AFA: Shops who display ‘We Don’t Discriminate’ stickers are bullying Christians

Those poor Christians are contriving experiencing persecution, again.

The Sermon on the Mount

The Sermon on the Mount (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

via Pink News

The American Family Association has claimed that by pledging not to discriminate against their customers, Mississippi businesses are ‘bullying’ Christians.

The campaign was born after the state’s Governor, Phil Bryant, signed a ‘religious freedom’ law, protecting businesses who discriminate against gay customers.

The bill prevents authorities from placing a “burden on a person’s right to the exercise of religion”.

Equality Mississippi says in two weeks it has distributed over 500 of the stickers, which state: “We don’t discriminate – If you’re buying, we’re selling!”

AFA spokesman Buddy Smith said: “If you do that, you are agreeing with these businesses that Christians no longer have the freedom to live out the dictates of their Christian faith and conscience.

“It’s not really a buying campaign, but it’s a bully campaign, and it’s being carried out by radical homosexual activists who intend to trample the freedom of Christians to live according to the dictates of scripture.

“They don’t want to hear that homosexuality is sinful behaviour – and they wish to silence Christians and the church who dare to believe this truth.

Benson Hill, president of the Equality Mississippi Foundation, said at their launch: “Through this program, customers will know which companies are dedicated to providing their goods and services to all, without discrimination of any kind.”

The new law is due to take effect on 1 July.

 

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  • VaudeVillain

    I would be highly interested to see the Biblical passage that states one cannot live in accordance with Scripture if others do not, or the one that states one cannot do business with another who does not, or the one that states one cannot do business with someone who does business with someone who does not.

    Until then, I’m not sure what scripture these people are trying to abide the dictates of.

    • Chad Burke

      1 Corinthians 5:9-13. Not commenting one way or the other. Just an answer to your question.

      • VaudeVillain

        Specifically only refers to people who claim to be Christians, and openly states that it applies to close personal relationships, rather than incidental interaction.

        • Chad Burke

          I guess Paul didn’t have your specific requirements in mind when he wrote that one.

          • VaudeVillain

            Actually sounds like he did, he clearly states that his intent was not that the faithful would have no interaction with the immoral, because to do so they would need to leave the world entirely. He even refers to a previous letter which seemed to indicate the latter position, and his wish to correct the misunderstanding.

            Go read it again if you don’t believe me.

          • Chad Burke

            I will check that out, but the more I think about this one, again not picking sides, what the Bible actually says or how its interpreted is irrelevant to the actual case at hand. We have a right to freedom of belief, not freedom of belief in specific, approved teachings or writings. We are free to believe what we want for any reason we want, no matter if its misguided. So while discriminating against homosexuals is clearly against established law, so is forcing biz owners to provide service if they believe it violates their religious convictions. And isolating them by pointing out they don’t agree with a certain lifestyle is also discrimination. It would certainly be if the roles were reversed. Everybody is breaking laws.

          • Andrew

            So if Christian businesses colluded to put “Christian friendly” stickers on their windows, you’d consider it illegal?

          • Echar Lailoken

            Something like this, perhaps?

          • Chad Burke

            Yes, if every business put up a fish except for the three gay friendly places in town, and did it intentionally, I would absolutely consider that to be discrimination. Use and underlying meaning.

          • Adam Maguire

            I love it. Hey, let’s remember, Mao Tse Tung believed in freedom of speech. Just not freedom “after the speech.” Off to prison you go. America is beautiful. Even with Donald Sterling in it.

          • Chad Burke

            Yes. But it has to be similar to this town where everyone knows what the stickers represent. In this case shops without the sticker would be marked as gay friendly, which today doesn’t sound bad but would be in some parts of the country. Do you at least see what I’m getting at saying its the use or ‘meaning’ behind the sticker, not what’s printed on it? Think Star of David, nothing wrong with that image unless you’re in a pogrom in 1938 Germany.

          • VaudeVillain

            The major, MAJOR difference here is that nobody is being isolated unless they choose to be. Nobody forced any business to shun gay customers, and no business that doesn’t intend to is welcome to have a sticker or not as they see fit. You can’t overtly, directly discriminate against people and send them away, then accuse them of discriminating against you for not coming around. It is completely, utterly irrational.

            If a business owner is so invested in their religious beliefs that they will refuse service to somebody who they feel acts against those beliefs, I have absolutely no problem with them doing so. The flip side is that anyone who finds this unpleasant, as I do, also has the absolute right not to do business with them. If either side is untrue, or unreasonable, then both are, because both stem from the same sources: freedom of conscience and freedom of association.

            Nobody has a right not to have the things they say held against them by people who disagree, they only have the right to say them without fear of legal reprisal. I don’t want to see Christians who preach against homosexuality in jail, I just don’t want to listen to them. I don’t want Christians who choose not to do business with homosexuals to be banished, I just don’t want to do business with them. If this puts some people in an uncomfortable position of choosing between their faith and their livelihood, well, that sucks to be them… they’ll either find a way to work through it, or they won’t.

          • Chad Burke

            I think we’re actually pretty closer to agreement on this than it might appear at first. There is a form of discrimination happening here where the gay friendly businesses are isolating the non-gay friendly businesses. It is somewhat irrational but it still fits the definition. The bigger problem is when a govt body steps in and forces service under penalty of heavy fines or decertification, which has happened several times already. To me that’s a violation of the owner’s right to freedom of belief, but then denying service based on sexual orientation is probably illegal most everywhere too. There really is no easy solution other than cooler heads and to each his own. I also agree that I don’t want to hear fire and brimstone for the gays, but at the same time I don’t want 7 year olds learning about gay penguins or every other new sitcom to be centered around a gay family.

          • VaudeVillain

            “There is a form of discrimination happening here where the gay friendly
            businesses are isolating the non-gay friendly businesses.”

            This is the specific point on which we disagree. The gay-friendly businesses aren’t isolating anyone. Anyone who wants a sticker gets one. I would be surprised if there weren’t quite a few gay-friendly businesses that choose not to have one, either because they don’t feel the need to advertise that to gay-unfriendly customers who might go elsewhere or because they find the whole thing tacky.

            When everybody has a personal choice they get to make for themselves, you can’t call it discrimination, or accuse anyone of isolating anyone else. Nobody put a gun to anyone’s head and told them they had to refuse service to gays, they came to that decision on their own. Some Christians are choosing to isolate themselves from others, turning around and blaming the very people they’ve chosen to isolate themselves from for it is absurd.

            Maybe it will help if we narrow down what the actual impact here is. Basically, the only customers that this will show up for, one way or the other, are straight people. If a business won’t serve gay customers anyway, it clearly makes no difference if they never walk through the door: these stickers simply make the sorting process easier for this demographic.

            So among straight people, we can expect some to avoid businesses that won’t serve gays simply because they find the practice distasteful: we can shorthand these people as social justice liberals and/or straight allies. Does any business that refuses to serve gays really want this business? These are people who clearly prefer to mingle with people who are “sexually immoral” or whatever, and it is rather the point that some Christians wish to avoid them. Sounds like another case of efficient sorting.

            The second group of straight people are the ones who don’t really care either way. It doesn’t bother them if a business won’t discriminate against gays, but they also see no need to patronize only the ones which won’t. Whether or not they, personally, approve of homosexuality, they don’t feel strongly enough for a sticker to sway their actions one way or the other. I highly suspect this is where the true majority lies, because on every divisive issue that’s pretty much how it breaks down. For this group, the stickers are almost entirely superfluous, they quite possibly go unnoticed.

            We also expect to see a group that will prefer businesses that won’t serve gays. If this group didn’t exist, then no law stating that such refusal is explicitly legal would have been passed. In fact, one can reasonably argue that because such a law did pass, a pretty large segment of the population feels this way. For this group, any business that posts a sticker is likely to be avoided, because that is the point. Efficient sorting, once again.

            Where I suspect this last group has run into problems is that they have since discovered that many businesses they liked and preferred previously are owned and operated by people with no intent to discriminate: when they were unaware of this, they could simply project their own views onto the establishment and assume that gays weren’t welcome, but now they feel uncomfortable because they have concrete evidence to the contrary.

          • EffieIlene

            To a certain extent, I get what you are saying – my problem with the whole thing is that those who oppose the stickers seem to be saying, “We should get to choose who we do business with based on our personal religious beliefs, but no one should get to let other people know that we feel that way.”

            If a business doesn’t want to serve LGBT individuals, and they have the right to make that decision, does that mean every LGBT individual (or LGBT supporter) who wants to do business with that company must be told in person to their face that that company won’t do business with them? Why shouldn’t I, as a consumer, be able to look at a business and see if they are willing to serve me?

            I know which businesses serve alcohol and don’t allow patrons under 21, I know which businesses provide gluten-free products, I know what type of food a restaurant serves. Why shouldn’t I know what type of customer a business wants?

            I don’t have to walk into Tiffany’s to know I can’t buy what they are selling – these businesses should be the same.

          • Chad Burke

            The intent he corrected was to tell followers they need not shun immoral people because they were too numerous to avoid completely. He never recanted telling followers to avoid habitual interaction. But like I said, people can read it how they like, however illogical it may be, there is no burden of proof when it comes to freedom of belief. No matter how stupid the belief it is still protected.

          • Adam Maguire

            Awesome reply. Funny. Like your sense of humor. More but faster please.

      • COMALite J

        “1” Corinthians 5:9? The First Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians? B-b-but, it begins with Paul writing, “I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators.”

        Waitaminnit: “I [Saint Paul the Apostle] wrote [past tense!!!] unto you [the Corinthians] in an Epistle…”!? How could Paul have written a previous Epistle to the Corinthians if this is The First Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians!?

        Is the Bible incomplete!?

        • Chad Burke

          The first epistle references and corrects the intent of the earlier letter, making its inclusion redundant. The New Testament is a compilation of the teachings of Jesus through the writings and teachings of the authors of the four gospels which date anywhere from 20 to 200 years after the death of Christ. Some of these writings survived while some were passed on in oral tradition which, before you ask, has passed scientific muster in all other forms of historical research. If the N.T. contained all of the teaching and writings of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. It would weigh 20 pounds.

    • n_djinn

      In the Old Book, with the old rules. The laws that are convenient when they are and ignored when they’re not.

  • InfvoCuernos

    I feel that in small business, a little bit of democracy still resides. If enough people also feel that they are wrong, their business will reflect it and fail, and reflectively, if everyone in “Boggy Holler” has the same views, then they will thrive. I have no problem if someone doesn’t want my business due to race or sex or religion or anything else. I’d rather not give them my money. I think these stickers just help that along. It would be even better if the christians would put up their own stickers, just to let everyone know who they are giving their money to. If they don’t want these stickers out there, then they already know how everyone will “vote”. They just want the freedom pull some bigoted small town shit and act righteous, but to be able to turn it off if needed to get that fast cash. And heaven forbid you actually learn to mutually respect other humans like we are all pretty sure Jesus would have wanted you to do. It is always amazing to me how some people will go far out of their way to excuse bad conduct by twisting the bible like a lawyer. Its far past time to set this shit aside. The 21st century is going to really suck if we can’t pull it together.

    • overdone

      I think that somewhere in the “Good Book” it says, “judge not lest ye be judged”. So if they are not at fault in aspect of their being, let them cast the first stone. Either that or it falls within the realm of “what ye do unto one of these the least of my bretheren ye do unto me.” (Jesus in – Matthew 25: 34-45) If they’re going to preach it they should live it, IMHO, nt just the passages the like the sound of, but all of it.

    • Gjallarbru

      Most lawyers I know don’t read the bible, and find it twisted enough as it is.

      • overdone

        imagine how ‘they’ could twist it if they did read it as a lawyer…….WOW !!

      • InfvoCuernos

        You might be right about reading it, but I would guess all the conservative christian candidates would say that they have read it-most politicians hailing from the legal profession.

        • Gjallarbru

          What they say they do, or read, I wouldn’t put much stock in. The point for them is to get elected…

        • Oginikwe

          They may have read it but clearly, they didn’t understand it.

    • terrasodium

      It has been historically proven that the display of religious symbols in shop windows will help identify the problems and that “arbeit macht frei” are words to look up to.

  • DrDavidKelly

    I hope they’re not open on Sundays – trading on the sabbath is punishable by death!

  • Gjallarbru

    “The dictates of scripture”… I was discussing religion with my brother, and I told him I thought that one of the appeals of religion, is that you don’t have to think for yourself. It is easy and comforting to simply take your holy text as inflexible truths. Thinking for yourself implies effort, and the risk of being wrong, but with “scriptures”, you cast away doubt. You’re still subject to being wrong, but you have no doubt.

    Only when confronted do the religious react. In the face the doubt they so desperatly avoid, they react violently. Like that reaction to those stickers. Obivously, those stickers tell the “christians” they are wrong and they can’t handle that, so they feel “bullied”. Two words, “ridiculous” and “pityful”.

    • Adam Maguire

      America wasn’t always so anti-intellectual. Ivy League schools were basically founded as seminaries for training ministers. Myopia is viral and doesn’t discriminate. I’ve talked to a lot of pagans who are pretty ignorant too but, in general, it’s a cottage industry inside the church. One of my favorite epistemic benefits of knowing Jesus (the Lord of Knowledge) is when you repent and trust in HIM he begins to renew your mind and grant you true wisdom and knowledge. Most Christians think salvation starts or occurs when you die and go to heaven. Jesus begins saving your mind the moment you repent and believe (2 Tim. 2:25). The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Pr. 1:7). Augustine had a great little credo “If I wished to KNOW and then BELIEVE I would neither know nor believe. I BELIEVE in order to UNDERSTAND.” Knowledge is a category of belief. In other words it takes faith to know things and Jesus is the source (“and an awesome object”) of knowledge. Blessings.

      • Gjallarbru

        Sorry, but we are far from agreeing. To know is nowhere near what believing is. What I KNOW is certainly not a belief and needs no faith to accept. Knowledge is not and has never been a category of belief. Knowledge is based on observable and repeatable fact. Belief is based on little more than a gut feeling, or what you would call faith. Beliefs cannot be observed as fact. The existence of the bible is a fact, its content, is belief.

        What you just wrote is another majestic piece crap the religious respond. You confuse your words, squirm and twist around, all the while showing the limitations religion have placed on your mind. You, friend, are in a cage which you cannot see. It is fine to believe, but do make an effort to untangle the word you use. To those outside, free from religious thought, you are merely silly in pretending knowledge is belief.

        You should open another big book out there, it is called a dictionary. It has knowledge, and requires no faith at all.

        • Dingbert

          I recommend you both find an epistemology course. I don’t mean that condescendingly–the barroom discussions between me (orthodox) and my professor (new atheist) were some of the most fascinating I’ve had. It’s hard to be adversarial about a topic that’s perpetually theoretical, unless you’re on the Internet.

          • Gjallarbru

            The difference between knowledge and belief isn’t really up for discussion unless you’re attemting to justify your faith.

            Still, epistemology is interesting in many ways. I like your suggestion.

  • BuzzCoastin

    For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
    Jesus, Matt. 5:46-48

    too bad Christian’s don’t read their bibile

    • Dingbert

      Bible study advice for Evangelicals, “go back and read the verses you didn’t like, didn’t understand, or didn’t underline.”

  • Rebecca Brandt

    How is putting a sticker on your window promising not to discriminate against anyone bullying anyone? If someone, say a Christian, doesn’t like it when a business fails to discriminate against someone s/he doesn’t like, can’t s/he just not go there? Either somebody is twisting the issue shamelessly, or there is a lot not being said. It does not make any sense to claim bullying over this.

    • Chad Burke

      It goes the other way too. A few of these cases I’ve seen are religious bakeries refusing business from Gay weddings. If I were gay, why would I want to hire someone who doesn’t want to do work for me? Why shop somewhere I’m not wanted? I think the problem is a large number of businesses are posting these signs and isolating those that don’t. This is a form of discrimination in its own right. Might not be popular but people in this country have a right to believe what they choose and, in almost all cases, businesses have the right to refuse service. I think they are both somewhat in the wrong and there really is no fair answer. Its either discrimination against gays or infringing on freedom of belief.

      • VaudeVillain

        Wait, what? If you don’t want to do the work I’m offering, so I hire somebody else instead.. how are you being even remotely discriminated against?

        You’re actually claiming that because some Christians are turning away gay customers, that those Christians are being discriminated against. It’s not like these stickers are rationed, anyone can have one, all they have to do is ask for one and promise to do business with all comers regardless of sexual orientation. This isn’t discrimination at all except in the minds of Christians who want it both ways: they can refuse service to anyone, but everyone has to use their services whether they like it or not.

        • Chad Burke

          You are completely ignoring the established right of freedom of belief. What the stickers say and whether they’re readily available is irrelevant. The problem is how they are being used. One group of people is isolating another. If a majority of businesses put up stickers saying “We are straight” the sticker itself doesn’t break any law but the collaboration between businesses to point out gay friendly businesses does. Both sides are in the wrong here.

          • Echar Lailoken

            One group of people is isolating another.

            Exactly, the cherry picking literalist Christians are doing the isolating. The stickers express inclusive business. It’s not the fault of inclusive companies that some people choose to be exclusive, and run their companies as such. If they want to cut off their noses to spite their faces, that’s their trip.

          • Chad Burke

            Neither is it the fault of Christians that some live a lifestyle they don’t agree with. You can’t force belief on anyone, whether you like it or not. If you don’t see the hypocrisy here, I don’t know what to tell you. Again, what the stickers say doesn’t mean a thing, its how they are used.

          • Echar Lailoken
          • Andrew

            I don’t buy the whole “intolerance of intolerance is just as wrong” saw.

          • Tuna Ghost

            likely because you don’t have your head up your ass

          • Oginikwe

            Christians don’t have to agree or disagree with anyone’s lifestyle. They just need to live their own lives and don’t judge other people or force their beliefs on anyone else.

          • Chad Burke

            Seriously, go look up the word hypocrisy and read the definition 30 or 40 times. Maybe something in your head will fall into place.

          • Oginikwe

            Maybe you should take your own advice.
            What I wrote is what Christ taught and did.

          • Chad Burke

            You really are dense. These people ARE trying to live their lives. Their belief system precludes associating or working for homosexuals. They aren’t attacking or persecuting them. To the contrary, others in this particular town are singling them out and in other places bureauctacies have stepped in and threatened fines and closures, forcing people to compromise their convictions. I’m sorry you can’t see it but the folks pushing for gay rights are one of the most rabidly intolerant groups out there.

      • Andrew

        I don’t agree that businesses agreeing to advertize that they do not discriminate is a form of discrimination in the same way that refusing to serve a certain population is.

      • Rebecca Brandt

        Your point is good, but is it not more fair to let people know up front whether or not they are welcome in that business? Christians are still the majority and it seems unlikely that anyone would lose business, except those trying to be fair.

        • Chad Burke

          Yes, agree that would be best, but as soon as they post that sign they’d have protesters show up plus they’d open themselves to legal liabilities by proclaiming it in advance. As the laws stand now its a no win situation for either side I think.

  • Adam Maguire

    Due to a flight couldn’t attend church today, so thought join the dialog…On the spectrum of assimilation-separation, consider the reverse account of Daniel in the Old Testament. He was a magician in service to a pagan King yet prayed to Jehovah 3X a day. The Lord caused him to flourish in captivity. True Christianity advances “by Gospel” (good news) not “swords loud clashing” as the hymn goes. Jesus is good news for both homosexual and heterosexual sinners. Some avoid him through good works (e.g. – Gal. 2:14; law keepers) and others through licentious deeds (libertines). The church is such a stumbling block and impediment for anyone to ever hear the the gospel. Luther said “living in line with the gospel” was a like drunk man on a horse. You keep falling to 1 of 2 sides — legalism or license. Although faith is a FREE gift I find exercising belief to be so hard at times. I keep doubting that Jesus will save me when I repeatedly violate his laws. I’m oft comforted by words from my favorite Puritan, Dr. Thomas Watson, ‘believing there is more merit in Christ than sin in us brings honor to God…faith in the mediator is greater than the martyrdom or the most heroic act of obedience.”

    • Echar Lailoken

      The allegorical Jesus is awe inspiring. The organized (literalist) Jesus™, not so much.

      • Adam Maguire

        LOL. Greetings to you, Marcus Borg and all the other skeptical “Jesus Seminar” insiders. May I offer a quote from Jesus, your maker and savior — ““I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (John 10:14-18 NIV). So awesome that you and I, by nature HATE Jesus, but he HE isn’t deterred in the least and continues to love us against our will by voluntarily laying down his life. Kind of like raising kids. Enjoy that Willamette Pinot my friend :)

        • Echar Lailoken

          To be clear.I don’t hate anything, I may strongly dislike. If I was to hate something, I’d be hating myself. To dislike would suggest that a change is to be made.

          John the Baptist is an interesting voice from the bible, by the way. Thanks for sharing.

          • Adam Maguire

            John the Baptist, “I must decrease. He must increase.” Pretty good advice. – Blessings.

          • Echar Lailoken

            Blessings to you friend.

  • Oginikwe

    Maybe they don’t want to go to heaven. I know I don’t: can’t stand the company which makes that particular heaven my hell.

  • Dingbert

    “Those poor Christians are contriving experiencing persecution, again.”

    Guess again. Christians are targeted more than any other religious group. What you should have said is “poor American Christians,” who consider getting their feelings hurt the same as being crucified, which is what’s actually been happening in Syria this past week.

    • Oginikwe

      Yeah? I just read about a whole bunch of Muslim women and children being massacred in their sleep in India. You see what you want to see.

      • Dingbert

        Yeah, I saw that. Religious persecution in India is remarkably bad. Unfortunately, Western media shows little interest in remarking. Unless, of course, it’s violence committed by Muslims.

  • Anarchy Pony

    Damn, these people have a persecution complex a mile wide. Basically not bowing down to their whims means that you’re persecuting them. Madness.

    • Oginikwe

      Serving me and my needs is how you serve my master.

    • COMALite J

      Their Lord and Savior promised them that they’d be persecuted for His sake. Therefore, if they’re not being persecuted, why, that would mean that their Lord and Savior, God the Son, the Word Made Flesh Himself, was wrong, and we can’t have that, now, can we!?

      So desperate are they for persecution that they’ll make it up if they can’t get the real thing. First it was store clerks wishing them “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” (“War on Christmas!!!1!!”), now it’s window stickers expressing simple tolerance.

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