Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Open Response to Kevin O'Brien of "At The End Of The Day Podcast" & Ray Comfort of "Audacity" Regarding Gay Wedding Discrimination VS. Lion-Eating Discrimination

I regularly listen to a variety of podcasts. They help me get through wok. They help me get through my workouts. One of those podcasts is the "At The End Of The Day" podcast, which is made by the people who are making a Christian/LGBT film called "At The End Of The Day." The film is a "feature-length dramatic comedy about a fundamentalist Christian professor who experiences a profound change when he finds himself undercover in a gay support group to foil their launch of an LGBT homeless teen shelter." The filmmakers just held a successful Kickstarter campaign, which I contributed towards.

In this week's podcast, Kevin O'Brien interviewed Ray Comfort, who just came out with his old film called "Audacity." Just so you know, "Audacity" is not gay-friendly. But Ray wants you to know that it's not "hateful." That's pretty much his hook. "It's not hateful!" It took me about 15 minutes before I became convinced that I will never watch "Audacity." That's the power of Ray Comfort's persuasion!

There was one portion of the interview that annoyed me, partly for Ray's question, but also partly due to Kevin's response. This is at the 18:5 mark:
Ray: I've got a question for you, Kevin. You know the lady in Oregon that was fined $135,000 for refusal to bake a cake for a gay wedding? Did you hear about that?

Kevin: I did.

Ray: Do you think that was fair? Did she do wrong?

Kevin: That is not actually the full story of that situation. The full story is that the lawsuit... And I'm trying to remember as I say it so if I get something wrong, people can fact-check later. But from my understanding of the story, is that there was the refusal to do the cake and the couple went home, was distraught and another family member -- the mother -- went in... Basically, they filed a complaint but it was not a public complaint. It was a private complaint with the city. And then when the cake-makers received the complaint in the mail or however they get that information, they were the ones who went online. They posted photos online with their names and their address and who these people were. That is what escalated to the fine and to the amount of the damages received and it wasn't simply a fine because they rejected them. But that's how things escalated.

But, I don't want this conversation to be... I understand what you're saying. But this conversation isn't about the persecution of... what people would say is the persecution of Christians or religious freedom.

Ray: I wasn't going there. I was going to ask you another question after that. And that was, would you bake a cake for a couple that was going to have lion meat at their reception? They were going to kill a lion at the wedding... Like you kill a pig at a BBQ? And they were going to have fresh lion meat at the reception. Would you bake the cake for them?

Kevin: Well, I would like to... I am not... I would like to... I am interviewing you, so I would like to ask you the questions if you don't mind. I know that this is how you seem to conduct your interviews and your realm of thinking and it gets people into where they want to go. So I would rather get back to your film and the questions about your film.

Ray: Okay, but I was just trying to make a point. Melissa Klein didn't hate gay people. She didn't do it because of that. She did it because she's got moral convictions that it's wrong to celebrate a gay wedding in the same way that you or I would probably not want to bake a cake for people who're having lion meat at a wedding or a pedophilia wedding. We'd say, "No! I'm not making a cake for that!" And so, it's not that we hate people. It's that we love people. But we've got convictions that are very strong and very dear to us and that's the point I was trying to make.
First of all, Kevin is largely correct. There were also complications by the indirect results of the Kleins doxxing the lesbian couple. They were inundated by harassing phone calls and media scrutiny as a result of them filing a complaint with the state. Meanwhile, they were foster parents who were in the process of adopting their foster children. This harassment almost resulted in them losing custody of their kids.

Ultimately, I have concerns about the amount of the fine. I think that such fines should be painful, but not fatal. If you know what I mean. But don’t feel too bad for the Kleins. The Christian community has come together and raised over a half-million dollars for them, so their $135,000 fine is already taken care of.

Incidentally, the Kleins have sent out free cakes and copies of “Audacity” to 10 different LGBT advocacy groups. Which is interesting…

Back to my earlier point. Oregon bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation – same as race, gender, disability, etc. The Kleins’ business got in trouble because they explicitly discriminated against this lesbian couple on the basis of sexual orientation. If they had discriminated on the basis of religion (for example, an interfaith couple’s wedding cake), they likely could have faced a similar complaint and fine.

Oregon doesn’t bar discrimination on the basis of meat-preference. I’m not sure that eating lion meat is illegal, but poaching is. So, it’s possible that the lion-slaughter might be illegal in Oregon. The “pedophilia wedding” would certainly be illegal though. In other words, the baker might want to focus on calling the police instead of saying, “I won’t bake your cake!”

But let’s assume that the wedding is actually serving lion-meat at the wedding. Or step it back and say that they’re slaughtering a couple of goats at the reception and then sitting around for hours while the animals are skinned, butchered, and prepared for eating… What business is it to the cake-baker??

I’ve had two weddings in my lifetime. We had a commitment ceremony back in the 90s and a wedding back in 2010. I’ve attended other weddings for family members and friends. I have never heard of a cake-baker who has insisted on signing off on the wedding or reception. Never.

They are paid money – lots of it, usually – to design and prepare wedding cakes. The cake is usually picked up by a third party or by the couple and taken to the reception venue.

Now you can make an argument about couples contracting with businesses that are at the very least non-hostile towards the wedding party. And you could make an argument for moving on if you run into a business that discriminates against you. And you could make an argument (as I vaguely did above) about the size of fines related to these discrimination cases. But people have the right to file a complaint if they feel that they were discriminated by a business on the basis of race, gender, disability, religion, and a variety of other descriptors, including (in some states and/or communities) sexual orientation.

So if you want to have a business and you want to be overtly hostile or discriminatory towards LGBT customers, I would suggest that you move to a state or a community that doesn’t bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. That doesn’t mean that you might not face scrutiny from the public should your story get released in the news or on social media, but you won’t have to worry about any official investigations or fines.

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