Many have asked in recent weeks what it will mean and where it will lead when government of, by, and for the people officially perishes from the earth. Can we expect consistency when government formally becomes that of a few and by and for the loudest and the most precious darlings. They are rightly wondering: Will government strong arm the Muslim into catering a hog roast? Will the Jewish web designer have to get on board with www.deathtoIsrael.com? Will the black seamstress have to hem up robes for short Klansmen? Where does it end?
Exposing both the hypocrisy of the left and the looming litigious leviathan that our present madness threatens to unleash, these amount to great questions. But I have a separate kind of question: If government can force me to bake a cake in celebration of diversiancy, can government force a math tutor to teach a child geometry if the tutor prefers to specialize in algebra? Can government force a car wash to expand its bays so the hapless dump truck driver can be treated just like the guy in the Honda Accord? Is it legitimate for a business owner to limit his/her services at all? And, if so, does that not discriminate against the individual who makes a request outside the available services?
In fact, it doesn’t. Here’s why: By no means can I claim discrimination if a chimney sweep won’t clean my gutters, so long as he refuses the very same request of everyone else regardless of their color, religion, sexual cravings, or shoe size.
Make no doubt, when government stands over a Catholic baker with a whip in one hand and a lawyer in the other until the poor lady bakes up a cake shaped like male genitalia, it has effectively destroyed equality and introduced a caste system. You see, the Catholic baker would not perform this service for anyone for the simple reason that it is outside her realm of services. It has nothing to do with the requester and everything to do with the request. It is not a discrimination of people, but a discrimination of services. Capisce? If, hypothetically, Rick Santorum asked the very same baker to bake the very same cake, do you suppose government would be promptly at his side upon the refusal of the request? No chance in Detroit. That’s because Santorum is Dalit.
So let’s change it up on them. Before the new government caste system is inevitably upon us, I propose a shift in our strategy.
We begin by building on a common understanding. Even people who don’t live in the real world (like children and politicians) realize that businesses limit their services all the time and for all sorts of reasons. A newspaper might refuse to run ads for a strip club not for religious reasons but because they worry about their image. Because it is inconvenient, a taxi service might not venture 30 miles into the country. Just normal stuff. No one thinks government should force a painter with a fear of heights to climb a 22-foot scaffold, nor that it should coerce a grocer into stocking kumquats to accommodate the lady with an Asian-Pacific taste in fruit.
Therefore, cake bakers, florists, photographers, and clergy need to publish lists of their specific services. And when the request to transcend her normal services comes along, our Catholic baker needs to reply, “I’m very sorry. ACME cakes doesn’t bake homosexual cakes for anyone, gay or straight. While we happily serve anyone of any orientation, we do reserve the right to limit the types of services we provide. We only make cakes for traditional weddings, birthdays, and graduation parties. If ever you’d like a cake for such an occasion, we hope you will think of us.”
If practically everyone agrees with the freedom to limit services based on available time, staffing, skill, profit potential, or pure whim, imagine the burden on government to prove our Constitution would prevent a business owner from limiting services based on a religious conviction that has absolutely nothing to do with the person making the request for service and everything to do with the request itself. I think that’s a bridge too far if only we can successfully reframe the debate and convince enough folks that the issue is not about the legitimacy of discriminating against people, but of limiting services.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.