Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Barronelle Stutzman: The Face Of "Christian Persecution"

Photo Credit: Alliance Defending Freedom
A few minutes ago, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed (I have a love/hate relationship with that site), and there was a comment from one of my friends on an op-ed on The Washington Post's website (it's like Wikipedia but with less credible information) from Barronelle Stutzman, pictured on the left. If you don't know who this woman is, she's the lovely woman who decided that she would not provide flowers from her floral shop to longtime customer Robert Ingersoll because he was marrying a man, his partner Curt Freed. Stutzman has known Ingersoll was gay for years and the two were friends, but she drew the line at weddings because she believes that marriage is between a man and a woman  and Jesus Christ (sounds kinda bigamy-ish). 

This one kind of tears me. Because while I would never want someone to do something that violates their beliefs, the entire reason we live in a secular society is so that no one person's beliefs trump the rights of others. Providing a public service has nothing to do with one's particular religious beliefs unless their beliefs are so intricately woven into their product that one must deduce that "These flowers are indeed Christian and are of Christian values." But flowers aren't Christian or of Christian values, nor does Stutzman live in a state that allows her to use her personal religious beliefs to discriminate against others... and that's exactly what happened here.

No one likes seeing a little ole granny get ran through the ringer, because make no mistake: She got ran through the ringer. But, of course with all of her legal bills, she can count on other good hearted bigoted patriots to lend her a helping hand with a GoFundMe page; but the Lord giveth, and the website taketh away

Robert Ingersoll (left) and Curt Freed (right)
Read her op-ed, please... because it is terrible. The same ole smoke and mirrors game where the poor persecuted bigot tries to paint the picture of himself/herself being a hard-working good American (I have no problem believing that they are) that just wants to live the American dream of selectively enforcing his or her religious values on customers. Have you read her op-ed's byline?

"My relationship with God trumps my connection to anyone on Earth. And now I'm getting sued."

Only someone so out of touch with reality and non-discrimination laws would utter something so myopic. This is precisely why we have this problem in America now: We have allowed what is a secular nation to be overrun by individuals who see the constitution in the same cherry picking light they see their Aesop Fables holy doctrine, except they are more inclined to impose the latter on the rest of us. 

Of course you're getting sued. Your relationship with your god is a personal one, and unless he's a freaking co-owner that also trumps state laws (he doesn't FYI... not in the real world), you are to adhere to the same anti-discrimination laws that every other business does in Richland, Washington. Here's more from her, and see if you spot a redundant go-to line by bigots everywhere:

"This isn't about bigotry. I've had gay and lesbian employees and friends. And it's important to remember that Rob was a longtime customer and friend despite our different beliefs on marriage. When I had to refer him for this one event, I did everything I could to avoid hurting his feelings and I believed we would remain friends when he left the shop. He got enough offers after this situation became public to do about 20 weddings."

Did you spot it? Why is it that whenever someone decides to treat an LGBT person or any group they are prejudiced against less than savory, they suddenly have an abundance of friends in that group? I don't doubt these two were friends because I too had a friend whom I loved and she did not accept my being gay but still cared about me. But once I knew the truly vitriolic extent of her feelings, there was no going back for us. Not to mention, how much a friend could you be when your "different beliefs" are one with him burning in Hell for eternity for being gay? He can be a good "repentant" serial killer and get into Heaven, but if he's a wholesome homo, then fire and brimstone await!!!

I don't think Barronelle Stutzman should be forced to do anything (of course she isn't being forced to do anything but abide by the law), but when you cater to the public, you cater to the whole public. She doesn't accept or condone our being gay... no problem with that. It's a bit stupid to say you don't accept something that just is, but that's you. No one needs to be telling anyone what they can and cannot believe, but the personal beliefs one holds has no bearing on the public service they provide to the public square, barring any kind of threats of harm, actual harm, hate speech, or the like. 

Why is it, though, that these establishment never become Christian until it calls for it? Bakeries suddenly are Christian bakeries, photography studios are suddenly only snapping Polaroids for the big man upstairs, and flower shops only whip out the begonias for the Begotten. Homosexuality is where they draw the line, but some divorced adulteress can walk her ass up in there still smelling of the fornication she just had with her straight fiance and all is fine. 

The entire piece is peppered with woe-is-me rhetoric attempting to paint gays as these totalitarian bullies looking to take over your businesses, make you conform to our Shariah Law -- or in our case, Mariah Law -- and forgo any personal values and morals you may possibly have. Yeah, I'd love some of you neanderthals to come to the 21st century, but you can stay put where you are. We only want to be treated equally under the law. I'm not coming to your shops asking for flowers and for you to sprinkle them over us while we do butt stuff on the bed. 

This is why individuals like me -- gay, atheist, anti-theist -- continue to look at religious institutions with disdain and anticipate the second enlightenment period comes and knocks religion into the Fiction bin at Barnes and Noble where it belongs. 

Guess what, lady? Your religious freedoms are protected... you know what isn't protected? Your religious freedom to discriminate against others. Believe it or not, there are limits to religious freedoms. Can I throw a taped-up box of puppies into a freezing lake and cite religious freedoms while they yelp for air as they sink to the bottom? What if I said my religious beliefs dictated that Christians should not be allowed to drink coffee at any Starbucks in America? What if that was my sincerely held religious belief?

This is precisely about bigotry... and Stutzman's op-ed brilliantly demonstrated it. She believes that marriage is ordained by Jewish Jesus and that he created marriage 2,000 years ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and because of her beliefs she could not provide a public service that she would give to any other customer.

Cut. Paste. Bigotry.

Okay, I'm done. 

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