Temperance Lecture by Edward Edmondson, Jr. (1830–1883)
Temperance Lecture by Edward Edmondson, Jr. (1830–1883)

Moderation in all things. — Terence (from here)

I have a commenter, novascout (or scout, depending upon his mood), who is confused about litmus tests.

litmus test (noun)

  1. Chemistry. the use of litmus paper or solution to test the acidity or alkalinity of a solution.
  2. a crucial and revealing test in which there is one decisive factor.

With respect to our judgement of politicians, the second definition is relevant.

left a string of comments on DO LIBERAL DEMOCRATS REALLY THINK THEY ARE TOLERANT? starting here. That post is about a court decision that supports punishing a baker for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex “marriage.” In his first comment  took issue with my application of a litmus test.

Tell me more about the Judge. How do you know that he’s a “liberal Democrat”? Did you research his history before you wrote the post? Does he have a track record of importing liberal Democrat ideas into his dispensation of justice? Did you read the decision to see how it tracks with relevant precedent on the point, in Colorado or elsewhere? (continued here)

Based upon the fact that the “Judge” had supported punishing a baker for refusing to participate in a same-sex wedding, I labeled that “Judge” a Liberal Democrat. That is, I used the issue of forcing business people to participate in religious ceremonies they think abhorrent as a litmus test. Is my litmus test appropriate? Here are the relevant facts.

  • The Colorado Court of Appeals has 22 members.  Three sat as judges on the case, and I know almost nothing about them.
  • Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution of Colorado says the following:

    Religious freedom. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination, shall forever hereafter be guaranteed; and no person shall be denied any civil or political right, privilege or capacity, on account of his opinions concerning religion; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be construed to dispense with oaths or affirmations, excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the good order, peace or safety of the state. No person shall be required to attend or support any ministry or place of worship, religious sect or denomination against his consent. Nor shall any preference be given by law to any religious denomination or mode of worship.

    Marriage has huge religious significance.

  • Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution of Colorado says the following:

    Marriages – valid or recognized. Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state.

  • The movement for the approval of same-sex “marriage” has come primarily from the courts. In spite of our government-run, secularized public schools and a Liberal Democrat dominated mass media, the People in various states have repeatedly voted against same-sex “marriage.” There is absolutely no constitutional basis for a “right” to same-sex “marriage.” The people who wrote the U. S. Constitution obviously never intended any such thing. To make it happen, judges violated their oath of office and lied. Oath-breaking is highly intemperate, extreme behavior.
  • After “evolving” (most would call it lying) during Obama administration, the Liberal Democrat party now adamantly supports same-sex “marriage.” How do people change their minds that fast? Democrats have reconsidered the situation. They looked at where their campaign funds are coming from. They looked at the beliefs of the people in the mass media. They put their fingers up in the air.
  • Republicans still strongly oppose same-sex “marriage.” Even RINOs, while they may waffle on the issue, have not come out in favor of it.

So why did I decide “the judge” is a Liberal Democrat? Temperance is a virtue. Therefore, we should not judge the views of others too readily. However, when a politician or a political appointee holds a radically intemperate view (an extreme view), we have a litmus test. Punishing someone for refusing to bake a cake, prepare flowers, cater, and so forth in support of a religious belief they find abhorrent is extreme. In fact, we rightly call forcing someone to serve someone else involuntary servitude. That is a fancy way of speaking about slavery.

Those in support of same-sex “marriage” don’t know when to stop. Even after getting away with abusing our legal system and getting what they say they wanted, a “right” to “marry,” they still are not happy. They have to punish anyone who expresses disapproval their “right.” Just to silence their critics, they would participate in the complete destruction of our republic. Don’t they understand that without freedom of conscience, freedom to believe and practice our own religious beliefs, their “right” to marry becomes meaningless.

The animal needing something knows how much it needs, the man does not. — Democritus (from here)

Those advocating same-sex “marriage” proclaim themselves caring and understanding. In reality, they are simply intemperate.

We need water? Without water, we die of thirst. Too much and we drown.

We need food. Without food, we starve. Too much, and we grow fat. We can even acquire certain debilitating and painful diseases like gout.

We feel the need for sexual intercourse, but unless we discipline that need, it destroys our relationships and our bodies.

Look at our government. Has it not become a disaster in the making? Why?

  • We need laws. Without laws, the strong prey upon the weak until all are subjected to tyranny of the mighty. But too many laws, and we are en-shackled again. Only this time, it is by our own design.
  • We need government spending. Without some government spending, we will not have the military forces we need to protect our sovereignty. Without some government spending, we will not have the police forces and the courts we need to protect us from each other. Too much spending on things our government should not even be doing, however, just drives us into bankruptcy and poverty.

Too many laws and too much government spending. That is the price we pay for voting for intemperate Liberal Democrats.

34 thoughts on “LITMUS TEST

  1. To : re your 0746 comment:

    1. The Colorado judges didn’t “make” the law. They simply applied existing law.

    2. No one is forced to “recognize” same sex marriages. That’s very much up to the individual. Some people think same sex marriage a good thing, some don’t and some don’t give a hoot. I’m not sure why we would even look to the Constitution (I assume in this instance you’re speaking of the federal Constitution) for such authority, given that no on is being “forced to recognize ” same sex marriage or any such thing. There are provisions in the federal Constitution, however, that impose limits or requirements on state governments. These limits include according full faith and credit to the actions of other states and extending equal protection of the laws to all citizens. Thus while neither you nor I are “forced to recognize” the validity, wisdom, or theological merit of a same sex marriage, our state government cannot withhold, under the recent Obergefel decision, a license for same-sex couples while granting it to a two-sex couple.

    3. Private businessmen have a lot of latitude about who they serve and who they don’t. Hence Insanitybytes “no shirt/no shoes” example. A dramshop operator doesn’t have to serve a drunk. A barber doesnt have to cut the hair of someone with rampant ringworm, No doubt any merchant could chuck out someone acting boisterously and disturbing other customers. At the federal level, however, because we had a lot of direct experience in the mid-20th century with public accommodations being refused certain classes of people (did I mention to you, for example, this guy in Georgia . . . ?), we enacted laws, largely rooted in the federal Commerce power, that forbade discrimination in establishments affecting interstate commerce. Keith put up an informative comment on that the other day, perhaps in the other thread. You might want to take a look at that. Many states, including Colorado, have parallel state statutes. These types of statutes do constrain a merchant who purveys good to the public at large from arbitrary exclusions of customers. I am not familiar with all of these state (and, I suppose even some local ordinances) proscriptions, but I am aware that legal challenges on Constitutional grounds to the federal restrictions and related civil rights statutes have failed.



    1. scout

      You are just spouting nonsense.
      1. The judges applied existing law? Law that says two people of the same-sex can marry and marriage has no religious significance? Those laws have been around for ages and ages.
      2. No one is forced to recognize same-sex “marriage?” Then bakers, caters, florists, and whoever else homosexual rights activists can try to intimidate don’t have a problem. State that voted against this nonsense don’t have to recognize same-sex marriages? Then what is the point?
      3. Private businessmen have a lot of latitude? Yeah. When they run their businesses, they just have to hire a lawyer so they can figure out the government’s rules, how the government wants them to run “their” business.


      1. 1. If we’re talking about the Colorado decision, which I assume we are, the law being applied is the state anti-dsicrimination law. If we’re talking about the Obergefel decision from the Supreme Court, we’re talking about the Constitution, which has been around for a long time, if not ages.
        2. You’re quite right on this point. Bakers, Caterers, florists, etc, don’t have a problem. They don’t have to recognize same-sex marriages. They can consider them an abomination, they can consider them a mortal sin, they can think they’re a great advance of civilization. It’s up to them. We’re only talking about constraints on state governments in the recent jurisprudence. In no state is “recognition” by a florist, a baker, a caterer required to validate a marriage. I’m glad you can finally put your fevered musings to rest on this point.
        3. I f your point is that we have a lot of regulations and that it is sometimes vexing the degree to which businessmen have to tend to legalisms to ensure that they are in compliance with the various laws that affect them, I would agree, to an extent. This is a chronic problem in advanced democratic societies and we need to support efforts to find ways of simplifying these regulatory burdens in order to permit commerce and individual initiative to flourish. But must do so in a way that protects fundamental constitutional values and liberties of all citizens.


  2. Ooops. Checked again. It looks like our agreement is only conceptual, but has no application to the Colorado case. I went back and looked at the case and did some collateral reading to see if there were hidden facts that somehow had not appeared in the decision or news accounts. I’m coming up completely empty. The baker was only refusing to sell a cake and had not been dragooned into participating in the religious ceremony. Obviously, he cannot self-exempt himself from the state’s anti-desicrimination laws by invoking religious principles. I suppose he might argue that in his religion, selling cakes is a religious ritual or activity, but this guy professed to be a Christian. While there are scads of Christian sects that believe in a wide variety of things, I’m hard pressed to find any in which cake selling is a religious rite. I have been to scores of weddings over the years, spanning many Christian denominations, and I have never seen any religious wedding rite that featured cake selling or even cake eating. (Church bake sales don’t count, so let me head that one off before it gets started). So I think we can find, in the abstract, agreement that we do not permit people to be forced into participating in or officiating at a religious ceremony to which they object and in which they do not wish to be involved. That seems obvious. However, those facts were not present in the Colorado baker case.



    1. All that effort spent on weak sarcasm is the best you can do? If you are trying to behave like a troll, you are failing miserably.

      Are we a nation under the rule of law, or are we a nation ruled by whimsical judges craftily selected by scheming politicians? Can you show that government rightly has the authority to force private business people to serve customers they do not want? Then why don’t you do so?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You know, the ultimate “litmus test” for a judge should really be the law. It’s really considered impropriety in other judicial position, with the exception of the Supreme Court. Even in my dinky little county when one runs for judge it must be a non partisan position and judges tend to steer clear of judicial questions, because it reveals a bias that can be used against them later in a trial. Revealing whether they are for or against medical marijuana for example, can cause them to need to recuse themselves from any cases involving those laws. A conviction can go to appeal because it was later discovered that the judge had once disclosed how he would rule on such an issue. In theory he is supposed to have no idea how he will rule because every case is supposed to be weighed against the law.

        It’s so bizarre that our highest courts in the land no longer even try to follow suit. This is becoming more and more common in our world however, the rules and standards we hold dear only apply to the little people.


        1. Little people? I think Liberal Democrats fantasize they are one of the big people. Hence, they ignore the consequences of giving the government more and more power.

          The more power we give our government the less it is our government. The more money our leaders spend the more they spend our their own designs for power. The more laws we have the more the law only applies to little people who need to be controlled. More laws give the powerful more power, more power to manipulate the system.

          Look at Hilliary Clinton. If any ordinary government employee tried to conduct official business on their own private server, with the first whiff they were guilty of any such behavior they would lose their clearance. the government would seize the server in a heartbeat. The notion that any ordinary government employee would be allowed to decide which emails were personal and need not be given investigators is simply absurd.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. The rule of law principle here is that we have anti-dsicrimination laws at the state and federal level. These cover commercial establishments engaged in commercial trades. The issue presented by the Colorado case and similar cases elsewhere has very little to do with same sex marriage. The issue is whether people can opt out of a system of laws by invoking their individual takes on religious views. The short answer is that they of course can, but, because we are a nation of laws, not men, there are sometimes consequences of such willful disobedience such as fines and penalties. There is no rule of law in a system that permits citizens to self-exempt on their own motion, however sincerely rooted in particular beliefs.

        Of course, the issue in this and the previous post is the blithe equation of judicial decisions against self-exemption with “Liberal Democrats”. I find the principle that we obey the law, work to change those with which we disagree, and accept the consequences of civil disobedience when core principles are involved to be an essentially “conservative” principle that reflects respect for law, respect for our liberties, and respect for life in a democratic Republic founded by geniuses with a penchant for ordered civilization that places high value on religious liberty.



        1. For the most part, I will go with Keith comment (here => I will just add these thoughts.
          1. When judges just make up the law, we don’t have the rule of law. At best we have a tug-of-war.
          2. You cannot show where the Constitution grants government the power to force anyone to recognize same-sex marriages.
          3. You cannot show where the Constitution grants government the power to force private businessmen to serve customers they do not wish to serve.


    2. You are intentionally overlooking the entire basis of the case — that Masterpiece objected to preparing a cake (including congratulatory messages) for a ceremony that they objected to for religious reasons.

      The same opinion noted in a footnote that gay bakers could (and did) refuse to make cakes for Christians if the cake included Biblical messages; the court approved the ruling that this could certainly be refused with no threat of discrimination suit if the gay bakers described the Biblical verses as “offensive.”

      The court refused to consider that Biblical verses are “inextricably associated with” Christians in the way that same-sex marriage is “inextricably associated with” homosexuals. The fact that the bakers were willing to serve the homosexual patrons in all other respects besides this participation in the religious ceremony did not impress them.

      But you continue to pretend that this isn’t what happened. You actually ought to read this case, rather than constantly trolling about it as if you knew what you were talking about. I can provide you a copy if you need it.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I read the case last week, thank you, Keith.

        There may be a distinction between making/selling a cake and writing a message on the cake. The latter sounds more like speech. I would think a closer case would be one where a baker says, “here’s your cake, but I can’t bring myself to write “God Loves Same Sex Marriage on the top”, You can do it yourself or take to someone else for that finishing touch.

        But I very much doubt that the cake was part of a religious ceremony, any more than the jumbo shrimp was (here I speculate as to the reception menu). I’ve never been to a wedding where cake was involved in the religious ceremony.

        Again, because such confusion reigns around this subject in this space – my views expressed here are views that emanate from my objection to the idea that citizens can self exempt themselves from the application of laws based on the invocation of self-described religious beliefs. I find that an anarchical principle, whether it’s applied to cake selling, left turn on red, tax compliance, or murder. I think you and Tom might have concerns about a self-exemption concept in other scenarios. Thus I have asked Tom to elucidate what the limiting principle might be.

        The correct responses to conscience concerns in any aspect of religious, moral or ethical principles colliding with law include: changing the law through democratic processes, compliance with the law until a new line of work can be found, or defiance of the law through civil disobedience, with the full appreciation and understanding that there will be penalties.



  3. BTW, Insanitybyte’s comment @1514 reminds me of this guy in Georgia in the 1960s who made a huge deal of not serving African Americans at his restaurant and stood with a bunch of his goon friends holding axe handles to show that they would not be cowed into . . . . Oh, never mind.


  4. I think Keith may have cleared everything up and we can all agree. In the other thread, and to some extent here, he is informing us that the baker not only refused to sell a cake, he also refused to participate in a religious ceremony to which he objected. Now, I had not been aware of that, the court decision made no mention of it, and had I known that, I would have been more aligned with Keith and Tom. Clearly, one cannot be forced to preside over or participate in religious ceremonies to which one objects (or even that one just doesn’t want to spend any time on). I have no doubt that this injustice will quickly be remedied and it will be made clear that Mr. Philips doesn’t have to participate in the religious rites of the same sex couple. I think that case is pretty much cut and dried.

    What puzzles me, however, is why this didn’t come our until now. The court decision and all the discussion in the press about it, including the links Tom provided, made it sound as though the baker was refusing commerce with the same sex couple, not refusing to participate in a religious ceremony. I think that is a key fact that has apparently escaped almost everyone other than the sharp-eyed Keith.



  5. let me get this straight… even from a conservative Christian perspective who once thought as you do now…
    so the religious business owner has the freedom to discriminate against publically serving any potential patron for any reason as long as he has a religious conviction against doing so? and rather than prosecuting him for that discrimination, whatever it may be, government should be used to defend and even promote that discrimination as his constitutional right to do so? possibly even prosecuting those who would disagree for violating ‘his’ constitutional Civil Rights?

    you would have been a load of fun in Alabama back in the 50’s and 60’s. southern Christian democrats were arguing exactly that as they opposed the civil rights acts. remember that throughout the earlier history of the united states and so called western civilization, blacks and other “mud races” were often not even considered human in the same way as Caucasian Europeans. so apart from the ‘Gay rights’ issues of whether they are born this way or just behaving this way… I think your interpretation of the shop owners Right to Discriminate is too broad a brush stroke against the Right of the Patron not to be publically Discriminated against, and completely minimizes or ignores the Responsibility of Society and Government to Protect such Patron FROM such public discrimination.

    “Left Handers Unite!!”


    1. Are you confusing not serving someone with not participating in a religious ceremony?

      And are you confusing the rules against discrimination by reason of specific items (race, religion, sex and nation of origin) with a general ban on discrimination for any reason whatsoever?

      Both of these positions are not supported in law, though they may be asserted by the odd judge.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Preparing a cake is not always participating in a religious ceremony. But we were not talking about all those other occasions; they raise no issues.

          We were talking specifically about preparing a cake for a marriage. And many Christian conservatives consider marriage to be a sacred, religious ceremony — that they have strong objections to helping this ceremony be perverted to a use they find appalling. I am not among them; I am a lifelong non-theist. I do have other concerns about the process. But I am keenly aware of the religious freedom enshrined in what became our First Amendment, the same protection that allows Sikhs to carry daggers in even the most secure weapons-prohibited facilities in the US. Your left-handed judge may not understand it, nor agree, but carrying a sharp knife at all times is important to Sikhs for religious reasons, and those reasons have been upheld repeatedly.

          Note that the businesspeople in question are not protesting in front of gay marriages demanding to end the practice, or prevent others from serving the ceremonies. Nor do they object to serving the individuals. Instead, they merely request not to be forced to participate in the ceremony.

          The left hates this, and fiercely attacks them — it is part of the left’s general campaign against tolerance. It is why Democrats have teams to attack gays and blacks and destroy their careers … if they’re conservatives. There is no counterpart to this on the Republican side.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 1 person

    2. @mike

      Put the shoe on the other foot. The issue isn’t whether the private business owner is making a “good” decision as you see it. The issue is whether one person has the right to decide for another. Does the government, acting on behalf, have the right to force one person to provide a service for another person? Nobody has yet to demonstrate the need for such laws. That’s because there never was any. Instead, they scream discrimination. I like chocolate ice cream. I discriminate against the makers of vanilla ice cream. Are you going to throw me in jail? Are you going to force me to buy Neapolitan ice cream.

      Consider who we a talking about. We are talking about The Almighty Government. We expect our politicians to make The People do the right thing, discriminate properly? The government? Run by people we don’t trust? The government is always right? Since when? Did the government enforce slavery? Did the government conduct the Salem witch trials? Did the government throw Japanese Americans in concentration camps? Don’t you realize the examples are endless?

      When the free market already provides a penalty for dumb decisions, anti-discriminations laws are just recipe for an abuse of power. They also presume a degree of legislative and judicial wisdom that does not exist. Look at all the ludicrous example you and novascout concocted. It can easily get more stupid. In fact, trying force someone who doesn’t like what you are doing to cook a cake for you and your friends to eat is just about as dumb as it gets.


      1. speaking of other feet… even if we believe homosexuality is a choice, it may be seen as the same kind of choice made by those who accept a particular faith tradition.
        so then what would you say if the particular ‘butcher, baker or candlestick maker’ chose not to serve muslims, Buddhists, or Christians for instance because doing so would go against his deeply and sincerely held beliefs in say Shiva or Vishnu and he didn’t want to lend his support to their false ‘chosen’ lifestyles by providing services?
        it wouldn’t be a matter of government imposing to force said baker to service against his will and beliefs, it would be a matter of unlawful discrimination against the firmly and sincerely held beliefs of the patrons. that’s what I hear the gay community really thinks to be the issue.
        would you stand for discrimination of that kind against your Christian beliefs in whether a Flower Shop provided flowers for your wedding?


        1. @mike
          You are just asking the same question over and over again. There are appropriate laws and their are laws that are just plain wrongheaded and stupid.

          It was unlawful to teach slaves how to read the Bible. It was unlawful for Jesus to cure people on Sunday. It was unlawful for the American colonists not to pay their taxes to the king, even though they had no representation.

          People, any one of us may at times do something we should not do. Someone might even flush the toilet more than they should (or even eat meat), but only a silly busybody wants to make a law against every stupid thing someone might do wrong.

          The simple solution for most cases of wrongful discrimination is market competition. When a businessman foolishly chooses to refuse a customer, the customer has lost nothing. He simply goes somewhere else.

          Problems arise when the government discriminates wrongfully. That’s why the Constitution prevents the government from discriminating by race, sex, or creed. When the government discriminates, we cannot go anywhere else. The Almighty Government permits no competition.


          1. I’m reasonably sure you would regard that kind of ‘discrimination as ‘religious persecution’ and you may be right. self correcting by the free market or not, it’s and illegal form of discrimination in my opinion.


        2. @mike, who wrote:

          would you stand for discrimination of that kind against your Christian beliefs in whether a Flower Shop provided flowers for your wedding?

          This is already the law of the land. Gays can, as reaffirmed in the Colorado case at issue, refuse to bake cakes containing Biblical verses if those verses strike the gays as offensive. The implication is that gays have the “that offends me” defense that trumps the Constitution.

          I say again, the issue at hand is not refusing service to persons, it is refusing to be forced into participating in or supporting same-sex weddings. None of these cases are on refused service, and all assert that they’d be happy to provide service for any other purpose besides what they feel is profaning a religious ceremony. The court ruled that since same-sex weddings are “associated with” sexual orientation (which is an issue in Colorado, though this is not universal), they cannot be refused — but that Biblical verses are not “associated with” Christianity.

          What you describe as a potential problem is self-correcting. Either the businessperson preferring not to serve the majority of people will develop a small, exclusive clientèle, or will go out of business. The only reason the government laws were enacted to combat racial discrimination is that government laws had previously been enacted to force it into place on a widespread, pervasive basis, and the early 20th century population were retrained to this new “normal.”

          I grew up working in stores with bathrooms and water fountains segregated into “whites” and “coloreds.” The laundry baskets here are marked this way, but the person originating those labels had no idea of the history involved.

          We’ve mentioned Woodrow Wilson in the context of re-instilling racism in people. The now-banned film Birth of a Nation was famously given a private screening at the Wilson White House that was big news of the day. If you were to watch it yourself, you would see that this subtitled silent film is full of on-screen quotations that these Ku Klux Klan filmmakers considered inspirational writing: The quotes of Woodrow Wilson.

          To me, Wilson’s ugly work is broader than that: He’s also the first American president actively advocating to end the US Constitution as having outlived its usefulness.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 1 person

  6. To intervene and mandate that a business owner must compromise his own beliefs and accommodate the feelings of others is a violation of that man’s rights. It is his business and he has a right to serve or not serve any customer as he sees fit. In a restaurant it may be “no shirt, shoes, no service,” in a bar it may be that you are too obnoxious and intoxicated.Perhaps you don’t want unattended children in your pottery shop? Regardless, no one is entitled to the service of another and to mandate such things crosses a line. How do we know that judge is a liberal democrat? Because only a liberal democrat is capable of violating someone’s rights and trying to pass it off as tolerance and freedom.

    Do you know what Jusitice Scalia did once? He ruled against religious petitioners and in favor of the gay rights lobby over a case in which people wanted to sign anti-gay marriage petitions anonymously. Those signing the petition claimed they were victims of intolerance and needed to protect themselves from retaliation. Scalia wrote a rather scathing opinion about how this was the land of the brave and the home of the free, not a land that must cater to the whims of people with hurt feelings over intolerance.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. To supplement Mike’s question, I’ll go back to the query I offered in my comment on the other thread (to which you have generously dedicated this post): Suppose a merchant professes to believe that it is doctrinal anathema in his religion not to have dealings with left-handed people. Can he then exempt himself from application of Colorado state law (or, if one prefers, federal public accommodations laws or the similar laws of other states) on religious freedom grounds? Of course, the first reaction is that his religious belief is silly, and it certainly seems so from the outside looking in. But, to this shopkeeper, let’s suppose that the belief is sincerely held. The extremity of the example suggests that your view of whether people should be able to self-exempt from the Rule of Law on self-professed religious grounds raises questions of how the courts would manage those types of cases. Would the courts have to assay the theological soundness of a person’s views? Would they have to determine whether the guy opting out of the law’s coverage was sincere or just joshing? Would we need religious courts to conduct those sorts of inquiries? If so, would they need to be sectarian, so that Hindu beliefs were being tested by Hindu judges, Mormons by Mormons, Baptists by Baptists etc.? It also suggests that your view is selective – you are for self-exemption if you happen to agree with the religious position, but that you might feel otherwise if it were a belief that you found puzzling or antithetical to your own system of beliefs. Stated yet another way, where do you draw your limits on this concept that we can opt out of application of a law based on some idea about our religious views. Christianity says nothing doctrinal (to my knowledge) about cake-selling. But who am I to tell Mr. Phillips (the Colorado baker) that I don’t think his view on the limits of commerce has sound theological foundations?

    The obvious answer, it seems to me, consistent with living in a democratic, ordered society, is that we obey the law, and work for its change if we think it unwise. If our religious scruples forbid us compliance, we accept that we will pay a penalty for our non-compliance and perhaps decide that we need find lines of work that do not require us to violate our religious beliefs. This is an honored option in our society.

    As to your equation of the judge (or the three judges) in the Colorado case being a “Liberal Democrat”, your post concedes that you have no idea. The point worth keeping in play in the interests of reasoned thinking is that there is nothing inherently “Liberal Democrat” about the Colorado decision. “conservative” judges, some of considerable renown, have used similar reasoning. Here, the judges weren’t opining on the merits or lack of merits of same sex marriages, they were applying the Colorado anti-dsicrimination law to a refusal of a merchant to serve particular customers. So your idea that they were somehow acting “intemperately” and thus must be Liberal Democrats (as if modern “conservatives” are always models of temperate behavior), doesn’t hold water. When I finally got around to looking at the Court’s decision, it seem a fairly routine tracking of strict application of an existing law to a set of facts that was not in dispute.

    Finally, as an afterthought, although it probably doesn’t need mentioning to most people, is the point that the whole same-sex marriage issue in the courts had nothing to do with religious marriages. Each religion, each denomination, each sect, remains and always will remain under the Constitution free to determine who it deems eligible for religious marriage and who it does not. The only issue before the courts was the dispensation of state legal status through the device of civil marriage licenses, a purely secular exercise. Your post seems to conflate religious and civil marriage functions in a way that neglects the solid fact that no religion is required to marry any couple it does not deem eligible to marry under the tenets of that particular faith.



    1. @novascout –

      I am not going to answer every objection you raised. You have a habit of needling and inferring what was not said.

      What I said to mike (here => for the most part answers your first paragraph.

      I have no idea why you think it is necessary for judges to deal with all these off-the-wall hypothetical problems. So what? If someone is asking for a legitimate service, someone else will provide it. If not, someone is probably asking someone else to do something very, very, very bad. Should their feelings be hurt when people say no? Why not?

      Am I biased? Yes. Judges willing to violate their oath of office, however, are totally objective. Right?

      Where do I draw my limits? I am willing to mind my own business, and I don’t consider it my business to force private business people to serve people they do not want to serve. As I have made clear, government has no charter to force private business people to serve customers they do not want. As insanitybytes22’s examples demonstrate (here =>, business people don’t even need to show a religious objection.

      Can you show that government rightly has the authority to force private business people to serve customers they do not want? Then why didn’t you do so?

      Why the focus on the protection of religious liberties. This shows the seriousness of the problem. Our government is willing to to violate even our religious liberties. Where do you draw a limit? As far as I can tell, you don’t.

      You say you are a Christian. Then you should know your “obvious answer” is going to force some people out of business and for no good reason. Read => The apostles preached in direct violation of prohibitions set by the authorities. They paid with their lives. I suspect some business people will consider the lost of their business a relatively small price.


  8. honest question here, also from a Christian POV (albeit changing from day to day)
    just for argument sake, what if our faith (or someone elses for that matter) motivated us as Christian businessmen to discriminate against and not do anything that might support the legitimacy of Shinto or Buddhist weddings?
    in the NT paul clearly says that all other gods are idols, and when people offer to these idols they are in fact offering to demons. so we could, by extension, say we refuse to bake a cake, provide flowers or photography services to ‘demonic’ other religious weddings too.
    three questions:
    would this be valid discrimination under federal law?
    would we be able to defend this under the ‘free exercise’ clause of the 1st amendment?
    or would we be ‘forced’ to participate or lose or freedom to operate our business either by the government shutting us down or our voluntary withdrawl?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @mike –

      What if somebody did something mean and stupid and Barack Obama was not there with his phone and his pen to stop them? Well, if that person was a businessman and he made some mean and stupid business decisions, he would probably lose some customers. He might even go out of business.

      When someone invests their time and money in a business, who they serve and how they serve the people they serve is also part of their business. If that someone makes stupid decisions, his profits suffer.

      What if the government decides to intervene and make decisions for business people? Given the government’s track record (The government wastes lots of our time and money), I think that will just violate the rights of business people and discourage people from investing and starting their own businesses. Since we don’t have the right to demand that someone serve us, nobody’s rights will be protected.

      The Constitution does not empower the Federal Government to force private businesses to serve anyone. Consider the irony. Government bureaucrats criticizing private businesses for not serving customers? It’s ridiculous!

      Please consider insanitybytes22’s comment =>


      1. This reminds of a guy in Georgia in the 1960s who didn’t want to serve Negroes at his restaurant and who argued that the federal government couldn’t make him . . . . oh, never mind.

        Tom, where have you been the last 50 years? The Constitution most certainly does authorize the federal government to enforce anti-discrimination requirements in matters of public accommodation affecting interstate commerce. Take a look at Keith’s comment about the history of these laws in the other thread. Of course, the Colorado decision that we’re talking about turned on state anti-discrimination provisions, so the federal government is not in play in this instance.



        1. Ah, really?

          Is it appropriate for the federal government to interfere with businesses this way? I have mixed feelings about it. At the time, things were pretty bad for blacks in the US, especially (but not only) in the South; some limited version of this was appropriate from a purely compassionate standpoint. But not, strictly speaking, from a Constitutional one. A narrowly defined law designed to sunset after a period of time (like the Voting Rights act) would have been a better, I think.

          Free-market economists like Milton Friedman or Walter Williams opposed the Civil Rights act as an interference with and corruption of the free market, which would have sorted this out … and had before. After all, racial segregation was forced into existence by law, by Democrats after the Civil War through President Woodrow Wilson, where it had not existed before. (Wilson re-segregated government service and the military, and his policies led to separate bathrooms, restaurants, and other facilities across the country.) (from here =>


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