Thursday, March 6, 2014

Are You Required to Serve Me?

A black man with a catering business should not be required to cater an event for the KKK. A gay woman with a photography business should not be required to photograph an event called "Stopping the Homosexual Agenda." If I ran a printing shop, I should not (white gentile that I am) have to provide any signs or any other materials for a neo-Nazi march against teaching the reality of the Holocaust.

Sometimes people object morally to something so much that they simply cannot in good conscience profit from it. It's not rejecting a person. If someone who was a KKK member walked into any restaurant, he'd be served. It's not about discriminating against people; it's about refusing to participate in an event. And that should be okay.

And in the examples I've given above, it is. There is no law (as far as I know) requiring a black man (or anyone else) to cater for the KKK.

But apparently a Christian can be forced to cater a same-sex wedding reception. And to take pictures. And to print programs. Next will people be required to attend the things?

Why can people be forced to do these things? Because homosexuals are a special, protected group. We're not, and we're not likely to be.

So what now?

People who have gotten in trouble have been open about their objections. You don't have to be. You can just refuse. "I don't have an availability there." Already scheduled? "I'm sorry, I have a conflict, I'm going to have to cancel."

Are they pressing for details? I don't know if this is an issue about which we can safely midwife them, but it's something to ponder.

But ultimately, we can do little. This society is simply going that way. So what, then?

The gospel.

Homosexuality has been embraced in our society alongside greed, covetousness, gluttony, and all kinds of sexual sins. It is not the disease. It is a symptom. As societies spiral down into sin, this rears its head. And this will only turn around if a society repents and turns to God. That's where we should focus our energy.


VinnyJH57 said...

Where do you draw the line? If a gay couple goes to a restaurant with a group of friends to celebrate an anniversary, is that an event in which the chef may refuse to participate?

I have some sympathy for the photographer who doesn't wish to photograph a gay wedding, but not much for a printer who refuses to do the programs or the invitations.

ChrisB said...

I don't know where to draw the line. Maybe there shouldn't be one. Maybe people should be allowed to be jerks. Businesses that are jerks to customers don't stay open long.

VinnyJH57 said...

Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. Prior to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many business that were jerks to black people were doing just fine.

ChrisB said...

The obvious difference being that Jim Crow was law. The free market wasn't a free market.

The other difference is we're not talking about racism. We're not talking about discrimination against people for who they are; we're talking about choosing not to participate in something they want to do.

VinnyJH57 said...

That the Jim Crow laws required them to be jerks to customers is true. On the other hand, the fact that they were able to stay in business while being jerks to those customers is also true. Moreover, those laws were not imposed from outside, but were enacted by elected representatives and had themselves proved impervious to market forces.

I am still curious though. Do you think that a restaurant should be able to refuse service to a gay couple who go out to dinner to celebrate their anniversary? Is that simply a case of the restaurateur choosing not to participate in something the gay couple wants to do?

ChrisB said...

I can't imagine why you would or how you'd even know, but in the end, I'm loathe to tell people how to run their businesses -- or lives, for that matter. This isn't about me telling people what they can't do; it's about people telling me what I have to do.

VinnyJH57 said...

Well, the way I see it in the end is that we live in a society and not everything is done exactly the way I would like it either. If a person operates a business, he wants the benefit of the laws, the courts, and the police, and other things that a society provides. What he may reasonably be required to do in return for those benefits is certainly open to debate, but that society may place some constraints on his actions doesn't trouble me.