Conventional collectivist created authority is a deception in consciousness. You are your own Authority!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Watching the Dancing Bigots

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution specifies in relevant part that government shall make no laws prohibiting free exercise of religion or abridging freedom of speech. Thus, there is absolutely no doubt that in this country people are guaranteed the right to be a bigot.

But being constitutionally guaranteed religious liberty and freedom of speech is not good enough for some bigots. First of all they know they’re bigots but don’t like to be labeled bigots. That makes them feel uncomfortable. They want the law to facilitate their bigotry. That makes them feel better about themselves. Secondly, they believe that religious liberty and freedom of speech and association gives them the right to deny other people’s rights. They want their beliefs codified in the law.

I’ve enjoyed watching the bigots in Indiana and Arkansas this week dancing around trying to avoid controversy over the passage of so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Acts.” They want us to think that religious freedom is imperiled in America and needs to be restored as if the First Amendment doesn’t already guarantee to them that very freedom. They want us to think that these Acts have everything to do with religious freedom and nothing to do with giving them the right to deny other people’s rights.

But if it’s not all about giving bigots a license to deny other people’s rights, then there would be no good reason at all for these laws. After all, they already have religious liberty and freedom of speech so these laws don’t restore anything to them that they don’t already enjoy right now. That’s why they have to do this ridiculous dance.

The folks who are doing this dance believe they’ve found a way to circumvent the civil rights and ant-discrimination laws in America. More specifically, they want to continue enjoying their right to run businesses which are open to the public, i.e. public accommodations, while at the same time retaining legal loopholes that allow them to discriminate against certain segments of the public on the grounds that doing business with them offends their religious sensibilities.

In short, these bigots what laws which allow them to discriminate against homosexuals – to deny them their civil rights -- on religious grounds. But at the same time they unanimously insist that the laws have nothing to do with discrimination, only religious freedom.

You see, some religious bigots believe that civil rights and public accommodations laws somehow infringe upon their religious liberty. Some of my good libertarian friends who I’m sure aren’t bigots believe that such laws violate the First Amendment right of free association; that they in effect make slaves out of business owners. I disagree.

Doing business with the public is not a religious activity. Doing business with the public is not exercising religion. One does not associate with another or with another’s philosophy or lifestyle merely by exchanging a service for value. Baking a cake, arranging flowers, or taking photographs, for example are not religious or activities by which one associates with others. Thus, civil rights and public accommodations laws do not violate the First Amendment.

So there are simply no good reasons, no necessity for religious bigots in Indiana and Arkansas to pass these so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Acts. They’re unnecessary; redundant; shameful and disingenuous. Most Americans aren’t buying it.

The comedy of them trying to justify it with reasonable people is like watching the dancing bigots.


  1. Timothy,

    The most important word in your piece is "redundant." The Indiana law creates no new situation, because it was already completely legal for businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people in Indiana. The entire purpose of the law was dog-whistle signaling to bigots. It didn't do anything for them, it just communicated to them that the GOP is on their side.

  2. Nobody has the right to buy a wedding cake, of force anybody to provide them with any product or service. Creating some special term (i.e., public accommodations), doesn't give anybody the right to force their cultural beliefs on to others.

    You can ridicule, rant, boycott, whatever you want to try to illustrate how silly you think such attitudes are (which I personally do think they are), but when you advocate using the state to enforce your opinions on others, then you have become the problem.

    If somebody doesn't want to do business with somebody else, no matter what the reason, nobody has the right to force them to do it. You can call it whatever you like, bigotry, prejudice, stupid, etc., but if you use threats or violence, or advocate for others to use such actions (e.g., the state), to force them to do business they don't want to do, then you're the criminal.

  3. Mr. Taylor, you use some form of the word "bigot" 13 times in your short article. This count sets off my "ax grinder" alarm, an alarm ringing true in your case.
    The First Amendment rights of these "bigots," you say, "deny other people’s rights." If you were correct, then homosexuals, and other people that the "bigots" don't care to associate with, would have the power to force them to cater and serve homosexuals. You implicitly advocate that power. Yet is there not one establishment within easy reach that would cheerfully provide these homosexuals with all of the cakes, and fruits and nuts that they so desperately desire?
    Why this frenzy to prevent Christians from withdrawing association from those they find offensive? It's clear that there are bigots in this issue, and it's not the Christians.

    1. I use the term “bigot” liberally because the post is about religious bigotry and I make no secret about my disdain for those who seek to impose their religious bigotry upon others with the support of the government and the law. What they’re doing is despicable. I know it makes them uncomfortable being called out for what they are. I want them to feel uncomfortable about it.

      I sense that you are of the opinion that civil rights and public accommodations laws have the effect of “forcing” businesses which are open to the public to serve people they would rather not “associate” with. I get it. I respect your opinion as I once embraced it myself. But now I disagree with that view.

      No one is “forcing” anyone to open their business to the public. They have the right to conduct their business affairs and associations in private and in doing so may discriminate as they like. No one is “forced” to “cater” to black people, homosexuals or any other “undesirables” who might offend their religious or other bigoted sensibilities.

      But when one opens his business to the public he has made a choice to “associate” with the public in so far as providing goods or services for value. It doesn’t mean that he approves of his customer’s skin color or sexual orientation. It doesn’t mean he’s “associating” with their lifestyle.

      Blacks and homosexuals are segments of the public. The First Amendment protects the right to be a bigot but not the right to discriminate against segments of the public if the business is open to the public. The bigots are not entitled to have it both ways if they choose to do business with the public.

      Now I can think of a hundred different ways that a business person could discourage the patronage of those segments of the public with whom he would rather not “associate” in his business without running afoul of the civil rights and public accommodations laws. He could, for example, arrange to subcontract the services to another provider. He could use his First Amendment rights to openly express his bigoted opinions to the customer. He could post “Homosexuality is a Sin” signs in his store; tell all the guests at the gay wedding while he’s taking their pictures that they’ll all be going to hell; you get the idea.

      But these bigots don’t want to advertise their bigotry. That might ruin their business with segments of the public they want to “associate” with. They want it all hush hush. They would much rather persuade the legislature to pass a law sanctioning and legitimating their right to discriminate against gays on religious grounds. If the First Amendment won’t allow them to discriminate then they want a new law that will.

      That’s despicable.

    2. Your entire argument rests on a notion that "private business" is a meaningful term, apart from "public business," where the propertied owner forfeits his right of free association.
      "Public" versus "private" business is a distinction without a difference, serving only as a cover for those not courageous enough to defend this essential right. I'm sorry, but you can't have it both ways. Either you're on the side of the right to free association (even for odious reasons), or you're on the side of eroding this and similar rights when the effects aren't to your liking.

    3. Private members only entities such as clubs or other exclusive business activity associations fully enjoy First Amendment protection and freedom of association. They can exclude and discriminate among people as they choose with absolute immunity from the reach of civil rights and public accommodations laws. I’m all for that and so are you. It’s the American way. We agree.

      But you argue that there is no valid distinction between a private association and a business open to the public. That is where we disagree. The distinction is plain as day -- public vs. private. The businessman is free to choose how he wishes to associate with his customers. With a private association he can specify in the bylaws: “no niggers or queers.” I’m OK with that as odious and sickening as it is.

      But I draw the line there. You support his right to post signs in the window of his business open to the public: “We proudly serve the public except for niggers and queers.” Fifty years ago the law allowed him to do just that. Today we have the civil rights and public accommodations laws. The courts have held that they don’t violate the First Amendment; they don’t infringe on the right of free association. I agree. You disagree. I recognize the distinction. You don’t. Courage has nothing to do with it.

  4. I know you can't be the same TJT who wrote "What Happened to Liberty" just a week ago ( That guy spoke stirringly about the need to push back against government intrusions into our lives. The word "liberty" appears over and over.

    Now today, this other TJT spits out the word "bigot" over and over and celebrates using the law whenever possible to force individuals to associate with people they don't want to associate with.

    I hope the cognitive dissonance between the two TJT's can be resolved some day, and when that happens, that the liberty side wins out.

  5. Yep, the two TJT's are one and the same and there is no cognitive dissonance at all. I'm simply convinced that civil rights and public accommodations laws are valid and do not infringe upon liberty. You apparently don't believe that. I get it. Thanks for your comment.

    1. Yes, you're all for liberty, except when you aren't. And where does this contrived idea of "public accommodations" come from? These are private companies and individuals conducting private business. Advertising for, or inviting customers to conduct business doesn't create an obligation to accept all transactions. If the individual doesn't have the right to veto any transaction before the fact for any reason, then you no longer have a voluntary transaction.