The Supreme Court of the U.S. recently heard arguments in a case that weighs anti-discrimination rights against religious rights. The specific question is: Should a Christian web designer who is morally opposed to gay marriage be forced to design a website that celebrates the marriage of a gay couple? Colorado law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation by any business that offers its products or services to the public. The web designer argues that she is not discriminating against the couple, she is discriminating against the website content being proposed.
Even though I am an atheist and support equal rights for all, I look at this as a case where the web designer is in the minority and the gay couple has the vast majority on their side. I would guess that 90+% of web designers would be very willing and able to design the website for the gay couple. Additionally, this is not about purchasing a standard product or service – like renting a room, buying something off of a shelf at a store, hiring a taxi, or buying food in a restaurant. It is asking a person to use their creative talent to create something that promotes an act that they are morally opposed to.
If we force relatively small minorities of people to act in opposition to their sincerely held religious beliefs, especially when the person who feels discriminated against has many completely voluntary, peaceful alternatives, then we will be putting ourselves in an unnecessary situation where the minority will feel aggrieved and will fight without end. In a pluralistic society, which is what we have in the U.S. we should look first to find voluntary, peaceful solutions to our differences. The force of government should be used only as a last resort when no other reasonable alternatives exist – which is not the case here.
The title of this blog is also the title of an essay by Walter E. Williams that was published in the June 2007 edition of magazine The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty.
I am about a third of the way through a book by Walter Williams entitled American Contempt for Liberty. It is a compilation of many of his essays. Each essay is only about a couple of pages long. The book is hard to put down. I find myself underlining something on almost every page.
Separately, while organizing my office today I found about 10 photocopies of the essay referred to in the first paragraph. I just reread the essay and understand why I made copies to give out to people who I thought might be interested. It is a concise essay that explains the difference between a democracy and a republic and how clearly our founding fathers wanted to establish a republic and not a democracy. So, below is a link to the relatively short essay. I expect that you will enjoy reading it.
Here is what one of our founding fathers, James Madison, said about our Constitution and the ‘general welfare’ clause:
“With respect to the two words ‘general welfare’, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected to them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.”
We have gone far outside the Constitution with respect to both corporate/business welfare and social welfare.
As Walter Williams might say, most Americans and politicians have contempt for our Constitution. They very much have violated its clearly written provisions and think that is best. They think we should have a pure democracy where the majority gets whatever they want. (We have a republic with a constitution that protects the rights of minorities.)
If they really think the Constitution is wrong, the proper way to amend it is by getting three-fourths of the State Legislatures to agree. That may be hard. It is intended to limit the power of the federal government and leave other powers to the states or the people. As it should be.
Thanks to The Des Moines Register for exposing the unconstitutional and abusive use of civil asset forfeiture laws against U.S. citizens by the Iowa State Patrol, county attorneys, and the Iowa Attorney General. Civil asset forfeiture laws allow law enforcement agencies to take people’s cash (and other property) without charging them with a crime! Then, citizens must prove they are innocent in order to get their money back.
Most amazing is the fact that the three law enforcement agencies that are involved get to split the money! Whatever they can keep becomes a slush fund they can use to expand their budgets without legislative approval. The conflict of interest is clear. As a result, rather than arresting people and charging them with a crimes, our law enforcement officials make getting cash and other assets an end unto itself.
This is another example of how the failed drug wars have gotten out of control. Our police have become militarized trying to fight the drug wars. People who have never been violent or used any force against anyone have been made into criminals. Then, because of their “criminal record”, they can’t get jobs and are prohibited from participating in benefits of our society.
We need to put a complete halt to civil asset forfeiture and we need to stop making criminals out of people who do no harm to others. Ask candidates if they will help put an end to this travesty of justice.
Link to Register article: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2014/09/30/iowa-state-patrol-cash-seizure-illegal-gamblers-say/16511135/