Tony Perkins

Hate group leader Tony Perkins of Family Research Council is seemingly confused. He is certainly confusing. Writing on FRC’s blog Monday night:

If Kanye West wears his “Make America Great Again” hat to a New York City bar, beware! He might not be served. When a Trump supporter sued The Happiest Hour for saying he wasn’t welcome, a Manhattan judge sided with the bar. As far as the court is concerned, if a business wants to bounce conservatives, it’s welcome to.

That’s right. A public accommodation can lawfully deny service to Trump supporters in New York City. They are not a protected class.

Later on:

Unfortunately, the same people cheering [Judge] Cohen’s ruling are, in many cases, the same ones who want to force bakers to create custom cakes that violate their faith. For shop owners like Jack Phillips, it’s all the more maddening to be hauled to court by LGBT activists when you see that they have no trouble embracing the freedom to believe when it comes to their own agenda. And unlike the liberal owners of this bar, Jack, Barronelle Stutzman, and so many others didn’t turn clients away — they happily offered to sell them anything in their stores. They didn’t deny anyone service; they simply asked not to participate in a ceremony they morally oppose.

Nice try. Well, not really. Perkins has some facts wrong and he is making unfounded assumptions. Let us begin with the notion that people are cheering a judicial ruling and that those same people support LGBT nondiscrimination laws. I have no idea and neither does Perkins. More importantly, Perkins is conflating members of a protected class (LGBT) with people who are not (Trump supporters).

Perkins is also claiming that denying service to Trump supporters is somehow part of an LGBT “agenda.” He does so to clumsily make an awkward point. Moreover, no law and no person has ever attempted to affect Jack Phillips’ beliefs. Suggesting otherwise is a lie. Phillips is free to believe that his deity can be found in Ex-Lax for all anyone cares. Belief and conduct are two very different things.

Then Perkins is claiming that Phillips and Barronelle Stutzman did not deny anyone service. That too is a lie! When a proprietor refuses to sell something to a gay couple that he or she customarily sells to a heterosexual couple, that constitutes a refusal of service.

But the BS doesn’t stop there. Perkins is claiming that denying products and services to people that vendors disapprove of (all neatly cloaked in scripture) isn’t really denying service. It is a refusal to participate in a “ceremony” that they disapprove of. No one ever asked the self-righteous Phillips or Stutzman to participate in anything other than the sale of products that they routinely offer. No one invited these people to participate in the wedding ceremony. The notion of participation is a result of their arrogance and self-importance — and of course the posturing of their lawyers at Alliance Defending Freedom. ADF is an anti-LGBT hate group.

The BS doesn’t stop there either. Perkins fails to note the fact that Phillips and Stutzman violated a law that they do not like. Phillips’ case at the Supreme Court doesn’t deny that the law was violated. Phillips makes two claims. First that his religious freedom was violated; an argument that is unlikely to work. Secondly, Phillips claims that he is an artiste and cannot be compelled to create a work of art which constitutes compelled speech. That could work. The Court could accept or reject that argument outright or they could remand the case back to the trial court to make a determination of whether or not Phillips’ cakes are works of art. We will see in less than two months.

The BS doesn’t stop there either:

When Christians try to exercise the same freedom that Sophie Theallet did when she refused to dress the First Lady, they’re threated <sic> with thousands of dollars, jail time, or both! I’m fine with designers declining to dress the Trumps or bars refusing service to Republicans — but I’m not fine with the double standard.

Back where we started. It is not a double standard. Perkins claims to be fine with designers refusing service. We can only begin to imagine his outrage if those same designers refused to service Christians because the do not approve of their religion. It is safe to say that Perkins would not be “fine” with that. There is a proposed double standard in the suggestion that Christians to do not have to comply with applicable law. That amounts to Christian privilege which is based on Christian supremacy.

Furthermore, with the exception of religion, classes protected by nondiscrimination laws are generally those with an immutable characteristic. Perkins, of course, will never admit that being LGBT is anything but a choice. Being a Trump supporter is most certainly a choice and it is one that has no First Amendment protections (unlike free exercise of religion). Nevertheless, there are locales that protect political affiliation in nondiscrimination laws. New York City doesn’t happen to be one of those.

This brings us back to the concept of Christian privilege; adherents believing that they have a separate set of laws. Mr. Perkins is not entitled to anything that an atheist is not entitled to.

Bullshit makes a final appearance as Perkins’ polemic comes to a close:

Like most conservatives, I may disagree with Theallet and The Happiest Hour, but I support their right of conscience. No one should be forced to give up their constitutional rights to do their job. But instead of singling out conservatives for punishment, it’s time to apply the same freedom to everyone. The Left cannot continue to light a same-sex unity candle with the match it’s taking to the First Amendment. Tolerance is for everyone — or it isn’t tolerance at all.

Should I have a right of conscience to deny service to Christians? Would Perkins support that? Furthermore, true conservatives obey our laws. Even those that they do not like. Some religious conservatives seem to believe that they do not have that civic responsibility. The sanctimonious Tony Perkins is not nearly as important as he thinks he is. He is just a hate group leader and history will not be kind to him.

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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.