Glass Houses, Cake, and…Cher?

Photo: Sebastien Lifshitz
Photo: Sebastien Lifshitz

Under the cover of night, there is an army marching upon the heartland. Flying a flag of rainbow righteousness they are playing a devious, House of Cards level game of “Capture the Moral Compass“. Like the White Walkers of the North, they are scaling the walls of that moral high ground, bent upon corruption. Unsure if you will hear them coming? Listen out for the strains of Liza Minelli and Cher.

A ridiculous analogy filled with cliché and stereotype? Oh, we must be talking about the latest bit of discriminatory legislation masquerading as religious freedom.

I didn’t want to. I wanted to finish working on my book, start softening the callous that seems to be forming on my left buttock from sitting too long. I tried. I really did. But as I came across an “article”–someone posted to a friend’s FB page in reaction to the latest legal events in Indiana, my fingers could sit still no more.

The “article” highlighted a case from a few years ago in which a small Christian bakery was forced to shut down due to boycotts from the LGBT community after they refused to bake a cake for a lesbian couple. The lesbian couple filed a suit and talked to the media because….well, it’s against the law to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in Oregon. Let me set the record straight. If there were threats, that was wrong. If there was physical harassment, that was wrong too. But as it was Fox News, you’ll need to take that with a mine’s worth of salt. But a boycott?

Golly. So many proverbs and so little time.keep_calm_moustache_classic_vintage_gay_wedding_invitation-r94919c607d684a4ba108e549aab2d50a_zk9c4_324

Let’s start with: You reap what you sow.

If you own a private business and you make sure your customers know you will refuse them service based on the fact that their lifestyle doesn’t mesh with YOUR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS (YOUR beliefs, not those of the State or the Government, or the Universe), and then you lose business? That is NOT a question of religious freedom. That is called reaping what you sow. Or if you’d rather, an eye for an eye. You refuse to serve, they refuse to patronize. If they happen to have a bigger, better organized, more musically inclined demographic? Such is life.

Or how about this one: People in Glass Houses Should Not Throw Stones:

Are you a baker who doesn’t believe your buttercream should be used in a gay wedding? Are you a florist who didn’t want your nosegays to be taken quite so literally? Are you a small business owner who fears that the army of gay and lesbian couples marching through Indiana clamoring for festive fondant is a sign that the end is nigh? Well then, you’d better make sure your bakeries are made of glass and your floral displays include the first stone to throw. Because if you want to refuse service on the basis of someone’s lifestyle not meshing with your interpretation of the scriptures, you’re going to have to turn away a hell of a lot of people. If you want to hide behind your bigoted bag of religious freedom tricks, you’re going to have to take it all the way to prove it’s not discriminatory. Because if it’s only gay and lesbian customers? Well, Hoosiers, we have a problem.

Let’s go back to this one, because it’s too good not to: You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Same dance, different steps
Same dance, different steps

You want to discriminate, but you cry foul when you lose business? So…you want the right to refuse someone service on the basis of your own beliefs….but you want to do it in secret so that it doesn’t affect your business. Oh, that is sneaky.

A gay blogger suggested that private business owners be allowed to discriminate openly...as long as they post notices letting potential customers know ahead of time. You know, sort of like the whole ‘blacks aren’t allowed at the counter’ thing, but updated in the cloak of religion. So go ahead. Pick and choose who you do business with, but let the rest of us know so we know not to ring your bell when we’re looking for lilies or cruising for cake. Because you know what? You don’t get to have your cake and eat it too! Don’t you remember anything your Mom taught you?

It works both ways. If you get to refuse, then so do I. Because my beliefs are not the same as yours. See how that works?

Here’s the thing. Religious freedom is not under threat. No one is telling Christians how to lead their lives in America. Contrary to right-wing Christian fundamentalists who actually ARE trying to legislate how others live their lives. No one is telling anyone they can’t believe in God. Any God. No one is saying someone can’t attend church or synagogue or mosque. NO ONE IS SAYING THAT. Religious freedom in the United States means being able to practice your religion (or lack thereof) and not be persecuted by the state. It doesn’t say you have the right to discriminate against others on that basis. Religion does not trump law. You know what happens when it does? Take a look at Sharia law or Germany in the 40s.

cakeChristianity is not under threat from an army of well dressed men singing Cher. Just because a gay couple is allowed to marry or adopt or ORDER A CAKE FROM A BAKERY does not stop you from doing so. Whereas these bills, like the most recent one in Indiana, do just that. They STOP someone from the very thing we are supposed to guarantee: the freedom to live the life of THEIR choosing. Not your choosing. Not the State’s. Not the Government’s. Not the Universe’s.

Theirs.

If there comes a point in time when Christians in America are being thrown to the lions for going to church or for praying to God, I will join the call to stop that too. Under a flag of righteousness. And possibly singing Cher.

Until then? Glass houses are a bitch to keep clean.

 

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19 thoughts on “Glass Houses, Cake, and…Cher?

  1. hoosierabroad March 31, 2015 / 3:11 pm

    As a Hoosier (albeit one living in Germany) I’m mortified at what my home state has done, as are most if my friends back home (and maybe half of my family – the other half keeps posting things like “Just read the law!” and “19 other states have the same law!”). I’ll be shopping and eating out after a great deal of research and questions when we’re “home” for a few weeks this summer.

    Like

    • Dina Honour March 31, 2015 / 3:14 pm

      Good. And yes, other states have similar laws though this one is much broader in scope and the kicker is that Indiana DOES NOT have a law which makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Big differences. Also, and if I got into this it would have been a 6 page blog post but it’s been bugging me ever since–I really want to see what happens when a non Christian business tries this one out.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. NotAPunkRocker March 31, 2015 / 5:21 pm

    Very well said! I hate when people don’t understand what freedom of ____ actually means in terms of private businesses/citizens vs. government.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dina Honour March 31, 2015 / 5:32 pm

      I think that is one of the scariest aspects of this all- is that businesses seem to have the same rights as individuals. In fact, in cases like this, a business actually has MORE rights. It is a huge opening in the back door of discrimination. And they KNOW that. They know it. That’s what gets me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Andra Watkins March 31, 2015 / 10:10 pm

    My Facebook feed is a depressing, schizo place right now. I grew up in the bosom of the right-wingers, and I did theater for 20 years. People cook up these laws out of fear, fear of people they don’t know, fear of people they don’t want to understand, fear of people they want to save but who never realize their lack of acceptance shows their beliefs in the worst possible light. In my experience, the people who throw the biggest stones struggle with the very things they so publicly condemn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dina Honour April 1, 2015 / 1:08 pm

      The intelligent part of me agrees with you 100%. That’s the part that knows that change brings fear, that when you feel like a way of life you cherish is under threat, you go into Mama Lion Warrior Spinjitsu Mode. But the politicians….they know, they’re not beholden to those fears, as Jon pointed out below, they are beholden to the puppet masters with the $$ behind the scenes and that rankles.

      Like

  4. South of the Strait April 1, 2015 / 1:09 am

    It watched the Indiana Governor explain himself today, he said this is a discriminatory law and blamed the media. The fact is that the state Democrats asked to insert language into the bill that said the law was nondiscrimanatory but that got voted down. Now that the boycott Indiana thing is rolling the conservatives are ready to change the law because they will lose money, so I would add to your list: you can’t serve two gods, money and whatever morality you want others to follow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dina Honour April 1, 2015 / 1:14 pm

      He is an ass. And a liar. The only reason they didn’t sign this sort of thing into law in Arizona, the last time I wrote about it (!!) was monetary. At least the governor there had enough sense to realize that. My question is always, why do we need extra laws to protect against religious freedom? Are there really that many people being sued over practicing religion in the US. Statistically are there really enough to even warrant tax payer money on these things meandering through state legislature? And the whole businesses having the same rights as people? Some businesses now have more rights than citizen. As an American citizen you’re not guaranteed health care, but if you’re a business in Indiana you can turn away people because they don’t believe the same as you and the govt. can’t do anything about it. Nice.

      Like

      • South of the Strait April 1, 2015 / 4:11 pm

        It always amazes me that people feel their faith is threatened by what others do in the USA. Must not be a very strong faith then.

        Like

      • Dina Honour April 1, 2015 / 4:24 pm

        That’s the irony in it all. No one else is telling them how to live their lives, yet they want to tell everyone else how to live theirs. Don’t you wonder sometimes if people like that live on a different plane of reality?

        Like

  5. Elyse April 1, 2015 / 4:18 am

    You said it better than anybody else. Well done!

    Like

    • Dina Honour April 1, 2015 / 1:15 pm

      Thanks, Elyse. It honestly leaves me sputtering.. but…but…but…how is it that the few behind the scenes (b/c I have to believe it is the few) have so much power/$$/pull?

      Like

      • Elyse April 1, 2015 / 1:16 pm

        That’s what is happening across the country. Just look at guns.

        Like

      • Dina Honour April 1, 2015 / 1:22 pm

        I know, but the NRA is rich. As abhorrent as I find it, it makes more sense. But the homophobic fundies? I didn’t realize they had so much pull.

        Like

      • Elyse April 1, 2015 / 2:11 pm

        Folks keep electing fundamentalists to school boards, which is often a launching pad. Always pay attention to the bottom of the ticket!

        Like

      • Dina Honour April 1, 2015 / 2:17 pm

        They are like the Hydra. Cut the head off one, two more spring up in its place.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Sprinkle April 16, 2015 / 1:01 am

    Well said. Wish they could spend a day in the life of a child in Gaza.

    Like

    • Dina Honour April 16, 2015 / 10:31 am

      True. I watch the news and see people of varying religions around the world being slaughtered for practicing their religion. Now that calls for religious freedom. Not whether or not you bake a cake for someone’s wedding. When you think about it, it’s just all a side show or ridiculousness.

      Liked by 1 person

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