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Travis Rowley: Can’t We All Just Not Get Along?

Saturday, March 01, 2014

 

It is at the risk of feeding the absurd premise that homosexuals have somehow been victimized by American society – particularly on par with African-Americans of the civil rights era – that I delve into the controversy surrounding SB 1062, a bill passed by the Arizona Legislature that protects the right of business owners to refuse service based on one’s religious convictions.

Spawning SB 1062 was the anticipation of a potential controversy and lawsuit resulting from an incident similar to what occurred in Oregon, where a bakery refused to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual wedding reception. Or in New Mexico, where a photographer also decided to decline a similar business transaction.

The issue does have value as an academic exercise. It’s a question all liberty-loving people should wrestle with at some point: Should an American businessman have the right to refuse his services?

Amidst the contemporary “gay rights” movement, this question may seem crucial. But I try to imagine the American framers pondering such an idea.

I don’t know, Mr. Jefferson. I’m all for this freedom thing. But what if I want to, say, buy a cake. And the baker, for some reason, won’t make it for me. I mean, then what?!

We’re supposed to live in a free society. And the citizens of a free society – unless they’re liberals – are typically quick to learn and adapt to life’s harshest lesson: Life’s not always fair.

The Left could learn a lot from a certain Seinfeld episode. The setting has Jerry and Elaine out to dinner at Poppie’s, a restaurant where they begin to discuss the issue of abortion. When Elaine vows never to do business with anyone who is pro-life, Jerry decides to call the restaurant owner (Poppie) over to the table in order to ask him “where [he stands] on the abortion issue.” After Poppie vehemently defends his pro-life position and declares that “no intelligent person can think differently,” Elaine storms out while informing Poppie that she’s “not coming back!”

Poppie’s response: “You’re not welcome!”

Now that’s the American way.

A Crusade

I was a teenager at the time of this episode’s initial airing. I had no idea at the time that it was the belief of millions of American liberals that it should be the state’s responsibility to mediate the dispute between Elaine and Poppie, and that the Storm Troopers would have to be sent in – pressuring Elaine to continue dining at Poppie’s, and forcing Poppie to serve her.

Of course, that really isn’t the liberal position – because liberal principles vary from issue to issue, depending on what may enhance their political power. But when it comes to “gay marriage” and “gay rights,” the Left is currently on a bullish crusade.

In truth, that’s why the Left won’t allow these scattered incidents to be chalked up as minor scuffles between neighbors.

Of course, a crusade requires a moral platform.

But who – and what – is moral? Who decides?

Within the present discussion, religious liberty and Biblical teachings are at odds with the Church of Liberalism – which stresses “equality” and “tolerance,” while also insisting that the Christian outlook on the homosexual lifestyle is antiquated and immoral itself.

Liberals won’t tolerate other people’s intolerance!

This is the Left’s ongoing paradox, as they spend their lives attempting to eradicate what they perceive as “hatred,” “racism,” “sexism,” and “homophobia.”

This week David Cooley, the owner of The Abbey Food & Bar in West Hollywood, announced that he would add the names of any legislator who supports bills like SB 1062 to a “Deny Entry List.” Cooley also plans to “display headshots of each state representative who supports” this type of legislation.

“I want to send a message to all those people out there who conflate Christian values with discrimination: we don’t want your kind here.” Cooley continued, “I’ve learned that I can’t stop crazy, ignorant or stupid, but I can stop it from coming through my doors.”

Not so fast, Cooley. Not if your progressive friends have their way.

The irony and hypocrisy never seems to strike progressives. Just how fantastic would it be if the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan finds itself with the legal authority to force Cooley to provide space for their annual private fundraiser this year?

No Principles

Anti-conservative bigotry is hardly rare. Moreover, it is much more prominent, forthright, and widespread than any type of hatred for homosexuals. After all, the entire American pop-culture is almost entirely dedicated to glorifying homosexuality, while ridiculing Christianity and American traditions. And we can speak of numerous tales of conservatives being denied employment in places like Hollywood, the media, and college campuses.

Yet, liberals would have to admit that the anti-hippies are impressively chill when it comes to being discriminated against.

Whatever, man. I’ll purchase my bow-ties at the store down the street.

Conversely, progressives would rather have an elite body of government actors attempt to calculate the national morality, and then force the “unenlightened” to perform acts that violate their conscience – a centralized effort that can only be as clumsy as the Left’s attempt to formulate a government-centric economy.

The values and traditions of 330 million people are always varied and evolving.

In fact, what most people don’t realize about SB 1062 is that it is a two-page bill that merely clarifies a standing law that was passed 15 years ago – a law “modeled on the federal act that passed with big bipartisan majorities in the 1990s and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.”

Go figure, liberals are siding with the latest political fad over basic principles of freedom – principles that they fully supported not too long ago.

Of course, progressive Democrats are happy to characterize conservatives who support these pro-liberty measures as “anti-gay” – as if a liberal who supports the free speech of talk radio hosts can be described as “pro-Rush Limbaugh.”

SB 1062

SB 1062 clarifies that the word “person” in the current law applies to businesses, a simple effort to protect business owners from participating in activities that offend their religious sensibilities.

Explaining how SB 1062 had “been egregiously misrepresented by many of its critics,” eleven experts on religious liberty statutes wrote to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) and informed her that the bill before her merely ensures that “before government can burden a person’s religious exercise, the government has to show a compelling justification.”

For instance, if Poppie’s had the only food available in a 100-mile radius, and actually had the power to starve Elaine to death.

As the bill reads, someone who wants the government to “burden a person’s exercise of religion” must demonstrate “a compelling governmental interest,” and also demonstrate that the burden is “the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.”

In other words, just shut up and go buy your wedding cake from the bakery down the street. Stop bothering everyone with these petty disputes.

That’s not the American way.


Travis Rowley ( TravisRowley.com ) is the author of The RI Republican: An Indictment of the Rhode Island Left.

 

Related Slideshow: Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index Scorecard - Providence, RI

HRC's Municipal Equality Index (MEI) demonstrates the ways that many cities can—and do— support the LGBT people who live and work there, even where states and the federal government have failed to do so. GoLocal pulled the data from the 2012 and 2013 reports to show where progress has been made in Providence and Rhode Island.

This year's report rates a total of 291 cities from every state in the nation, representing a total population total of 77,851,822.  To see how PVD compares to other cities, download the full 2013 MEI report here and the 2012 version here.

Prev Next

Providence Non-Discrimination Laws

This category evaluates whether discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is prohibited by the city, county, or state in areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Providence grabbed all available points in this category because it is under the jurisdiction of Rhode Island state laws prohibiting discrimination on both bases of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Non-Discrimination Laws 2012 2013
Employment    
points for sexual orientation 3 out of 3 3 out of 3
points for gender identity 3 out of 3 3 out of 3
Housing    
points for sexual orientation 3 out of 3 3 out of 3
points for gender identity 3 out of 3 3 out of 3
Public Accommodations    
points for sexual orientation 3 out of 3 3 out of 3
points for gender identity 3 out of 3 3 out of 3
     
Total Score 18 out of 18 18 out of 18
Prev Next

Providence Relationship Recognition

Because this is an evaluation of municipalities, not states, and marriage is a state-level policy, this section is weighted so that an equal number of points are awarded for marriage (or other state relationship recognition) and municipal domestic partner registries.

In 2013 Rhode Island passed landmark marriage equality legislation, cementing itself ahead of the curb in relationship recognition. However, since civil unions have been legal and available at the state level since 2011, the HRC granted the full 12 points in 2012 as well.

Relationship Recognition 2012 2013
Marriage Equality, Civil Unions, Domestic Partnerships 12 out of 12 12 out of 12
Prev Next

Providence Municipality as Employer

By offering equivalent benefits and protections to LGBT employees, and by awarding contracts to fair-minded businesses, municipalities commit themselves to treating LGBT employees equally.

By the HRC's account, Providence falls in line with some best practices as an employer- ample forthright laws are on the books forbidding discrimination in city employment and ensuring domestic partner and legal dependent health benefits. However, the city falls short of ensuring equivalent family leave and affirmatively forbidding discrimination in awarding city contracts and benefits to contractors.

Municipality as Employer 2012 2013
Non-Discrimination in City Employment    
points for sexual orientation 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
points for gender identity 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
Domestic Partner Health Benefits
4 out of 4 4 out of 4
Legal Dependent Benefits
2 out of 2 2 out of 2
Equivalent Family Leave
0 out of 2 0 out of 2
City Contractor
Non-Discrimination Ordinance
   
points for sexual orientation 0 out of 2 0 out of 2
points for gender identity 0 out of 2 0 out of 2
City Contractor
Equal Benefits Ordinance
0 out of 4 0 out of 4
Total Score 16 out of 26 16 out of 26
Prev Next

Providence Municipal Services

This section assesses the efforts of the city to ensure LGBT constituents are included in city services and programs.

A lack of a direct liason to the LGBT community in the mayor's office hurt Providence in the municipal services category. Providence does, however, have a Human Relations Office tasked with "enforc[ing] laws of equal opportunity in the City of Providence" as well as formally enumerated anti-bullying policies in schools at the municipal level.

Furthermore, the city's services aimed directly at underserved and particularly vulnerable populations were lauded by the HRC and scored Providence an extra 2 points in this category.

Municipal Services 2012 2013
Human Rights Commission
7 out of 7 7 out of 7
LGBT Liaison in
the Mayor’s Office
0 out of 5 0 out of 5
Enumerated Anti-Bullying
School Policies
   
points for sexual orientation 3 out of 3 3 out of 3
points for gender identity 3 out of 3 3 out of 3
Total Score 13 out of 18 13 out of 18
BONUS: City provides services
to particularly vulnerable
populations of the LGBT
community
2 Bonus Points 2 Bonus Points
Prev Next

Providence Law Enforcement

Fair enforcement of the law includes responsible reporting of hate crimes and engaging with the LGBT community in a thoughtful and respectful way.

Providence reports hate crime statistics, but their lack of a specific LGBT police liaison or task force caused an 8 point deduction from their final score.

Municipal Services 2012 2013
LGBT Police Liaison
or Task Force
0 out of 8 0 out of 8
Reported 2011 Hate Crimes
Statistics to the FBI
10 out of 10 10 out of 10
Total Score 10 out of 18 10 out of 18
Prev Next

Providence Relationship with the LGBT Community

This category measures the city leadership’s commitment to fully include the LGBT community and to advocate for full equality.

Providence was noted for it's leadership's public position on LGBT equality and particularly for a shift from 2012 to 2013 with the renewed focus on and support for marriage equality legislation through its passing. This shift was the sole driver of a higher 2013 overall score, with all 5 additional points being picked up in recognition of the city leadership's commitment to LGBT equality.  Other direct efforts to engage with the LGBT community also landed Providence 2 bonus points in both 2012 and 2013.

Municipal Services 2012 2013
Leadership’s Public Position
on LGBT Equality
3 out of 5 5 out of 5
Leadership’s Pro-Equality
Legislative or Policy Efforts
0 out of 3 3 out of 3
Total Score 3 out of 8 8 out of 8
BONUS: City engages with
the LGBT community
2 Bonus Points 2 Bonus Points
Prev Next

Total Scores

2012: 76 out of 100

2013: 81 out of 100

Categories 2012 2013
I. Non-Discrimination Laws
18 out of 18 18 out of 18
II. Relationship Recognition 12 out of 12 12 out of 12
III. Municipality as Employer 16 out of 26 16 out of 26
IV. Municipal Services 13 out of 18 13 out of 18
V. Law Enforcement 10 out of 18 10 out of 18
VI. Relationship with the LGBT Community 3 out of 8 8 out of 8
Bonus 4 points 4 points
Total Score 76 out of 100 81 out of 100

 

 
 

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Comments:

Wow. really ground breaking stuff here Beaver. Some serious deep thinking going on.

Comment #1 by lupe fiasco on 2014 03 01

As opposed to your purely sarcastic comment, lupe? Which illustrated zero thought, and managed to avoid formulating any argument whatsoever. Get a life.

This part is so true.

"The irony and hypocrisy never seems to strike progressives. Just how fantastic would it be if the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan finds itself with the legal authority to force Cooley to provide space for their annual private fundraiser this year?"

Liberals are just sticking up for the latest political "fad" and forgetting about freedom.

Comment #2 by Drew M on 2014 03 01

Wel. I'm not writing the article Drew. Would it make you feel better if I use one of Travis' quotes and then say it's true? Or how about if I agree with everything he says like you always do. Will that make you feel better? To quote the Beaver, "That's not the American way". How's that Drew?

Comment #3 by lupe fiasco on 2014 03 01

Just pointing out what real mindlessness looks like, lupe. And that's when someone just effortlessly mocks something they disagree with. You may think you're cute, LUPE, but you're not impressing anyone.

Comment #4 by Drew M on 2014 03 01

I must be missing something. What exactly makes you say that no "deep thinking" went into this piece? (lupe fiasco). More than several good observations were made. For instance, I was unaware that the legislation in question was supported by Democrats like Bill Clinton. It is a good question to ask. What made Democrats change their mind? Mr. Rowley clearly points to the politics involved. Democrats either have no principles, or they want to look like they're sticking up for the "gay man" in 2014. Probably true.

Comment #5 by William Suffik on 2014 03 01

Anti-liberal bigotry is hardly rare. it is much more widespread than any type of hatred for conservatives . Just tune in too Rush Limbaugh or Mike Savage for 5 minutes to get your weekly ration of CRAZY

Comment #6 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 03 01

A good article infused with plenty of humor and thoughtful observations.

I couldn't agree more with the basic sentiment: If a person in business does not want your money for some reason, move on to the person who does. It's his loss and the other guy's gain.

Bring on the angry liberals!

Comment #7 by Art West on 2014 03 01

Travis
The anti-gay photographer in New Mexico could have politely informed the couple that she was already booked for that day, or that she would be on vacation that week, it's called a "white lie" And the couple would have just found a different photographer. Instead she found it necessary to insult the girls and to read the girls the "riot act"
The "TOLERANT" right proves their true selves again.

The "victim" photographer was still "free" to go appear on Fox News and all the other professional victim outlets that the right-wing rubes are so enamored with. We all know how conservative rubes just love to play the victim card

Comment #8 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 03 01

Sammy A, your attempt to flip the criticism is lame and unconvincing. The claim here is not that conservatives don't criticize liberals (for instance, on talk radio). The point is that if gays are going to whine about being "discriminated" against, then many other groups can as well. For instance, conservatives. Travis is asking the readers where the line should be drawn if we're to allow homosexuals to force businesses to serve them. That's all.

Plenty of people get "discriminated" against, and are technically "victims." The difference is that conservatives don't demand that the government step in and punish their enemies.

Thanks, Sammy. Always fun to school you.

Comment #9 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2014 03 01

If you go into a Muslim store wearing a Christian cross and he refuses to serve you because of his religious beliefs isn't that the same thing?

Comment #10 by LENNY BRUCE on 2014 03 02

The true problem with this legislation is not whether or not a gay couple can buy a cake from a certain baker. Absolutely not. It's that this law is so vague and open ended that it's no better than the Stand Your Ground laws. What does it mean that someone has a strongly held religious view on something? How do you prove that? Can you just say it and that makes it true? So, whichever side of this equation you stand on, how do you address certain issues? For example you have a hospital with an emergency room. Hopefully we can all agree that if someone goes into the emergency room they deserve care. How do you staff it? Should we interview every employee and ask them which groups they will and will not help based on their religious views? Suppose a doctor quits and he was the only one who agreed to help Muslims. Nobody else in the hospital will help Muslims, but you do get Muslims in the emergency room now and then, and you need to accommodate those people. Do you discriminate against a fully qualified Christian applicant that refuses to help Muslim patients, because you have a specific need and this candidate does not meet it based on his religious beliefs? Are you now discriminating against people based on their religion in your hiring practice? This applicant could be completely qualified to do the job and perform the function, but because his/her religious views allow them to discriminate against a group that you really need to help, you don't hire them based exclusively on their religious views that they don't want to help Muslims. How do you handle that? This is why these laws are bad and as Jan Brewer said, it's a can of worms you don't want to open. Some of you will have no problem with this law as long as it's adversely affecting others, but what happens when it affects you? What happens to you when you can't get a job because they need a person that WILL support everyone and you refuse to? Are you being discriminated against then?

Comment #11 by Phil Paulson on 2014 03 02

In all cases, telling business owners who they should or should not serve is not something for government to be involved in. It's a matter for individuals to decide.

For me, it's dumb for any person in business (presumably to make money) to not serve a paying customer, but that's the business owner's decision. Thanks to a competitive marketplace the customer has plenty of choice and power -- like telling his friends not to shop at the business who refused service and writing negative reviews on Yelp. Customers and businesses can sort this stuff out.

Comment #12 by Art West on 2014 03 02

The more I read Travis's shallow read on society the more I become concerned for his wretched soul. And his interpretation of Biblical teaching leaves much to be desired. Maybe he should try actually reading the Bible and Bonhoeffer's "Cost of Discipleship" might add some significant insight into the lack of understanding that Travis and other religious whack jobs have about Christ's message. "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."

Comment #13 by bill bentley on 2014 03 02

uh, I don't think Travis needs to be a Biblical scholar to understand that Christianity teaches that marriage is a union between one man and one woman for the purpose of raising children.

Yeah, Travis' "interpretation of Biblical teaching" is WAY off base here. LOL bill bentley.

Comment #14 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2014 03 03

The more columns that I read by Travis Rowley, the more I see that his general tactic is to set up a straw man and then knock down that particular straw man. In all cases, the target is one that he defines and constructs to be the perfect target of his particular criticism.

That said, we should examine SB1062. The now vetoed bill purported to protect the religious beliefs of people to allow them to refuse service to other people whose actions or existence somehow caused the offended to somehow lose their religious liberty. So, the orthodox believers of a variety of religions could then refuse to serve homosexuals. However, this bill would have allowed fundamentalist Muslims to refuse to serve infidels (non-Muslims); it would allow fundamentalist Christians to refuse service to all who did not accept Jesus as their lord and savior; it would allow Catholics to refuse service to Protestants (and vice versa); it would allow Pastaferians to refuse service to all who do not drink red wine with their pasta and meatballs. The idea that individuals should be free to refuse service to any that they want harkens back to the arguments made by those that object to the various Civil Rights acts that forbid racial discrimination. We have heard these arguments recently from Rand Paul in stating why he is opposed to the Civil Rights Acts

Those that embraced SB1062 forget that people doing business must obtain a permit to operate a public establishment. In other words, they obtain a license to operate a public business; therefore, they must follow the laws that forbid discrimination. The problem with allowing discrimination and then stating that one can always go to another establishment ignores the reality of peer pressure. If someone powerful and influential openly condones discrimination, it becomes difficult to go against that power. Suppose the discrimination starts at the level of the wholesaler of baking goods, then a baker who wants to sell wedding cakes to gay couples may find themself without the flour or butter or sugar necessary to make cakes or any baked goods (and then out of business).

Mr. Rowley and his supporters ignore the pervasive and far-reaching effects of legalized bigotry. They think that they are the defenders of freedom, when they are actually defending hate and bigotry. Are heterosexual men denied service or beaten because they are straight? I haven’t heard that particular “man-bites-dog” story, but we are all familiar with the homosexual men and women who are denied service, mocked, and beaten (sometimes to death) for appearing to be gay. I guess that those people are just victims of a “petty dispute” that Travis Rowley closes his column with.

Comment #15 by David Nelson on 2014 03 03

Jeremy: Yes, he does. Have you ever read the Bible? And I mean the New testament.

Comment #16 by bill bentley on 2014 03 03

Jeremy: the church fathers taught that. Regardless, I do think Travis needs to pick up the book he's quoting and read it. I think you might give it a try as well. And know its not way off church teaching; its just out-dated and lacks compassion. And more importantly, Travis evidences a weak understanding of the message of Christ. Got it now, Twit?

Comment #17 by bill bentley on 2014 03 03

bill bentley: All I "got" is that you still offer no specifics as to what Travis has gotten wrong about the Bible and its teachings. In fact, you just admitted that in regards to marriage (the topic at hand) he has it completely right. Yet, you somehow assume he hasn't read the Bible?

So who's the twit here?

Comment #18 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2014 03 03

'You’re not welcome!' Now that’s the American way.

That's right, the M'erican way. In fact, I think they inscribed that on the Statue of Liberty.

We should commend Travis for bravely calling for the return of segregated lunch counters, "Irish need not apply" signs, and mens only hiring practices. Most white males of privilege would be too embarassed but not Travis.

Comment #19 by Russ C on 2014 03 03

It's almost like ALL YOU LIBERALS down here didn't read the part where Travis wonders about being forced to host a fundraiser for a Nazi group. What if a gay bakery is forced to bake a cake for the Westboro Baptist Church, and write the words "God Hates Fags" on it???

Look, people get discriminated against all the time. It sucks. It's just that conservatives don't think the govt has to get involved. And neither do Democrats. It was TED KENNEDY who pushed this legislation through in the 1990s! It's just that this "gay" thing is a "political fad" right now.

What Travis says about abandoning principles is DEAD ON. You can't just scratch liberty out of the equation whenever you feel like it.

"Life's not fair" Travis tries to remind all of you.

So you can all pretend like you're the only ones who care about blacks and gays. And pretend as if the sky is now going to fall on gay people's heads. Go right ahead. But the conservatives are making a larger, smarter, and more prudent point.

Comment #20 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2014 03 03

David Nelson: You asked that we all actually examine SB1062, but I don't think you actually did this yourself. Or even read Mr. Rowley's explanation of it.

SB1062 is a very reasonable compromise between the two competing interests here. The law states that, yes, a religious bigot doesn't have to serve anyone they don't like. However, the law also states that the business can be forced to do so if there is a "compelling govt interest" --- meaning that if this discrimination truly is going to cause harm to someone, the govt can step in. I think Mr. Rowley explained that very nicely with his Seinfeld analogy.

So all of your doomsday scenarios are moot (gays being killed, etc).

It's true. We all have people who don't like us and would rather not be in business with us. You figure it out. And you shop elsewhere. That's life. Uncle Sam need not get involved.

Comment #21 by William Suffik on 2014 03 03

David Nelson hit the nail on the head. The vetoed statute would allow any establishment owner to refuse service to anyone, merely because that particular patron's *alleged* behavior offended the owner's religious/moral beliefs. Sure, this could be used to discriminate against gays, muslims, atheists, etc. What everyone fails to acknowledge is that the statute could be used to discriminate against anyone whom the owner of the establishment dislikes. This is the can of worms Brewer warned about. The owner could then choose to discriminate against his mother-in-law, the priest of the protestant church, the contractor who competes with his brother for business, the list goes on and on (merely because he accuses the patron of some sort of offending behavior). When you open a business to open a *public* restaurant, you are required to serve any person who walks in with shoes and a shirt. You are electing to participate in your community. You can open a private establishment or diners' club and refuse service to whomever you want to refuse. That is the American way.

Comment #22 by Rich B on 2014 03 03

"When you open a business to open a *public* restaurant, you are required to serve any person who walks in with shoes and a shirt. You are electing to participate in your community. You can open a private establishment or diners' club and refuse service to whomever you want to refuse. That is the American way."

??? What's a public restaurant, Rich? Is that a privately owned facility that serves the public? And is my objective in opening a business to "participate" or is it to make money? You really need to examine your assumptions....

Theory is nice, but let's view this in practice. Do you really want to get food from a place that is hostile to you? Yes--you can force them to serve you, but I'd wonder what else was added to the recipe smile

Comment #23 by Jimmy LaRouche on 2014 03 03

Jeremy: Read carefully. I agreed that the Church has held this teaching. So, how often have you read the Bible? In particular the New testament? My more important point is that Christians give up their rights. Let's take taxes, Jesus said we should pay taxes, "render unto Caesar." Also, Christians are the "servants of Man." Christ gave up his life willingly, this is the example of the Bible. In fact I believe Democracy may be part of the problem, especially for Americans. It confuses the masses into ignoring the message of Christ; they think they have rights. I'll leave you with 2 passages to contemplate (if your capable of reflection).

From the Book of Romans (its in the New Testament): Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For here is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for she is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, tan avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed." So, if the law permits gay marriage, as a good Christian you should follow it.

And from the Book of Matthew (again in the new Testament): Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25"For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26"For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?…

Linger on that.

Comment #24 by bill bentley on 2014 03 03

Thanks for that, bill bentley. But all you're doing is moving the goal posts within this discussion. You accused Travis (and now me) of not understanding the Bible. But then you admitted that Travis interpreted the Bible accurately within the only context in which he chose to speak of the Bible. Now that this is pointed out, and everyone now knows that you are a twit, you just start pontificating about a couple New Testament passages...while taking cheap jabs at me.

That's what just happened here. You're still a loser. And everyone can see it. Linger on that.

Comment #25 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2014 03 03

I love these "small government" conservatives. The tragic case of a baker in Oregon and a photographer in New Mexico somehow spawned an unnecessary and unwieldy piece of legislation in Arizona that passed the house and senate before being vetoed by Jan Brewer because it was poorly written and required more government intervention in the event of "compelling" discrimination. Talk about government overreaction. Let's also not forget that a similar bill passed in the conservative house in Kansas. And let's also not leave out the tooth-and-nail fight by conservatives and the Christian right to preserve DOMA. And let's also not forget that the same conservatives think that government energy spent on marriage equality should have been spent elsewhere, like on a floundering economy. All of this government energy and resources and conservative pontificating and hypocrisy because a group of people think some adult Americans' manner of living is icky. I know that I feel more free already.

The gay couple should have sucked it up and moved on, but they sued the photographer and won. OK then, case closed (pending appeal?). Just because the result was not to your liking does not mean that government needs to shift into overdrive to nullify a legal ruling--before one even occurred in Arizona and Kansas by the way. Suck it up.

Comment #26 by John Onamas on 2014 03 03

John, conservatives believe that government exists only to protect the natural rights of man (see: The US Constitution, Bill of Rights, etc). It is not hypocritical when "small government" conservatives pass legislation like this. In fact, it's the type of legislation we need more of. It enshrines "liberty by law" by restricting potential government action (for example: a court awarding you when you sue your neighbor because he didn't bake you a cake)

Comment #27 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2014 03 03

Please explain how the Arizona and Kansas bills "protect the natural rights of man." Please explain how DOMA provided anybody with "liberty by law"? These are self-serving homilies designed to reinforce the rightness of your side of the debate over why some people are free to make some choices but others aren't.

I agree with the Seinfeld analogy. In an ideal world, this is how things would work. But when legislation is crafted to create (literally) separate classes of people, it doesn't agree with my vision of freedom as a natural right.

By the way, don't forget that Poppy was sloppy.

Comment #28 by John Onamas on 2014 03 03

When the day comes that "acceptance" can be legislated without creating resentment....let me know.

Comment #29 by G Godot on 2014 03 03

ha! Love that Poppy episode.

As far as this legislation, it protects natural rights by making sure that the individual can't be forced to do something they don't want to do --- particularly if it violates their conscience.

DOMA: This legislation was also in response to left-wing activism. The Left began to try to redefine the word "marriage" across the country through government force. DOMA simply reinforces the original definition for the entire country/federal govt. Obviously strict definitions are important, especially when certain people begin to play these word games intended to benefit their interests.

I think you drastically mischaracterize this legislation. It doesn't create separate classes of people. It actually protects everyone equally. SB1062 doesn't even mention "gay" or "Christians" in its two-page text. It simply clarifies an existing law that was passed by liberal Democrats in the 1990s. People/Businesses can't be forced to serve others unless the govt can prove a clear and compelling govt interest.

Comment #30 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2014 03 03

The notion by the agenda driven overreachers herein that the purpose of a retain sales permit is to further gender identy societal equality is
pathetic. Raise a few bucks for the municipality to fritter away, yes, and provide a list for the sanitation cops to shake down, that's about it.

Comment #31 by G Godot on 2014 03 03

The notion by the agenda driven overreachers herein that the purpose of a retain sales permit is to further gender identy societal equality is
pathetic. Raise a few bucks for the municipality to fritter away, yes, and provide a list for the sanitation cops to shake down, that's about it.

Comment #32 by G Godot on 2014 03 03

Let me try again. I said he was accurate that the Church Fathers have taught this. I did not say it was theologically sound. My point being that here is an instance when the message of Christ: forgiveness, mercy, and compassion, conflict with the influences of Judaism in the New Testament scripture.

Comment #33 by bill bentley on 2014 03 04

So, how many time have you read the book? Zero? But you live your life by it. truly amazing. And isn't the homosexual thing just pulling bits out? Which Truth is the Truth?

Comment #34 by bill bentley on 2014 03 04

Oh, I see. Church Fathers teach what Travis has said. But according to bill bentley, that doesn't make it "theologically sound." Got it. Oddly, though, you haven't articulated anything different yet about what marriage is. Do you disagree with what Christians say marriage is? If not, why are you playing these games?

And there were many instances in which Christ's message conflicted with Judaism. Duh.

But I'm sorry, bill. Christ's message of forgiveness, mercy, and compassion hardly inform us that Jesus would be in favor of government forcing individuals to do things against their will. In Christ -- and God and the Bible for that matter -- we find liberty (and rejection of Earthly kings). Christ doesn't force people to do his will. It may be Jesus' opinion that a bakery should bake cakes for gay people. But that would be my opinion as well. It's a totally different thing to empower a government that can start forcing people to do things. That doesn't get you to Heaven, bill.

Come on, bill. This is pretty simple stuff.

JS

ps... How is it that you know how many times I've read the Bible? You say "zero." How do you know that?

Comment #35 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2014 03 04

Three points:

1. Anytime you "protect" the "natural rights" of one group by setting up a system that allows this group to ignore the rights of others, it strikes a blow against the rights of everyone. We are all Americans entitled to equal protection under the law.

2. The Arizona and Kansas bills did not legislate acceptance as Godot seemed to say. In fact, "acceptance" cannot be legislated at all, nor can intolerance. These are up to individuals. Legislatures should stay out of this issue almost entirely. It's better left to the judicial Branch to determine whether constitutional rights have been violated.

3. Religious beliefs should have absolutely NO INFLUENCE in government laws and policy. The Constitution is a completely agnostic document, and in fact it ensures that faith and government do not intermix. When making policy and law regarding the rights of any group, leave your religion at the door.

Comment #36 by John Onamas on 2014 03 04

Why do we have to call a union between two of the same sex a marriage? Why can't marriage be between opposite sexes and another term be created for a same sex couple?

Just because it has four legs and a tail doesn't mean we call it a cat.

Comment #37 by Wuggly Ump on 2014 03 04

So you obviously didn't read this passage; what your saying is you'll pick and choose the teachings you want to follow and those you don't. Is that right?

From the Book of Romans (its in the New Testament): Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For here is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for she is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, tan avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed." So, if the law permits gay marriage, as a good Christian you should follow it.

So, yes to ACA, Obama (appointed by God), gay marriage (legal), etc. Got it now? Otherwise your disobeying God's law.

Comment #38 by bill bentley on 2014 03 04

In wrestling its called an ankle pick; walk em forward and then swoop the ankle.

Comment #39 by bill bentley on 2014 03 05

And this is how you escape an ankle pick, especially one as weak as bill's:

As I explain to all narrow Biblical interpreters, Paul wrote this letter in a very specific time to a very specific people. Applying the Bible's words universally and infinitely is a common mistake among novice Biblical interpreters. In this case, Paul is struggling with the fact that early Christians were being confused with Jewish sectarians. So he urges the Roman church to distinguish itself from Jewish bandits, to take no part in the Jewish-Roman hostilities. Paul’s current mission was to promote the … not to have squash the early Church squashed by messing with the Roman government beasts at the time.

It’s called “context,” billy boy.

But even without this context, this passage isn't even that difficult to justify its seemingly troubled command. First off, we can recognize that Jesus and Paul himself often defied government authority. So we know Paul doesn't speak without nuance. And he doesn't teach in absolutes. Even in the New Testament, there is still a "time for every purpose."

In this segment of this letter, Paul is particularly conditional. "For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended."

Paul’s presupposition is clearly one that assumes rulers are enabling and rewarding good conduct. But what if rulers inflict terror on people doing "right"? People who are obeying God's law, rather than man's? Then what? Paul's own actions, as well as Jesus' actions and the Apostles, instruct us as to what Paul would say then.

"We must obey God rather than men." - Acts of the Apostles (Peter, John speaking to the Pharisees)

Your political theology, bill, would have you in 1935 Germany slaughtering Jews, all the while believing you’re on your way to Heaven. A very sound philosophy you’ve developed there. LOL

-----

And again I'll ask: How is it that you know how many times I've read the Bible? You say "zero." How do you know that?

L
O
L

Comment #40 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2014 03 06

As I said previously, you want to pick and choose which truths you want. As long as its in context. A little bit of a slippery slope.

Also, you might look at the character of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in "The Cost of Discipleship" and you might begin to approximate what I believe. Poser.

Comment #41 by bill bentley on 2014 03 06

Looking at things in their full context isn't "picking and choosing truths".... It is the exercise of actually getting to the truth.

Nice try.
_____

And I'll ask AGAIN: How is it that you know how many times I've read the Bible? You say "zero." How do you know that?

Comment #42 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2014 03 06

bill, how can someone who claims to revere all Biblical passages fail to understand that CONTEXT is the only way to make sense of the Bible? There are SCORES of passages that contradict one another if you choose to read the Bible in its literal form, and without context.

No wonder you're so confused.

(Please don't reply by asking me to read a book that you've read. So lame.)

Comment #43 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2014 03 06

So, is there a context to the passages about "not lying with another man?"

Comment #44 by bill bentley on 2014 03 07

And Bonhoeffer actually confronted the evil of Hitler in juxtaposition to his belief that Christians have no rights. He was executed right before the Russians took Berlin.

Comment #45 by bill bentley on 2014 03 07

What kind of points are these? Are these admissions that your logic is fatally flawed? I demonstrate that under your logic you would have been slaughtering Jews in Nazi Germany in good conscience, and all you can do is 1) Ignore that conclusion and 2) Ask me if there is context to Biblical passages concerning homosexual behavior? Uh, of course there is. Everything has context? Did you think you set a clever trap for me there, or something?

People are smarter than you think, bill. Everyone can see you bobbing and weaving down here. You can't even stay on a pointed topic or answer basic questions. Bonhoeffer? What the hell?

Comment #46 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2014 03 07

My point is (1) your shallow, (2) you have never reflected in a significant manner, and (3) being the loudest doesn't make you right (brute logic). And yes, some people are smarter than I think they are, you are not.

Comment #47 by bill bentley on 2014 03 07

Aaaaaaaaand you still haven't responded to any of my questions, or my analysis that your political theology would have had you killing Jews in Nazi Germany. You have gotten numerous things wrong down here, including your reckless assumption that I (and others, including Rowley) have never read the Bible.

Facing superior arguments, you have now resorted to name-calling. Who is "shallow" again?

Comment #48 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2014 03 07

Oh, almost forgot: In wrestling, this is called "getting your ass pinned."

Comment #49 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2014 03 07

First, your mind is infected with the same disease as Travis's: either or thinking. This is how I know you have not read the Bible, reflected on it, not have you done any real spiritual reflection.

In fact, Paul would refer to you as a "carnal mind" incapable of perceiving the truths of the Kingdom of Heaven.

As to the Nazi question. Bonhoeffer a respected German Theologian, in probably the most compelling and challenging treatise, The Cost of Discipleship, the status of the disciple: the subjugation of personal rights to follow Christ. As he lived during Hitler's reign, he came to the personal conclusion that he needed to be involved in helping to topple Hitler ultimately through assassination. In concern for the evil being perpetrated by the Nazi regime.

In this context he suspends the the ethical, as the characters of Abraham and Agamemnon in Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling, to accomplish a greater good. This would be my position. As in the case of Agamemnon, this would be for the universal good.

Twit.

Comment #50 by bill bentley on 2014 03 07

And you wouldn't know a superior argument if it bit you in the ass.

Comment #51 by bill bentley on 2014 03 07

That's debatable. But I know what someone looks like when they run out of ideas.

I'm an "either or" thinker? Nice try. I'm the one who suggested you provide context to your own thinking, bill. And by the way: You say this OPINION of yours is your evidence that I haven't read the Bible. What a joke.

And your narrative of Bonhoeffer, as well as your agreement with his actions, runs counter to your previous position that we all should be submissive to all Earthly rulers.

You're a walking contradiction.

Comment #52 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2014 03 08

Context is for either/or thinkers. An obfuscation. I never supported the scripture I quoted I used them to show the shallowness of choosing one part of scripture and arguing another to support your social/moral beliefs. Your reading comprehension is marginal.

The Bonhoeffer example, shows the tension in life, a paradox (like faith(, where seemingly contradictory beliefs are held in this tension with one another. Its exhausting laying these things out for you as I'll revert to my previous statement, your diseased mind can never grasp the complexity of this idea. You probably have reasons why you believe in God.

And I am a walking paradox; anyone who is truly thinking and reflecting lives a life of tension. Unlike the ignorant masses that depend an authority figures to figure out life's complexities.

Ringing a bell yet, simpleton?

Comment #53 by bill bentley on 2014 03 08

YOU: "I never supported the scripture I quoted I used them to show the shallowness of choosing one part of scripture and arguing another to support your social/moral beliefs. Your reading comprehension is marginal."

Or maybe you aren't as lucid as you think you are...? Possible. I mean, you could have clarified that a few comments earlier, don't you think? Plus your punctuation sucks. And you misuse "your" and "you're" like a 3rd grader.

Or maybe you're just a liar? I mean, you did say this right before you invoked Romans: "My more important point is that Christians give up their rights. Let's take taxes, Jesus said we should pay taxes, 'render unto Caesar.' Also, Christians are the 'servants of Man. Christ gave up his life willingly, this is the example of the Bible. In fact I believe Democracy may be part of the problem, especially for Americans. It confuses the masses into ignoring the message of Christ; they think they have rights. I'll leave you with 2 passages to contemplate (if your capable of reflection)."

Busted, bill. Just be honest down here, okay?

But let's say you don't support the Romans passage. In that case, it's YOU who picks and chooses the scripture he supports.

Busted again, bill.

And all I did was demonstrate that someone like me uses context to understand each and every Biblical passage...AFTER you accused me of "picking and choosing."

And let's remember that this whole portion of the debate was born by you accusing Rowley of not understanding the Bible, even though all he did in this column was touch on the fact that it is a Biblical teaching that marriage is a union b/w one man and one woman. Which you later admitted was true. It's also something you have failed to dispute thus far...or articulate an alternative definition. Which makes me wonder what your initial problem is...??

You have brought this discussion to the depths of stupidity.

Comment #54 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2014 03 08

"Context is for either/or thinkers. An obfuscation."

What? Context helps people understand the true message and intent of the messenger. But you say people who consider the context of words and events are wrong to do so. They're the ones who "obfuscate"? Not the people who just read everything in its literal form?

You're just weird, man.

Comment #55 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2014 03 08

After the Romans passage that instructs us to submit to govt authority, bill says:

So, if the law permits gay marriage, as a good Christian you should follow it...So, yes to ACA, Obama (appointed by God), gay marriage (legal), etc. Got it now? Otherwise your disobeying God's law."

Now, when trapped, bill contends that he "never supported the scripture I quoted I used them to show the shallowness of choosing one part of scripture and arguing another to support your social/moral beliefs. Your reading comprehension is marginal."

Go back and read it. It's as clear as day. This point bill makes even comes AFTER he contended this: "My more important point is that Christians give up their rights. Let's take taxes, Jesus said we should pay taxes, 'render unto Caesar.' Also, Christians are the 'servants of Man. Christ gave up his life willingly, this is the example of the Bible. In fact I believe Democracy may be part of the problem, especially for Americans. It confuses the masses into ignoring the message of Christ; they think they have rights. I'll leave you with 2 passages to contemplate (if your capable of reflection)."

bill, your intellectual honesty is "marginal" ... No apology necessary. I've run into even bigger losers than you in my life. I'm quite used to it.

Comment #56 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2014 03 08

I'll be you have. My arguments were to highlight the slippery slope of referring to scripture as a basis for discrimination. As for the rest, you have a lot of reading to do.

Comment #57 by bill bentley on 2014 03 08

Amusing to watch the guy who was exposed as a slithering liar (not to mention profoundly strange) tell someone else how much reading he has to do.

bill, how many Jews do you think you would have slaughtered in 1935? Just take a guess for everyone. hahahahahahaha

Comment #58 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2014 03 08

Um ... thank you? I pride myself on not being a member of the masses. And, your last statement reveals your level of intellectual sophistication, twit.

Comment #59 by bill bentley on 2014 03 09

"And, your last statement reveals your level of intellectual sophistication, twit."

No, actually my last statement is the endgame of your stance on Biblical passages. Remember? You invoked Romans to justify the blind allegiance to govt rulers (and then you tried to lie, and claim that you didn't do that. But I blew that out of the water in my most recent comments.)

Again, nice try. In future comments, try to pose actual arguments. Any idiot can simply post sarcasm and then call someone a name. So, seriously, try to DISPROVE anything I PROVED above. I'm really enjoying watching you squirm.

Comment #60 by Jeremy Soninjer on 2014 03 10

You keep overlooking what I really wrote, twit.

Comment #61 by bill bentley on 2014 03 10

Full of sound and fury...

Comment #62 by bill bentley on 2014 03 10




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