Posts Tagged ‘freedom’

The Masterpiece Cakeshop Decision

June 17, 2018

The Supreme Court has decided in favor of the Colorado baker who declined to make a wedding cake for gay wedding.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, in one of the most closely watched cases of the term.

In a 7-2 decision, the justices set aside a Colorado court ruling against the baker — while stopping short of deciding the broader issue of whether a business can refuse to serve gay and lesbian people. The opinion was penned by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is often the swing justice in tight cases.

The narrow ruling here focused on what the court described as anti-religious bias on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission when it ruled against baker Jack Phillips.

“The Commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion,” Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion.

 

There is a lot that has been written about this decision in the weeks since it has been handed down by the Supreme Court, and I don’t imagine I have too much to contribute to the discussion. Still, There are three or four comments I would like to make about it.

First, Jack Phillips did not refuse to serve the couple because they were homosexuals. He did not tell them that he didn’t serve their kind, as the couple asserted and he actually offered to sell them any pre-made cake in his store. What Mr. Phillips refused to do was to use his artistic talent in a way that was against his religious beliefs. He would not decorate a cake for a gay wedding because his religious beliefs were in opposition to gay weddings. Evidently, Mr. Phillips has long made a practice of refusing to go against his religious values, refusing to decorate cakes with adult themes or even cakes for Halloween.

This is not the same as refusing to allow Blacks to sit at a lunch counter, or forcing someone to sit at the back of the bus. It is more like a gay baker not wanting to bake a cake labeled, “God hates fags” for the Westboro Baptist Church. No one’s rights were being infringed because Jack Phillips declined to decorate a cake for a particular occasion. No one has the right to compel Jack Phillips to bake a cake for a particular occasion.

Second, you might ask how I would feel if someone would refuse to provide some such service to me. Well, I would be upset, of course, and would probably not patronize that particular bakery, or whatever, again, but I would not take them to court to force them to serve me. In fact, I would fight for the right of any baker to refuse to serve me.

Why would I do that?  Well, I wouldn’t want someone to be forced to bake a cake for me because would be afraid of getting the Yelper Special.

But, aside from that, I would support their right to refuse me service for a very simple reason, which leads into my third comment. It seems to me obvious that a government or a court with the power to force someone else to do something I like but they detest has just as much power to force me to do something I would prefer not to do. A government that can mandate a Christian baker to bake a cake for a gay wedding can just as easily force people to follow  Christian,values, whether they want to or not. It is simply astonishing to me that no one ever seems to consider this simple factor.

I have noticed that a lot of the people who believe that a “bigot” like Jack Phillips should be forced to bake the cake are also convinced that Donald Trump is a would-be Fascist dictator, or that the conservative Christians or alt-right racists, or both, are on the verge of taking over this country and eliminating all freedom. If this were even the remotest of possibilities, why on Earth would these people want to give any potential oppressors the tools they need to practice repression? Wouldn’t we be a lot safer with a smaller, more limited government that lets people live in peace. We would have less to fear from any dictator if the government had less influence on our daily lives.

And last, it is something of a scandal that this Supreme Court decision was a 7-2 decision. It ought to have been 9-0. If previous presidents had appointed Supreme Court justices who put the words and intent of the constitution first and their political ideology second, this decision,  and many similar decisions, would have been 9-0. But, consider this any conservative Never-Trumper who might be reading this. If Hilary Clinton were president and had appointed a Justice to replace Antonin Scalia, this decision could very well have been 6-3, with worse to come as Clinton would managed to appoint more Justices. Whatever you may think of Trump’s shortcomings, especially his boorish personality, there is no doubt that the cause of liberty has been better served by his winning the presidency than his opponent.

 

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Hobby Lobby Outrage

June 30, 2014

Today, the Supreme Court  ruled that a company need not cover contraceptives if it is against their religious convictions. This is a victory for religious freedom in this country, and really for freedom generally. If Hobby Lobby does not wish to pay for their employees’ contraceptives, they shouldn’t have to. If someone wishes to have their employer pay for their contraceptives, they should consider working for a company that does cover them.

Naturally the Democrats don’t see it that way. I have already received fund raising e-mails telling of their disgust and outrage over this decision and asking for money to elect Democrats to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Either they are quick writers, or they had already pre-written their appeals in the event of this decision.

Here is one from Stop the GOP.

Friend — It’s outrageous: Just hours ago, the Supreme Court handed corporations the power to deny women birth control coverage. It’s a sad day for America.

Mitch McConnell’s reaction? He’s gloating, and he just vowed to vote on “limiting abortions if Republicans take control of the Senate in November,” according to Rachel Maddow.

But mark our words: If we let the GOP steal the momentum in the wake of this decision and take the Senate, we will DEEPLY regret it. You MUST stop McConnell and the GOP.

With just 12 hours to go before the most critical FEC deadline of this election, please pitch in to stop a GOP Senate takeover. Your gift will be triple-matched.

Supporter Record: VN96C28FDA1
Mid-year Deadline: 12 hours

If you’ve saved your payment information with ActBlue Express, your contribution will automatically be processed when you click the links below:

EXPRESS DONATE: $3

EXPRESS DONATE: $8

EXPRESS DONATE: $17

EXPRESS DONATE: $25

EXPRESS DONATE: $35

Or donate another amount.

Republicans are ALREADY seizing on this ruling to push even more extreme policies.

Their Tea Party candidates are fighting for EVEN MORE radical policies — a COMPLETE ban on some forms of birth control and EXTREME abortion restrictions.

Don’t let them take the momentum and deliver a crushing blow to women’s rights.

Pitch in immediately to fight back against extreme Republicans before the deadline hits in 12 hours.

Thanks for your support,
Stop the GOP

But the Supreme Court didn’t vote to allow corporations to deny women birth control nor was this a crushing blow to women’s rights. They simply said a corporation could not be forced to pay for something that is against its religious convictions. There is nothing to stop a woman, or man for that matter, from paying for their own contraceptives. Hobby Lobby is not preventing them from doing  whatever they want with their own money. Why should Hobby Lobby, or any other company, pay for contraceptives if they don’t want to? Where did these people get the idea that if I choose not to pay for something someone else wants, I am preventing them from getting it?

Here is another, this one from the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.

Friend — It’s disgusting: The Supreme Court just ruled that corporations can deny women insurance coverage for birth control.

It’s a shameful day for our country. But we CAN’T let the GOP use this to steal the momentum, erase our lead, and take over the Senate. The consequences would be dire.

With just 14 hours to go before the most critical FEC deadline of this election, please pitch in to stop a GOP Senate takeover. Your gift will be triple-matched.

If you’ve saved your payment information with ActBlue Express, your contribution will automatically be processed when you click the links below:

EXPRESS DONATE: $3

EXPRESS DONATE: $8

EXPRESS DONATE: $17

EXPRESS DONATE: $25

EXPRESS DONATE: $35

Or donate another amount.

This outrageous decision shows that some Supreme Court justices are just politicians in robes. They’re simply another wing of the Republican Party.

It’s revolting — but if we let the Republicans take the Senate because of this, we’ll never forgive ourselves. PItch in immediately — before the most crucial deadline of the election.

Thanks for your support,
DSCC Breaking News

I am getting just a little tired of the phony outrage these people are always writing about. They seem to be eternally outraged and disgusted by the latest foul deeds and extreme positions of the Republicans, conservatives, the Tea Party, or the Koch Brothers. It has a little of the 1984 Hate Week mentality behind it.

As for what happens next with Hobby Lobby, they have dared to oppose the State and Leader and have resisted the process of Gleichschaltung. I am sure they will be punished for it. I would guess that next year the IRS will find all sorts of irregularities in their taxes. Meanwhile, attempts to drive Hobby Lobby out of business, threats of boycotts, etc. Now might be a good time to shop there.

Romney is Right

September 13, 2012

 

Mitt Romney has attacked Barack Obama for the statements his administration has released after the attack on the US embassy in Cairo.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Tuesday issued a paper statement sharply critical of President Barack Obama over his handling of violence in the Middle East earlier in the day.

“I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi,” Romney said in the statement. “It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

Naturally, Obama’s defenders in the Democratic Party and the mainstream media (but I repeat myself) have attacked Romney for playing politics, etc. They have suggested that this was a major mistake on Romney’s part. I don’t agree. The statement by the embassy and Obama’s first response were disgraceful. I read a column by Gail Collins, titled Mitt’s Major Meltdown. I think it is Obama’s middle eastern policies that are suffering from a major meltdown but here are some excerpts.

Mitt Romney broke our deal.

Perhaps he didn’t know he’d made it, although, really, I thought it was pretty clear.

He could do anything he wanted during this campaign as long as he sent out signals that once he got in the White House he was not likely to be truly crazy.

We, in return, were going to be able to continue with our normal sleeping patterns through the fall.

Here is the Republican candidate for president of the United States on Wednesday, explaining why he broke into a moment of rising international tension and denounced the White House as “disgraceful” for a mild statement made by the American Embassy in Cairo about the importance of respecting other people’s religions:

“They clearly — they clearly sent mixed messages to the world. And — and the statement came from the administration — and the embassy is the administration — the statement that came from the administration was a — was a statement which is akin to apology and I think was a — a — a severe miscalculation.”

Feel free to reread this when you’re staring at the ceiling at 4 a.m.

This all began on Sept. 11. There were protests in the Middle East, at least some of them involving an anti-Islamic movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” which depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a cowardly, drunken torturer of children and old women. I did not see any puppies being dismembered, but then I only watched the 14-minute trailer.

A man identifying himself as Sam Bacile told The Wall Street Journal that he made it in California with $5 million from more than 100 donors. However, nothing Bacile said about himself seemed to hold up in the light of day. And if he did raise $5 million, those donors need to hire a lawyer. The trailer looks as though it was made by a 13-year-old boy with access to a large supply of fake beards.

The film popped up on YouTube dubbed in Arabic, stirring outrage. In response, the American Embassy in Cairo said it deplored “the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”

Does that seem all that bad to you, people? It was definitely a film whose only point was to offend people of the Islamic faith. I would also call whoever made it not well-guided.

Yes, it does seem bad to me. The statement was essentially shifting the blame for the violence in Egypt and later Libya from the mob that was perpetrating it to the film that allegedly incited the mob. The idea seems to be that no one anywhere may do or say anything that any Moslem might possibly find offensive or that Moslem will react with a murderous rage that the person who offended him will be responsible. That can’t work, unless the whole world is willing to live under Sharia law.

It doesn’t matter in the slightest if someone wants to make a film that portrays the false prophet Mohammed in a bad light. They have every right in the world to do so. If someone is offended by this, too bad. That doesn’t give them the right to murder and riot.

The only proper statement from an American president would be a unequivocal denunciation of the rioters and a clear statement that we will not censor ourselves or abridge our God-given liberty to appease a group of savages halfway around the world. Giving in to these barbarians, even a little, is not only despicable and cowardly but also unwise.  If you give into a bully once, he will expect you to do so again and again and will keep on getting worse. It is long past time we began to stand up against these bullies in the Moslem world.

 

Indiana # 3 Yea!

June 16, 2011

Indiana is the third freest state in the union according to this report from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. They rank the states in order and Indiana is number three, right behind New Hampshire and South Dakota. California, New Jersey and New York rank forty-eighth, forty-ninth, and fiftieth, which isn’t much of a surprise. Our neighbors Illinois and Ohio rank forty-one and forty-two, while Kentucky is thirty-two.

I’m not sure precisely what criteria they use. They have a report in pdf form to download and I think I will read it. It’s interesting to see how the fifty states rank relative to each other, but I think it might have been more useful if they had some sort of measure, maybe like Freedom House gives each nation a score from 1-7 on political rights and civil liberties


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