Media Mendacity Over Proposed Arizona Bill

CNN Arizona Law

We’ve been hearing a lot about Jim Crow lately, so perhaps it would be worthwhile to recall the history behind the Jim Crow legislation. This will enable us to more accurately decide whether Arizona’s recently proposed SB 1062 (which was vetoed last week by Republican governor Jan Brewer) is relevantly similar to the Jim Crow laws.

The term “Jim Crow” refers to a collection of state and local laws passed in the late nineteenth and earlier twentieth centuries, especially in the American South. Their purpose was to prevent people of African heritage from integrating naturally into mainstream society. Laws demanded, among other things, that black and white Americans attend different schools, that they use different facilities, and that they eat in different restaurants or in different areas of a restaurant. Southerners sometimes claimed that segregation was intended to keep ethnic groups “separate but equal.” Realistically this is not what happened; African Americans were treated as an underclass. No doubt this is what many of the Jim Crow proponents actually wished to see.

In our time the injustice of Jim Crow laws is almost universally acknowledged, which is why opponents of Arizona’s proposed religious freedom law (SB 1062) seized upon the term as a convenient way of implying that the proposed law was bigoted. Foaming and frothing, liberal journalists assured Americans that under SB 1062, homosexuals would be evicted from restaurants, refused basic services and generally denied access to civil society. Some warned that the harms might well go further. Mothers would be denied needed antibiotics in the middle of the night because they were not veiled, and because the only drug store in town was owned by a serious Muslim. Military members would be forced to sleep in their cars if passing through towns in which the lone hotel was owned by a pacifist.

The level of exaggeration and mendacity in the media coverage of this legislation is jaw-dropping even for those of us who are familiar with the media’s strong biases. (Mollie Hemingway has done a thorough write-up of the media hissy-fit, for those who wish to delve into the details.)  In fact, the law’s actual terms were exceedingly modest. It provided clarification concerning the application of the already-existing Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which formally established a constitutional standard for adjudicating religious freedom cases. The RFRA has been Federal law since 1993, and Arizona has had its own version since 1999. Many people have never even heard of it, which is a testament to how non-disruptive it has been.

The proposed SB 1062 made clear that private businesses are covered under RFRA. If a business were sued for refusing to provide some accommodation, the owner could defend himself by claiming that his religious beliefs forbade it. It would then be the owner’s job to demonstrate in court that his belief was sincere, and that the requested service would substantially burden him in exercising that belief. A plaintiff could still win if he could prove that the provider’s refusal to supply the service constituted a “serious hardship” for him.

It is important to understand that SB 1062 emphatically did not give religious business owners carte blanche to refuse any kind of service to anyone. They could claim protection under RFRA, but there was no guarantee that they would win. Fear-mongering journalists warned that, under SB 1062, homosexuals could be turfed out of restaurants or stores at the drop of a hat. In truth, it’s extremely unlikely that that would ever happen. It’s hard to see how anyone could successfully persuade a court that serving a sandwich to a homosexual person constituted a substantial burden on his religious exercise. And even if the (hypothetical) Muslim drug store owner successfully argued that he was burdened by the need to serve unveiled women, the desperate antibiotic-seeking mother could still make an excellent case that his refusal to serve her constituted a serious hardship for her, in which case he would lose.

Beyond all of this there are two further questions that liberal journalists almost never bother to ask. First, do any businesses even wish to discriminate against homosexuals (or anyone else) in such an arbitrary way? And even if they do, do we need public accommodation laws to save us from the occasional aberration?

There is really no evidence that business owners (in Arizona or elsewhere) are looking for excuses to refuse ordinary services to homosexuals. The religious freedom cases that have already arisen concern same-sex wedding ceremonies. Christian wedding vendors (such as photographers or bakers) quite reasonably argue that participating in a same-sex ceremony compromises their integrity in a way that, say, selling a homosexual person shoes would not. Directly involving oneself in a celebration of a “marriage” one deems immoral is quite different from simply providing a service to a person whose personal activities happen not to meet with one’s approval. We make these kinds of distinctions all the time. Marriage counselors or facilitators of marriage retreats might likewise have claimed under RFRA that they were within their rights to refuse services to same-sex couples, given a sincere religious commitment to traditional marriage. Most ordinary commerce, however, would not have been affected at all by SB 1062.

Many have made the point as well that public accommodation laws probably are not necessary to protect the public from discriminatory business practices. In our media-drenched society, bigoted business owners would be “outed” in no time at all even if the law did nothing, and most would probably pay a heavy price for their policies through lost business. Suppose we did end up the very occasional racist pizzeria or anti-Christian health spa. Ask yourself: where would that rank on your list of social concerns?

None of this speculation, however, should cause us to lose sight of the central fact that SB 1062 allowed for nothing of the kind. It merely provided some guidelines to help courts sort through conflicts involving private businesses with serious religious concerns.

Looking back to the comparison between Jim Crow laws and Arizona’s SB 1062, we can on one level see how utterly ridiculous it really is. Jim Crow legislation used the force of law to engineer substantial social developments; it sometimes forced business owners to engage in discriminatory practices whether they wished to or not. Arizona’s legislation would have protected businesses from legal repercussions in an extremely limited set of cases. It envisioned no sweeping social change of its own, but merely offered a very modest shelter to those who are personally burdened by social changes that are already underway. There is really no noteworthy similarity at all.

At the same time, serious religious believers of all stripes should perhaps be alarmed by the readiness with which the secular left calls to mind the legally enforced segregation of yesteryear. Is it not clear by now that many on the left would like to see unrepentant religious believers relegated to a similarly second-class status? Have they not demonstrated a willingness to use the force of law and even our most trusted governmental institutions (such as the IRS and the Justice Department) to punish their enemies and implement their political and social agenda? The new Jim Crow laws may well be on our horizon. It is we, the faithfully religious, who should be legitimately afraid.

Rachel Lu

By

Rachel Lu, a Catholic convert, teaches philosophy at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota where she lives with her husband and three boys. Dr. Lu earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at Cornell University. Follow her on Twitter at rclu.

  • Don

    Another well written article Ms. Lu. From my perspective (and I am now at an age that I believe my perspective has some historical context), I see the media response as forming a beachhead for the legal challenges to come seeking to force Churches to conduct same-sex weddings. If one cannot refuse to photograph a same-sex wedding on religious grounds, it isn’t much of a leap to assert your freedom “to worship” (to quote the president), doesn’t extend to the denial of a wedding service. Civil disobedience and cool heads will be required for us to successfully wage this fight.

    • cpsho

      “Civil disobedience and cool heads will be required for us to successfully wage this fight.”
      you right, brother, you are right.

  • fredx2

    Since we were first told that no one would be forced to participate in a gay marriage, and now they are trying to force people (bakers, florists, photographers) to participate in a gay marriages, maybe the law just needs to say “No one can be forced to participate in a gay marriage” or something like that. As an exemption to the current discrimination laws -” these laws apply, however they shall not be read as forcing anyone who has conscientious beliefs against participating in a gay marriage, to do so”

  • Steven Jonathan

    The homosexualists are liars and inspired by the Father of Lies- They will say anything no matter how outlandish- they will continue to lie until they are given consent by licentious legislation to coerce an increasingly pathological American society to do their bidding in the vain but tortuous attempt and to bend the will of the Church to its own- We sleep a fool’s sleep and our silence is our consent- this is further ill omen for the gold standard building block of society, the good Catholic family.

    • cpsho

      “We sleep a fool’s sleep and our silence is our consent”
      .
      if we don’t wake up, the time is coming when it will be impossible to open a bank account without first endorsing homosexual acts and same-sex marriage.
      .
      “it caused all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that NO ONE can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.” (Revelation 13 v 16 -17)

  • Prof_Override

    The problem comes from “The proposed SB 1062 made clear that private businesses are covered under RFRA.” A business isn’t a person, it is a legal abstraction subservient to that other legal abstraction boogeyman, the government. That is the crux of the matter, not the rest of the hubris from both sides of this issue. RFRA protects the rights of real people. A business isn’t a real person. That would be as ridiculous as say, the supreme court declaring the corporations are people too – oh wait they did that!

    • Art Deco

      These business are commonly proprietorships and partnerships and their owners are fully liable for torts. Your distinction is fanciful.

      • Prof_Override

        Not true. An LLC / partnership is still an abstracted legal entity. A proprietorship is still required to register and obtain legal licenses to operate and have thus agreed to the terms and conditions of conducting legal commerce. Bottom line is that they have agreed to the T’s & C’s to do business with the “general public”. They are free to go underground.

        • Art Deco

          It does not matter. There is no corporate veil to penetrate. You just want to harass people. That’s malicious.

  • publiusnj

    First, it wasn’t just the media but the Republican Party (e.g., Brewer and McCain) that was also mendacious (Democrats, of course, are a given for mendacity). Second, the message Ms. Lu is giving is one that should have been blared loud and clear by the proponents before the feckless Ms. Brewer exercised her very cynical veto. They should not have accepted the characterization as an “anti-gay act of discrimination” and should have insisted on talking about the bill’s context as a mere clarification of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act).

    Most importantly, though, those in favor of “Traditional Marriage” should not accept the equation with Slavery and the Jim Crow Laws. Yet by going down the unquestionably losing path of arguing we don’t need public accommodations, Ms. Lu is accepting the premise. In truth, Man Woman Marriage in the Christian Context with no polygamy and no divorce is the opposite of Slavery and Jim Crow: it is the voluntary giving of oneself to the other. We should be insulted and push back strongly whenever the equation is made.

    We should say that the Christian Religion’s moral insistence on Heterosexual Marriage is based on Morality and the express words of Jesus Christ (Mark 10:6-9) and that it forwards the very serious interest the human race has in its continutation and the secure raising of children by the people who made them and see them as flesh of their flesh and blood of their blood. By contrast, gay intercourse is an inherently unserious form of sexual conduct because it will never produce children. Again, by contrast, slavery and Jim Crow did not advance the interests of all involved in the arrangement. For every winner, there was a loser. (And if the too facile argument is made about marriage being a ball and chain for the man, the response is that nobody makes a man say “I do”).

    And when the Secularists brings up the fact that “straights are making a pretty big mess of the Marriage thing with all their divorces,” we should not meekly turn around and sheepishly say: “well you have a point there.” Instead, we should say: “that is because you secularists have been messing with the Institution of Marriage for the past fifty plus years” with No Fault Divorce, and encouraging single parenthood by such devices as the head of household credit (which provides superior rates to a single parent than a two parent family gets), the marrriage penalty on two parent families when they both earn money), the earned income credit (which gives far higher beneits to a single person than to a married couple if both work) and, in the past, and the Welfare Laws’ prior restrictions on men in the house.

    • cestusdei

      The GOP has told us we are to go to the back of the bus. I guess I will be voting 3rd party from now on.

      • publiusnj

        That will almost certainly mean your vote will be wasted. When I got a call from the Republican Senate Campaign Committee last Tuesday or Wednesday (after McCain called for a veto but before Brewer exercised it), I told the fundraiser I would not contribute to the Republicans because of McCain’s position. And I won’t. However, given the choice between a party that won’t fight for Christian values and a Democrat party that fights all things Christian, I’ll still vote Republican.

        • cestusdei

          It will be wasted if I vote for a Republican who is just like a Democrat, except he will just get us to the end game a bit more slowly. I don’t see the GOP fighting for Christian values. Some local ones do, but nationally? Just watch them nominate someone who is “I oppose it personally, but…” If the GOP doesn’t want me that’s fine, they can keep losing. They have nominated a series of “moderates” and where did that get us? 2 terms of Obama and 2 of Hilary coming up.

          • publiusnj

            There will certainly be 2 Hillary terms if she gets more votes than the Republican and doesn’t die before her 78th birthday. At least then the country will be in strong hands, right?

            Maybe Hillary can send Putin another resend button? Putin needs to be scared of the US, and the Democrats are certainly building up this nation’s armed forces, aren’t they?

            Although they are cutting the gross number of service folks, they are trying to make the force stronger through diversity. Hillary and Barack have certainly been fighting for Christian values, haven’t they? Did you hear about the “drag show” that was held on the US Airbase on Okinawa this past week-end? For real! Here’s the news account: http://www.stripes.com/news/gay-lesbian-troops-perform-in-drag-at-kadena-air-base-fundraiser-1.270747

            • Art Deco

              Maybe Hillary can send Putin another resend button?

              You recall that the Russian diplomat looked at the ‘reset’ button in puzzlement and informed her that what it said was ‘overcharge’.

              • publiusnj

                It was an ironic question.

            • TheAbaum

              “At least then the country will be in strong hands, right?”

              Shrill isn’t strong.

            • cestusdei

              Hilary will be a disaster. The problem is that the majority are now dependents on government subsidies. The GOP can’t compete with free stuff. So they don’t even try. If we are going to go down let’s go down fighting. Instead the GOP is surrendering and joining the other side.

              • publiusnj

                Those who claim that the majority of Americans are now on government subsidies make the mistake of lumping in people receiving Social Security as “subsidy receivers.” That is a self-defeating way of thinking. I am a rock-ribbed Republican and have been one since 1992 (I had gotten disgusted with the Democrat position on Abortion by 1984 and finally did the unthinkable for someone born and raised in New York City: I crossed over to the Republicans when the Dems offered up Dukakis and then Clinton) .

                My wife and I earn a minority of our income from the Social Security System; I/my employer paid in over $210,000 into that system over time and I will not tolerate anyone saying I am the equivalent of a welfare receiver because I am now taking what the government promised I would get if I contributed. That does not make me a Democrat. If Republicans write off people receiving Social Security from their “target audience” they will lose every election. People receiving Social Security are, ipso facto, older people who usually have an attachment to traditional values. They are natural Republicans. Don’t make the stupid mistake of lumping them in with people who are getting government subsidies even though they didn’t contribute to the system that pays out their benefits. And don’t tell me I was tricked into believing that my contributions would be there when I started collecting because ronald reagan was the one who shored up Social Security in the 1980s and said that the system would stay solvent.

                • cestusdei

                  I am not making that mistake. I have been Republican since birth and voted for Reagan twice. The Dems want dependents not citizens. They use free stuff to buy votes. It works. Now they control education, media, press, and most institutions. So people only hear what they want them to hear. They staged a revolution and won. Now they are working to shut us down and marginalize us. It will happen no matter who we vote for. I have lost faith in the political process and in any party. I do not see the will among most people to put a stop to it, other then some in the tea party. I guess I am just going to go down with the ship.

  • Guest

    What does SB 1070 have to do with this discussion?

  • Objectivetruth

    Why would a gay couple force a legal gun to the head of a Christian baker to make them a cake? Obviously, the gay couple screams for justification and respect for their immoral lifestyle, but won’t respect the beliefs of the Baker.

    Personally, if legally forced to, I’d bake the gay couple the cake. Then hold the phone away from my ear as they scream and curse at me because I thought they told me “Lima bean filling” and not “lemon cream filling.”

    • cestusdei

      I usually ask if they would force a black baker to bake a cake for a Klan rally with a picture of a lynching on it. Suddenly conscience rights become more interesting to them.

      • Giauz Ragnarock

        ‘Cause a Klan lynch cake/anti-[person/group] cake is a common style of cake offered and advertised to everyone just like wedding cakes, am I right? I wasn’t aware anyone had to be getting married in order to buy and eat a wedding cake.

        “Suddenly conscience rights become more interesting to them.”

        There is no conscience in your disgusting comparison.

  • BillinJax

    Social justice, in the minds of the liberal progressives who now occupy the leading roles on our nation’s legal landscape, demands that society seek an extreme sense of tolerance for the sake of peaceful existence in a pluralistic community. But while they PREACH tolerance on the one hand they DICTATE conformity to their concept of reality by defining right and wrong behavior. The first and most important concept is that what we have been taught as SIN by
    religious bigots is inevitable in our human nature so adjust society to accommodate
    it. Here is their remedy and explaination.

    Our sexual desires are basically for pleasure and if it results in the disease now called pregnancy we must provide a quick and easy cure for it call abortion.

    Teens have the right to enjoy this pastime also but since they are not allowed to marry at the age of puberty we have to provide them with condoms and contraceptives at school.

    Sexual attractions are natural and can be for either or both
    sexes and even children too young to understand that grownups and other older
    children have the right to act out their sexual desires where ever or when ever
    they wish within or outside of marriage as long is it is displayed with love
    and compassion for the other person.

    Those religious taboos of the past have unrightfully placed restrictions
    on our human instincts and have caused all sorts of mental disorders and issues
    for humanity.

    Henceforth, as with all bigotry, when ever these subversive intolerant ancient taboos appear they must be challenged and brought to understand they have no place in truly civilized and tolerant societies. A.K.A, the state of New York as publicly announced recently by their governor.

  • Watosh

    Those who have eyes see how the media manipulates public opinion in regard to the proposed Arizona law. This is another example of how our reputedly news reporting establishment shapes the news.

    The press is totally committed to the oligarchy that controls this country. Now they are shaping public opinion to back a confrontation with Russia over it actions in the Ukraine. We are told how the Ukrainians revolted against the corruption of their government, we are not told that the new government has appointed a number of filthy rich Ukrainian oligarchs to positions in the new government. Two of the richest were named to be governors of two eastern provinces.

    I heard John Kerry, our Secretary of State publicly denounce the Russian action on TV saying: “You just don’t invade another country on phony pretexts in order to assert your interests.” Now isn’t this exactly what George Bush did, and as a result he destroyed a country. But has anyone in the press brought this up. No, because it is paint Russia bad since that is what our leaders want. Iraq was no threat, Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 attacks, Iraq had no WMDS, and the UN inspectors reported this. Then Russia is acting to protect its citizens, but Kerry regards this as a phony pretext. Well didm’t the sainted Ronald Reagan invade Grenada “to protect American citizens?” And what would we do if Cuba repudiated giving us a lease at Guantanomo? What did This country do when the Southern states wished to withdraw from the union? Didn’t we endorse the partition of Kosovo from Serbia, and bomb Serbia for months to force them to let Kosovo become independent? Did we respect the territorial lintegrity of Serbia? But our captive, “free and independent” media does not give these things much space.

    At least citizens of N. Korea know that their government controls the new they receive, while we believe what we here are the unvarnished facts.

    • Art Deco

      and as a result he destroyed a country.

      Iraq has public order problems in provinces which comprehend about 40% of that country’s population. The Sunni Arab population predominates in four provinces and is common in two others, and cutthroats drawn therefrom are fouling their own nest. The rest of the country is fairly quiet (and has been able to enjoy an authentic public life, something of which they had none after 1967). It should be noted that Iraq was in fairly wretched condition in 2002, and not due to the ministrations of George W. Bush, but due to their own government.

      • Watosh

        Do you meant tell me that under Saddam Hussei9n hundreds of murders and bombings took place every night? Saddam Hussein had a Catholic as a foreign minister and deputy vice president, Tariq Aziz, and my wife’s sister’s young men, Chaldean Catholics, who had come to this country not too long ago, went back and forth to visit friends and relatives with no hindrance. I heard an Iraqi woman tell an interviewer that under Saddam Hussein, she could drive scar anywhere in Baghdad, now she was afraid to. Saddam was a tyrant, but he kept the country under control. Sunni’s lived with Shiites in Baghdad then, but after we set the tribes against each other, now they have had to collect in their own areas. Americans who get their news from the fawning corporate media are incredibly misinformed. Like the 70% of Americans who believed that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 attacks at the onset of our invasion, some still think that is true. And then you have John Kerry state today on TV that referring to the fact that Russia under treaty with the past government of Ukraine that they could keep thousands of soldiers in the Crimea, that, “You just don’t invade another country on phony pretexts in order to assert your interests.” This is precisely what we did in invading Iraq. Who installed the miserable government in Iraq anyway. we put our puppet in, like Victoria Nuland, the under Secretary of State who was detected talking to the american Ambassador a week or so before the Ukraine government was deposed, that america wanted to see Yatsenyuk as prime minister and who now is the illegally formed Ukraine government’s prime minister. It was Nulands choice, Yats. American exceptionalism is the drug of choice for most Americans and sure distorts their perceptions of reality.

        • Art Deco

          If you fancy ‘hundreds’ of bombings and murders take place every night in Iraq, I would say you have long had a problem with arithmetic or have acquired one in old age. The number of violent incidents has averaged about 14 per day in recent months, which has seen unusual activity. About 60% of these incidents are in four provinces where Sunni Arabs predominate, about 30 % are in the capital, and about 5% each are in Kurdistan and in Basra. The rest of the country is quiet. The mean homicide rate in Iraq is currently about 35 per 100,000, which is similar to a troubled Latin American country like Colombia.

          Again, the responsibility for this lies with political thugs in the Sunni Arab population, not with the United States government or with the Government of Iraq.

          The country has long had various sorts of sectarian rivalries. Nothing novel and nothing manufactured in America. It was also under the political thumb of a Sunni Arab minority who comprise about 18% of the population. Some of their mafiosi tend to resent the fact they don’t run the show anymore, so you see what you see.

          A review of the summary reports of Freedom House over the period running from 1972 to 2003 would be in order. Iraq’s rankings on indices of civil and political liberty were abidingly bad. In fact, only two or three countries in the world logged worse rankings over a period of time of those dimensions. It was right down there with North Korea.

          Your factual knowledge is deficient and your judgement on questions of responsibility consistently poor.

          • Watosh

            The number of incidents averaged 14 per day in recent months! Oh, well pardon me for considering that being acceptable. If 14 people are killed by a deranged individual in the U.S. we fly our flags at half mast and the news media features articles about this for days. Most reasonable, intelligent observers will say that we destroyed Iraq. We ruined their infrastructure with our smart bombs and we have left a residue from the depleted uranium there that has caused an epidemic in birth defects. The American proconsul Paul Bremer was the supreme commander. He was in absolute charge. And he accomplished the mission he was given by ensuring Iraq would be destroyed for many, many years. For whose benefit? Not the benefit of the United States certainly. The thing is taking drugs distorts the mind so that one cannot think rationally. One of the most powerful, addictive drugs that is not only legal in the United States, but has been introduced to Americans from childhood on, is the drug of “American Exceptionalism.” People who are under the influence of this drug believe that whatever the United States does is to save the world, and that whatever the United States does is beyond criticism. Now I maintain this leads to a fall. Did you ever read the poem Ozymandias? Are you not aware that from the beginning of history peoples realized pride comes before a fall? Do you rely on Rush Limbaugh or the fawning corporate media for your daily fix? If so, I can’t help you, sorry Art. A good parent realizes that they are doing their children no favor by always making excuses for them and denying their misdeeds. A good patriot, a real patriot holds his country up to standards of morality.

            • Art Deco

              Most reasonable, intelligent observers will say that we destroyed Iraq.

              No, they would not, because if they were reasonable and intelligent, they would evaluate its antecedent condition, evaluate the distribution of problems in its current condition, and evaluate who is responsible for what. You do not do this and are likely incapable of doing this.

              I would wager given the evidence that the way your head works renders it difficult for you to ‘help’ anyone on any matter.

              • Watosh

                Look, my friend, will you say that the conditions in Iraq under Saddam Hussein were such that car bombs and murders occur almost daily during his reign? In fact the reality is that until Saddam Hussein made the disastrous decision to invade Iran, encouraged in this endeavor by the U.S. and assisted militarily in this endeavor by the U.S., Iraq was regarded as one of the most progressive countries in the middle east. literacy was up, people were prospering, women were given more opportunity than in any other Muslim country. Now if you tried to overthrow Saddam or if you spoke against him, or posed threat to him, you would be done away with, true, but if you supported his policies you had a decent life, and you could walk the streets without fear of being robbed or murdered by thugs. As you are so fond of referring to the, as you put it so artfully, the antecedents, that Iraq was another artificial country composed of groups that did not like each other, and it took extreme measures to keep the country peaceful. Now is the average Iraqi, the widows of Iraqi soldiers that were easily slaughtered by our superior military, and those other Iraqi’s who managed to survive during our occupation better off now than they were under Saddam Hussein? Now you don’t need to take refuge in sneering remarks about me, just stick to the main point in question, the one that started this exchange. Were car bombs and murders under Saddam Hussein a daily occurrence? Are you able to give a clear answer to this?

                • Art Deco

                  You need to stop listening to the voices in your head. They’re lying to you. Consider:

                  In fact the reality is that until Saddam Hussein made the disastrous
                  decision to invade Iran, encouraged in this endeavor by the U.S. and
                  assisted militarily in this endeavor by the U.S.,

                  There is no reality to this at all. It is a work of your imagination. Iraq broke diplomatic relations with the United States in 1967 and did not restore them for another 18 years. Iraq was a Soviet client for more than a dozen years and a vituperative opponent of all American diplomatic initiatives in the Near East. It invaded Iran in 1980 in order to grab some territory and oil resources figuring Iran was weakened by internal political turmoil. Did not work out.

                  The United States really had a minimal relationship with Iraq after 1985. Diplomatic relations and some agricultural credits and that’s it.

                  Repair to the Freedom House reports. Then Human Rights Watch, which has offered a guess of perhaps 300,000 disappearances over 35 years. Thence to estimates of the death toll during the Iran-Iraq War, which range into the seven digits. Oh, did I mention invading, occupying and trashing a harmless oil principality in 1990 in an attempt to treble his proven reserves of oil?

                  ==

                  With regard to the normative question, I cannot figure why you fancy the Shi’ite and Kurdish population (who are out of harm’s way unless they live in the capital) is obligated to live under a Hitler regime or why you fancy that either Dr. Maliki or the United States government is responsible for the bombings and assassinations carried out by Sunni mobsters.

                  • Watosh

                    I guess you never saw the pictures of Donald Rumsfeld smilingly shaking hands with Saddam Hussein and offering support for Saddam in his war against Iran when Iran was getting the upper hand. Were you aware that we supplied Iraq with intelligence as to the location of Iranian lines obtained from our spy satellites so the Iraqi’s could better aim their poison gas shells in order to prevent Iran from advancing against Iraq.

                    You do not appear to have known that the dispute Iraq had with Kuwait was over the fact their was a dispute with Kuwait over the boundary and Kuwait was slant drilling into Iraqi territory. When Iraq asked Kuwait to negotiate, Kuwait refused.
                    Then when Saddam discussed the situation with the American Ambassador to Iraq, April Gillespie, she told him the U.S. was not concerned with the steps he might take to rectify the situation. Kuwait also was reneging on payments promised Iraq for some of the costs Iraq occurred in the war with Iran,which also benefitted the Sunni’s in Kuwait. And when the U.S. violently objected, Saddam Hussein offered to withdraw, but we had our excuse to destroy Iraq as many neocons had Iraq in its sight by then.

                    But what chance has reality when you prefer to your perception of what happened?

                    AND NOTE YOU NEVER ANSWERED AS TO WHETHER YOU BELIEVED THE IRAQI PEOPLE WERE BETTER OFF UNDER SADDAM HUSSEIN THAN THEY ARE NOW THAT WE LIBERATED THEM. You talk about some vague estimates by the Human rights Watch, whose estimates of Iraqi’s killed by our invasion, I am sure you dismiss as inaccurate. No one said Saddam Hussein ran a paradise, but are the Iraqi’s today better off than they had been? That’s all. I want to get your clear answer so people could assess your remarks properly. You can’t say they, the ones who on the whole survived and remained in Iraq, are better off today can you? Oh sure some are, Maliki and the corrupt officials now ruling are undoubtedly better off, but how about the average Iraqi. I am not even asking you who is most to blame for the condition they are now in, I just want you to say that they are better off today or they are worse off today, and compare that with what are the facts.

                    • Art Deco

                      I guess you never saw the pictures of Donald Rumsfeld smilingly shaking
                      hands with Saddam Hussein and offering support for Saddam in his war
                      against Iran when Iran was getting the upper hand.

                      Donald Rumsfeld held no public office during the period running from 1977 to 2001 bar a brief and temporary stint in 1983 in an ad hoc diplomatic position (held concurrently with his employment at G.D. Searle). On one of his trips to the Near East he had a meeting with Saddam Hussein that lasted about an hour or so. It was of scant consequence. The United States had no embassy in Baghdad at the time.

                      AND NOTE YOU NEVER ANSWERED AS TO WHETHER YOU BELIEVED THE IRAQI PEOPLE
                      WERE BETTER OFF UNDER SADDAM HUSSEIN THAN THEY ARE NOW THAT WE LIBERATED
                      THEM.

                      I most certainly did, but you are too addle-pated to actually read and digest my primary response to you and subsdiary commentary.

                      You do not appear to have known that the dispute Iraq had with Kuwait
                      was over the fact their was a dispute with Kuwait over the boundary and
                      Kuwait was slant drilling into Iraqi territory. When Iraq asked Kuwait
                      to negotiate, Kuwait refused.

                      There was nothing for Kuwait to negotiate over. Kuwait had been a component of the Ottoman Empire. Like a number of other peripheral territories thereof, over time Ottoman sovereignty decayed into Ottoman suzerainty. The territory has been under the rule of the al-Khalifa clan since the mid-18th century. The British established a protectorate over the territory in 1899 which they relinquished in 1962.

                      The place is essentially a city state, with 96% of the population living in one settlement. The vernacular spoken there is a species of Gulf Arabic, not Mesopotamian Arabic. It has long been among the most benignly governed Arab states, with a decades-long history of electoral politics.

                      Portions of the Ottoman Empire were occupied by Britain and France in the terminal stages of the 1st World War and Iraq was assembled by the British in 1921 out of the Ottoman provinces of Basra, Baghdad, and Mosul (and some sparsely populated adjacent territory) and declared formally sovereign in 1932. It was just a collection of proximate Arabophone and Kurdish locales with a Sunni Arab ruling element and a mess of intramural rivalries. The British installed a constitutional monarchy of sorts under the rule of their Hashemite clients and the country alternated between periods of messy parliamentary rule, foreign occupation, and military rule until 1958. The monarchy was overthrown in a military coup that year and ruled by a madcap autocrat named Col. Abdul Kareem Kassem for four years and change. One of Kassem’s initiatives was and arbitrary and invented claim on Kuwait lodged in 1961. It was all tommyrot. There was no reason to pay any attention to it when Saddam Hussein re-asserted that claim.

                      Oh sure some are, Maliki and the corrupt officials now ruling are undoubtedly better off, but how about the average Iraqi

                      Commentary like this juxtaposed to verbose apologias for one of the most gruesome tyrants to rule any place in the last four decades is grotesquely amusing in its way. What’s pathetic is that you fancy your an advocate for what’s just and true and beautiful.

                    • Art Deco

                      Then when Saddam discussed the situation with the American Ambassador to
                      Iraq, April Gillespie, she told him the U.S. was not concerned with the
                      steps he might take to rectify the situation. Kuwait also was reneging
                      on payments promised Iraq for some of the costs Iraq occurred in the war
                      with Iran,which also benefitted the Sunni’s in Kuwait. And when the
                      U.S. violently objected, Saddam Hussein offered to withdraw, but we had
                      our excuse to destroy Iraq as many neocons had Iraq in its sight by
                      then.

                      I passed over this the first time. Saddam Hussein undertook a general mobilization, conquered a neighboring state, and treated the place with the utmost brutaility and generated a six figure caravan of refugees. He did not do this because April Glaspie didn’t say the safe word. You have to figure people who offer this mess (and it has been offered time and again over a period of 23 years) must have an understanding of human affairs derived children’s movies.

                      You’re last sentence is pure fiction. Just about everything you’ve said is a stew of strange historical inventions and even more bizarre evaluative judgments.

                    • Watosh

                      Well all this is window dressing. Iraq under Saddam Hussein were a thorn in the side of a powerful group, and now that they have destroyed Iraq, they are doing their best to get the U.S, to destroy Iran. This is not negotiable, and whatever steps they take is warranted. No argument that stands in their way will be tolerated, the ends justify their means.

                      It has just come to light that there is significant evidence that the same snipers in the Ukraine uprising were responsible for the deaths of the protesters and the police, and these snipers were not employed by Yanukovych, but by some members of the current new Ukrainian government. Now after John Kerry publicly proclaimed in laying a wreath on those protesters who died, were killed by Yanukovych, there will be no mention of this or no investigation and our fawning corporate mediate will make no mention of this, which means it didn’t happen. Then there will be well coached voices on the internet who will pore scorn on anyone who mentions this. The ruling powers have learned how to thoroughly game the system. They will not admit anything.

                    • Art Deco

                      Well all this is window dressing. Iraq under Saddam Hussein were a thorn
                      in the side of a powerful group, and now that they have destroyed Iraq,

                      “Art Deco” is a prime example of these people in action. They patrol the
                      Web and seek to quash any voices that might disturb their game.

                      Window dressing? Saddam Hussein was a monstrous fascist autocrat who was responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths and for an ocean of misery over the period running from 1969 to 2003. None of this registers with you. Instead, you create a fantasy Saddam who resembles Tsar Nicholas.

                      I have no games. In this exercise, I have been making corrections to your insipid and ignorant jeremiads. It is something of an amazement how your mind takes the raw material of news and re-manufactures it for incorporation into this fictional political narrative you’ve concocted over God knows how many decades.

        • Art Deco

          Who installed the miserable government in Iraq anyway

          The Iraq electorate. You don’t read newspapers, do you?

  • Pingback: Same-Sex Marriage & Religious Liberty - God & Caesar

  • uncle max

    For every business owner who furnishes a service like photography, cakes, renting halls and the like but who prefers not to furnish those services to homosexual committment ceremonies (I will NOT call them weddings) because to do so would violate their religious beliefs – there are probably at least 10 or 15 others without those scruples who would be happy to furnish those services. Anyone who does not know that should stay out of this conversation because they are truly clueless.

    That being said – why do the vast majority of the gays go to the person/business who is most opposed to their lifestyle and who would be most likely to say no?

    The answer is obvious – they WANT these confrontations because they know they have the law on their side now, they can ruin the business owner who opposes them and in so doing intimidate any others.

    But the seeds to their eventual downfall have been planted – until now their calling card has been that they are victims. This requires a continuing supply of people whom they can accuse of being mean, icky, yucky and just plain not nice to them because they are gay.

    They’re running out of people.

    P.S. – I haven’t missed a Super Bowl in years but this one I’ll be sitting out. It is an interesting irony that a Republican Governor who should know better has caved on this because of pressure from business owners.

    Gov. Brewer – for shame.

    • JB

      I agree with your premise, Uncle Max, but I think that this may lead to the same thing feminism has. Women have become a permanent victim class despite amazing gains in education and entry into the professions. It is possible that the gay lobby will achieve the same kind of permanent victim status.

    • Giauz Ragnarock

      “That being said – why do the vast majority of the gays go to the person/business who is most opposed to their lifestyle and who would be most likely to say no?”

      The question is loaded with the assumption that the vast majority of gay people do this. Note that we have seen only a handful of court cases over the years. The gay people who do sue instead of go to another place where a ‘Straights ONLY!’ sign won’t be put up when a gay person intends to buy marriage-related services offered to the public enter the cases on principle that businesses open to the the public should not use qualities groups of people have as reasons to wholesale deny individuals services (no matter how few the services being denied). Most people including LGBT people do not wish to work with or continue working with someone who does not respect them or otherwise doesn’t want to do the job.

  • crakpot

    Black people are born that way.
    Homosexuals are not.
    That’s the difference with the Jim Crow laws.

    • Cha5678

      Very true. And it’s demeaning to the dignity of homosexuals, any one really, to identify them as their sin or inclination towards a sin. It dehumanizes them to an act, to a thought. It makes them outcasts and discourages them what hope they may have to become reconciled with God. Such toleration, such affirmation, such celebration is not loving thy neighbor. It’s leading those into sin, and not just the sin of abusive relationships and polytheist sexual rituals, but to the worst of all sins: the rejection of grace and the holy spirit.

      However, I suggest you also take the article in consideration. In matter of law, the difference is that Crow laws enforced state mandates to discriminate. Whereas modern liberty laws protect the right of individuals and their associations to exercise their religious freedom.

    • Giauz Ragnarock

      Thanks for being a light in the world that no Holy Spirit exists to keep you truthful.

  • Jason

    I think that there might be some hope that this issue opens up discussion of the profound unconstitutionality of the Civil Rights Act. Common law has always forced “common carriers” like ferries and trains to do business with everyone like it or not, but all other individuals and businesses retained the basic right to sell to and employ (or not) anyone they chose for any reason at all. The only reason this is not explicitly spelled out in the Bill of Rights is that is never occurred to our founders in their worst nightmares that laws would be written otherwise. We need to start talking about this! We need to do away with “protected classes” and become a society of free equal men as our founders envisioned.

    • Giauz Ragnarock

      In order for there to not be protected classes there would have to no longer be attacking classes. One can only choose to not serve/not employ a person on an individual basis. There are all too many people who would turn others away or penalize people simply for what class they are a part of (people have been fired because the employer found out they are gay, some applications ask if the job applicant is married as a way to weed out non-married people, some won’t hire black people if given the choice, women tend to get paid significantly less than men in many occupations, gay people are turned away for wanting to purchase wedding-related services, etc).

  • FrankW

    Thanks for an excellent article.

    I expect now that New Mexico Governor Susanna Martinez’s hairdresser (who is a homosexual) told her that he will no longer provider her his services because she opposes same-sex marriage, we will see the same media cry outrage over this man’s bigoted actions as we saw over this Arizona law…………about the same time hell freezes over.

    • Giauz Ragnarock

      Even if the hairdresser does terminate services with her, it would not be because of what protected classes she may belong to but for individual client reasons (note you can refuse to hire/fire an individual who is black based on stuff like poor attendance and performance not because, “I don’t want no blacks!”). If it could be proven that the hairdresser refused service merely because, “I refuse to cut women’s hair”, or, “I don’t serve [people of her religion]”, then she has a case against the hairdresser.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    So basically, SB1062 would prevent say, a Halal Butcher from having to offer bacon to his customers, but not necessarily prevent a bakery from baking a wedding cake *unless* the owner was able to prove his moral conscience?

    Yeah, the media really overstepped there.

  • Ruth Rocker

    The Washington Post reported this as “Arizona governor vetoes controversial anti-gay bill” while the Wall Street Journal reported the same event as “Arizona governor vetoes religious-freedom bill.” This pretty much sums it all up.

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  • Rhoda Penmark

    Discrimination against gays wasn’t illegal in Arizona to begin with, and it still isn’t. Conservatives passed this bill declaring a right to discriminate, then started whining when there was a backlash. Although they are now playing the victim, they were the aggressors. What did they expect?

  • Pingback: Gay Activists Target St. Patrick’s Day Parade | Crisis Magazine

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