Many or most of my readers may know that a recent Supreme Court decision held that a Christian baker was within his rights to refuse to bake a special cake for a gay wedding. For that he was roundly criticized, some would say harassed, by the party in question. They brought suit, and the case eventually made it to the SCOTUS – which, to the surprise of most observers, found in favor of the defendant.
While their ruling has been criticized by some conservatives for being too narrow, it at least went some way toward upholding the principle that merely because one offers a service to the public, one is not thereby obliged to completely chuck one’s moral standards and religious beliefs into the gutter. (To put a slightly finer point on it, service does not equate to slavery.)
The baker made it clear that he would happily have sold the couple a pre-existing cake; he is, after all, in the business of selling cakes, and has no desire to actively discriminate. However, by demanding that he make one specifically for their occasion, they were forcing him to actively participate in it, demonstrating de facto approval of their actions, and that is what he objected to. The Supreme Court, to their credit, agreed.
Now, I am a bit more extreme in my views, in that I believe a private business owner has the right to refuse service to anyone, for any reason, or no reason – with the understanding, of course, that this is likely to have an impact on his or her business, and if that impact is negative (people “vote with their wallet”), he or she has no right to complain. So from that perspective, yes, I agree that it was too narrow a ruling.
But, it is head-and-shoulders above the situation we have had up to this point, which is that basically anyone can be forced to do anything for anyone, if it is in line with their business, and the business owner has no choice in the matter, regardless of their moral qualms. So it is at least a significant step in the right direction!
What causes me to shake my head (in dismay though not, alas, in surprise) is the reactions of the college students interviewed, which demonstrate with all-too-crystalline clarity the extent of the socio-political indoctrination inflicted on our young people by the academic establishment – public school and higher education alike – as well as the lack of critical-thinking skills inculcated by these institutions.
They are emphatic and unanimous that the SCOTUS decision was wrong, that people’s “right” to “be who they are” trumps a business owner’s right to follow his or her own moral and religious standards – even to the point of being forced to do something that is directly against them. But they start to waffle when the parameters are shifted!
Well, what if it’s a black baker, being forced to bake a cake for a KKK rally? They backed off of that one in a hurry, although struggling (and failing) to find some sort of coherent justification for the switch: even admitting, in a couple of instances, that they had contradicted themselves.
What if it’s a Jewish baker, being asked to bake a cake for a Palestinian event (presumably of a “free Palestine” – and thus, anti-Israel – nature)? More waffling. A lot more, in this case, as they are presumably conflicted over which side is “in the right,” here!
But the point is that the argument that someone’s right / freedom to “be who they are” trumps a business owner’s right to be who he or she is, in following their religious and moral standards – even to the point of forcing that person to transgress their religious and moral beliefs – collapses completely, when it’s not some nasty reactionary Christian oppressing some poor, oppressed, “freedom”-loving progressive type.
As my mother used to say, “it all depends on whose ox is getting gored.” And as I have said more than once in various fora, irony and double-standards are endemic among today’s Leftists, and logic, coherence, and rationality appear to be in short supply!