Corey WilsonWednesday,6 January 2016
All great writers know that selecting the right verb is paramount to crafting a great sentence. You can hastily run, or you can dash; you can annoyingly complain, or you can bitch. Verbs are particularly important when you’re trying to evoke emotion from within your reader—as Todd “Stop Picking On Us Christians” Starnes is wont to do.
Many moons ago, a bakery refused service to a lesbian couple simply because the bakery was run by Christians and the lesbians were, well, lesbian. This bakery was called Sweet Cakes by Melissa, and it was run by a lady named Rebecca. Haha, just kidding. Her name was Melissa Klein. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the story, Klein and her husband were investigated by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (OBLI), and were subsequently fined $135,000 for obvious reasons.
For most, the story was finished. A bigoted, or simply ignorant business broke the law and were fined accordingly. For some, however, the story was far different. It just so happens that the Kleins are evangelical Christians, and being the good Christians that they are, they keep a separate bank account for their tithing—a practice in which people set aside a percentage of their income to give to the church (to give to God). Which is good. Don’t think I’m disparaging the practice; it’s good to give.
However, since the Kleins were unable to pay their fine in full, without dipping into their tithing account, they were required to give the Benjamins earmarked for God to the Bowman-Cryers (the lesbian couple).
It’s unfortunate, but if you don’t want the government to seize your money, don’t, you know, break the law.
Todd, however, saw this whole thing differently.
“Yes, friends – the state of Oregon stole money meant for our Lord.”
Well, no. They didn’t steal the money; that’s the wrong verb. That money would still be there if the Kleins had respected the Bowman-Cryers civil rights. Unfortunately, the Kleins did not, and even more unfortunately, people can’t say, “Sorry government, this is my special money. You can’t take my special money.”
“Avakian [an OBLI administrator] has publicly stated his intentions to target Christian business owners who do not comply with the state’s way of thinking [AKA “the law”]. Here’s what he told The Oregonian about Sweet Cakes By Melissa in 2013:
‘The goal is never to shut down a business. The goal is to rehabilitate.’”
I fail to see the connection. Did Todd copy-paste the wrong quote? All Avakian is saying (well, all that he’s saying in what Todd quoted at least) is that he never intends to shut down a business in situations like this—his goal is to have them conform to the laws.
At what point does he expressly say his goal is to target Christians? If Sweet Cakes by Melissa would have been run by a Muslim family, and they would have denied service based on sexual orientation, Avakian would have “targeted” them as well.
I just don’t get it. How can a man who struggles so thoroughly with the language keep getting published?
“Be warned, friends. In Oregon, gay rights trump religious liberty.”
No! No they don’t. It just so happens that religious liberty doesn’t trump civil rights. You can believe whatever you want; you can worship whomever you want. You can picket the funeral of a fucking dead soldier in your country with signs that read “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.” Your religious liberty is safe.
What’s happening here is the Kleins are trying to enforce their beliefs upon others—which directly violates the Bowman-Cryer’s civil rights. A civil right, I will mention, that Todd fucking quoted in his article. Allow me to show you how to copy-paste, since Todd is apparently terrible at it.
“Within Oregon’s public accommodations law is the basic principle of human decency that every person, regardless of their sexual orientation, has the freedom to fully participate in society. The ability to enter public places, to shop and dine, to move about unfettered by bigotry.”
The Kleins refusal of service infringed upon the Bowman-Cryers right to fully participate in society. It’s really not that hard to understand.
Maybe next time Todd should refrain from posting counter-arguments in his article. It would make bullshitting his readers a lot easier.