Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Gay Thing: Ted Cruz's Disingenuous "Religious Freedom" Video

Several times on the blog, I've written about the issue of the bogus "religious freedom" campaign being pushed by anti-gay activists. It's a response to the then imminent and now reality of 50-state legal marriage equality for same-sex couples. When it became evident that the anti-gay marriage movement was going to lose, they shifted gears to this "sincerely held belief" issue, which is--as I've said often--100% bullshit.

Ted Cruz has never taken a picture where he
didn't look creepy.
The quest for legal exemptions from public accommodation laws, and the right to "opt out" of servicing gay couples is quite simply no more about religious freedom than was the sincerely held belief that blacks were inferior. The fact that this issue is fraudulent is evident in nearly every argument made for it. Starting with the fact that virtually every telling (and endless re-telling) of this handful of cases, is strewn with misstatements of facts, distortions of reality, and disingenuousness. Lies, in other words.

This would be par for the course, were it not for the fact that mainstream politicians are picking the issue up, as though in has an ounce of merit. In an effort to get their sorry carcasses to bob to the surface of the GOP 2016 stew being stirred by Donald Trump, Ted Cruz--in particular--is wedding himself to this artificial cause. He's even released a video short on the subject, trotting out the usual suspects. Here's my deconstruction of the video.

It starts with this quote, "Today, the U.S. Government is forcing people to violate their beliefs on marriage and sexuality."

Please note that they rarely if ever--in this video, or anywhere else--articulate which beliefs are violated, how they are violated, or anything resembling a legal argument. They also state that "U.S. Government" is involved which is rarely if ever the case. In fact, I don't believe the federal government has anything to do with most of these cases.

One of these people is apparently "Sweet Cakes," and
the other one "Melissa?" Image from
It continues, "Across the country, Americans are being told to change their religious beliefs or lose their livelihood."

No one has been asked to "change their religious beliefs," and in most cases--if a business has been lost--it has been the decision of the vendor. No one else. Also, the implication of "across the country" still amounts to a small handful of cases.

"These are five of their stories."

Yes. There are maybe five or six others, at most.

"Each one has been sued."

Not entirely true. Often, these cases are actually made pre-emptively by the alleged "victim," usually at the behest of a group like The Alliance Defending Freedom, or one of any of the groups with "family" prominently in their name.

"Each one has received death threats from activists."

Again, a stretch. Activists? Really? Can they name even one? While "death threats" are always wrong, it is the rare subject of an internet story that hasn't gotten hostile comments, up to and including death threats, usually along the lines of drop dead. But activists? Not buying it, nope.

"Chief" Kelvin Cochran, former Fire Chief - Suspended and terminated for "his faith." Says "not for any wrongful action, but because of his Christian beliefs.

The owner of Arlene's Flowers is "Baronelle?" Achtung!
Image from
You know what he did? He self-published a book wherein he compared gays and lesbians (who he calls "perverts") to pederasts and people who have sex with animals. And passed them out to his employees. Those are actions, not beliefs.

Sr. Master Sgt. Phillip Monk - Fired for "expressing a traditional view of marriage" and says he cannot violate a "tenet of his deeply held religious belief."

He claims he was fired for opposing gay marriage, though doesn't explain how civil marriage violates his religious beliefs (they never really do). What he was actually doing was drilling his anti-gay bias into his trainees. Also, he wasn't fired, he was reassigned. And sued? Don't think so.

Blaine Adamson, Managing Owner Hands on Originals - Printer told he must "promote messages that conflict with his faith."

First of all, his name sounds sorta gay, which is a cheap shot, but there you go. But seriously, this guy actually had a case, and ultimately won it. It's the rare case of a vendor being asked to print a message they disagree with. It's been argued and won before that printers and the like don't have to do that. Just because someone tried to sue him over it does not equal "persecution." I agree that he shouldn't have to print it, but since he didn't. . .what's his story doing here? [Story continues below]

Melissa and Aaron Klein, Owners of Sweet Cakes - Lost a public accommodations case for not selling to a gay couple.

This case takes the cake (ha!) for disingenuousness. It transpired before same-sex marriage was legal in their state, but is held out as a consequence of legal gay marriage. So, right there, it's dishonest. The couple broke a state law against discrimination in public accommodation. And they've never explained how selling a cake for a commitment ceremony reception violates (or even has a single thing to do with) the bakers' religious beliefs, sincere or otherwise. The couple also got a little bit punk'd by reporters who pretended to inquire after cakes for all manner of other "sins," which the Kleins were more than happy to provide! The--ahem--icing on the cake is that due to crowd funding, the Kleins got rich off of the story, and are now on the conservative speaking circuit. Boo hoo.

Baronelle Stutzman, Arlene's Flowers - Also lost a public accommodation law case for refusing to sell goods to a gay couple.

This one is almost a carbon copy of the Sweet Cakes story. And just as disingenuous. Ms. Stutzman has also been enriched by the experience and become a celebrity.

As you can see, for such a short video, there is quite a lot of truth stretching going on. And zero explanation for or evidence of any "sincerely held religious beliefs" being trampled, changed or squelched. By the U.S. Government or by anyone else. Also ignored: the sincerely held beliefs of the customers and other gay people on the other sides of these stories, the fact that there are religious that support same-sex marriage, or the fact that no matter how the Supreme Court ruled, all of these cases would have had the exact same result. There was no causality.

Ted Cruz is then, quite clearly, a liar.

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