This way of thinking is highly problematic because it manufactures the framework around which being angry seems reasonable, when instead the framework itself is the absurd part.
Say for instance the CEO of a silverware company were to reveal plans for a new spoon design, and a journalist wishing to sell newspapers asked the question, “Yes-or-no, mister CEO, could your new spoon in fact, be used by bigots to torture and blind gays by scooping out their eyeballs?” The answer is that yes, it could technically, but is a really bizarre use for a spoon and goes beyond any rational thought for the actual intended use of spoons. Imagine if other journalists, who saw the kind of attention the spoon story was getting, also posed the question and got people on both sides into an uproar about whether spoon-scooping was even actually a real threat, and how someone could possibly “defend” bigots by trying to claim it’s just a spoon and therefore enabling bigots to continue with their gay-blinding campaign of terror. Does the company not have a concern for the well-being of gays? But really, it’s just a spoon.
There is an important line of thinking that seems to be ignored in this discussion, and it involves a situation from the Christian text in the book of Acts (chapters 7 and 22) concerning the guilt in a three-party situation. The situation is someone who is being stoned to death, the person throwing the stones, and the person holding the coat of the person throwing the stones. Although the text does not suggest the guilt of the person holding the coat to be just as guilty of the stoning as the person throwing the stones, that type of relationship is very widespread. Being extremely careful to distance oneself from someone involved with what is believed to be a criminal act is important to those who have this belief.
There is, therefore, rationale for the refusal to bake a cake for a gay wedding. Although reasoning against the refusal might be “well you’re not the one being married, you’re just baking a cake,” the act of baking the cake could be too much of a gray area to risk being accused in the final judgment as someone who holds the coat for someone engaging in homosexual favoritism, despite not intending to be. The accusation of being a coat-holder is worse in the mind of the religious person than being accused of discrimination, and the business owner would prefer to risk sounding like a bigot, if it meant being completely innocent of the charge against him of being a coat-holder.
Recently, Indiana’s Governor, Mike Pence, found himself at the center of a firestorm associated with his signing of a so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). This past week has seen Governor Pence attempting to defend, and ultimately, backpedal on the law. The backlash has led to a number of prominent voices speaking out against the enactment of this law and the hashtag, #BoycottIndiana trending on social media sites. The outcry has led Arkansas Governor, Asa Hutchinson to withhold his signature from a similarly-worded bill sent to him by his legislature. Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan has vowed to veto a similar bill if sent to him by the Michigan legislature. The Indiana legislature is currently scurrying to amend the Indiana RFRA at the behest of businesses and residents of the state.
As Governor Pence has repeatedly pointed out, Indiana was simply doing what the Federal government and, at least, 19…
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