In Colorado, The Cake is in the Supreme Court oven

Started by Michael Slusser, December 05, 2017, 03:45:31 PM

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Voelker

Quote from: Mbecker on December 13, 2017, 12:46:34 AM
Quote from: WJV on December 12, 2017, 04:37:48 PM
While you claim not to be in favor of silencing speech (let's let this slide for now; there are bigger fish to fry), you nowhere claim not to be in favor of compelled speech — which is what the Colorado law, as the plaintiffs assert, actually imposes. This is not something which can be evaded — your position is clearly that you are happy to compel, on pain of severance of livelihood and/or civil (and perhaps criminal, should such laws be made) penalty, speech by bakers and others so long as it is a "special", protected group that is involved.

This is where your despite of those with this position is made most evident: you deny them the truthfulness and the dignity of their argument that this is about speech and/or actual, defensible theological positions, and instead pretend that it is all about animus toward homosexuals (they are "anti-LBGTetc.", as you put it elsewhere). You ask them to remove themselves and their skills from the marketplace unless they do as they're told and decorate their cakes as ordered (preferably, of course, without even silent disapproval of what they're being made to do). This is silencing speech; this is shaming those with opposing viewpoints by making their participation in commerce dependent on their willingness to collaborate with and work for things they find sinful. Shaming, silencing, exclusion: this is the law in question, this is what you advocate for here.

If liberty is curtailed, and especially when it is removed from someone (as you would have the marketplace act; vendors, makers, etc., are nothing but input/output machines in your schema), in an attempt to treat people equally under the law, then the attempt is, at best, flawed, and (probably) wrong at its heart.

The world you would have us live in is a curious one. It is a place where speech and freedom end where the dollar begins, where some animals are more equal than others, and where the law is not meant to allow society to function, but is in place to control instead of set limits on the actions of its members. This is not a happy world in any sense of "happy".

What "speech" is being compelled here? As reported by the baker, the "conversation" lasted less then 20 seconds. There was absolutely no discussion about what would be written on the cake, no discussion about what would be be presented on the cake.

I am not in favor of "compelling" someone to say or write or create something against his or her will. If the baker could not in good conscience write or depict something on the custom cake, he should be allowed to give his reasons, and those reasons, right or wrong, should be respected by the customer. But the baker cannot control how people will respond to those reasons. As far as I can tell, the conversation between the baker and the couple never got to the point of the baker giving his reasons for why he could not write or depict something objectionable on the cake. He simple refused to do business with the couple altogether because the couple was gay.

The baker acknowledged that he is opposed to gay marriage. That's why he wouldn't listen any further to the couple beyond the initial request for a celebratory cake. His action in this matter appears to me to have broken the law of Colorado.

Moreover, I do not think the baker's anti-gay position is theologically defensible. I am pleased that this term most of my students (who are 18-30 yrs of age; a majority of which claim to be Christian) do not agree with the baker's action here. At least a couple of students changed their minds after our in-class debate on whether or not Christians should support gay marriage. I'm not the only one who thinks that the baker in question tried to shame these potential customers, all within 20 seconds or so.

Every business transaction in this country is involved in sinful behavior. There is no "sin-free" economic transaction in this country, especially when they involve credit. I would argue that no economic transaction is free of sin. Every business transaction is a collaboration of one kind or another with sinful behavior. How do you know that your business investments are altogether free of sin and that through those transactions you are in no way colluding with sinful actors and sinful behaviors?

The Christian baker in this case was wrong to do what he did, at least as far as I can tell, based on the available evidence.

Matt Becker
Unsurprising. Cheers!

Mbecker

Quote from: WJV on December 13, 2017, 12:54:33 AM
Quote from: Mbecker on December 13, 2017, 12:46:34 AM
Quote from: WJV on December 12, 2017, 04:37:48 PM
While you claim not to be in favor of silencing speech (let's let this slide for now; there are bigger fish to fry), you nowhere claim not to be in favor of compelled speech — which is what the Colorado law, as the plaintiffs assert, actually imposes. This is not something which can be evaded — your position is clearly that you are happy to compel, on pain of severance of livelihood and/or civil (and perhaps criminal, should such laws be made) penalty, speech by bakers and others so long as it is a "special", protected group that is involved.

This is where your despite of those with this position is made most evident: you deny them the truthfulness and the dignity of their argument that this is about speech and/or actual, defensible theological positions, and instead pretend that it is all about animus toward homosexuals (they are "anti-LBGTetc.", as you put it elsewhere). You ask them to remove themselves and their skills from the marketplace unless they do as they're told and decorate their cakes as ordered (preferably, of course, without even silent disapproval of what they're being made to do). This is silencing speech; this is shaming those with opposing viewpoints by making their participation in commerce dependent on their willingness to collaborate with and work for things they find sinful. Shaming, silencing, exclusion: this is the law in question, this is what you advocate for here.

If liberty is curtailed, and especially when it is removed from someone (as you would have the marketplace act; vendors, makers, etc., are nothing but input/output machines in your schema), in an attempt to treat people equally under the law, then the attempt is, at best, flawed, and (probably) wrong at its heart.

The world you would have us live in is a curious one. It is a place where speech and freedom end where the dollar begins, where some animals are more equal than others, and where the law is not meant to allow society to function, but is in place to control instead of set limits on the actions of its members. This is not a happy world in any sense of "happy".

What "speech" is being compelled here? As reported by the baker, the "conversation" lasted less then 20 seconds. There was absolutely no discussion about what would be written on the cake, no discussion about what would be be presented on the cake.

I am not in favor of "compelling" someone to say or write or create something against his or her will. If the baker could not in good conscience write or depict something on the custom cake, he should be allowed to give his reasons, and those reasons, right or wrong, should be respected by the customer. But the baker cannot control how people will respond to those reasons. As far as I can tell, the conversation between the baker and the couple never got to the point of the baker giving his reasons for why he could not write or depict something objectionable on the cake. He simple refused to do business with the couple altogether because the couple was gay.

The baker acknowledged that he is opposed to gay marriage. That's why he wouldn't listen any further to the couple beyond the initial request for a celebratory cake. His action in this matter appears to me to have broken the law of Colorado.

Moreover, I do not think the baker's anti-gay position is theologically defensible. I am pleased that this term most of my students (who are 18-30 yrs of age; a majority of which claim to be Christian) do not agree with the baker's action here. At least a couple of students changed their minds after our in-class debate on whether or not Christians should support gay marriage. I'm not the only one who thinks that the baker in question tried to shame these potential customers, all within 20 seconds or so.

Every business transaction in this country is involved in sinful behavior. There is no "sin-free" economic transaction in this country, especially when they involve credit. I would argue that no economic transaction is free of sin. Every business transaction is a collaboration of one kind or another with sinful behavior. How do you know that your business investments are altogether free of sin and that through those transactions you are in no way colluding with sinful actors and sinful behaviors?

The Christian baker in this case was wrong to do what he did, at least as far as I can tell, based on the available evidence.

Matt Becker
Unsurprising. Cheers!

Cheers to you, too!

Grateful for the outcome to tonight's special Senate election. As Senator Flake tweeted earlier, "Decency wins."

Matt Becker

James_Gale

Quote from: Mbecker on December 13, 2017, 12:46:34 AM
Quote from: WJV on December 12, 2017, 04:37:48 PM
While you claim not to be in favor of silencing speech (let's let this slide for now; there are bigger fish to fry), you nowhere claim not to be in favor of compelled speech — which is what the Colorado law, as the plaintiffs assert, actually imposes. This is not something which can be evaded — your position is clearly that you are happy to compel, on pain of severance of livelihood and/or civil (and perhaps criminal, should such laws be made) penalty, speech by bakers and others so long as it is a "special", protected group that is involved.

This is where your despite of those with this position is made most evident: you deny them the truthfulness and the dignity of their argument that this is about speech and/or actual, defensible theological positions, and instead pretend that it is all about animus toward homosexuals (they are "anti-LBGTetc.", as you put it elsewhere). You ask them to remove themselves and their skills from the marketplace unless they do as they're told and decorate their cakes as ordered (preferably, of course, without even silent disapproval of what they're being made to do). This is silencing speech; this is shaming those with opposing viewpoints by making their participation in commerce dependent on their willingness to collaborate with and work for things they find sinful. Shaming, silencing, exclusion: this is the law in question, this is what you advocate for here.

If liberty is curtailed, and especially when it is removed from someone (as you would have the marketplace act; vendors, makers, etc., are nothing but input/output machines in your schema), in an attempt to treat people equally under the law, then the attempt is, at best, flawed, and (probably) wrong at its heart.

The world you would have us live in is a curious one. It is a place where speech and freedom end where the dollar begins, where some animals are more equal than others, and where the law is not meant to allow society to function, but is in place to control instead of set limits on the actions of its members. This is not a happy world in any sense of "happy".

What "speech" is being compelled here? As reported by the baker, the "conversation" lasted less then 30 seconds. There was absolutely no discussion about what would be written on the cake, no discussion about what would be presented on the cake.

I am not in favor of "compelling" someone to say or write or create something against his or her will. If the baker could not in good conscience write or depict something on the custom cake, he should be allowed to give his reasons, and those reasons, right or wrong, should be respected by the customer. But the baker cannot control how people will respond to those reasons. As far as I can tell, the conversation between the baker and the couple never got to the point of the baker giving his reasons for why he could not write or depict something objectionable on the cake. He simple refused to do business with the couple altogether because the couple was gay.

The baker acknowledged that he is opposed to gay marriage. That's why he wouldn't listen any further to the couple beyond the initial request for a celebratory cake. His action in this matter appears to me to have broken the law of Colorado.

Moreover, I do not think the baker's anti-gay position is theologically defensible. I am pleased that this term most of my students (who are 18-30 yrs of age; a majority of which claim to be Christian) do not agree with the baker's action here. At least a couple of students changed their minds after our in-class debate on whether or not Christians should support gay marriage. I'm not the only one who thinks that the baker in question tried to shame these potential customers, all within 30 seconds or so.

Every business transaction in this country is involved in sinful behavior. There is no "sin-free" economic transaction in this country, especially when they involve credit. I would argue that no economic transaction is free of sin. Every business transaction is a collaboration of one kind or another with sinful behavior. How do you know that your business investments are altogether free of sin and that through those transactions you are in no way colluding with sinful actors and sinful behaviors?

The Christian baker in this case was wrong to do what he did, at least as far as I can tell, based on the available evidence.

Matt Becker


The factual record here is contrary to your characterization.


1.  The baker did not "refuse to do business with the couple altogether."  The opposite is true.  He made clear that he would sell the couple anything that he sells to anyone, which for religious reasons excludes wedding cakes for same-sex marriages.  He stated expressly that he would sell them any other baked goods for their wedding celebration.

2.  The record does not support your assertion that the baker "wouldn't listen any further to the couple beyond the initial request for a celebratory cake."  It supports only the fact that they did not discuss anything about the cake beyond the initial request.  The baker may or may not have been willing "to listen further" to the couple about the cake and certainly was willing "to listen further" about any interest in other baked goods.   

3.  Nothing in the record supports your opinion that "the baker in question tried to shame these potential customers."  You've projected that into the case.

The fact that you "do not think the baker's anti-gay position is theologically defensible" is irrelevant.  You would turn the Free Exercise Clause into "freedom of religion for me but not for thee."  That's not how it works.  Each person is entitled to practice his or her own religion, and is not limited to religious practices deemed "defensible" by anyone else.

You tell us that the baker's "action in this matter appears . . . to have broken the law of Colorado."  You do not support this assertion with legal analysis.  Instead, you seem to rely on "the available evidence" (i.e., the factual record that you misstate) as measured against your personal opinion that the baker "was wrong to do what he did." 

Charles Austin

What Mr. Gale, and some others here, mean; Dr. Becker, is that nothing matters except the law, and only the law as codified in our civic juridical procedures. We set aside common sense, the "reality" of life and events, any sense of morality and - of course! - the abomination of a personal opinion on the matter.
Every action, comment, and interpretation must be adjudicated before it has any value.
That's the law.  ::) ::)
Iowa-born. Long-time in NY/New Jersey, former LWF staff in Geneva.
ELCA PASTOR, ordained 1967. Former journalist. Retired in Minneapolis. Often critical of the ELCA, but more often a defender of its mission. Ignoring the not-so-subtle rude insults which often appear here.

peter_speckhard

Quote from: Charles Austin on December 13, 2017, 09:12:57 AM
What Mr. Gale, and some others here, mean; Dr. Becker, is that nothing matters except the law, and only the law as codified in our civic juridical procedures. We set aside common sense, the "reality" of life and events, any sense of morality and - of course! - the abomination of a personal opinion on the matter.
Every action, comment, and interpretation must be adjudicated before it has any value.
That's the law.  ::) ::)
No, I took him to mean it is best to know what you're talking about before posting at length.

Voelker

Quote from: peter_speckhard on December 13, 2017, 09:22:26 AM
Quote from: Charles Austin on December 13, 2017, 09:12:57 AM
What Mr. Gale, and some others here, mean; Dr. Becker, is that nothing matters except the law, and only the law as codified in our civic juridical procedures. We set aside common sense, the "reality" of life and events, any sense of morality and - of course! - the abomination of a personal opinion on the matter.
Every action, comment, and interpretation must be adjudicated before it has any value.
That's the law.  ::) ::)
No, I took him to mean it is best to know what you're talking about before posting at length.
+++

James_Gale

Quote from: Charles Austin on December 13, 2017, 09:12:57 AM
What Mr. Gale, and some others here, mean; Dr. Becker, is that nothing matters except the law, and only the law as codified in our civic juridical procedures. We set aside common sense, the "reality" of life and events, any sense of morality and - of course! - the abomination of a personal opinion on the matter.
Every action, comment, and interpretation must be adjudicated before it has any value.
That's the law.  ::) ::)


Pr. Austin --


That's both unfair and untrue.  Morals do matter.  Common sense does matter a great deal.  I am untroubled by the expression of any personal opinion, whatever it might be.  This forum is chock-full of threads involving all of this.  That's wonderful and healthy. 


But this thread is not about those things.  It's specifically about the law and about the Supreme Court's consideration of a particular case.  I'd invite you either to join in the discussion that we're actually having or start a new thread to discuss whatever different matters you'd like to address.


By the way, I don't think that Dr. Becker needs you to save him by trying to change the subject.  He is fully capable of arguing his own positions. 


Jim

Dan Fienen

Pr. Austin, whose sense of morals and common sense is supposed to decide if this baker is going to have his livelihood fined out of existence or not.  Whose sense of morals and common sense is supposed to determine if the baker be allowed to practice his profession according to his conscience or he be given the choice between obeying his conscience or being a baker.  For that matter sense Matt Becker has decided that the baker's understanding of his Christian faith and commitment is wrong, who gets to determine if someone's religious beliefs are wrong and that therefore they have no religious rights to practice those beliefs?


If my rights and my ability to practice my profession are dependent not upon law but what some self appointed arbiters of reasonableness decide make sense, do minorities have any protection against the tyranny of the majority?
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Charles Austin

You make a point, Mr. Gale. I'll step aside for now and let the lawyers carry on.
And I apologize to Pastor Fienen, for without my comments here, he will have no reason to whine and play the victim.
Iowa-born. Long-time in NY/New Jersey, former LWF staff in Geneva.
ELCA PASTOR, ordained 1967. Former journalist. Retired in Minneapolis. Often critical of the ELCA, but more often a defender of its mission. Ignoring the not-so-subtle rude insults which often appear here.

Jim Butler

Quote from: Charles Austin on December 13, 2017, 09:12:57 AM
What Mr. Gale, and some others here, mean; Dr. Becker, is that nothing matters except the law, and only the law as codified in our civic juridical procedures. We set aside common sense, the "reality" of life and events, any sense of morality and - of course! - the abomination of a personal opinion on the matter.
Every action, comment, and interpretation must be adjudicated before it has any value.
That's the law.  ::) ::)

Mr. Philips was perfectly willing to sell the two gentlemen a wedding cake. They could have purchased any off-the-shelf cake (including a wedding cake) that he had sitting in his shop and used it. This point was made at the Supreme Court.

What he was not willing to do was create a custom designed cake for their wedding. There is an interesting friend of the court brief by a group of wedding cake designer/bakers, many of whom disagree with Mr. Philips. They point out that designing and producing a custom cake can take a "cake artist" several days to design and execute. (Some of them even hold copyrights on their cake designs!) Given that the men involved eventually had a rainbow cake designed and made showed that they were stating a message via their cake; a message that he did not want to conscripted to make.

But it was not merely an "anti-gay" animus. Mr. Philips has also declined to make a wedding cake for a heterosexual couple that had a Halloween themed wedding. He has also declined to make cakes for bachelor/bachelorette parties that he that were too risqué. In those instances, he disagreed with the message he believed he was taking part in.

When Donald Trump was inaugurated, many dress designers said they would refuse to create a dress for the First Lady. They did not want to be associated with the message of his presidency. Should they have been forced by the state to create her dress? If not, then how does that differ from this case?

What if a paint artist refused a commission to paint Trump's official White House portrait? Should he/she be compelled to do so or fined if they refused?

Justice Kennedy hit upon the key point: tolerance is a two way street. The state of Colorado was demanding Mr. Philips to be tolerant of same sex marriage. The state, however, was not willing to be tolerant of his desire not to be involved with one.
"Pastor Butler... [is] deaf to the cries of people like me, dismissing our concerns as Satanic scenarios, denouncing our faith and our very existence."--Charles Austin

Dan Fienen

#70


I remember the good old days when the argument went that legalizing same sex marriage was no threat to those Christians who believed that the very concept was wrong and sinful.  After all, no one was being forced to have a same sex marriage.  "If you don't believe in same sex marriage then just don't have one."


That was then, this is now.  Those advocating for same sex marriage have won their day in court, now even if you do not contract a same sex marriage for yourself you can be conscripted into participating in the festivities if you profession can in any way be useful to someone else contracting a same sex marriage.  Now it is "If you don't want a same sex marriage, don't have one or stay out of any profession that could help provide for same sex marriage."  The marginalization and exclusion from society of those who dissent has begun.


(Oh and Charles, by the same kind of reasoning, judging the personality and past track record of those involved, that you predicted what Judge Moore would have said if elected, I predict that now that the individuals and organizations that built their professional lives on getting same sex marriage legal will not just fold up their tents and find new ways to earn a living, but will look for new frontiers to agitate for and to continue to pursue their enemies who dissent from their utopia.)
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Steven Tibbetts

Quote from: Mbecker on December 13, 2017, 12:06:49 AM
Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS on December 11, 2017, 04:23:43 PM
Quote from: Mbecker on December 11, 2017, 11:44:07 AM
Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS on December 11, 2017, 01:10:25 AM
Quote from: Mbecker on December 11, 2017, 12:58:31 AM

The viewpoint of the baker in this case, as I understand it, is one that should be criticized.


Same-sex sexual behavior is sinful, contrary to biblical teaching and natural law. It carries the grave danger of unrepentant sin. Therefore my neighbor and community are best served by calling those in same-sex sexual relationships to repentance for that behavior and to a chaste lifestyle.

Pax et bonum,
Steven+

Steven,
Are you suggesting that Christian bakers should call their customers to repentance as a part of their basic service to all customers?

No.  Is the viewpoint I expressed one you believe should be criticized?

Pax, Steven+

Yes.

That's what I feared.  Does it matter that I only slightly altered, in order to take personal ownership, the language of "position 1" on "lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships" from the ELCA Social Statement, Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust?

Pax, Steven+
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
Pastor Zip's Blog

Steven Tibbetts

Quote from: Charles Austin on December 13, 2017, 09:12:57 AM
What Mr. Gale, and some others here, mean; Dr. Becker, is that nothing matters except the law, and only the law as codified in our civic juridical procedures. We set aside common sense, the "reality" of life and events, any sense of morality and - of course! - the abomination of a personal opinion on the matter.
Every action, comment, and interpretation must be adjudicated before it has any value.
That's the law.  ::) ::)

You're projecting your own attitudes on others again, Charles.
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
Pastor Zip's Blog

gan ainm

Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS on December 13, 2017, 04:01:53 PM
Quote from: Mbecker on December 13, 2017, 12:06:49 AM
Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS on December 11, 2017, 04:23:43 PM
Quote from: Mbecker on December 11, 2017, 11:44:07 AM
Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS on December 11, 2017, 01:10:25 AM
Quote from: Mbecker on December 11, 2017, 12:58:31 AM

The viewpoint of the baker in this case, as I understand it, is one that should be criticized.


Same-sex sexual behavior is sinful, contrary to biblical teaching and natural law. It carries the grave danger of unrepentant sin. Therefore my neighbor and community are best served by calling those in same-sex sexual relationships to repentance for that behavior and to a chaste lifestyle.

Pax et bonum,
Steven+

Steven,
Are you suggesting that Christian bakers should call their customers to repentance as a part of their basic service to all customers?

No.  Is the viewpoint I expressed one you believe should be criticized?

Pax, Steven+

Yes.

That's what I feared.  Does it matter that I only slightly altered, in order to take personal ownership, the language of "position 1" on "lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships" from the ELCA Social Statement, Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust?

Pax, Steven+

Little matters to the hardened grinding stone. All axes are to be ground.  :'(


Dan Fienen

Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS on December 13, 2017, 04:01:53 PM
Quote from: Mbecker on December 13, 2017, 12:06:49 AM
Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS on December 11, 2017, 04:23:43 PM
Quote from: Mbecker on December 11, 2017, 11:44:07 AM
Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS on December 11, 2017, 01:10:25 AM
Quote from: Mbecker on December 11, 2017, 12:58:31 AM

The viewpoint of the baker in this case, as I understand it, is one that should be criticized.


Same-sex sexual behavior is sinful, contrary to biblical teaching and natural law. It carries the grave danger of unrepentant sin. Therefore my neighbor and community are best served by calling those in same-sex sexual relationships to repentance for that behavior and to a chaste lifestyle.

Pax et bonum,
Steven+

Steven,
Are you suggesting that Christian bakers should call their customers to repentance as a part of their basic service to all customers?

No.  Is the viewpoint I expressed one you believe should be criticized?

Pax, Steven+

Yes.

That's what I feared.  Does it matter that I only slightly altered, in order to take personal ownership, the language of "position 1" on "lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships" from the ELCA Social Statement, Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust?

Pax, Steven+
That was then, this is now.  The four positions in HSGT have served their purpose of easing the way for passage of the ordination of partnered homosexuals by reassuring those traditionalists that their position was still to be considered acceptable.  But they lost, LGBTs and supporters won.  Resistance is futile, traditionalists are to be assimilated and their now bigoted, immoral, subChristian positions are no longer to be tolerated in the enlightened church.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

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