• Source: Facebook
  • Georgia Senate Overwhelmingly Passes Anti-Gay 'Religious Freedom' Bill

    The Georgia State Senate has just passed a pro-discrimination, anti-gay religious license to discriminate bill, by an overwhelmingly large margin.

    The Georgia State Senate has 38 Republicans and 18 Democrats. Together, they just passed a wide-sweeping anti-gay bill under the cloak of "religious freedom," by a huge margin. The vote to close off discussion, and end any chance of amending the bill, was 38-17. The vote that passed the bill was 37-15.

    The Georgia Religious Freedom Restoration Act, SB 129, claims that laws "neutral toward religion may burden religious exercise as surely as laws intended to interfere with religious exercise." In other words, to allow for religious freedom the Georgia State Senate is choosing to place the deeply held religious beliefs above those who do not practice religion.

    The bill was sponsored and rushed through the Senate by Republican Senator Josh McKoon. The photos below heralding the vote were taken and posted to Twitter by Michael R. Griffin, whose bio reads: "Pastor, Lobbyist, and Political Consultant." 

    The legislation is "seen as a way to enable individuals and business to refuse services for LGBT people, or for clerk officials to refuse marriage licenses for same-sex couples in the event marriage equality comes to Georgia," the Washington Blade reports.

    The bill now heads to the Georgia House, where it will likely pass, and be signed into law by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal.

    The media is growing wise to these anti-LGBT bills, as they spread across the nation – and the tricks Republicans are using are being exposed.

    "Georgia will deal with creeping sharia and marching socialism and also its unemployment rate—among the highest in the nation—just as soon as it passes this bill defending righteous, traditional Americans' freedom to hate gays," Gawker reports today. 

    Religious zealot, Fox News contributor, and Georgia resident Erick Erickson – who just two weeks ago claimed the only difference between LGBT activists and ISIS is that ISIS murders people – was thrilled today:

    Some more responses via Twitter:

     

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    • commented 2015-03-18 17:31:44 -0400
      Deezer, They aren’t cutting off people’s heads, stoning homosexuals, killing women and children, or any of that. If you are going to make a comparison between someone, do it with facts. And, if you look at the law, while not perfect by any means, and definitely needs to be improved upon, but it may not be illegal. That remains to be seen. Try to get educated on an issue before spewing forth your hate and ignorance.

      If anyone wants to know why so many people turn their backs on a cause that warrants some attention, Deezer just gave a real good example. The spewing of hate does not rally anyone to your cause, what ever it may be. It actually turns people against you before they even consider what you are saying.

    • commented 2015-03-18 17:03:03 -0400
      These Christian Jesus Freaks are the same as their Muslim extremist brethren. They just aren’t waving AKs in the air, they are passing unlawful legislation.

    • commented 2015-03-15 11:33:09 -0400
      Derek Williams, My point exactly when it comes to the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Christ. You put it more elloquently than I did, but my point exactly.

      Since Christians like to point to the teachings of Christ as their guiding principles, I think they are missing the mark. However, I will not try to force them to act against that which they believe. Their errors and such are what they will have to reconcile after they leave this life.

      On re-reading the bill, it is not narrowly drafted as to exclude guidance from the judiciary. However, it would have been better if it had not been engrossed before debate and amendments had been allowed. This may still happen in the House as they have yet to take up the bill. That is where the changes that are necessary to address your concerns can be brought up.

      The beautiful part of our system of Government is that this is allowed and bills can be changed before they even leave the legislature.

    • commented 2015-03-15 01:47:40 -0400
      DAVID LORD

      To your point about the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus Christ, you’ll note that these never mention, and specifically do not proscribe homosexuals forming a romantic relationship with another homosexual. Nor do Christ’s Eight Beatitudes, his Two Commandments, nor his Seven Last Words.

      It ought to be self evident that if the God of the Bible intended to impose an infinite punishment for the finite ‘transgression’ of a relationship between two people of the same sex, then such a deal breaker would perforce have found its way into at least one of the above “motherhood statements” of the Bible and be made available to every man woman and child on the entire Planet Earth in ONE translation in their language, not the over 1,000 we have today.

      Christ’s only utterances that come close, such as the opinion on “Eunuchs” and “Pais” are affirming, not condemnatory. “Pais” can mean a male lover, and “Eunuch” has several meanings in the passage, so is a possible colloquialism for LGBT, since no specific word existed in Aramaic, Ancient Hebrew or Ancient Greek for “homosexuality”, “lesbianism”, “bisexuality”, “hermaphrodite” or “transgender”.

      The neologism “homosexual” was adopted in the 19th Century by German psychiatrist Krafft-Ebing, from a contemporary novel which used it. It is crafted out of Greek for “same” (“homo”) and the Latin “sexual”.

      Details below:
      1892, in C.G. Chaddock’s translation of Krafft-Ebing’s “Psychopathia Sexualis,” from German homosexual, homosexuale (by 1880, in Gustav Jäger), from homo-, comb. form of Greek homos “same” + Latin-based sexual.

    • commented 2015-03-15 01:05:59 -0400
      DAVID LORD

      What solutions do I propose? In principle, I believe laws should be drafted in a form as generalised as possible to permit “Judge Made Law” to create precedents. For example, homicide leaving provocation and self defence as mitigation. The law shouldn’t go into minutiae such as the time of day, age of the accused, history of abuse, etc, since these can be considered by the learned judge whose decision creates precedents for future judges.

      When it comes to anti-discrimination, I believe this too should be broadly drafted and that it should come from the legislature rather than the judiciary. If courts fly too far ahead of the country, then we end up with the instability of the likes of Roe v. Wade and then we never hear the end of it. The legislature is the voice of the people in government
      and even though civil rights shouldn’t in principle be put to the vote, enforcement is greatly facilitated when you have won the hearts and minds as effectuated through the Legislature, even if it takes another decade to get there.

      This is why I have so much admired President Obama’s patient dealings with Congress in order to win over the people. History will judge him kindly. In particular his masterly handling of the DADT Repeal. It was within his power simply to do as Clinton had attempted, and write an Executive Order, but by doing so, he would have robbed the people of public debate, and victims of the policy of their chance to tell their story. So, he authorised a survey of the very group that the military bosses had always insisted would never accept lesbians and gays, the military personnel themselves, in a huge survey of over 120,000. This survey surprised everyone by showing 75% for inclusion. Next he showed the public cost of the policy was over $140 million, because 14,000 gay and lesbian personnel had been fired under DADT and their replacements had to be retrained all over again. Some were in their last of 40 years of service, and lost ALL their superannuation rights. Everyone could see how monstrously unjust this was, when victims of the policy humanised their plight by talking directly into the camera.

      President Obama has been criticised for NOT using his royal prerogative of the Executive Order as much as he has been FOR using it, yet out of all presidents since Kennedy, only Nixon® and Johnson (D) issued fewer than he. G.W. Bush® and Reagan® both issued roughly double the number of executive orders that Obama has.

      President Obama is opposed in principle to ruling by decree, preferring instead to work with “the people” through Congress, and so he said he wanted Congress to repeal DADT.

      This was surely a shrewd move. Executive orders are too easily overturned by incoming presidents of differing political colour because they lack popular mandate. But because DADT repeal had the support of 75% of the general public in opinion polls, and 75% of serving military surveyed, AND passed easily through the House of Representatives and the Senate, it is nearly impossible to reverse, despite pledges to do so by Bachmann® and Santorum® had their bid for the presidency succeeded.

      Winning the Hearts and Minds is crucial to public acceptance of the LGBT anti-discrimination provisions of ENDA. The President is right to want this achieved through popular mandate, even though it is going to have to wait till Democrats take back the House.

      So to your question about balancing religious rights with other civil rights, I see these as being essentially the same in principle. No-one should be prevented from the “pursuit of happiness”, be that through their religion, or their relationships. in the first aspect, no innate and essentially harmless trait, such as gender, race, sinistrality, height or sexual orientation, should be the cause of discriminatory treatment, be it direct or indirect. That is, the freedom to be yourself as Nature made you (or God, if you believe that).

      The second aspect to discrimination, is the freedom to choose, and this includes Freedom of Association and Freedom of Religion alongside pretty much the freedom to do whatever you damn well like, so long as it doesn’t impinge on others’ freedoms to do exactly as they please. I see religion in this context as a personal choice connected to freedom to associate and a private moral code. No-one should be able to prevent you from attending your church, bringing up your kids the way you see fit, or trying to persuade others to join your religion. Obviously this doesn’t permit you to abuse or torture your children or spouse, and is based on what a reasonable person would do in the context of the International Declaration of Human Rights.

      Here comes the nub: “trying to persuade” is like “selling a product”. It’s also like “asking someone out on a date”. Everyone should be able to try and reason with other people, to sell them something (whether they need it or not) and to make a romantic approach. But the person being persuaded, or sold to, or asked out on a date has ALSO the absolute right to say No. He likewise has the right of reply to try to sell HIS product, his religion, and to ask whomever HE wants out too. This is nothing more than the normal process of negotiation, one of the cornerstones of a mature democracy, which also requires consensus and compromise.

      Returning to the baker, he is free to believe whatever he likes, and to “let his light shine before men”, by his own example. If he wants people to join his religion, he is free to try to persuade them by negotiation. If the other party doesn’t want to buy, he is still entitled to try again, but at some point, No means No.

      In the same way. no-one has the right to force the baker to change his belief, such as by forcing him to marry a person of the same sex, or to change or abandon his religion. But that goes both ways. The baker doesn’t have the right to do any more than try to persuade his customers that he is right about same sex marriage because of his deeply held religious beliefs.. He can achieve this through dialogue, but he is NOT entitled to force it on others by discriminatory withdrawal of service to a disliked minority. That is going too far, and is the start of a slippery slope.

    • commented 2015-03-14 23:50:03 -0400
      Derek Williams, the only point I would make on the restrictions that you mentioned that are in the Bible is that those are the laws of men and mentioned primarily in Leviticus and Deutoronomy. Those laws are not the laws of God found in the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus Christ. They are not Christian in origin and are not accepted by the majority of faiths in the present. They are only cherry picked for use by people trying to find justifiaction for that which is not justifiable in light of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Ten Commandments, or the Law found in the Torah.

    • commented 2015-03-14 23:46:32 -0400
      Derek Williams, This is why I like your missives. They are thought provoking and teach me things I have not previously considered. I really do appreciate the back and forth and must confess to playing devil’s advocate here in a few cases.

      I agree that no one should be discriminated against due to their sexual orientation. However, citing the other examples of where the free exercise of religion was blatantly denied to those people of faith I can still understand the need for this bill. There should be a way to rectify the need for protecting the free exercise of religion and prevent the discrimination against those people of faith and those who are gay.

      If you had the opportunity to change this bill so that it accomplishes both goals, what would you change? How can this bill, or another bill, be written to protect those of faith in the other cases that I mentioned (removing the baker from the whole scenario) and those who are gay from discrimination?

      This isn’t rhetorical. I am really interested as to what suggestions might be given to our law makers that would help to rectify the situation that you have brought up. In the case of the baker, you have mentioned a possible solution in the formation of a group who would set out what they found objectionable from the outset.

      My only problem with that is that it could lead to people not wanting to do business with someone who isn’t of an accepted federation or group due to what others may think of them. That could lead to the same type of situations that were found when German people didn’t want to be seen doing business with someone who was Jewish. We saw where that lead.

    • commented 2015-03-14 21:41:20 -0400
      DAVID LORD

      This is the whole problem of discrimination against minorities. If they take their business elsewhere it has no punitive effect, because their numbers are too small to damage their trade. Moreover, if refusal to sell products and services to a disliked minority starts to spread to basic essentials such as food, clothing, accommodation, education, welfare and transportation, then the outcome can only be genocidal. Since the majority of Americans are religious, then this fear is not without foundation Such was the lot of Jews in Nazi Germany, and homosexuals too, bundled off to extinction with each other. That started off in much the same way as these “religious freedom laws” which inch by inch, erode the rights of disliked minorities.

      Religious freedom in this context means “freedom to flaunt disapproval of disliked minorities”. I can only repeat, no-one is forcing the baker to change his beliefs against a homosexual being in a romantic relationship with another homosexual. If we really were trying force him to change that belief, then we would be bullying him into forming a relationship with a person of the same sex himself. The opposite is the case here, it is in fact HE who through restraint of trade is bullying the gay couple into becoming a straight couple, since it is only by doing so that they would get a wedding cake. If on the other hand, the two gay men went off and found a token wife each, then mendaciously declared they were straight, both couples would get their cakes made on the spot.

      Your point about divorced people looking just like undivorced people in appearance serves only to highlight the self-serving hypocrisy and laziness of the baker. By contrast, he can tell if one spouse is black and the other white, and so he could refuse them service if he believes the anti-miscegenation commandments as laid down in several parts of the Bible. The Jim Crow laws were overturned in the 60’s by SCOTUS, however the swathe of new “religious freedom” laws will reinstate them in principle at a state level and so a baker’s “deeply held religious belief”, based on the BIBLE, would permit him to refuse service to mixed-race couples. Of course this would have to include mixed-race couples that look the same too, since nowadays it isn’t always possible to tell if someone has African American or American Indian ancestry if it’s too many generations back.

      You can obviously tell if the couple is gay, because they are evidently of the same sex, but what if one is male and the is a born male transgender post op and looks 100% female? Where are the baker’s “deeply held religious beliefs” then?

      The Bible also forbids marriage by anyone whose parents, or great grandparents, or great great great (^N) grandparents weren’t married. A bastard child can NEVER be allowed to marry, no matter how many generations ago his ancestors didn’t tie the knot. It is up to the baker to make SURE that he knows the birth gender of both spouses and whether their ancestors were married.

      Same goes for divorce. If his deeply held religious belief forbids divorce, then he must look them up in the Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages to make sure he isn’t writing on a cake for a previously divorced couple. If he doesn’t then he is just singling out gays for exclusion. He may even be into his 3rd or 4th marriage himself, possibly against his own religious beliefs, for which he conveniently forgives himself. Case in point is oft-divorced Newt Gingrich talking about the “sanctity of marriage”.

      See where I am going with this? This IS all about putting the stamp of disapproval on the foreheads of gay people, because the baker isn’t refusing to bake a cake for anyone except LGBT couples. I don’t care what other confectionery he tries to appease us with, this is a replay of “separate but equal”. Once you allow religious belief to determine the pubic conduct of a business, then the business is effectively operating as a church, open only to people whose personal conduct the baker approves of. I’ve already shown how this ultimately extends to ALL business operated by religious people.

      Performing a task you’re being PAID for, even if you don’t like the task, is the lot of every employee, and that includes the self-employed. But nothing I’ve seen in the Bible extends past personal moral conduct. It doesn’t say you’ll go to hell if you write words on someone ELSE’s wedding cake (or equivalent) that you don’t agree with.

      The baker would be well within his rights to tell his customers that he doesn’t agree with their union, but he isn’t within his rights to refuse to provide a service he is being paid for. Moreover, no-one is telling him HE should marry the same sex himself, which WOULD be a clear violation of his religious belief.

      Your example of the gay club is different, because that is a club for gays and their invited guests. That would be analogous to a women’s swimming pool, a children’s hospital, or a church, which is a club for fellow believers of the same faith and their invited guests, but it isn’t analogous to a business open for trading to the general public, or a government federation.

      Your other point that excluding a genus of disliked people is against anti-discrimination law is moot. ENDA has stalled in Congress for decades, so apart from states with their own anti-discrimination laws, it is in fact entirely legal to fire, evict, disown, disinherit or refuse to sell to people of a class you don’t like, i.e. Jews, gays, blacks, Muslims OR Christians. You can even put a up sign. For example, LGBT students are expelled from their religious schools and LGBT teachers are regularly sacked. There is no protection outwith the Civil Rights Act because Congress refuses to pass ENDA.Of course, the victim can appeal to SCOTUS, which is where we are back to now.

      If religious bakers (and other businesses owned by religious people) are having their deeply held religious belief so seriously an irreparably injured by serving gay people, then why not start up their own “Christian Bakeries Federation”? Then they could specialise in serving Christians, just as Kosher and Halal businesses cater to a Jewish and Muslim clientele. LGBT would know they aren’t welcome in Christian stores and so could shop elsewhere without suffering the humiliation of being turned away in front of other waiting customers in Christian stores, and since we are a minority, no harm would be done to the Christian businesses bottom line as I pointed out in paragraph 1 above. Such businesses should however be required to erect a sign showing which disliked minorities they won’t serve.

    • commented 2015-03-14 20:14:25 -0400
      Derek Williams, It may shock you, but I agree with Wade Bryant also. Remember, I have been saying that this bill is NOT perfect and I don’t agree with it. However, I do understand the actions that have brought it about.

      Also, with the supporting cases about religious freedom that was denied in Georgia, how can you say that “that this so-called “religious freedom” law is solely to place the stamp of disapproval on LGBT people’s relationships”? Go back and look at the list that came from the debates as supporting the need for a religious protection bill in the State of Georgia. How many of those are about placing a stamp of disapproval on LGBT people’s relationships? Is it because part of what started this debate came from the actions of people being sued due to their personal religious beliefs such as the case of the baker? That is only part of the story if you look at the totality of the facts that I have found on this bill.

      All of the statements about baking a cake for a divorced couple bring up another question though. Can you tell by looking at a couple if one, or both, of them have been divorced, or if they were if the Catholic Church had approved of it? Or if they were Catholic? Which goes back to the original of, were either one divorced?

      You are correct that there is on single Christian authority who can declare what is right and wrong. That is why there are so many denominations, and splits within denominations. This proves that organized religion is not perfect and is created by man.

      As for the behavior of the bakers, I do not agree with what they did, however, I understand that they should have a right to operate their business in accordance with their beliefs. I, also, recognize the right of the people to avoid doing business with them which would drive them out of business. Why is this concept so difficult to understand?

      Would it be wrong for a business to be told that it must conduct business in such a way as to not violate the “rights” or shock the consciousness of the heterosexuals of the community? If it is right for this business owner to have to conduct his business in such a way as to not shock the consciousness of the gay community by being so callous as to not provide a service that he willingly would a straight couple, then it would be.

      With that being said, every gay bar, every gay business that does anything that would distinguish it as catering to gays, could be shut down. That is only being equal in treatment. And, that would be wrong!

      While I can understand your feeling that their actions declared that they believe that a gay couple is not as good as a straight couple and such, this is a position that was stated as being a private belief. Should they have just said that they didn’t want to provide the service and left it with no explanation? Would that be just as bad? Of course it would, if not worse.

      As for what the baker believes, I can go no further than to state what he claimed to have believed. He did not say anything about how the couple could repent. That would be an interesting topic of discussion with the baker, but I don’t think I would agree with him on his answer either.

      If his deeply held religious beliefs are such that providing a wedding cake to a same sex couple was construed as providing a stamp of approval or endorsement of that marriage, is it still required that he violate his religious beliefs and provide the couple with the wedding cake? We don’t know how deep his beliefs in this matter go.

      I never said that his behavior was impeccable, I did point out that he wasn’t refusing to do business with the couple as many have claimed. He refused to provide a traditional wedding cake. As for stopping people from any religion from refusing anything they like to any person of a disliked class, there are the current laws against discrimination.

      I read somewhere, “You cannot advocate for free speech and then insult or trash on other people’s right and utilization of the same liberties that you are protected by and so wholeheartedly cherish.” Likewise, you cannot advocate for a position to protect your beliefs by trashing the beliefs of others. To for your right to hold your opinion, you must defend the right of the baker. To do otherwise is to trash another person’s right to the same freedoms and liberties that you are claiming for yourself.

      I see the argument that it goes the other way, and it does. However, remember that if you defend the baker’s right of refusal on the grounds of his religious beliefs, then the respectful thing would be to accept the offered apology that prefaced the explanation and refusal. Then, either accept the offer of letting him provide anything you wanted without the exception of the traditional wedding cake, or to leave and take your business elsewhere, if you were being respectful of the baker’s rights.

      If you are out to prove a point, then you sue the baker to force him to abrogate his rights and do as you direct. By the same rights, perhaps the baker should sue to prevent the couple that sued him from being joined by means of a wedding if he is going to have to go against his principles. Both of those positions would be wrong!!!

      What happened to respecting the rights of others to be wrong? What happened to respecting the rights of others, period? What happened to the concept that one person’s rights stopped where it started to infringe on the rights of another? It seems that there is a lot of people advocating for the complete abrogation of the baker’s religious rights.

      Let’s take this back to the added information that I uncovered though. Where in that list was there anything that violated the rights of same sex couples? Where in there is there anything that is against the rights of homosexuals? One of the incidents that lead to this law did have something to do with a same sex couple. The other items that I listed from the debates and supporting statements for this bill has nothing to do with same sex couples. That makes it a bill out to do away with gay rights and make it where people don’t have to do business with gay people and will lead to a type of genocide? Really?

      I think you really need to stop a minute and think about all of that. While I agree with you in principle that no one should be harassed due to their sexual orientation, nor denied a service due to that reason, I have to disagree in principle that a person with deeply held religious convictions and beliefs should be forced by the State to go against those beliefs. There has to be mutual respect for each other and the differing views. Nothing can be totally absolute in a civil society. It is the art of give and take.

      What would have been the outcome if the same sex couple had left and found another baker and spread their experience about the baker who refused? What would have been the outcome if they had accepted the baker’s offer to supply everything for the wedding and had a cake that simply said “Congratulations” and listed their names? Can you see other examples on how this could have been handled differently?

    • commented 2015-03-14 11:07:02 -0400
      WADE BRYANT

      Thank you for that gem of an insightful comment!

    • commented 2015-03-14 03:59:22 -0400
      As a Christian I understand the reason behind these bills, however, I think they are wrong. Such bills are turning the US into a Theocracy. American so called Christians are trying to “save america” by biblical laws. The bible says, “If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and I will heal their land.”

      It’s the churches fault America is doomed. Not the sinners. Instead of turning to God, American’s continue to seek their own ways and it’s turning the world against them. Not because of their faith but because they are pricks.

      If you own a business, selling to a homosexual isn’t endorsing their lifestyle. They are paying you. You are profiting from them. You aren’t “serving them”. You are giving them a service that they are paying you for. But lets not stop there. Lets not sell to anyone who is not a christian. After all, you could be endorsing Satan, Mohammed or some Indian god or voodoo. Yeah, try that and see how well your business does.

      Christians aren’t being Christians they are being pricks and they’ll stand for judgement.

    • commented 2015-03-14 01:30:20 -0400
      Why on earth is it so difficult for Muslims, Xtians and other bigots to accept the most fundamental American principle and value – “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal…”. Anyone who doesn’t believe in this principle is UN-American.

    • commented 2015-03-14 00:27:45 -0400
      JANE CARLTON – Thank you!

      One other point is that a homosexual man who decided because of family pressure to marry a heterosexual woman would have earned the right to buy a cake from the same bakery, in the eyes of its religious owner, despite not loving his wife romantically or sexually or in any way.

      The baker would unquestioningly bake a cake for such an opposite sex couple, believing that his god ordained it, despite the fact it would destroy both the gay husband and his unloved wife.

      He would also unquestioningly bake a cake for a previously divorced couple, irrespective of whether the reasons for the divorce were approved of by his church or not. For example, the Catholic Church doesn’t approve EVERY divorce sought, yet the baker wouldn’t even inquire, despite divorce being against his deeply held religious belief.

      There’s no question but that this so-called “religious freedom” law is solely to place the stamp of disapproval on LGBT people’s relationships.

    • commented 2015-03-13 22:56:42 -0400
      Derek Williams….Bravo Sir. Eloquently stated and perfectly reasoned.

    • commented 2015-03-13 22:27:15 -0400
      DAVID LORD
      All of which demonstrates that there is no single Christian authority who can declare once and for all, whether artificial birth control, divorce, women’s ordination are right or wrong. You’ve stated your opinion, but each of the world’s over 45,000 Christian denominations holds an opposing view to all the others.

      Whether or not these specific bakers intentionally humiliated a gay couple is beside the point. The point is, they DID humiliate the couple by declaring their position that a gay couple is not as good as a straight couple, not good enough to get married, and not good enough to be provided a service they provide heterosexuals. This position is based solely on the unchosen sexual orientation of the would-be customers.

      The baker believes that by marrying, the gay couple chose to sin according to his religious belief, and that the only way they could repent in his eyes, would to go and find themselves a random wife each or remain celibate for life.

      No business open to the public has the right to force such belief on someone not of his faith, by bullying through withdrawal of service to a targeted minority. All he is bound to do to follow his deeply held religious belief is to make sure HE doesn’t marry a person of the same sex, if he believes that to do so violates his choice of religion.

      While you may consider the baker’s behaviour to be impeccable, because alternative candy was on offer, another baker may not be so accommodating. There’s nothing to stop people from any religion refusing anything they like to any person of a disliked class, such as Jews, Muslims or LGBT. Christians themselves can now be refused service, because they are not Muslims or Jews.

      If the legislature insists on supporting this “no service to gays” law, then there should be an amendment requiring religion based business to erect a sign listing the types of people they don’t serve, for religious reasons. The disliked classes of people listed (Jews, gays, blacks, Polish, Irish etc.) will then never offend the owners’ religious sensibilities by entering their store.

    • commented 2015-03-13 21:58:44 -0400
      Derek Williams, The reason that I found the list of other issues that were used in the passage of this bill is because I kept coming back to the question as to whether this was an issue that was needed to be addressed at this time in Georgia. There aren’t any examples of someone being sued for not baking a wedding cake for a same sex couple in this State that I am aware of.

      Even with that being one of the things that lead to this bill, it was justified by using the other examples that I gave. This was to show that it was not just a bill addressing a problem that didn’t exist in this State. They had to show that there was a problem that needed to be addressed. That is where those other examples come from.

      That was uncovered as part of my attempt to answer questions that I still have in relation to this bill. Why this bill? Why now? That list shows a part of the story. I may have played out my resources for further answers on this bill though. I am starting to see much of the information being repeated.

    • commented 2015-03-13 21:53:49 -0400
      Derek Williams, The only connection between most of the items on the list and same sex marriage and the incidents of business owners being sued for refusing to bake a traditional wedding cake for a same sex couple is that they are examples where a person’s right to the free exercise of their religion was being infringed upon due to circumstances of their individual cases. So, you are correct that most of them are not directly related. The cases I mentioned are cases that were used during the debate of, and justification for, this law and why a State Law in Georgia on this manner was needed. That is all. They were used to show examples of what this law was meant to stop. Notice that there is nothing that goes as far as has been alleged by those who have come out against this bill?

      As for my religious interpretation of biblical context, I did not say that the New Testament feed married couples up for divorce. I said, " Likewise, in most Chrisitan religions, a widow marrying another man is not considered adultery" and "To take it further, even in the time of Christ, there were situations where divorce was sanctioned and would not carry with it the restrictions of not remarrying. Adultery was on such situations where upon the partner who was faithful and the victim of an adulterous affair between their spouse and another could divorce and still be allowed to remarry. " So, I never said that the New Testament did what you claim I said. That is a misunderstanding on your part. I apologize if I was not clear in that regard.

      As for the Catholic Church, they are opposed to divorce, but not in all instances. There is the Decree of Nullity and Decree of Invalidity that can be granted a married person to disolve their marriage and allow them to remarry and still receive the Sacriments of Holy Communion in the Catholic Church.

      As I mentioned, there was precedent for divorce in the case of adultery, but that also covered abandonment. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage.” This means that an innocent spouse in a marital break-up has the same possibility to receive Communion as other Catholics and be considered to be free from mortal sin in other areas of life.

      The rules of the Catholic Church have liberalized over the past 100 years in almost every area. I believe that they will continue to do so.

      I realize the use of the Old Testament to condemn homosexuals. However, there is much that is in there that was placed for health reasons (such as what not to eat) and because those writing the Bible put it in there for political reasons and such. Some of them religious reasons (to show their God was greater than the Pagan Gods).

      A good example of this is to look at the story of creation. It is found in Genesis….TWICE! That’s right, it is in there twice. Go look at them both. One starts in Genesis 1:1 (In the beginning, God created the haevens and the earth…“). The second one starts at Genesis 2:4 (”These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created…"). The second one is the older of the two. It was passed on from word of mouth in the form of a story.

      The first story of creation was put in the Bible so that followers of the God in the Bible could show that their God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. The Pagan Gods took nine days, according to the majority of Pagan religions. None of the religions of that time had their God creating the universe in seven days or less. This made this God the most powerful of Gods. That is where looking at the Bible is interesting.

      If you want to see where women taught the scriptures and were head of a church. Read the story of Phoebe, and how Paul placed her in charge of one of the original churches. Also, there were other women in the Bible that the Catholic church can not explain. In one case, they have slandered a woman that they found inconvenient. That would be Mary Magdalene. There is no evidence that she is the woman from the well who was a prostitute.

      Remember, that when Jesus came, there were a lot of things that changed from His teachings. Also, there were many things that were exposed as being of man and not God. As for the running of the Catholic Church, that comes from some of the letters of Paul to the various churches through out the world at that time. That was after the time of Jesus. The Canons of Catholicism is taken from those letters, and takes a lot out of context.

      Finally, this law does NOT relieve the religious store owner from the anti-discrimination laws as they are on the books at this time. It does protect their right to refuse certain things, such as baking a traditional wedding cake for a same sex marriage. Also, in each of the examples that I gave of that happening, the owners offered to bake anything they wanted with that one exception. They were not refusing to do business with them. None of them tried to ban LGBT people from their business. The were not shown the door by the religious business owners. They refused to bake a certain type of cake. That is all.

      Also, in the examples of the bakers that I talked about, no one was shamed, belittled, mistreated, proselytized, humiliated or degraded. In the example from Colorado, the owner even apologized about not being able to bake them a traditional wedding cake.

      I don’t agree with those business owners. I believe that anyone can get to Heaven by having a personal relationship with God, repenting of their sins and receiving the prevenient grace of God. It doesn’t matter if a person is homosexual or not, they can still receive the blessings from God that anyone else can. We are all sinners. We are judged by God on our whole life, not a certain single aspect of it.

    • commented 2015-03-13 19:54:39 -0400
      DAVID LORD
      I see no connection between most of the items in your list of grievances, and a lawful marriage between two people of the same sex.

      Now we come to the nub of your “religious interpretation” of “biblical context”. Your explanation of the New Testament allegedly freeing married couples up for divorce doesn’t wash with the Roman Catholic Church which is steadfastly opposed to divorce.

      The Old Testament is still part of the Bible, devoutly believed by many to be the literal “Word of God” himself, and it is that which is used to condemn homosexuals, at least those who refuse to marry an opposite sex partner, or to be celibate for life. Religion is ok with a one-sidedly loveless marriage when it comes to gays.

      Likewise, women’s ordination and married clergy – both an absolute no-no with the Catholic Church, yet the Anglican religion recently ordained a female bishop and has any number of married women priests.. “Deeply held religious belief” perforce includes a literal interpretation of the Old Testament, but clearly only for some.

      The bakery, printer, wedding car driver, wedding car rental company, hotelier, winery, and other caterers in Religion Street would ALL serve an opposite sex couple yet would ALL refuse service to a same sex couple. it follows that there is one reason and one reason only for this discrimination – one couple is straight and OK, and the other is gay, and therefore not OK.

      That’s what this shunning behaviour sets out to achieve, to proselytize their religion, and evangelistically humiliate and degrade the other person until they change into a type of person that is palatable to the shunners.

      What is it that religious people hope to achieve by this? The answer is, they don’t want anyone to be gay. They believe it’s a choice gays should be dissuaded from. in fact, they believe everyone is born heterosexual, and that there is no such thing as “a homosexual”. To them, gays are merely heterosexuals behaving “sinfully”.

      The only way a homosexual can enter the Kingdom of their particular “god” is by marrying an opposite sex partner they don’t love, or by separating from the one they DO love. Unfortunately, when the hapless gay couple reach this supposed “Kingdom”, they’ll discover the 350 million homosexuals alive on earth today are in “the other place”, and that “heaven” is populated by religious people who hate homosexuality, which is the very fabric of their sexual, romantic and emotional nature. That’s not a package I, nor any sane LGBT person would go near, not in a heartbeat.

      Before anti-discrimination laws came into effect, businesses used to put up signs saying, “no blacks, no Jews, no Irish”. The only workaround I can see if religious business owners insist on being allowed to be exempt from anti-discrimination law is for them to be required at law to erect such a sign at the entrance to their store and on all their advertising including websites, listing the types of people that their religion forbids them to serve.

      If the religious store owner wants to ban LGBT people, then the sign could read, “We do not provide service to lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgender. Do not ask, as a refusal may offend.” In that way, the LGBT person could avoid entering the store, and thus be spared the humiliation of being shown the door by its religious owner. Such an amendment has already been proposed for Oklahoma:

      http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/davidbadash/state_lawmaker_offers_perfect_fix_for_oklahoma_license_to_discriminate_bill

    • commented 2015-03-13 19:01:29 -0400
      Derek Williams, You are correct in that those prohibitions are mentioned in the Old Testament. However, they are not prohibited in the New Testament. Likewise, they are not prohibited by the Ten Commandments (which are universally seen as the Law of God by many religions in the world with a basis in Judeo-Christian theology. Being that the baker claims Christianity as his belief, there is no hypocracy at all as the restrictions on marriage of different religions, race and such. Likewise, in most Chrisitan religions, a wido marrying another man is not considered adultery as marriage is not carried over into our eternal life in heaven as we are all beings that are part of the Holy Spirit at that point and have no physical form.

      To take it further, even in the time of Christ, there were situations where divorce was sanctioned and would not carry with it the restrictions of not remarrying. Adultery was on such situations where upon the partner who was faithful and the victim of an adulterous affair between their spouse and another could divorce and still be allowed to remarry.

      As for the baker in the story that I related (which started bringing attention to actions that violated the free exercise clause of the First Amendment), he did not humiliate them in front of other customers as there was no one else in the store at the time. Also, in other examples, even the party bringing suit admitted that they were not held up to redicule in front of anyone and were treated with respect by the business owner. Likewise, in the cases that I am aware of, the business owners all explained that it was their personal religious belief that kept them from baking a wedding cake, but that they would provide anything else that the couple wanted. They even said it in an apologetic way when they did. Not in a way to bring judgement against the gay couple.

      During this time, I have looked at other reasons that this law was passed. Keep in mind that the law suits served as the catalyst that started this off, however, there are other actions that supported the perceived need to pass the law that occured here in Georgia that this law is to prevent. Those actions were:

      1. Denial of permission to start a Religious Club in Atlanta Public Schools.
      2. Restrictions on Public Prayer in Ellijay, Georgia (where a group were told that they had to get a permit for any group of 3 or more people to meet in any public place for quiet prayer)
      3. Restrictions on Christian Clubs at Savannah State University (in which a Christian club had their charter revoked for a hazing violations due to a foot washing ceremony held at a retreat)
      4. Catholic School barred from location in Suwanee, Georgia after the school identified a large tract of land to purchase to build a permanent facility for its primary and secondary schools (a moratorium was issued on large projects on land in excess of five disturbed acres within two days of learning of this by the city, which was the only project that met with the criteria of the project.
      5. Restrictions on Free Speech at Georgia Tech by using its code policies to restricted students and organizations to express views on topics the Georgia Tech deemed to be “intolerants”. They, also, refused to give student activity funds to student organizations that engaged in “religious activities”
      6. Restriction on Christian clubs at the University of Georgia due to the clubs religious requirements for membership. This lead to the University to refuse recognition of the groups and deprive them of benefits and privileges that belong to every other student organization
      7. Public speech at Georgia Southern University, where individuals were arrested because they didn’t apply for and receive a permit a minimum of two days prior to passing out religious materials at a table they set up and talking to those who stopped. They were told that their expression must be reviewed and approved before hand. This was not enforced for other groups.
      8. Denial of an After-School Bible Club in Banks County. Other groups are allowed to use school facilities for their meetings, but the Bible Club was denied, even after supplying all the necessary documentation before hand.
      9. Restrictions on Church Rentals in DeKalb County, Georgia. This was suppose to be persuant to a new (unwritten policy) and after a church had rented a recreation center in DeKalb County for weekly services for an extended period of time.
      10. Distribution of Religious material at Pine Mountain Library. This was where Christians were denied permission to place free Bibles in a library which allowed community materials to be distributed.
      11. Restrictions against Religious, Pro-Life Speech in Gwinnett County whree a student at phoenix High School chose to wear a pro-life sweatshirt to school as part of the Students Day of Silent Solidarity. He was threatened with suspension if he did not remove it. He refused to remove it and was suspended and threatened with suspension every day that he wears a pro-life sweatshirt.

      This is a partial list. It would appear, with more digging, that there are other reasons to go into the passing of this bill. However, it was the high publicity given to private businesses being targeted as they were that got the wheels moving.

      Another important consideration that you may have misunderstood in this whole matter. None of the targeted businesses refused to do business with the gay couple. They only refused to bake a traditional wedding cake. They offered to provide any other item that they wished to purchase with the exception of the traditional wedding cake.

    • commented 2015-03-12 22:42:04 -0400
      DAVID LORD – Certainly if the local baker won’t bake your wedding cake because he disapproves of your relationship as a result of “deeply held religious beliefs”, then you can always just keep hunting through the phone book until you find a baker who either DOES approve of your happy day, or more ideally, doesn’t care less and merely wants to provide good service in return for money.

      This baker by the way, bakes cakes for previously divorced couples, couples of different religion to his, or no religion at all, couples of a different race, couples where the bride is a widow without batting an eyelid. Yet every one of these unions is against the teaching of the Bible. It therefore follows that his choice is rank hypocrisy. More than that, he wants to show his disapproval to the gay couple and through the manifestation of his judgement that they are sinners, to humiliate them in front of other customers in the shop, in order that they might turn to HIS god, and be saved from the “sin” of their relationship as taught by HIS religion.

      This is nothing but covert evangelism and arrant discrimination. This “religious freedom” law is there for one reason, and one reason only, and that is to place the stamp of disapproval upon the forehead of LGBT minorities, no-one else. But this will soon backfire on them, when the problem of slippery slope manifests itself. Once you allow anti-gay bakeries to slam their doors shut in the face of LGBT people on religious grounds, then it’s open slather for the endless reams of other religious dogma, every bit as devoutly believed as religious animus against LGBT people..

      Taken to extreme, if grocers, fruiterers, teachers, doctors, teachers, insurers, public transport in a small town where everyone is religious ALL refuse to supply goods and services to LGBT people, the consequences would be genocidal.

      Muslim bakeries will now be able to refuse service to women unaccompanied by their husband, or not wearing a veil. Doesn’t matter if their customers are not Muslims, anymore than it matters that the gay couples being turned away aren’t of the same religion as the bakery. The same rationale applies. The baker’s belief preempts the belief or non-belief of his customers. Refusal of service can only be permissible if it can be shown to cause injury to the service provider.

      Obviously, both slippery slope and reduction ad absurdum are inherent logical fallacies, but like all fallacies, there are cases where they are based on true evidence, and only became fallacies though inappropriate generalisations.

      I must admit I had to consider, if I were a printer, and I was asked to print 10,000 copies of the Qu’ran, would I agree to do the job? This holy book commands its acolytes to bring about my death, as a homosexual, and so by printing it, I would be contributing to my own extermination. But is that truly the same as the Christian bakery? I think not, because as outlined above, I would be able to prove personal injury, whereas the act of baking the cake or printing the wedding invitations for a gay couple isn’t going to facilitate the death of Christians, nor even to force them to engage in practices they don’t agree with, such as marriage to the same sex.

    • commented 2015-03-10 21:15:37 -0400
      Chris Porter, you and I come from different backgrounds, and from different parts of the South. I have found that not to be the case in the majority of the places I’ve been. There are some areas where there is a lot of hate, but I haven’t found that in a lot of places I’ve been. Of course, my experiences have been in rural and coastal Georgia, and smaller cities as far as population.

      In parts of Atlanta, I will NOT even go near. The reason is that I am not a person of color and would be attacked in a heart beat. Likewise, there are parts of Birmingham, and the Stone Mountain area, that I would not take one of my friends who isn’t white as they would be the target (and most likely I would to for being with them).

      Yes, the hate exists. However, I remember growing up and having friends who had a considerable amount of melanin more than I. We didn’t think anything of it. Of course, I grew up in a military town and we were all thrown together. Keep in mind, this was the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. I graduated from George Washington Carver High School in Columbus, Georgia in 1979.

      While we were watching the race riots in California, Boston, Chicago, Birmingham, Atlanta, and other places both North and South, we were shocked. How can someone be so stupid as to believe that skin color makes us different. We all bleed the same color of red.

      However, I do understand your point. While people preach love, they often hold hate in their hearts. That is the sad reality.

    • commented 2015-03-10 21:07:55 -0400
      Derek Williams, as always, a well reasoned post and accurate as well. Such a breath of fresh air. I will agree with you in part (and applaud your accurate portrayal of not jus Islam and Sha’ria, but to the practices that violate Western Law and the excellent analogy you provided).

      You did fail to take into consideration something in your list of prohibitions from the different denominations of Christianity and versions of the Bible. First, organized religion is of man and is therefor fallible. As for the Bible versions, every one of them that contain the New Testament contain the teachings of Jesus Christ where he charges all of His followers to love one another as they love themselves (some translations say to love your neighbor as you would love yourself). When those teachings are followed, then the problems we have from organized religion disappate. The unfortunate side is that due to the fallibility of man, that rarely happens.

      Just a little food for thought, a person can marry another person without a cake of any kind. That is a given. If the cake is desired, then if you are refused for any reason, shouldn’t you go to another bakery?

      If a baker did not believe in marraige and therefore refused to bake a wedding cake, but provides cakes for all other celebrations, should they be sued for turning down a couple seeking a wedding cake?

      Should the State direct how and what services and products a person will provide and the circumstances that they must do business with someone? Is there no right any more to the right of refusing service to anyone for any reason any more?

      If a baker refuses to bake a wedding cake, but still offers to provide anything else (to include a cake that is not a traditional wedding cake) should they be sued? Is that really discriminating against the gay couple when they apologize and explain that it is due to their personal beliefs?

      Where is the tolerance towards someone else’s point of view? Where is the tolerance and respect for another person’s beliefs? I am not talking about some of the radical beliefs or those that are mired in hate. Those are different than the situation that I described above, yet the situation that I described above is what happened to the Colorado baker and others that caused them to be sued. That is the situations that lead to this bill.

      Again, as you read the bill from the link, notice that other parts of Georgia State Code Anotated are referenced. Those are the parts of Georgia State law that regard discrimination and limit this bill.

      I do agree that the business owner should be liable should they try to shame the customers who are a gay couple. That isn’t what lead up to this bill. The business owners were respectful and respectfully declined to bake the wedding cake. In several instances the business owners even apologized, explained their postion and then offered to provide anything else they made need. And they still were sued.

      While this bill is not perfect, the treatment of the business owners was far from perfect also. As I’ve said before, this is a law that has come about by unintended consequences.

      By the way, I don’t believe in equal but separate. I, also, believe that we are all in this together and that individuals who hold to a belief system that says something is wrong, but does not use that to condemn or attack another person for believing differently, should have their beliefs respected, and that that person should respect the other person’s beliefs too. Does not mean we have to agree, but mutual respect builds feelings of goodwill, which goes a long way towards bringing us together.

    • commented 2015-03-10 20:42:12 -0400
      Jane Carlton, I have not changed definitions to suit my bias,,,,I just used a source that is not as simplistic as, and a little more authoritarian than, Wikipedia. You do realize that the people that post there are not exactly experts and that wikipedia is not considered a reliable source in the world of academia for a reason, right? Ok, here goes.

      Let’s see what the Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry has to say about what Sha’ria Law is. "Shariah (Šarī‘ah) is the body of Islamic law. The term means “Way” or “Path”; it is the legal framework within which the public and some private aspects of life are regulated for those living in a legal system based on Muslim principles of jurisprudence." (http://www.arabcci.org/services_islamicfinance.htm). Gee, that is almost exactly what I wrote as the definition of Sha’ria Law.

      In his article, Sariah Law the Sole Panacea to all our Problems, Idris ahmed Osman defines Sha’ria Law. In the section of the article subtitled “What is Shari’ah?”, Osman defines it by writing, “Sharia is the body of Islamic religious law. The term means ‘way’ or ‘path to the water source’; it is the legal framework within which the public and private aspects of life are regulated…” (http://www.hiiraan.com/op2/2009/apr/shariah_law_the_sole_panacea_to_all_our_problems.aspx) Wow, another reference almost exactly the same to what I wrote as the definition!

      Here are some more:
      From Nationstates.net:
      Sharia law (Arabic: شريعة) is the body of Islamic law. The term means “way” or “path”; it is the legal framework within which the public and some private aspects of life are regulated for those living in a legal system based on Islam.
      Sharia deals with all aspects of day-to-day life, including politics, economics, banking, business law, contract law, sexuality, and social issues. (http://www.nationstates.net/page=dispatch/id=202725)

      FromInside Islam:
      Sharia — (Arabic: شريعة meaning “way” or “path to the water source”) is the body of Islamic religious law. It is the legal framework within which the public and private aspects of life are regulated for those living in a legal system based on Islamic principles of jurisprudence and for Muslims living outside the domain. Sharia deals with many aspects of day-to-day life, including politics, economics, banking, business, contracts, family, sexuality, hygiene, and social issues. (http://insideislam.wisc.edu/glossary.html#s)

      From Textbook on Muslim Law by Rakesh Kumar Singh: “Sharia is the body of Islamic religious law. The term means ‘way’ or ‘path to the water source’. It is the legal framework within which the public and private aspects of life are regulated…” ( a link to that page may be found here: https://books.google.com/books?id=hovn_tcB5XkC&pg=PA47&lpg=PA47&dq=Sharia+law+is+the+body+of+Islamic+law.+The+term+means+%E2%80%9Cway%E2%80%9D+or+%E2%80%9Cpath%E2%80%9D;+it+is+the+legal+framework+within+which+the+public+and+some+private+aspects+of+life+are+regulated+for+those+living+in+a+legal+system+based+on+Islam.&source=bl&ots=tMCyJbvsvZ&sig=mtai17RWEx0FgbPJg5WwVq__B3s&hl=en&sa=X&ei=T4j_VJ74GcemNvf5gfgO&ved=0CD8Q6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=Sharia%20law%20is%20the%20body%20of%20Islamic%20law.%20The%20term%20means%20%E2%80%9Cway%E2%80%9D%20or%20%E2%80%9Cpath%E2%80%9D%3B%20it%20is%20the%20legal%20framework%20within%20which%20the%20public%20and%20some%20private%20aspects%20of%20life%20are%20regulated%20for%20those%20living%20in%20a%20legal%20system%20based%20on%20Islam.&f=false)

      As you can see, I did not change a definition to suit my bias. My quotes are all from Arabic speaking people. They are Muslims and Muslim leaders. Also, these Muslim leaders define Fiqh, not as Sha’ria, but as Islamic Jurisprudence. “In the Qur’an, the word fiqh is used to signify deep understanding of matters especially those matters which are related to religion. It is mostly used to mean the understanding of the words of someone else and, for religious matters, the words of Allah and His messenger”. (From OnIslam.net, written by Dr. Wael Hamza: http://www.onislam.net/english/shariah/shariah-and-humanity/shariah-and-life/457831-what-is-fiqh-islam-shariah-law.html?Life=)

      As you can see, my claims are more than backed up by facts, they are from religious scholars who are, themselves, Muslim. Read my response to Beth Landry, it actually DOES SAY WHAT I CLAIM IT TO SAY.

      You need to get back on your medication so your delusional state will cease. As for you accusing me of lying, that is typical of someone who realized that they have lost the debate on facts and that they are looking like the idiot they are.

      You should have written “And yours truly has NO clue as to what Sha’ria Law actually is” as that would have been the most accurate statement that you would have made in all of this.

      Now, crawl back into your padded room and wait for the delusions of grandeur to pass. I am sure that eventually you will see that I am not the one who is lying or delusional.

    • commented 2015-03-10 19:11:08 -0400
      As someone who grew up in the south, it always boggles my mind that the place they call the “Bible Belt” has consistently been the most hateful region in the country.

    • commented 2015-03-10 11:13:47 -0400
      TYPO corrections:
      “practices” (noun – 2nd paragraph)
      BOTH direct and indirect” (final paragraph)

    • commented 2015-03-10 09:09:51 -0400
      DAVID LORD – I agree that people should be free to believe whatever they like and practise their religion on the basis of their belief, but only so far as it does not trespass on the law of the land.

      Let’s take the religion of Islam as a case in point, and Shariah in particular, which encompasses many practises outlawed in the West, such as forced child marriage, compulsory female genital mutilation, throwing homosexuals off the tallest building in the city for being in a same sex relationship, executing children for the same reason, flogging women for being the victim in a rape and on and on. These are I agree an example of religion and law being interconnected under theocratic regimes such as in Iran, and are not (for now) legal in the West, but in Islamic communities that are springing up in the West, especially in Britain and parts of Europe, there are now enough Muslims for form majorities in local councils, where “partial” Shariah is now in force, albeit restricted (for now) to divorce and other civil matters.

      It is when someone lives in a religious community such as this that the rights of minorities spring into sharp relief. Shariah is but one of myriad examples of religious belief that reaches beyond personal conduct, and into imposing one’s belief upon others of a different belief, or no belief at all. The Qu’ran, Hadith and Shariah are welded into Islam, yet there is internecine warfare going on within that faith, to the extent we have rival contenders for the Caliphate, including Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Boko Haram, ISIS, Hamas, Al Shabaab and so on, springing out of Shi’ite and Sunni divisions. There is no certainty that so-called “moderate” Muslims don’t secretly dream of the day they can have their World Caliphate, and “peace” is achieved through the extermination of the “infidel”. After all, it is written.

      It is also written in the over 1,000 versions of “The Bible”, spread across over 45,000 denominations of Christianity, that a divorced person must never marry, people of different race or religion must never marry, a widow must never marry, a woman must not marry whilst in menstruation, a woman who has been raped must marry her rapist, a widow must have intercourse with all her deceased husband’s brothers until an heir is produced.

      Why don’t bakeries refuse to serve all those people, and ONLY pick on the gays? Allowing a blanket religious exemption so any person can adduce “deeply held religious belief” as a reason to refuse service SOLELY to LGBT people is arrant discrimination and should not be lawful. The end game is, the bakery wants gay people to know they are “sinners”, and by clear implication, that they should either marry a random spouse of the opposite sex, or refrain from being in their relationship and live a life of celibacy. That is analogous to saying to a black person, "Go to the toilet if you must, but use the Black Toilets, not the White Toilets. Of COURSE you are equal, but separate. This entitles the majority to put the minority to an inconvenience, and the subject them to humiliation because of the way they were born. If you want to say marrying a gay person is a choice, then so is marrying a straight person. The ONE difference is that one is gay and the other is straight. This means they are singled out because they are gay, therefore it is discrimination, and people are entitled to seek out perpetrators of this and make an example of them.

      Now let’s unpick what “preventing someone from exercising their religious belief” really means. Let’s create a religious man called “John”. John believes same sex marriage to be sinful, because his religion teaches this. Of course he is entitled to believe that, but all that entitles them to do is to not marry a man himself. He has no right to prevent someone else, other than perhaps his own offspring, from marrying someone of the same sex if they choose. Refusing to provide a service to gay person that you would provide to a straight person is discrimination, but direct and indirect as in the case of writing a message on the cake.

    • commented 2015-03-10 08:55:42 -0400
      ATTN: David Lord you cannot change definitions to suit your bias,,,,To Arabic-speaking people, shar’ia means the moral code and religious law of a prophetic religion. Interpretations of sharia (fiqh) vary between Islamic sects and respective schools of jurisprudence, yet in its strictest and most historically coherent definition, sharia is considered the infallible law of God. The concept of crime, judicial process, justice and punishment embodied in sharia is different from that of secular law

      The definition from Wikiapedia ~ The Arabic word sharīʿa has origins in the concept of ‘religious law’; the word is commonly used by Arabic-speaking peoples of the Middle East and designates a prophetic religion in its totality. Thus, sharīʿat Mūsā means religious law of Moses (Judaism), sharīʿat al-Masīḥ means religious law of Christianity, sharīʿat al-Madjūs means religious law of Zoroastrianism.3 The Arabic expression شريعة الله (God’s Law) is a common translation for תורת אלוהים (‘God’s Law’ in Hebrew) and νόμος τοῦ θεοῦ (‘God’s Law’ in Greek in the New Testament [Rom. 7: 22]).25 In contemporary Islamic literature, sharia refers to divine law of Islam as revealed by prophet Muhammad, as well as in his function as model and exemplar of the law.3

      Not a single one of your claims is backed up by any facts at all and most of us here have read the bill in question and it Does NOT say what you claim it says, You are either lying or delusional. And you truly have NO clue as to what Sha’ria Law actually is.

    • commented 2015-03-10 04:12:00 -0400
      Beth Landry, the referenced link in this article covers the basic definitions and such of the bill. It does not go into detail execpt to reference parts of the Official Code of Georgia (annotated) upon which it reflects for provisions within the law.

      A perfect example of this is where the bill states “Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section.” The code section that this bill relates to has to do with public lawsuites. This is where and how the restrictions and conditions of the bill is narrowed. It does so by reflecting on existing law, which is bolstered by case law, to define the limits on the scope of the bill.

      It further limits the “exercise of religion” by referencing Paragraphs III and IV of Section I, Article I of the Constitution of this state or the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

      I will agree that there is room for someone to use this in an abusive context. The main point I have been trying to make though, is that this is in response to ambush tactics that have been utilized by some activists to make political points and force their version of what they want on everyone and to force religion completely off of the public square. Yes, that is what some of them have declared to be their goal.

      There are numerous watchdog groups that have been following this type of action for years. Judicial Watch is one of them. While they will admit to a conservative bent, they have been known on rare occassions to join with the ACLU on a case of two. I guess politics and law do make strange bed fellows. :-)

    • commented 2015-03-10 03:50:33 -0400
      Jane Carlton, Really? You send me a link to the Library of Congress homepage? Ok, I’ll play that game. You want to know exactly what the Supreme Court decided on the issue? Want a true unadulterated version of the decisions made by the Supreme Court? Follow this link so you can see and read the unaltered and raw data on the decision: http://www.supremecourt.gov/

      I don’t have time to play your silly little games. You have proven yourself to be an unadulterated idiot. My sources are biased? Are not most anything you see biased? The funny thing is that I have pointed out that YOUR sources have validated my position, yet you posted them to disprove what I had claimed. Does that show a superior intellect? Not hardly.

      As for being a some “wild azz idiot from GA who can’t grasp concepts unless the are spelled out in words of a single syllable”, you have failed to grasp that I acknowledge that you defined Sha’ria Law in a very basic form, however, you can’t grasp how that Sha’ria Law goes much deeper than what you defined it as. I took it farther, I did not disagree with you. Oh, wait, my words had to many sylables. Maybe that is why you didn’t understand. Let me try that again.

      You were right, but there is more to that type of law. I did not say you were wrong. I said that there was more to it and showed you how much more there was. You did not see that due to your lack of smarts. There, that was all single sylable words. Maybe that will make it through that thick skull so you can understand that.

      As for you intemperate attitude, maybe you should try having a personality transformation. The one you have doesn’t suit anyone attempting to claim to possess a superior intellect over another. In fact, it seems to me that you can’t even recognize of acknowledge those areas where someone agrees with you in principle. If you have truely read my posts to others, you will see that there are places we agree and all I was doing was pointing out how your rantings hurt your position and tend to turn those who could be allys into adversaries.

    • commented 2015-03-10 01:41:35 -0400
      David Lord, let me preface my question by saying that it is sincere and not meant to be sarcastic. I’ve read your posts where you tell people to read the bill, which I have, and that it only applies to private companies under very narrow conditions. Please show me where these restrictions are specified because I just don’t see them. Is it by reference to court cases? Because the word “private” never appears in SB 129, and the only restriction I see refers to penal institutions. Also, it appears to me that the definition of the what goes against a person’s religion is pretty much completely up to that person’s interpretation and doesn’t have to be a stated tenet of any known religion. The “Definitions” section states: “‘Exercise of religion’ means any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief…” To me, that broad interpretation allows for all types of discrimination. I believe I’ve seen you comment that this can’t be used to discriminate against federally protected groups, but should we worry about it less because it can only discriminate against everyone else, to include most pointedly, the LGBTQ community? I agree with you that businesses should not be targeted, but I think this goes too far in the other direction and has the potential to harm to far more people.

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