This year, things are different. I found a full-time job, a way to stay in New York, and more friends. This year, I looked forward to Eid like I did when I was a child. I didn’t slaughter a goat in my nonexistent back yard, but I made my parents send me photos of the goat. And I did find a halal butcher (Yelp to the rescue) and called him.
“I need two legs of lamb.”
“Sorry miss, we don’t serve meat to people we don’t know,” he said.
Was this guy for real?
“I need them for Eid. My name is Zainab.”
I leveraged my Muslim capital. He paused.
“When do you need it?”
Now, to be clear, I think business owners should be able to serve whoever they want to, just as customers should be free to avoid businesses they view as unfairly discriminatory. But imagine this same scenario where I call up a baker and say "I need a wedding cake," and they respond "we don’t bake cakes for people we don’t know." I then respond, "I need it for a wedding. I am a Christian who believes that marriage is between one man and one woman," and they respond, "When do you need it?"
If anyone in a liberal city or state got wind of such a thing happening, that baker would be immediately dragooned before the local human rights commission, the state attorney general would take up a crusade, and/or the state labor commission would press charges on the grounds that doing this is discriminatory under public accomodation laws. Heck, if business owners merely have opinions about gay marriage, regardless of whether their business is discriminatory in who it hires or serves, this happens:
The Denver Council’s Business Development Committee has stalled a seven-year deal with Chick-fil-A because CEO Dan Cathy spoke out against gay marriage back in 2012. Cathy, after being flogged for this misconduct, backed off , saying he regretted getting involved. But that won’t do. There are no prisoners in this culture war.
And yet, Muslims are somehow completely immune from being targeted in this culture war even though public accomodation laws demanding you serve people regardless of race, creed, sex, and sexual orientation are clearly being violated. This is not a hypothetical. In the last year, there have been ongoing legal sanctions against bakers in Oregon and Colorado for refusing to bake cakes for gay weddings. In both cases, the bakers weren't even broadly discriminatory: They're happy to serve gay customers, they just don't want to participate in an event of religious significance that violates their beliefs.
At the same time, earlier this year, comedian Steven Crowder got Muslim bakeries on film refusing to bake cakes for gay weddings:
Now I have been covering issues of religious freedom and business owners extensively. Maybe there have been a few cases under the radar, but I haven't heard of a single case of local or state authorities going after Muslim business owners for discrimination. If this has has happened, it certainly hasn't become a national news story the way that nearly every Christian baker, florist, or wedding phtographer that objects to participating in gay weddings has -- to say nothing about how the media went out of its way to seek out and demonize the one rural pizza parlor that wouldn't cater gay weddings for the express purpose of demonizing Indiana's legislature for passing basically the same religious freedom law nearly the entire Democratic party embraced in the '90s.
In Ohio, the State Judicial Conduct Board has ruled that judges can't decline to marry only same-sex couples because of their personal religious beliefs. But the Judicial Conduct Board's ruling went much further than that:
In addition, judges who stop performing all marriages to avoid marrying same-sex couples may be interpreted as biased and could be disqualified from any case where sexual orientation is an issue, according to an opinion by the Ohio Supreme Court's Board of Professional Conduct issued Friday and made public Monday. ...
"They have good days and bad days, but I will tell you they are resolute,” attorney Herb Grey says of his clients, Aaron and Melissa Klein, two bakers from Portland who are facing a $135,000 fine from the state of Oregon for refusing to bake a cake for a lesbian commitment ceremony in January 2013. “They know that today it’s them, but that there’s nothing they can do to escape from it, and they’re willing to stand up, knowing what the potential implications are for other people.”
In April, an administrative judge with the Oregon Department of Labor ordered Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners of the now shuttered bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa, to pay a fine of $135,000 for refusing to bake a cake for a lesbian couple's wedding. While there's a case the couple violated the state's public accommodation laws, there's little doubt that the fine was excessive and the reasoning for it specious.
June, for conservatives, has been of late the “cruelest month” at the Supreme Court, as the decisions finally roll forth. Many expect—with a combination of apprehension and resignation—that in the critical case of Obergefell v. Hodges, Justice Anthony Kennedy will furnish the fifth vote for installing same-sex marriage as a constitutional right.
Over the last few years, the gay marriage movement has transformed from "equality for all" to "bake me a cake." As it picks up steam, the movement looks more and more totalitarian, both at home and abroad.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the controversial Muslim-turned-atheist, told a National Press Club audience last week some hard facts about Islam and its propensity toward violence. But her remarks about Christianity—about its capacity to soften sectarian hatreds—may prove an even tougher pill to swallow.
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal talked about religious liberty on NBC's Meet the Press this morning:
"Well let me ask you this," Todd said. "Do you agree with some other folks and conservatives that you think Governor Pence and Governor Hutchinson in Arkansas and Indiana have essentially caved too much pressure?"
On the topic of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the contraceptive mandate case decided on the last day of the recent Supreme Court term, the Democrats are fighting mad. They don’t like the decision. No, they despise it. Indeed, their rhetoric on Hobby Lobby has become so misleading, even strange, that the fact checkers at the Washington Post have felt compelled to call them to task, reminding the Democrats, among other things, that the decision does not outlaw contraceptives, and it does not allow bosses to prevent women from seeking birth control.
Yesterday, Senator Barbara Boxer had an op-ed at the Huffington Post about, among other related issues, the nonexistant threat that women will be denied birth control to treat medical conditions as a result of the Hobby Lobby decision. I personally know someone who works for a religious organization that doesn't cover contraception, but is nonetheless on the pill for a medical condition and gets it covered.
Senator Ted Cruz has organized an effort to urge President Barack Obama to help free Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American pastor imprisoned in Iran.
“The President of the United States is in a unique position to focus international attention on the unjust and abusive detention of one of our citizens,” Cruz says in a press release. “There might also be an opportunity for administration officials participating in nuclear negotiations in Geneva this week to raise the issue directly with their Iranian counterparts. Time is of the essence given Pastor Saeed's current predicament.”
On August 22, the New Mexico supreme court unanimously ruled that a wedding photographer broke the law by refusing to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony. While gay rights advocates are celebrating this latest in a string of legal and political victories, the outcome of Elane Photography v. Vanessa Willock has alarmed religious liberty advocates. And it could end up having a profound influence on First Amendment jurisprudence.
In Sioux City, Iowa, a local pastor is asking for the removal of a newly appointed member of the city's human rights commission. The city council appointed Scott Raasch to the commission, which adjudicates discrimination complaints, on July 8. However, the Rev.