If Bakers Can be Forced to Service Faux Weddings, so Can Churches

SellwynThumbby Selwyn Duke4/4/16
As our Great Sexual Heresy continues its march onwards and downwards, state governments have forced bakers, wedding planners, florists and other businessmen to service faux weddings. This is unprecedented, as never before were Americans governmentally compelled to participate in events they found morally objectionable. Yet when some project out on our cultural trajectory and say churches one day will be subject to the same coercion, they’re met with laughter; this will never, ever happen, they’re told. Yet this is an illogical and inconsistent position.

Prefacing a statement in opposition to the hapless bakers at a campaign stop a while back, presidential pretender John Kasich opined, “I think, frankly, our churches should not be forced to do anything that’s not consistent with them.” That such a statement need be made — and that it was said so lukewarmly — indicates we’ve already taken the first step toward just such coercion. Yet the main point is that the position reflects fuzzy thinking.

The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no laws respecting the establishment of religion of prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Of course, the wording informs that this constrains only Congress — the federal government’s lawmaking body — not state governments. But since the “Theory of Incorporation” (a judge-spawned rationalization) has applied the above to the states and, more significantly for the principled, since most if not all state constitutions offer the same religious protections, this isn’t relevant to our discussion here.

Now, “exercise” is action, not just belief or expression. Of course, this freedom of action labeled “religious” isn’t absolute; human sacrifice is prohibited, for instance. (Thus do I have a philosophical problem with the First Amendment, but that’s grist for a different day.) Yet the relevant point is this: human sacrifice, or anything else gravely evil and therefore beyond First Amendment protections, is prohibited to all. It’s not as if you can offer up a virgin (even if you could find one today) on an altar because it happens to be in a church. A corollary of this is that anything protected by the First Amendment is allowed to all.

After all, neither the First Amendment nor any state constitution I’m aware of dictates that “government shall make no laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion — in church.” There is no such limitation. Conclusion?

Any type of exercise or conscience-driven policy, such as rejection of homosexual events, protected within the church sphere is protected outside of it.

In point of fact, note that institutions, churches or otherwise, do not have constitutional rights. People have constitutional rights. So it’s completely irrelevant whether people are exercising their religious rights within a church or a bakery, or as agents of a synagogue or owners of a flower shop. Their freedom from government compulsion in this area follows them wherever they go — and whatever their caste or station — in these United States.

Some may now claim that the difference between the bakers and the churches is the type of exercise, that the latter are performing marriages themselves while the bakers are merely providing a cake for a marriage ceremony. Alright, consider: churches often conduct bake sales to raise money. Imagine a church had wedding cakes among its offerings and, these being large and expensive items, said it would print a personalized message on a cake and deliver it to a wedding in its area (this isn’t far-fetched; there are Trappist monks who produce beer, after all). Would the government force them to service a faux wedding?

Of course not. For now, at least, people would say that different rules apply because it’s a church. Again, though, this is an illogical and constitutionally inconsistent position. It’s born of preference, not principle; caprice, not constitutionalism. And that’s the issue: since the Constitution is essentially being ignored here, it’s incorrect to say that churches are allowed to engage in the exercise in question because of respect for constitutional protections. It’s simply allowed, at the moment, because fashions dictate that strong-arming churches would be a bridge too far.

So if nothing disrupts our cultural trajectory, it’s easy to see what lies ahead. Once again, a corollary of the constitutional principle I outlined earlier is that, since constitutional rights are for all Americans, any type of religious exercise considered illegitimate is illegitimate for all, everywhere — including inside churches. If a baker’s “freedom of religion” does not involve the freedom to refuse to service faux weddings when selling cakes, the message is that this position is not seriously considered constitutionally protected. And this doesn’t change upon situating oneself in a pew.

This “compartmentalizing of constitutional rights” reflects two things. The first is the separation-of-church-and-state mentality, which, nurtured in the soil of secularism, has evolved into the Separation of Church and Everything Else. Any serious Christian who receives serious teaching is taught that you’re obligated to be Christian in all things and at all times; you cannot, for instance, lie to make money because “it’s business” and different rules supposedly apply. Yet many may go to church one hour a week but then leave the premises and imbibe the same decadent entertainment, use the same language and indulge many of the same habits as everyone else. And just as their “religion” is confined to that 1/168th of a week, so has our civilization embraced the supposition that “religion” should be compartmentalized and not bleed into other affairs. In fact, informed by a relativistic world view dictating there is no Truth and everything is merely a flavor of the day, many cannot even grasp how anyone could take faith seriously enough to apply it to everyday life. To these people, a worship service is some kind of bizarre encounter group, which they may be willing to tolerate, just barely, if it’s kept behind closed doors and out of their sight, as if it’s a sort of bathhouse.

So when someone would take one of the tenets of this strange, cryptic place and try to live by it 24/7, what could be the motivation? Since to the devout relativist there isn’t principle but only passion — feelings — it perhaps will seem incredible to him that a believer would take a difficult position out of principle. The relativist will instead exhibit that common failing of man and project, in his case his emotion-governed mindset onto others. And the only emotion he thinks could explain not wanting to service a faux wedding is hate, and, hey, it’s easy to justify persecution of the “hateful.”

The second thing reflected by this situation is that our Constitution has basically become a dead letter. When (mis)interpreting the document, judges, “picked out from the most dexterous lawyers…and having been biassed all their lives against truth and equity,” use “words multiplied for the purpose” to convince us “that white is black, and black is white,” as satirist Jonathan Swift put it. Thus do they find protection in the First Amendment for pornography, but not for bakers who don’t want to service faux weddings. Thus do they find it constitutional for the federal government to compel citizens to purchase health insurance. Thus do they claim having an abortion is a matter of the “right to privacy.” And thus do they aver that faux marriage must be legally recognized in the name of “equal protection.” If the Constitution could take human form and speak, she’d say she feels used, abused and manipulated, betrayed time and again by those sworn to be faithful to her, scorned by an America that increasingly prefers the Siren of Secular Statism. She would want a divorce.


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14 Responses to If Bakers Can be Forced to Service Faux Weddings, so Can Churches

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    Actually, the religious freedom laws are designed to allow religions to do certain things that would otherwise be forbidden. The original intent was to permit certain American Indian religions to smoke peyote in their rituals. It also can be used to permit Sikhs to wear turbans in certain places (such as when in military uniform, a decision that was recently made).

    An important difference between banning human sacrifice in (e.g.) neo-Aztec rituals or peyote in others, and forcing churches (or the religious) to participate in homosexual weddings, is the difference between banning actions and requiring actions — a very big difference. And I agree that eventually, if the Lavender Thought Police and their liberal allies aren’t stopped, churches will indeed be forced to perform homosexual weddings regardless of their beliefs.

  2. Rosalys says:

    That the day may come, when our churches are licensed and regulated the way they were in the old Soviet Union, is not an absurdity. Somewhere along the way, too many “religious” leaders made a deal with the lion to be the last ones eaten.

    • NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

      Yes, Leftism corrupts religion just as it corrupts everything else. The Catholic Bishops, for example, basically supported socialized medicine, embracing the Left’s idea that the government should “provide” health insurance for everyone. But government does not produce anything, and the Bishops found out the hard way that a government powerful enough to “provide” health insurance (meaning using force to compel someone else to provide that health insurance) is necessarily powerful enough to compel Church-sponsored institutions to provide insurance on the government’s terms, including mandatory coverage of contraceptives and abortifacients. Or perhaps I should say that the Bishops have received a demonstration of that fact without acknowledging it.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Ultimately, the problem is that too many in the Church refuse to see the difference between voluntary individual charity and forced public transfer payments. Note that Ebenezer Scrooge used the latter (and the taxes he paid for them) to justify his lack of personal charity.

  3. NAHALKIDES NAHALKIDES says:

    Actually, Selwyn, the limits of any right are easily understood when we remember the principle that no one can claim the “right” to infringe upon the rights of others. Thus, modern-day Druids may not practice human sacrifice under the “free exercise” clause because by doing so they would be violating the victims’ right to life.

    Now let’s apply that principle to the baking of cakes, the taking of photographs, etc. for a faux “wedding”. Since no one’s rights are violated when someone else refuses to do business with him, regardless of the reason, it follows that the “free exercise” clause is in full force and effect in this situation, and the Left is wrong to assert that their “law” trumps religious conviction. Here we run into the anti-discrimination laws, which eventually we’re going to have to change, since otherwise they obviously can and will be used to batter down our other rights.

    (As a matter of fact, there’s another issue here, for refusing to bake a same-sex “wedding” cake is not actually discrimination against gays, but it’s a complicated argument best saved for its own article).

    Tim raises the important distinction between actions forbidden by law and actions required by law. In a free society, there will be very few of the latter for the simple reason that the law exists to protect one man from taking an action that will violate another man’s rights (it’s very difficult to violate someone’s rights without taking some positive action). But until recently, very few positive actions were required, and those few that were (e.g. filing an income tax return) did not violate anyone’s conscience (odious as taxes are). In fact, great deference was shown to individual conscience in our laws (e.g. oaths not required of those whose beliefs forbade them from swearing them). But that is now rapidly changing.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      My view is that anti-discrimination laws are only justified when discrimination against a particular group is sufficient to make it virtually impossible for them to get employment, service, etc. That arguably was the case with blacks in much or all of the country; it is NOT the case with homosexuals today.

      Note that Orwell in 1984 pointed out that traditional authoritarian regimes (often religion-based) commanded “thou shalt not” whereas the more modern totalitarian regimes commanded “thou shalt”.

  4. SkepticalCynic SkepticalCynic says:

    Being the backwards fellow that I am, I believe that a person or business that pays its own way should have absolute say in who they will sell to and who they will not sell to. If you don’t sell to someone it is your own loss. However, if you should own an interest of any amount in a business you should have a right to speak your convictions concerning it. If the state or government owned a percentage of the business perhaps they would have a say as to who is served as well. Otherwise, they ought to be told to “shove it.”

    Most of us have no idea that we are owned by our Federal Government and respective state, county and city governments. It is a fact and you can choose to believe it or not. Contrary to what most people think, slavery has never even been close to being abolished.

    There, you can take that and five or ten dollars and buy a cup of coffee almost anywhere in the country.

  5. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Unlike the cowardly governor of Georgia, the current Mississippi governor has just signed into law a bill which gives businesses the right to decline service to homosexual couples.

    It is sad that such laws need to be passed in order to retain the rights of our citizens.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/04/05/mississippi-governor-signs-law-allowing-service-denial-to-gay-people.html?intcmp=hpbt3

  6. David Ray says:

    I wonder if that sweet elderly couple in Albany has forfeited their B&B home yet?
    The flaming trash coordinated their attack with pure venom. (They recorded every refusal for queer mariage so another legal charge could be levied.)

    Anyone else notice how all these cases erupted at once? Kinda like it was planned all along.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Anyone else notice how all these cases erupted at once? Kinda like it was planned all along.

      The whole push for the normalization of perversion has been coordinated and financed by several queer billionaires, amongst others. As I recall, one made his money from high tech and lives in Colorado and another inherited his money from a father who made his money in another industry. I can’t recall which.

      This is only part of the goal to destroy marriage as an institution. That goes back further as you will see from this piece, and a previous one, which I wrote some time back.

      http://www.stubbornthings.org/dont-need-stinkin-marriage-part-ii/

      • Timothy Lane says:

        The Demagogues basically took over Colorado a decade ago with money from 4 super-rich radicals, who may all have been homosexuals. That was certainly one issue they emphasized (to be precise, they complained about the Republicans acting on the issue instead of others). Another super-rich homosexual funded the successful challenge to a moderate New York Republican a few years later, again over the issue of freedom of perversion.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Another super-rich homosexual funded the successful challenge of a moderate New York Republican a few years later, again over the issue of freedom of perversion.

          I think the New York pervert is one of the grandchildren of the founder of the Stryker Medical company.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          As the victim this piece states, the queer lobby is very well organized. They have wormed their ways into all aspects of American life. In a sane society, they would be strongly rebuked.

          http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/05/19/college-boots-ex-delta-force-hero-after-complaint-from-lgbt-activists.html?intcmp=hphz05

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            They have wormed their ways into all aspects of American life. In a sane society, they would be strongly rebuked.

            I’m thinking of changing the masthead color at the top of the page from blue to pink. But it comes completely uncoerced. [Did I say all that right, Mr. Transgender Nice Guy? Don’t hurt me.]

            That article is more proof that all this gender-bending bullcrap isn’t about “sensitivity” to anyone. It’s simply a war on masculinity and normalcy.

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