‘This case is about crushing dissent. In a free America, people with differing beliefs must have room to coexist’
Kelsey Harkness reports: An appellate court unanimously ruled against Barronelle Stutzman, the Washington florist who declined to make flower arrangements for a same-sex couple’s wedding because of her religious beliefs.
“It’s wrong for the state to force any citizen to support a particular view about marriage or anything else against their will. Freedom of speech and religion aren’t subject to the whim of a majority; they are constitutional guarantees.”
At National Review, David French writes:
…But this is the sexual revolution we’re talking about, so it’s necessary for the court to make a statement declaring the government’s allegiances. Indeed, late in the opinion its author gave the game away. Picking up on the absurd and historically ignorant comparison of the modern gay-rights movement with the civil-rights movement in the segregationist South, the judge wrote, “This case is no more about access to flowers than civil rights cases in the 1960s were about access to sandwiches.”
“That’s it right there: the state religion. It reserves for itself the exclusive ability to name, define, and eradicate “social evils,” and heaven help the individual citizen who disagrees. There is no need to show a traditional, legally recognized harm.”
What are they talking about? The federal government took the extraordinary step of passing the civil-rights acts to give black Americans access not just to sandwiches but to hotel rooms, jobs, voting rights, and all the other things they were systematically denied as southern states and communities continually and oppressively imposed the “badges and incidents of slavery” on them. In the pre-civil-rights South, black citizens often had trouble finding places to eat or sleep. They couldn’t vote. They couldn’t get justice in state courts. Civil rights was about access, at its most elementary and necessary level.
But that’s not the case any longer. The gay couple in this case had no trouble finding flowers. Stutzman even recommended other florists who would have been happy to help them celebrate their wedding. So, given the absence of any real harm, the court said that the state had a compelling state interest in punishing the “independent social evil” of discrimination toward a “broader societal purpose: eradicating barriers to equal treatment of all citizens in the commercial marketplace.”
That’s it right there: the state religion. It reserves for itself the exclusive ability to name, define, and eradicate “social evils,” and heaven help the individual citizen who disagrees. There is no need to show a traditional, legally recognized harm. There is no need to prove lack of access to alternative artistic expressions. There is only the need to show that the business owner won’t use her unique talents to help celebrate the sexual revolution.
Finally, if you doubt the court’s malice, look only to its last ruling — that Stutzman can be held personally liable for her allegedly discriminatory act. In other words, the court is willing to pierce the corporate veil to impose individual liability even in the absence of the traditional justifications for that drastic step. Stutzman didn’t commit fraud. She didn’t commingle her personal and corporate funds. She kept her private and professional affairs separate. But she still faces personal financial ruin.
Social-justice warriors will no doubt celebrate the breaking of another egg for their cultural omelet. … (read more)
The ruling, issued on Thursday by Washington’s nine Supreme Court justices, stated that in refusing to provide services for the same-sex couple’s wedding, Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers, violated the state’s anti-discrimination law.
“The state of Washington bars discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation. Discrimination based on same-sex marriage constitutes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” the ruling reads.
“We therefore hold that the conduct for which Stutzman was cited and fined in this case—refusing her commercially marketed wedding floral services to [Robert] Ingersoll and [Curt] Freed because theirs would be a same-sex wedding—constitutes sexual orientation discrimination under the [Washington Law Against Discrimination].” Read the rest of this entry »
Like the Confederate flag, the provocative gay pride flag, a symbol of religious oppression, has flown on government property.
John Nolte reports: The Daily Telegraph has learned that “police reportedly confiscated a gay pride flag” from the apartment of Vester Lee Flanagan Wednesday. In an apparent hate crime, Flanagan is the 41 year-old black journalist who murdered two white Virginia reporters on live television Wednesday morning before turning his gun on himself.
In a manifesto faxed to ABC News, Flanagan, an Obama-supporter, claimed that his motive involved a “race war.” Flanagan was black and gay and apparently angered by the fact that he had been a victim of racism and homophobia at the hands of “black men and white women.”
Both of Flanagan’s intended victims were straight. Read the rest of this entry »
‘The Last Thing President Obama is Going to Do is Take Some Sort of Personal Action that Indicates a Real Show of Solidarity with Cartoonists Who Offend Muslims’Posted: January 13, 2015
Why didn’t President Obama go to Paris?
Jim Geraghty writes:
…The simplest explanation…is that President Barack Obama doesn’t want to put his personal stature and credibility on the line to support something like Charlie Hebdo. Since those awful attacks, we’ve witnessed a lot of allegedly intellectual leftists offer versions of “the attacks were terrible, but —” and then explaining why Hebdo was offensive, hate speech, and unnecessary provocation, foolish, etc., and imply that the magazine isn’t really worth defending and that the world would be a better place if these immature, impudent cartoonists would stop making fun of one of the world’s great religions.
[Also see Mollie Hemingway’s 4 Reasons We Shouldn’t Be Surprised Obama Snubbed Paris at The Federalist]
There’s very little evidence to suggest that Obama disagrees with this progressive intellectual reaction, that while satire of Islam is theoretically legal, the consequences of enraging Muslims is too much trouble and risk to be worthwhile.
“Obama’s absence from Paris smashes America’s reputation as the world’s physical and philosophical anchor for freedom.”
— Tom Rogan
We saw this in the response to Hebdo before, and the infamous YouTube video that the administration cited as a scapegoat for the Benghazi attacks. To a lot of progressives, while depicting Muhammad or mocking Islam shouldn’t be banned,
it should be discouraged, and a presidential appearance at that rally and march would be too close to an official endorsement of the magazine and its contents…
Obama would never support going into a magazine and shooting people. But he’s a famously thin-skinned public figure who thinks he has a particularly powerful connection and understanding of the Muslim world because he spent some childhood years in Indonesia. He is so mono-focused on “de-escalating” tensions with the Muslim world that he thinks about how he would advise ISIS…(read more)
Obama’s Paris Snub Wasn’t an Oversight
Byron York dismisses the White House’s falsehoods and explores the intentional decision to be absent:
The White House reaction to the attacks in France, going back to the first reports of shots fired at Charlie Hebdo, has been noticeably subdued. Obama had scheduled last week as a time to roll out some upcoming State of the Union proposals in trips to Michigan, Arizona and Tennessee.
When world events intruded, the president stubbornly stuck to his schedule, mentioning France only briefly before introducing his plan for free tuition at community colleges.
Then came the unity march. No, it was not essential that Obama himself attend. But there’s no doubt he should have sent Vice President Joe Biden — why is there a VP, if not to go to big foreign events? — or at least Secretary of State John Kerry.
Even as the march wound its way through Paris, the White House sent out yet another sign of its unseriousness. Read the rest of this entry »
Moderate Muslims are most in need of a robust defense of free speech, especially if it offends
L. Gordon Crovitz writes: ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” wrote biographer Evelyn Beatrice Hall, summing up the view of her subject, Voltaire. The 17th-century French writer has been on many minds since last week’s Islamist atrocity in Paris. “As the news of the massacre sank in,” wrote historian Robert Darnton for the New York Review of Books, “I kept thinking of Voltaire and calling up his famous grin—lips curled and lower jaw stuck out, as if to defy anyone who might dare to pull a punch.”
“Moderate Muslims around the world most need a robust defense of free speech, especially if it offends. In the spirit of Voltaire, they’re taking great risks to challenge extremism.”
Many of us don’t share the sensibilities of Charlie Hebdo’s leftist politics and sometimes juvenile humor, but the terrorists who massacred its staff attacked a core component of French identity. “Free thought begetting light-hearted satire . . . is at the root of French character,” observed a 19th-century British history of French literature. French-style caustic satire is less common in the Anglosphere, but the Enlightenment in all forms enrages Islamists.
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
In the 18th century, Voltaire was exiled and jailed and had his books burned. He sought ecrasez l’infame—to crush the infamous—by which he meant most forms of authority. He called Christianity “assuredly the most ridiculous, the most absurd and the most bloody religion which has ever infected this world.” He criticized Judaism and Islam. “Superstition sets the whole world in flames,” he observed. “Philosophy quenches them.”
“The many ‘Je suis Charlie’ signs and social-media hashtags show that popular support for free speech is ahead of politically correct university administrators and politicians. Brandeis University last year shamefully canceled an honorary degree for van Gogh’s Muslim associate on the film, Ayaan Hirsi Ali.”
Charlie Hebdo inherited that tradition. The Catholic Church has sued it more than a dozen times. Its murdered editor, Stephane Charbonnier, had said he hoped to carry on “until Islam is just as banal as Catholicism.” One cover featured a fundamentalist Muslim, an Orthodox Jew and the pope shouting in unison: “Charlie Hebdo must be veiled!”
Islamists can’t abide free speech. They issued a death sentence for Salman Rushdie for writing a novel, forced a Danish cartoonist into hiding, and murdered Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam for making a film. Read the rest of this entry »