Nobody will be surprised to learn that Saint Albert favors adopting Jim Crow-like laws in order to perpetuate the degradation of gays. What surprises is that he actually attempts to offer a reasoned justification.
Several states are now considering legislation that would provide explicit protections to citizens whose consciences will not allow an endorsement of same-sex marriage. The bills vary by state, as do the prospects for legislative passage, but the key issues remain constant.
Has he read any of these bills? The Kansas bill, say? That one provides a broad license to discriminate against gays — to refuse service in restaurants, to refuse lodging, to refuse to gays even ordinary public services, such as the assistance of police. Mohler is being at least disingenuous here, if not outright dishonest.
But perhaps the strangest and most disappointing dimension of the current controversy is the entry of some Christians on the side of coercing the conscience. Writing in USA Today, Kirsten Powers accused Christians supporting such legislation of “essentially arguing for homosexual Jim Crow laws.” She explicitly denied that florists and bakers and photographers are forced to “celebrate” a same-sex union when forced to provide their services for such a ceremony.
Well, my wife and I recently celebrated the wedding of our daughter. We not only celebrated it, we paid for it. And I can assure you that we were expecting our florist and cake baker and photographer to celebrate it as well.
No. The baker, the florist, the photographer, the owner of the hall where the reception is held, the band or deejay … they are all vendors who provide a service or good in exchange for money; they are not celebrants; they are business people engaged in trade. Mohler knows that perfectly well; that’s why he thinks paying for it entitles him to expect them to smile.
If you hang out a shingle and offer to do business with the public, that means all of the public. You have left the privacy of your home or church and now occupy a public space — and the public at whose sufferance you do business has every right on earth to specify the conditions under which you do business. Degrading others for Jesus just doesn’t make it any more.
I should add, I suppose, that this works both ways. A gay florist would not have had the right to refuse service to Mohler’s daughter’s wedding on the grounds that Baptist dunderheads give him headaches.