Saturday, March 23, 2013

Persecution Timeline Update

This is a little bit late, and I've got encroaching assignments I need to get started on, so I'll keep my commentary minimal.

There's good news and bad news:

At the first link, we find that the eldest son of the famous Duggars, Josh, has applied to the Family Research Council to work within "FRC Action, the organization's lobbying arm."

What's the news? Oh, just that GLAAD, a homosexual activist organization, has made intimidating (threatening?) remarks toward TLC, the cable channel network on which the Duggars' reality show is hosted.

“We also demand that TLC refrain from giving a platform to FRC’s hate speech. GLAAD is watching, and we will be prepared to take action.”

So that's bad news.

The second link follows up on a similar situation, where a small business-owner of a cupcake company in Gresham, Oregon, Sweet Cakes by Melissa (not to be confused with "Melissa's Sweet Cakes," a different business), recently received a massive amount of publicity when a couple of homosexual-activist facebook pages popped up to promote a public protest of the company, after a report that the owners had denied service to a homosexual couple who ordered a cake for their wedding. The refusal was on Biblical grounds, and the owners made clear that they did not refuse service to homosexual customers, but they would not promote homosexual marriage.

A firestorm ensued. Most of the large left-leaning websites like Salon and Huffington Post carried the story and within a short amount of time, there was both a massive outpouring of support for the business-owners and a slew of online mobbing -- Yelp is apparently a website where you can write reviews for businesses (I don't know much about that, not owning one), and after this notoriety, their business went from having about a dozen or so to having over 300 reviews, most extremely negative. 

Business skyrocketed, and they couldn't keep up with the orders made by conservative supporters who made cross-country orders after getting the news through social media. Now it appears that their business may have evaded punishment by legal authorities, although the underlying issue is unresolved. From the second link:

"The Oregon Equality Act of 2007 expressly prohibits businesses from discriminating against customers on the basis of their sexual orientation."

"We do not have a complaint filed against Sweet Cakes by Melissa so there's not an investigation into the issue," says Charlie Burr, a bureau spokesman.

This is good news, because it means that they won't be hounded any longer...for now.

But this is worrisome all the same, because it means they got off on a technicality.

This reminds me of a separate case that was "resolved" earlier last year, when Lars Hedegaard, a public Danish personality, was acquitted of the charge of hate speech for making a criticism -- a factual claim borne out by statistics, nevertheless -- of Islam that was later leaked. 

He wasn't acquitted because he wasn't guilty of hate speech under Danish law. Oh, no. He was acquitted because it was proven that he didn't intend for his remarks to become public. So the law still stands, and it's officially illegal to criticize Islam in Denmark lest you be brought up on charges of hate speech, fined and imprisoned. In Lars's case, it took a lengthy two-year court-battle just to result in his acquittal.

My closing thoughts:

That's what troubles me. Even though both of these latter two cases involve people getting away with free speech, it was largely by accident, and no victory has been won in the arena of civil rights when it comes to preserving the freedom of speech.

When you are left with having to consider "draws" as victories, you're not in a good position. What I fear is that all we're managing to do is to stall the encroachment against our freedoms, but we're not pushing back enough to do more than delay the inevitable.

Shall I say "fight harder?" Or shall I mope, feeling fatalistic, as if there's no use trying? I think everyone who thinks about these issues goes back and forth between both emotions. For now, I'll leave the question hanging in the air...

~ Rak Chazak

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