is going to a ceremony that he may not agree with, but it is still just a cake decorated for that celebration. Did the couple need to bring charges in this case? No, probably not. However they were discriminated against for wanting to have a celebration. If the baker thinks this ceremony is a sham, what’s the problem? In his eyes it really isn’t a wedding so why is it wrong to sell them a cake?

    • Dave

      pagansister, you make some good points. It may be true that the baker isn’t necessarily morally OBLIGED to refuse to provide a same-sex couple a cake. However, everyone makes an evaluation of conscience, and some bakers do feel obliged in conscience to refuse.

      Is there any possible demented celebration that you would support a baker refusing to provide a service for?

  • pagansister

    It occurred to me, after reading a comment posted on this site, showing the Colorado decision, that the cake is a “product”. If the baker had been a jeweler, would he have refused to sell the couple rings that might be used as wedding bands? After the rings leave the store, is it his business what they are used for? When his cake leaves the store, what difference does it make where it goes? It is a product.

    • Mike Blackadder

      As mentioned in my response above that’s just not true. The gay couple went into the store to contract the baker to make them a cake. The cake was specifically to celebrate their wedding. If you say it is OK to compel him to accept that contract and make that cake then you must also say it is OK to compel him to make a cake that says ‘White Power’, not to mention all the other conditions heaped on him from the ‘human rights’ organization. Otherwise your argument is simply asserting that the reason why he should have to make the cake is that his conviction about gay marriage is wrong whereas his conviction about white supremacy is right. In other words you aim to assert your convictions upon him.

  • octoberrust

    If he owned a restaurant and refused to let a gay couple eat there, would you support that?

    • FW Ken

      I would take my business down the street.

      While we are talking, do you know of any restaurants that actually refused to serve gays?

  • Mike

    Does a jewish baker have to bake cakes for a new-nazi club? Does a gay activist consulting firm have to help a christian company market t-shirts opposing the redefinition of marriage? Does a christian company have to print a poster for a gay bath house? Does a black counselor have to counsel a couple that is racist? Does a gay marriage supporter have to sell his business services to polygamists? Does an atheist have to take pictures of a catholic wedding?

    Do we want to live in a society that FORCES ppl to go against their most deeply held beliefs?

    Put yourself in these ppl’s shoes and ask yourself what kind of a society this breeds.

    • Lark62

      The laws identify specific protected classes. Religion is one. Yes, a counselor is supposed to leave personal opinions outside. Whether based on religion, sexuality or a deep seated hatred of blond cheerleaders. Printers print posters, not judge the contents.

      I don’t whether neo-nazis are a protected class. But our society works better without discrimination.

      • Mike

        Personal, deep, convictions regarding moral rights and wrongs are protected from discrimination by the highest laws in the land: compelled speech should be an abomination to all liberal freedom loving citizens.

  • Dave

    uhhhh…..when was the last time you heard of a couple coming into a shop to get a fornication cake or an infidelity cake?? If one did, I am sure that the Christian cake-maker would refuse on the same grounds.

  • Dave

    What I don’t get is that ssm isn’t even legal in Colorado, so how can he be made to bake a cake supporting something that isn’t even legal?

  • FW Ken

    Consistency! I salute you!

    For the record. I always thought anti-sodomy laws were stupid. Unfortunately, the un-making of them was uglier than the making of laws is reputed to be. And that’s true in either version of the events behind the Lawrence case.

  • FW Ken

    I am in awe of your skill at reducing complex historical issues to a single polemical sound bite. You should be a TV anchor.

  • FW Ken

    And when they didn’t, they risked being lynched. Continuing comparing gays to blacks is absurd and offensive.

  • Ted Smith

    Hi Ken- Ann Landers was never my source. Even Dr James Dobson has abandoned the “gay is a choice” thing. Most researchers now consider it to be a confluence of biological traits. Things such as a second trimester hormonal wash. I have no angst about wedding cakes. My wedding cake story is below. Since you consider yourself to be a Christian, I think the question should be “Do these actions serve the cause of Christ?” Do you think turning away a customer in this way will cause someone like me to see Jesus Christ in the way that you see him? The answer is no.

    • FW Ken

      “A lot of researchers” used to think that black people were genetically inferior to whites and had the data to prove it. But I’m not talking about choice, causation or mutabiliy. As I note somewhere else, Down’s Syndrome Is biological and immutable.

      While it must be nice to have Jesus in your back pocket, I’ll just note the difficulty many Americans have with separating what they want from what God wants. It’s much easier to look in the mirror and shout “hi God”.

  • Sus_1

    How do you know? You aren’t gay. If society told me that I had to be attracted to women, I wouldn’t understand because I’m not attracted to women. I assume that’s how it is with gay people.

    Every time gay issues come up, I get very disgusted. Kids are getting shot going to school. Certainly that is more important than if two people want to live together as a married couple. Those two married people aren’t going to do anything to your own life. I’m still just as married as I was before gay marriage became legal in my state.

    Maybe if everyone just lived their own life and were nice to one another, kids wouldn’t be shooting other kids.

    • FW Ken

      You’re sure I’m not gay. I wouldn’t tell you if I were, of course, because it doesn’t settle anything. This isn’t about you or me, but the principle that people be free to follow their conscience.

    • pagansister

      Sus_1—well stated!!!!!

  • FW Ken

    Sorry, I know lots of gay people, some as rather close friends. They have the lives they’ve chosen.

    Many years ago I did volunteer work with an AIDS project because I heard that they were abandoned. Far from it. The guys I was initially assigned had better family support than me. In fact, I got rather tight with a small group of “buddies” who were clearly dismayed when the assigned person reconnected with their families. The only one who didn’t have families were homeless types abandon their families apart from issues of sexuality. This has proved consistent over the years: the gays I’ve known who don’t have family support drove the family away. I was medical power of attorney for one friend who was adamate that his siblings not know when he died. He hated then that much, and eventually they hated him for the mean things he did to them. But when he died, they stepped up and helped.

  • FW Ken

    Keep saying it and maybe someone will believe it.

  • hamiltonr

    We do have an instance of a gay hairdresser who refused to style a female governor’s hair because of her opposition to gay marriage. I wrote about it, so it’s here on Public Catholic somewhere. Will that do as an example?

  • FW Ken

    Then go get it at Sam’s Club. They make excellent cakes.

    Except we both know it’s not just a cake.

  • FW Ken

    Where I live, the Catholic Church is often consisted a cult and Catholics idol-worshippers. Big deal. Not my problem. If someone won’t do business with us, we go on down the road.

    I live in an Hispanic part off town. I’ve been denied advertised specials and ignored until every other Hispanic was served. I soldiered on.

  • Mike

    I used to work with a gay guy who called the police on a street preacher bc he said that gay sex was wrong.

  • April Spring

    What if the law of the land is BAD, Bill? I see where you are going with this, perhaps the SS officers should listen to Hitler.

    Ah, history lessons never learned!

    So now we MUST CELEBRATE INSANITY, for two guys doing it in the REAR MUST BE CELEBRATED! YES, TWO GUYS DOING IT IN THE REAR IS A MARRIAGE because the STATE said so! (I’m sorry folks that I have to make you visualize this, perhaps through visualization you will see THE MADNESS!)

    Folks, welcome to the world of INSANITY!

    • pagansister

      Like those CAPS, huh?

  • April Spring

    “Sieg heil mein Fuhrer.”
    (Hail victory, my leader)
    Yes, we must follow BAD LAWS because Bill S. said so!
    Sieg Hail!

    • hamiltonr

      Don’t pick on Bill, April. (Lovely name, btw.) He has a right to think what he thinks. Put forward your reasons for disagreeing with him.

  • April Spring

    No, no, getting ‘real’ is to NOT celebrate two guys doing it in the rear and let’s call it a marriage.
    Getting real is to live in REALITY, Bill!
    Two guys doing it in the rear can’t reproduce. Why, BECAUSE THEY MISUSED THEIR SEXUAL ORGANS, Bill!
    Now if two old couple (male&female) can’t reproduce and they want to get married, well that’s okay. Do you know why Bill? Because they didn’t MISUSE their sexual organs on purpose!

    See, Bill logic is good!

    Two guys doing it in the rear and changing the definition of marriage is bad BECAUSE PEOPLE SHOULD LIVE IN REALITY!

  • April Spring

    Bill, live in reality! So we should obey an evil law?
    Get a life!

    • pagansister

      Which evil law?

  • April Spring

    It is a ‘cake’ to CELEBRATE TWO GUYS DOING IT IN THE REAR.
    That IS the definition of INSANITY. No one should be forced to celebrate INSANITY!

    Live in reality, Jeff!

    • pagansister

      Really April? You assume that is all there is to marriage of SS couples? Sex is part of (or usually so) all marriages, but IMO shouldn’t be all of what is involved in a marriage. And if you are correct, it is still none of your business, really.

  • hamiltonr

    I’m getting kind of weary with this line of thinking. The problems of homosexuals (which have been unjust treatment, I agree) do not in any way rise to the level of hundreds of years of slavery, followed by Jim Crow laws from shore to shining shore, lynchings and the other things the black people had to endure, and then finally, overcame through a movement that was dignified by incredible, Gospel-based courage and sacrifice.

    This equation of a refusal to bake a wedding cake by a person who is more than willing to serve the individuals in question in any other area with the sufferings of African Americans is not only idiotic, it’s insulting what African Americans suffered, what they have achieved, and the lessons they taught all of us by the way they achieved it.

    • Mike Blackadder

      True maybe that blacks have been oppressed to a greater degree than homosexuals, but I’m sure many homosexuals and other individuals suffer a great deal on case-by-case basis. Who’s to say whether an individual suffered sufficiently to deserve special protection?

      I think it would be reprehensible to deny someone service only because of sexual orientation. That’s different though than kicking someone out of your restaurant because they are making out with their partner at the table, or for inappropriate dress or conduct. It’s also different than making a decision not to bake a cake for a gay wedding because on a personal level you don’t support gay marriage.

  • Sygurd Jonfski

    I’d rather be a “hateful bigot” than a brainwashed simpleton who resorts to such name-calling…

    • hamiltonr

      Enough. Both of you. No name calling.

  • hamiltonr

    Stop calling people liars Caspian. Talk about the issues, which, actually, is not the same thing as critiquing other people’s viewpoints. The issues are a separate thing, outside the other commenters.

  • hamiltonr

    I can’t let this pass.

    The new atheism is built on faux outrage directed at others for disagreeing with them about something based on vaunting self-righteousness. Read the books; listen to the speeches, check out their blogs.

    The atheists I know personally are the most self-righteous and intolerant people I have ever encountered. Ditto for the atheists who comment on this blog. They are forever focusing on other people’s failings to match their personal criteria and condemning them for it.

  • hamiltonr

    It is not a question of degree. It is a matter of actual fact. The experience of African Americans is unique.

    They were slaves in this country for hundreds of years. They have been working to overcome that stigma ever since. They were subjected to systematized, universally legal and Supreme-Court supported ghettoization and discrimination on every level of their lives. They had no recourse in the courts or civil law. They were forced to live in certain areas, attend deliberately sub-standard schools, banned from most occupations, denied access to higher education, not allowed to participate in any of the normal pleasures and necessities of our country. They were banned from swimming in public pools, could not go to amusement parks, sleep in hotel rooms or eat at restaurants. When they went to movies, they had to sit in a balcony that was reserved for them.

    I remember a movie I went to as a kid had a section like this. I had no idea is was “coloreds only.” I used to go up there and throw popcorn and parts of suckers down on the women’s bouffant hairdos below. (I got sent home from the movie for doing this, btw) I still remember how the black people who were sitting there shifted around when I came up and sat down with them. They didn’t say anything, but they were shocked. Me, a little kid, didn’t know what was going on. But their surprise registered on me, even then,

    African Americans were not allowed to serve on juries, subjected to laws that made it impossible for them to vote. The literacy laws required that you had to read. But in practice, people would go in to vote, and the election worker would hand them something written in Chinese and ask them to read that. Ergo, they failed the test.

    The men were addressed as “boy” in an insulting way. The women were called “girl” in the same insulting way.

    A black man who looked a white man in the eye in conversation ran the chance of being attacked and beaten, or worse. He was an “uppity nigger.” White people who treated black people with dignity were shunned, mocked and subject to violence and discrimination themselves. They were called “nigger lovers” which was a dangerously pejorative term.

    They were defenseless against crimes of violence enacted against them. if they fought back, the violence would exacerbate. Law enforcement would not protect them. There were lynchings, beatings, rapes, burning of their homes and other crimes against their persons and they had no recourse to seek redress.

    If they got sick, they could not go to a “white” hospital, even if this meant that they would die. They could not give blood that would be used by a white person and could not receive a blood transfusion that came from a white person.

    There’s more, but this is a good start.

    To claim that a person who is freely able to walk into any store and purchase service is being treated the same as African Americans were under Jim Crow because the shop owner who is completely willing and has a history of serving them in all other areas does not want to participate in one particular type of even that violates his religious beliefs by providing a cake for it, is the same as what African Americans endured in this country arrogant hyperbole and nonsense. It is also degrading and demeaning to the noble struggle for equality that African Americans have fought.

  • hamiltonr

    Oh yeah???? Sez you!

    Give it a rest guys. This is getting childish.

  • pagansister

    I have heard before that science doesn’t support my contention. The lesbian couples I have talked with would disagree. They have known since childhood that they were who they were. Yes, this couple could have gone somewhere else—they chose not too.

    • FW Ken

      You illustrate my point: “being gay/lesbian” is a self-report of feelings, not an objective fact. People mistake feelings, or perceptions, for reality all the time. That’s why we have science.

      My own observation is that sexuality is a much more complex (and interesting) facet of our humanity than the current debate allows.

      • pagansister

        Does it really make a difference whether being attracted to the same gender is provable by science or not? If a person identifies as gay/lesbian then that is who they are.

        • FW Ken

          Yes, because gays are basing their demands on an equivalence to race, which is false. What you are suggesting is narcissism, not justice.

  • pagansister

    Congratulations! I’m glad you are now “legal” . I’m glad the Lutheran church did your original ceremony 10 years ago. Thanks for answering my questions.

  • hamiltonr

    You’re not understanding me Caspian. Can you talk about issues instead of critiquing other people and their comments? What you are doing is argumentative and hectoring. It is not discussion.

  • hamiltonr

    Bill, sometimes you are too funny.

    “Atheists know they are right and theists are wrong” is your explanation for what so many atheists are aggressive, self-righteous bullies?

    That’s not an explanation, you know. It’s a affirmation of what I said.

    Thanks for the laugh, though. I literally lol’d when I read this.

  • hamiltonr

    I’m tired of this Bill. You’re just repeating yourself. Someone else can take if they want.

    • Bill S

      No one could claim discrimination if it had to be as severe as what happened to blacks in this country. Less severe discrimination such as that of the baker is still wrong and illegal.

      • hamiltonr

        That may or may not be a valid point, depending on the situation. But it begs the question entirely of repeated comments and claims that the great cake bake demand is exactly the same as what African Americans faced. Those claims have been made repeatedly on this blog every time these issues come up.

      • Mindy Robinson

        Every person has the right to their beliefs and if that is not true then pray tell who shall we appoint to dicatate what beliefs we are to have. You walk a slippery slope, you are foolish, brainwashed. All have beliefs, homos are free to be homos, they are free to be so, Christans , shun not the person but the act, we should be free to do so. Pick up your bible, I am one of those few who in later years became a Christian. I researched everything in the bible, everything in it is truth, the most amazing part, 2000 years ago, what is happening today was written about.
        You discrimante against Christians, you have decided that if we don’t agree with you it is wrong, so we should be punished. We don’t think you should be punished for disagreeing with us, we don’t think you are less then we are, we leave all that up to God. We do strive to follow his laws and we should be free to do so. This nation is going to fall and it going to fall because of people like you, people like you who think you should be able to oppress others. You will be alive to suffer the horror of what you have created. God have mercy on us!

  • FW Ken

    I didn’t raise the subject, merely noted that such an establishment would lose my business. I can’t speak to hypotheticals.

  • Mike Blackadder

    Haha, I hope you are being facetious Bill.

  • Mike Blackadder

    Bill, “The law is very clear on this particular issue. Some of your examples just require one to be a good business person.”

    Wow, really? Jews and gay activists and blacks just have some hangups that they should get over? Sheesh, conviction and individuality is just so silly eh Bill? And apparently highly inconvenient to your argument lol.

  • hamiltonr

    Governors are not in a position to make policy. They can sign legislation or veto it, and they have vast powers of appointment and oftentimes, depending on the state, regulation. They also can and do suggest policy. But the power to make policy through statute is legislative.

  • hamiltonr

    Lark62, first, he wasn’t elected, he was nominated. Second, even if he is elected, he won’t be elected dictator. He will be one of many members of Congress, each of whom have one vote. Third, what does this have to do with atheists being god-obsessed. If you doubt that they are, go visit the atheist blogs. They don’t write or talk about anything else.

  • hamiltonr

    My comment was aimed at you Lark62. Are you an atheist? I did not know that.

    • Lark62

      Thanks. I am an atheist, former southern baptist and episcopal. I tend to dislike statements that all people with a given label are “X”. I’ve found that people are basically all the same, and if you look at a group, most human strengths and weaknesses will be there. Arrogance is found in every place where humans gather.

      • hamiltonr

        I meant to say, my comment was NOT aimed at you. Can’t type. :-)

  • FW Ken

    Lots of things happen that are not by choice. That being gay is not a choice doesn’t mean that is like being black.

    Rebecca, I am grateful that you weighed in on this. Sometimes I think I’m the only one who sees the fundamental flaw in gay propaganda, which is this category confusion. The simile of Down’s Syndrome keeps coming back to me. The propagandists claim that being gay is like hand-dominance or eye color; alternately, is like Down’s Syndrome.

    • hamiltonr

      Glad to Ken.

    • TheSquirrel

      Religious rights do not trump human rights under the law, that is why if you went out and killed a gay person with rocks you would be thrown in jail and rightfully so.
      Please actually explain to me HOW EXACTLY negatively treating someone because they are gay is different from doing the same to anyone else based on something about them they did not and could not choose. I really want to know.
      When did christians stop caring about people and instead try to squeeze every drop of intolerance they could from it.

      If you have a religious belief that prevents you from treating gays equally that’s fine. Don’t go into a business that serves the general public.

      • FW Ken

        If you can’t tell the difference between refusing to celebrate pretended wedding and murder, talking rationally is a waste of time.

  • pagansister

    Do we know where the baker stands on white power? Also, was the wedding cake to have had any words on it? Cakes can be decorated in all sorts of ways. I guess it could be a problem if he didn’t want to inscribe the cake for the skinheads—-but again it is a store that sells to the public and even skinheads are “public” and spend money in stores etc. What is the definition of “public”?

    • Mike Blackadder

      ‘Do we know where the baker stands on white power?’ Wow, brilliant.

      And your point is that Phillips should not be allowed to say no, that he will not accept a job to bake a cake for a white supremacist celebration. That is, so long as it is a generic cake (not explicitly endorsing the use of the cake in the product itself).

      That’s not too far from where I see things, but unfortunately this doesn’t settle the issue. First, as I said in last comment, Phillips suggesting ‘I will make you cake, but I won’t make you a wedding cake’ would fly like a lead balloon with this gay couple and fake ‘human rights’ authority. Bakers have generic cakes for that purpose anyway. The second issue is that Phillips ought to be allowed to choose which cakes he’s going to make and which ones he won’t because he’s the one selling cakes. If he would rather spend the weekend with his family then make another cake for skin heads celebrating that they’re better than blacks then he is allowed to make that call.

      • pagansister

        He is a baker who sells to the public—the public includes those folks who wish to marry and some of those are SS couples. Public includes everyone, thus the anti-discrimination laws. It might also include a skinhead or 2—who knows? What happens to “the customer is always right?” I used to teach in a Catholic school—and taught Catholic teachings. Did I always agree with it? No, but I respected it and had no problem teaching it. The baker doesn’t have to agree with what a cake is used for—-even that for a skin head—it is a product he is selling, not the use of it or who is going to eat it.

  • hamiltonr

    Note: I’m getting tired of deleting name-calling comments. They are coming from both sides of this discussion.

  • hamiltonr

    Homosexuals were subjected to discrimination, including violent discrimination, in the past. They were beaten up and the police did not protect them. I had a friend this happened to as recently as my first time in office back in the 80s. I went to the police chief in question and demanded that he enforce the law, which changed things immediately in that one jurisdiction. Also, the sodomy statutes, as they were enforced, were a kind of homosexual Jim Crow law.

    On the other hand, I have no problems with arresting people for having sex in public places, because that clearly disrupts the free use of public facilities by all citizens. I also don’t understand why San Francisco allows public behavior like what I’ve seen in photos from the Folsom street fair or whatever it’s called. Sex in public should not be allowed. Ditto for nudity.

    There are a whole range of questions that revolve around the issues of public sex and nudity that need to be resolved. I find it interesting that this is true. Why should we have to “resolve” something so obvious?

    When homosexuals yell homophobia because the limits on public behavior that apply to all people pertaining to nudity and sexual behavior are also being applied to them, they are crossing a line into something that has nothing to do with human and civil rights.

    As for the wedding cake thing, what the baker did is neither homophobia nor a violation of anyone’s civil rights.

    First of all, the baker does not deny service to any class or group of people, including homosexuals. He is refusing to participate in one specific type of EVENT because of his religious beliefs. Second, there is not and never has been any prohibition to public access for people based on their sexual preferences.

    It appears to me that the baker is the one whose civil and human rights are being violated here. His free right to live by his religious beliefs is being trammeled in what I honestly see as legal bullying. I did a brief survey of the members of the commission that arrived at this decision, and I do not think they were unbiased on this question. I also think that these local laws have set up a system of extra-constitutional devices that clearly violate the freedoms we are all guaranteed in the Constitution. They are verging on totalitarianism.

    I view this entire episode as an unjust act of aggression against the baker, not the two men who wanted the cake. I also think that “sensitivity training” is being used as a type of re-education and thought control that is flat-out totalitarian.

    To conflate this with the things that black people have endured and overcome in this country is inaccurate and insulting to African American people and their history.

  • Mike Blackadder

    Lark62: “The man who just defeated Cantor in Virginia has as part of his core platform that religious faith is essential to morality in America.” Um yeah. And that’s called an opinion. It’s also a pretty rational point of view. There must be some basis or framework for morality. Unless atheists carry a different definition of the word MORALITY. Do atheists even believe in actual consciousness? If consciousness is nothing but a consequence of a highly complicated organism – a perception of the brain which is an object then there is no such thing as morality. In fact in that case there is no such thing as actual decision-making – or certainly we can’t take responsibility for decision making. If atheists are right and a human being and their consciousness is nothing more than a very complicated collection of many smaller and simpler parts then existentially WE are actually fully defined by those parts and cannot justifiably be held accountable for what comes about as a result of our makeup. If on the other hand we have the ability to make choices, if we are in fact conscious and have the authority of a will over our physical being then there can be such a thing as morality.

  • Mike Blackadder

    So Lark62: a Catholic couple tries to commission an atheist photographer to work their wedding. You’re saying it ought to be against the law for him to say no? What if the wage isn’t good? Who decides what qualifies as a ‘fair wage’ to decide the legality of his decision? What if he merely feels uncomfortable being in a Catholic church or he would rather take the weekend off? What if he mostly dislikes working weddings and only does so for friends or what if he takes jobs when he feels like it because he’s his own person? Sure sounds like you’re willing to abandon the whole framework of capitalism (ie. the free exercise of trade) and diminish the status of free people to that of quasi-slaves in order to justify the totalitarian injustices committed against Phillips.

  • hamiltonr

    My point is that this application of this law violates the First Amendment rights of Mr Phillips. It also violates his basic human right (which transcends any court) to freedom of religion. It is being enforced by use of, among other things, “sensitivity training,” which, as is has been used lately in these types of cases comes pretty close to government ordered brain washing simply because the people in charge of it disagree with a person’s Constitutionally-protected beliefs. That is totalitarianism.

    Do you not see that this same kind of draconian over-empowerment of government can be used against ANYBODY, including, if they fall out of favor in the future, homosexuals? This is dangerous stuff you are advocating Bill.

    • Bill S

      It is being enforced by use of, among other things, “sensitivity training,”

      The young woman training to be a counselor is the one in need of “sensitivity training” in order to properly counsel people.

      No one is imposing it on the baker. He is being required to comply and teach his employees to comply and report his progress in complying with anti-discrimination laws. Whether he chooses to be “sensitive” to his customers’ feelings or not is entirely up to him.

      I was talking about the baker, not the counselor.
      Teaching and certifying a counselor is a lot different than enforcing laws that apply to everyone. It’s not for me (or you) to tell professional counselors how to train their students. That’s above my pay grade as a professional blogger (-;

  • Bill S

    Bill, you fail to substantiate your argument that this is a legitimate application of anti-discrimination law; which is the point that I’m making here.

    There are people who are highly educated and who have years of experience who are empowered to determine the legitimacy of the application of a law. They are called judges. I will take their opinions over yours or mine.

    • Mike Blackadder

      Actually they’re not judges. That’s part of the point. Human rights commissions and tribunals are quasi-courts that don’t come with the same protections, and certainly those who are empowered to exert punishment and correction are not formally trained in constitutional law.
      Even still, a judge can get things wrong, especially in a ‘politically correct’ climate that uses language like ‘protected classes’ and the like. You should be able to defend your argument objectively in any case. Otherwise I don’t know why you express an opinion at all. Why not just say that you’re not interested in thinking about it and that you simply trust the judgment of the ‘human rights’ authority?

      • Bill S

        You should be able to defend your argument objectively in any case.

        To be objective, I would say that refusing to bake a cake for the reason that it is to be used for a gay wedding meets the definition of discrimination under the applicable laws. Judging gay marriage to be wrong is subjective.

    • Mike Blackadder

      I don’t know why my previous response to this was not posted. I must have broken some rule. First, I don’t think it is necessarily true that these decisions are being made by ‘judges’. Sometimes something like a human rights commission uses a more informal ‘tribunal’ that have their own rules quite separate from an actual court, and don’t have the same protections for the accused (like a right to counsel or a right to face your accuser, etc).
      Secondly, judges can be wrong anyway. Where, for example, in this decision was it established that Phillips’ basic constitutional rights were not violated by this decision? I believe this wasn’t even addressed one way or the other. In any case, this is the point that we are discussing – whether or not this is a good decision and whether it can be defended objectively. If your position is to say you don’t want to think about it or discuss it beyond saying that you trust the discretion of the human rights authority, then you should have just acknowledged that from the beginning.

      • hamiltonr

        Mike, I haven’t deleted any of your posts, and it’s not in the spam file. No idea, either.

        • Mike Blackadder

          Thanks for the reply and for looking. I must have made some mistake or my own device must have gobbled it. I didn’t think that I’d said anything inappropriate so that makes sense.

      • Bill S

        Where, for example, in this decision was it established that Phillips’ basic constitutional rights were not violated by this decision?

        What proof does he have that his religion prohibits him from selling a wedding cake to be used for the wedding of a same sex couple? I don’t see it anywhere.

        • Mike Blackadder

          So your point now is that you trust the discretion of these non-judges without question, and now you suppose you can dismiss Phillips’ concerns because you’re a theologian?
          The question I posed was whether Phillips’ constitutional rights were even addressed as part of the decision. I’m thinking probably not, because these are not real courts. In any case, it isn’t only a question of religious freedom, it is a question of whether the state can force someone to do work that they would choose not to do; force someone to participate in a particular venture with which they are uncomfortable. This is quite different from the circumstance of turning someone away at the door and denying service as a result of someone’s race or sexual orientation.

          • Bill S

            Claiming that your religion prohibits you from baking a cake for a gay wedding or paying for employee health insurance that covers contraception is really an abuse of the protections provided under the First Amendment just like claiming the right to own assault weapons is an abuse of the Second Amendment. I think this country has to try to minimize or eliminate such abuses of our Bill of Rights.

            • Mike Blackadder

              Bill, why don’t you bake them a cake and buy their contraceptives. Does your religion prevent YOU from doing so? How about accepting the reality that free people are allowed to choose their own way. We don’t need to act like totalitarians and compromise the Bill of Rights or free markets just because not everyone shares your values.

  • Bill S

    Atheism is not a religion. It is the opposite of religion. It doesn’t recognize the authority of religion.

    It deals with facts including the fact that there is no such thing as the supernatural. Whatever exists is natural. Nature is all-encompassing. “Supernatural” is what people use to justify the existence of what we have yet come to understand in natural terms. Weather was once considered a supernatural phenomenon but now it isn’t by those who understand it.

    • Mike Blackadder

      Bill, the supernatural by definition is not observable. You aren’t talking about ‘facts’ you just choose to dismiss the supernatural. A very good question though is whether the material universe (ie. nature) can possibly be explained without the supernatural. Or to contemplate the consequence of an uncaused existence. That’s not a 5-liner discussion and maybe that’s beyond your depth of thought on the subject.
      It’s a favorite straw-man argument among atheists to imagine that religions struggle with scientific enquiry, when in reality it is exactly revelation of God and perhaps divine intervention that lifted humanity out of superstition (begrudgingly) and brought about the entire field of scientific enquiry and championed scientific progress ever since. To those who believe in God there is such a thing as truth, there is the conviction that things about the world can be known objectively because there is a defined basis for all things. Atheists probably don’t realized that they’ve learned to believe the same thing, but aren’t willing to contemplate further into the consequences of their own convictions.

      • Bill S

        A very good question though is whether the material universe (ie. nature) can possibly be explained without the supernatural.

        That would all depend on what is meant by the “supernatural”. The existence of nature and a material universe need not be dependent on the existence of gods, angels, demons, etc. which people commonly attribute to the supernatural. We could look at nature as having been created by what would logically be supernatural. Carl Sagan called it the “Cosmos”.

        • Mike Blackadder

          See Bill now you’re changing your story, but in doing so I agree with you. Originally you said that it is a fact that ‘there is no such thing as the supernatural’. You clarify what you mean to say that the existence of the material universe need not be dependent on (small g) gods, angels or demons, which I agree is true. Though that’s not the same as saying that their existence is factually untrue. This ‘Cosmos’ that you refer to could be anything. I think that the agnostic position is really just asserting that very thing – that we cannot know the supernatural God or Creator or Cosmos or whatever. Ironically maybe, that’s a very orthodox and basic conviction of Judaism, Islam and Christianity and is asserted as the basic commandment against idolatry. No matter how one ‘puts God in a box’ it is idolatry.
          That’s not to say that every religion is therefore wrong or pointless. What religion asserts is that this fundamental origin of all creation is an omnipotent intelligence and has a Will which He attempts to communicate with us.

          • Bill S

            What religion asserts is that this fundamental origin of all creation is an omnipotent intelligence and has a Will which He attempts to communicate with us.

            The problem is that religion says that and a whole lot more about whatever intelligence there is behind all this. For one thing, why does it have to be “omnipotent”? As incredible as it may be, there is nothing to say that its potency has no limits. Why must it have a “Will” that it tries to communicate to us? And why must we believe all the other stories about it? In fact, why must anyone have to believe in it at all. Either it is or it isn’t. It doesn’t matter who believes in this supernatural intelligence behind all that is.

            • Mike Blackadder

              First, conviction about revelation from God (ie. the ‘whole lot more’ that you’re talking about) makes sense given the basic conviction of an omnipotent deliberate God. The whole agnostic argument that nothing can be known, that religious belief is arbitrary only makes sense if you assume that this God doesn’t exist in the first place.
              The reason why reflection of God leads to omnipotence is that it is the ONLY alternative to the opposite conviction – which is the atheistic view that all creation follows naturally from the aggregation of simpler things into more complex ones. If there is a greater being than humanity for example that is not omnipotent, then how did that being come into existence? That being is faced with the same paradox as humanity. Either he was created by one who is greater or came about due to what is simpler. The ultimate resolution is that either the atheist is right or in the end there is an entirely Self-Aware being that explains the origin of all things.

              • Bill S

                The ultimate resolution is that either the atheist is right or in the end there is an entirely Self-Aware being that explains the origin of all things.

                Everything falls under Nature. The universe has a natural order to it. The unanswerable question is where does this natural order come from? Anyone who claims to know the answer to that is either lying or delusional. Some religiously inclined people think they’ve got it all figured out. The God of the gaps. We don’t know so they credit it to a god.

                • hamiltonr

                  Bill you’re quoting Dawkins who was quoting Bonhoeffer, and both of you are misapplying the quote.

                • Mike Blackadder

                  Not really Bill. That’s just easier to say then facing the real question before you. If we are not just here by chance, if we are here deliberately under a Creator then it seems possible that God might attempt to bring us revelation of that purpose and interfere with His grace and goodness. What ‘some religiously inclined people think’ can hardly be a condemnation of all religious conviction. Having the conviction that God does not show us His ways, that Christ was simply a liar, that his martyred followers were delusional is simply your version of religious conviction.

          • pagansister

            Why can’t that “Omnipotent Intelligence” be SHE? If there is a creator, female makes more sense than male as women are the ones (with a little male help) who actually carry and bring forth the next generations. Isn’t it possible that God is female?

            • Mike Blackadder

              As much a She as a He I would think; or neither. Catholic dogma says both men and women are made in God’s image, and God “the Father” doesn’t have a body so I think isn’t literally a male or female. Though I’m not a theologian.

  • pagansister

    I did and find that those attending and participating would fall into the category of being exhibitionists. Not all those who are homosexual would want to parade around nude or in their outfits and show off their activities. I expect there are heterosexuals who engage in some of the same activities—but privately.

  • hamiltonr

    You’ve been repeating yourself for a long time Bill. I’m going to start deleting out of boredom — my own and Public Catholic’s readers.

  • hamiltonr

    :-)

  • Mike Blackadder

    So you’re not going to bake them a cake?

    God forbid you ever get caught being compensated for doing something because then according to Bill you’re a slave for life. “No, I don’t feel like cutting your lawn this weekend, I’m going to lay around and do nothing!” “No, I don’t agree to do contract work for Westboro church, because I’m a good person.” “No, I don’t feel like roofing someone’s house at cost for $10 per hour.”

    According to Bill, when you operate a business you don’t have a right to turn down a job. Apparently those are the rules, apparently that is the law. LOL, please stop saying the same false thing over and over and come up with a serious response!

  • Mike Blackadder

    No Bill, you’re the one who is dismissing the question not me. You are the one who said it’s a “fact that there is no such thing as the supernatural. Whatever exists is natural”. You’re the one who said that the cause of nature is an ‘unanswerable question’. Why say that unless you are convinced that God DOES NOT speak to us through revelation? Why say that unless you have decided ahead of time that God does not exist?
    You said that there is ‘no evidence to confirm these revelations’. Actually there is a great deal of evidence. Does that mean that we know? No, it doesn’t. But then again you would have to admit, ‘knowing’ is a matter of degree. We don’t ‘know’ that dinosaur bones weren’t planted here by aliens or that Michael Jordan isn’t in fact 5’4″ (at least I don’t, I’ve never met him).

  • Mike Blackadder

    Lark62: good points. I agree with that assessment. However, there’s a distinction here when it comes to forcing someone to take on a job as opposed to having different costs/lead times based on race, etc. Just as it is one matter for an employer to wrongfully dismiss an employee, and another matter to decide whether or not to hire. The other important distinction is that what the customer asks for in this case is not entirely generic. They are asking for a particular product to fulfill a particular purpose – which is to celebrate their marriage ceremony. I actually agree that it would be wrong and illegal for Phillips to refuse selling a cake because of the customer’s sexual orientation, but he shouldn’t be forced to support gay marriage through making a wedding cake when he thinks it is morally wrong. Just as I don’t think a consultant or a lawyer should be forced to work for Westboro Church when they think it is morally wrong.

    • Mike Blackadder

      note: In the analogy to Westboro church, it is because the consultant objects to doing the particular work that Westboro church asks of them. Maybe a better example is a print shop that refuses to copy Westboro church flyers that says “Gays are going to hell”. An entirely objective print shop who doesn’t have scruples about it might just print the flyers and take the money. Another print shop might refuse. I don’t think that the law should dictate that business people be forbidden from exercising this kind of discretion. Certainly they should not be reprimanded by being forced to take sensitivity training to undermine their values.

    • Mike Blackadder

      Also Lark62: realistically if an atheist photographer had a policy that they would not work Catholic weddings (maybe because they strongly oppose the institution of the Church and their position wrt gay marriage, abortion, etc), I don’t think that we would be having this conversation.
      I think that everyone would accept the decision of the photographer to decline the job. A Jewish photographer might have a policy that they only work Jewish weddings. A gay photographer might have a policy of only working gay weddings. On some level such a policy may be seen as intolerant, a poor business decision, maybe even offensive to some, but in no case do I think we would claim that the photographer is acting illegally. In no cases do I imagine an American court of law forcing the photographer to do the job.
      And I will go ahead from the outset and admit that it is the minority status of the affected group that renders these scenarios somewhat different, but the main point is to establish that there is a precedent for choosing the work you do based on your own values, based on your own interests. In this case Phillips doesn’t want to be involved in the process of celebrating a gay wedding. He might think that the two men who are getting married are going to hell for doing this. Why should he be forced to bake a wedding cake for a gay marriage any more than he should be forced to bake a cake to celebrate an abortion? I think the reason why it is easy to dismiss Phillips’ rights in this case is that people so strongly disagree with his convictions that they don’t perceive the problem. In some cases they agree to punish him purely out of a spirit of activism. But we all know that if we do not defend the rights of those with whom we disagree then we don’t defend rights at all.


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