Faith-driven discrimination laws bigger than cake dispute

When it comes to religious freedom, LGBTQ rights and everything in between, I’m really tired of one thing: the “bakery” analogy. You should be, too.

For a story I wrote in The Echo about Arkansas Senate Bill 202, I tried to make it as fair as humanly possible.

I spoke to everyone I could get my hands on, get a phone number for or get a response from on Facebook.

And for the most part, I managed to get some good answers. But what I found was troubling.

Liberals spewed their PR and conservatives did the same. Most of the religious individuals (astoundingly) had no idea what I was talking about.

Libertarians put capitalism on a pedestal and independents shrugged.

What I’m about to say is for everyone. While mainly conservatives and libertarians have used this example in my experience, there are just as many “liberals” out there who think it’s OK to use it just as frivolously.

Do you really think this is just about a cake? Is that seriously all you can fit in your head when debating about the so-called religious freedoms of some and the basic human rights of others?

You call yourself an “activist” when the only thing you can pull out of your Fox News or MSNBC grab bag of pseudo-intellectual arguments is about a baker?

SB 202 was not about a cake. Arkansas House Bill 1228, what the state is dealing with right now, is not about a cake.

Everything that has ever happened in the history of religious freedom and human rights wars in America has never — and I really mean that — once been about a cake.

SB 202, HB 1228 and the countless other bills circulating through state governments every day are of a serious nature and should be treated with an equal sense of serious argument.

All of this isn’t to say that somewhere, there is undoubtedly going to be another baker who wants to deny service to a client for whatever reason.

Whether it’s because the client is gay, an atheist, Jewish or black — it doesn’t matter. The baker doesn’t matter.

A lot of libertarians and others feel as though it’s a business owner’s right to discriminate — though they wouldn’t do it themselves — because the capitalist environment will do its job and kill those who drive customers away.

That’s true, and I agree with that. To those of you who got hot heads over Chick-fil-A, I say get over yourselves.

To paraphrase Friday’s episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher,” aren’t there bigger battles to fight?

Shouldn’t you be spending your time being upset about the ungodly number of gay people being brutally murdered across the globe on a daily basis than making out in front of a fast food restaurant, probably managed by someone who couldn’t care less if he sees two men swap tongue?

If you really wanted to make a change, you’d just go get your chicken sandwich somewhere else and let the chain die a horrible, embarrassing death, much like the chicken you’re eating probably experienced.

Restaurants don’t matter. Retail doesn’t matter. What matters are necessary public services. That’s what you should be talking about.

I don’t care about a cake. I care about how my roommate could be evicted from our apartment without notice because he’s gay.

Never mind that he’s already paid the entire lease up front. Our landlord could still throw him out while citing a combination of HB 1228 and existing state law.

I don’t care about a downtown store.

I care about how a man could legally ignore domestic violence laws because they violate his religious beliefs, leading him to do who knows what to those he claims to love.

I care about the inconceivable amount of lawsuits just waiting to hit the fan if Gov. Asa Hutchinson doesn’t veto HB 1228.

I care about friends and loved ones being bullied to the point where they’d rather eat a bullet than spend another day in a cruel and unnecessary spotlight.

I care about people always being questioned or sneered at because of stereotypes.

I care about people not being treated as people. Let the bakery burn for its own ignorance.

You can’t make everyone be a decent person because that’s not realistic.

Move on with your lives and move on with your rage.

What’s more worthy of backlash: the man beating his wife because someone in a magic book said it was OK or you getting denied a birthday cake, even though there’s another bakery across the street?

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