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

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Jim's picture

Mike Verway wrote:

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?

Do you really mean this? Yup! Not in the matters you mentioned

The church would be way out of line in these cases (mentioned in this thread): To discipline a member for:

  • Renting a home or apartment to a homosexual couple
  • Providing limo or taxi service to a homosexual
  • Being a vendor at a homosexual wedding be it: baker or photographer or such

 

 

Barry L.'s picture

How does a Minnesota independent seminary get around Minnesota law if they do not include "sexual orientation" in their nondiscrimination policy?

Jim's picture

Mike Verway wrote:
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.

Please list those occupations:

1. ... 

2. ...

3 ... 

 

 

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Barry L. wrote:

How does a Minnesota independent seminary get around Minnesota law if they do not include "sexual orientation" in their nondiscrimination policy?

Religious organizations are federally exempted.

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

Jim's picture

Jim wrote:

Mike Verway wrote:
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.

Please list those occupations:

1. ... 

2. ...

3 ... 

Occupations that would conflict with testimony of local church

  1. Casino worker
  2. Bar owner / worker
  3. Abortion Dr / abortion clinic worker
  4. TSA worker (joking)

Occupations that would NOT conflict with testimony of local church

  1. Professional photographer who in the course of his business may take photos of a gay wedding
  2. Limo driver / livery owner who in the course of his business may transport a gay couple

Your turn!

Rob Fall's picture

Adding to jobs in conflict from a California perspective:

  1. Wine maker or any job that is integral to the liquor industry (production, distribution, sales (not including grocery store or restaurant workers).
  2. Any job in the marijuana industry.

 

 

Jim wrote:

Occupations that would conflict with testimony of local church

  1. Casino worker
  2. Bar owner / worker
  3. Abortion Dr / abortion clinic worker
  4. TSA worker (joking)

Occupations that would NOT conflict with testimony of local church

  1. Professional photographer who in the course of his business may take photos of a gay wedding
  2. Limo driver / livery owner who in the course of his business may transport a gay couple

Your turn!

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Rob, any job in the marijuana industry?

 

How would working in a medical dispensary differ from working in a pharmacy now that the dispensary is legal?

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

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

I wanted to separate this, but the alcohol related jobs wouldn't rise to the level of potential church interference unless the church had a prohibition against alcohol in the membership covenant. Of course, while many of us might attend that church, we wouldn't apply for membership for exactly that reason - so we still wouldn't be candidates for church discipline.

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

Rob Fall's picture

Pleas note this

would NOT conflict with testimony of local church

is the operative phrase.  A local church's testimony can be nebulous.  I am taking Romans 14:16 and the verses surrounding it, I Thessalonians 5:22, and others as my guiding principles.

Until marijuana laws are harmonized at both the State and Federal levels, I'd stay away.  Remember, I'm writing from a California perspective.  In Del Norte and Mendocino counties marijuana is a big time cash crop.  So, I'm including the whole industry not just clerking at a dispensary.

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

Rob, any job in the marijuana industry?

 

How would working in a medical dispensary differ from working in a pharmacy now that the dispensary is legal?

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

pvawter's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

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. 

Chip,

I think you overstate the consequences of such freedom of conscience. And besides, that goes way beyond what I am talking about. Using the authority of government to force segregation or integration is a violation of the rights of individual citizens, IMO. Instead, maybe government intervention is part of the problem rather than the solution.

I am not arguing for a return to early 1900s racial politics, but for a truly revolutionary approach where each person has equal rights under the law. Under the guise of equal rights, we have swung the pendulum too far, at least in some cases (think, Affirmative Action). In a truly free society, one person may discriminate against another, while his neighbor may extend service to the discriminated party, thus earning his business and appreciation. If there is enough demand for both businesses, they may both survive. If not, then the one with the smaller customer base will suffer (all other things being equal).

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

pvawter wrote:

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

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. 

Chip,

I think you overstate the consequences of such freedom of conscience. And besides, that goes way beyond what I am talking about. Using the authority of government to force segregation or integration is a violation of the rights of individual citizens, IMO. Instead, maybe government intervention is part of the problem rather than the solution.

I am not arguing for a return to early 1900s racial politics, but for a truly revolutionary approach where each person has equal rights under the law. Under the guise of equal rights, we have swung the pendulum too far, at least in some cases (think, Affirmative Action). In a truly free society, one person may discriminate against another, while his neighbor may extend service to the discriminated party, thus earning his business and appreciation. If there is enough demand for both businesses, they may both survive. If not, then the one with the smaller customer base will suffer (all other things being equal).

But Paul, if you head down the road you have described, how do you keep it from ending back up with the racists being allowed to exercise their racism? We already had the kind of freedom you describe - under segregation. There were places in the country that didn't segregate even while there were places that did. And if you use any governmental means to outlaw the racism, why wouldn't the same principle apply to restrict other exercises of conscience - like refusing to officiate or photograph a gay wedding? You seem to want to have your cake and eat it too.

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

pvawter's picture

Sorry chip,
I am not being clear enough. You cannot stop racism via legislation, and I don't think you should try. Racist policy or laws should be struck down. I am talking about the liberty for individual citizens to be racist without that being unlawful. that does not mean I support racism in general, but I support the freedom within the marketplace for people to make decisions according to their own beliefs and deal with the consequences of their behavior.
Why must the government step in every time someone from a "protected class" is mistreated? All that does is create a gap between people in the protected classes and those who are unprotected. Sounds to me like unequal treatment under the law, exactly what these policies purport to exclude.

Barry L.'s picture

 

Problem is that we see the difference between discrimination based on race and discrimination based on sexual orientation, but the federal government now does not. Churches are still allowed to discriminate based on race, but religious institutions are not if they want to keep their tax exempt status and secular accreditation. This will start to spill over to fairness with regards to "sexual orientation". There will be challenges in the very near future to Christian universities on this.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Barry L. wrote:

 

Problem is that we see the difference between discrimination based on race and discrimination based on sexual orientation, but the federal government now does not. Churches are still allowed to discriminate based on race, but religious institutions are not if they want to keep their tax exempt status and secular accreditation. This will start to spill over to fairness with regards to "sexual orientation". There will be challenges in the very near future to Christian universities on this.

Barry, how are churches still allowed to discriminate on the basis of race? Churches may discriminate on the basis of religion where others cannot, but I am not aware of any avenue in which they can discriminate on race.

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

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

pvawter wrote:
Sorry chip,
I am not being clear enough. You cannot stop racism via legislation, and I don't think you should try. Racist policy or laws should be struck down. I am talking about the liberty for individual citizens to be racist without that being unlawful. that does not mean I support racism in general, but I support the freedom within the marketplace for people to make decisions according to their own beliefs and deal with the consequences of their behavior.
Why must the government step in every time someone from a "protected class" is mistreated? All that does is create a gap between people in the protected classes and those who are unprotected. Sounds to me like unequal treatment under the law, exactly what these policies purport to exclude.
So, if I am understanding clearly, you are saying that we should just let the racists openly practice their beliefs. That is a very libertarian position, and one I have wrestled with myself. I am not yet convinced the libertarianism is really the avenue God intends human government to go. It seems that government is supposed to protect and encourage what is right (by God's definition of right) and restrain what is wrong (by God's definition of wrong). 

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

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

You can legislate against harmful actions, but you can't legislate against attitudes. Free association doesn't violate anyone's right to life, liberty, or property, while making free association illegal does violate one's right to private property and personal liberty. 

christian cerna's picture

Agreed. You cannot force people to love each other or to have good thoughts about another person. 

I think the word racist is overused in our society. Now adays you cannot say any negative thing about a person of another race, without being called racist. There is a difference between being a racist, and being observant of the way people of other cultures are. 

For example, if I say that I am looking to buy a house, but I do not want to live in a black neighborhood because they tend to be high crime areas with bad schools, I am not being racist. I am just being real.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Susan R wrote:

You can legislate against harmful actions, but you can't legislate against attitudes. Free association doesn't violate anyone's right to life, liberty, or property, while making free association illegal does violate one's right to private property and personal liberty. 

Which comes back to what I was asking Paul. On one hand he seems to be advocating removing all laws that intrude on free exercise of conscience so that his photographer could refuse to take the job photographing the gay wedding. However, that also seems to remove any prohibition against segregation as it existed legally from the Plessy vs Ferguson SCOTA verdict in 1896 until the Civil Rights movement of the 60s. If he sees a way to end the racist's free exercise of conscience while allowing the photographer's, I'd like to hear how he describes the principle that guides the rule of that law. 

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

pvawter's picture

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

On one hand he seems to be advocating removing all laws that intrude on free exercise of conscience so that his photographer could refuse to take the job photographing the gay wedding. However, that also seems to remove any prohibition against segregation as it existed legally from the Plessy vs Ferguson SCOTA verdict in 1896 until the Civil Rights movement of the 60s. If he sees a way to end the racist's free exercise of conscience while allowing the photographer's, I'd like to hear how he describes the principle that guides the rule of that law. 

Chip,

You are confusing two very different things. Freedom of conscience is not the same as legally enforced segregation. I never said that the racist's free exercise of conscience should be ended, but that certainly doesn't mean that he has the right to limit anyone else's free exercise using government authority. Refusing to serve someone for whatever reason is not the same thing as limiting his/her rights.

It seems obvious to me that there are economic advantages to serving all people without discrimination, but if an individual chooses to forgo those advantages, what is that to those he refuses to serve? Can't they simply look for someone who is willing to serve them? And if not, then why can't they fill that niche in the market, themselves? It seems to me that this is the way a free market would handle discrimination.

Paul

Jim's picture

pvawter wrote:
....if an individual chooses to forgo those advantages, what is that to those he refuses to serve? Can't they simply look for someone who is willing to serve them? And if not, then why can't they fill that niche in the market, themselves? It seems to me that this is the way a free market would handle discrimination.

Paul

Have you ever worked in a retail environment where you serve the public? Or owned a business where you have customers?

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Paul,

Do you believe this libertarian type of government you have described is the one Paul wrote about in Romans 13 or God intended when He instituted human government in Genesis 9? Do you believe that as we Christians stand before God to give an account of our lives, this is what God would be pleased to have us stand behind? 

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

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Ya'll do realize that segregation used to be de jure - enforced by law. The Civil Rights movement rightly protested segregation in schools, public transportation, the military, and other federal public spaces.

But we aren't talking about those kinds of public places. We are talking about 'desegregation', if you will, for privately owned businesses. There is a difference between a landlord or shop proprietor choosing with whom they wish to do business, and segregation sanctioned and enforced by law. We have actually got it the other way around now- people are required by law to do business and associate with individuals that they'd rather not associate or do business with, for whatever reason. 

Anyone of a minority, be it ethnicity or gender, can claim 'discrimination' any time someone doesn't want to do business with or hire them, even if the reason has nothing to do their ethnicity or gender. People have to 'prove' that they aren't racist- but you can't prove the non-existence of something. 

And if Mr. Bob doesn't sell you a glass of lemonade, he's not preventing you from buying lemonade from anyone on any planet forevermore. Just from him. The gov't shouldn't be in the business of using their police power to tell businesses with whom they must do business. 

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Susan R wrote:

And if Mr. Bob doesn't sell you a glass of lemonade, he's not preventing you from buying lemonade from anyone on any planet forevermore. Just from him. The gov't shouldn't be in the business of using their police power to tell businesses with whom they must do business. 

This was the case under legalized segregation too. Blacks could always go somewhere else where there wasn't segregation to do their business. Desegregation was the government using their police power to tell businesses with whom they must do business. 

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

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:

Susan R wrote:

And if Mr. Bob doesn't sell you a glass of lemonade, he's not preventing you from buying lemonade from anyone on any planet forevermore. Just from him. The gov't shouldn't be in the business of using their police power to tell businesses with whom they must do business. 

This was the case under legalized segregation too. Blacks could always go somewhere else where there wasn't segregation to do their business. Desegregation was the government using their police power to tell businesses with whom they must do business.

Gov't set the precedent by legislating and enforcing segregation. 

But this isn't primarily about ethnic segregation- this is about forcing people to do business with everyone that crosses their threshhold, regardless of what the proprietor believes or whether or not it is even in his best interests. People can claim discrimination even when race or gender identity isn't the reason someone doesn't want to do business with them. 

The racism of the past was very clear in the way it was practiced by both gov't and citizens. Racism today is just a word, like 'purple' or 'noodles'. It gets thrown around so much that it has no meaning other than a way for some people to intimidate and coerce others. And ditto 'tolerance'. It just means 'tolerance for LGBT', not tolerance for religious beliefs.

pvawter's picture

Jim,

yes I have worked in several different retail environments, although I have not been a business owner. 

Chip,

The kind of government I described is one where individuals are free to exercise their rights according to the dictates of their own conscience without infringing on the free exercise of others, so I don't see how that is inconsistent with the description of Genesis 9. As a Baptist by conviction, I affirm the principle of soul liberty, so each individual will answer to God for his own actions, and the separation of church and state, so the government ought not use the power of the sword to enforce the standards of the church.

I am not saying that it is morally right for anyone to practice discrimination, that it makes good business sense to do so, or that it is even legal for them to do so. What I am saying is that I believe it ought to be legal for them to do so. In the same way, I do not believe that it is morally right to commit adultery (it is clearly wrong according to God's word), but that does not mean it should be illegal to do so.

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