Socrates: Worst case scenario if the bill would have passed:
Those who identify themselves as homosexual hate all religious people and all businesses owned by religious people while religious people hate all those who identify themselves as homosexual.
Plato: Well the problem with this possibility is that in the case of the latter, if they’re truly practicing their religion, and their religion is the Catholic/Christian one, this would never happen because they’d be called to love everyone, even those that hate and persecute them.
In my opinion, if a photographer or baker or wedding host doesn’t want to service a couple because doing so connotes their support or blessing of a union or lifestyle they don’t approve of, they should have the right.
Not all businesses provide the same touch of personal service… being serviced for a wedding is not the same as ordering food from McDonald’s or going to an auto mechanic to get your car fixed. Also the person who provides the service in those cases isn’t faced with making an ethical or moral decision in providing that service.
Socrates: Yes, actually they could face such a dilemma… suppose someone who is very overweight orders three Big Macs every day for a month and the cashier eventually decides that selling them would be against their better judgment or religious belief because in doing so they’d be assisting in a slow form of suicide.
Suppose an environmentally conscious auto mechanic refuses to repair SUVs because he believes they consume excessive amounts of finite resources.
Suffice it so say that anyone could discriminate for valid reasons or deeply held beliefs that might seem trivial to another.
Plato: Yes, those are good examples, but shouldn’t some constitutional rights receive a higher value? Since when does helping to prevent suicide or protecting the environment receive constitutional protection? Do you suggest that defending marriage is the same as fighting obesity or protecting the environment? These aren’t constitutionally protected rights.
Socrates: Yes, this is true, it’s not likely that a court of law would take the side of the business if a lawsuit ensued, mostly because they’re not constitutionally protected rights. The constitution never treats a business as a person.
Plato: Yes, but should a business owner have the right to express their religious beliefs through their business? Should a magazine printer not have the right to print information about his or her beliefs?
Socrates: Yes, I believe that would seem just and fair. A society should allow each individual freedom of expression, not only through art and worship but through their potential source of income as well, or are we to assume that the only purpose of a business is to increase one’s livelihood?
Plato: Surely the pursuit of happiness includes more than increasing one’s livelihood. That we can agree on.
Socrates. Certainly. But what happens when service is denied based on differing ethnicity or religion, and doing so gives the business owner a greater sense of pursuing happiness?
Plato: Perhaps in those cases the principal of human equality must hold more weight than religious freedom, otherwise such forms of discrimination when widespread in every sector could transgress upon a person’s ability to survive, their very livelihood would be threatened since very few can live without relying to some extent on the services of others. And, such discrimination, in the case of ethnicity, would be a violation of a basic right in that America is founded on the belief that all people are created equal, regardless of ethnic differences. To do otherwise might suggest they are not a person, not human.
But, suppose through a person’s work, in cases that do not jeopardize a person’s equality in terms of being human, since no one chooses their ethnicity, shouldn’t a business have a right to distribute their gift to others in that they shouldn’t be forced to serve or share it with everyone if they don’t want to.
Socrates: Oh, I can only imagine the carnage that might result!
Plato: Well sure, some people may try to seek revenge for being denied service by doing hateful things, but isn’t it true that we live in a world where we can’t always have our way? If a business owner is wrong, unethical or immoral in denying service to someone, and they also believe in a God that strengthens this belief, wouldn’t that same God judge them accordingly when the time comes if they’re wrong in making that choice? Are there not many businesses to choose from in Arizona, and many others in other states as well… aside from having feelings hurt, can’t a potential customer go somewhere else?
Socrates: I see what you mean… segregation based on race and sexual orientation aren’t the same, one is established from birth and should have legal protection while the other, as evidence suggests, can be based on poor childhood bonding experiences with the same sex parent, hormonal changes during adolescence that effect sexual appetite, environmental influences or appetite formation through repeated sexual experiences with the same sex.
Plato: That is correct. However, many do not agree on whether sexual orientation is established from birth or if it is part of a process as you’ve described, despite the latest evidence.
I believe that many suppose that if this bill passed, and one baker could then rightfully deny service to a homosexual couple based on their beliefs about homosexual marriage, every form of business related segregation will pour forth like unprecedented evils from Pandora’s box.
Socrates: Yes, that does sound like what might be happening. I suppose there are many valid economic concerns as well… perhaps some people will even refuse to do business with all businesses in Arizona.
Plato: That could hurt many people who live in Arizona.
Socrates: It probably would indeed, but doesn’t the pursuit of happiness for the baker still have value, not to mention their right to work and practice their religious beliefs?
Plato: Yes, that does seem important, especially since many believe that upholding their religious beliefs are more important than anything else in this world of forms. Rightfully, perhaps they’re simply choosing to believe in a world where the forms of this world are mere shadows compared to those that are true and real, perhaps those that only the soul can see. Perhaps they hope to uphold and share those beliefs with as many as they can, and such would constitute their pursuit of happiness.
Socrates: Well, no government should deny them that right, especially one that purports to support such a freedom from the time of its birth. Yes, unfounded assumptions like opening Pandora’s box simply must be done away with.
Plato: I agree. And, in a capitalist society the market can sort many things out. No one is forcing all Arizona business owners to segregate based on their beliefs about sexual orientation so boycotting all Arizona businesses wouldn’t make sense. Why should all businesses suffer because the state elects to supports the right of a business to deny service to someone based on that owners religious beliefs?
Socrates: It seems as though the governor of Arizona has decided in favor of economic interests or out of fear of unfounded consequences like Pandora’s box rather than supporting religious freedom when it entails expressing itself through one’s business.
Plato: Well, we’ll see what happens next.
Socrates: At least this way Arizona is more likely to host the Superbowl next year!
Plato: True, and with Steven Seagal helping out with law enforcement, perhaps they’ll catch all those supposedly drawn to it for sex trafficking, or prevent it altogether!
Socrates: So be it!