Pluralism Was Once a Liberal Virtue

There has been a great deal of misinformation about this case, especially among LGBT advocates and media. No, he did not refuse to wait on gay customers. He refused to create a same-sex wedding cake.

Pluralism, in terms of accepting and allowing people to act on their own beliefs, faith-based or otherwise, has been replaced by the left’s pseudo “diversity,” which demands lock-step adherence to progressive orthodoxy.

20 Comments for “Pluralism Was Once a Liberal Virtue”

  1. posted by JohnInCA on

    “No, he did not refuse to wait on gay customers. He refused to create a same-sex wedding cake.”

    Was it *possible* for the gay customers to *not* order a “same-sex wedding cake”? Only if they ordered it for a hetero couple. Was it possible for a hetero couple to order a “same-sex with cake”? Only if they ordered it for a gay couple.

    Do basically, they only thing that makes it a “same-sex wedding cake”, which the guy doesn’t sell, rather then a “wedding cake”, which he does sell, is whether or not the intended recipients are a same-sex couple.

    Or in other words… He refused to sell a product to a customer because it was intended for a gay couple.

    … Is this persuasive to anyone? Even the “artistic” line of reasoning is more persuasive then this shite.

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  2. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    Here we go round the mulberry bush …

    The legal issues framed by Masterpiece (Per SCOTUS – “Issue: Whether applying Colorado’s public accommodations law to compel the petitioner to create expression that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage violates the free speech or free exercise clauses of the First Amendment.”) are relatively narrow.

    A decision on the grounds of free exercise is unlikely, given that the applicable standard is Employment Division, not Sherbet/Yoder.

    A decision on the grounds of free speech is more likely, and if the case is decided favorably to the bakery on that ground, the implications of the decision will be wide-ranging, and not confined to conservative Christian objection to same-sex marriage.

    With respect to the free speech argument, I would suggest that you read the amicus brief filed by Cake Artists, which sets the theoretical underpinning of any decision in favor of the bakery on free speech grounds, grounds that cut the free exercise argument off at the legs:

    Cakes of enormous beauty exemplify custom cakes’ artistic character regardless of linkage to any specific purpose or event.

    Like other artistic mediums, custom cakes—including many of those illustrated—can astonish and provide sheer aesthetic pleasure in and of themselves, wholly apart from their food value or their commemorative role at a specific event.

    As a remarkable example of the beauty that a true cake artist can whip out of ordinary ingredients, consider the following cake, designed and perfected by Jennifer Jones. This cake—which she calls “Repetto,” honoring the famous ballet shoes—was inspired by Parisian tutus and trim from a prominent Paris stage where ballet is performed.

    Each tier of the cake represents a tutu. The tutus are hand pleated with gum paste and then detailed with flowers, trim, and hand-painting to closely resemble actual tutus. The trim on the baseboard holding the cake was molded, painted, and adorned with gum paste pearls to mimic the trim of the ballet stage. The “fabric” on the board is itself made of gum paste. Jones layered a total of 124 gum paste roses between each tier, with a larger rose on the top. Each rose is made of between nine and sixteen gum paste petals, each cut out individually and then, one by one, placed together to create a rose. Everything in the picture is edible.

    This extraordinary cake took two weeks—with several twenty-hour days—to complete.

    In fact, beyond the expected awards and accolades that amici deservedly have received, at least one has had her work featured at a leading museum. The Birmingham Museum of Art invited Lexi Ginsburg Mota and her colleague to display cakes in August 2017 as part of the museum’s “Art on the Rocks” events.

    “Combining cake artistry with the intricate designs and themes of contemporary art, culinary artists Lexi and Anna from The Cakerie will each make a cake inspired by Third Space,” to be displayed at the museum. (Third Space is “the first large exhibition of contemporary art from the Museum’s own collection.”)

    If nothing else, the brief has many examples of cakes as art, including but not limited to a cake depicting “Oklahoma State mascot “Pistol Pete” riding atop a pig”. If I didn’t know Baker Botts and the high quality of legal work done by the firm, I’d half suspect that the cake-art examples were selected by a half-drunk associate. The brief is definitely worth a look, if nothing else, though, just for the cakes.

    However much I have fallen into the thrall of the Cake Artist’s brief, I have to say, Stephen, your final observation (“Pluralism, in terms of accepting and allowing people to act on their own beliefs, faith-based or otherwise, has been replaced by the left’s pseudo “diversity,” which demands lock-step adherence to progressive orthodoxy.”) is over the top.

    It sounds like it was written by a 1950’s Stalinist. Come back to earth and discuss the issues at hand, rather than universalizing yourself into the inter-cosmos. Seriously.

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  3. posted by Polymath Level8 on

    I am amazed at republicans’ endless skill at twisted rhetoric. Now it’s about an artist’s right to express free speech and religious values in a business that is supposed to serve the public.
    Dragging in these unrelated issues to replace the public accommodations laws is bad enough. But as usual, the self-important Christian right knows zip about scripture.
    You cannot serve god and mammon. And a business exists to serve mammon. Period. Pretending it can also serve the lord is hopelessly ignorant.

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  4. posted by db on

    honesty use to be more of a conservative value….

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  5. posted by Jorge on

    (He won’t make Halloween cakes, either.)

    That’s an important fact in his case, and one that could be a foot in the door to be generalized.

    I’ve only been taught of Halloween having a religious significance through Catholic lore, which really does have an explanation linking October 31 to demons or some such, and October 30th to the saints, although I have no idea which came first or if the origin is Christian-related or pagan.

    A number of Protestant churches and their followers completely disavow Halloween. I don’t know how much of it is because of its ancient origins and how much is because of the impropriety of dressing up as symbolic representations of evil. But they are absolutely sincere about it. If this baker is as well (something that will have to be litigated), then the anti gay-discrimination laws have a problem, because the law is designed to allow one religious objection and ban another. The government cannot pick and choose which religious beliefs get First Amendment protection.

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    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      A. Barton Hinkle: (He won’t make Halloween cakes, either.)

      Jorge: That’s an important fact in his case, and one that could be a foot in the door to be generalized.

      Yes, it is, because it highlights the distinction between (1) not offering a product (in this case, Halloween cakes) and (2) offering a product (in this case, wedding cakes) but refusing the sell the product offered to persons in a protected class under public accommodations laws.

      As JohninCA put it:

      So basically, the only thing that makes it a “same-sex wedding cake”, which the guy doesn’t sell, rather then a “wedding cake”, which he does sell, is whether or not the intended recipients are a same-sex couple. Or in other words … He refused to sell a product to a customer because it was intended for a gay couple.

      The free exercise argument is (in my opinion) almost certain to be non-starter in Masterpiece for other reasons (the constitutional standard for state laws of general application requires that the business owner show a “substantial burden”, and requires only that the government have a “rational basis” for the law), but the simple distinction you highlighted demonstrates that the business owner’s argument boils down to “I won’t bake a wedding cake for gays and lesbians …”

      And that is exactly the behavior that public accommodations laws were enacted to stop.

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      • posted by Jorge on

        Yes, it is, because it highlights the distinction between (1) not offering a product (in this case, Halloween cakes) and (2) offering a product (in this case, wedding cakes) but refusing the sell the product offered to persons in a protected class under public accommodations laws.

        That comes across to me as a transparently poor bluff. You’re trying to make a contrast between oak leaves and maple leaves when they both come from trees. In both cases here, there is an action or omission that prevents the customer from getting the cake. In both cases, it is a fact that the one thing that makes the difference is a religious bar against advancing an immoral cause: the celebration of evil. This is hardly an overgeneralization.

        “Or in other words … He refused to sell a product to a customer because it was intended for a gay couple.” How is that different than “he refused to sell a product to a customer because it was intended for a costumed witch”? The answer to that question can only fall into circular reasoning: because the law said so. That law, is subject to the supreme law of the land. When that law conflicts with the Constitution, it must give way. I’m afraid you’re going to have to rely on those “other reasons.”

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      • posted by Tom Scharbach on

        em>That comes across to me as a transparently poor bluff.

        Bluff? You seem to be into gamesmanship. We’re not talking about poker, or at least I’m not.

        The distinction is material to the free exercise claim because it goes to the heart of the legal distinction between (1) discrimination based on status and (2) discrimination based on conduct. The former is prohibited by public accommodations laws and the latter is permitted unless the conduct is so closely correlated with status that the distinction is irrelevant.

        You might want to review pages 14-21 of the Colorado Court of Appeals decision on appeal to the Supreme Court. You can bet that the distinction between status discrimination and conduct discrimination will be an important component of the Supreme Court’s discussion in Masterpiece Cakeshop.

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  6. posted by J. Bruce Wilcox on

    Colorado has anti-discrimination laws in place that include the lgbt community. This fool ignored them. The Colorado courts voted against him. He lost. END OF STORY. He’s DEAD WRONG.

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  7. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    President Trump at the Value Voters Summit keynote:

    “We are stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values. As we approach the end of the year—you know, we’re getting near that beautiful Christmas season that people don’t talk about anymore. They don’t use the word Christmas because it’s not politically correct. You go to department stores and they’ll say Happy New Year and they’ll say other things; it’ll be red, they’ll have it painted but they don’t say it. Well, guess what? We’re saying Merry Christmas again.”

    Some of us might beg to differ that celebrating Christmas is a “Judeo” value, but what the hell?

    If MAGA demands that Jews take a knee to Jesus, who’s to complain? So long as they don’t take a knee during the national anthem …

    The man is a moron, and I’m not talking about Jesus.

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    • posted by JohnInCA on

      I’m always curious how this is supposed to work. Will I soon get an email from the admiral that we are all now required to say “Merry Christmas”? Will my lack of Christmas decorations in my office earn a rebuke from Human Resources?

      For that matter, I’m an atheist/agnostic (depending on the operating definition and how grumpy/drunk I am). Even if there was a legitimate vehicle to make me say “Merry Christmas”, that will inherently make it a *less* religious, and *more* secular holiday. You can’t force non-adherents to participate in your rituals and expect to maintain ownership of them.

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    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      Even if there was a legitimate vehicle to make me say “Merry Christmas”, that will inherently make it a *less* religious, and *more* secular holiday. You can’t force non-adherents to participate in your rituals and expect to maintain ownership of them.

      The “Merry Christmas” flapadoodle is another step toward the disintegration of Christianity as a religion in the United States.

      I can’t help but recall the words of Justice Blackmun in Lynch v. Donnelly, one of the creche cases in which the Supreme Court held that governments could put creche scenes on public land if but only if the scenes are devoid of religious meaning: “The creche has been relegated to the role of a neutral harbinger of the holiday season, useful for commercial purposes but devoid of any inherent meaning and incapable of enhancing the religious tenor of a display of which it is an integral part.”

      When businesses start demanding that employees greet customers with “Merry Christmas”, does the phrase have any religious meaning left?

      Is it any wonder that church attendance among Americans has been cratering? If all you have to offer is enforced cultural piety, what do you have to offer?

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    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      And I should add, I guess, that enforced cultural piety is a great example of conservative respect for pluralism.

      Christians — or what passes for Christians in this country given the megaphone the Republican Party has given conservative Christians — really piss me off. They won’t bake a f**king cake, but don’t have any qualms about insisting that non-Christians should knuckle our foreheads come Christmas.

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      • posted by Jorge on

        If it makes you feel any better, imagine that the feeling is mutual, and the pamphlets they handed out at the VVS are a thinly-disguised “bless your heart.”

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      • posted by Tom Scharbach on

        If it makes you feel any better, imagine that the feeling is mutual …

        After decades of fighting for “equal means equal”, I’d be a bigger moron than the President if I didn’t understand that animus wasn’t a driving force behind conservative Christian “love” towards gays and lesbians — sodomy laws, anti-marriage amendments and the like.

        I know that anti-Judaism stems from similar animus in most cases, because I’ve experienced that animus first-hand, too, and I suspect that anti-Islamism and anger toward non-believers stems from the same rootstock. Modern conservative Christianity is consumed with anger and animus and fear.

        The fact is this: Our country that is increasingly non-white and non-Christian (or perhaps post-Christian), and white Protestant cultural dominance is fading away fast. Conservative Christians hate that, and lash out at anyone and everyone that conservative Christians perceive as challenging their cultural dominance.

        The fight is ugly and getting uglier as restraints on pen and tongue come off conservative Christians in the Age of Trump, but will be over in a couple decades.

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    • posted by Jorge on

      If MAGA demands that Jews take a knee to Jesus, who’s to complain? So long as they don’t take a knee during the national anthem …

      I don’t like compulsory worship any better. When I take a knee to Jesus (as I actually did just today), I can assure you my intent is not to join in the worship.

      For that matter, I’m an atheist/agnostic (depending on the operating definition and how grumpy/drunk I am). Even if there was a legitimate vehicle to make me say “Merry Christmas”, that will inherently make it a *less* religious, and *more* secular holiday. You can’t force non-adherents to participate in your rituals and expect to maintain ownership of them.

      Then I trust you’ll agree with me that Kim Davis should not as a non-adherent have been forced to participate in the ritual of same sex marriage, and for the reasons you mentioned. Nonetheless, as the boss of a customer service organization (indeed the only one in the country providing a specific service), she was rightly forced to provide for the ritual to take place for the public.

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      • posted by Lori Heine on

        Kim Davis is a public employee, and we’re all forced to pay the b**ch. She needs to suck it up and do her damn job, or quit and get a different one.

        The criminals who work for the government rob us blind whether we want them to or not. They don’t get to shear us like sheep, monopolize public goods like marriage rights and then refuse to serve us.

        Conservatives have a view of the world that is far too screwed-up to be lecturing anyone else about anything. You keep telling America how tired we ought to be of progressives. Well, we’re tired of the lot of you.

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      • posted by Tom Scharbach on

        … Kim Davis …

        Is off flitting around Romania with the Liberty Counsel trying to export her vision of Jesus to hapless Romanians.

        I hope she’s taking personal days, but for all I know she thinks that exporting inequality is part of her job as Rowan County Clerk, you know, because Jesus.

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      • posted by JohnInCA on

        If processing paperwork is “participating” in a ritual, then government employees should be able to refuse any paperwork from a church, no?

        Reply

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