ANTI-BIAS LAWS PERSECUTING CHRISTIAN BUSINESSES
By Rev. Ted Pike
17 Feb 14
Editor's Note: This is an update to my recent article at truthtellers.org, "Kansas State Reps: Religion Can Justify Anti-Gay Discrimination."
A recent FOX News article titled “Oregon Ruling Really Takes the Cake – Christian Bakery Guilty of Violating Civil Rights of Lesbian Couple” said:
The owners of a Christian bakery who refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple are facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines after they were found guilty of violating the couple’s civil rights.
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries said they found “substantial evidence” that Sweet Cakes by Melissa discriminated against the lesbian couple and violated the Oregon Equality Act of 2007, a law that protects the rights of the LGBT community.
Last year, the bakery’s owners refused to make a wedding cake for Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman, of Portland, citing their Christian beliefs. The couple then filed a complaint with the state…
The backlash against Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of the bakery, was severe. Gay rights groups launched protests and pickets outside the family’s store. They threatened wedding vendors who did business with the bakery. And, Klein told me, the family’s children were the targets of death threats.
The family eventually had to close their retail shop and now operate the bakery out of their home. They posted a message vowing to stand firm in their faith…
This is not the only recent case of Christian business owners being criminalized for refusing to serve homosexuals. FOX News continues:
In December, a Colorado baker was ordered by a judge to either serve gay weddings or face fines. New Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled in August that two Christian photographers Elaine and John Huguenin [must photograph homosexuals and thus] were ‘compelled by the law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.'
How did such statutes from hell become law in dozens of US states? After passage of its federal hate crimes bill in 2009, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the Jewish Anti-Defamation League boasted that “Our legal experts pioneered hate crime laws and work to implement them nationwide." ("Problems to Solutions: Building a Better World, ADL Annual Report," adl.org) In 1971 ADL’s northern branches, B'nai B'rith Canada and the Canadian Jewish Congress, similarly persuaded Parliament to pass their federal hate crimes law. It has indicted many Christians, including a printer who refused to print wedding invitations for homosexuals. His business was bankrupted with $175,000 in legal fees.
State Lawmakers Buck “Anti-Bias” Laws
Increasingly, Republican state lawmakers are introducing legislation that responds to criminalization of Christian business owners who refuse to cooperate with the homosexual lifestyle. Such legislation, which has been introduced in Kansas and Arizona, gives Christian business owners the right to refuse to perform such services to homosexuals because it would violate their religious convictions. H.B. 2453, which passed the Kansas House of Representatives strongly, would have also given government and public service employees such rights of noncooperation. But it has been discontinued by Kansas Republican leadership, primarily because of the objection that a public employee, such as a policeman or fireman, should be obligated to assist anyone without regard to sexual orientation.
Abandonment of this bill is unfortunate. It should be reintroduced, keeping the provision that privately owned businesses, including motels and apartment rentals, be given the right of refusal to serve homosexuals. Arizona has recently passed a similar bill which emphasizes the right of private property owners, rather than public employees, to say "No" to homosexual customers.
Predictably, liberals and the ACLU, largely responsible for shutting down the Kansas bill, are loudly proclaiming the Arizona bill will stimulate discrimination, as in the pre-civil rights South. As a result, Gov. Jan Brewer could decline to sign it unless lovers of freedom come more loudly to its defense.
In this article I explain why it is so vital that every encouragement and effort be made to keep these freedom-saving initiatives alive and promote similar efforts in other states.
Background of "Anti-Bias" Laws
Largely through programs such as Affirmative Action and hiring quotas, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave black Americans superior rights and advantages over whites. In businesses of 15 or more employees, it gave the same privileges to homosexuals, primarily by stimulating state anti-discrimination laws which made it illegal for American business owners of any size of company to refuse to hire or to fire LGBT applicants because of “who they are.” Such laws also criminalized any refusal of service to homosexuals on this basis.
“Gay rights” really mean a superior legal status that does not honor the religious convictions of employers or business owners or the age-old American right of business owners to "refuse service to any customer at any time for any reason."
Can “Right to Refuse Service” Laws Withstand Judicial Review?
Even if the Kansas and Arizona bills become law, could they withstand powerful attempts by ADL and the liberal media and legal establishment to overthrow them on appeal? Such bills threaten to reestablish rights ADL has undermined through its bias-crime legal and propaganda program in western nations over the past half century. These bills boldly say it is permissible for privately owned businesses to be biased against homosexuals. They wholesomely point a legal system gone far astray back toward the traditional Constitutional right of all property owners to use their property and businesses as they wish, refusing sale or services to anyone they please.
If such a policy is offensive to some, the First Amendment, in effect, replies: Let the public, through free speech and expression of bad publicity and boycott punish the discriminator, not the government!
The Constitution never envisioned the state as an avenger of those deprived of their "right" to goods and jobs created by others. That is socialism at its basest.
Reviving a Constitutional View of Property Ownership
Passage of these bills is an excellent opportunity to begin to roll back hate and bias crimes statutes, including ADL’s federal hate crimes law. For the first time on the state legislature level, a major clash looms between the entrenched bias-crime legal system and private property liberties enjoyed before 1964.
The gulf between these two systems is vast. The fair housing and employment provisions of the Civil Rights Act imply that business owners really do not own their businesses but must allow government-exalted classes to benefit from them through jobs and services. Traditional law, however, says a man's business is his own, protected from public or government intrusion (except upon court order and probable cause). He is entitled to post a “No shoes, no service” sign in his business, discriminating against people who like to walk barefoot. The business owner can also put up another saying, “This business has the right to refuse services to anyone, homosexuals in particular!”
Does this seem reminiscent of signs in buses and lunch counters in the Jim Crow segregationist South? Perhaps. But the increasing aggressiveness and harshly punitive efforts of homosexual activists and “human rights” divisions of state governments to prosecute, fine, and even put out of business Christian entrepreneurs who defy intimidation by homosexuals is also very reminiscent. It strongly reminds of the Christian-persecuting policies of the old Soviet Union and present day Communist China and North Korea!
Of course, every effort is being made among Kansas and Arizona Republican lawmakers to find a workable compromise between their bills and the ADL/Civil Rights Act bias crimes systems which give virtual rights of enjoyment of our property to protected groups. But compromise is workable only to a certain point. We are either free or servants of the state. Statism says we do not really possess our land, wealth, or businesses, andthey should eventually become property of the state for the good of the masses. Yet the government, phony "civil liberties" fronts like ADL and their specially protected groups did not invest perhaps a lifetime of blood, sweat, and tears acquiring and maintaining businesses we own. And it is the law of God and nature, as Jesus said in the parable of the vineyard owner (Matt. 20:15), that we may do with what is ours as we will, as long as we do so justly.
What You Can Do
You can assist revival of workplace freedom in America. First, call, email, or fax Gov. Jan Brewer telling her you support S.B. 1062 and asking her to sign it.
Second, wherever you live, educate your state representatives concerning the vital need to return to the Constitution-based protection of personal property and religious freedom. Call them in support of "right to refuse service" legislation. Send them this article. It will help give a broader, yet more focused perspective to courageous Republican lawmakers trying to do the right thing.
The government does not have the right to force a Christian or anyone to do what they sincerely believe is wrong. The US government has in times past shown itself quite capable of providing exemptions to religious groups. For example, Amish and Hasidic Jews are considered "conscientious objectors" and exempt from military service. State governments could as easily provide "refusal to provide service" exemptions to Christians not only in business but in most professions including public service and government. The medical establishment shows the way: Christians voluntarily agree with the code of their profession to help all in a medical/psychiatric way regardless of their sexual orientation, but many hospitals allow Christian doctors and nurses to abstain from participating in abortions or prescribing abortifacient drugs. Concessions are also made for Christian pharmacists.
If it were not for the liberal bias crime agenda of actively forcing Christians to violate their consciences to please the state and its bias/hate crimes agenda, the Kansas and Arizona "right to refuse service" bills could easily pass. Certainly, they would be more logical, Constitutional, and considerate than the opposite totalitarian position advocated by many state governments: that a Christian must violate his conscience by condoning homosexuals or face dire punishment.