Monday, April 06, 2015

Freedom of speech and cake preparation

There were two particularly good blog posts I found today about compulsive speech and cake preparation.  Coyote Blog made this excellent point:
Try as I might, I can only think of two internally consistent positions on this issue:  1.  Businesses have the freedom to accommodate whomever they want; or 2.  All businesses, perhaps as a part of the state business license requirements, must accommodate all comers no matter what.  Number one leads to some ugly, but probably rare, incidents.  Number two causes a lot of friction with other first amendment rights such as speech and religion.
What kind of free-speech friction?  That is reviewed in this equally good piece by law professor Jonathan Turley: "Critics of Indiana’s religious freedom law are trying to have their cake and eat it, too - In their rush to support same-sex rights, they've been too quick to dismiss legitimate questions about free speech and expression."
Consider two cases that both happen to involve bakeries in or near Denver, Colo. In July 2012, David Mullins and Charlie Craig visited Masterpiece Cakeshop to order a wedding cake. Owner Jack Phillips said that, due to his Christian beliefs, he could not provide a cake for the celebration of a same-sex marriage. Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission ultimately ruled that the bakery broke the state’s anti-discrimination laws.
Now, the flip side. In March 2014, Christian customer Bill Jack asked Azucar Bakery to prepare two cakes in the shape of Bibles — with an X over the image of two men holding hands. Owner Marjorie Silva said she would make the cakes but refused to include what she found to be an offensive message. Jack filed a religious discrimination claim that’s now pending with the state’s civil rights division.
Two sets of cakes. Two different sentiments viewed as offensive. Can we compel the baker in one case and permit the other to refuse? And should the right to refuse be limited to religious objections? There are an array of messages that offend non-religious persons or violate non-religious values. Glibly saying that you cannot discriminate ignores legitimate questions of forced speech and forced participation.
Colorado has ruled that the bakery who refused to make the anti-gay cakes were A-OK but the poor souls from the other bakery needed to go to re-education camps for their Doubleplusungood Thoughtcrimes.  The brain trust at ThinkProgress thinks that's just dandy because one cake is "discrimination" and other cake is just speech we don't like.  The lawsuits against the Muslim bakers should be proceeding apace.

Unless, and I'm just guessing here, this selective acceptance of speech depends on whether old-school Christians are on the other side of the belief wall.  Onward Catholic photographers.

1 comment:

Roger Bournival said...

Hell, I discriminate all the time in my CPA practice. You're a difficult, hard to work with client? Piss off. You constantly complain about my bills? f*ck, you, pay me - now piss off! You want to ignore my advice on how not to get audited just so you have a low tax bill? Do it yourself.

Guess that makes me a bigot & a hater!