Kicking up the dust

equalNotEqualSince everyone is having fun posting hypotheticals, often populated by men made from straw, I have decided to kick up some dust myself.

Suppose you and your newly-wedded partner have a small shirt-printing business.

Suppose the youth minister from a local evangelical church visits your storefront, and places an order for fifty t-shirts with != on the front, and “Marriage: One Man, One Woman” on the back.

Your partner asks the youth minister to wait a second, while he consults with his husband, and comes to you in tears.

Appropriately outraged, you demand the bigoted youth pastor to leave your place of business and never return.  You then close the shop and spend the rest of the day comforting your partner.

A week later, you are cited for violating the civil rights of the youth pastor by refusing to help him spread his bigoted message — a message with which you take severe exception.  Ultimately, you are required to make restitution to the youth pastor and to his church.

How would that make you feel?

Look.  I don’t have much of a dog in this fight.  My livelihood is not based on providing services.  If I had a gay friend came to me, requesting my assistance in their marriage, I might do it, just so that I can have a small hand in making them happy.  I like it when my friends are happy.  It wouldn’t be done without some amount of prayer, but I wouldn’t necessarily balk at it.

But don’t force me to do it.  I would not force anyone to print up t-shirts offensive to them.  Don’t force me (or anyone else) to bake cakes for something which is offensive (or more to the point, something which is incongruent with their deeply-held beliefs).

Maybe you don’t share their beliefs.  Maybe you think their beliefs are silly, or out-dated, or absurd.  That is not the point.  The point is, don’t force them.

The day may come when someone forces you to do something equally offensive to your own sensibilities.  On that day, you may wish you were arguing the other side of this issue.

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