Monday, April 17, 2017

ADF Spokesman Wants All to Know That Barronelle Stutzman is not a Bigot

Jared Dobbs is a communication specialist with a hate group, Alliance Defending Freedom. Today he writes at The Federalist: “Why Christians Object To Participating In A Same-Sex Wedding (It Isn’t Bigotry).” Right off the bat there is the amateurish demagoguery; the kind of thing that would never fly in private industry. Dobbs' subject is Washington florist Barronelle Stutzman. Stutzman did not “object” which is a state of mind. Rather, she refused which is an action. Furthermore, to suggest that Stuzman did not want to “participate” in a same-sex marriage is the product of intense arrogance. The florist is no more a participant in a wedding than the chair rental truck driver. It is an exercise in absurdism. That ADF apparently pays him to write this nonsense is an exercise in capriciousness.

Dobbs' headline should read: Why Some Christians Unlawfully Object Refuse to Sell Goods and Services Participating In to be Used at a Same-Sex Wedding.

When it comes to intellectual honesty, Dobbs' subheading does not offer any improvement:
Telling Christians, like Barronelle Stutzman, to affirm or participate in same-sex marriages effectively tells them to contradict what they believe to be foundational truths about the world.
Now in addition to the BS of participation there is the claim that selling flowers will “affirm” something that they disapprove of. Additionally, Dobbs floats the idea that this presents a contradiction of some sort in a fashion that causes the beliefs to change or creates a moral conflict. In point of fact, Washington State lets her off the hook. She is serving a gay couple for their wedding because the state says that she must. She retains her right to disapprove of the event. She can even post a carefully worded sign to that effect.

Stutzman's personal convictions are insufficient, even for Stutzman. To be sufficient, she must demonstrate her disapproval. Refusing service is just that. The act of turning away business is an “affirmation” of her discontent. So Stutzman is granted her infantile holier-than-thou self-righteous moment at the expense of the gay couple. Throughout this saga both Stutzman and ADF make much of the fact that Stutzman claims that her customer, Robert Ingersoll, was her good friend. Neither seem to appreciate the fact that, if true, it only deepens the hurt that she has inflicted upon  others who are trying to patronize her business.

It gets worse:
One popular way to resolve the tension between same-sex marriage and religious freedom is to criticize the motivations of religious believers. Usually that criticism is based upon, at best, ignorance about what those believers actually believe or, at worse, a purposeful distortion of their convictions.
No one cares what these people believe. Nor are we interested in their motivation. I maintain that it is a demonstration of opprobrium but that is less relevant than the fact that the law is unambiguous and it is supported by ample Supreme Court precedent (Reynolds v. United States in 1878 and Employment Division v. Smith in 1990). Furthermore, Dobbs is mischaracterizing what religious freedom means. Throughout the history of the United States it has never meant defiance of law or the infliction of one's beliefs on others. The Constitution affords Ms. Stutzman Free Exercise which gives her the right to believe what she wants and worship as she chooses, or not worship at all.

For all we care, she can believe that an evil force occupies every incandescent light bulb in the land (fortunately I have converted to LED — lucky me). That does not give Stutzman the right to go around demolishing every such illuminator that she sees. She can buy them up, make a pinata of them (in her home or office) and no one will even notice.

Dobbs may not like marriage equality but he is inextricably wed to redefining the English language:
We see this in the case of Barronelle Stutzman, the Washington floral artist who declined to create custom floral arrangements to celebrate the same-sex wedding of her friend Rob. In February 2017, the Washington Supreme Court, when ruling against Barronelle, briefly noted that “Stutzman acknowledged at deposition [that] providing flowers for a wedding between Muslims would not necessarily constitute an endorsement of Islam, nor would providing flowers for an atheist couple endorse atheism.”
“Celebrate?” It is unclear from the sentence structure who is celebrating what. Actually Dobbs writes that the flowers are doing the celebrating. The intent, however, is to imply that Stutzman is being required to celebrate a same-sex marriage. We have had “participate in,” “affirm” and now “celebrate.” Nevertheless, I bet that you cannot wait to see how Dobbs extricates himself and Stutzman from this conundrum.

Ask and you shall receive:
She gladly will use her talents to celebrate any union of one man and one woman. For Barronelle, a wedding joining a man and a woman tells the truth about marriage, regardless of whether Muslims or atheists are getting married. Those events involve what is necessary to make a marriage, so Barronelle has no problem participating in those weddings. But unions of any other combination do not constitute marriages, even if they receive the imprimatur of the state.
If Mr. Dobbs says “participating” often enough will the bullshit smell like fine cologne? Anyway, according to our friends at Family Research Council (which is also a hate group):
Marriage is a covenant, a sacred bond between a man and a woman instituted by and publicly entered into before God and normally consummated by sexual intercourse.
The above is similar to the biblical definition of marriage:
The Bible Defines Marriage as a Covenant. God sketched his original plan for marriage in Genesis 2:24 when one man (Adam) and one woman (Eve) united together to become one flesh: … In Malachi 2:14, marriage is described as a holy covenant before God.
Therefore, according to the conservative Christian beliefs of Dobbs and Stutzman the marriage of atheists is no more a marriage than that of a gay couple. As for the Muslim affair, I defy anyone to find a conservative Christian will will affirm that Allah is God so scrap that one too.

Things continue to get worse for Dobbs. Following some Christian theology:
Hopefully, this is starting to paint the picture of what Christians truly believe about marriage. That picture is made even clearer in the New Testament, where God makes a new covenant with all people who have committed to follow him through his son Jesus Christ.
That is all just wonderful. Stutzman's sale of flowers to be used at a same-sex wedding do not alter her Christian beliefs about marriage. The two things are not linked! Citing the New Testament, Dobbs has further obliterated his argument that it is acceptable to serve an atheist or Muslim wedding while refusing to sell flowers for a same-sex wedding. The fundamental truth is that this is all very silly and the more they argue, the sillier it seems:
In his letter to the church in Ephesus, the Apostle Paul quotes from Genesis …

You can probably see by now why the definition of marriage is pretty important for a person who believes this.
I fully understand how the definition of marriage is important for Ms. Stutzman. It applies to her marriage and, perhaps, those of her children. It has absolutely no bearing on serving a marriage, according to the law, that does not conform to her definition of marriage. Jesus warned that divorce was not valid in God's eyes and that remarriage was therefore adultery. Surely Ms. Stutzman has some form of questionnaire to weed out those fornicators. Or was Jesus just being hyperbolic? Did I mention that this is all profoundly silly?
For Christians, Same-Sex Marriage Is Impossible

Because marriage is marked by complementarity and oriented toward creating children, Christians don’t think same-sex unions can constitute marriages …
That is just lovely. Fortunately for the conservative Christians in our midst the legal obligation to serve same-sex couples does not require them to enter into same-sex marriages. Nor does it require them to alter their religious beliefs about marriage. It is self-righteous arrogance to suggest that selling flowers for a same-sex marriage has any effect on the seller's religious beliefs. What they seem to want is the right to withhold service to demonstrate disapproval. Washington State does not grant them that right which isn't a right at all. It is merely an infatuation with mindless self-importance.

Mind your own business and no one dies!

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