Aaron Harburg

Indiana Insanity

There has been a lot of haabaloo about this new law in Indiana.

I won’t disagree with the assessment of many conservative commentators that the Indiana law was not intended to specifically targeted gays. Nor will I disagree that some in the LGBTQ community have made this a bigger deal than it needs to be.

My contention is firstly with most of these articles tone and style. Many authors appears to be using language that is relatively caustic and unnecessarily inflammatory. For example I read in an article: ” They want their rights enshrined in a special place, above, beyond, and transcending those of normal folk.” This claim is never substantiated and indicates a significant bias to say the least. Furthermore, it comes across as self-righteous and somewhat ignorant of the LGBTQ experience.

Secondly, I find the assertion that baking a cake or taking photographs for a gay marriage as being complicit in sin is false. From what I understand about the Thomistic/Aristotelean ethical framework the act itself being morally neutral (ie. baking a cake) and not done with the intent of condoning, but rather doing ones job or making money, is sufficiently remote that it doesn’t constitute compliance. For example, the same bakery will likely also produce cakes for couples that are divorced and remarried (which for Catholics is adultery) or for perhaps ceremonies of religions they believe to be false. This has been frequently done without so much as a second thought. The principle of double effects states that any act that is 1) morally neutral 2) has evil that proceeds from that act as an unintended effect 3) the good obtained is not from the evil effect 4) there is commensurate reason for the good as to the evil. I’m of the opinion that in this particular instance the evil effect of the person ordering the cake being lead to believe the cake maker condones their actions is not a sufficient evil to overcome the good of the income being procured, and perhaps more importantly the good of being “peaceable withe everyone in so far as possible” as St. Paul says.

This leads me to conclude that there is in fact a real prejudice. What is more odious is that these individuals who want the right to maintain their prejudice are being masqueraded as the victim. Now since I’m rather libertarian I do think they should have the right to refuse service to whomever they damn well please and that this law is probably good. Furthermore, I think it is unjust and unreasonable for gays to take legal action against bigots. However, that is not wrong because of a violation of religious liberty so much as civil liberty.

Now you could argue that for those whose weak consciences do in fact cause them moral discomfort should be allowed to discriminate on the basis of adhering to ones conscience, but that is still an extension rather than a direct assault on religious liberty per se. With the case of forcing Catholic institutions to provide abortion or contraceptives, that is a serious concern as those are morally evil within the Catholic framework. Thus the right to conscience in a just society should supercede the right of procuring these items.

I mostly object to the notion that this is completely free of prejudice. Furthermore, I find it ludacrious that there is this conspiracy of “the gay agenda” going about barreling over conservatives. If a conservative knew what it was like to grow up gay in a heteronormative society, they would be much less inclined to claim a victim status. The idea that the privileged are somehow the victim is perhaps the most infuriating part of this. The real danger, what is most concerning to me, is that this distracts from real issues of religious liberty and compelety discredits the advocates of religion. We cannot expect the irreligious to be able to make distinctions of importance when such relatively minor and mostly false problems such as this are presented and treated with hysteria as well as self-righteous fervor. For the love of God, literally, let this one go.