Sunday, February 19, 2017

Stutzman - The Interview

Barronelle Stutzman
Sunday, Barronelle Stutzman has done an interview with Catholic News Service with an ADF lawyer form Alliance Defending Freedom in on the call. ADF, a designated hate group, will continue to stir this pot on the premise that they are influencing justices of the Supreme Court. That should not work and probably will not — but it might. ADF will petition the Court to hear this case in the very near future.

The piece is titled: “Florist who lost religious liberty case says all freedoms are at stake.” All freedoms? Conservative Christians have a seemingly overpowering obligation to be hyperbolic. According to Stutzman:
What the court decided was that now the government has the power to separate me from my livelihood and my faith.
The government's power is limited in this case to the enforcement of laws that were enacted by the duly elected representatives of the good citizens of Washington State. Neither that law nor Supreme Court precedence provide for a religious exemption.

According to testimony, a very small percentage of Stutzman's business is derived from weddings. She has the option not to serve weddings. She had the option  to comply with the law in the first place but she seems to think that her approval is required for a gay couple to get hitched. It is just arrogant and self-righteous self-absorption.
They're trying to compel me to design something that goes totally against my personal conscience, and they violated my right to free speech and expression.
It's not they. The law requires public accommodations not to discriminate. Stutzman's excuse could be re-worded as follows: “They are trying to compel me to use my talents as a mixologist to create cocktails for an interracial couple to celebrate their engagement. Interracial marriage is explicitly forbidden according to my religious beliefs.” Another variation (one with a history of use): “I cannot serve Jews until they accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and savior. Otherwise they are destined to Hell and I am approving their aberrant lifestyle. If I truly love them I will teach them through this example.”

Stutzman's excuse is the very reason that we have nondiscrimination laws in the first place. Aside from ensuring equal service, the law serves to absolve them of having personally approved something that goes against their faith. If their omnipotent god is watching, surely he knows the difference. Stutzman not only wants the right of approval but, in her case, I think she is looking for some attention.
“It’s not about discrimination at all. Rob was one of my favorite customers,” she said. When he approached her at the shop to ask her to serve his wedding and she declined, “we talked about his mom walking him down the aisle, and we talked about his marriage, and I recommended three other florists to him and we hugged each other and Rob left,” she recalled.
Ingersoll's recollection is markedly different but it is all irrelevant The only thing that matters is that she refused service. ADF tried to defend her actions by claiming that similar services were readily available elsewhere. The Court was having none of it:
We emphatically reject this argument. We agree with Ingersoll and Freed that “[t]his case is no more about access to flowers than civil rights cases in the 1960s were about access to sandwiches.” … As every other court to address the question has concluded, public accommodations laws do not simply guarantee access to goods or services. Instead, they serve a broader societal purpose: eradicating barriers to the equal treatment of all citizens in the commercial marketplace. Were we to carve out a patchwork of exceptions for ostensibly justified discrimination, that purpose would be fatally undermined.
Kristen Waggoner, one of Stutzman's attorneys at ADF weighed in:
They are not about protecting freedom. They are about taking it away from those who don’t share their ideology and their radical beliefs.
More hyperbole that says nothing. Apparently a society free of discrimination is a “radical belief.” Waggoner (whose law degree is from Pat Robertson's Regent U) continues:
We know that this right that’s at issue in Barronelle’s case is essential to having a just and inclusive and a stable America. And we all need to stand for that.
There is no right or entitlement to discriminate contrary to law. The very idea that discrimination creates a “just, inclusive and a stable America” is simply idiotic. Quite the contrary. What Waggoner wants is Christian privilege which is a byproduct of Christian supremacy.

Back to Stutzman, she concludes the piece with:
Rob has the freedom to act on what he believes about marriage and I’m just asking for the same.
That is a false equivalence. Mr. Ingersoll has a constitutional right to marry the person of his choice. That is what Obergefell established. The law precludes Stutzman from discriminating against him and there is ample Supreme Court precedent that her constitutional right to Free Exercise does not extend to flouting laws that she doesn't agree with.

I doubt that the Supreme Court will take up this case. Perhaps that will shut the old bag up. Meanwhile she is unrepentant and offensive.

Hopefully the religious right will change the subject in a day or two so that I can write about something else. While this decision by the Washington Supreme Court reflects the general expectation, they are consumed with it. Perhaps this is feigned outrage to generate donations (in addition to the fact that they love to be victims). Self-victimization seems to be their way to have a good cry. 

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