Ever have a ‘friend’ insist that you shouldn’t be prosecuted for a crime you didn’t commit because obviously you’re too stupid to have committed the crime?
It’s known as a “backhanded compliment”, I think.
The facts of her case do suggest that she regards marriage as a religious sacrament with a procreative purpose, that her Christian beliefs cause her to reject same-sex marriage, and that her business discriminates against same-sex weddings because she believes wedding photography requires artistic efforts to render the subject captured in a positive light. She believes making that effort would be wrong.
In America, there is plenty of homophobia, plenty of anti-gay bigotry, and plenty of people whose antagonism to gays and lesbians is rooted in hatred. Sometimes the language of religious liberty is used to justify behavior that is anything but Christ-like. But the Slate article is implicitly trafficking in its own sort of prejudice. The working assumption is that homophobia, anti-gay bigotry, and hatred are obviously what’s motivating anyone who declines to provide a service for a gay wedding.
That assumption is wrongheaded. A closer look at the photographer’s case is the best place to begin. Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin lost a case before the New Mexico Supreme Court, and have now appealed the ruling. As noted in their petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Huguenins’ photography business does serve gay and lesbian clients, just not same-sex weddings. Insofar as a photographer can distinguish between discriminating against a class of client and a type of event—there is, perhaps, a limit—their business does so: “The Huguenins gladly serve gays and lesbians—by, for example, providing them with portrait photography—whenever doing so would not require them to create expression conveying messages that conflict with their religious beliefs.”
The photography business has also turned down clients other than gay and lesbian couples while citing religious objections. “They have declined requests for nude maternity pictures,” their petition states, “and photographs portraying violence.”
Finally, it isn’t just same-sex weddings they’d be uncomfortable photographing: their petition states that they’d also refuse business capturing a polygamous marriage.
Set aside for a moment the tension here between individual liberty and non-discrimination law. Whether you think the New Mexico Supreme Court decided the case rightly or wrongly, that is separate from the question of what motivated Elaine Huguenin. I’ve never met the woman. None of us can look inside her heart. But her petition presents a perfectly plausible account of why she would refuse to photograph same-sex weddings for perfectly common religious reasons that have nothing to do with fear of gays, intolerance toward gays, or hatred of gay people.
This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who has spent an appreciable amount of time around practicing Christians. In such circles, there are plenty of ugly attitudes toward gays and lesbians, as well as lots of people who think gay and lesbian sex and marriage is sinful, but who bear no ill will toward gays and lesbians themselves. I wish even the latter group would reconsider. I don’t regard homosexuality as sinful. Unlike my friends in the orthodox Catholic community, I don’t regard sex before marriage or masturbation or the use of contraceptives or failing to attend Sunday Mass as sinful either.
via The Atlantic
Listen to the unwitting nature of that condescending “well maybe we shouldn’t be quite so bigoted toward those backwards people but ohhhh I do so wish they would give up their primitive superstitions already….”
They aren’t arguing for the “coexistance” they claim to prize so highly; “diversity” in this case is not to be celebrated. That Christians are to be tolerated in this case is based on the fact that they’re wrong, stupid, and immoral, “but”….
It’s the lack of self-awareness that is so weird. What makes Christians so awful is their lack of desire to celebrate other peoples’ values. So how come the people who claim that celebrating other peoples’ values is such a great thing to do are themselves exempt? If diversity is a good thing, then why do they act as if Christians holding out marriage as sacred – honoring more than just the sexual pleasure but the whole thing – is somehow evil, in a way that is far more urgent than, say, Islamic honor killings?
Most people are not even aware of the problems that could (and, I predict, will) be associated with same-sex marriage. The issue is the culmination of two disastrous policies: “identity politics” (the idea that justice should be adjusted according to your status as “victim” or “privileged”), and the sexual revolution (the idea that adult pleasure should be prioritized over the well-being of children, families, and social obligations). Both ideas are unsustainable, not only because they are unjust but ultimately because they aren’t grounded in truth – or even reality.
I suspect that, before this issue is done, the secular humanists are going to end up learning a lot more about why Christians hold concupiscence to be contrary to God’s will.
If my wife and I had contacted a wedding photographer who said she refused to photograph our ceremony because we’d “lived in sin” together before marriage….
I actually have experienced such a thing: a particular wedding professional made it very clear that he does not go outside his own denominational beliefs, and we could just deal with it. Can you imagine if I’d played drama queen victim and tried to file a lawsuit? How ridiculous would it be, for a grown-up person to throw a temper tantrum because they’ve encountered religious beliefs that are different from their own!
And I should also note: the Roman Catholic Church does not recognize my marriage. I am not three and therefore I can handle the existence of a person separate from myself without feeling the need to find the nearest available courtroom so that I can drum my heels against the floor and scream like Veruca Salt in front of everyone.
If we want a level playing field with fairness and justice for all, let the law focus on crimes of violence, and let individuals use persuasion in all other matters. This means letting people get away with doing wrong, as long as they commit no act of outright aggression. Even if it is wrong for Elaine to discriminate, we must be tolerant of such behavior if we want to live in a free society with a thriving entrepreneurial base. Those who take joy in this case because the law has ruled in their favor may come to regret a future day when that precedent is used to rule against them. The better way is to not give government such power in the first place.