Thursday, August 20, 2015

No, Jack Phillips wasn't ordered to reeducation or sensitivity training

The graphic atop Fr. Schall's piece.
Note the rainbow armband on the "officer" beating the Christian
Conservative Christian polemicists are doing their best to portray the state enforcing anti-discrimination laws as comparable to the tyranny associated with North Korea or the People's Republic of China. The latest is Rev. James V. Schall, SJ. Writing for the orthodox Catholic outlet, Crisis. Schall offers a piece titled “On Court-Mandated Brainwashing.” There is much to take issue with in this piece starting with an error of fact:
The court said that any “reasonable” person would not say that selling a cake violates one’s religion. The issue, of course, is whether the court’s notion of what is reasonable is itself reasonable.

And if that were not enough, the man has to implement “sensitivity” sessions for his employees evidently to cleanse them of any lingering doubts about the law. The baker also has to send regular reports to the court of why he refused any customer a sale.
Noting that the word sensitivity is within quotation marks what the Civil Right Commission ordered is “staff training” regarding “the Public Accommodations Section of the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act.” That is quite different from what Father Schall wrote or implied. This isn't brainwashing. Nor is it tyrannical. It's also not sensitivity training with the intended inference that it is the design of some idealistic, touchy-feely, left wing, bean sprout eating liberal ideologue. The order is quite pragmatic:

Click to Enlarge

I hope to have Fr, Schall's faculties when I am 87 years of age. However, being required to submit eight brief compliance reports over a two year period of time seems quite reasonable given that Mr. Phillips violated the law.

This is all settled law. It was settled 25 years ago with Scalia's opinion for the majority in Employment Division v. Smith. Even in a post Hobby Lobby world, there are no religious exemptions to otherwise valid state laws. Scalia left no room for doubt. Recently, the Court had an opportunity to reconsider Smith when it was asked to review Elane Photography v. Willock. Elane is that New Mexico photographer that we continue to hear so much about. In April, 2014 the Court denied the petition to consider the case. Are all these cases not a futile exercise?

Elane Photography and Jack Phillips/Masterpiece Cakeshop have more in common than just anti-gay discrimination. Elane was, and Phillips is, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). I expect them to continue to appeal this case and they will continue to lose. I have surmised that there is a form of Christian Calculus at work. These high profile cases (and ADF is representing several others) raise more money for ADF than it costs them to file briefs and make a few appearances. We are all helping to pay for this. In addition to court costs, ADF is a non-profit organization which means that the donations are tax deductible. ADF pays no sales or use taxes either. Our LGBT tax dollars at work.

It is odd that the “jackboot of the state” doesn't seem to be at work when the state makes it virtually impossible for poor women to have an indisputably legal medical procedure. Selective observation is a wonderful thing.

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