viernes, 20 de octubre de 2017

Bedlam in Seattle: pro-lifers kicked out of coffee shop | MercatorNet |October 20, 2017| MercatorNet |

Bedlam in Seattle: pro-lifers kicked out of coffee shop

MercatorNet |October 20, 2017| MercatorNet |

Bedlam in Seattle: pro-lifers kicked out of coffee shop

Can a gay cafe owner refuse to serve Christians?
Edward J. Hamilton | Oct 20 2017 | comment 6 

On Sunday, October 1, the owner of a coffee shop in Seattle confronted a group of customers, cursed at them, and forced them to leave the premises. That’s the PG version; the specific details are decidedly less pleasant. If you have the stomach for it, you can view the entire exchange here. Please be warned that the summary I give below will reference sexual profanities.
According to reports, the customers were “peaceful Christian abolitionists” who had been sharing about their faith and pro-life views for several days, handing out literature and conversing with passersby on sidewalks and public property. One of the group’s members said they entered Bedlam Coffee to rest and enjoy a cup of coffee; they did not engage in any advocacy or distribute literature while inside the shop.
However, someone alerted the owner, Ben Borgman, to the group’s presence. Borgman obtained a pamphlet—found outside—that the group had been handing out. The pamphlet “featured an image of an aborted child, as well as rainbow-colored imagery along with an explanation of what the rainbow means according to Scripture; a symbol of God’s long-suffering mercy toward sinners.”
Borgman then confronted the customers, telling them “I’m gay, you have to leave.” He went on to state that the material “offends me,” told the group to “Shut up! Shut up!” and at one point asked the group if they would “tolerate my presence . . . if I go get my boyfriend and f*ck him in the a** right here.” He added, “Tell all your f*cking friends, don’t f*cking come here.” Suffice it to say, the conversation went downhill from there, and the group exited Bedlam Coffee.
Coffee, Cake, and Flowers: A Study in Contrast
This entire exchange stands in stark contrast to several other high-profile interactions in recent years. Here are just two examples.
Jack Phillips is a cake artist in Colorado, and the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop. In 2012, two men asked Jack to custom-design a wedding cake for their same-sex marriage. Because of his religious conviction that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, Jack declined the invitation. However, he also told the couple that he would gladly sell them any premade baked item in his store or create a cake for them for another occasion.
Barronelle Stutzman is a florist from Washington. In 2013, a longtime customer and friend, Rob Ingersoll, asked her to design custom floral arrangements for his same-sex wedding. Barronelle responded by taking Rob’s hands in her own and telling him, “I’m sorry I can’t do your wedding because of my relationship with Jesus Christ.” She referred him to three other floral artists and embraced him before he left her shop.
What happened to Jack and Barronelle?
Jack received death threats, was compared to a Nazi, and had to sacrifice nearly half of his business. Notably, the latter two injustices were perpetrated by government officials. The couple who had attempted to commission the cake filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, claiming Jack violated a nondiscrimination law.
The Commission agreed, ruling that Jack’s decision to decline artistic commissions that violated his conscience was unlawful. It ordered him (1) to design cakes celebrating same-sex marriages (or, alternatively, to cease creating any wedding cakes at all), (2) instruct his staff that he was wrong to allow his religious beliefs to inform his business decisions as a creative professional, and (3) file reports with the government for two years, detailing any instance in which he declined an order.
Jack chose to remain true to his conscience and left the wedding industry, giving up 40 percent of his business in the process.
Barronelle received a flood of negative media attention, and her shop was inundated with hate mail and profane phone calls. She was sued by her state’s attorney general and the ACLU, and she faces the loss of everything she owns. The attorney general also condemned Barronelle during his political stumping throughout the state.
What will happen to Bedlam Coffee and its owner?
It’s too soon to tell what consequences Bedlam Coffee and Ben Borgman may face, if any.
In his zealous prosecution of Barronelle, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson stated that “Washington law is clear: Businesses cannot discriminate.” It’s clear that Ferguson believes this principle applies to a florist who for religious reasons cannot design flower arrangements to celebrate a same-sex marriage, even though she has served and employed LGBT individuals for years.
What’s not clear is whether Ferguson believes the principle applies to a coffee shop owner who expels a group of people from his store because of their religious beliefs, saying, “I do not want these people in this place.” So far, Ferguson has been noticeably silent.
In the meantime, Out Magazine has hailed the owner of Bedlam Coffee as “heroic” and, before Yelp posted an “Active Cleanup Alert,” the business had received at least two 5-star reviews, with both reviewers applauding Borgman’s actions, and one adding that “Christian whiners should go elsewhere,” “take your bible and f*ck off.”
Nondiscrimination Laws and the First Amendment
Equality is a vital component of any diverse society. Freedom of conscience is also a vital component of any free society. When the two collide, the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that nondiscrimination laws cannot supersede the First Amendment’s guarantee of expressive freedom. Determining whether a collision has actually occurred . . . well, that’s the tricky part.
On one end of the spectrum are business owners who choose to exclude an entire class of people, simply because of their race, religious beliefs, or other characteristics. On the other end are people like Jack and Barronelle, artists who serve all people but decline to create custom art that celebrates events or expresses messages that conflict with their faith.
Where do the actions of Ben Borgman fall on the spectrum? For now, we don’t need to decide, because Borgman isn’t currently facing the loss of his livelihood. Jack and Barronelle are.
Jack’s case will be heard by the United States Supreme Court on December 5. Barronelle has also asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on her case. Neither Jack nor Barronelle is asking for a license to discriminate. They will serve everyone. But they do want the Supreme Court to protect the freedom of artists to respectfully decline requests to create art that conflicts with their deepest convictions.
I’m not a coffee drinker, but I’ll drink to that.
Edward J. Hamilton is an attorney who writes about constitutional issuesRepublished with permission from The Public Discourse


October 20, 2017

The Soviet goal of a worldwide communist revolution was never realised, but it was not for want of trying. Most if not all Western countries had a communist party for much of the twentieth century. I knew an old communist in New Zealand who had grown up to her mother’s advice: “If your housework’s done you’re neglecting the cause.” Connie eventually became a very stanch Catholic and a thorn in the side of the local lefties.

Today Francis Phillips reviews a book that gives us a glimpse of the British communist movement, a memoir of his parents and their circle by The Times journalist David Aaronovitch. Something that struck me was the fact that this couple, who had four children, stuck together despite their troubled marriage and the decline of the movement. It was their communist “faith” that provided the glue. There is a lesson in that somewhere for today’s troubled marriages, I think.

(Somewhat) related items this week: The Russian Revolution in filmWhy Russia thinks it’s exceptionalRussia’s workforce decline.

Carolyn Moynihan
Deputy Editor,
Prospects for family values dim in a left-led New Zealand
By Carolyn Moynihan
Jacinda Ardern will build houses, but will that save the family?
Read the full article
Party Animals: My Family and other Communists
By Francis Phillips
Growing up Communist in post-war London.
Read the full article
Two brilliant picture books
By Susan Reibel Moore
Sophie Masson is one of Australia's gifted authors.
Read the full article
Bedlam in Seattle: pro-lifers kicked out of coffee shop
By Edward J. Hamilton
Can a gay cafe owner refuse to serve Christians?
Read the full article
How euthanasia affects nurses
By Annmarie Hosie
It could create a nearly intolerable conflict of interest between caring for patients and following orders
Read the full article
To Christians in the Western world: a call to action
By Anastasia Sinyawski
Remember that the fight of the Christians in the Middle East is the fight of the Western church.
Read the full article
Russia’s workforce decline
By Marcus Roberts
The fruits of collapsing birthrates from twenty years ago.
Read the full article
Luther and the divorce between faith and reason
By Martin Fitzgerald
The reformer’s rejection of philosophy has put us in two minds.
Read the full article
The story of ?????
By Karl D. Stephan
Freezing women's eggs leads to imponderable moral complexities.
Read the full article
Why Russia thinks it’s exceptional
By Gregory Carleton
Centuries of war and invasion have profoundly shaped Russia's worldview and self-image
Read the full article
The branding of John Stuart Mill
By J. Budziszewski
If it harms ‘only me’, is it no harm at all?
Read the full article

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