Saturday, April 4, 2015

Religious Liberty & Analytical Problem Solving

One of the basic tenets of the analytical problem solving process employed by our company is to carefully compare what is perceived to be a problem to what is perceived to be OK.  The more closely related the two things are, the more relevant the comparison. From here one can fret-out distinctions between what is seen as OK and what is seen as a problem and use those distinctions to formulate possible causes, or to help determine if there is actually any problem at all.

This kind logic can be applied to the religious liberty debates going on right now. If refusing to sell goods & services for a same-sex marriage celebration because of one’s personal beliefs should be illegal, then other similar “refusals” to other similar “events” should also be illegal.

THIS ARTICLE from National Review does a good job of presenting some relevant comparisons. Here are a few of my favorites:
  • Are we prepared to handcuff a feminist photographer who won’t take pictures at a strip club event?
We may not know whether or not the photographer hates the people in the club or loves them, she just does not want her business to be associated with this specific kind of event. Should she be punished?
  • Do we respect a black jazz band’s choice not to perform at a Ku Klux Klan chapter’s “Negro Minstrel Show”?
Here again, the band members may not hate white people at all. They just do not want to be part of this performance in any way. Should they be punished?
  • Do we respect a pro–gun control photographer’s right to choose not to snap pictures at a “Sharpshooter of the Year” banquet organized by the local chapter of the National Rifle Association?
It’s not that the photographer will never take any pictures of any NRA members at any event. It’s the meaning behind this particular event that is the concern.
  • Do we respect a Jewish calligrapher’s right to choose not to produce hand-written invitations for a Hitler Day brunch organized by a local neo-Nazi group?
Once again, the ideology behind the brunch and what it represents is the problem.

The following would be a dissimilar comparison:
  • A restaurant owner refuses to serve gay people because he personally believes all gay people are evil.
So what is distinctive between the first four examples and the last one? The focus of attention with the first ones is some event or celebration and the ideology behind it, not the actual person(s) involved. In other words, it’s about the principle, not the person. The difference is vast.
The more our society accepts transcendent things, like right vs. wrong, as only opinions, the more we will accept a kind of soft tyranny where the government takes on the role of “moral compass". They will tell us which way is just and which way is unjust, fair or unfair and you will obey or be punished. Religious liberty is a founding principle of the U.S. and watching its own citizens leading the charge against people of faith into this oppression may be the saddest part of the whole mess.
You will obey or be punished!


1 comment:

  1. Ben, you have provided excellent examples of the differences between personal discrimination and discrimination against an idea or concept with which a person is against. The Christians who refused servicing an event that went against their consciences are being sued not because the militants do not know the differences between these types of discrimination. They know the difference but are trying to sell it to the ignorant as homophobic, the hating of gays etc...They just do not care. The whole point is that they are getting away with it and have supporting judges in their camp. It has nothing to do with religious rights but removing the rights of all religious people who care for their faith. They are anti-christian and wish to see Christianity removed from society in any way they can and right now they seem to have the upper hand. Militants have an agenda they are pursuing and removing religious rights of Christians is the first priority, right alongside traditional marriage. It ain't over til it's over...