Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Hate group: "Barronelle could lose her home"

Barronelle Stutzman
Image via The Tennessee Star
The hate group is Alliance Defending Freedom (which doesn't seem to include freedom from discrimination or persecution). Barronelle is Barronelle Stutzman, the Washington state florist who decided that she did not want the flowers she sold to be displayed at a same-sex wedding. Oh, the horror of it all!

The ridiculous claim is via an unsigned email but the hyperbole is likely to have originated with the hate group's cynical leader, Michael P. Farris. The purpose for the email is to encourage people to send money to ADF. None of that money is likely to benefit Ms. Stutzman.

Some background
ADF also represents Jack Phillips' Masterpiece Cakeshop. Last summer the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the self-absorbed baker who is wed to the notion that gays are desperate for his approval. ADF was seeking a ruling that would allow for religious exemptions to otherwise valid nondiscrimination laws. ADF did not get that.

The Court held that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission was hostile to religion. Colorado's nondiscrimination law remains in full force and effect. Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, clearly stated that gay patrons were entitled to the dignity of equal treatment in the marketplace.

The Court subsequently remanded Stutzman's case (Arlene's Flowers and Gifts) back to Washington's Supreme Court which must re-hear the case to determine if the civil authorities demonstrated animosity to her religion.
She is going to live in a cardboard box over a heat grate on city streets:
Stutzman could lose her home. She could also be a candidate to lead Trump's Space Force. She had an opportunity to settle this matter for $1,000 six years ago if she promised to obey the law in the future. The record in this case strongly suggests that Stutzman got precisely what she wanted: Attention and religious adulation. The more she is a victim, the better it gets.

It appears that she was anxiously awaiting an opportunity to discriminate. Since then she has relished every second of being in the limelight.
We return to the email and explore Christian Privilege:
If the ACLU wins its lawsuit against Barronelle, it could cripple her financially. She could lose everything she and her husband have worked for—the business she bought from her mother so many years ago, their home, their life savings—all of it.

What could this 74-year-old grandmother possibly have done to deserve this?
Yeah, well, a large financial loss is highly unlikely. However, she is seeking Christian Privilege: A nondiscrimination law that conservative Christians must obey and another nondiscrimination law for everyone else. You can imagine the plight of a Muslim provider who did not want to extend his approval to a Christian-Muslim mixed marriage.

As for what Stutzman did, that is no mystery. Stutzman chose to violate a perfectly valid nondiscrimination law and then chose to fight for her special right to disobey the law for the last six years. She got the attention and adulation that she wanted while ADF has probably raised many times the money that they have spent on this case.

Everyone wins except for gays who thought that the law protected them from discrimination by public accommodations which their tax dollars support in the way of the police, fire, sanitation and infrastructure that businesses depend upon.
Oh, she was a polite bigot:
When Rob Ingersoll, a longtime friend and customer, walked into Barronelle’s flower shop one day and asked her to create floral arrangements to celebrate his same-sex wedding, she respectfully chose to follow her conscience. In a quiet part of her shop, she took his hand in her own and gently told him that she couldn’t do what he asked because of her faith. She then referred him to three other floral artists who she knew would do a good job for him. Rob said that he understood, and they hugged before he left the shop.
Bambi, Thumper and Flower emerged to play among the foliage. They cuddled up around Ingersoll. —— There is no respectful way to say “We don't serve your kind here.” Furthermore, according to the record she threw up her hands and refused to discuss the matter. She was lying in wait.

It is all irrelevant. The law says that she is obligated to provide the same goods and services that she provides opposite sex couples. Referring someone elsewhere does not mitigate the damage. Imagine that Muslim florist recommending his competitors.
As the storm around Barronelle grew, she began to feel the full force of anti-religious activists who oppose her because she dared to run her business and live her life consistently with her faith.

Barronelle began receiving hate mail and death threats. She even had to install security cameras and change her regular routines for security reasons!
People who oppose this kind of bigotry are not “anti-religious.” Many clergy believe in “Render unto Caesar …” Violence and threats are impermissible (I doubt that there were serious death threats). Stutzman did piss off many people. If that caused her to be paranoid that's on her. No one forced Stutzman to break the law.

Think about it. She doesn't believe in same-sex marriage. That is her right but we live in a diverse secular society where most people do not agree with her. What are the moral ramifications for meeting the needs of a customer? My view remains unchanged. The important thing for these folks is to display their disapproval. They are fiercely wed to the idea that we are desperate for their approval.

How many choices does Stutzman make every single day that not in accord with scripture? Does she ever wear “gold or pearls?” Or “costly garments?” Are her ears pierced? Does she ever gossip? Wear polyester? Sure, these things are petty. Hurting others is not petty.
You would think that she is being forced to own a public accommodation:
If you’ve followed the story of this sweet grandmother, you know that Barronelle has been steadfast through this grueling battle for religious freedom. She’s at risk of losing everything she owns just because she wants to live and act consistently with her faith
People who refuse service are not “sweet.” The fact that she is a grandmother is irrelevant.
Victims, victims, victims:
They’re denying you the freedom to believe what you want to believe. Say what you want to say. Worship how you want to worship. And make a living doing something you love, without sacrificing your deeply held beliefs.
People have a constitutional right to believe anything that they want and to worship peanut butter if the want. Free Exercise does not apply to conduct. The simple solution: If you cannot comply with the law then do not run a public accommodation. It's not terribly complicated. There is no constitutional right to impose your religious beliefs on anyone else.
We're trusting God to help meet our year-end financial need to defend Barronelle and others like her. Will you help fight the injustice against Barronelle and support her case at the Washington Supreme Court with your gift today?

It’s not just her own religious freedom on the line—it’s yours too. If it can happen to a sweet grandmother like Barronelle, it can happen to any of us. It can happen to you.
I have not included much of the bloat. In the year ended June 30, 2016 then CEO Alan Sears pulled down nearly $400,000. I wonder what percentage of that he, in turn, donated to his own organization. Zero?

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