OPINION – There is a silver lining to the cloud of controversy that has arisen over various laws seeking to protect religious freedoms. The deception that’s been foisted on us is finally becoming clear.
What was represented as a quest for inclusion and equality as little as 15 years ago has become an official pogrom to punish the unwilling.
A staff member of the family-run Memories Pizza restaurant in Walkerton, Indiana, was asked by a television reporter last week whether they would cater a same-sex wedding.
Not realizing she was being set up with a trick-bag question, Crystal O’Connor responded candidly, “If a gay couple was to come and they wanted us to bring pizzas to their wedding, we’d have to say no.”
Within hours, the story had gone out that the pizzeria was the first establishment to announce its intentions of discriminating against gays under Indiana’s new law.
Except, that’s not at all what was said.
Memories Pizza had not contacted the media, the media contacted them. They had posted no signs in their windows nor had they tweeted any intention to discriminate.
O’Connor was merely answering a hypothetical question about whether she and her family could in good conscience cater a same-sex wedding. She and her family had clearly said they would provide regular service to anyone.
The contemptible nature of the narrow-minded blitzkrieg against the O’Connors was so blatant that it backfired. A GoFundMe account started in their restaurant’s name received over $800,000 in donations within three days.
This lesson in unintended consequences so infuriated the O’Connors’ tormentors that they began filing spurious complaints of fraud and threatened to hack their GoFundMe account in order to drain it.
It’s telling that these are the actions of the so-called tolerant among us.
It was 15 years ago that those who warned the push for societal transformation was coming were told there was nothing to fear. The federal Defense of Marriage Act was in place, and 30 states had constitutional amendments affirming traditional marriage.
Most of those amendments were enacted by a clear majority of the people of those states. The will of the people had been heard, or so we were told. No need to argue about slippery slopes.
Yet, in just three years, after seizing control of the courts, the real goal is almost within reach. The Supreme Court is about to impose another one-size-fits-all solution like it did in Roe v. Wade.
Those who are close to getting what they want aren’t even waiting for it to become official before using the power of the federal government and anti-discrimination law to extinguish all dissent.
People are being sued into silence, threatened and smeared for peaceful disagreement, and forced into acceptance under the threat of losing their livelihood.
So where is that silver lining?
The actions of militant homosexual activists and their enablers are finally speaking louder than their accusations of intolerance and bigotry.
This, in turn, is turning the discussion to the issue of so-called “competing rights” which the courts claim to be addressing. Does a person’s “right” to be validated trump the rights of property ownership or of personal conscience in another?
If we are talking about actual rights rather than government-created privileges, there are no competing rights to be balanced. Our natural rights are to live and act as we choose so long as we do not cause actual harm to another person or their property.
Genuine rights do not create an enforceable duty on others to accept us or perform a service for us. We can seek to persuade others, but our natural right of association includes a corresponding right to choose not to associate with anyone for any reason.
This is why modern cultural revolutionaries are so keen on capturing the power of government to compel those who don’t agree with them to submit.
Memories Pizza wasn’t attacked for being anti-gay; they were attacked for not being supportive enough of homosexuality. They are part of a growing list of private business owners whose livelihoods are being threatened whenever they refuse to embrace newly enforceable taboos.
Bigotry is being defined downward to include simply failing to cheer enthusiastically enough for someone else’s agenda.
Persuasion and voluntary cooperation are how we authentically bridge the gaps between people. Coercion is the tool of frustrated petty tyrants.
Just remember that even genuine bigots have property rights and freedom of association that neither we nor the state can rightly violate. Also, anything that rises fast tends to fall fast.
That’s the nature of fads.
Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and opinion writer in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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