I haven’t followed the specifics of these religious freedom restoration laws in Arkansas and Indiana, but when the governor of Arkansas assured constituents the other day that his own son signed the petition to amend it, it was pretty clear that the jig was up. There is your typical politician, wet finger resolutely gauging the wind. When deep pockets (Walmart, Apple) demur and/or public opposition arises, politicians go “What, me principled?”
The “freedom of association” store was sadly given away 50 years ago. The principle that should be at work is this: voluntary buyer and voluntary seller. This type of common sense and respect for other people’s conscience (even if they make decisions we think are stupid or contemptible) is no longer there, nor does it matter that denying that principle may one day endanger my liberty to dissent from whatever the government and pop culture is pushing at the moment.
I’m waiting for some Christians to go to some gay businessman and request a cake saying “Marriage: One Man, One Woman” or “Jesus: the Only Way.” It’s a public accommodation! You have to do it! Of course, these would be probably termed “hate speech” in our increasingly arbitrary system, providing a convenient loophole. The principle of the thing no longer matters.
If a Jehovah’s Witness came to my shop and wanted a cake I’d sell it to him. If he wanted a cake saying “The Trinity is False” I would not do it. Nor would I in turn expect a Muslim to make me a cake that says “Pork: the other white meat.” If a Jew doesn’t want to cater for a Christian wedding, then find someone else to do it. What is so hard about this?
Why should a man be compelled to violate his own conscience? The answer of course is that this isn’t debate, it’s a drumbeat. The media and those bulldozing their opposition like Germany mowing through France in 1940 don’t really care about how these precedents could be used against them one day. It’s just another brick in the wall of molding others in the image of our societal tastemakers.
For people who have a fetish of finding “judgmentalism” in others, these folks sure are awfully confident in how others should be forced to act.