For those offended by the mob attack on the Indiana pizzeria for anti-gay thought crimes, there's a "Go Fund Me" site benefiting the pizzeria owners.  This in turn has sparked outrage from the compassionate progressives, one of whom (acting as a journalist or an activist, but I repeat myself) reported the Go Fund Me project "for fraud, just in case."  Can it be long before Go Fund Me is itself the subject of boycotting?  Nothing will be left then but the need to set up a new site through which relief can be funneled, until the online response to the outrage of the week becomes an even more unrestrained free-for-all.

Absurd as the whole spectacle is, I'm pleased to see supporters of the pizzeria adopt civil and effective tactics to combat bullying, and I admit to pleasure at the vein-popping reaction on the left.


jaed said...

Can it be long before Go Fund Me is itself the subject of boycotting?

I've already seen that discussed, along with suggestions of (mercifully undefined) criminal charges. For "enabling bigotry", or "discrimination", no doubt.

A lot depends on the company's commitment or otherwise to political neutrality. I recall that Kickstarter first accepted, then pulled, a crowdfunding project for a documentary about Kermit Gosnell. They were not the target of a ragemob action; it seems to have been simply that one or more decision-makers were "uncomfortable" with the "inappropriate" topic. So there's also that factor.

Anonymous said...

These nuts are alienating everybody. I wandered over to Reddit, a kiddie site, where there is substantial support for gay marriage, and found that the overreaction and general unfairness of the reporting was soundly disowned.


MrSparkle said...

I agree with Valerie (and Reddit I guess). But I struggle on this issue because we have to jeopardise one set of values for another.

As Grim said before, this issue is over a pizza, or a cake, or in this case a hypothetical victim who doesn't even exist! That should minimise how loud the reaction should be. Some of these nuts have been turned bitter by protracted conflict over these issues, everyone here is clever enough to know that the "moral majority" lobby aren't primarily concerned by individual freedom and freedom laws are a response to numerical weakness in modern society.

Discrimination against arbitrary things, most will agree that is wrong. My personal view is that sexuality is in all probability distributed arbitrarily, similar to skin colour, and deserves similar protections. If someone refused to serve pizza to an interracial couple's reception party they'd be roundly lambasted. This would have been a more common sight a bit over a century ago in the United States. Race mixing is a topic for more extreme evangelicals today.

If I was physically in a shop and over heard a refusal to produce a wedding cake because of concerns about the morality of racial intermixing, I would get very annoyed and quite loud and then take my business elsewhere.

Grim said...

I think discrimination against immoral things -- as opposed to arbitrary ones -- is something we should generally always protect within broad limitations. What's going on here is a specific refusal to engage in behavior individuals think is immoral. We should want a society in which people take moral limits seriously, and which honors individual conscience against the will of the majority or of the state.

We certainly shouldn't want a state that tries to force people to do things they think are wrong. Even when we had a draft, we made room for conscientious objectors: they might have to serve, but not to kill.

The debate we should be having is over whether homosexuality is or is not immoral, accepting that there will be some disagreement about that even in the final settlement -- not debating whether or not people should be forced to violate their consciences in a catering transaction. If I ran a catering shop, I wouldn't cater a Klan cross-burning or a Neo-Nazi rally; I assume none of you would either, not even if they filed a racial discrimination lawsuit over it. There might somewhere be a judge who would buy the claim that we were treating them differently because we were prejudiced against those who saw themselves of Aryan descent. That judge might shut you down over it. It's good that the decent part of the American people might be willing to help pick you back up again.

Texan99 said...

Conor Friedersdorf in the Atlantic:

"The owners of Memories Pizza are, I think, mistaken in what their Christian faith demands of them. And I believe their position on gay marriage to be wrongheaded. But I also believe that the position I'll gladly serve any gay customers but I feel my faith compels me to refrain from catering a gay wedding is less hateful or intolerant than let's go burn that family's business to the ground."

This is nuts. Thought crimes and mob hysteria.

raven said...

They walk on dangerous ground- after they eliminate all legal means of resistance, what is left?

MrSparkle said...

I'm not good on philosophy, but isn't there a bit of a loop here since there is no agreed upon morality. As I argue refusing to serve someone because of an arbitrary category is in itself an immoral act to me (because you are doing them harm), then we should discriminate against this couple's judgement, even if it was a principled stance.

I'm pretty doubtful that the harm done here far enough to justify law;

John Stuart Mill: "...the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant....Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign."

But I might not shop somewhere that took an immoral moral stance, which you'd agree would be taking a moral stance seriously!

E Hines said...

There's no harm done the pizza customer wannabe simply from refusing him service, regardless of the reason, unless there's no other pizza shop in the area.

With a competitive free market in pizzas, the customer wannabe can get his pizza in another shop. His mere want gives him no claim whatsoever over another man's labor.

Eric Hines

Anonymous said...

I notice none of the people howling about the pizzaria (or about the Colorado and Oregon bakeries) has said a word about the guy who went into the Muslim bakeries in Dearborn and to see about a cake for a gay wedding and was turned down at each one.

I'm with the folks above - so long as there are other establishments that provide a service, and the service is not a life-or-death one, if the local kosher deli refuses to make sandwiches for a pro-Hamas club meeting, that's their business. If a florist doesn't want to do flowers for a gay wedding, and there are other florists in town who will, well, take your custom elsewhere.


raven said...

To enjoy power, one has to FORCE another to do something they do not want to do- as long as the person complies willingly, how can one be really sure they have power,and not just an engaging line of patter?

This entire argument about right to be served, pizza, cakes or anything else, is just a misdirection.

MrSparkle said...

So do you have the right to be served Apple computers or a Starbucks coffee or travel in Uber cabs? None of which are "life-or-death" and the free market provides alternatives. Are these companies forced to serve everyone who comes to their counter?

As a thought experiment, could those companies not take a principled stance against evangelical Christians who behave in a way they deem inconsistent with their "corporate values" and refuse them the fruits of their labour?

E Hines said...

It's a false comparison. Religious freedom is an inalienable right, acknowledged in our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. Corporate freedom, such as it is, is only a civil right, granted by government. Or in our case, by ourselves through our elected representatives.

And no, there is no inherent right to be served by Apple or Starbucks or Uber.

Eric Hines

Elise said...

could those companies not take a principled stance against evangelical Christians who behave in a way they deem inconsistent with their "corporate values" and refuse them the fruits of their labour?

I think this is apples and oranges. Publicly traded corporations don't have moral or religious positions. If an individual shareholder objects to how a corporation does business, he can sell his shares; if an individual employee objects, he can find another job.

Individuals doing business, partnerships, privately held companies, closely held companies can have moral or philosophical positions. There is no daylight between the individual(s) involved in the businesses and the businesses themselves.

Grim said...

Mill is limiting government power to enforce society's moral views on dissenters in that quote. He is saying that a Christian-majority society ought not use government to stop what it considers immoral behavior unless it can show a particular harm. Instead, Mill argues, society ought respect individual rights to decide moral questions.

A fortiori, then, a society ought not use government to compel individuals to do things the individual thinks immoral. If you can't impose morality by stopping someone from doing what they want, you certainly can't by forcing them to positively violate their own moral views.

Anonymous said...

It is important to note here that nobody is even pretending to stop homosexuals from doing whatever they want with their private lives. Further, in this country, there is majority support for the notion of civil unions, which are explicitly defined in at least California as having the same rights as marriages.

What the homosexual "activists" want is the right to force other people to participate their "weddings," whether those others want to participate in such an event, or not.

This demand has nothing to do with being homosexual, and everything to do with being an exhibitionist. The exhibitionists are probably the source of the public cases of the vapors over this disingenuous news report and the death threats, as well. Other homosexuals have far more dignity than this.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

MrSparkle - there is debate over whether it is moral to recognise gay weddings, or approve of homosexual acts. Your position is "no there isn't." I don't think you see that you are actually arguing "because I don't think there is any moral issue, no one else should have right of conscience to think so. That's just wrong."

It's not especially persuasive.

MrSparkle said...

"Publicly traded corporations don't have moral or religious positions"

Well they often do hold ethical positions otherwise called "corporate social responsibilities"; 'CSR policy functions as a self-regulatory mechanism whereby a business monitors and ensures its active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards and international norms.' Lots of big corporations also support same-sex marriage because it makes them more competitive in the hiring market and improves worker happiness.

Grim, the anti-marriage lobby is happy to use law to ban same-sex marriage, but they are not in a position to achieve this in many places.

AVI and Valerie, there is a debate still, one that will be most affected by demographics. "Reddit" aged people (18-35, I am 28 and heterosexual) are the most supportive. 18–29 year olds in the US align with the UK at approximately 80% support for gay marriage.

The urge to revel in one's own perceived moral superiority over another person is shared on both sides unfortunately and is crass.

Texan99 said...

I may not be in the Reddit demographic, but I support gay rights and always have.

I just don't see what that has to do with forcing people to give personal and public support to what they see as a profanation of a religious ceremony. We're not talking about putting gay people in prison here. We're talking about the right not to participate in their marriage ceremonies.

Would it be OK for a bakery to refuse to cater a gay wedding if his objection was that one of them had been previously married, and his religion forbad divorce? Must we really catechise people about what aspect of a religious ceremony violates their faith? No one seems to mind that all the Moslem bakeries that were polled politely refused the same service.

This controversy affects me the same way as stories about gay people barging in and disrupting Catholic masses as a protest. It makes me less interested in solidarity on a civil rights issues, not more.

Grim said...

I don't think the supporters of the traditional definition are probably J. S. Mill devotees. His principle, since you raised it, just is pointed at limiting social morality laws. It gets you to gay marriage, but not to forcing dissidents on gay marriage.

Elise said...

Well they often do hold ethical positions otherwise called "corporate social responsibilities";

A corporation's ethical guideline is not a religion.

Happy Easter.

Tom said...

My personal view is that sexuality is in all probability distributed arbitrarily, similar to skin colour ...

I haven't seen any scientific validation of this idea. There are good studies that show that some people probably are born with a predisposition to same-sex attraction, but nothing to indicate that it is biologically determined and unalterable.

In fact, people do change. There are people who were straight until their 50s and then started having homosexual relationships, and others who were homosexual until a certain point when they shifted to heterosexual.

Like most behavior, there is probably a mix of biological and cultural factors mixed in with some free will.

Tom said...

Skin color, by the way, isn't distributed arbitrarily, but is hereditary. Homosexuality is unlikely to be purely hereditary for obvious reasons.

Another difference between race and sexuality is that race is not a behavior but sexual acts are. Even someone who has a strong same-sex attraction has a choice about whether to act on it or not, and marriage certainly is a chosen behavior.

In general, I think people agree that we should not base moral decisions solely on someone's physical looks: Saying someone is evil just because of their natural skin color is wrong. At the same time, I think we agree that we can and should base moral decisions on behavior: Murder is wrong and should be prevented or punished.

Sexual behavior is a choice. It therefore falls in the category of things we can properly talk about as being moral or not, and the things we can talk about whether or to what extent we should allow or encourage as a society.

I lean heavily toward libertarian politics and think the government should stay out of our bedrooms, as long as we're talking about consenting adults. But marriage goes beyond mere sexual behavior.

MrSparkle said...

When I said arbitrarily I was linking it to that John Rawls thought experiment where you imagine you are stuck behind a veil of ignorance floating above Earth, and you don't know where you will be born, to whom, or what traits you will inherit.

From what I've read in the past I think there is evidence homosexuality is at least partially genetic or linked to biological processes. It is evident nevertheless that a percentage of the population are gay (and others sit on the spectrum at different points), and included in that number are plenty of people who really wish they weren't and a number who live lives of self-imposed celibacy because of their faith, who do often freely admit that is a source of great suffering in their lives.

I'm trying to read a little bit about morality at the moment as I feel I am completely uneducated on the subject. I am hitting a brick wall with the idea of free will, I can't help but feel our free will is strongly limited and subject to factors so numerous (nature, biology, nurture, space) that free choice seems illusionary.

I also tend toward libertarian politics, and I think regardless of the debate the disruptive acts designed to damage this couple's business are very wrong and represent just a different kind of tyranny.

"Would it be OK for a bakery..."

Okay I give up I think Assistant Village Idiot is right, I am really not equipped to deal with debate on ecumenical matters! To think, backwater Christianity and Mohammadian emigres fighting hand in hand for free speech, maybe that's one positive take away?

Texan99 said...

"Backwater Christianity" is an expression that seems calculated to offend, not to assist in clarifying a confusing subject.

Tom said...

If we are imagining ourselves pre-birth, why accept Rawls's formulation? Why not imagine that not only do we know, but that we choose where, when, and to whom to be born? That we choose the challenges we want to face? Life seems more meaningful that way, at least to me.

There have been good (as far as I can tell) studies that indicate that some people do have a biological predisposition to same-sex attraction, but none of them come close to proving that there are no cultural factors or that there's no choice involved.

For people who want to change, there is hope: Some people have changed. Some homosexuals were formerly heterosexuals, and some heterosexuals were homosexuals.

Finally, if there is no free will, then homophobia is just as determined as homosexuality. Upon what basis do you want to discriminate for one person who has no choice and against the other who equally has no choice?

Tom said...

Let me back up and apologize for arguing w/ your use of Rawls. That's valid. Sometimes I'm just too argumentative for my own good.

Grim said...

Rawls says something very weird that is at the crux of this, actually. His concept of self respect, which he treats as the most important good, is that it depends on others. You can only have self respect in the degree entitled if others show respect for you (to include your way of life). An equality of respect is thus a key goal on Rawls' analysis.

The gay marriage argument here is that we don't show equal respect if we don't treat these unions exactly equally. The paradox is that if we compel traditional Christians to set aside their moral beliefs in order to achieve that equality of respect, we do it by creating an inequality of respect for those traditional Christian moral modes. There is an explicit contradiction.

Contradiction is bad in philosophy, unless you're Hegel. I think the error is in Rawls' idea that self respect should create an entitlement. Respect has to be earned, and can be lost. We can't be obligated to respect others in the viel of ignorance. We need specific information about deeds done by particular persons to know where respect is rightly given.

raven said...

Maybe we are looking at this whole issue wrong. Let's try inverting it-
Is there anyone we ARE allowed to refuse service too? Do we have to bake a cake for the Charles Manson family reunion? Or can the state force us to do that too?

Texan99 said...

Clearly we're allowed to boycott enemies of the people. We simply mustn't make the mistake of thinking we're entitled to be guided by our own consciences. Direct the 2-minute hates at the approved targets, and you should be fine.

Grim said...

There are areas where you aren't permitted to refuse service. Nurses in Emergency rooms are supposed to render aid to everyone who comes through the door. That's entailed in a way by the medical oath, and one could suggest that by taking that oath you are actively accepting an ethic that not everyone is expected to share.

A Jewish nurse who has to treat a Neo-Nazi is expected to do it in spite of his swastika tattoos. I don't know that I think a Jewish baker should be expected to make a swastika cake. The cases seem importantly different.

Texan99 said...

Update: $840K in donations now. Bonus: amusing insight into decimal-point difficulties among the pizzeria's enemies: http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2015/04/liberal-heads-explode-as-donations-top-840000-for-memories-pizza/