David and Jason Benham

Tuesday, David Benham and Jason Benham write: “The Left Exposes Eye-Popping Hypocrisy on Moral Objection.” What follows us a tedious rerun of vapid false equivalencies.

Last week, the Washington Post ran an opinion piece headlined, “Should designers dress Melania and Ivanka? The question is more complex than it seems.”

Actually, the question is not more complex than it seems—it’s really quite simple: “If designers want to dress the first lady, then they should do it. If they don’t want to, then they don’t have to.”

You know what is going to follow. There is no hypocrisy at work here as I will explain later on. The boys are wrong by the way. Laws and ordinances might require a designer to dress Ms. Trump in which case the designer has no choice. The question comes down to whether or not they are a “public accommodation” (I think they are) and whether or not political affiliation is a protected class (rare but it does exist).

1) Forced participation is against American values. This country is the home of the brave and the land of the free. One of our most sacred freedoms is the right to a moral objection.

“Participation?” Designing a gown for Ivanka is not participating in her husband’s inauguration ball. Baking a cake to be consumed at a gay couple’s wedding is not participating in that wedding. Freedom from discrimination is very much an American Value. It is an expression of our cultural proximity to some form of equality. It is expressed in the 1964 Civil Rights Act and numerous state and municipal laws and ordinances. These measures were all heavily debated, legislated by the elected representatives of the people and signed into law by an elected official.

There is a perfectly valid right to a moral objection. However, there is no “right” to extend that objection (belief) to a refusal of service (conduct). The Supreme Court told us so in 1879 with Reynolds v. United States. 27 years ago, in Employment Division v. Smith the Court ruled that there are no religious exemptions to otherwise valid laws. So exactly where is this right that they so desperately want to exist?

2) Our talent provides our unique voice in culture—it’s our signature. And no one should force us against our will to use our signature for something with which we disagree.

That is too damned bad if you are offering goods or services as a public accommodation. You might not like waiting on blacks or Jews or gay people. Perhaps you should not have opened that business in the first place. We live in a diverse and civil society. Where legislated, people (including Christians) have a right to be free of discrimination. An interracial or gay couple can walk into an establishment with their children and expect to be served — not shamed. When we shop for goods or services we are not soliciting — and certainly do not require — anyone’s approval.

I (David) remember standing in an autograph line with Mark McGuire during spring training with the St. Louis Cardinals. As we were signing, a man handed Mac a ball and said, “I’m going to get good money for this on eBay.” Mark handed it back to him without signing and said, “I’m not signing your ball.”

That was 16 years ago, and no one threw a temper tantrum about it.

Why is this concept so difficult to grasp? Assuming that this is not a pastor’s tale McGuire’s approval had nothing to do with the man’s status as part of a protected class. It is unlikely that any laws were broken because no one was the victim of discrimination. It’s not terribly complicated.

The bottom line is, we live in a free country—and a moral objection is a protected freedom. It always has been, and it always should be.

The elites in New York City, D.C. and L.A. agree with us here—unless our moral objection is out of line with theirs. In that case, we’re narrow-minded, discriminating bigots.

A moral objection is a protected belief. If one extends that belief to illegal conduct and refuses service to, say, a gay couple then, in point of fact, one is a “discriminating bigot.” Free country also means that people should be free from discrimination.

At work here is the notion that the opinions of Christians carry more weight than others. That is simply incorrect. In this case the opinions of the citizens and their elected representatives carry the day. Were the law in question to have a religious exemption then it would be written into the measure. Otherwise it does not exist.

Let’s do this quick exercise. Read the following line from the Post’s article and replace the word “designers” with “bakers,” “florists” or “photographers” and “fashion” with “baking,” “flowers” or “pictures”:

“But as for those designers for whom fashion serves as their voice in the world, they should not feel obligated to say something in which they do not believe.”

Oh the hypocrisy.

It’s important to note that neither Melania nor Ivanka have sued any objecting designer. And Trump supporters are not pressuring the Manhattan City Council to add “first lady” to the city’s nondiscrimination policy, either.

Oh how clever these fuckwits are. There is really only one issue here: What does the law require a proprietor of a public accommodation to do? That’s it. It’s not left or right, Republican or Democrat and has nothing to do with “elites” (which always seems Palinesque). Hypocrisy in this regard must include the following four elements:

  1. The law requires these designers to design apparel for Ivanka Trump and;
  2. Designers refuse to do so in spite of the law and;
  3. Others assert that the designers have the right to deny their services and;
  4. Those same people insists that wedding vendors adhere to nondiscrimination laws.

If any of the four are missing then hypocrisy does not exist. According to the boys, item 1 seems to be missing which means that 2 through 4 cannot take place.

Oh, the lack of critical thinking!

What we are seeing here in the Washington Post (and most
things coming out of New York City, D.C. and L.A.) is such gross
hypocrisy that if Americans don’t rise up and push back, our right to a
moral objection will disappear altogether—unless, of course, it’s in
line with the elites in New York City, D.C. and L.A.

There is that elite BS again. Furthermore, there is no hypocrisy to complain about. They keep asserting that they have a right which does not exist. They can believe anything they like but their conduct must be in accordance with law. It’s nothing new. As I said it has been the law of the land since 1879 which really means the intent of the First Amendment in 1791.

As for activism, they can do all the rising up that they want to try to change nondiscrimination laws that they do not like. However, unless they do change them, our society of laws expects those laws to be obeyed. Our laws are not up for individual approval.

It’s not complex to see how fashion designers today with moral objections are considered “heroes,” while bakers, florists, and photographers with the same objections are called “haters.”

What does the law require?

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.