The business of rights

To most Americans, whether one has rights depends upon whose ox is being gored.

When Christian business owners sought to decline to endorse sodomites in their perversions by refusing to provide services for their “weddings,” the “tolerant” left not only gathered their like-minded charges to bully and harass those owners out of business, it brought the power of the state down upon them through the courts and state agencies.

When Baronelle Stutzman, a 70-year-old Washington state florist, declined to provide flowers for the “wedding” of two men — one of whom was a longtime customer of hers —  because, as a Christian, she held a fundamental belief that a wedding is to be a union of a man and woman, Benton County Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom decided that the men’s “rights” to be served by a business trumped Stutzman’s rights to set the rules of her supposed voluntary transactions and abide by her faith. The sodomite lobby began a protest and boycott of her business. She was sued by the state attorney general. This is a clear violation of her religious liberty and her rights of free association, and also a violation the state’s constitution. Stutzman is facing financial ruin, depending upon the outcome of a similar religious liberty case now before the Supreme Court.

Aaron and Melissa Klein, were owners of an Oregon bakery called Sweet Cakes by Melissa. They drew the ire of the gay rights crowd when in January 2013 they declined to make a cake for the so-called “wedding” of two women: Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries then fined, attorneyed and sued them out of business. This is a clear violation of the Klein’s rights of religious liberty and free association.

Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips declined to bake a cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins when he learned it was to celebrate their “gay” marriage. Phillips opposes homosexuality on religious grounds, and he decided that providing a cake for the couple would violate his conscience. Colorado didn’t even recognize gay marriages at the time, but the men had “married” in Massachusetts. Administrative law judge Robert N. Spencer ruled Masterpiece Cakeshop discriminated against the men “because of their sexual orientation by refusing to sell them a wedding cake for their same-sex marriage.” He ordered the shop to “cease and desist from discriminating” but did not impose fines in the case. However, he made it clear that businesses would face penalties if they turn away gay couples for religious reasons. Again, this a blatant violation of Phillips’ rights guaranteed by the 1st Amendment. Phillips’ case is now before the Supreme Court and its outcome will affect other religious liberty cases like these.

Elane Huguenin, owner of Elane’s photography, in 2006 cited her Christian beliefs as a reason to decline to photograph a ceremony for Vanessa Willock. The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled she could not refuse to photograph the ceremony even though gay marriages were not then legal in the state. This is another violation of the store owner’s rights under the 1st and 14th Amendments (at least).

Chick-Fil-A COO Dan T. Cathy came under fire in June 2012 following public comments that he made opposing same-sex “marriage.” The sodomite lobby tried to boycott the company out of business or force the Cathys to promote sodomite causes, and a number of city officials vowed to block Chick-Fil-A restaurants from coming to their communities.

In each of these cases, and others, the sodomite crowd and their “tolerant” leftist enablers in the media and politics cheered the destruction and damage to these businesses for their “intolerance” to sodomite perversions.

Their argument is that when one opens a business he surrenders his rights and must serve everyone who wishes to avail himself of the business’ services.

Christians and those on the right – ie., those who understand liberty and freedom and cherish it – correctly supported these businesses for their stances, claiming that they should have the right to serve or not serve whomever they chose. In a free society that would be the case. The freedom to discriminate for any reason or no reason is an important tenet of a free society. It’s a right that belongs to everyone.

And it’s not so much a religious liberty issue as it is just a liberty issue. Being forced by the state to serve someone – anyone – turns a business owner into a slave of the state.

Now the shoe is on the other foot, so to speak, and the roles are reversing. The owners of Baguette et Chocolat bakery in Bee Cave, Texas, are being bullied by the pro-gun crowd after calling police to remove Robert Farago for carrying a “concealed weapon” that was visible  under his T-shirt. The owners, Anne-lise and Chi-minh Pham Dinh had posted signs to signify their establishment banned weapons about 18 months ago.

Farago, the editor of The Truth About Guns website, described his encounter on the site. He explained that he knew about the owners’ policy and had even had a polite discussion with them about their signs after they posted them. He told them they had lost his business and the business of his staff.

But he had been back to the store before – “B&C’s baguettes were a siren song this gun rights absolutist couldn’t resist,” he wrote — and every other time he had left his gun in his vehicle. But that day, he said, he forgot.

He was nonplussed because rather than asking him to take his gun outside or leave the establishment, the owner called police.

After Farago wrote about his encounter, Baguette et Chocalat began to fall on the receiving end of a pile-on from gun rights “activists” very much like that encountered by the businesses above. The only difference is the state didn’t get involved, not that it ever would step in and defend gun rights. The state – by that I mean government – in all cases seeks to restrict gun rights from the Founders’ intentions.

Nevertheless, the bakery’s Facebook and Yelp pages began to get hammered with negative reviews that had nothing to do with the food they served, but simply because they chose to deny entry to their establishment to a certain class of people – people who carry guns.

“Our Facebook page was supposed to be our own … not anymore,” the bakery’s owners, Anne-lise and Chi-minh Pham Dinh, wrote in a Facebook update, according to FoxNews. “The rating we’ve been working on has been declining drastically by those bad reviews and it will keep going.”

It’s gotten so bad that the company Facebook will be shut down September 25.

Farago later wrote:

 We’ve received a number of reports of readers threatening the business in question on their Facebook page and web site. This is probably a tiny minority of readers, but actions like that don’t help the gun rights cause at all. Please refrain from contacting the business.

Not only does this type of action “not help” the gun rights cause at all, it doesn’t help the cause of liberty. It also reveals that there are some 2nd Amendment supporters who are just as ignorant of the meaning of liberty as the perpetually-aggrieved sodomite crowd.

And the lack of support from the sodomite lobby for gun owners who want to be served by the bakery while wearing their weapons also reveals, once again, the hypocrisy of the progressive “tolerance” crowd.

Related:

Tyranny and America’s moral decline

Why can’t the sodomite lobby leave Christians alone?

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