Christian florist tells her side of the story


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Watch the video of her television interview below the fold. As she says,

It’s not about the money. It’s about freedom. It’s about my eight kids and our 23 grandchildren and the future. There’s not a price on freedom. You can’t buy my freedom. It’s me now, but tomorrow it’s going to be you. You gotta wake up. [emphasis mine]

She added,

They are talking about bullying me into doing something that is against my faith. They can’t do that.

She also makes it very clear that she and the gay couple are friends, and that she has provided flowers for them many times in the past. And when she declined to do arrangements for their marriage, she provided them alternative recommendations so they wouldn’t be deprived of service, though not from her. And it appears that this gay couple never sued her. It was the ACLU and the Washington attorney general that sued.

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63 comments

  • t-dub

    What I want to now is what is the gay couple doing to help her since it was the ACLU and the Washington AG that has sued her, not them. They are supposed to be friends of hers. Why have they not come out and said something? Why have they not pledged to help her if indeed she gets sued out of existence. My guess is that they could care less.

  • Cotour

    A better question might be, what flavor of Christian is she?

    The Greatest Commandment
    AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ 31″The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

    Why would she choose to judge and deny them freedom those whom she is commanded by her God to love?

  • t-dub

    Who cares what she believes. Its her business. What happened to those signs that used to say “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” Its HER business to do with as she pleases. If she wants to risk alienating the gay community and losing their business that is her right.

  • It’s so nice of you to decide for her, and all of us, how she should practice her religion. And if we don’t follow your dictates, financial ruin! In fact, that’s not harsh enough. Your version of Christianity is the one true version, and any Christian who doesn’t follow it should obviously be imprisoned as well!

  • Cotour

    “Who cares what she believes.”

    She bases her entire premise of refusing them on her religious beliefs. So the answer to your question is, she cares.

    If you go to the other story at the bottom of the page where you initially asked the question you will have your answer to your right to refuse all question.

  • Cotour

    “If I make myself superior to you we are no longer equal. What happened to your right to freely participate in commerce? My religious beliefs should not be used to judge and limit you in a situation where I have made myself superior to you.

    If we were able to question the founders about how they imagined their social experiment would evolve I am certain that they would be disappointed if their intent of individual freedom would have resulted in people using their freedom to limit their fellow Americans freedoms.”

    She should be able to believe what ever she wants, practice what ever flavor of Christianity she desires, I wonder how she would answer what her God absolutely commands?

  • Cotour

    You really have no answer to my questions or statements of fact, you just see her rights as absolute. You choose to “see” in the narrowest of terms.

    Her rights in the context of operating an open to the public business are not absolute, that is my opinion. Within her home? Absolutely, but not when she, in this context is superior, and is able to deny another their reasonable freedoms, in America. Again only my opinion but based in fairly well supported and reasonable logic.

  • wodun

    Why not come out in defense? Maybe they are scared. It would likely mean they are excommunicated from their progressive friends.

  • wodun

    “You really have no answer to my questions or statements of fact, you just see her rights as absolute. ”

    Yes, he is taking a principled stance. Whether or not you agree with the woman, he is saying she has the right not be forced to use her creativity to create art in support of something with which she disagrees. The reason why she disagrees is based on her religious belief.

    Marriage means different things to different people. We used to be cool with that, with the exception of homogamy and polygamy. Now the sate recognizes homogamy but still not polygamy. If we no longer have a cultural definition of marriage, then all forms of marriage must be allowed.

    As long as the government pays out benefits and grants legal rights of guardianship, it shouldn’t matter what citizens think.

    This is a tricky subject because the rights of two different groups are in conflict. Each group has rights though.

  • You continue to miss the point. The behavior of the ACLU and the Washington AG here is disgusting and unacceptable. Just because she doesn’t wish to behave as either you or the gay community desires, they insist on destroying her. And you see nothing wrong with punishing her also for this thought crime.

    I call that fascism. Whether she as a businesswoman is making a bad business decision by not catering to gay marriages is beside the point. Also beside the point is whether she is behaving as a good Christian. In a free society, we respect the beliefs of others, even if we don’t like them, as long as those beliefs harm no one (which is exactly the case here, since she made sure the gay couple got service even if it wasn’t from her).

    A fascist society, however, grinds its boot into the face of anyone who dares to disagree. You applaud the decision to grind the boot. That remains the bottom line, no matter what you say. And every time you say it you make it very clear that you haven’t the slightest idea what freedom means.

  • Cotour

    Where does her religious right to deny other free to choose individuals end?

    If she were a Muslim doctor and a Jewish patient came into her care in the context of giving care in a public hospital and she was the only one who could operate on the Jewish patient and save their life, would she be within her religious freedom rights to sentence the patient to death?

    Again, I deal with real people, in real business in the real America and I understand an individuals rights to their freedoms in the context of the Constitution. No one here is interested in the other side of the equation and that says something to me. You might say that there is no other side of the equation the woman’s unlimited rights are paramount!

    But what happens when her freedoms intersect with and deny’s another’s freedoms? What part of the Constitution controls here?

    ” And every time you say it you make it very clear that you haven’t the slightest idea what freedom means.”

    I very well understand your point about “HER” rights, but her rights do not exist in the vacuum that you suggest they exist. That kind of freedom results in chaos and IMO the founders might also have difficulty sorting out where the line here exists.

  • Cotour

    “Ingersoll and Freed, who have since married, had sued for $7.91 (the cost of driving to find a new florist). Stutzman also faces a fine of up to $2,000 under Washington’s anti-discrimination law, as well as the cost of legal fees.”

    And in the real world, whether you take her side or not she will not be loosing her entire life’s work, house, business, and the love of her 8 grandchildren and Jesus himself. The “fascists” in the state of Washington I don’t think wanted to ruin her but want to make a point about individuals being treated equally. She lives to see another business day, a little rattled, a little wiser and maybe a little disappointed that her interpretation of what doing business with the public in America is not exactly what she though it was, but still intact.

    Where her real financial peril lies is in something called “legal fees” and the lawyers who will be billing her, lets be hopeful that they do it pro bono.

  • I find it remarkable that the only person in this whole affair that you can find fault with is the florist. You remind me of the people who blame the Jews for antisemitism or blacks for bigotry. If they would simply stay in the ghetto, keep to the back of the bus, and keep their damn mouths shut, then no one would be bothered by them!

  • Cotour

    Answer the question below before you go calling me names that you know from my many posts on this site are not valid.

    “If she were a Muslim doctor and a Jewish patient came into her care in the context of giving care in a public hospital and she was the only one who could operate on the Jewish patient and save their life, would she be within her religious freedom rights to sentence the patient to death?”

    Any Jew that does not understand my point and can not answer my question above has issues in comprehending what freedom for all really means.

    And the woman WAS at fault in the context of her operating an open to the public business and creating a superior position related to freedom. Freedom does not exist in a vacuum and is not absolute in a public context of doing business.

    Your insinuating that I am anti Semitic and a racist is extremely offensive to me, and you know very well that is not so. I now seek an apology from YOU.

  • Strawman argument. In the case we are discussing here (owning a flower shop) there were other options, life was not a factor (so no one was threatened with harm). In the strawman example you give above, the Muslim doctor obtained her license to be a doctor under very strict guidelines, guidelines established because a doctor does things that involve life and death situations. Thus, for a doctor to refuse a patient for these reasons when life hangs in the balance would result in that doctor losing her license to practice. Hardly comparable to being a florist.

    I repeat: You seem to find that the only person at fault in this situation is the florist. You assign no blame or ill intent to the people who are prosecuting her. I find that somewhat disturbing. Do you really think the ACLU and the prosecutor are entirely innocent here?

    Also, your claim, that you have also made to Edward, that because she ran a business she was somehow in a “superior position related to freedom” makes no sense. Freedom involves the freedom to start and run a business as you choose, as well as the freedom to buy or not buy the product. Just as she is free to say no to her customers, they have the right to say no to her.

    Moreover, I did not say you were an anti-semite or a racist. I said you were taking a position that is resembles a bigoted position. As a Jew, I recognize these positions instantly, and am always disturbed by them. I want you to see the difference. I absolutely do not see you as bigoted, and apologize if you felt that I had. However, I want you to know that the position you are taking in this matter is making you look like one. You should also be aware of that.

  • Edward

    > If I make myself superior to you we are no longer equal. What happened to your right to freely participate in commerce? My religious beliefs should not be used to judge and limit you in a situation where I have made myself superior to you.

    First, the shopkeeper did not make herself superior.

    Second, the limitations placed upon us by this unjust case have limited our rights to freely participate in commerce. We now have to choose between religion and our businesses.

    Third, your religious beliefs still count as protected by the First Amendment. It does not matter if the beliefs are yours, Robert’s, mine, or someone else’s. Freedom to practice religion is the foundation of this country, and its protection is placed in a superior position in the Bill of Rights.

    > If we were able to question the founders about how they imagined their social experiment would evolve I am certain that they would be disappointed if their intent of individual freedom would have resulted in people using their freedom to limit their fellow Americans freedoms.

    The Founding Fathers were very well aware that rights often conflict. Since one of the important functions of government is the protection of our rights, the laws, rules, and regulations are supposed to conform to the protection of our rights. Another important function of government is the peaceful resolution of disputes. these disputes often arise from conflicts of people’s rights. Thus the courts are supposed to weigh these rights in context of the US Constitution and rule with that document as a guide. In this case, the judge chose to violate the primary rights of citizenship in favor of rights not even enumerated in the US Constitution. (The last, or I should say first, important function of government is physically protecting us from invasion and from each other.)

    So I imagine that the Founding Fathers would be shocked, for two reasons, at our society of today. First, they would be utterly shocked that it took tyranny a whole two centuries to make so much progress in America (they thought that it would only take a couple of decades). Second, they would be shocked that a judge had so blatantly violated the US Constitution yet has not been disbarred. Yes, they would recognize this America, but not as the one they founded. It would look similar to the country of King George, and the reign of his tyranny. It has been fundamentally transformed, and people like you, Cotour, have assisted in its transformation. You even seem pleased by the transformation, that the primary freedoms can no longer be used “to limit their fellow Americans” lesser freedoms.

    The state of Washington and the judge in this case have lost their way and no longer understanding how do properly determine the resolution of conflicts of people’s rights.

  • Cotour

    While the healthcare worker example may be at the extreme you still have not been able to draw the line at which ones religious beliefs do not trump another’s freedoms, you seem to believe that it is absolute and I do not agree.

    “I repeat: You seem to find that the only person at fault in this situation is the florist. ”

    The woman is the one that has instigated the event by her ignorance of the law, and by the level of the fines she may or may not have to pay and the level of compensation that the plaintif’s have demanded ($7.91) it does not seem to me that the law means her or anyone else much harm (in this instance). I will stipulate that I have no use for excessive government.

    And I find your position and inability to understand how she has changed her personal equality into a superior position by being the final say so in a public business related to her customer just as pig headed as you find mine. The example is perfectly valid.

    I only assume that because I seem to favor the government here is the reason you want to tag me with the “fascist” label, my point here is that the woman not only has her freedoms and rights but the customer also has their freedoms and rights and in certain situations one does not absolutely trump the other.

    My understanding and dislike for excessive government and abuse of power is fairly deep and is very well documented right here on your web site, it is my subject, so you might step back and consider my position a bit more than you have so far.

    I accept your apology, Im sure you are not in the habit of issuing many of them.

    All the best to you and your wife.

  • Edward

    > And it appears that this gay couple never sued her. It was the ACLU and the Washington attorney general that sued.

    Wait a minute. What happened to the requirement that the plaintiff have standing. If the state and ACLU were not harmed, then why are they able to bring suit? Lack of standing has been used to throw out cases brought by other states — states that were attempting to protect their citizens’ violated rights — and even cases brought by individuals who believed their rights were violated, so why not throw out this case? There is a lack of precedence going on in the American court system. How are we to know how to behave if the past does not inform the present. If the gay couple did not want to sue, then the state and ACLU clearly are not bringing it on behalf of the gay couple, and these organizations clearly have no standing.

    I apologize for any bad things that I wrote, said, or thought about this couple. It seems that, like the shopkeeper, they are also victims of the plaintiffs in this unjust court case of injustice.

    Cotour wrote: “If she were a Muslim doctor and a Jewish patient came into her care”

    This is a straw man argument. Why is there only one doctor who can save his life? Because it is an unreal scenario. A real scenario like this would be a case of experimental medicine, and the patient would have no reasonable expectation of survival. Otherwise the doctor would have trained numerous other doctors on the life-saving technique. Get with the real world.

    Cotour wrote: “But what happens when her freedoms intersect with and deny’s another’s freedoms?”

    But, this didn’t even happen in this case. It turns out that two disinterested parties chose to violate the flower shopkeeper’s Constitutional rights, and the judge unwisely chose to not throw out the case and unjustly made a summary judgment without hearing the defendant’s side.

    This entire incident has evil, un-American government written all over it. And why is the ACLU so adamant about violating the innocent shopkeeper’s Constitutional civil rights? I thought that the ACLU was set up to protect our rights, not take away our fundamental rights.

    Cotour wrote: “I very well understand your point about “HER” rights, but her rights do not exist in the vacuum”

    No one has suggested that her rights exist in a vacuum or are absolute. That is yet another straw man. Some of us have pointed out that her right to practice her religion is paramount over the non-violated rights of the couple; even if they had felt that their rights had been violated, freedom of religion is paramount in the US Constitution. When looking at the non-vacuum of rights, the “pecking order” for comparisons is enumerated in the US Constitution. It turns out that the couple was not violated, but the very government that is duty-bound to protect the shopkeeper’s rights set out, instead, to destroy them and violate her.

    Cotour, the gay couple did not even feel that their rights had been violated, so the territory of your argument has vaporized with the revelation of the truth. The only person violated in this case is the shopkeeper, and she was violated by the ACLU, the state of Washington, and the unjust judge. Not only do you not have a leg to stand on, you don’t have ground to stand on. See the light. Embrace freedom and the US Constitution.

  • Edward

    > Ingersoll and Freed, who have since married, had sued for $7.91 (the cost of driving to find a new florist).

    Hmm. I missed that in the article, so I don’t know where that comes from.

    IF this is the case, then I may have to rescind my apology to the couple (does Miss Manners allow rescinding of apologies?), in my comment below, and I may have to modify portions of my comments of today.

  • Cotour

    ” I thought that the ACLU was set up to protect our rights, not take away our fundamental rights.”

    When you use the word “OUR” in the sentence above do you mean just the Flower lady and you and your position or do you include everyone else in the country along with you who might see things a bit different than you? And as I understand it the plaintifs were involved in the action and demanded the sum of $7.91 from the defendant.

    In the proposed settlement the flower woman really suffers no real harm but rejects the proposed settlement and then sites Jesus and how he was sold out by Judas.

    Q: Why does she site Judas and his betrayal of Jesus in the Bible and rejects the proposed settlement but apparently totally rejects her own God’s sacred words, his 2nd absolute direction to love they neighbor?

    AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ 31″The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

    I find this interesting, contradictory and a cherry picking strategy on her and her lawyers part. How does one hold on high their religion but rejects their own God’s sacred words? Are gay people not people? Are they not her neighbors? Her brothers under the God of her religion that she holds so dearly? She is free to worship as she pleases but to reject her own Gods words so casually?

    I find this contradictory and self serving on her part, what think you?

  • PeterF

    How can you maintain that the gay couple’s rights are being trampled? They were not prevented from marrying, they just were not able to purchase a service from one particular business. A shopkeeper refusing to serve a nudist because of a “no shirt, no shoes, no service” policy does not force the nudist to were clothes. (thats what the state does)

    It appears to me that you are advocating a form of slavery. Should ANY business person be compelled to provide a service, even though they would find it detestable to do so? That includes a doctor being forced to perform a medical procedure. (which I expect we shall see under Obamacare) The hippocratic oath states “first do no harm”. It doesn’t say you must perform a procedure (suppose that procedure was installing a replacement heart valve from a pig? Should the muslim doctor or the jewish patient be compelled against their will?)

  • So you maintain that to love thy neighbor, you must facilitate any action they may wish to do? must a christian who owns a medical supply business be compelled to supply needles to a heroin addict?

    If the state can compel the flower lady to provide a service to the gay couple, then the state can also compel the gay couple to purchase a service from the flower lady. Oh wait, Obamacare already does that.

    And apparently the AG never learned that if you threaten to do something in an attempt to coerce, you may be forced to carry out the threat or run the risk of being seen as weak. something “bad” parents never seem to learn…

  • Edward

    > In the proposed settlement the flower woman really suffers no real harm

    As long as you ignore her soul, the loss of a substantial amount of money, and the requirement that she violate her religion forever after, then, no. No harm done. Of course, the precedence set is that all other religious peoples are likewise forever required to violate their religions at the expense of their souls, too, but, hey, whatever the ACLU wants, the ACLU should get, right?

    When the ACLU protects our rights, they protect *our* rights (you know, We the People) — or destroy them when they are careless. In this case, they chose to protect some very minor right to the detriment of the highest rights we have, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and fair treatment from the government (what good is a petition for redress of grievances if they are not going to treat the petition fairly?).

    It seems that the state government and maybe the ACLU petitioned the gay couple, not the other way around, so that they, the government and ACLU, could find an excuse to violate the primary rights of the shopkeeper.

    I sure hope that the gay couple was not so petty that they sued over a mere $7.21. And if they did, why weren’t they in small claims court, where a dispute over such a minor value *should* be heard? And if this is over a mere $7.21, then why is the state putting the shopkeeper’s home, shop, and savings at risk, instead of simply confiscating $7.21? This seems to be a case that has gotten way out of hand, if it is all over a petty amount disputed by a couple of (supposed) petty people.

    It reminds me of the children’s story “Pigs is Pigs,” where the moral is to not let minor matters blow up into major problems.

    > Q: Why does she site Judas …

    Isn’t that a question for her? My immediate suspicion is that it has something to do with her religion.

    > How does one hold on high their religion but rejects their own God’s sacred words?

    Again, that is a question for her. I suspect that her religion is different from your own, even if by minor amounts, although significant in importance. This would explain your confusion.

    > I find this contradictory and self serving on her part, what think you?

    Well, since I have not been clear enough in the past, I think that she is trying to protect her US Constitutionally protected rights from a tyrannical state, evil organization, and a vindictive judge — who won’t bother to hear her side of the dispute — and possibly from a gay couple who, if they are even involved, may be trying to collect a meager sum (or may not feel harmed in any way, depending), so:
    1. which side of the argument is the more self serving?
    2. why would the protection of important rights be contradictory?

    After all, she is still friends with the couple, so she apparently loves them as (supposedly) commanded by her god. It seems to be the state of Washington and the ACLU (and the couple, if they really *are* involved in the lawsuit) who do not love the shopkeeper. So maybe their state-laws/policies/religions do not require that they love their neighbors/citizens and allow for hatred of them — or maybe there is contradiction in their positions.

    It is hard to say what their motivation is — but you suggested, in another post’s comments, that the motivation of these groups may have been “to make an example of the flower lady.” That sounds a bit hateful.

  • Max

    Someone filed a complaint, I wonder who that was…

  • pzatchok

    If she were Muslim would the state be doing this to her?

    And Islam does not recognize the 10 commandments so quoting them is useless in the argument.

    No matter what her religion is it is the states responsibility to protect her right to express it in any way she wishes. They have no right to restrict it or her expression of it.

    That is what the first amendment is all about.

  • Ed

    Seems in Contours fascist world it’s fine to force a jewish baker to make a swastika cake for the local Nazi get together. Nazi get together are legal.
    And the court should force a black tailor to make special embroidered white hoods for the klan party down the street. The klan is legal.
    Why should these businessmen be able to refuse. The Nazi and Klansmen have rights to buy legal items too.
    Funny how he pulls these quotes out so he can use them to show his superiority and thinks that everyone else should hold his interpretation or else they are an invalid “flavor” of religion.
    Freedom to practice ones own religion doesn’t mean as long at it fits the “controllers” ideas of what is proper. The thought police here being Contour.

  • Ed

    ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’
    Loving your neighbor does not have to mean you have to do everything your neighbors way.
    If you neighbor is a murderer you don’t have to help him murder people in order to love him.
    You can love your neighbor while believing your neighbor is doing something wrong. And if you truly believe he is doing something wrong (whether your belief is right or wrong doesn’t matter) it would be wrong for you to help him do something that you believe is wrong. In fact loving him would probably mean NOT encouraging wrong behavior.
    I am an athiest but I recognize that not everyone thinks like me. I was a big supporter of gay marriage for years but now when I see it being used to “get back” at people with different beliefs I am losing my patience and feel if this is the way it is going to be abused, I no longer really support it. If gays cannot be happy with being legally able to marry without forcing others to take part in it, then their rights have ended.

  • Cotour

    “If the state can compel the flower lady to provide a service to the gay couple”

    The state is not compelling her do anything except treat equally her customers in her open to the public venue. They demand nothing more from her, and if she does not want to live by what can be argued are reasonable rules of operation in dealing with the public in a public venue she can just choose to not serve wedding venues and continue on her merry way.

    From my point of view her religious beliefs and the position that she holds in the public business atmosphere in which she operates creates a responsibility to treat her customers in an equal handed way and her religious beliefs do not trump that responsibility.

    And like I pointed out above she does not have to do anything that she does not want to do except to make an adjustment to her business practices, don’t offer her services to one person and then refuse that same service to another based on her dislike for their beliefs.

    Her freedom of religion does not cancel out someone else’s right to equally participate in commerce where she has a self created power (being the business owner) over that persons ability to participate. She does not see her power but only see’s her rights being violated, but her “right” to her religious beliefs is actually a form of abuse of that narrow power that she does not understand that she has.

  • Cotour

    Pzatchok wrote to me: “Ever feel like that guy and all of us were the ones God sent to you?”

    And I relied to him and also reply to you:

    “No, I do not feel that way at all, I may be the one lone person sent to all of you, consider that.

    I feel that in time and some point in the future you will be involved in a situation where the light bulb goes off in your head and you will be contacting me and tell me that you finally understand my well thought out and defended point here. The sane, fair and reasonable among you anyway.

    You see I have settled this issue long ago, I do this every day, and I did not come to it easily but I came to understand the logic of the situation and how it squares with the Constitution and the responsibilities that people create for themselves, even if they do not fully understand the implications of those responsibilities.”

  • Cotour

    I am not the fascist here, the extension of your logic over time here results in discrimination and the further dividing of America.

    ” The Nazi and Klansmen have rights to buy legal items too.”

    And if a Jewish business owner who sold white hoods were to refuse to sell to someone what he would sell to another he would also be out of line.

    “Funny how he pulls these quotes out so he can use them to show his superiority”

    Which quotes do you believe to not be valid? Maybe you read what I write here and you feel intimidated by the content of my logic because somewhere deep down it makes sense to you and you are unable to admit it to the others who would push back at you?

    I am not attempting to intimidate I am attempting to change a point of view through actual well thought out and supported communication. That is a problem for you? IMO none of you have made any real headway against my premise.

  • t-dub

    Cotour: “Her freedom of religion does not cancel out someone else’s right to equally participate in commerce where she has a self created power (being the business owner) over that persons ability to participate.”

    This is where you go off the rails of reality. You can’t force a business owner to work. Thats slavery. Cotour you are either a troll or extremely functionally obtuse.

  • jburn

    Bringing a gun to a cake fight is just rude. If you bring the force of government (the gun) into a dispute, it should be for something more substantial than who bakes your cake.

  • Phillip

    Regardless where you stand on the gay marriage issue, when you go to this You push people who otherwise might have thought you were reasonable away. Going to the law over this is just petty. For goodness sake, can’t you just live and let live? If somebody objects to your lifestyle do you have to shove it in their face? If I go to the store and get bad service, I don’t come back. I wouldn’t come back with the police and try to put them out of business.

    I would be willing to wager that a little pissant who thinks he or she or it is called by God to go around to the comments on forums and post repetative comments has the same effect.

    You see what I did there? ;)

  • Cotour

    I am neither small, nor a pissant, nor a religious zealot , nor gay, nor a Liberal, nor a Democrat and I am repetitive because you all come at this situation with a knee jerk reaction and without IMO properly understanding your position and its implications, and restating the actual facts may serve to get you to think.

    In addition for the most part most of the people who are having a problem with my position seem to agree with me on many other positions that I post here on this site. Now that’s something to think about. Ask Edward, were really buddies but don’t seem to agree here, yet.

  • Edward

    > Where does her religious right to deny other free to choose individuals end?

    Excellent question. You would have it end with the couple having to be mildly inconvenienced, yet it *should* end at a point that is an equal or greater violation of rights that are also guaranteed by the US Constitution. Does that make sense to you, Cotour? That greater rights take precedence over lesser rights or even minor inconveniences? It seems quite reasonable to me.

    Otherwise, we would have a problem resolving free speech issues with the problem of people being offended by the speech. You, Cotour, seem to agree that speech is of high enough importance that a George Mason University official should not punish a student for exercising his right to free speech. This case is very similar in the different levels of offenses.

    The free speech issue is a classic example of where you and I, Cotour, agree. Since the magnitude of the offenses is similar, we should also agree on the florist case. I do not see how your position is so different between the two cases, given the similarity of them.

    This is why everyone here is having such problem with your position. The dichotomy of your positions is confusing. Now that’s something for you to think about. Free speech equates to free religion, in this dichotomy. Having to listen to offensive language equates to having to go to a different shop. Free speech and freedom of religion are protected rights, but freedom from offence and freedom to shop *only* at a particular shop are not.

    In this case, the apparent harm to the couple was merely to exit one shop and to support a business whose values were closer to their own. One has to wonder why the couple did not choose to frequent the second shop rather than the first, why the second shop was not preferred. Instead, they, the state and the ACLU have chosen to reject her religion, which undoubtedly makes her feel bad.

  • Edward

    > I am not the fascist here

    Well:
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fascism?s=t

    You are advocating a system in which the government dictates how the shopkeeper must run her business; you have suggested that the state should be allowed “to make an example of the flower lady,” which can easily be seen as “forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism” of the couple’s lifestyle; and since you believe that the customer may, at a whim, require that the shopkeeper violate her religion, the customer has complete power over her.

    Ed’s conclusion is a reasonable one, considering your arguments on this topic. I, too, believe that you are advocating tyrannical and unreasonable behavior over the victimized shopkeeper. It is why I have been asking you to climb out of the hole of tyranny that you have fallen into. It may be comfortable for you, down there, but that comfort is the trap.

    > IMO none of you have made any real headway against my premise.

    I fail to understand why the First Amendment should be trumped by your premise. You have yet to explain how your position is consistent with the US Constitution.

    Perhaps your premise is scattered over too many comments, and we have missed the “actual well thought out and supported communication” nature of it. Clearly, you have not been convincing. Could you please restate your position, in its entirety, in one comment and supply the support, including references or links to the US Constitution and any other documents or references that support your position?

    I think it would help if you were to specify what you think were the violated rights of the couple, so that we will better understand the seriousness of the shopkeeper’s behavior and compare that to the shopkeeper’s First Amendment rights.

    This should give you the opportunity to clarify the parts that confuse us, so that we no longer think that you advocate tyranny over liberty.

  • t-dub

    Cotour said: “I am neither small, nor a pissant, nor a religious zealot , nor gay, nor a Liberal, nor a Democrat . . .”

    You are obviously not a business owner either. Had you ever built a business from scratch yourself your attitude would be very different. Try getting out of your mother’s basement for a breath of fresh air.

  • Phillip

    See what I mean? ;)

  • Cotour

    I have from the age of 22 built and run 3 businesses from scratch, the one I own and run right now, which I deal with the public every day in pretty much the same context as the flower lady does which is why I understand this issue to the degree that I understand it. I have been successfully operating my current business for 23 years going on 24 and I am in the process of establishing my next next venture as we speak. I am well vetted on the subject of business operation and dealing with the public.

    You seem to see the issue from the get go in absolute terms without any room for someones “freedom” position to change due to their actions and context, that is a conclusion that is incorrect.

    Your need for me to be “wrong” is very strong on this subject, trust me I am not. Also your need to disparage and demean me does not positively move the conversation forward in any way shape or form and I am surprised that Mr. Zimmerman allows you to conduct yourself as such on his web site.

  • Cotour

    And I am “pissant” ?

    Do you have a mirror?

  • PeterF

    I suspect that the sum of $7.91 is a way to cover the “standing” issue

  • Phillip

    I never claimed you were. you replied to my comment, not the other way around. ;)

  • Phillip

    Ooh ooh… here come the free speech issues…

  • Edward

    Here is the issue, as I see it.

    Rights are a misunderstood concept, in today’s America.

    We have the right to do virtually everything that we do. However, some people believe that when we have the right to do or have something, it means that someone *must* provide for that activity or must provide that thing.

    In reality, rights are not provided to us. Rights mean that we are at liberty to do or obtain things, and having rights definitely does not mean that a specific person or business must provide anything. We may have the *right* to have everything that we want, but we can’t, in reality, *have* everything that we want. We have the right to live in a mansion, but if we cannot afford it, then we don’t get to live there.

    Because governments tend, over time, to usurp the rights of their citizens, the Founding Fathers, at the urging of several of the states, agreed to add a Bill of Rights to the US Constitution stating that the government may not take away a specific list of some of the rights that tyrannical governments most commonly usurp (tyranny being the natural direction that governments take, because “A government is a body of people, usually, notably, ungoverned.” – Shepard Book, “Firefly”).

    One of the important functions of government is to peacefully resolve disputes. This is a case of two rights conflicting with each other, as in “My right to swing my fist ends at the tip of your nose, ” meaning that people have freedom to do what they want until it impacts on someone else’s rights to do what they want. The State of Washington got involved to resolve the conflicting rights between the flower shopkeeper and two of her customers.

    The question before the court boils down to: is the shopkeeper’s right to practice her religion more important than her customer’s right to a service that violates that practice. The court ruled that the right to practice her religion is of lower importance, and the customers may insist that her religion be violated.

    In this case, the government has ruled that the shopkeepers right to freely practice her religion had to be abridged in favor of the convenience of her customer.

    Many of us reading and responding to comments on this site believe that the constitutionally protected right to practice religion is of greater importance than the right of a customer to receive a service that violates that religious practice.

    Further, because the customers are able to receive that very same service from another vendor, it is especially egregious that the government sued, much less ruled that the shopkeeper must violate her religion for her customer’s minor convenience. Although the customer has a right to the service and a right to the convenience, the right of the shopkeeper to keep her religious beliefs intact, without violation, is more important than the right of the customer to be slightly inconvenienced in order to obtain the desired service.

    Many of us believe that both the State of Washington and the judge who ruled without hearing the shopkeepers side of the story (another constitutionally protected right of hers that was violated) were wrong and tyrannical in their actions. There is even the suggestion that their actions were vindictive – which would make these people monstrous in their dereliction in their duty to protect the rights of their citizens (another important function of government).

    In addition, I am appalled that the ACLU prioritized the convenience of the customer over the constitutionally protected rights of the shopkeeper.

    Finally, the way that free markets work – a part of the American way – is for businesses to freely choose the goods and services they provide, the prices they charge, and the methods of doing business. Customers freely choose which goods and services they buy and from which businesses. This generates competition among the businesses which results in businesses surviving and thriving based upon the quality of their products and the desirability of their services, operating methods, and prices.

    This has been part of the American way for centuries, and it has worked well. The practice of the American way has resulted in a great increase in the quality of our lifestyles, and has even resulted in injustices being rectified. Once we stop prioritizing important rights, then those rights can be easily lost – even the right to freedom.

    For instance, who is to say that the government will not eventually rule that the homeless must be enslaved in order to protect them from starvation, disease, and exposure to the elements? The concept of slavery for their own good is not new, and was used to ill effect for centuries. But if We the People are not able to dispute our government, then such a ruling would go undisputed. This is why we must protect our most important rights and not let them slowly erode away. And we must not let one group of people hijack the functions of government in order to lord over the rest of us.

  • pzatchok

    If you think about it from this angle we have been forcing the beliefs of the majority on the minority for along time.

    Think of it from the angle of the Polygamists.
    Its their religious belief that a person can marry as many others as they want. The majority stopped this by outlawing that practice. Even though in my opinion it was wrong to do so. No one was harmed unless they were forced into the lifestyle.

    I can see this law being overturned in the future because it is restrictive of a religion and causes no harm outside the participants.

    But that does not mean I should be forced to cater their weddings if its against my religion.
    Otherwise we would be able to force Doctors to perform abortions against their will.

    Its tantamount to forced servitude.

    And suing them over 7 some odd dollars, the cost of going to the other store, is stupid.
    If we could do that then I could sue every store for not providing the same prices as Wallmart and or not providing the same products thus forcing me to go someplace else.
    I would be able to put hundreds if not thousands of mom and pop stores out of business just out of spite.

  • pzatchok

    The courts and the system could easily sort this out of they applied the same type of standards that the graft board did for conscientious objectors.

    A person could refuse service/sale on religious grounds if they could prove they were an active member in good standing of such a religion.

  • Edward

    Cotour,

    I think I finally understand your position. As a business owner, you see the importance of keeping the customer happy, and you are willing to invoke the government to make sure that all businesses operate in a successful and fair manner.

    As you wrote before, “the light bulb goes off in your head and you will be contacting me and tell me that you finally understand my well thought out and defended point here.” This is me telling you that I finally understand your point, but I disagree.

    We cannot let our government become a tyrannical ruler over us, even to prevent minor and temporary injustices, so I disagree with this position for the following reasons:

    1) What is fair?

    This is an important yet unanswerable question and goes right to the heart of what is an injustice. There are as many definitions of fairness as there are people.

    Is it fair that the shopkeeper must choose between her religion and her business? Is it fair that your hard earned money is taken from you so that others can choose to be unproductive all their lives? Is it fair for those people to remain in poverty all their lives despite all the money confiscated from you? Is it fair that America borrows money only to saddle the repayment onto children who are too young to complain? Is it fair for government to make your choices for you?

    When the government gets involved, the government is only fair to the people that the government prefers. We already know that the government discriminates. The IRS discriminates against conservatives in favor of liberals.

    With fairness being in the eye of the beholder, it is impossible for any business to be all fairness to all people all the time.

    2) Government is not the best determinant of what is best for the public

    You, Cotour, have complained that, without government intervention, a business may choose to discriminate against one group of people. So what? If that discrimination is such a bad idea, then everyone should stop shopping at that business until it either changes policies or goes out of business, just as they do with every other company that does not provide the goods and services at the prices and with the service that they prefer. Allowing this discrimination sounds cruel, but it is not nearly as cruel or tyrannical as the alternative: letting the government do the discriminating.

    When government, not the shopping public, chooses the winners and the losers, then instead of getting the best run businesses, we get the businesses that conform to the discrimination that the government prefers. Such as the discrimination that the flower shopkeeper is experiencing from the State of Washington and the judge.

    Institutional discrimination is the kind of discrimination that should not be allowed, but We the People should be allowed our freedom of association, including the businesses that we frequent. Should we be coerced into buying a product that we don’t want?

    Were you in favor of Jim Crow laws, or apartheid? We are beginning to get these same types of policies in the US. Affirmative action is institutionalized reverse-discrimination that looks like apartheid, and the ruling that the shopkeeper may not follow her religion looks like Jim Crow laws in reverse. Two wrongs still do not make a right, so reverse discrimination is a bad idea; it legitimizes institutionalized discrimination.

    3) Government should not tell businesses how to operate.

    Look what happened when government took over GM and Chrysler in order to keep them from going bankrupt; they went bankrupt. Government does not know how to successfully run a business, so to allow them to tell us how to run our businesses is a bad idea.

    Government has taken over the banking industry, and we can’t get our economy moving again.

    Government has taken over medicine, and the emergency rooms are more crowded than ever; costs have increased, not decreased; and every aspect of American life has been adversely affected.

    Government has taken over the internet so that it can be as free and as fast as possible — which it already is!

    4) Freedom is where the innovation is.

    This is why we are exceptional. It is not the people who are exceptional. We are not better than everyone else, because we come from everywhere else; we ARE everyone else. It is the freedom to innovate that makes America exceptional, and if we lose our freedoms, then we become as unexceptional as everywhere else.

    We must have the freedom to fail. Otherwise, we will be prevented from trying new and innovative things.

    If all businesses must operate the same way, then there is no innovation for better methods of operation, better products, or better prices.

    5) Tyrannies perpetuate injustices.

    Tyrannies are only interested in remaining in power. To do so, they must prevent their citizens from gaining power, and that requires that they keep down the people in any way necessary. Often through intimidation and well publicized punishments, such as the IRS does regularly in order to ensure that We the People comply with their demands on us.

    Slavery ran rampant for centuries in monarchies and other tyrannical nations. It was when the citizens gained more power that they were able to eliminate that unjust institution in other nations. The US suffered from a dependency on slavery that required more that political power to free the slaves, it required that millions of people risk life and limb to free them, but we were free to let the government know that this is what we wanted to do. Jim Crow laws were instituted in order to prevent former slaves from gaining power, and it took great effort through the freedoms of We the People to eliminate those injustices, too. If We the People did not have power, Jim Crow laws would still be in effect.

    In a post, yesterday evening (way far up above), Pzatchok points out that the majority tends to rule, and his example was the majority ruling that polygamy is illegal. His point seems to be that this could be seen as an example of a tyranny of the majority. My point is that a tyranny of the majority can only be overturned if a minority of We the People are free to speak out and explain why such a law is unjust. This is why our First Amendment freedoms are so important.

    6) The judge’s summary judgment voids all aspects of the First Amendment.

    It violates the shopkeeper’s freedom of religion, her freedom to associate, her freedom to express herself through her art, and her right for her side to be heard by the government that is supposed to protect all these rights.

    Does our brand of freedom give complete freedom to all people all the time? No. But it gives more freedom and allows for better resolution of conflicting rights than any other form ever tried. We need to regain the freedoms and the government that we had, not so long ago, so that we can have the most freedom possible and to be able to correct injustices.

  • Cotour

    I will take the short way this time.

    The founders did not design their scheme of governance for one free individual to create a situation when exercising their freedoms another individual would be deprived of their freedoms. We are all born equal related to our freedoms.

    The woman as an individual is free to believe in what ever religion she desires but when she brings her beliefs to her work place and that work place is open to the public and she applies her religious standards to another and denies them their freedom of commerce then by doing so she demands the other person live by her standards. That does not mean that the woman is being denied her religious beliefs or is being forced to do anything other than treat her fellow Americans, her fellow human beings equally.

    That is my interpretation, that is how I live my life and that is how I operate my open to the public business.

    If it would make you feel better and me say the state government is tyrannical for their actions, then so be it. I will concede and I have no problem saying that as a rule the more government their is in general the worse it is for individual freedoms. I think our major problem stems from me including and attempting to explain how the government gets involved in the first place.

    Good weekend.

  • Edward

    > then by doing so she demands the other person live by her standards.

    In fact, it is the other way around. The customers went to another shop and continued to live by their own standard. It was the customer and the state that are now requiring her to live by standards that they set for her. Fr the same reason, their freedom of commerce was not denied to them.

    > but when she brings her beliefs to her work place and that work place is open to the public and she applies her religious standards to another

    This brings back the question of putting up Christmas decorations at an open-to-the-public workplace, such as a store. Are they no longer allowed? Do you have them at your place of business?

    It is you who wants rights to be absolute. You assign the customers’ rights as absolute; he gets to take his rights outdoors and into an open-to-the-public workplace, but the shopkeeper loses her rights when she leaves her house.

    > That does not mean that the woman is being denied her religious beliefs or is being forced to do anything other than treat her fellow Americans, her fellow human beings equally.

    Actually, it *does* mean that she is being denied her practice of her religious beliefs. If she cannot practice them properly, she does not have them. Would you deny Muslims their practice of prayer if it mildly inconvenienced someone else, such as taking up a portion of a park, causing others to not play in an out of the way area for the duration of the prayer? What if the Muslim were in an open-to-the-public workplace at prayer time?

    Why don’t you think that customers should get along with shopkeepers?

    All the onus is placed upon the shopkeeper, who respects the customer’s lifestyle without participating in that lifestyle, yet the customer has no duty to respect the shopkeeper’s religion. They are able to actually, really, and willfully violate her.

    Once again, your position is that a person’s rights must be lost when they choose to deal with the public, such as step outside their front door.

    Your position continues to support tyranny, not freedom. The customers retained their freedom, but the shopkeeper’s freedom was removed.

    Once the government is allowed to remove her right to her religion, then they can limit her right to speak freely.

  • Cotour

    Can she refuse anyone she finds offensive to her religion?

    http://punkelectrofashi.tumblr.com/post/32272600632/august-8-2012-maria-jose-cristerna-mexico

    If this woman who displays satanic pentagrams for all to see on her horns entered the flower store like anyone else off the street and wanted to purchase flowers could she refuse to sell to her?

  • Cotour

    Where it tends to go?

    1. http://forward.com/articles/203302/belgian-doctor-denies-refusing-treatment-to-jewish/

    “did not now Mrs. KLIEN was Jewish.”

    2.http://www.jewishjournal.com/opinion/article/israeli_woman_refused_service_at_florida_gas_station_called_killer_by_atten

    The manager sent sincere apologies and assured me that this would never happen again.

    3. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4612205,00.html

    This person is no longer a human being?

    4. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10654957/Arizona-passes-law-allowing-shopkeepers-to-refuse-to-serve-gay-people.html

    “state sponsored discrimination?” And what about the Muslim pharmacist that refuses to dispense medication for the Jewish infant? Or visa versa? Another solid reason why a segment of the American public despises the Republican or Conservative movement and can never support it.

    5. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2527820/Marks-Spencer-tells-Muslim-staff-CAN-refuse-serve-customers-buying-alcohol-pork.html

    Now this IS the slippery slope and the other edge of the blade, a corporate rule made especially and only to exempt Muslims from selling pork or alcohol to the customers of this major store based on THEIR religious beliefs. Ain’t that a kick in the American ass.

    6. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-408912/Unclean-guide-dog-banned-Muslim-cab-driver.html

    And again, and over and over until our American freedom has turned into what? These are examples from the real world.

  • Edward

    And yet, you would have government make all these choices for us in a totalitarian process that eliminates freedom, instead of letting We the People choose through the free market process that works so well.

    How many of those people, in those free market countries, had nowhere else to go, no alternatives? If they had been in totalitarian countries, where would they have gone for their alternatives?

    In the preferred free market system, We the People get to choose the winners and the losers. In the vile totalitarian system, the government chooses the winners and losers, choosing its friends as the winners and its foes as the losers.

    Under the tyranny, everyone discriminates against the victim. Under free markets, the victim can find many who will help and protect them. Even many shopkeepers will help.

    I exaggerate, a bit, about the tyranny. Examples of victims finding help even during a tyranny include the underground railroad (where many of the helpers paid dearly when caught helping) and the Civil Rights Movement (where the price was not so dear). Generally, however, the tyranny wins, as happened with most slaves and Jim Crow laws in the US (before the Republican helpers won the day), and various holocausts in NAZI Germany (where the US eventually won the day), the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, and other places and times in history (where and when the tyrannies won the day).

    Do you still choose tyranny?

  • Edward

    I forgot to mention: the above is also in answer to your comment, above, at February 28, 2015 at 8:54 pm.

  • Cotour

    “I exaggerate a bit about the tyranny.” Do you think that you might be being a bit of a hysterical drama queen? Lots of exclusive inside the cranium reality your working with.

    Yeah, everybody, bring your religion and its demands and biases to the work place and insist that by law everyone must abide by its crazy assed rules and regulations! No dogs, no pork, no alcohol, no uncovered women, no Jews of course, no Muslims, no what ever the hell unreasonable thing they please at the cost of all others. Lots of no’s going on in your America, what a fun and fancy free America you dream of.

    I have provided you with real world outside of the cranium evidence of what the actual results of exactly what you hold on high are, and I am unreasonable? I guess the application of the scientific method does not apply here?

    Here’s a little more reality for you, American style. This and other things like it that you and everyone else apparently support under the cover of Constitutionally protected rights in the public square are in reality what threatens to in the long term to destroy America :

    http://pamelageller.com/2012/03/islamization-of-the-workplace-wegmans-adheres-to-sharia-halal-checkout-line-for-muslim-cashier.html/

    “The founders did not design their scheme of governance for one free individual to create a situation when exercising their freedoms another individual would be deprived of their freedoms. We are all as individuals born equal related to our freedoms.”

  • Edward

    > Do you think that you might be being a bit of a hysterical drama queen?

    No. That is why I pointed out that people try to escape tyranny. They prefer freedom, even if they live behind an iron curtain.

    > Yeah, everybody, bring your religion and its demands and biases to the work place and insist that by law everyone must abide by its crazy assed rules and regulations!

    No. I pointed out very clearly that people may vote with their feet, and that the businesses that are less tyrannical are the ones that will survive in a free marketplace. The more tyrannical ones will survive only in the tyrannical marketplace.

    > No dogs, no pork, no alcohol, no uncovered women, no Jews of course, no Muslims, no what ever the hell unreasonable thing they please at the cost of all others.

    Go next door, and you are a welcome customer. Next door survives.

    > Lots of no’s going on in your America, what a fun and fancy free America you dream of.

    A lot more “no” goes on in tyrannies. And that fancy free America did very well, ever since about 1605, when free markets arrived. We have good records from the 20th century that the noes of tyrannies killed (order of magnitude) 100 million people, whom they discriminated against, and a lot of killings happened in tyrannies before then. How many customers have been killed by shopkeepers in the free market countries?

    > I have provided you with real world outside of the cranium evidence of what the actual results of exactly what you hold on high are, and I am unreasonable?

    No, you are reasonable but wrong. You see a place that is not a utopia and assume that utopia is possible, if only we could control people into being virtuous.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dwz_Z62e0s (8 minutes)

    Instead, We the People could individually reward those we believe to be virtuous instead of giving the government the tyrannical power to choose the virtuous for us. What if the government chooses wrong? Tyrannical governments often *do* choose wrong, resulting in the murders of the previously mentioned 100 million (in the last century, alone).

    When we let the government choose the good from the bad, then (as with the French), they believe that they may eliminate the bad in order to preserve only the good. Strangely, the people that the government chooses as being “the good” are those who agree with the government. Thus, correcting a tyranny becomes very difficult, as those advocating change away from the government’s form of discrimination tend to be eliminated (killed, just like that previously mentioned 100 million).

    Now I ask you: “I have provided you with real world outside of the cranium evidence of what the actual results of exactly what you hold on high are, and I am unreasonable?”

    American freedoms may not be perfect, but their flaws are correctable, unlike the flaws of tyrannies. Tyrannies must be destroyed in order to be changed, and they are rarely destroyed from within.

    Your link demonstrates my point, thank you. The shopkeepers are hard at work finding ways to accommodate everyone’s needs and rights, although some people were mildly inconvenienced. That is the beauty of competition in the free market system; the customers want the shopkeepers to protect everyone’s rights and will stop shopping where the shopkeepers violate rights. The solutions may not have been perfect, but the government did not need to tyrannically decree that anyone’s rights be violated (such as happened to the florist).

    Finally, your quote has also been my point all along. The Founding Fathers knew that rights would conflict and that they would have to be balanced, but they believed that the balance could come without a tyrannical violation of any one person’s rights. Otherwise, it would have resulted in “a situation when exercising their freedoms another individual would be deprived of their freedoms” (as happened to the florist, when the government became tyrannical and violated her rights so that her customer would not be mildly inconvenienced — their rights weren’t even being violated).

    It seems that we are in much closer agreement than we believed. It is just a matter of whether the government should get involved and be allowed to tyrannically violate one person’s rights, against the intention of the Founding Fathers. I believe the answer is “no,” because such power quickly gets out of hand, freedom is lost, and government starts to violate rights with great ease. You seem to believe the answer is “yes,” because it is too inconvenient to go down the street to a shop that should be encouraged to stay in business.

    Do you still choose tyranny?

  • Cotourj

    Anyone’s personal individual rights and freedoms are theirs alone and when an individual chooses to drag their personal and individual rights and freedoms into the public square and call it “freedom” in the same context and that the two contexts are equal then that is just another word for chaos and creates the potential for abuse of power and is the place where discrimination hides under the cover of the word “freedom”.

    As an example, raw capitalism without structure and limits is just as deadly and abusive as communism. The founders provided structure for the government as well as the people in the Constitution in order that they be able to have their INDIVIDUAL freedom and governance with the ability to have context.

    Yours, mine , anyone’s freedoms are not absolute in all contexts. And the extension of absolute freedom and the blending of the two contexts is an abuse and misinterpretation of the kind of freedom that the founders believed they could accomplish.

    Personal and individual freedom is transformed in the public square. I still await for your’s and other’s light bulb moment.

    PS: Thanks for the compliment, this is a direct Cotour quote:

    “The founders did not design their scheme of governance for one free individual to create a situation when exercising their freedoms another individual would be deprived of their freedoms. We are all as INDIVIDUALS born equal related to our freedoms.”

    PPS: As an extension of this conversation I point out that this issue of religious freedom and exactly where it exits is the exact strategy that Islam will use to usurp our Constitution, they will use religious freedom as the weapon of the Constitution’s own destruction. That is the ultimate result if your interpretation of this issue is adhered to. Chew on that for a while.

  • Edward

    > Anyone’s personal individual rights and freedoms are theirs alone and when an individual chooses to drag their personal and individual rights and freedoms into the public square and call it “freedom” in the same context and that the two contexts are equal then that is just another word for chaos and creates the potential for abuse of power and is the place where discrimination hides under the cover of the word “freedom”.

    Ah. Now you are arguing against the gay couple. They have dragged their rights into the florist’s shop, then they dragged it to the state and even to the ACLU. These institutions are now discriminating against the florist because of her religion.

    > Yours, mine , anyone’s freedoms are not absolute in all contexts.

    We have long been in agreement on this point. My argument has consistently been that freedoms must be weighed against each other when they collide. The problem with all freedoms being absolute in all contexts is that resolution becomes impossible. In such a case there would be no weighing of more important rights, such as the freedom of religion, thought, speech, or redress of grievances over the freedom from minor inconveniences, such as having to go to another shop if the current shop is unable to supply the customer’s desires (e.g. the shop is out of roses, or the desire violates the First Amendment rights of a shop worker — your link showed many examples of how shops, such as Target, and customers are able to amicably resolve minor differences without government getting involved).

    I knew we were closer in agreement than we thought. However, I am a little disturbed by:

    > I point out that this issue of religious freedom and exactly where it exits is the exact strategy that Islam will use to usurp our Constitution,

    So, because you disagree or are afraid of one religion, all religions must suffer? Do we Americans *have* to become tyrants in order to prevent one religion from usurping our Constitution?

    Indeed, once we go down the road you advocated, where freedoms can be violated on a whim, the door opens for Islam to be able to usurp our Constitution. As long as *all* religions have freedom in the United States, then *all* religions will have freedom, not just one religion. Once one religion can be violated, then any and all (but one?) will be violated.

    Play chess, sometime. It forces you to look several moves ahead, and to seriously consider what your opponent is likely — or trying — to do to you.

    > Thanks for the compliment, this is a direct Cotour quote

    You’re welcome. It makes my case nicely.

  • Cotour

    “Ah. Now you are arguing against the gay couple. ” No I am not.

    The gay couple expects equality in the context of the open to the public store (the public square), just like everyone else. In this context they are not being unreasonable. What is the context? Being treated equally in the public square not making the woman do something against her religion. The context of the woman’s personal, individual religious beliefs are one context and the public square is another context, she is mixing them, don’t confuse the two, that is the woman’s problem here. You fail here IMO.

    ” My argument has consistently been that freedoms must be weighed against each other when they collide.”

    Yes, but in context, not weighed one freedom against the other where someone gets to say who’s interest is greater. No, what changes is the context and in this example the right to be treated as everyone else in the public is being treated and to not be judged by the proprietors subjective religious values. This does not remove or diminish the woman’s individual religious beliefs or the right to believe as she pleases.

    ” I point out that this issue of religious freedom and exactly where it exits is the exact strategy that Islam will use to usurp our Constitution,”

    Yes, be disturbed, that is how Islam is in the process of dominating Europe, not by assimilating but by immigrating / invading and refusing to assimilate and using the Liberal laws that they find themselves immersed in, the ones that do not exist where they are originally from, as a weapon against their temporary hosts.

    Their best friend in America? The First Amendment. Think about it.

    “Play chess, sometime”

    Yes, you loose here by misinterpreting the strategy that is being applied, your faking yourself out by attempting to be more moral than me. Take a note, that’s not how war is won.

    First we eat, then civilization. That’s how the enemies of the Constitution think and that is how we must also drag ourselves to think again. Immersed in our freedom we begin to believe that that is reality, that is not reality but a fantasy.

    “You’re welcome. It makes my case nicely.”

    Again, wrong, but it is a hell of a good quote and if you can agree with what it says then there may be hope for you in the long term. Hopefully before its too late.

  • Edward

    > The gay couple expects equality in the context of the open to the public store

    But the store owner does not expect equality? Do you want to live in a world where some people are more equal than others?

    > In this context they are not being unreasonable.

    But once you add the context that their desire is to violate the shopkeeper’s religion, then they become unreasonable.

    > she is mixing them

    Of course she is mixing them. How does someone separate their religion from their being? You advocate that religion should be left at home, so does that permit the pious to run around violating their own religions as soon as they leave their front doors? Hindus get to eat beef, so long as they are not at home or if they go into an open-to-the-public (OTTP) restaurant? Don’t be ridiculous. People cannot not mix their religion with their person, no matter where or when they are.

    > No, what changes is the context and in this example the right to be treated as everyone else in the public is being treated and to not be judged by the proprietors subjective religious values.

    What did she do that violated this? She continually treated the couple just as she would have treated any other, and she did not judge her customers but served them for years — and still does. Indeed, in this context, should *she* also not have the right for the customer to treat *her* as they treat everyone else? Instead, they sued her, not anybody else.

    > subjective religious values

    And once again, you deny her her religious rights. Just when we were so close to agreement, you revert to tyranny. Indeed, you subjectively deny her her religious rights. You haven’t insisted that the OTTP Indian restaurant must serve beef, or the OTTP Ethiopian restaurant must serve pork. When I am the customer in either restaurant and that is my desire, do you think that I should be able to require that they serve me my desired meat, cooked by their chefs on their stoves or ovens and served by their waiters? [Not rhetorical — the situation is the same.]

    > but in context, not weighed one freedom against the other where someone gets to say who’s interest is greater.

    So, the First Amendment is applicable only for certain contexts and may be voided for others? Since when does the satisfaction of a desire trump the soul?

    > Yes, be disturbed, that is how Islam is in the process of dominating Europe

    Europe is set up differently. In fact, it is set up just the way you want us to treat our own rights.

    In Europe, and pretty much everywhere else, they set up their rights as gifted to the people by the government. Thus, it is easy for the government to remove rights willy nilly.

    In the US Constitution, our rights are natural, and they may not be violated by the government. Thus, it is not allowed, under any context, for the government to violate our rights. The government may not favor one religion over another, and it may not deny us the right to practice our religion, even the context of evil terrorists in Guantanamo Bay prison, their right to practice their religion cannot be denied. But somehow, the lawful (now second class citizen) florist has fewer rights than evil terrorists.

    The US Constitution requires equal protection, thus if the Muslims are not assimilating in the US but are living by laws outside of US or local laws, they are in violation of the US Constitution. What you describe is an invasion of the kind that the US Constitution requires the government to protect the rest of us from. And once again, it is the selective enforcement of laws that a tyranny would allow that would allow such an invasion from a foreign culture that wishes to displace, not enhance, American culture.

    It is the violation of one religion’s rights over the rights of a customer to have his own way that allows for a strong religious argument to run roughshod over the rights of all. That is why we need that equal protection of rights, equal enforcement of the law, and equal treatment that the US Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment requires. Once one religion can be subjugated by the government, then all of them can, or one religion can be favored by the government over the others.

    For four centuries, religions have been allowed their freedom, but now you advocate that they be subject to the whims of mere customers. *This,* not the US Constitution, is how Islam could take over this country.

    > attempting to be more moral than me. Take a note, that’s not how war is won.

    Wonderful. Now we are at war, and the first thing lost is our freedom. If freedom is so easily lost, what is this war all about? Are we finally fighting a war without an intention of protecting our freedoms?

    Next thing we know, you will be advocating for detention camps, just as we had in WWII. We really need to learn from the past, that people’s rights must be protected. Even if that person is a religious florist.

    Jeez. First a florist loses her rights, then everybody does, finally people are rounded up into detention camps. See how a small violation of one person’s rights blossoms into abject tyranny?

    > Again, wrong, but it is a hell of a good quote

    Of course it is a good quote. It is my point.

  • Cotour

    “But the store owner does not expect equality?”

    The store owner in the context of her business (not her religion) expects respect.

    “But once you add the context that their desire is to violate the shopkeeper’s religion, then they become unreasonable.”

    No, the context is to buy flowers, which she supplies to everyone else. She pissed them off and treated them like second class citizens when she told them “Im sorry, but because you are gay I am not going to treat you just like I treat everyone else”.

    “Of course she is mixing them. How does someone separate their religion from their being? ”

    She does not separate them, she has her individual / personal beliefs and believes them and in addition has created a situation in another context, her business context.

    ” should *she* also not have the right for the customer to treat *her* as they treat everyone else? ”

    NO, they are the customers and have not created the business context, they have the right to come and go as they please.

    “When I am the customer in either restaurant and that is my desire, do you think that I should be able to require that they serve me my desired meat, cooked by their chefs on their stoves or ovens and served by their waiters? [Not rhetorical — the situation is the same.]”

    Again. NO. Another ridiculous example, if you are a good enough customer you can demand any thing you like and of they would like to make you happy they will supply it, other wise, again a ridiculous example.

    “So, the First Amendment is applicable only for certain contexts and may be voided for others? ”

    You are free to say what ever you please, but if a Yankee fan is determined to express his free speech in a negative way at a Red Sox game in Boston his “free speech” may result in a physical confrontation and there may be blood. he has free speech to say what ever he pleases but the context again is the key.

    “In the US Constitution, our rights are natural, and they may not be violated by the government. Thus, it is not allowed, under any context, for the government to violate our rights. ”

    The government only is concerned with the equality of the situation in this context, nothing more IMO. And again I state that too much government is fundamentally bad for freedom of the people. But like unregulated capitalism or unbridled communism which are each just as deadly as the other there is no reasonable control, the court has a purpose in such situations to “reasonably” apply duly passed civil law. Freedom is not absolute.

    “If freedom is so easily lost, what is this war all about? ” POWER. This is all about power.

  • Cotour

    ” Thus, it is not allowed, under any context, for the government to violate our rights. ””

    Not under any context? Really?

    Tell that to the IRS when they insist that you pay your taxes after you sent them the letter saying that they do not have the authority to collect said taxes.

    Just like the woman who sells flowers that tells her good gay customers that she will not be selling them flowers because she has religion and they are gay. Both may be true but you don’t walk up to the lion and smack him in the nose with “truth” and not expect him to at least bit you a little :)

    Again you speak in absolute terms, there are no absolutes.

  • Edward

    > The store owner in the context of her business (not her religion) expects respect.

    And thus, you admit that you believe that a business owner loses his rights by starting the business, replacing his rights with “respect.” Strangely, the florist did not receive the respect that you think she should have expected. Not by the couple, not by the State Attorney General, and not by the judge.

    My point is that she deserves more than just respect but her US Constitutional rights, too.

    Your point has repeatedly been that these rights are forfeit the moment that she received her business license.

    You are defending those who not only deny her her US Constitutionally protected rights but also deny her her due respect.

    The basis of our argument is the rights of the shopkeeper v. the rights of the customer. As I keep pointing out to you, using your own words, you deny these basic rights to the shopkeeper, and now you argue that she only should expect respect. Respect is what she gave to her customers. Respect is one of the many things that she was denied in this case.

    I am deeply disappointed that in my attempt to show you the light of freedom, you have merely slipped deeper into the hole of tyranny. For a while, it looked like you were coming back to freedom, but you have slipped farther. I am still offering this figurative rope to help you back to freedom.

    At this point, I think that it is best that you ponder your position of favoring tyranny, and I will ponder how to better demonstrate to you, the next time this topic arises, that freedom –flawed as it is — is preferable to tyranny.

    It is like falling for the argument that the Patriot Act would better protect us from terrorists, we just had to give up a little of our freedom. Unfortunately, we lost that freedom and there is no indication that we are any better protected. Instead of following leads that would have stopped the Boston bombing, they focused on invading everyone’s telephone privacy looking for non-existent leads of … we don’t know what.

    > Tell that to the IRS when they insist that you pay your taxes after you sent them the letter saying that they do not have the authority to collect said taxes.

    In the meantime, you may wish to re-read the US Constitution. There is a century-old amendment in which the government granted itself the authority to collect said taxes. Indeed, that very amendment lead to the excuse used to coerce us as to how to spend our own money. Yet another lost freedom. It may have seemed innocent and innocuous at the time, and seemed that it would only be used against the rich, but the Sixteenth Amendment amendment has been used to reduce many of our freedoms.
    http://constitutionus.com/

  • Edward

    > “When I am the customer in either restaurant and that is my desire, do you think that I should be able to require that they serve me my desired meat, cooked by their chefs on their stoves or ovens and served by their waiters? [Not rhetorical — the situation is the same.]”

    > Again. NO. Another ridiculous example, if you are a good enough customer you can demand any thing you like and of they would like to make you happy they will supply it,

    So, a “good” customer is one who forces the business owner to violate his Religion? Just how good is that customer if he is telling you that you have to sin?

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