Indiana, Arkansas, Wal-Mart and more…

The last week has seen a huge battle erupt between religion and sexuality and the freedoms thereof. There’s lots of good and bad to be said for both sides. In the battle for marriage equality, the LGBT community has won a huge victory in an astonishingly short time. In 2004, states were passing “Defense of Marriage” laws across the country. Those ballot measures brought out a big vote that helped elect Bush the Younger to a second term. Now, a few short years later, marriage equality laws are sweeping the land, and barring something really weird, the Supreme Court will likely make it the law of the land. This is a huge victory. I just wish the winners were more magnanimous.

They’ve managed to demonize anyone who disagrees with them as bigots and fools. This is wrong. There are lots of good people with sincerely held beliefs who feel at least somewhat squeamish about embracing this New World Order. My dear departed mother could be described as a born-again Christian who loved everyone and rarely had anything bad to say about anyone. Even though her faith was sorely tested over the years, she managed to accept the divorces of two of her children, the remarriage of one, and the out-of-wedlock birth of her only great-grandchild. Her faith did evolve over the years, and I’m sure she would have loved any of her children had any of them been gay, but I doubt that she would have blessed a gay marriage. That would have been a bridge too far for her, but that does not make her evil and worthy of scorn.

My mother had a lovely voice and often was asked to sing at weddings and other special occasions. She wasn’t in the wedding singer business, but she loved doing it. But in spite of her loving and accepting nature, I don’t think she would have accepted an invitation to sing at a gay wedding. She didn’t do it for the money or to make a living, so I doubt she would have gotten into any legal trouble for her hypothetical actions. But people who go into for-profit business serving the public should have to provide their service or merchandise to all comers. In an egalitarian society, businesses shouldn’t be able to render moral judgement on the people they do business with. There are all sorts of things that we do in a civil society that are against our own beliefs, religious or otherwise. I hate the fact that almost 20% of my tax dollars go to fund the military-industrial establishment, but there’s not a whole lot I can do about it. So even though I don’t understand why a gay couple would even want a wedding cake or flowers or food from someone who hated them, they should have the right to get those products that are available to everyone else. So to you squeamish business owners out there, grit your teeth, force a smile, provide the service and take the money. Or find another line of business where you’re not in a position to judge your customers.

As for you cultural crusaders out there – What makes sex, especially the sex lives of others so special? In the pantheon of sins in the Bible, homosexuality is pretty low on the list. Fornication and adultery are big no-nos, as are murder and envy and having other gods before you. Gluttony and sloth up there too. At least they made it to the list of Seven Deadlies. I don’t see any evangelical florists refusing to do business with fat, poorly dressed fornicators on their second or third marriages.

As for you principled conservatives out there – We know where your principles really lie when you fold like a cheap tent as soon as Wal-Mart complains.

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