Monday, February 26, 2018

God told me I couldn't bake you a cake

Suffer (bring) the children to me.

Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Those are some of the platitudes in the Bible with regard as to how to treat other people. But apparently not from the Bible that Cathy Miller of Bakersfield (CA) or her ilk read.

For you see, Ms. Miller is just the latest person to claim that her religious beliefs allow her to discriminate against those she just doesn't like. Amazing how we keep running into these folks.

Ms. Miller owns Tastrie's Bakery. A same sex couple came to her shop and asked her to make a cake for their wedding. Being more intent on discriminating against the couple than in making money, Ms. Miller refused. She said that her religious beliefs made it impossible for her to bake a cake for a lesbian couple.

The couple then filed suit against Ms. Miller, arguing that her refusal to make them a wedding cake was a violation of the state's civil rights statute. Ms. Miller, on the other hand, argued that making a cake was an artistic expression protected under the First Amendment which meant she could choose the customers for whom she was willing to bake a cake.

Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe ruled in Ms. Miller's favor stating that designing a cake was different than baking a cake as it was an act of artistic expression. He did caution Ms. Miller that she could not refuse to sell a wedding cake to a same sex couple.

But here's the problem. Whether a baker designs a cake specifically for someone or just bakes a cake to put in the display case is a distinction without much meaning. Baking a cake is baking a cake. You throw some ingredients into a bowl, you mix them up and you throw it in the oven. When it's done you take it out and ice it. It appears that the only difference would be whether the baker baked the cake before or after the couple ordered it.

What Ms. Miller did is no different that what white business owners did during Jim Crow and what bankers did for years afterward. She is refusing service because she doesn't like a customer because of her sexual orientation. That is no different than refusing service because a person is black or catholic or a woman.

The fact that she relies on her religious beliefs to just discrimination tells you everything you need to know about religion. The fact that a judge ruled that it was okay for her to discriminate so long as she waved a bible in the air tells you all you need to know about the pernicious effect of religion on civil society.


Mark said...

So a baker does not want to provide a service for a homosexual couple, a service these folks were willing to pay for, and that is considered discrimination. Yet, when Donald Trump was elected president he offered some A List entertainers money to play at his inauguration, some refused, and that was okay? I don't remember anyone saying anything about it at the time.

"I don't like you and I will not play music for you even if you pay me" and "I don't like you and I won't bake you a cake even if you pay me" are identical.

What say you?

Paul B. Kennedy said...

You're talking about apples and oranges. Refusing to make a cake for a couple because they are gay is discrimination based on sexual orientation. Refusing to perform at a party hosted by a right-wing bigot isn't.

Mark said...

Well they are both forms of discrimination based on perception. And when you turn to insults in your defense you lose.

Mark said...

I am still waiting for you to post my comments o your rebuttal, but I guess I struck a nerve when I pointed out that discrimination is discrimination. I personally don't think that discrimination should be against the law as we all discriminate every day. It is called free choice.