Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Did Colorado ban the Bible?

Social conservatives are in a fine lather over a Colorado law (PDF) signed by Governor Bill Ritter on May 29 that extends anti-discrimination protections to sexual minorities in matters of business and public accommodations. On its face, the law is the latest effort by our socially conscious lawmakers to force us all to be nice to each other under penalties of fines and imprisonment -- specifically, $300 or one year in jail per violation.

It's all just a bit too much like that old joke about the Soviet Union, in which the commissars express concern about the dreary, bleak attitudes of their subjects: "Everybody must be happy! Anybody not happy by noon tomorrow will be shot!"

Predictably, the sackcloth-and-ashes crowd seems obsessed that the new law means that women's restrooms will now be filled wall-to-wall with adam's-apple-sporting cross-dressers. The pre-verts are everywhere!

Religious conservatives have also fretted that businesses will be forced to cater to people they find repugnant -- for instance, that wedding photographers will be compelled to take shots of same-sex ceremonies. That does, in fact, seem to be the intent of the authors. Rep. Joel Judd responded to just such an objection with the comment that, "If you choose to do commerce in Colorado you have to abide by these rules."

Uh huh. Good luck to the happy gay couple who hires a true-believing Roman Catholic shutterbug. May the record of your most-important day not be made up of 300 shots of the photographer's shoes.

Perhaps most troubling, the law's Section 8 restricts the sort of written material that businesses and landlords may publish and distribute. Supposedly, this provision applies only to statements of an intent to discriminate, but if that's what the authors intended, it's not what they wrote.
SECTION 8. 24-34-701, Colorado Revised Statutes, is amended to

24-34-701. Publishing of discriminative matter forbidden. No person, being the owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, superintendent, agent, or employee of any place of public accommodation, resort, or amusement, directly or indirectly, by himself or herself or through another person shall publish, issue, circulate, send, distribute, give away, or display in any way, manner, or shape or by any means or method, except as provided in this section, any communication, paper, poster, folder, manuscript, book, pamphlet, writing, print, letter, notice, or advertisement of any kind, nature, or description which THAT is intended or calculated to discriminate or actually discriminates against any disability, race, creed, color, sex, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, marital status, national origin, or ancestry or against any of the members thereof in the matter of furnishing or neglecting or refusing to furnish to them or any one of them any lodging, housing, schooling, or tuition or any accommodation, right, privilege, advantage, or convenience offered to or enjoyed by the general public or which states that any of the accommodations, rights, privileges, advantages, or conveniences of any such place of public accommodation, resort, or amusement shall or will be refused, withheld from, or denied to any person or class of persons on account of disability, race, creed, color, sex, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, marital status, national origin, or ancestry or that the patronage, custom, presence, frequenting, dwelling, staying, or lodging at such place by any person or class of persons belonging to or purporting to be of any particular disability, race, creed, color, sex, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, marital status, national origin, or ancestry is unwelcome or objectionable or not acceptable, desired, or solicited.

Note that the law doesn't just say that you can't publish material that states you'll deny services to protected classes of people, it also says you can't make them feel "unwelcome."

Hurting people's feelings is now a criminal offense.

Social conservatives object that handing out the Bible or the Book of Mormon may be illegal under the new law. While I can't imagine the courts allowing that interpretation to stand, the text of the law is open to just such a reading.

I have to think that legislators threw as much as they could against the legal wall, just to see what would stick.

Many socially conservative groups based in Colorado say they flat-out won't obey the law. As much as I despise their attitudes toward gays and lesbians, I can't blame them. Private individuals, businesses and organizations have the right to decide who they'll associate with and who they won't, and what ideas they'll express along the way, no matter how abhorrent or unpopular their criteria. If the law doesn't recognize that right, the law should be defied.

Lawmakers who set out to make society kinder and gentler through the use of force do violence to the whole idea of tolerance -- and to our liberty.

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Anonymous Bob Roddis said...

Since "creed" can mean "any system or codification of belief or of opinion", I'm sure that my Austrian economics creed qualifies. My feelings with be so hurt if the Colorado motel where I stay gives out for free "USA TODAY" with their usual anti-Austrian bias.

Lawsuit time.

Will the black gay photographer be compelled to photograph the Christian Identity wedding?

Lawsuit time.

Such insanity.

July 26, 2008 4:46 PM  
Blogger Michael Belisle said...

Hurting people's feelings is now a criminal offense.

Note that ยง24-34-701 is amended, adding only the words in CAPS. It was already a criminal offense to "hurt the feelings" of "any person or class of persons on account of disability, race, creed, color, sex, marital status, national origin, or ancestry".

The real objection is about adding sexual orientation to the list of protected classes. "Banning the bible" is just nonsense. If that's the case, then it was already banned because it certainly has plenty to say about things like sex, marital status, and creed.

July 28, 2008 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if the persons SEXUAL ORIENTATION is that of a pedophile? Is that person now protected under this law?

Wow, what a mess.

August 20, 2008 9:31 AM  
Anonymous Jaymthegenius said...

You can't compare pedophilia with homosexuality. Ones immoral and the other is a choice between two consenting adults that doesn't involve hurting children. Besides didn't Mary get pregnant at 14? How old was God? 15 Billion years old? That's one Hell of an age difference lol :D Not only is the bible homophobic but it's also racist, bigoted dirt that condones the destruction of so-called "false" God's images and wishes for people of other religions to be put to death. Funny how christian organizations banned books by Thomas Paine and other great writers and even harmless fiction like Harry Potter (which doesn't pretend to be real life like the bible does) yet when their own book gets banned they get pissy lol :D

September 2, 2008 7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh wow, Jay.... Where to start? Mary pregnant at 14? Where did you get your facts? God 15 billion years old? Sigh. Not even worth asking on that one. Homophobic? Oh my, what an excllent job of spin doctoring. The Creator has the right to decide what is allowed and what isn't. If you don't like it, well, hey, it's His world and you're welcome to go elsewhere. As for the Bible "wishes people of other religions to be put to death" part, again, get your facts straight. The Creator, as the Lifegiver, is entitled to be worshiped. Though he won't force anyone to do it, nothing obligates him to continue to freely give you that life if you choose to not worship him. Seems rather simple to me. Don't obey the rules at work? Get fired. No one complains about that. Cheat on your significant other? Get kicked to the curb. No one calls that unfair. What makes you think it should be any different when it comes to obeying God's laws? Furthermore, the fact that people who disregard his laws are still alive at present is more than enough evidence that he doesn't WANT to destroy people. People ought to take the opportunity to bring their lives in harmony with his laws. There's no "wishing" to bring death on anyone. And as for the racist allegation? Does getting the CONTEXT mean anything to you? If you do get the context, it's obvious to even a child that the peoples and nations who met their demise met it because of their practices and lifestyles, not because of their race. That's just uninformed.
I don't condone homosexual lifestyles, but I don't hate people who do it. That said, I find it ironic that I encounter a LOT more hate from people whose lives are out of harmony with the Bible. I disagree wth someone's choice of lifestyle, voicing my opinion when asked (and not getting up in someone's face about it), and then I'm met with hate and insults. Interesting how the very same people who accuse Christians of bigotry are among the biggest offenders themselves.

September 5, 2008 8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the anonymous commenter...I just wanna THANK YOU for stating EVERYTHING that was on my mind!!! you beat me to it,lol! People love to tell me i hate gays because i agree with the Bibles views on homosexuality {AND YET I NEVER HAVE CONDEMNED ANYONE GAY}!!! I treat them with love and RESPECT just like everyone else {BECAUSE THATS WHAT JESUS TAUGHT}! And yet they say "im judging them" I dont judge anyone because God said that humans should NOT judge or condemn other humans.So to anyone hating Christians or the Bible...please dont be so quick to hate us...

June 1, 2009 9:52 PM  

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