“It is the Price of Citizenship”?—An Elegy for Religious Liberty in America

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Jim's picture

What's the difference between that and this?

http://mn.gov/mdhr/yourrights/housing.html

Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, housing is a protected area, and it is illegal to treat you differently in housing because of your: race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, public assistance, sexual orientation, or familial status.

With limited exceptions, the following actions constitute a violation the Human Rights Act in housing when, because of your protected class status:

Property owners and managing agents, financial institutions with real property interest, real estate brokers:

Refuse to sell, rent, or lease or otherwise deny to or withhold from any person or group of persons any real property because of a person’s membership in a protected class;

Jim's picture

Flip it around ... how would we feel?

  • Suppose you, as a Christian, are driving across county. You stop to buy gas. The proprietor is a gay man. Seeing a Bible on your front seat, and a Christian bumper sticker, he refuses to provide service to you.

My take is that if you are in the business of serving (providing goods and services) the public, you have to serve all the paying public. Applies to the plumber, the renter, the gas station, and the photographer

Wayne Wilson's picture

Jim wrote:

Flip it around ... how would we feel?

  • Suppose you, as a Christian, are driving across county. You stop to buy gas. The proprietor is a gay man. Seeing a Bible on your front seat, and a Christian bumper sticker, he refuses to provide service to you.

My take is that if you are in the business of serving (providing goods and services) the public, you have to serve all the paying public. Applies to the plumber, the renter, the gas station, and the photographer

The law shouldn't be built around feelings, but Constitutional liberty.  I might feel bad if someone wouldn't provide gas for me (I think I would feel bemused) , but if I felt bad, that wouldn't change his right to serve me or not   I've been in a lot of places where it is posted: "no shirt, no shoes, no service"  or "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone."  I think that right should be allowed them.  Civil rights moving from political participation to areas of private accommodation was a kind-hearted effort to overturn a great evil --- racial discrimination.  It made sense because that was a widespread injustice deeply entrenched in custom.  At the time, I would have fully supported it.  Now I think it was a mistake, because that power claimed by the government to force access to private business has become a tool to force wickedness on people. 

I shouldn't have to rent a room in my home to a homosexual couple, or an unmarried couple, or anything else I find morally objectionable because my God finds it to be an abomination.  If people don't want to rent to Christians, I'm fine with that.  Many cities and states get along just fine without such impositions on liberty.

Mainly, however, this is a matter of religious liberty, a foundation of our Republic.  A clearly expressed right in the Constitution should not be trumped by any made up rights or local ordinances.   Rights often conflict, and the spelled out rights, the foundational rights, should be weighted more heavily than any others a judge or a city council invents.

Wayne Wilson's picture

Jim wrote:

One of the reasons I choose to NOT be a landlord! (See MN state law above)

 

That's right, brother, and the state should not have imposed that reason on your decision-making!

Jim's picture

Back to goods and services and merchants and businesses. It's been a long long since I've sold anything. But when I have I really never cared much about who the buyer was. They had the cash ... I had the goods ... the exchange was made .. finis!

While I have not sold much of recent I buy a lot: The drug store, the grocery store, the Wal-mart or Target, et cetera. Occasionally a car .... ever rarer a house.

In those transactions, no one cares to ask about my race, marital status, religion, sexual preference (I'm for it!).

What makes the photographer different?

Jim's picture

Greg Long wrote:

Jim, read this as to what makes the photographer different:

http://www.russellmoore.com/2012/12/11/should-a-christian-photographer-w...

I still don't see the wedding photographer as different but since I'm not a wedding photographer I won't have to deal with it.

Options for the one:

  • Don't do wedding photography at all
  • Don't do in states or jurisdictions where it would force him into a situation that would violate his conscience
  • Civil disobedience and experience any consequences

I have a conscience about weddings: When I was a pastor I only officiated at 1st time weddings - not for the divorced. I only attend weddings for the same. 

If I were a plumber ... I would be a plumber to all who would pay me. Electrician the same. Baker, etc

Wayne Wilson's picture

Jim,

  I don't really understand your cavalier attitude about this. It seems like if it doesn't bother you, it shouldn't bother anyone.  That's not how conscience is to be respected in law. 

But for the sake of argument, if you were a wedding photographer, and if someday child brides become legal here, would you just "take the money" and photograph the wedding of a 50 year old man to a child?  Just curious. 

Jim's picture

Wayne Wilson wrote:

Jim,

  I don't really understand your cavalier attitude about this. It seems like if it doesn't bother you, it shouldn't bother anyone.  That's not how conscience is to be respected in law. 

But for the sake of argument, if you were a wedding photographer, and if someday child brides become legal here, would you just "take the money" and photograph the wedding of a 50 year old man to a child?  Just curious. 

  • What "cavalier attitude"?
  • Re:"It seems like if it doesn't bother you, it shouldn't bother anyone" ... I'm sorry but it may bother you as much as you wish
  • Re: "But for the sake of argument ...". Answer. There's a lot of "what ifs". I'm not a wedding photographer and child brides are not legal. As I've told my children thousands of times .... I don't play "what if" games

 

christian cerna's picture

Jim, let's say you are renting your house. One day a man calls to ask about your property. You agree to meet up with them at the house to show them around. When you arrive, you find out that the man you spoke with on the phone brought his husband(partner).  As you walk around the house looking at all the bedrooms, you hear them talk about how it would be perfect for when they adopt some kids.

You're telling me you would feel perfectly alright renting the house to them? 

Jim's picture

christian cerna wrote:

Jim, let's say you are renting your house. One day a man calls to ask about your property. You agree to meet up with them at the house to show them around. When you arrive, you find out that the man you spoke with on the phone brought his husband(partner).  As you walk around the house looking at all the bedrooms, you hear them talk about how it would be perfect for when they adopt some kids.

You're telling me you would feel perfectly alright renting the house to them? 

Answered above: "One of the reasons I choose to NOT be a landlord! (See MN state law above)"

I could be a landlord. I've had opportunities. I choose to invest differently

 

Wayne Wilson's picture

Barry that's a "what if" question, so it won't be answered

 

In my mind, "What if" questions are where ideas are tested.  Not addressing them at all is just a dodge.

Jim's picture

Barry L. wrote:

and an active homosexual wants to enroll? Are you saying that Christians should not have seminaries or universities if they refuse enrollment to unregenerated students?

News Flash: Christian Seminaries and Universities HAVE unregenerated and homosexual students!

AND

I am not saying that said institutions should not have entrance standards

Jim's picture

Wayne Wilson wrote:

 

But for the sake of argument, if you were a wedding photographer, and if someday child brides become legal here, would you just "take the money" and photograph the wedding of a 50 year old man to a child?  Just curious. 

Answered: 

  • In 1988 a 54 yr old woman in my church (she was a member) was dating a 26 yr old man
  • They wanted me to marry them on 8/8/88
  • It was legal!
  • They were going to pay me (you know as much as an honorarium as a pastor would typically receive)
  • I wasn't to be the wedding photographer ... I was the officiant!
  • It was very weird and he hadn't told his mother yet
  • And I refused to participate

 

christian cerna's picture

Did they end up married?

Is she still a member? (the 54 y/o woman)

Jim's picture

christian cerna wrote:

Did they end up married?

Is she still a member? (the 54 y/o woman)

What happened:

  • The woman left the church - angry at me
  • They did not get married

I was concerned about the relationship from the get go:

  • She had been a regular attender until the "dating" started
  • He rarely came
  • What convinced me is that when I met with them:

    • His parents were unaware of the relationship
    • And he was reluctant to tell them
christian cerna's picture

not bad.

Mike Verway's picture

keeping the thread going. Without your comments, we'd only be "amening" each other's remarks. Your arguments here are not consistent with how you argue in other threads. To compare participating in a wedding ceremony to buying gas is ludicrous.

Jim's comments aside, how should churches respond to members who have small businesses that serve the wedding industry?  If the church declares a position against so called "same-sex marriage," how should the church respond when its member who owns a limousine business accepts a job for two homosexuals to ride in his vehicle following their ceremony? Is this a matter of conscience or should the church discipline its dress maker member because she sewed a gown for a lesbian?

These are not simple "what if's?" This is now the reality in my state of Minnesota.

Jim's picture

Mike Verway wrote:
.... how should churches respond to members who have small businesses that serve the wedding industry?  If the church declares a position against so called "same-sex marriage," how should the church respond when its member who owns a limousine business accepts a job for two homosexuals to ride in his vehicle following their ceremony? Is this a matter of conscience or should the church discipline its dress maker member because she sewed a gown for a lesbian?

These are not simple "what if's?" This is now the reality in my state of Minnesota.

It would be ludicrous for the church to get involved!

  • How about a Christian taxi cab driver who accepts any fare?
  • A plumber fixes the toilet of a homosexual couple?
  • A banker writes a mortgage for a gay couple?

I mean really!!! 

 

Rob Fall's picture

However the ludicrous are among us. It never pays to bet against them or their rising.

Jim wrote:

Mike Verway wrote:
.... how should churches respond to members who have small businesses that serve the wedding industry?  If the church declares a position against so called "same-sex marriage," how should the church respond when its member who owns a limousine business accepts a job for two homosexuals to ride in his vehicle following their ceremony? Is this a matter of conscience or should the church discipline its dress maker member because she sewed a gown for a lesbian?

These are not simple "what if's?" This is now the reality in my state of Minnesota.

It would be ludicrous for the church to get involved!

  • How about a Christian taxi cab driver who accepts any fare?
  • A plumber fixes the toilet of a homosexual couple?
  • A banker writes a mortgage for a gay couple?

I mean really!!! 

 

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Jim's picture

Mike Verway wrote:
To compare participating in a wedding ceremony to buying gas is ludicrous.

I did not so equate. I used the gas station as an example of discrimination

 

Mike Verway wrote:
...how should the church respond when its member who owns a limousine business accepts a job for two homosexuals to ride in his vehicle following their ceremony? 

My guess is that it would be illegal in MN to discriminate based upon sexual preference with regard to transportation 

pvawter's picture

I have always thought that discrimination ought to be allowed for any basis. If there is a market for the discriminated party's commerce, someone will do business with them. Then the only person who truly suffers is the one who discriminates. Why not allow the market to determine it?

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

If you go far enough allowing discrimination of conscience, you end up back in segregation. Many (most?) racist whites of the early 1900s would have claimed the right of conscience to "protect" their families and communities by segregation, and would have claimed biblical support for their position. 

 

In the current discussion, I think the answer to Jim's question regarding the difference between the plumber (or mechanic or whatever) and the photographer (or dress maker or whatever) is the level of endorsement offered by the service. If my service can be construed as supporting or endorsing the sinfulness, then my conscience forbids me from participating. Installing a bathroom toilet does not endorse the homosexual lifestyle, but enshrining (or facilitating) the commitment ceremony of a homosexual couple might be construed that way. It seems the photographer approached this situation in the same way Jim did with the wedding he refused to officiate. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Mike Verway's picture

It would be ludicrous for the church to get involved!

There are any number of situations where one's occupation may conflict with his conscience and with the testimony of his local church to which he has covenanted in membership. Is it none of the church's business in any of these matters?

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Considering how much of Hollywood employs and supports homosexuality, has anyone tossed their TV out the window yet? Has anyone recommended a movie or TV show lately where the actors were homo/bisexual? Does anyone's church discipline members who purchase DVDs of movies? Are those things really all that different from driving a gay couple to their wedding or taking their picture? In the second instance, they are paying you for a service, but in the first instance, you're paying them. Which one is more of an endorsement?

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