Friday, April 3, 2015

Oh, the irony...

A large pizza with extra tolerance
by Ben Crystal

(Scene: Interior. Hakim’s Halal-Hut. Daytime.)

HAKIM: How may I help you?

CUSTOMER: I’m a transgendered Zoroastrian, and I’m marrying my omnisexual Ba’hai boyfriend. We love your food, and would like to have you cater our nuptials. By the way, we’d like bacon-wrapped scallops served, as well.

HAKIM: Um, no.


THE IRS AND JUSTICE DEPARTMENT: We will be calling soon to schedule your rectal exam.

Such a scenario is supposed to be impossible in this lad’s America. That isn’t because an American Muslim wouldn’t object to serving non-halal food at an event that pretty much douses the Koran in gasoline and sets it on fire. It’s because an American Muslim shouldn’t have to face legal repercussions for his refusal to violate his religious convictions. Yet some rather unfortunate cases in New Mexico, Oregon and elsewhere have demonstrated that not only would Hakim face civil liability, but he could face far worse. If Hakim were a Christian serving pizza, he almost certainly would.

As I’ve pointed out before, anything that involves the threat of government force is conducted at gunpoint. Even matters as pedestrian as parking tickets can put you on the business end of the barrel, if you dodge the meter maid for long enough. Therefore, if Hakim refuses to go non-halal for the apostate’s wedding, he faces fiscal and personal ruin — not to mention potential loss of not only his civil freedoms, but his physical freedom.

Enter the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was first introduced by then-Rep. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and then-Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Chappaquiddick). The federal version of the act read: “Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.” It rocketed through a Congress dominated by Democrats in both Houses and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton (D-Jeff Epstein’s private island). The act engendered little objection at the time. In fact, it lived a fairly quiet legislative existence until someone pointed out that the 10th Amendment to the Constitution prohibited federal imposition of such a law on the states.

Meanwhile, multiple states enacted similar laws on their own. In some cases, the laws read almost verbatim like Schumer’s and Kennedy’s federal version. Among the states that enacted such legislation was Illinois, in which a then-unheralded state senator from Chicago supported it. The 1st Amendment guarantee to freedom of religious practices, which ought to have been law enough, was reiterated by a federal statute and state-level statutes.

And then, a New Mexican photographer and Oregonian baker got sideways with the LGBT crowd. Suddenly, the RFRA returned to the public consciousness, only the social environment had changed drastically. The Democrats who had conceived and pushed identical laws suddenly forgot their prior positions. In some cases, prominent Democrats found themselves unintentionally decrying laws on the books in their own backyards. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat whose state made RFRA a law in 1993, called his Indiana gubernatorial counterpart Mike Pence “incredibly stupid” after Pence signed the Indiana version into law. Putting aside the fact that Indiana’s version is essentially identical to the Democrats’ own federal edition, Malloy’s declamation of Pence also constituted a kick to the face of the Constitution State (Connecticut).

The sudden shift in scrutiny on RFRA laws also trapped some business heavyweights in their own corners. Mega-corporations like Volvo and Apple, among others, announced that they were reconsidering doing business in places that pass — or even consider — RFRA laws. Never mind that both companies have deep financial ties to some of the biggest human rights violators on Earth in the personae of China and Saudi Arabia; they were outraged — outraged, I say — at the troglodytic behavior of the Hoosiers and others.

The Democrats’ reversal on RFRA laws also puts their “foreign policy” in the crosshairs. Liberals found themselves in the position of attacking American Christians for their perceived intolerance, while simultaneously cheering Islamofascists who make the most rock-ribbed Christian fundamentalist in America look like a Unitarian “pastor” by comparison.

Of course, the newly anti-religious-freedom left couldn’t stop at venting their righteous indignation at the idea of small-business owners refusing to participate in events they found religiously objectionable. A restaurant in Walkerton, Indiana, became the first Hoosier state business to invoke the RFRA to protect themselves from legal action over their refusal to cater a same-sex wedding ceremony. Within hours, the liberals’ tolerance brigades donned their rhetorical jodhpurs and jackboots and goose-stepped Memories Pizza into submission.

The small-town pizza joint was attacked online. And increasingly wild threats to profit, property and person drove the shop’s owner to shutter the place, thereby reminding us that, according to the left, the proper response to perceived intolerance is actual arson and/or murder. Imagine how much we’re all going to have the first time the aforementioned gay Zoroastrian says, “Because intolerance,” when asked, “Why did you firebomb Hakim’s Halal Hut?”

In one noteworthy example, the golf coach at a high school not far from Memories Pizza took her tolerance to Twitter. “Who’s going to Walkerton, IN to burn down #memoriespizza w me?” That particular steward of the nation’s future was suspended with pay — a significantly better fate than the one she planned for Memories.

Unfortunately, anytime those on the left whip themselves into a fervor over some alleged affront to one of their preferred, perpetually aggrieved faction, they deploy propaganda to cover the shock troops. But Indiana’s RFRA, like the other RFRA laws nationwide, allows for no discrimination. In fact, because the RFRA is a totally passive law (legal armor but not a legal sword), it can be invoked only in a defensive manner. Business owners cannot compel customers to purchase their wares (restrictions may apply; see federal government/Obamacare for details). Therefore, the true power remains in the hands of the potential clients, since potential clients can simply choose to take their business elsewhere.

I warned people this would happen. If our port-side compatriots began systematically abusing and encroaching on liberty through nefarious fiats and judicial wrangling, someone would object.

The best part is: The Democratic Party is at both ends of this snake. Democrats are fighting against laws they created. They deserve no better; but it’s a bit of a shame that decent, hardworking people are once again caught in their crossfire. Maybe Memories Pizza and the like should consider offering falafel and abortions. Then they could cater the next White House State Dinner.


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