I am very proud to see tech leaders like Mark Benioff and Tim Cook speak out on the rising tide of discriminatory legislation being proposed around the country.

I believe we must continue to work as hard as we can to make America a place where people are free to do as they wish. This was the goal of the founders of our country and we must continue to uphold it. If people want to believe certain things, we must allow them to do that. But we cannot allow people to use religious freedom as a license to withhold liberty and freedom from others.

There is a direct and discernible relation between tolerance and economic health. William Penn brought religious tolerance to Philadelphia which in turn led to an economic boon which was the envy of the other colonies. That led the other colonies to embrace religious tolerance to compete with Philadelphia. Paul Romer, an economist at NYU, explains this in his “charter cities” work.

America is the best example of the relationship between tolerance and growth in the world. It has been a place that welcomes others and allows them to live freely and pursue their dreams. There are many people in our country who would prefer we move away from that model. They want to lock down our borders and discriminate against others on the basis of religious beliefs.

We must oppose these desires with urgency and strength. They go against our founding beliefs and they are hurtful to our economic growth and progress. The tech industry has been a strident supporter of immigration reform and is now also standing up against discrimination on the basis of religious beliefs. I am proud to work in the tech industry and I stand with the leaders on both of these important issues.


Comments (Archived):

  1. LIAD

    Back in 2008 in England an old religious Christian couple refused a gay couple from staying in the same room in their home/B&B. They offered them separate room accommodation.The gay couple sued, part of the B&B owners defence was:1/ they should be free to decide who can stay in their own home2/ no discrimination occurred as they also forbade non-married heterosexual couples from sharing a room in their Home/B&B.The B&B owners lost the case and appealed it up to the Supreme Court which also ruled against them.The case garnered major press interest and caused much division.The B&B owners ultimately ended up closing their B&B as a result of the legal expenses and backlash their actions caused.(http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

    1. David Semeria

      home/B&B is the key line in your story.home => lawfulB&B => unlawful

      1. awaldstein

        nailed it.I’m super pleased to see these companies, public companies with stockholders do this, loose money, to make the point.stuff like this reasserts that the world is a better place today and getting a bit better all the time.

        1. LE

          I’m super pleased to see these companies, public companies with stockholders do this, loose money, to make the point.Come on Arnold. So go and buy their stock so you can loose money then. I mean seriously.Are you super pleased when it impacts you or only when it doesn’t impact you in a direct way?

          1. awaldstein

            I don’t believe that I should do what makes the most money. I believe it is a balance between gain and common good.I buy products that I can afford and stocks of companies I support even if others are cheaper and others stocks higher.I”m completely serious.If all you care about is the dollar so be it.Not I.

          2. LE

            I buy products that I can afford and stocks of companies I support even if others are cheaper and others stocks higher.You do that because you can afford to do that. You live in NYC quite frankly one of the most expensive places to live in the world. If you were living “hand to mouth” you might not be so generous with how you spend your money. Or maybe you would who knows. In which case you would seriously deprecate your living standards. Ok so if you want you can live in a smaller apartment and drink less expensive wine if that is what you want to do. [1]By the way if you think this way (and I definitely believe that you) does that extend to who you will sell your product or services to? In other words are you saying that you will not do business as a vendor, consultant, retail store and so on (if at all possible) with companies or individuals that don’t support the way that you think is right? You don’t want to profit off of them?What if you could get luli into distribution with a 200 store chain (if that is your business model hypothetically) but you don’t like their social policies. Are you saying you will not sell to them (at this stage not when you are multi million dollar)?[1] The fact is you are able to take the stand that you do because the effects are clearly deminimis and negligible. If said behavior had a large impact according to my thinking you wouldn’t be so quick to pay more money.

        2. LE

          This reminds me when people talk about certain rights that employees should have (sick leave, parental leave, this leave, that leave).I want to know what happens when you can’t deliver your product (luli) and you start to get this type of stuff happening to you and you lose accounts, money all of that.You know I had an important project that was put on hold because a developer (Dad) was on “paternity leave”. You know what I did? I researched and lined up a new vendor. And that is what 99% of the small businesses in this country would do if it meant surviving and being profitable.

          1. awaldstein

            not clear what the question is le?

          2. LE

            Was more of a statement than a question. But there is a question in paragraph two:I want to know what happens when you can’t deliver your product (luli) and you start to get this type of stuff happening to you and you lose accounts, money all of that.With all due respect you haven’t been involved in small business long enough to know what happens to you when you can’t deliver. People don’t give a shit about why they just go elsewhere.Of course if you grow large enough where you have a staff and a team and 30 trucks it’s less of a problem and you can absorb certain problems.You know how they talk about “luck”. Well luck is not having shitty things happen to you until they don’t matter as much.When I had one pressman (back in the day) all that mattered is that that guy showed up for work every single day (and weekends when we were busy) to get the work done. [1] My clients didn’t care at all what went on under the hood. If you missed a deadline they would just choose someone else. That’s the way the world works in a nutshell.[1] Same goes for restaurants and a host of other businesses that aren’t funded startups with “runway”.

          3. awaldstein


          4. awaldstein

            hmmmyou are presuming of course that this is the only business lianna or i has started.that indeed luli is the majority of what i do.that anyone would ever refuse to sells good in nyc.bold strokes my friend 😉

  2. Mark Cancellieri

    “I believe we must continue to work as hard as we can to make America a place where people are free to do as they wish.”What about business owners? Should they be free to serve others as they wish? Forcing people to deal with people that they would prefer not to deal with contradicts your statement.

    1. Guest

      1. andyswan

        Yes you’re both right. This entire “debate” is about which party’s rights will be defended, and which will be ignored.Does the local baker have the right to NOT cater the Westboro Church reunion?

        1. Richard

          Ok, what if the owner of the electric company doesn’t agree with a bigoted business owner and refuses to supply it with electricity?

          1. christopolis

            with this law they can never know. but that would be an excellent way to deal with this without using government force.

          2. andyswan

            Yep. Same question, unless of course that utility is granted some monopoly protection by government, in which case it is a completely different question.

          3. Richard

            The local snow plow driver refuses to plow the snow of non-believers.The local ambulance service gives priority to the faithful.

          4. andyswan

            The local photographer, an African immigrant, is required by law to photograph the KKK reunion party.The local jewish bakery is required by law to deliver its goods to the weekly neo-nazi rally.See how easy that is?

          5. scottythebody

            It’s not the same at all (see some comments above). Businesses just can’t break the law, but they can refuse service if they choose and still don’t violate the law.Door policies exist at night clubs and allow people in or out based on, what, exactly? Totally legal in most cases. But if you put “no Mexicans” on the door, that’s illegal.

          6. andyswan

            So we are OK with discrimination as long as the discrimination isn’t clearly defined to the public.

          7. scottythebody

            ? makes little sense to me ? Discrimination in legal terms as far as I understand it. Discrimination is very specific and it has to do with laws in this case. Anyway… old thread. Probably should just go to bed.

          8. Pete Griffiths

            The law entails edge cases. Nobody said the law was easy.

        2. Emily Merkle

          you own a bakery, a bigot wants to buy a donut, you have to sell him the donut. you cater, a contracted arrangement, you don’t have to contract with anyone you don’t want to

          1. LE

            I’m not so sure about that but I get the distinction. You could have a retail business and have an entry portal which specifically states that entry is only allowed by contract I am sure there is a legal way to have the same exact situation that you are mentioning “don’t have to contract with anyone you don’t want to”. (That assumes you are correct and I actually don’t think you are, legally btw.)The fact is, it is most likely exactly the same. It’s just with “the contract signings” there are easy workarounds. You could jack up the price, or simply not get back to them in a timely fashion, or you could do any number of things to make them “go away” and not want to do business with you. (Essentially run the clock out or be passive aggressive.)Separately, if you try to have people who “look a certain way” enter a high class jewelry store in Manhattan (the ones where they have doormen and/or have to buzz you in) go see what ends up happening there. My guess is that they aren’t going to let anyone in to browse that does look the part as “a customer”. And nothing will happen either.Go try and test drive an expensive car and see what happens. Who do they allow test drives alone and who not at all.Businesses are able to restrict someone in many ways (dress, behavior and so on).Lastly, Spicoll, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”i:https://www.youtube.com/wat

          2. Emily Merkle

            you could have an ethics rider or somesuch as well

          3. PrometheeFeu

            Discriminating against bigots is not generally prohibited. It’s only prohibited if the person’s bigotry is part of their religion or some such. But for instance, somebody who just hates black people can be legally discriminated against.And your distinction between a contracted arrangement and retail does not exist. (if anything, selling something retail is a contracted arrangement) Otherwise, there would have been no Elane Photography case.

          4. Emily Merkle

            disagree politely

          5. PrometheeFeu

            I believe I did. But you are simply wrong on the facts. I don’t believe I was impolite when I pointed this out.

          6. Emily Merkle

            no 🙂 I was saying I do.

          7. PrometheeFeu

            Ah. OK, I see.

          8. scottythebody

            I sort of agree with this. There’s a fine line, but it’s there. For example, the law would likely read, “…may not discriminate based on…” and list some attributes. Probably race, religion, gender, sexual orientation. It does not likely say that protection applies to beliefs or orientations like sexist, racist, homophobic, luddite.

        3. Pete Griffiths

          That depends on whether the ‘local baker’ is selling to ‘the public.’

      2. Mark Cancellieri

        Yes, I believe that is part of what it means to be free. Private citizens (not government) should be free to discriminate based on whatever they please and for any reason they please (not just religious reasons). It’s funny that few people have a problem with this in their “personal” lives. If someone won’t allow a black person into their homes, for example, they might not agree with it, but they won’t have the government interfere. As soon as dollars change hands, however, people seem to think that the government should intervene (you can have sex with any willing adult stranger you wish for any reason at all, but if money changes hands, then all bets are off).Freedom means a lack of coercion. It means that we live on a voluntary basis. That’s would I would like to see. I hate that the government infringes on our liberty at every step.By the way, I think it is sickening that people discriminate against homosexuals, but outside of government discrimination, I don’t think it is the government’s business who people choose to associate with, do business with, etc.

    2. scottythebody

      Running a business does not give you the privilege to violate the law or human rights. America is business-friendly, but not *that* business friendly 😉

    3. Jay Janney

      As I posted above, yes, I think businesses should be allowed to discriminate–our goal as a society should be to shine the light on that discrimination, and allow consumers to shift their purchasing accordingly. It’s a free market solution.

      1. scottythebody

        Free markets can’t solve every problem. And in the most limited sense, shouldn’t a government’s primary function be to preserve the rights of the people

        1. PrometheeFeu

          The right of the people to have a cake baked by a particular baker shall not be infringed? But the right of a particular baker to keep being a baker without being forced to violate his religion shall be discarded as irrelevant?

    4. Pete Griffiths

      No. Business owners have responsibilities as well as rights and serving ‘the public’ entails significant such responsibility. We have long recognized this in other contexts. You can’t use religion as an excuse to not serve people of another race. This is a well understood and oft cited example but there are many others. Financial advisors, for example, are subject to many regulations and can’t just ply their trade as they might like. Certain investments can only be made to accredited investors but is that curtailing the rights of some who might like to sell such products more generally? A grocery store owner might love to sell bloody organ meat that has been infested with maggots to ‘the public’ but the health authorities won’t let him/her and appeals to faith won’t let such a vendor escape the inevitable shutdown.The point is that nobody is forced to sell their products to ‘the public.’ But if you do so choose you have to accept their are restrictions on how you go about it. Serving others irrespective of their sexual orientation is just one of those things you have to do in a civil society that cares about equality. If your religion makes that impossible for you you have options. You can ply your trade in a more restrictive setting. Sell your goods or services not to ‘the public’ but privately to like minded folk. You have options.

  3. Tom Labus

    Unfortunately. Pence’s actions fit perfectly with the current wave of anti science, tech, health and education that infests the GOP. Ther Final Four is there and I hope somebody lets them know the economic consequences

    1. pointsnfigures

      It’s a minority of the GOP to be clear. Anti-science generally can be translated to “doesn’t believe in global warming” and there is plenty of scientific evidence to back that opinion up.On economic consequences, there are too many people moving to Indiana from Illinois to make a difference.

      1. Matt Kruza

        Yep, great point on how Illinois terrible government management trumps the other rhetoric. Economics matter big govt. types (why I think starting a business in California, new York, new jersey, or Illinois is foolish long-term) .. I get they are power brokers now but everyone of those states already has very high taxes and if GAAP standards would apply are bankrupt.. the problem will only get worse as millions leave the states

      2. Tom Labus

        we shall see

  4. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    I feel this is at best looking at the US with rose-tinted glasses Fred.Does the US really welcome others – look at immigration, green cards and student visas.Does the US tolerate freedom of political affiliation or economic model or belief system – look at McCarthyism (yes this is still recent history), the US tolerance of non-capitalist economies, and in general anything that isn’t “the American Way”?What if you don’t want to honour a flag – are you acceptable?Does the US allow its neighbours to go about their business their way. Any number of wars, economic interventions, destabilisations suggest that the US is one of the last places on earth where any sensible person would want to be seen espousing a position any different from the mainstream.Does this rant mean that the US is valueless – NO – The US has great scope to help the world innovate particularly in technological sectors, but if you want to find red-necked extremists the US is also provides some fairly rich seams to mine in its very own back yard.>> America is the best example of the relationship between tolerance and growth in the world. It has been a place that welcomes others and allows them to live freely and pursue their dreams. – I am calling BS on that !

    1. Darren

      Have to agree with this. Its great to applaud the US but look north across the border for an example of genuine integration.

      1. Steve_Dodd

        Darren, really? Let’s not go there. There are lot’s of issues “North of the Border” too. No society is perfect.

    2. JLM

      .You prove the opposite of what you assert, friend.America is exactly what you suggest — and in spite of itself, it continues to advance its society.The fact that there is a rich seam of rednecks to be mined — clever turn of a phrase — doesn’t indict the notion of freedom, it proves it.In the pantheon of rednecks, it is worthy to distinguish between the Florida Panhandle, my personal favorite, and the hollows of Appalachia.There are many things which America has done which must be marked up to lab work and the lab work has resulted in a firm resolve not to undertake any more of those experiments ever again.We fail to celebrate some of our triumphs but there are many. America is the first major nation to have a black leader and many competent black leaders before them. This is a small thing until it is compared to our history and the balance of the white world.When America’s shortcomings are weighed and measured — and there are many — don’t fail to acknowledge that when evil was loosened on the world, it was American resolve and blood and treasure that saved the world.And American rednecks.I can live with all the criticisms — some of which I will freely agree with — if you can only give us credit for the white crosses at places like Normandy and Arlington.Not much to ask.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        >> when evil was loosened on the world, it was American resolve and blood and treasure that saved the world.@JLM:disqus – That comment is beneath you …The US certainly had an enormous role in WW11 – but don’t forget that they came very late to the fight. To do so is to dishonour, Poles, Frenchmen Durtchmen, South Africans Australian in fact pretty much the sacrifice of the servicemen of every then allied country on the planet.To avoid any call of pettiness – that was why I never met my grandfather,If the UK was the first major nation to have a female leader – that says nothing for tolerance in UK society. Often the most obvious is that exactly because it is an outlier. If I were black I would consider that having Obama as POTUS indicated future possibility NOT the elimination of racisn.

        1. JLM

          .It was the US involvement in WWII — the Arsenal of Democracy — which was decisive in defeating the Japs and the Krauts. Period.Is there credit to be shared? Of course.The DECISIVE role was that of the US. That is a fact whether it sticks in one’s throat while being digested or not.All worthy developments in society begin with outliers. They are the thought leaders who show the path to the others. When the possibilities are made real, subsequent generations do not hesitate to aspire and to follow that lead.As to racism — it will never, ever be eliminated. It will be overcome. It will become less impactful. It will never be eliminated.Hard truths today.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. Matt Kruza

            In agreement on this one. Many struggle to realize how amazing a force America has been (partly because we are very flawed nonetheless). But WWII was won by the US, and the reason there hasn’t been a WWIII has a lot to do with the US being the wisest, most intelligent super power the world has ever seen (again, low bar, but we clear it). Hitler doesn’t rise to power without the onerous terms put on Germany at Treatey of Versailles, and the US implemented the Marshall Plan and rebuilt Japan.. think how brilliant the US was to have the number 2 and 3 economies in the world (until a decade ago) to be the two forces of “evil” we defeated in WWII.. That is remarkable and a testament to despite how messed up we are, there is still an undeniable leadership role and unique position in history played by us. Many liberals (and some libertarians / utopian types) simply hate to admit this. Tough. Facts are facts

          2. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            JLM – The US role was indeed decisive – As was the role of numerous countries and individuals who “held the fort” while the US consdiered its options.Was the Battle of Britain decisive – Yes had it not taken place the opportunity for the US to even be called in “from the bench” where for two long years they watched without participation – could never have arisen.Perhaps MORE decisive than Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 was the error of Hitler to engage on an eastern front with Russia invading in June of the same year – At this time and while the first of 20M Russian troups died the US position remained one of official neutralityChurchill honoured the few http://en.wikipedia.org/wik… regarding the Battle of BritainBritish RAF aircrew numbered 2,353 (80%) of the total of 2,927 flyers involved, with 407 Britons killed from a total of 510 losses. The remainder were not British, many coming from parts of the British Empire (particularly New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and South Africa), as well as exiles from many conquered European nations, particularly from Poland and Czechoslovakia. Other countries supplying smaller numbers included Belgium, France, Ireland, and the US.Lest We Forget !

          3. Pete Griffiths

            The US was absolutely critical in winning the war.BUTLet’s not forget who actually spilled the overwhelming majority of the blood and most sapped Hitler’s strength: Russia.US losses in WWII approx 350,000Russia losses in WWII approx 25m (and likely up to 8m more)

  5. JLM

    .An interesting discussion but I will take argument with one of the premises.America was NOT founded by men who were opposed to discrimination nor men whose idea of “freedom” is consistent with how we think of that topic today.It is important to know our history so we can see the brilliant and exceptional journey our Nation has taken not because of the direct actions of the Founding Fathers but because of the foundation they laid and the deviations and inflections we have made from it.This is what makes us an exceptional people.In the Declaration of Independence the FF enshrined many of these ideas though they themselves did not live by them. Huh?The Founding Fathers were the elites of their times. They were almost universally wealthy, believed in a cultural caste system, were men of privilege and some were slave owners. There is nothing unusual there as they were the leadership of the Revolution, they were not the foot soldiers of the Revolution.They did not come to America as indentured servants or prisoners or mercenaries — did you know that more English prisoners came to the Colonies than were ever shipped to Australia? Did you know that Hessian prisoners settled Ohio?They intended the vote to be held only by landowners — people who actually paid taxes. They did not intend the vote to be held by the common man, the unlanded man, slaves or women.They were almost universally homogeneous in their religious beliefs–Protestants and even enacted laws against Catholics. While they were against a state sponsored religion, they had picked their favorites and the symbolism of our money (Masonic) is a clear insight into their views.Contrary to Pres Obama’s assertions there were no Muslims involved in founding the US and creating its culture. In fact, the first specifically built mosque in the US wasn’t built until 1934 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa — the Mother Mosque, the Rose of Fraternity Lodge.I point this out to simply say that the tradition of diversity and the appreciation of diversity in the US is not a tradition that was handed to us by the Founding Fathers, it is something that evolved in the US primarily as a result of immigration as the Colonies swelled following the Revolution.What the Founding Fathers did was to write the “ideals” which ultimately evolved into the actions which created the great melting pot and the real freedom we have enjoyed. They did not live it. They inspired it.The second point that is worth making is this — most of the assaults on our freedoms are very isolated and fringe cases. Indiana is not indicative of Texas, as an example.Economic freedom, as Fred notes, is also an important element of the basic freedoms that define America. In fact, the American Dream is all about economic success, is it not?Today, we are literally killing the American Dream through irresponsible Federal spending — did you know the US currently has record Federal revenue? the biggest ever? it is a spending problem, y’all — and the inability to act like financial adults.The appetite for control and taxes are beyond belief. There is no level of taxation that is repulsive to a certain segment of our society. It is repugnant and it is financial slavery.The Federal government’s intrusion into the lives of its citizens driven by technology is criminal. The NSA’s conduct — unknown to most of the country including the White House — is a direct and frontal assault on liberty.The pendulum effect of American society is the only constant. It drifts too far in one direction and then it over corrects in the other direction.Public company CEOs need to remember that they represent the interests of the shareholders and not their own personal beliefs. The recent campaign by Howard Shultz wherein he proposed to use the bully pulpit of the baristas at Starbucks is an example of a bastardization of his office and his insertion of personal views into the commercial enterprise entrusted to his stewardship. I find that to be a personal vanity.Of course, I cannot imagine anything more uplifting and inspiring than discussing race with a 24 year old barista while the folks behind me are jonesing for their latte. You?Know I have no objection to his sentiment, I only think he should pursue his personal interests on his own dime.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. andyswan

      “The second point that is worth making is this — most of the assaults on our freedoms are very isolated and fringe cases. Indiana is not indicative of Texas, as an example.”Actually, 21 other states have passed a similar law, which mirrors the Federal law signed by none other than right wing extremist Bill Clinton. Yes, actually, Texas is one of those other states.I believe the rest of your comment is spot on.

    2. David Semeria

      This comment is a classic example of your best and worst sides, JLM.You write with remarkable clarity and objectivity about the “real” nature of the founding fathers, and then when you move on to the current administration, you lose both of the these qualities and settle into your political hectoring mode.Can’t you create two disqus profiles? One for each voice?I know which one I would follow….

      1. JLM

        .The recitation of a fact, regardless of the participants, is not hectoring — a word which I adore and one I would admit to, if true.It is not true in this instance.At the same prayer breakfast at which the President counseled America to get off its “high horse” as it relates to Islam and Islamic terrorism, he asserted that the Muslim faith had played a meaningful role in the founding of America.That assertion is simply not true. Like many of his assertions it is a lie and one told to support a generally dangerous and false narrative.Calling a politician out on false statements is a core principle of the very freedoms that Fred notes in his blog post.Freedom in America will always be delivered in a political wrapper as the government holds the tools of enforcement, so it is important to hold government — and the leaders of our government — responsible for their behavior.This is no different than Fred, or others, taking exception with the governor of Indiana who signed the law in question.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. David Semeria

          Yes, but Fred’s post was about State law — what’s that got to do with the Administration?

          1. JLM

            .The law itself and the entire category of laws is based on a law from the Clinton era. Like many state laws it comes from a Federal initiative.Fred’s post is about discrimination.The President’s utterances were about discrimination against Muslims in the US.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        2. JimHirshfield

          The famous phrase of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” directly borrowed from Locke’s Second Treatise and represents perhaps one of the most noticeable influences on the origins of American political thought. This and many other Lockean ideas were eventually incorporated into the American Constitution and into the fabric of American society.Adversaries of Locke, such as John Edwards (1637-1716), an ordained deacon and English Calvinistic divine, accused Locke of being a “Mohemetan” because Locke’s theological insights, moral philosophy, and political outlook resembled Islamic teachings.http://www.fiqhcouncil.org/

          1. pointsnfigures

            That’s a stretch, since Locke and the other classical liberals of his era were steeped in the classical literature canon of the time period-no muslim scholarship in that for the most part. For a primer: http://www.davidson.edu/aca… “The Western Tradition”One thing that struck me about a biography of Alexander Hamilton was how steeped he was in the humanities, as were a lot of the founders.

          2. JimHirshfield

            I understand many (most) educated leaders of the 18th century were well aware of the theology and principals of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. If we’re looking for an imam that signed the Constitution as evidence of the above, well then, yeah, fail, and Obama’s a liar.[1][1] sarcasm

          3. JLM

            .The first translation of the Bible into English was in the early 7th century.The first translation of the Koran into English was in the 19th century though there is some evidence of an earlier incomplete translation in the 17th century.The English Bible was widely printed.The English Koran was not widely printed until the 20th century.The time lines don’t work.It should be no great revelation that the Bible was widely translated and printed given the religious makeup of Europe, England and the US. The Church of England was a bunch of Bible thumpers though today they don’t even bother to read it. Sorry.Islam had almost no practitioners in England or the Colonies — no big surprise there were no English Korans and therefore no great influence.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          4. JimHirshfield

            “In 1734, George Sale produced the first translation of the Qur’an direct from Arabic into English but reflecting his missionary stance.”http://en.wikipedia.org/wik…Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, first Secretary of State under Washington, and our third President spoke English, French, Italian, Latin, and he could read Greek, and Spanish. Benjamin Franklin, America’s first diplomat and well-known genius spoke English, French and Italian. Our second President: John Adams spoke English, French and Latin. President James Madison spoke English, Greek, Latin and Hebrew. James Monroe spoke English and French.https://rpstranslations.wor…”…first Latin translation of the Qur’an in 1143…””The first French translation came out in 1647, and again in 1775…”http://en.wikipedia.org/wik…

          5. JLM

            .None of what you describe suggests that any of those folks read the Koran or were influenced by it.Locke was careful to cite those whose work influenced his and he never cited a Muslim scholar or the Koran directly.The Bible beat the Koran to the bookshelves by a thousand years.That horse is well flogged.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          6. JimHirshfield

            Upon being informed of the envoy’s fasting to observe the Islamic month of Ramadan, Jefferson had the mealtime at the White House changed from 3:30 in the afternoon to “precisely at sunset” in an effort to accommodate his guest. This gesture on behalf of the president was not simply a diplomatic one, but one that demonstrated Jefferson’s familiarity and comfort with Islam, a faith that interested him since his time as a student at the College of William & Mary. Indeed, Jefferson’s interest in the Qur’an and his own study of Arabic led to his active promotion and eventual creation of an Oriental Languages department at his alma mater. As a scholar and a diplomat, Jefferson was keenly aware and interested in the world outside of America and the importance of cultural and intellectual capital to the success of the United States. In studying his Qur’an and the documents that he produced as a part of his nation-building efforts, we see just how Jefferson deployed his knowledge and perhaps how influential Islam was to of one of the nation’s founding fathers.http://www.oxfordislamicstu

          7. JLM

            .You started this thread by suggesting that Locke had been influenced by Islamic teachings.In the education of Jefferson at Wm & Mary there is no evidence that he ever studied Arabic. All of his language training was before he went to college at sixteen.Instead, he was schooled in mathematics, physics, rhetoric, logic and ethics as well as metaphysics. He then read law for five years.His first tutor was a Scot who introduced him to Locke, et al.Almost every minute of his life is accounted for because he was only 33 at the time of the American Revolution when he worked on the Declaration of Independence.Jefferson was President from 1801-09 long after he had drafted the Dec of Ind.You are conflating the fact that Jefferson had an extensive library including dictionaries in many languages. He had an Arabic dictionary at Monticello. Also Gealic and Welsh.Here is a good reference about languages Jefferson spoke.http://www.monticello.org/s…All of his language “dabbling” was well after he had drafted the Dec of Ind.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          8. JLM

            .Not to dive too deep on this but it is important to note that the Sale translation was not an “authorized” translation and subsequent translations — in the second half of the 1800s well after the American Revolution — highlighted many inaccuracies and prejudices that were attributed to Sale’s desire to make the Qu’ran seem like a biblical work.Many of the translations were made from other European languages because few English speakers spoke Arabic.Not only was there controversy about the content and accuracy of the translations, there was no real commercial market for them and printing lagged behind the translations.I have just launched on my third reading of the Qu’ran as I was looking for some cited references to the cleansing power of fire. Which believe it or not is in there.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          9. JimHirshfield

            “Accurate, authorized translation…” – I don’t think we’re debating that. I think we’re debating whether or not there were Islamist influences on our founding fathers.

          10. JLM

            .”The Locke connection to Islam is absurd,” he said viciously.Locke, who died in 1704, was a very prolific writer and a man who traveled more than a bit during his 72 years. His was a time of incredible religious upheaval in England. None of this upheaval involved Islam other than the defense against it.There is no evidence that he either traveled to that part of the world or was a reader of the Qu’ran. In fact, there is much discussion as to the first readily available English translation of the Qu’ran. There is however much evidence he was influenced by the Bible and that that specific phrase emanates from the Bible and the Jewish oral influence.His writings — if the author’s name were masked — could be current today as it relates to issues like property wherein he argued in his Second Treatise that property was the result of labor and the store of wealth was a natural barrier to “wastage”. He was an advocate for the accumulation of wealth.Locke, who is often trumpeted as a font of liberal thought, on these issues was incredibly conservative. In these writings, he was as conservative as a Dallas oil man.In all of his writings and in all of his “influences” there is not a single mention of any Muslim name or philosopher. None. He was generous in attributing influence and he lived to a very ripe age for his times.If one has never read Locke’s Treatises on Government, you should. It is the Federalist Papers before the Federalist Papers.Many English politicians of the time of the Revolution argued that the Colonies should be free based on principles about which he wrote.BTW, the site you link to is a known propaganda site. I have read it often.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    3. Pete Griffiths

      Anything long from JLM can be relied upon to be like the Curate’s egg – some brilliant and some less so :)The introductory thoughts on the origins of the Republic are terrific. Throw in the treatment of the native Americans and the way waves of immigrants were discriminated against rather than treated equally and you have a much fairer picture of the reality of our ideals. Very well said.Skipping over some…CEOs represent all stakeholders in a company not just shareholders! That includes their workforce and their customers. It is not vanity of personal interest or vanity to address issues which bear directly upon such other stakeholders and of course there is likely indirect impact on stockholders. Someone like Cook manages a huge company and a key element of the success of the company is its culture. One of the CEOs most important jobs is to preserve and nourish culture. He cannot be seen to silently ignore things that bear directly and threateningly on company culture. Most CEOs would rather jab sharp burning bamboo spikes in their eyes than be forced to make public statements in this kind of an areas, but there are times it is necessary. So we shall have to agree to disagree on this one.

  6. andyswan

    Wait a minute… So now we are FOR corporations engaging in political speech? Interesting development.p.s. I wish Obama would take the same approach to dealing with nukes in Iran as my Facebook friends do with eating pizza in Indiana.

    1. awaldstein

      I am 100% for corporations and individuals using their financial clout and personal spending to fight hate and drive change.It makes me want to buy their stock. It encourage others to vote with their dollars to support what they believe in.

      1. andyswan

        Me too. My comment was directed at those who have so vocally opposed the Citizens United decision.

      2. Mariah Lichtenstern

        Too bad that not everyone has the dollars to fight hate / support what they believe in…like some corporations do.

        1. awaldstein

          Yup….What I do is support the companies that do with my investment dollars and support brands by buying them at whatever level.Been thinking about this a bit as I really don’t know the policies of most companies.It is very easy to buy food products or even clothing from companies that share your beliefs (organic, non gmo and the like). And it is easy on the artisanal front as you do get to know the people you buy from.But for stuff, from air purifyiers to refrigerators, who really knows? Be interesting to have a watchdog group categorize this.

    2. Matt Zagaja

      I am fine with corporations taking positions on policy issues, even ones I disagree with. I am not ok with corporations spending money to influence election outcomes.

      1. andyswan

        Explain the difference.

        1. Matt Zagaja

          If the board members of andyswan corporation decide they are having too much trouble getting new employees into the United States and want to advocate for more open immigration policies that is something I would view as permissible. They can engage in lobbying activity, pen op-eds, and even pay for print and television advertising letting the world know they believe this.If as part of this advocacy andyswan corporation wants to expend funds in an unlimited manner to get Fred Wilson elected to the United States Senate, I am not ok with that. However I think that it is perfectly fine for andyswan corporation to form a PAC in which its employees and board members might contribute to express their viewpoint about a candidate and that PAC being subject to contribution and expenditure limits.Ultimately my disagreement with SCOTUS is that I do not believe money is speech, as I am speaking now without expending any marginal funds. Speaking and the distribution of speech are separate things and in the case of elections there is a compelling government interest in limiting funds spent on distribution of speech in elections to avoid the appearance of or actual corruption.

          1. andyswan

            Does this same rationale apply to the New York Times editorial section? Should they be barred from endorsing a candidate or candidate position?

          2. Matt Zagaja

            Newspapers do not make an expenditure for campaign purposes when their editorial board makes an endorsement because the paper would have been delivered or provided regardless of the included content. We defer a bit to history and precedent here. They also have the distinction of being part of a pre-existing relationship where people are paying the paper for its advice and counsel about elections whereas regular campaign mailers show up unsolicited.

          3. andyswan

            So basically the Kochs just need to buy a “newspaper”, like Bezos!

          4. Matt Zagaja

            Sure. At the end of the day the difference is the push versus pull. If people want Koch Brothers related political content and are willing to pay for it then there is nothing wrong with that. It is a model that already works for MSNBC, Fox News, Bill Maher, and Rush Limbaugh. They make their money from this content people want.

          5. andyswan

            I’m pretty sure Rush Limbaugh operates primarily on a “push” model.

          6. Emily Merkle

            op-eds are fair game to say anything

          7. LE

            Should they be barred from endorsing a candidate or candidate position?I could argue either side of that. In this paragraph I will support newspaper endorsements. [1] Because in general the voting public isn’t in a position to carefully evaluate all the messages being thrown at them. “Stupid”. So daddy has to step in and tell them what to do which at least keeps the game somewhat on the dartboard.The argument against it obviously is that you are allowing one group of people to have a huge impact on what happens, for exactly the reason I stated that I supported it in the preceding paragraph.[1] I am talking about major city newspaper endorsements, the ones that I am familiar with. I don’t pretend to know what goes on all over the country in places that I have never been to.

          8. JLM

            .Citizens United is sound law but terrible policy.The problem you are going to have is this — how about if one candidate is supportive of a policy that is critical to the future of your company while her opponent is opposed?What then?Are you a policy advocate when you support the candidate who is supportive?JLMwww.thmusingsofthebigredcar…

          9. PrometheeFeu

            “Ultimately my disagreement with SCOTUS is that I do not believe money is speech, as I am speaking now without expending any marginal funds.”That cannot be your disagreement with SCOTUS since that is not what SCOTUS said. What SCOTUS said was that in order to speak effectively, one must spend money.The 1A covers freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The press here has been understood to refer to technologies used to spread ideas. (the printing press at the time) If you had a right to use a printing press but did not have the right to spend money in order to use a printing press, the right of the freedom of the press would be meaningless. The descendants of the printing press include the Internet, Television, Radio, etc… One must spend money in order to use those media and if the first amendment is to be meaningful the expenditure of money in order to use those media must be protected as well.

          10. Matt Zagaja

            Your analysis is not correct but you might find more understanding by going back and reading Citizens United itself.

          11. PrometheeFeu

            Been there done that at least 3 times. If you feel my analysis is deficient in a particular way and wish to provide a cite, I’ll be happy to read your argument and check the citation.

          12. Matt Zagaja

            “(a) Although the First Amendment provides that “Congress shallmake no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech,” §441b’s prohibition on corporate independent expenditures is an outright ban on speech, backed by criminal sanctions.”A ban on expenditures is a ban on speech per the holding.

          13. PrometheeFeu

            You cited nothing that disagrees with what I said. Also, that’s from the syllabus, not the actual decision. From the actual decision and citing Buckley:”Section 441b’s prohibition on corporate independent expenditures is thus a ban on speech. As a “restriction on the amount of money a person or group can spend on political communication during a campaign,” that statute “necessarily reduces the quantity of expression by restricting the number of issues discussed, the depth of their exploration, and the size of the audience reached.”Money is not speech, but restrictions on expenditures are restrictions on speech.

          14. Matt Zagaja

            I realize now that you are arguing with valid but different interpretation of initial post from what I had intended. When I refer to money being speech I intended to refer to the spending of it, not the noun object. It is conventionally understood by many that when they are not referring to the noun object but I can understand why someone outside the field might be confused by this.

        2. lonnylot

          Taking a political position puts the companies financials at risk. I don’t think there is any risk to the corporation by spending money to influence election outcomes.

    3. LE

      So now we are FOR corporations engaging in political speech?It’s actually worse than that. It’s not really “the corporation” it’s the clearly the will of one man, Tim Cook.It assumes that everyone or even the majority of the Apple ecosystem supports this as if there is only one right way to think in the world. The Apple ecosystem is more than just Tim Cook or even Apple employees. It’s all the people that feed off the “mothership” (phrase that was used in past years not sure if they still say that now).Here is the other thing that bothers me about things like this which amount to “boycotts”. They impact all the people in the target state who have no say or may even oppose this just the same as Tim Cook.What I heard (no quick link) was that some companies were not going to locate or even do business with companies in those states that support this. Under what alternative universe does that make any sense? To punish an entire state? In this manner? This is the way things are done in this country?

      1. andyswan

        just don’t ask them about their contracts with China, they might have to actually think about whether Indiana or China is the preferred business partner.

        1. LE

          Yeah exactly I was thinking about that when I first read this post this morning…..China.Or for that matter any company, anywhere, who is in their supply chain. They can now be like Walmart dictating that all suppliers will use bar codes or they can’t be a Walmart supplier (happened sometime in the 90’s).So it’s like the passing of a defacto law.

      2. Brandon Burns

        “Under what alternative universe does that make any sense? To punish an entire state? In this manner? This is the way things are done in this country?”Boycotts have a long, long history of being effective. Lots of people might not like them, but they work. The suffrage movement. The civil rights movement. The cold war. Go back even farther: American independence, the overthrow of the French monarchy, etc.Boycotts get shit done. Like it or not, the proof is in the pudding.

        1. LE

          This is essentially one person “flicking the switch” and making a decision. Not a bunch of people marching or boycotting.

    4. Pete Griffiths

      I’m a little unclear about the Obama Indiana comparison.

      1. andyswan

        I see a lot of boycotts of Indiana because of this law.I see the Administration negotiating to ease sanctions against Iran, which in some people’s eyes is a larger violator of human rights than Hoosiers.

        1. Pete Griffiths

          I’m still not getting it. Have to let this one go, Andy 🙂

          1. andyswan

            I wish Obama would boycott Iran with the same gumption my Facebook friends are boycotting Indiana.

    5. SubstrateUndertow

      Corporations have been engaging in political speech for a very long time now !They have their own tactic in this regard.”Speak softly and carry a big lobbyist”

  7. JimHirshfield

    The Talmud tells a story of Rabbi Hillel, who lived around the time of Jesus. A pagan came to him saying that he would convert to Judaism if Hillel could teach him the whole of the Torah in the time he could stand on one foot. Rabbi Hillel replied, “What is hateful to yourself, do not do to your fellow man. That is the whole Torah; the rest is just commentary. Go and study it.”http://www.jewfaq.org/broth…

    1. Brandon Burns

      The Catholic doctrine is basically the same. Do unto others as you’d do unto yourself is the whole New Testament, and the rest is mostly commentary.

      1. JLM

        .Well with the exception of rooting for Notre Dame. I went to Catholic schools.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. Brandon Burns

          Notre Dame is basically its own religion. More intimidating and imposing than most!

          1. LE

            Look how the Penn State “religion”, and adhering to it, brought that school down many notches. [1][1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wik

          2. Mike O'Horo

            Well said.

        1. Brandon Burns

          Kinda. Some religions attach more rules than others.For example, Islam doesn’t really have central management, so interpretations vary literally from sect to subsect. But most interpretations of Islam are a bit more complex than the “just be good” mantra. There are often several other rules people are expected to follow, and there are punishments established by doctrine for those who don’t follow suit.The Catholic church obviously has the Vatican as a central authority. And while the Vatican will comment on what it believes fits doctrine, often changing (slowly) with the times, and will tell its priests to act accordingly (i.e. the sacrament of marriage can only be officially given to a couple who has done X, Y and Z), but there are no punishments for people who don’t fall in line. The church’s official stance is that’s between you and God, and the church is to simply be there for support through worship, counsel, and official channels of repentance.I’m in no way saying that one religion is better than another. But we should all know the differences. Far too few people are adequately educated on the topic.

          1. Akhtar Khan

            how do you conclude islam has no central authority

          2. Brandon Burns

            Well, its not that cut and dry.For the sake of a decent example, lets say Shia Islam is to Islam as Catholicism is to Christianity. Which means the Imamate is to Shia Islam as the Vatican is to Catholicism.Objectively, the Imamate is a much loser entity than the Vatican. Also, everything starts and stops with the bishops in the Vatican, while Caliphs operate a bit separate from Imams, and can and do impose their own versions of doctrine in their respective communities, which makes the overall Islamic structure effectively decentralized.But maybe I’m missing details. Feel free to school me.

          3. Akhtar Khan

            You are right to the point that you are aware of. The fact is Islam’s authority and its centralizing force has been followed by various other religions for over thousands of years.Also, due to its overwhelming power and monopoly several other sub-islamic religions were spun off to free them from this authority, which inturn, misconceptualized that Islam is free of a central authority.. And that is not the case.There was a point in time long ago, where Islam dominated the world religions and if not for the Classical Age, we would have seen a world following the dictums of Islam even today.

          4. Mike

            Thank goodness that’s not the case

          5. Dave Pinsen

            The phrase is “cut and dried”. Like some of the delicacies one can purchase on Wander & Trade.

          6. ShanaC

            Who is in charge of the most senior court for everyone?

          7. JLM

            .Actually in the history of the Catholic church excommunication has been used to sever a wayward communicant from the Body of Christ.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          8. Brandon Burns

            The Catholic church has quite a few skeletons in its closet. Just like the rest of us.

          9. kev polonski

            Brandon, May I suggest that your statement, “Some religions attach more rules than others” reveals that at least concerning Christianity, you are not fully informed. When you say one religion is better than another, aren’t you implicitly declaring that there is not a being called God and that religions are just man-made institutions? Otherwise, there would be one religion that is objectively true and everyone else would be false.

        2. kev polonski

          Yeah, all religions are the same … if you ignore the differences in their view of man, God, heaven, hell, origin, meaning, morality and destiny. They are superficially the same but fundamentally at odds with each other.Those who quote the “Do unto others” would be wise to read the whole of Matthew 7 to get the full context.

      2. christopolis

        Big bear hugs for all

    2. LIAD

      not to get too philosophical, but the Hillel story has a backstory, namely adherence to an existing set of rules believed to be based on the principle of absolute morality.וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ, – namely Love your neighbour as yourself can work both ways.In my story below about the B&B owners, based on the premise above and with no other principles, who would you side with?

      1. JimHirshfield

        Not sure I follow. I think you’re saying that the B&B owners would want to be put into separate rooms if the tables were turned? I don’t believe that. I don’t think the “golden rule” justly extends to treating other people like shit because one might believe that they themselves would deserve to be treated like shit if they were the oppressed party. But again, I’m not sure I follow what your point is.

        1. LIAD

          im saying love your neighbours as yourself works both ways.in b&b case:owners should allow gay couple to stay but simultaneously gay couple should not want to do something which makes owners feel uncomfortable.so without a ‘morality guide’ what trumps what?

          1. SubstrateUndertow

            For both sides to honour that principle the B&B owner would need to make their discomfort clear in all its advertising material ?

    3. PrometheeFeu

      Very a-propo. I would truly hate for someone to force me to choose between my livelihood and my most deeply held conviction. I shall therefore support the law passed in Indiana.

    4. Aaron Klein

      Rarely have I seen Twitter get so worked up in opposition to a law that is the carbon copy of the one that President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1993.Here’s the bottom line, in my opinion…If your idea of “religious freedom” is refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple, you might be an idiot.If your idea of “tolerance” is forcing those idiots to bake cakes for gay people, you might be one too.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Thanks, Aaron.

    5. ShanaC

      Talmud is much too big to quote hillel and leave it at that. You left out the gross stuff in mesechet avodah zarah.And I need to find a secular talmud class, stat, because yelling at the talmud is fun!

      1. JimHirshfield


        1. ShanaC

          Exactly. Though I’m still dead serious about a secular talmud class, which oddly is impossible to find in ny

  8. christopolis

    We must force these bigoted businesses to profit and gain power whether they like it or not. It is the height of ignorance to tell a bigot to shut up so I cannot know he is a bigot.

    1. Stateless Man

      wish we had more people like you in the world

  9. Richard

    This fact pattent is an easy one, let’s bring it into the world that we spend our time, the internetWhat about the case where a content provider refuses to offer electronic commerce to a user based on their sexual practices? Religious beliefs? Race?

  10. hypermark

    The simple calculus of give me your best and brightest, regardless of race, religion, sex or sexual persuasion is a winning economic strategy as much as morally correct one.This is a big SELL indicator on the Indiana economy.More to the point, the idea that hate is somehow sanctioned by ‘religious freedom’ is exactly the type of amoral cover that ISIS hides behind.

    1. JLM

      .”Amoral” or “immoral” — ISIS is evil and is certainly not amoral.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    2. PrometheeFeu

      You mean banning from business people with certain religious beliefs is a good thing?

      1. hypermark

        There is a difference between believing and discriminating. As a business operator, you don’t have to like or approve of the customers that you serve, but once you start refusing service solely based upon the make up of the individual, that’s a one way ticket back to the dark ages, IMHO.

        1. PrometheeFeu

          As a business operator, you are free to decline to serve people based on all sorts of characteristics and we are not in the dark ages. As for the difference between believing and discriminating, it is eerily reminiscent of the arguments by some people that they had nothing against homosexuals, only against homosexual activities.The truth is that very few businesses are interested in discriminating against homosexuals. The chance of those businesses making it difficult for gays or lesbians to access necessary services are basically nil. But those people are an unpopular religious minority which the majority feels free to attack. And that is unfortunate.

          1. Pete Griffiths

            Business operators are not ‘free to decline based on all sorts of characteristics…” Business operators are in fact subject to a web of restrictions on how they operate IF they want to serve ‘the public.’ If they don’t want to do so then they have more freedom. It’s their choice.

  11. pointsnfigures

    There is indeed an economic cost to discriminate. http://www.chicagobooth.edu…13 other states and President Clinton backed similar laws, they seem silly to me. I also think that we have far larger problems in the US than passing stupid laws on issues like this. Can’t we all just explain ourselves and get along without running into court over everything?Clearly, devout Christians have been targeted by some groups as much as traditionally disenfranchised groups were targeted in the past. Did anyone that voted Yes for this think about it in different terms? Suppose an atheist owns a bakery and two Christians come in wanting a cake baked in a cross. Could they refuse on religious grounds?The problem with this law to me is twofold. One it allows businesses that put their shingle on the public square to find a way to discriminate. I don’t think any business on the public square should be able to refuse services to anyone because of race, creed, color. (They can for no shirt, no shoes, no service) Two, one day the business might be really feeling it’s religion and not want to do business with people it finds offensive, and other days they might decide to do business. How do you know? At least with ethnicity and gender, the biases are usually obvious. Not so with creed or sexual preference. Maybe we should start wearing those on our coats like they did in 1930-40 Europe.

    1. jsteig

      President Clinton backed a law about individuals not companies. Big difference.

      1. PrometheeFeu

        That’s simply not true. The RFRA uses the word “person” when it describes who shall be protected by the statute.1) The word “person” is generally understood in statutes as referring to individuals and corporations. See the dictionary act.2) If “person” is read to apply only to individuals, the RFRA would do nothing to protect churches. That would be an absurd reading. So it must follow that “person” includes corporations as is customary.

  12. Jan Schultink

    Two unstoppable forces will eventually correct this nonsense:1) Younger generations will occupy more decision making positions2) As LGBT people become more open, more people will have a (close) friend who admits to being LGBT

  13. Guest

  14. pointsnfigures

    here is an opinion on the law. http://thefederalist.com/20… for the record, the writer is gay, and he is a conservative. There is more to this than meets the eye. I think the law will be innocuous, but I also think it was stupid to pass it. They have much better things to do.

    1. JamesHRH

      This is the real commentary on the state of the GOP in Indiana: this is a key priority.Intolerance leads to decline. Legislated intolerance just speeds up the process.

    2. PhilipSugar

      This is exactly right. The only way you pass a law with some of the language is like we did in MD. It said that gay people have the right to marry, and can be married by a court of law or a certified religious ceremony. It also affirmed that any religious person could refuse to perform the marriage, but not the court of law. Brandon said it best, there are two things: freedom of religion and freedom from religion.

    3. jsteig

      As the writer himself acknowledges, “Indiana’s RFRA is a defense not just for individuals, but also companies and corporations.” That’s the big difference with the Federal RFRA. In other words, it’s not just you as a person who have a religious exception, but a company. My understanding is that therefore, a company can discriminate about who it serves. Think whites-only lunch counters. But because of State anti-discrimination legislation you can’t have a white-only lunch counter. But since there isn’t any such rule against discrimination against sexual orientation, and since the Governor explicitly does not plan to put one in place, the “straights-only lunch counter” is a real possibility. Further, this RFRA will overrule local anti-discrimination laws. And the while the author mentions that a young State Senator who is now our President, approved an Illinois RFRA, he neglects to mention that Illinois outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation. Whether there is or is not discrimination based on the Indiana RFRA, clearly by his statements the Governor would not mind if there were. So no, it’s not innocuous–far from it.

      1. PrometheeFeu

        The federal RFRA has been held to apply to corporations, not just individuals. c.f. Hobby Lobby.

        1. jsteig

          true. but my point still is that this is not innocuous because it’s clear that the Governor wants people to be able to discriminate based on sexual orientation. AND when Clinton signed the law, it WAS about individuals so all of this stuff about how he signed the same legislation just isn’t right, since that pre-dated Hobby Lobby (as did Obama’s signing as a State Senator)

          1. jsteig

            Further, the law explicitly makes a business’s “free exercise” right a defense against a private lawsuit by another person, rather than simply against actions brought by government. Dfferent from Federal law and most other RFRAs and is clearly an attempt to forestall the situation where New Mexico said RFRA doesn’t apply because the government wasn’t a party.

          2. PrometheeFeu

            That seems only sensible. The point of the RFRA was to ensure that people would be able to legally practice their religion whenever possible. If that guarantee can be stripped by simply having the government give a private party the right to sue instead of suing itself, the point of the RFRA is defeated.

      2. Donna Brewington White

        “whites-only lunch counters” were a symbol of a societal norm and a great thing to attack as a symbol of that norm. Same with bus seating. You can argue that changing these practices contributed to changing the norms, but the fight for equality was a whole lot bigger. Eventually capitalism would have made these practices unsustainable in a changing society and the people trying to perpetuate them would have had to seriously decide whether their practices were based on deeply held beliefs and convictions or merely prejudice. There is a difference.

        1. PrometheeFeu

          “white-only lunch counters” were mandated by law as I understand this.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            Segregation was, yes.But the practices changed in some instances before passage of the Civil Rights Act.

        2. jsteig

          You have a lot more faith in the invisible hand than I do. Instead, people got their democracy in gear and pushed for changes faster than capitalism responded. Capitalism has been pretty happy with at times slavery, from time to time. There’s a balance and it’s not all free market.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            Thanks.I should have learned by now not to comment when I don’t have time to give full attention and thought before trying to articulate on a complex topic.And here I am still doing it.To clarify, I wasn’t making the point that capitalism is the key driver for social change, nor that capitalism determines moral right and wrong.

          2. jsteig


      3. Micksavant

        Not exactly true. No state law can trump federal anti discrimination law. The Supreme Court has never allowed religious exemption to be used to skirt anti discrimination laws.

      4. Nick Ambrose

        However, the “individual right” to freedom of religion is at least as scary as this corporate discrimination.The biggest example (for me) is in health-care and especially emergency care / first responder.My working assumption has always been that people who enter the medical field (mostly) (are supposed to) put aside their convictions / prejudice and place those below the hippocratic oath.So for example if I collapse and stop breathing, is it someones “right” to not give me CPR because their “religious beliefs” don’t allow it ?Or is it ok for (say) a pharmacist to refuse to sell me a morning-after pill because they don’t believe in it (or pretend they dont have any or make it harder …) what about birth-control pills or condoms ?It’s a hugely slippery slope.I believe mostly in live and let live w/out telling people how to go about their own lives but I see a lot of this “I’ll do what I want” attitude these days, except when someone else “does what they want” and it impacts “me”

        1. jsteig

          Yes, this is the big question. To what extent must employees give up their personal beliefs when they join a corporation or entity? For example, should Sikhs not be allowed to wear turbans as police officers? And to what extent can corporations have religious beliefs and therefore be except from certain laws based on those beliefs? My opinion is that we should have different standards for individuals than we should have for corporations. Non-discrimination laws have to apply to corporations equally and without any consideration for religious beliefs. But Hobby Lobby kicked that one down. And individuals should be able to conduct themselves in their private lives the way they want to–this was the original intent of the Federal RFRA.

        2. nathan

          “So for example if I collapse and stop breathing, is it someones “right” to not give me CPR because their “religious beliefs” don’t allow it ?”There is no religious belief that preaches do not help thy neighbor because they are gay. Therefore, this example does little to help your argument. You cannot refuse service simply because someone is gay. That person being gay does not infringe on your religious freedoms. However, being forced to marry a gay couple does infringe on your religious beliefs.”Or is it ok for (say) a pharmacist to refuse to sell me a morning-after pill because they don’t believe in it (or pretend they dont have any or make it harder …) what about birth-control pills or condoms ?”If a pharmacist does not support birth contraceptives, then it would be their perogative to not stock the goods. It would be quite meaningless for a pharmacist to buy a good that they do not plan to sell. So again, this example doesn’t quite support your rationale. This law is intended to address situations where business owners and individuals are being forced to provide a good or service that directly infringes on their religious beliefs.

          1. Nick Ambrose

            Got it. Could you list some religions that state that it’s OK not to bake a cake for a gay couple ?And regarding the second example, not a good one on your part if the staff at the pharmacist can simply claim it’s their “religious belief” not to sell something that the company itself may decide to stock, or imparts their morality on an individual trying to purcase it regardless of what the store owner policy may or may not be …

          2. nathan

            I’m not sure cake was utilized during the formation of Christianity (sucks for them). But I see what you’re getting at and I think it’s important to be as specific as possible but that’s never the way legislation will be written. There are far too many examples that can be justified, but written law is meant to be written in such a way where some pieces of interpretation can be inferred. In the matter of the cake, I think this would be a very good example for the courts to decide.Second example with pharmacist…As a willfull employee, you must abide by company rules and regulations. If the company policy is to stock and sell contraceptive drugs, then an employee who disagrees either has the ability to set up some kind of working deal with the employer (whenever contraceptives are to be bought, another cashier steps in kind of deal), or leave the company. An employee who turns away customers is liable to the rules and regulations within that company where termination of employment could be a possible repercussion. You don’t need legislation to stop this, companies are very efficient at removing employees who do not follow directions.

          3. Nick Ambrose

            It definitely is a little tricky. I am not for “forcing” a business to serve someone they’d rather not, but I also think many people are using “religion” to defend their actions which seem more based on prejudice than anything else.It would be interesting to see how knowledgeable those people actually were about their chosen religion, or how much of their actions are guided by the words of their “religious leader” or using it as an excuse.To me it just seems to wrong to even want to do something like that, it’s hard to understand (unless the customer is being a PITA).On another note, I wonder if Jesus would bake a gay couple a cake ??? 🙂

  15. Guest

    1. pointsnfigures

      Ha, south side of Chicago a conversation opener is “What parish are you?”. Has more to do with neighborhood than anything else. If you don’t understand the question, you aren’t Catholic-which tells them a lot about you. Probably not a Sox fan either. Curious if that question could be rephrased, “Where ya from?”

      1. LE

        With jews I’ve heard versions such as “are you a member of the tribe”. But normally if you are raised in a jewish community (like I was) you end up having “jewdar” you can almost always tell when someone is jewish because they fit a certain pattern of looks, speech and behavior. (This is without even knowing the first/lastname) No need to even ask. Sometimes Italians can come close to fooling the radar though.

        1. awaldstein

          Truly whacky.You can tell Sephardic or African Jews by the way they look?The last time you went out for coffee Tel Aviv, this held together?I bet not.

          1. LE

            Oh geez.The ones that I run into in my local community. Not worldwide. And I never said “100% accuracy” either.You just totally hate anything that even comes close to sounding like a stereotype.

          2. awaldstein

            This is not sounding, this is a total negative pejorative and incorrect stereotype.

          3. LE

            We are from different planets. I simply don’t get why me saying that I can usually tell after meeting someone and talking to them that they are jewish is somehow problematic. Or for that matter why it bothers you so much that I said what I did.I will note for anyone that is new to AVC, and doesn’t know me as a commenter, that I am jewish, my father survived the concentration camps, was an importer of giftware from Israel along with his brother who went to Israel after Germany and served in the army, (where btw most his family perished mom/dad other siblings).Why in the world would I be perpetuating a “negative pejorative”? It’s as if you think I said “jews have hook noses or something”.I don’t think that there is any problem with someone saying that they usually can tell “when someone is Italian, when someone is gay, or when someone is xyz”. I just don’t get why that is an issue. Period.

          4. Pete Griffiths


          5. Dave Pinsen

            I think it’s an issue because the first step in being persecuted is to be identified. Maybe that’s not the conscious thought, but it seems like the subtext.

          6. Pete Griffiths

            Can’t agree with you here, A. I think you’re being unduly sensitive. I think LE is perfectly clear about the boundaries of his assertion.

          7. awaldstein

            Maybe so Pete.I’ll rethink.

          8. Pete Griffiths


          9. ShanaC

            No. And I know I’m ashkenormative thanks to activist friends of mine, as well as have a deeper understanding of jewish life pre1945 both here and in Europe because of being sick of haigiographies

        2. Dave Pinsen

          Recent genetic studies suggest that most of the European genetic admixture in Ashkenazi Jews is of Italian origin. Which makes sense when you consider how easily Jewish actors have played Italians and vice-versa (e.g., Sal Mineo in Exodus).

    2. LE

      Let’s just put ass (as opposed to Lancaster Bread) on table here, Charlie. [1]All that religious extremism (the Orthodox jews are the same way) is just a way to keep your kids under your control. That’s what it really boils down to. It harks back from an earlier day (and this is important) when there were no social services and you needed your kids close by in order to do your bidding when you got older. You wanted your kids to marry people that were like you because it was good for you. It really had nothing to do with what was good for them.[1] (Yiddish: tuches afn tisch)

      1. Pete Griffiths


      2. Dave Pinsen

        I think you’re extrapolating too much from your own personal baggage. Most religious people, I would think, want what’s best for their children too.

        1. ShanaC

          Having read imamother they do, but there is an open ended question of what is best. I’m peeved at a cousin who could have applied into an ivy league school that he is purposely making himself poor and that his kids won’t know how evolution works

          1. Dave Pinsen

            Most secular liberals think human evolution stopped 50,000 years ago. They don’t know how it works either. Doesn’t seem to hurt them in daily life.On the contrary, a guy who does now how evolution works, the co-discoverer of DNA, James Watson, is out of work.

          2. kev polonski

            That is a good thing, because evolution doesn’t work 🙂

  16. Jay Janney

    I think there is an entrepreneurial opportunity for someone to develop a standard, symbolic sign indicating that particular business is welcoming to all people, and will not refuse service. Businesses who sport the sign can avoid boycotts and shaming, Building the standard will be difficult, but it could be profitable.The beauty of such a solution is it increases the cost of discrimination to businesses. Let them discriminate, but make it easier for consumers to know that, and to adjust their purchasing accordingly.

  17. Mariah Lichtenstern

    This is an interesting topic (and JimHirshfield’s comment resonates). I grew up in a relatively secular home that was “Christian” partially out of assimilation and partially by default. However, I became “anti-religion” as an adult, then continued to shun religiosity (as did Jesus – e.g. criticizing hypocritical Pharisees) as a re-dedicated Christian who actually committed to studying the Bible.As a multi-ethnic woman coming of age in the SF Bay Area (and attending UC Berkeley), I’ve been exposed to many cultures and lifestyles. While my faith does not “condone” them all, what it does say is that we all fall short, no sin is greater or lesser in God’s eyes, and we fulfill all of the commandments with love (abridged version of Matthew 22:39 / Mark 12:30-31). So, when I hear discriminatory religious rhetoric, it upsets me – particularly racialized economic theories, immigration policies, and hateful responses to sexual “deviations” (not to offend, but in addition to consensual LGBTQ proclivities, some people are “born” with attractions to animals, family members, children, etc.), that distort or misrepresent what the Bible says altogether.That said, in reading about this topic and others, I’ve noted the anti-theological rhetoric often comes across as equally discriminatory and bigoted often taking scriptures out of context (those on slavery are popular and seem oblivious that, in Biblical terms, indebtedness is considered slavery and what we consider slavery is unequivocally condemned as kidnapping and theft). You’ve done a pretty good job of avoiding that here.However, I share concerns about corporations exerting political / economic influence – particularly in matters of morality. Granted it’s already rampant in our oligarchy – but problematic nonetheless.

    1. Ryan Frew

      You’re awesome. Great comment. Would love to hear more about your thoughts on the law itself.

      1. Mariah Lichtenstern

        Well, opinionated at least. From what I know of the law, I will say that I understand both sides of the debate. Critiques frame it in the largest possible context. In a nation with a history of hate crimes against LGBTQ, and laws that have criminalized them and limited their rights their rights in impactful ways, it is understandable that strategists use opportunities like these to advance the discussion, build consensus, and try to normalize LGBTQ lifestyles in our culture.On the other side, this law is mainly designed so that churches / religous organization (like the church I used to work for) are not forced by law to go against their beliefs in marrying or hiring people who practice lifestyles that they and their constituents may view as immoral.All in all, my view is that there is antagonism in trying to force a conservative pastor to marry a gay couple and there is antagonism in turning away a gay couple from marriage when the same Pastor will likely marry adulterers and divorcees (assuming we’re not talking the Catholic Church – in which you have to pay to play that).Constitutionally, the 1st amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The law in question is not establishing religion, but it is protecting the free exercise thereof in an era where some very resentful people are trying to establish the religion of atheism nationwide (technically, it is a religion).It should be noted that the term “separation of church and state” is not actually constitutional, it was referenced in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson regarding the establishment clause (the letter in its entirety here: http://www.usconstitution.n….My opinion is that anti-discrimination practices should be observed, and that freedom of speech should be upheld. The law would not be necessary if the establishment clause and religious freedom was rightly upheld. The real danger is the trying to enact laws that would charge ministers with hate crime offenses for quoting / teaching what the Bible or other religious texts say about sexual immorality. E.g., If a gay couple wants to force a Pastor to marry them, that Pastor should have the right to quote Romans 1. Fair trade.I believe “the church” as a [very multifaceted] institution needs more exercise in the practice of unconditional love overall, and we all could use foundational knowledge of the faith that shapes the laws of this country – a country that promises freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.

    2. Donna Brewington White

      Do you have a blog?

      1. Mariah Lichtenstern

        Yes, a few. TimesNewRomanEmpire.blogspo… is where I sometimes vent my opinions / memoirs (public and unpublished).

        1. Donna Brewington White

          Thanks, Mariah. Looks very interesting! I did read your first post — congratulations! (Gorgeous family, BTW.) And your bio — wow. (Like, that’s amazing.) Pretty much every title I saw at first glance is something I can’t wait to get back to read and will be very helpful for some thinking I’m doing about this whole “diversity in tech” thing. But Monday beckons…

          1. Mariah Lichtenstern

            Very kind; thank you. Always interested in thoughts on these topics.

  18. JamesHRH

    Commentary is the big negative issue these days.

    1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      So let me try a positive comment…This comment is not as negative as if Disqus could choose who to offer their facilities to. Imagine the “PoweredByPreferences” version of a commenting service.Imagine a VC investor selecting to back “Twitter for Jews”, or “Facebook for Wasps”, “Google for African Americans” etc etc etc (and many further non-discriminatory etcs) (feel free to make up your own ethicity/technology combination)At the end of the day the great thing about tolerance is it serves the biggest market. “Service for everyone!”Both respect for others and disrespect go in and out of fashion but fortunately respect pays off the biggest in the (very) long term, and always will and that’s how it should be.

  19. Brandon Burns

    Great post.While I’m pretty sure you don’t mean it this way, we have to be careful not to blame religion. Making religion, or religious people, the problem is no better than when religious people make those who don’t follow their beliefs a problem. Freedom from religion and freedom of religion go hand in hand. You can’t have one basic freedom without the other.The sooner this semantic is addressed, and treated like the bigger deal that it is, the sooner the religious and the non-religious can work together with respect and understanding.

    1. PrometheeFeu

      I’m not sure what freedom of religion looks like when you are forced to choose between the practice of your religion and being allowed to remain in business. I suppose you are not literally prohibited from practicing your religion, but you are excluded from a large number of economic activities.

    2. ShanaC

      Brandon, sometimes it’s perfectly ok to limit religion.In orthodox judaism women do not have the full right to contract, and don’t have the right to witness. As a result, they don’t have the right to issue religious divorces at all, and this state can impact the proceedings of the civil divorce case. (look up the term agunah)Due to separation between church and state L, the US is not allowed to interfere, even though for women in orthodoxy, full status as female is highly dependent on being married with children (i still get called girl where I grew up because I’m unmarried and without children…even if tomorrow I was a billionaire this would not make me enough woman to create a sociological status change.)

  20. PreparedToBeFlamed

    So I spent 30mins writing a post, and it disappeared. Sorry if this ends up being somewhat of a double post if the other one shows up again.So reverse-discrimination is okay? Disregarding and disrespecting people’s religion or beliefs is okay? Too often I see LGBT supporters flaunt how tolerant and accepting they are, and proceed to discriminate against people who are against LGBT. It’s absolutely hypocritical. Note that I’m not saying Fred or anyone here is guilty of this, merely that it’s a very common phenomenon.I believe that there’s a very fine line between being tolerant, and reverse-discrimination, and the latter is just as bad as discrimination, because it IS discrimination. If we were anti-discrimination, we need to be tolerant and accept people with different moral standards than us.Now, violence against anyone definitely shouldn’t be acceptable. However, there should be a certain degree of freedom in acting on one’s beliefs, and idea of what’s right or wrong. For example, if I ran a small corner store, and I see a bunch of drunk and dangerous looking people, why should I be forced to allow them inside and risk getting my store trashed? I believe that I should be allowed to refuse services to certain people who I deem to be against my principles, and am not comfortable interacting with.One poster, pointsnfigures, said “I don’t think any business on the public square should be able to refuse services to anyone because of race, creed, color. (They can for no shirt, no shoes, no service)”.I mostly agree with this, but not completely with the categorization. I believe that discrimination against race and color is wrong, and should not be allowed. This is because race and color is something you’re born with, not something you can choose. However, not wearing a shirt, smoking, or believing something IS something you can choose, thus they should be treated differently.If a person was born such that their brain was wired differently from most people, that’s not their fault, they should not be discriminated against. But if they choose to act a certain way, then that’s completely different. For example, if you were born with a peculiar condition that killing people makes you happy. That’s not your fault. But if you choose to commit murder, then you are wrong. Being born a certain way does not justify acting a certain way. I would like to note now that I’m not saying homosexuality is WRONG, merely that having been born a certain way does not justify your actions.Another poster, LIAD brought up a case in the UK where a gay couple sued a B&B for not letting them stay in the same room. In this case, I strongly believe that the B&B was NOT in the wrong. They offered to let the couple stay in different rooms. What they are asking is really no different than a restaurant putting up a “NO SMOKING” sign. They are Their beliefs should fully be respected, and to discriminate against their beliefs is simply hypocritical.To conclude, I believe that one should be allowed to act on their own moral standards provided that they are against ACTIONS, i.e something that people have a control over and not something people are born with or have no control over. Of course, there is also a limit to this, like no violence.

    1. Racetocure

      Well said! The left has no tolerance for religious faith and morals. They try to force their moral beliefs on everyone and call you a bigot or racist if you don’t accept them. Reverse discrimination is just as bad as discrimination

      1. Pete Griffiths

        “The left has no tolerance of religious faith and morals”Really?So there aren’t people on the left who have faith or morals? Please…. LMFAO.

    2. Pete Griffiths

      Good point. And a point shared I think with all those poor white people who have suffered so much reverse discrimination, and all those men so oppressed by those feminists, and all the super wealthy who are constantly being hounded by demands for more taxes, and all those political leaders who work selflessly for those they rule and just suffer ingratitude.It’s a tough life being on top of the heap. Reverse discrimination’s a bitch.

      1. PreparedToBeFlamed

        Your argument is completely flawed on every level. So you’re saying it’s OKAY for poor people, disadvantaged people, or whatever, to discriminate against those that are better off than they are? So you’re saying it’s OKAY for feminists to oppress men? You really don’t see how that’s hypocritical? Ever heard the saying, “two wrongs don’t make a right?”But even before that, the assumption that reverse discrimination only happens to those “on top of the heap” is completely flawed and unfounded.Please think more carefully about what you’re saying, and whether it makes sense. Don’t be a sheep swept by the bandwagon of hypocrites pretending to be, or delude themselves into this logically flawed sense of righteousness.

        1. Pete Griffiths

          Of course not. I’m being ironic.

  21. Ed Walker

    I think this is a bad move for Apple, Salesforce, et al. One of the most powerful corporations in the world blackballing a state and imposing its will legislatively is only positive when their position aligns with your own. This is an area where liberals are typically railing against corporate overreach, abuse of power, etc., but again, it’s more palatable when you agree with the position. No one likes a bully on any side of an issue. Apple is so big, so rich, so influential, that they can bring the Indiana legislature and the state economy to its knees. Perhaps now the corporation, not the voter, is the arbiter of what does and doesn’t make the law books. I hope not.

    1. LE

      I agree. 100%.This is what the twittersphere has brought us. And make no doubt this type of thing would never happen and would definitely not go anywhere near as far without social media pressure. [1]Here is the slippery slope that I have a problem with. We are coming to a place where people are able to vote on just about everything that happens. Free speech is curtailed.Lena Dunham gets in trouble for this:http://www.huffingtonpost.c…Perhaps now the corporation, not the voterIt’s not either. It’s the people who are able to use social media. That is what gives the power out. But that is not everyone in this country and it doesn’t represent everyone in this country (which at least voting almost does..)but again, it’s more palatable when you agree with the positionExactly. But remember the saying is “live by the sword die by the sword” tables can turn very quickly with the lemming mentality.[1] Part of the problem is of course that people follow blindly without totally considering all sides in a knee jerk fashion.

    2. Donna Brewington White

      Yeah, the Indiana situation is low-hanging fruit. These corporate giants railing against it feels a bit opportunistic.

  22. Preston Pesek

    I’d like to ask each member of this community to consider which system of law we would prefer to live under:1) Laws that are permitted to change through a democratic process, as new discoveries are made, and the moral consciousness of a society evolves, or2) Laws that are not permitted to change, despite their departure from contemporary moral consciousness, because they were sourced from centuries old books that many believe are divinely inspired and therefore unchangeable.Fortunately, the United States officially uses the first example. Unfortunately however, the most popular religions were not designed with mechanisms that permit them to evolve with us, as we make new discoveries about ourselves, and about the nature of the universe… and so, they lumber on, desperately and often violently clinging to their awkward and destructive obsolescence, in the face of the only thing we can be certain will not change: the fact that everything changes.

    1. PreparedToBeFlamed

      You’re deluded by your sense of superiority, but you’re just wrong. If we look at mathematical laws or physical laws, do they need to change through a democratic process? And be adaptable to change? Should 1+1 = 3 at some point?If laws are correct, they don’t need to be adaptable to change, and should not be be changed through democracy. Just because a majority of people agree to something doesn’t make it correct.Just like physical and mathematical laws, we should be open to discovering, understanding and coming up with new “man-made” laws. Just as paradigms shifted when we discovered non-euclidean geometry or einstein’s relativity, new laws can perhaps overshadow old laws.But the most superior laws are the ones that don’t change, and are proven correct through times when people believe them, and times when people don’t believe them.I’m not religious; but change isn’t always a good thing. We really need to carefully examine our ideas and not fall victim to a false sense of progress that is simply a hypocritical double standard.

      1. Guest

        Can you cite an example of a law that doesn’t change?

      2. Pete Griffiths

        “You’re deluded by your sense of superiority…”That’s about as offensive a way to begin replying to someone as I’ve seen for a while. It is also rather more self referentially ironic than was perhaps intended.

    2. Donna Brewington White

      What popular religions are you referring to? I can only speak for Christianity and to some extent Judaism that a significant aspect of “the faith” is comprehending realities that transcend the cultural and historical contexts within which they were originally written. These “books” aren’t textbooks that are a collection of facts that change as we are further enlightened but rather principles that are continually interpreted into current contexts and based on our increased enlightenment. Speaking for myself it is sometimes shocking how much relevance can be found in something so seemingly ancient. And how much life.

  23. JaredMermey

    It is when Fred posts topics such as today’s that this community really shines.

  24. LE

    It has been a place that welcomes others and allows them to live freely and pursue their dreams.But then again we are moving away from free speech to a model where everyone gets a vote on what everyone else does.On the same day recovery crews pulled two bodies from the site of Thursday’s tragic blast on Second Ave. near E. Seventh St., former Iowa Democratic staffer Christina Freundlich apologized for the Instagram selfie that surfaced of her smiling beside the disaster site over the weekend. Freundlich, whose photo was one of three that stoked disgust online, took down the photo and expressed regret for the vanity shot by the gas explosion that also injured 25 people and took down three buildings, The Des Moines Register reported.Emphasis “stoked disgust” what hyperbole on the part of the “disgusted”.http://www.nydailynews.com/

  25. Twain Twain

    “This isn’t a political issue. It isn’t a religious issue. This is about how we treat each other as human beings.” — Tim Cook.

  26. PrometheeFeu

    Except that in this case, it will force people to choose between their dreams and their deeply held religious convictions. This may be acceptable in some areas, but in the common case here, if you need a cake for your same-sex marriage, there are plenty of bakers who will be happy to serve you. Why must you force one who believes it is a sin to do it for you?

  27. Salt Shaker

    Sure, let biz selectively choose their customer base under an aegis of “religious freedom,” but make it a requirement for them to post in their office windows, storefronts, web sites, etc., who/what they are unaccepting of, whether it be same-sex couples, LGBT, Jews, Muslims, atheists or any other group they believe impinges on their religious beliefs.And then watch w/ glee how quickly the “For Rent” sign is posted and the liquidation sale commences.

  28. Keenan

    I have found this law disturbing and the argument that the Govenrment doesn’t have a right to tell business owners how to run their business baseless.We (society) have come to accept the Government telling us;When we can serve Where we can serveHow we can serveWhat we can serveBUT all of a sudden we have a problem with the government telling us WHO we can serve.Who, in my opinion, is the first place the Government should be engaging.Running a public business is a privilege, not a right. If you want to open one to the public, be prepared to serve the public. All of it!

    1. PrometheeFeu

      So it’s ok for the government to decide that people belonging to certain religions are not allowed to open a business to the public?

      1. Keenan

        NO, that’s not OK? I don’t understand the question.Those belonging to any religion can open any business they want. If they do, they have to serve everyone.

        1. PrometheeFeu

          I thought it would be obvious. People whose religion does not allow them to serve everyone are effectively banned from opening a business. I mean sure, it’s not explicitly stated in that manner, but it is the effect. (As a side note, most anti-discrimination laws ban discrimination based upon certain characteristics, not all discriminations. So it’s not really “have to serve everyone”. But I’m being pedantic)I mean, surely if the government said that all restaurants must serve pork in order to support the pork industry, everyone would see that as discriminating against practicing Jews and Muslims.

          1. Keenan

            Ahh got it. I see what you are saying. But, yes that’s the net effect. There is NO religion to my knowledge that says you can’t serve someone else. What religions say is what is right and what is wrong for a person to do. It says nothing about serving people. So to say that you “can’t” or “won’t” serve someone because of what THEY do or believe has nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with ones interpretation, discrimination and judgement.What this law is doing is giving discretion to people to hide behind religion to discriminate. In essence, if I’m Jewish, what is preventing me from serving only Jews because everyone else is a non-believer and the old testimate is clear about worshipping idols. Christian’s worship idols (Jesus on a cross). This idea that religion and belief are somehow absolute and congruent is silly.We have the right to believe what we believe for “US” and our own behavior. We can not put those beliefs on others through the form of a business.So, yes. That’s what we’re sayin’ here in the U.S. If you believe your religion won’t allow you to serve certain people, then you don’t get to open a business.Ex; If you religion requires you to serve alcohol on Sundays and the country or state you live in doesn’t allow liquor to be sold on Sundays’ you don’t get to open that business. I don’t understand why this is so hard for people to understand. Your beliefs are rights, not opening a business. That’s a social priviledge.

          2. PrometheeFeu

            First, I find it really weird that you would say that no religion bans doing business with people because of what those people do. In order to do that, you would have to somehow decide what are “real” and “not real” religions independently of the sincerity of the believers. I can see how someone who is part of a religion and brands some others as heretics can do that, but how some third party would do that is beyond me.Thankfully, US courts have long ruled that they will not involve themselves in religious disputes and will only inquire as to the sincerity of the believers.I guess we part ways here then. I think it is wrong to exclude people from being bakers just because they refuse to work on a cake for a same-sex wedding. Those desiring of such services can purchase such services from a third party or simply hold a ceremony without the benefits of a professional baker, (it’s not that big of a deal) so there is little if any harm done. On the other hand, the potential baker has to either suffer from violating the dictates of their conscience or suffer loss of economic opportunity from being banned from their chosen profession. I can see no way one could reach that conclusion without basically deciding that the baker’s suffering is irrelevant.

          3. Pete Griffiths

            They can still be bakers. They just can’t serve ‘the public.’ They can bake their asses off and sell to people who share their beliefs. This is no different from men’s only clubs – they are legal because they are private and don’t pretend to serve ‘the public.’ Serving ‘the public’ comes with responsibilities as well as privileges..

          4. PrometheeFeu

            That is fair enough. I suppose gays can be gays too without a recognized marriage to a person of the same sex. They can have a relationship, just not marriage. What’s wrong with that after all?

          5. Pete Griffiths

            What’s wrong with that is that it is not a universal right – a right shared by other couples.

          6. PrometheeFeu

            I don’t understand what you just said.

          7. ShanaC

            or the find outs. Or they do illegal things off the books.

          8. PrometheeFeu

            I suppose that is always an option. However, I think we can agree that “hey it only happens in your home, how often will people be caught for sodomy?!” would have been a wholly inadequate response to sodomy laws.

          9. ShanaC

            This already happens in ny with b and how.Also the not being caught/no prosecution creates questions about what is a law

      2. jsteig

        No, but it’s ok to say that we the people, as represented by the government, can decide that it’s not ok for a business to discriminate because of race, gender, religion … we as a society have generally accepted that’s ok. We’re now debating whether sexual orientation should be added to that list. Individuals can think and say whatever they want but corporations are not in the same class as people (or at least they weren’t until Hobby Lobb …)

        1. PrometheeFeu

          The question is not corporations vs non-corporations. The rules apply to businesses run by individuals just as much as to businesses run by corporations.

    2. Dave Pinsen

      Should you be forced to teach David Duke how to ski, if he wants to hire you?

      1. Keenan

        Yes, if I’m going to offer ski lessons to the public. Yes I will. I may not like it. But if he’s respectful and isn’t calling me nigger boy, then yes!We had this discussion 50 years ago. This is the same argument segregationists used. I thought we got passed this. Sad really’

        1. ShanaC

          Better question can you teach the klutzy

          1. Keenan

            Absolutely Shana!

  29. Jim Ortiz

    Steven Landsburg (in “Fair Play”) highlighted the fundamental unfairness of laws that dictate who a private business must serve:”Mary owns a vacant apartment; Joe is looking for a place to live. If Joe disapproves of Mary’s race or religion or lifestyle, he is free to shop elsewhere. But if Mary disapproves of Joe’s race or religion or certain aspects of his lifestyle, the law requires her to swallow her misgivings and rent the apartment to Joe.”this asymmetry is problematic, and since i believe in less law and regulation in the pursuit of fairness, rather than more, i believe that any business should be able to decide who they serve. if i disagree with their choices, i can boycott them, and encourage others to do the same.

    1. Salt Shaker

      A buyer gets to pick and choose who h/she wants to do business with (ideally) without reproach or reprisal, while a seller running a legal/licensed biz is bound by commerce and anti-discrimination laws that protect and guard both parties against illicit behavior. It’s called the cost of doing business and it comes w/ terms and conditions that serve both parties interests.

      1. Jim Ortiz

        i am suggesting that those commerce and anti-discrimination laws are unfair (because of the asymmetry i’ve already pointed out), and unnecessary. i can call any nonsensical rule/law “the cost of doing business”- doesn’t make it right.

        1. Salt Shaker

          Well, there’s a big gap between laws considered “problematic” and those considered “nonsensical.” What you’re proposing likely would create a fair amount of economic instability and uncertainty, seriously damage a company’s goodwill/image, impact employee morale/productivity, lead to staffing issues, in addition to a host of other moral and ethical issues (which I’m betting, respectfully, you don’t think are relevant).

          1. Jim Ortiz

            my claim is that a company, like an individual, should be able to do business with whomsoever it likes.defending laws that limit that freedom should be on better grounds than saying that is “the cost of doing business”.OF COURSE excluding customers on the basis of religion/ethnicity/lifetstyle is a poor business decision, and will “damage a company’s goodwill/image, impact employee morale/productivity, [and] lead to staffing issues”, but that is a decision for the business, not for the State.similarly, i don’t believe the State can or should try to legislate ethics and morality (beyond no physical harm and property rights). those issues ARE relevant, just not under the jurisdiction of the government.

          2. Salt Shaker

            Okay, but only a fool of a business leader would not exercise restraint, irrespective if mandated or not. You think this is gov’t overreach, I frankly don’t. There are many things our gov’t mishandles, I just don’t believe this is one of them.

          3. Pete Griffiths

            Sounds like a license for bigotry and discrimination in practice.Worked that way in the past. That’s why anti discrimination laws are on the books.

          4. Jim Ortiz

            you can’t legislate away bigotry and discrimination.

          5. Pete Griffiths

            No. But you can legislate against its expression.

          6. Jim Ortiz

            that’s where we differ. i don’t believe in legislation against “hate crimes”- we already have laws against murder and assault on the books. and as a free speech advocate, i support your right to say what you will. and i believe that you should be able to associate with (or exclude) anyone you please. so i see no need to suddenly change my approach when it comes to your desire to only do yard work for Italian-Americans.

          7. Pete Griffiths

            The question then arises – how would you go about addressing expressed discrimination? Or would you?

          8. Jim Ortiz

            i would not. it is not the State’s role.and as i pointed out in my original example, even when the State does try to get involved, it is in an arbitrary fashion.

          9. Pete Griffiths

            So presumably you would have opposed all the anti-racial discrimination legislation of the civil rights era? And given that fact, do you feel that legislation had any positive impacts or not?

          10. Jim Ortiz

            i think there is a strong case to be made that legislation (anti-discrimination, same sex marriage) follows the zeitgeist, and not the other way around. and since i prefer individual freedom over even the most well-intentioned government paternalism (we could all do with less fried food and more exercise, but i don’t want to see it mandatory), “positive impact” unlikely to be the factor that changes my mind.

          11. Pete Griffiths

            You don’t feel that the legislation coincident with the civil rights movement had any positive effect on the lives of black people in the US?

          12. Jim Ortiz

            re-read what i just wrote: a) perhaps not, and b) “positive effects” not the relevant metric.

          13. Pete Griffiths

            Do you feel that government action can ever be helpful in any circumstances?I am trying to understand what kind of boundaries you would accept on individual freedom – bearing in mind that one person’s freedom can reduce the freedom of another (eg apartheid). Are you so suspicious of government that you are happy to just await a favorable change in the ‘zietgeist?’Perhaps the most profound question for someone like yourself who hold such apparently firm views in favor of individual freedom is: ‘what do you think is the legitimate role of the state?’ In other words, what do you think the state is for? what social purpose, if any, does it serve? And hence what duties are you happy for it to fulfill as opposed to the many things with which you are unhappy?

          14. Jim Ortiz

            i identify as a small-government, free-market Libertarian, pretty easy to find the basic tenets of that philosophy online. there is a role for Government in protecting individual life and property, and they are granted a monopoly on the use of force (police and army) to enforce laws. but my default setting is that anything the State can do (with the exceptions noted above), the private sector can do better, and more efficiently, and (most importantly) without coercion.

          15. Pete Griffiths

            The problem I have with that position is that whilst it sounds great it doesn’t address one of the most critically important roles of the state – any state.In any society there will be groups who have opposing interests. These differences can be along any lines on any topic. So the question arises – how are such differences to be addressed? What if the two sides can’t adjudicate their differences rationally? The primary role of the state is to resolve conflicts that the parties cannot themselves address. It is for that reason that we have jurisprudence, law, law enforcement etc.The state can’t be smaller than it needs to be to address such differences. Shrinking the state to the point that it can’t undertake its fundamental role to resolve conflicts is counterproductive.Where the line is drawn is indeed tricky. But broad general appeals to small government and the benefits of the private sector don’t really address this core issue. You can’t meaningfully be ‘against’ government without being ‘against’ the means for conflict resolution. Everything flows from this key role. All legislation, use of force etcSo getting back to discrimination. If you have a society in which there is conflict between two social groups and that conflict cannot organically be resolved in a timely manner then it is absolutely the role of the state to adjudicate to avoid conflict escalation. Such intervention may sometimes be on the side of the discriminators eg. white S Africans in the time of Apartheid, or on the side of the discriminated eg Civil rights movement in the US. But without meaningful adjudication conflict brews and escalates. I don’t believe that just hoping for the best or seeking a private sector solution of widespread discrimination is much of a strategy. It is a ideological position that can be expressed appealingly – “get the government out of your pocket” – but it doesn’t actually move the ball down the field.(having said all which I fully acknowledge that government can indeed overstep its necessary remit)

          16. Jim Ortiz

            i mostly agree with this.there is a recent Libertarian book (not very good, unfortunately), by matt kibbe, titled “don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff”. i like the titles exhortation to us as individuals, and to the actions of the State.the State needs to be large enough, and needs to have the physical and legal apparatus in place, to punish me if i hurt you (physically) or try to take your stuff. simultaneously, it needs to be small enough that IT does not become the actor that is doing the hurting and the taking. i would suggest that most modern forms of government have erred on the side of granting too much power to the State, rather than too little.legitimately curious: what scary scenario might you imagine arising in modern America under the slightly (or not so slightly) more laissez faire approach to governance i’m suggesting? citizens are still punished for any physical acts of aggression or harm to others and their belongings, but can be as bigoted and wrong-headed in their thought, speech, and business choices as we know them to be capable of. where do you see the Market in need of the State to avoid complete social breakdown?

          17. Pete Griffiths

            I guess it depends on what you consider scary.Let’s take the example of public health.Right now the US spends 2-3 X as much (as a % of GNP) as any other remotely modern economy. This is a crippling burden and until recently we didn’t even either (a) provide universal care, or (b) enjoy superior health service or outcomes for most of the population (check the WHO rankings – we are distressingly low). It is all very well for politicians to trumpet how we have the best health care in the world but we truly don’t. We should have but we don’t. Why are we in this situation? Because despite overwhelming evidence from around the world in countless studies and real world experience, the power of money in the US health industry has burdened us with a horrifically expensive mixed market system. Our political system is so riddled with well heeled financial interests that we can’t get any policies across in health that are remotely rational. (needless to say this is true in many other areas e.g. incredibly expensive weapons programs that the forces don’t even want but can’t be cancelled because of they way they have been set up in tight districts). So I guess the question is – do you find this scary? I do. Post WWII we had such a huge manufacturing and trade lead on the rest of the world that we could carry a lot of inefficiencies in our systems. But now other countries are catching up and those inefficiencies are killing our competitiveness. Still worse – for the first time in our history we are facing global competitor countries (such as China) that have enormously bigger domestic markets than our own (just as we enjoyed that advantage post war over European competitors). So if you find constantly spiraling healthcare costs we can’t afford but which we can’t address by rational policy (which must include rationing) scary, then be very scared. This is an example of something that absolutely can’t be solved by private industry any more than national defense can. But the failings of private industry money crippling us by pouring funds into lobbying to prevent rational reform is a real and present danger.I find this kind of thing scary.

          18. Jim Ortiz

            i was actually looking for an example where allowing an individual’s bigotry/prejudice to determine who he would do business with caused systemic harm.instead, you served me up the softest of softballs: public health. “spiraling health care costs” are indeed incredibly scary, and contrary to your claim, can absolutely be solved by private industry. never was a system more in need of complete privatization- this is what markets were created for, and what bureaucratic governments do worst of all. and if you are concerned about how those without the means will pay, as am i, then i am sure you would be be happy to contribute generously to the many private/voluntary charity organizations that will arise for that very purpose.

          19. Pete Griffiths

            OKa) apartheid in S Africa, b) Jim Crow in AmericaYou do know that we spend massively more on health with worse outcomes than state run systems across the world? Admin costs due to the complexities of private insurance are out of control. CEO’s of health charities earn >$10m pa.As for total privatization, good luck with that. But I’m not going to convince you. 🙂

          20. Jim Ortiz

            your argument is “good luck with that”? you strike me as an educated man- while we can disagree about the role of government and its programs, you can’t possibly imagine that any State-run program can compete with its private -sector equivalent on efficiency and price? if you’re going to convince me, you’d be better served talking about how a fully-privatized solution might leave our poorest citizens unprotected, but to suggest that it is the private aspects of our hybrid health-care programs that is to blame for bloated costs is topsy-turvy.not sure what the relevance is of citing charity CEO’s comp?Jim Crow: as i suggested before, people’s attitudes change, and then laws change, not vice versa. allowing a few unenlightened business owners to turn away patrons they don’t approve of would not lead to massive discrimination today, and if it did, then the mindset is in place to overturn any opposing laws anyway. you cannot legislate morality.

          21. Pete Griffiths

            I think the evidence is clear. We have a mixed system where a material percentage of our health care system is private and its performance can readily be benchmarked. Such benchmarks can be (and have been) compared with single payer state run systems in many other developed countries. The jury isn’t out on this. The data is clear. The private is more expensive with higher admin costs and worse health outcomes. If you don’t believe me go to the WHO site and check out the data.

          22. Pete Griffiths

            As for Jim Crow and apartheid. Attitudes don’t change by themselves and law can, and has, played an important part in changing behavior and attitudes thereby.It is very much the same as the two major approaches to therapy. Cognitive therapy attempts to change attitudes in the expectation that such attitude changes will result in more satisfactory behavior.Behavioral therapy attempts to change behavior in the expectation that once behavior changes attitudes will change.Both approaches enjoy some success.And so it is with the role of law. The equivalent of cognitive therapy is to attempt to educate to change attitudes. The equivalent of behavioral therapy is the role of law to change behavior which results in changes in attitude.To rule of the role of law in effecting changes in attitude is a little short sighting (IMHO).Maybe a less controversial example may make this plainer. Law was introduced that made it mandatory to wear seat belts. The evidence in support of this was overwhelming. Some people fought against it as an infringement of individual liberty. By and large, by now, it is a success. Fatalities and severe injuries were substantially reduced and most people don’t have a problem with it.Often what people represent as individual rights is little more than a knee jerk reaction, which has its place, but which can easily overwhelm rationality. Society and countless families are better off because of this legislation. Should we have just waited? Should we have let thousands of people pointlessly die?The law does have a role in helping form attitudes. It always has had. This role is not my imagination. It is recognized to play this role by students of jurisprudence and the sociology of law. The question is not whether it plays this role but, as in so many things, to what degree it should be doing so. The problem I have with your position is that it is such a blanket position. It is so sweeping and one sided that it just doesn’t recognize and role for or benefits of a part of the law that is and has always been important.

          23. Jim Ortiz

            we may be at an impasse, as we have a fundamental, philosophical difference of opinion on the role of government.you believe that if a law confers good on all, or some majority, of the population, then it is appropriate (and perhaps inevitable?). i call this paternalism.i believe that any study of the history of governance supports Lord Acton’s most famous admonishment, and believe that individual liberty is the most relevant concern outside of the most basic arenas (which we’ve already discussed). our different views mean that when you see seat-belt laws, housing regulations forbidding discrimination, anti-drug legislation, and (perhaps one day) mandatory dietary restrictions, you judge these mandates positively, based on the good that they do.conversely, even when i grant your claim of societal benefit (seat-belt laws, e.g.), i do not want the State involved, as that involvement only moves in one direction- towards less freedom.so in answer to your question: yes, we should’ve just waited, and have let thousands of people pointlessly die. are you bothered that we do not (currently) have laws on the books prohibiting motorcycle ownership, cigarettes, and hot dog consumption? surely thousands more will die needlessly until these, and many other goods and activities, are made illegal for our own good. after all: “society and countless families are better off because of this legislation”.and i suspect that my “blanket position, sweeping and one-sided” is not a bug, but a feature: intellectual consistency.

          24. Pete Griffiths

            You are indeed consistent – frighteningly so 🙂 And we are at an impasse.I have long found life to be too complicated to be governed by any one single value, not matter if that value is indisputably important. And so it is with freedom. It is important, very important. But is is not the only thing that matters to a society and pretending otherwise does not make it so. Hence I find your consistency in this case results in a simplification of how we should manage human affairs. If only our social existence were that simple! If only there were not the weak and vulnerable! If only altruism didn’t exist etc etc. It is a harsh value system you are endorsing. I don’t know your life circumstances but my experience has been that holding this kind of view is typically highly correlated with a life that has enjoyed a degree of success. Sadly not everyone is in that situation. If we look around the world there are countless millions of people for whom your position is nothing less than a council of despair.

          25. Jim Ortiz

            first, just wanted to say i’ve enjoyed the discussion. reasonable men can hold differing opinions while still respecting their “opponent”.i think you mischaracterize my argument when you suggest that it is harsh or less than altruistic. i believe we are at our best, kindest, and most noble when we make up our own minds, and act freely. that you and i want to save the dolphins is a good thing; if we work together to raise money for that cause from friends and strangers who share our views, that too is good; but the minute we try to make it MANDATORY that people who may not share our views are forced to contribute, we’ve slipped into tyranny. and worst of all, a tyranny that seeks to cloak itself in virtue, because don’t those dolphins deserve saving?i believe i have a moral obligation to give to help those less financially fortunate than myself. and i strongly suspect that in an America without a social welfare apparatus, we could find enough people who feel the same way, to fund the private endeavors that would spring up in its stead. the lower tax rate would make other citizens more able to give, and i’m sure that the private sector versions of medicare and medicaid would be more efficient than their government counterparts.

          26. Pete Griffiths

            We’ll meet again. Thanks for the chat 🙂

  30. brgardner

    Based upon all the comments below and the articles and rhetoric online, I am sanded how this is being used a marketing opportunity to bash religion and those who support religious freedom and the right to act peacefully according to moral conscious. They use “discrimination” as an offensive mechanism to push their own agenda and to be honest, to bully. Of course discrimination is bad, but discrimination goes both ways. Those who want to worship and practice “Peacefully” are trying to protect their rights. Rights that our founding fathers instituted.

    1. jsteig

      How are the rights of people who want to worship and practice peacefully not being rights? I also honestly don’t see any evidence of that nor of people bashing religion here. Can you be specific? I certainly haven’t read all the comments, however.

  31. Dave Pinsen

    Rod Dreher claims Benioff and Cook are status-posturing hypocrites based on the zeal with which they do business in China:MT @LHuizenga: The Hypocrisy of @Benioff & Co. http://t.co/Hg5bL30Yu6 cc @msuster #BoycottIndiana pic.twitter.com/OEasw8KQVG— David Pinsen (@dpinsen) March 30, 2015

    1. k77ws

      And Saudi Arabia and other middle eastern countries? If I’m not mistaken, these countries are not very tolerant of (in fact harshly punish) certain types of people. Or maybe (hopefully) I just missed cook & benioff’s op-eds in these countries local papers ( if they even have a free press!) And I understand 19 other stays have similar laws, done a decade or more old.If these things are right, their outrage towards Indiana seems ( oddly) selective.

      1. Pete Griffiths

        It’s not “oddly selective” to be upset by what you consider to be injustice at home. And the fact that it is at home means that if you are a concerned member of that society you have the right and responsibility to make your voice heard, whereas there are all sorts of hideous things going on around the world that one can indeed consider heinous but which one must recognize one has limited or zero ability to influence. That latter fact doesn’t obviate your right to express your views at home.

    2. Pete Griffiths

      Don’t they have the right to expect more from us?

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Sure – and we have the right to expect more from them.

        1. Pete Griffiths

          Slippery but missing the point. They are members of a society that holds itself to a higher standard. They expect us to live up to our values. And they are addressing their stakeholders, that includes their own (huge) workforces and their customers – many of whom are gay. So whilst such leaders don’t like to be put in this kind of position because by taking any kind of side they will offend someone, there are times they feel obliged to speak out. The China situation is ‘over there.’ It is not so intimate and not remotely subject to their influence. All that they would achieve by publicly remonstrating with the Chinese leadership is damaging relationships with key stakeholders – their Chinese supply chain and customers. What would be achieved by that? This isn’t a matter of ‘hypocrisy’ because the situation isn’t remotely symmetrical.

  32. laurie kalmanson

    this is awesomereligious freedoms currently denied to americans:> burning people at the stake for witchcraft> planting flaming crosses on people’s lawns

    1. Pete Griffiths

      Doesn’t seem fair, does it?

      1. laurie kalmanson

        oh the huge manateehttp://knowyourmeme.com/mem…

        1. Pete Griffiths


  33. ShanaC

    Overdue. Just so overdue.I don’t think most people realize how lonely being not religious in very religious communities is like. It is extremely lonely, and you often can’t say what you think. Fear is generally the rule about what you say – not the exception. I don’t miss it, and I can understand why the desire to have some of that feeling curbed.

  34. William Mougayar

    This is such a hot potato topic, as it can be mis-interpreted both ways. But I agree with Tim Cook’s part here (same passage also picked-up by Bijan):“This isn’t a political issue. It isn’t a religious issue. This is about how we treat each other as human beings. Opposing discrimination takes courage. With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it’s time for all of us to be courageous.”

    1. PrometheeFeu

      I really ought to have waited before getting into a comment battle. As it turns out, the law in question will likely have no effect here. The government can have a law upheld if it can prove the law 1) serves a compelling governmental interest and 2) is narrowly tailored to further that interest. Ending discrimination will surely pass the first test and banning discrimination will surely be seen as about as narrowly tailored as could be. A tempest in a tea pot.

    2. Donna Brewington White

      I disagree with Cook et al that opposing discrimination against LGBT people takes courage. I feel like the word is being used for effect. It may be right to oppose this type of discrimination, but the support to do so is widespread. It’s low hanging fruit.It takes courage to go against the tide, not to swim with it. You can be courageous and wrong at the same time.Courage is just too important and in short supply. I hate to see its definition diluted.

      1. William Mougayar

        OK, but I thought he was directing this to the business owners and the legislators in Indiana who seem to need that courage, no?

        1. Donna Brewington White

          I think his audience was broader than this…But, I am going to modify what I said. I think there are some valid instances in which courage will be needed to defeat discrimination against gays. For the people who may have to go against their own religious or social groups, for instance. But in the tech community it would take more courage to speak out for people’s right to exercise their religious freedom than to oppose discrimination for sexual orientation, for instance.Not to pick on your comment, William. I get your intention and appreciate it. Cook’s words do touch something in the core of people like you and me, and most of us here.I just want a word like “courage” to really mean something in this day and age when true character — particularly, in public leadership — is at a premium. Call me a purist.

          1. William Mougayar

            I’m with you. I’m sure Tim Cook had to carefully choose his words. Maybe “conviction” might have been a more appropriate word?

  35. Confused seeking insights

    Boy am I confused here. Here’s my 2 questions, trying to understand:1) Straight proprietor refuses to make wedding cake for gay couple – proprietor has right to refuse or not (i.e. proprietor MUST oblige)?2) Jewish proprietor refuses to make wedding cake for Nazi couple – proprietor’s right to do or not (i.e. proprietor MUST oblige)?Seems to me, one should have same answer for each question. Further seems to me, to force proprietor to make either cake does not seem just if they don’t want to. Or should proprietor’s be forced?Thoughts welcome.

    1. Pete Griffiths

      Let’s make your case simpler.a) straight proprietor refuses to sell pre-baked cake on display in his store to gay couple wearing badges making it luminously clear they are gay.b) jewish proprietor refuses to sell pre-baked cake on display in his store to couple wearing Nazi regalia and with badges making it clear they are indeed anti semite fascists.yes – the answer should be the same.If the baker is open to ‘the public’ then they must sell the cake to both, but one suspects different jurisdictions would be more or less supportive of either case were action brought against the proprietor(s).

      1. scottythebody

        Not true. Depends on the laws. The proprietor could refuse service in both cases. However, if there is a law that prohibits refusing service to people based on sexual orientation, then the proprietor is potentially violating that law if it can be proven that the decision was made because the people trying to buy a cake were gay.

        1. Confused seeking insights

          So scottythebody, it is OK to give the anti-Nazi proprietor right to refuse but not anti-gay? I don’t see logic in that. Maybe I misunderstand you.

          1. scottythebody

            it’s a law thing. not a logic thing. If there is a protected group, you cannot discriminate against them. Nazis are not a protected group in the vast majority of cases.

        2. Pete Griffiths

          The law is very different depending upon whether you are, or are not, providing a PUBLIC service.

      2. Confused seeking insights

        thanks. i’ll post a third scenario — muslim proprietor refuses to make anti-mulsim good/service for christian. also something then the muslim must do?my point is that there seems to me that a lot of folks view this construct as “selective” ie if gays are refused = problem/discrimination. if christians refused = not problem/not discrimination. if jews refused = not a problem/not discrimination.ALL people have rights, right?

        1. Pete Griffiths

          In my opinion, yes. Equality has a price, like free speech.”I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”Our republic is not structured the way it is to make people comfortable under all circumstances. 🙂

  36. Medicalquack

    Yeah, there’s a lot here for discussion that’s for sure. There’s also the need to be “responsible for your code” that comes into play at times too. I share in the frustration of digital illiterate government and lawmakers and Congress is a shining example of not moving forward. They still think that verbiage contained in laws is all it takes to regulate against inequality and what some of the coding has created. In the most complex of all times, will they get a tool like restoring the Office of Tech Assessment to help them understand the impact of technologies with laws…nope. We go back to the stone age so much of the time.http://ducknetweb.blogspot….I just watched and blogged a documentary that was pretty well done which explores the “Cybertopia” of the Silicon Valley. Again I come back around to asking “where is the real world” and why are virtual values allowed to sometimes attack the real world and how about all the general consumers who confuse the two? It happens all the time. The documentary asks a good question about where we want to be, out there in a world of virtual creativity with the perceptions of technology or in the stone age of those who make laws that don’t understand it and again go back to legal verbiage only to try to regulate. They are two different worlds indeed and the documentary pretty much asks the question, which one do you want? There has to be a place where both sides come meet in the middle here I feel and both sides worth towards uniting and doing the right things. When you see Draper with a tie on that promotes certain counties wanting to leave the state of California, well you make your own opinions there:)http://ducknetweb.blogspot….Technology is like anything else and I think folks do have to be responsible for their code and what it creates, good or bad and on the other hand, geez, let’s get some lawmakers around that understand the technology movement and maybe, just maybe there could be a better meshing of the minds in the future? I don’t think it’s a good thing to see the separation between the two continue to grow in the fashion of what we see now? VPro, the company who did the documentary is pretty good with what they do and have also produced several other good videos that help educate, like the Quants of Wall Street for one and The Code of Wall Street for another, as they are pretty straight forward with their purpose of educating as to what’s really going on out there. When IBM came out with Watson, I was one of the first that suggested that Congress take them up on an offer and get it installed to help them “model” laws better and as we all know, nothing moved in that direction either, so the two worlds are about as isolated from each other as they can be. The documentary does accomplish some good thought provoking in both directions I think.

  37. Pete Griffiths


  38. bfeld


  39. laurie kalmanson

    related: no beef, regardless of your thoughts on cowshttp://www.nytimes.com/2015…The Maharashtra Animal Preservation bill, championed by right-wing Hindu organizations, was first passed in 1995 but languished for two decades under a governing coalition between the Indian National Congressand the Nationalist Congress Party. The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party was the clear winner in state elections last October after Narendra Modi, the party’s leader, took office as prime minister in May.The law, which allows a fine of 10,000 rupees, about $162, took effect Monday night after approval from India’s president, Pranab Mukherjee. Maharashtra’s chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis, gave the president credit and expressed his thanks over Twitter.“Our dream of ban on cow slaughter becomes a reality now,” he wrote.The move was far less popular with those who run Mumbai’s restaurants, and some retailers warned that it would cause jobs to be lost and send the price of other meats spiraling upward.

  40. hf1

    Freedom to discriminate is just an aspect of the freedom to associate (or not) and more generally an aspect of freedom itself. Where does the state (or “society”) derive the right to FORCE individuals and partnerships of same (i.e. corporations) into associations and transactions with others that they would otherwise not enter? Should it be legal for women to discriminate against chubby bald men with small penises, or should they be forced to have sex with them under the power of anti-discrimination laws? And what about stupid or obnoxious people? Should it be illegal for individuals and corporations to avoid (discriminate against) them, too? Why not? What about their “rights”?

  41. paramendra

    I was in Indiana before I was in New York! 🙂

  42. Ciaran

    Discrimination comes in many forms. As Liz Gannes argues in re/code:”[Except] that here on the home front, Silicon Valley has its own very obvious discrimination problems. Gender is a big one. Race is another. The numbers are so incredibly skewed for the majority — the published diversity numbers in technology are something like 70 percent men, 60 percent white — that the situation is very often unhealthy for people who don’t or can’t fit in…While these are not twin causes, there are obvious parallels, and the inconsistencies between them became all the more evident this week…It’s hard to take a meaningful stand against something that’s subtle. Discrimination in the technology industry is not often overt — in fact, there’s even a word for it: Unconscious bias…In Silicon Valley, fighting homophobia is an easy issue. Instant alliances can pop up — as long as the villain is outside of ourselves. But when it comes to the harder topics here at home, and it turns out the enemy is us? That’s a problem that all these genius techies can’t seem to grok quite as easily.”

  43. kev polonski

    Since you bring up Tim Cook, as George Will pointed out, Apple opened a store in Saudi Arabia two months before a gay man was sentenced to 250 lashes. Speaking out loud and clear, aren’t we?

  44. hf1

    This priest nails it:http://www.fatherhollywood….”In a free society, we have the right to make choices. Others may agree with us or disagree with us. We can even be wrong. If I were to walk into a store, and the manager said, “In order to do business here, you must hop up and down on one foot while reciting a poem by Catullus, and agree with me that 2+2=5,” I could either comply, or choose to leave. And I would imagine the success of his business would reflect whether or not such practices are within the mainstream or not. I don’t think I would call the police on him, threaten him, or compel him to say “2+2=4” and sell me a carburetor just because I feel entitled, or because I don’t like Latin poetry, or because his math is wrong, or because I think I would look like an idiot in complying with his rules. He has a choice of whether to sell; I have a choice of whether to buy. And we may choose to do business with each other, or either one of us may opt out and the transaction will not happen. Both parties are completely empowered. And neither party pulls a gun and compels a transaction. It’s all voluntary.That is how freedom works.Sad to say, both left and right have lost touch with what freedom is. The left talks the talk on tolerance, but is utterly illiberal when it comes to extending tolerance to those who disagree with them. The right talks the talk on freedom, but prefers to focus on religious freedom instead of seeing the bigger picture that freedom is freedom whether or not it has anything to do with religion. Both left and right are willing to throw liberty under the bus if the state has “a compelling interest” in taking away this or that freedom. And, of course, it is the state itself that decides whether the state has a “compelling interest” or not. How far we have fallen since 1776, when Jefferson opined about “inalienable rights” and the role of government being “to secure these rights.” Nowhere in the Declaration is King George allowed to violate the liberties of Americans based on his own “compelling interest.””

  45. andyswan

    Their ideas are what generate financial power.  I see no reason why Rupert Murdoch should have a greater right to political speech than Tim Cook.

  46. Matt Kruza

    I agree primarily with the publicly funded elections (pretty rare for a quasi-conservative / libertarian .. my political thoughts are very wide-ranging and extensive and I think the current system is inefficient too.. but state rough views to lend credibility to support publicly funded elections as it usually a “liberal” point, at least in US politics). But the idea of making it a “felony to lie in political ads” is a) impossible to implement (who would determine this) and b) goes against the first amendment. You are allowed to lie (sure there are some restrictions in commerce etc) and frankly coupling the very repressive and impossible to implement felony idea is what dooms real chances for publicly funded elections. TERRIBLE IDEA

  47. andyswan

    The IRS intentionally disrupted the legitimate organizational activities of the President’s political opponents.I think I’ll pass on ceding all speech and campaign financing to them, thanks.

  48. Mike O'Horo

    IMO, the core of any effective solution is to remove money as influence, and the only way to do that is via publicly-financed elections.

  49. Matt Kruza

    Curious. Which countries have a law that it lieing is a felony? Would love to see the actual text / citation if you have it. I think there is very little chance it could work well in practice, but am open-minded so if you have specific examples willing to consider. thanks

  50. LE

    Land of Sunday Pancake breakfasts, eh?

  51. Guest

  52. andyswan

    ahhh yes…trust the government to finance its opposition. What could go wrong?

  53. kev polonski

    No Sir, it is to remove power that is concentrated with the Federal Government. If you remove money with public financing, there will still be back-table deals.

  54. JLM

    .The 14th Amendment is the essence of current American thought but it came to be by the arm twisting of the Southern states to ratify it or to not be allowed to seat Congressman and Senators after the Civil War.No ratification, no representation.If you look at the actual votes, most of the Southern states denied it initially and then when confronted with the realities of Reconstruction ratified it two years later.The Reconstruction Amendment is still good law but like a lot of things its parentage is a little murky.The period of Reconstruction in America is one of the worst kept secrets in US history.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  55. Matt Kruza

    Appreciate the link Charlie. Best I understood it, the link was saying that the Australian Election Committee has to adhere to the “facts presented should be accurate and verifiable”. Am I misreading? I guess my contention is that they are not regulating the other political actors / parties content (I don’t think a least from reading that). Of course we want factual information overall, just like I want world peace and no little kids to go to bed hungry, but saying so doesn’t make it happen. But at the beginning of my first comment (sorry if I came off too aggressive), I DO AGREE that publicly funded elections are necessary to genuinely allow the real debate on issues by politicians who aren’t bought off. Just don’t want other things to be a hindrance to the credibility of the publicly funded election cause / issue. BTW, since it seems like an issue you feel strongly about, do you have any posts or links to more formal proposals that you support? I don’t have anything public, but basically it will cost $6-$8 billion (perhaps $1B if we made public media companies broadcast certain number of commercials as a terms of having spectrum licensing here – although not sure if I am comfortable or not for this) and will require exquisite messaging and marketing to become a reality (time frame 10 – 20 years I think).

  56. Matt Kruza

    Completely agree 70% of time spent on fundraising is ridiculous. I actually am ok with lobbying as we want “expert” and “industry” opinions, but they get screwed up when those lobbyists and their corporations then fund your election as well… imbalance of power. Will be to share with you when I post more details thoughts of my own.. pretty detailed and fleshed out proposal that I have thought about for years and continuously work kinks out.

  57. andyswan

    The KKK most definitely considers itself a religious organization:  http://m.huffpost.com/us/en…

  58. PreparedToBeFlamed

    I would hope that murder is against the law no matter how society’s perceptions change.

  59. PreparedToBeFlamed

    Just because there are differences doesn’t mean there aren’t similarities; there are always differences, but we can still use these examples to compare, understand and discuss with.Whether nature obeys “our” laws is insignificant. Because what that shows is that our laws are not perfect, we don’t have a complete understanding of the universe. That doesn’t mean that nature doesn’t obey some set of unchanging laws, whether humans have discovered them or not.I believe that in terms of morality and what is right and what is wrong, there are effectively “natural laws” that do not change. Whether humans have discovered them or not is completely up to debate. But there definitely should be a set of unchanging rules for what is right and what is wrong.

  60. Pete Griffiths

    The KKK is not a religious organization. It is an organization that takes religion seriously.

  61. ShanaC

    Pretty much. The big thing is that without the gross stuff most religions lose a lot of what makes them sociologically rich and unique. They need barriers to outside cultures to thrive.And I say this as an actual heretic from where I come from (ignoring prof Marc Shapiro…)

  62. Mike O'Horo

    There’s no issue of trust, but if there was, I’d trust the worst government more than the Koch brothers, or Sheldon Adelson, et al. In the last general election, the presidential candidates each spent roughly $2 billion, which is insane, and invites those with the deepest pockets to accumulate the greatest influence. Far too much of that money is spent on attack advertising, which serves little purpose. If each candidate were limited to, say, $300m, neither would be able to finance massive media budgets for negative advertising. They’d have to husband those finite ads to communicate their ideas.

  63. Donna Brewington White

    I want to be clear that I am not suggesting that interpreting a truth based on context makes that truth relative or that this interpretation precludes divine inspiration.When I read the passage you quote above I then have to ask “what is the context” and what was the real point being made. I’d have to interpret it in the context of everything else said or demonstrated on the subject within that same book (I.e. the Bible).When I come to a conclusion based on thoughtful, informed and deliberate interpretation that differs from popular opinion then I don’t assume that popular opinion is the “authority” because as we know popular opinion changes. Laws change.You can’t remove the human factor from how people read and respond. Lunatics will do what lunatics will do. They will find some sort of authority to support their lunacy. As a general rule people who seek wisdom from these “ancient sources” are in a much different camp than lunatics. But they may also find themselves in a different camp than popular opinion and human law. That tension comes with the territory of faith. But there are deeper principles that hopefully will dictate… such as treating every human being with dignity and respect, etc.Your position is obviously well thought out and informed and you make good points, from a certain vantage point. Recognizing the serious limits to how far a discussion like this can go in this context, I’m going to have to leave this as is.Thanks, Preston.