Here’s the setup: a Colorado judge has ordered a Christian man and owner of a bakery that he must bake cakes for homosexual civil ceremonies (homosexual “marriage” is illegal in Colorado) or face fines.
This will please some of you, because you are in favor of so-called same-sex marriage and you feel that anybody who is against it deserves whatever he gets. But I imagine (or hoping) your support does not include the use of fallacious arguments. The question before us is, should a baker be allowed to refuse to bake cakes for those ceremonies which violate his religious practices?
According to the news report, an aggrieved pair denied a cake at a bakery filed a compliant with the government, part of which read. “Being denied service by Masterpiece Cakeshop was offensive and dehumanizing especially in the midst of arranging what should be a joyful family celebration. No one should fear being turned away from a public business because of who they are.”
It is irrational and childish to claim that being denied a slice of cake is “dehumanizing”. This is the complaint of a three-year-old forbidden to lick the icing bowl. If this part of the argument carries any weight with you, then you are lost.
How convincing is “No one should fear being turned away from a public business because of who they are”? Suppose a seven-year-old bellies up to the bar and asks for the shot of the water of life. Turning him away because of who he is would be wrong, if we accept this argument. What if a man ventures to a pharmacy and insists on being sold conception-prevention pills? Or what if a convicted serial child rapist insists on his “right” to wallow in those plastic balls at the local Chuck E Cheese? (And see this.) Clearly, we often and for good reason exclude people because of who they are. The question remains: does the baker have the right not to do business with those he does not wish to.
In steps the ACLU. They state, “While we all agree that religious freedom is important, no one’s religious beliefs make it acceptable to break the law by discriminating against prospective customers. No one is asking Masterpiece’s owners to change his beliefs, but treating gay people differently because of who they are is discrimination plain and simple.”
Whether or not the baker’s refusal is “breaking” the law is the matter before us, and recall same-sex “marriage” in Colorado is illegal. Discriminating against customers is what we have already decided is allowable in the right circumstances. The next statement is a pip: “No one is asking Masterpiece’s owners to change his beliefs…” But the ACLU is asking the baker to change his beliefs. The baker’s belief is that he should not serve cakes for services which violate his religious conscience. The ACLU insists the baker abandon this belief.
Next: “treating gay people differently because of who they are is discrimination plain and simple.” “Gay” people, or those who actual in a homosexual fashion, by their own admission, are different. And again, whether or not the baker can thus treat them differently than traditional, biological couples is the question before us. This argument assumes what it wishes to prove.
The final non sequitur came from the judge who ordered the baker to violate his religious beliefs. The news report summarizes it thusly:
Judge Spencer said Phillips did not demonstrate that his free speech rights had been violated and he said there’s no evidence that forcing him to make a cake for a same-sex ceremony would hurt his business.
“On the contrary, to the extent that the law prohibits Respondents’ (Phillips) from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, compliance with the law would likely increase their business by not alienating the gay community,” he wrote.
The judge, as many do, has confused morality with money and believes that more of the latter trumps any of the former. It is true, however, that if the baker sold cakes in opposition to his religious beliefs he would make more money. Perhaps he could charge thirty pieces of silver for each cake.
This argument is a non sequitur because the baker has already insisted that money is not his primary motivation: his religion is. It is obvious to everybody except the judge that the baker was willing to forgo extra money in order to protect his conscience. The judge—we are only surprised he is not from Chicago or Brooklyn—cannot differentiate the two concepts.
We’re left with nothing from this ruling, so we have to re-ask why does this couple’s “rights” trumps the baker’s Constitutionally guaranteed rights of practicing his religion? Should the baker be throw out of business or into jail for simply refusing to bake a cake?