When Washington debated its gay marriage law, there were ample warnings that it would prove destructive of religious liberty. Individual liberties are inevitably sacrificed when the state bestows special rights upon favored classes.
Recently, Arlene’s Flowers of Richland conscientiously declined the opportunity to provide floral service for a homosexual wedding. In response, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the ACLU have pounced on the small business owner.
Individuals must make choices in nearly everything they do: Purchasing, hiring and employment, who they marry and associate with, the leaders they elect, the charities they support, the God they worship. Religion, culture, politics and ethics frequently (and unavoidably) factor into private social and economic decisions. Freedom of choice and conscience are the heart of freedom of enterprise, speech, association and religion.
As an outspoken Christian business owner, I would not expect homosexual activists, socialists or atheists to patronize my business. They may prefer to support business philosophies more closely aligned with their belief systems. Likewise, minorities (by race, nationality, or religion) may favor minority-owned businesses.
The right to “vote with one’s pocketbook” is universal and unalienable.
Should I cry discrimination and devise a law forcing dissenting individuals to purchase my products against their will? Or seek damages if they don’t? Obviously not. Commerce in a free state is a two-way street requiring consent from both parties.
For government-backed special interests to tyrannize a small-business owner for exercising the same fundamental right to decline business is discriminatory, outrageous and un-American.
Whatever happened to live and let live? Can adults no longer just agree to disagree? Has the new tolerance become the new tyranny? What damages were incurred by the offended party-turned-litigant? Hurt feelings? Are they now unable to marry? Perhaps the litigants could simply behave responsibly and demonstrate the tolerance and respect due others in a free and diverse society.
Faith is as inseparable from the individual as a small business from its owner. The imagined right not to be discriminated against in private enterprise is an impossible concept.
It exists only in the warped, socialistic mindset that elevates spurious government-created group rights, such as the right to homosexual marriage and freedom from hurt feelings, above unalienable Creator-endowed individual rights such as enterprise, religion, association and conscience.
The ACLU and attorney general are not interested in protecting basic rights, but in advancing the collectivist ideology of the new state religion.