While many celebrate the recent Supreme Court ruling requiring state governments in the U.S. to issue marriages licenses to same-sex couples, government power continues to be a source of strife and division. Politicians continue to exploit emotions and personal differences in order to pit groups of people against each other. This trick keeps working because of the unprincipled thinking of so many people.
For centuries, homosexuals have been brutally victimized - by individuals, by churches, and by governments. In many cases, the violence had the approval of the majority, who viewed homosexuality as perverted, sinful or unnatural, and, therefore, saw violence against homosexuals as being acceptable, or even righteous. Thankfully, in more recent times the idea that every individual owns his own life has gone a long way toward reducing the violent oppression of minorities. Luckily, more and more people now accept the idea that the rights of the individual do not depend upon majority approval or cultural norms. More and more people accept the idea that every individual has the right to do and say and they please, provided they are not hurting another person.
However, even today some people continue to demonstrate that they care about their own freedom, but not about the freedom of those with whom they disagree. Sadly, many who are now celebrating the victimization of their fellow human beings were themselves victims in the recent past. Rather than being for actual peace and justice, some people are just trying to have the injustice directed at someone other than themselves.
A prime example is the case of the “Sweetcakes by Melissa” bakery in Oregon, the owners of which are now in the process of being robbed of $135,000 for not making a cake. That’s right: they are being targeted by the power of government—not for threatening, defrauding, or robbing anyone—but for choosing NOT to trade with someone based on their beliefs, which they have also been court-ordered not to discuss. You read that correctly - the owners of the bakery have been ordered not to speak about their beliefs because they show "intent to discriminate."
There is profound irony and hypocrisy in the fact that the lesbian couple trying to legally rob the bakery owners for not making them a cake cited “emotional damages” as the justification, as if someone NOT trading with them is more emotionally damaging than being forcibly robbed of $135,000. Anyone who is that eager to use the state to force their values and preferences onto others clearly has no regard for individual rights. Maybe someone should explain to that couple that it’s not okay to threaten or attack people just because you find their words, viewpoints and behaviors distasteful or offensive, but it’s a shame that anyone would need to.
The couple actually compared not getting their cake to being raped, as well as blaming the bakery for weight gain and their resumed smoking habit among other "symptoms." The list of alleged mental, physical, and emotional damages submitted by the couple include
“acute loss of confidence,” “doubt,” “excessive sleep,” “felt mentally raped, dirty and shameful,” “high blood pressure,” “impaired digestion,” “loss of appetite,” “migraine headaches,” “pale and sick at home after work,” “resumption of smoking habit,” “shock” “stunned,” “surprise,” “uncertainty,” “weight gain” and “worry.”
It is supremely hypocritical to claim to love freedom of expression, diversity and tolerance, only to turn around and use the violence of government to intentionally injure someone else because they don't see things the way you do. Of course, loving freedom does not mean that you have to agree with the opinions or decisions of others, and it does not mean you can’t criticize the words and actions of others. It does, however, mean that you have no right to force your will on them, on your own or by way of legislation.
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If individual freedom is your goal, then you need to support and defend the freedom of everyone, including those people you view as short-sighted, ignorant, misguided, or even offensive. Anything short of that is not true tolerance - it's blatant hypocrisy.
UPDATE 07/10/2015 3:20 CST
Since this article was published, the controversy and misinformation has been rife throughout. The Free Thought Project has received numerous bits of hate mail claiming that we are everything from religious fanatics to hatemongers and that we are spreading misinformation.
Numerous media outlets, including Raw Story, have attempted to debunk our position. They claim that the "owners of an Oregon bakery were not fined for refusing to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple – they were ordered to pay $135,000 in damages for intentionally causing their would-be customers emotional distress." However, according to the original court documents, this is false. Had Raw Story read the court documents, they would have seen this.
Raw Story claims that this stress was due to the release of the couple's information. However, the couple filed the DOJ complaint, acknowledging that it would be a matter of public record and accessible by anyone. Aaron Klein of SweetCakes by Melissa posted the public complaint he received on his Facebook page, which had a total of 17 friends at the time, but it was removed within hours according to the documents.
As the story gained national attention, the couple actually had issues with their own friends posting about their personal lives, as was also addressed the their testimony.
According to the actual lawful conclusion in this case, the damages were awarded because the Kleins were in Violation of ORS 659A.409 and ORS 659A.403 -- Oregon's laws that mandate private companies do not discriminate. There was nothing mentioned at all in the conclusion saying that the release of the couple's information was the cause of the damages awarded.
The Free Thought Project is not promoting the refusal of service to gays by printing this article. We are calling attention to the hypocrisy in the law and the subsequent complaint.
This couple was told 'no' by a homophobic religious couple. Instead of simply seeing the obstinate action for what it was and choosing another baker, this couple used the force of the state to seek retribution against the bakers.
The use of state coercion in an attempt to force "kindness" is the issue. Therein lies the hypocrisy, therein lies the reason behind this article. Had the couple sought to seek damages through non-governmental means, this article would have never been written.
Below is the actual ruling on this case which clearly shows that everything we have said is true.