3) What if the organizers of an ex-gay conference asked a gay-owned printing shop to print up flyers and posters announcing the conference and proclaiming, “You don’t have to be gay”? If they refused, would they be guilty of discrimination, thereby breaking the law?
4) What if a psychologist who helped her clients overcome unwanted same-sex attractions asked a gay-owned website designer to help increase her web presence with a new website announcing the success of her practice and with an aggressive SEO (search engine optimization) campaign? If the company refused to do business with her, should they be codified as bigots and prosecuted by the law?
Changing the focus, let’s consider these scenarios:
5) An Orthodox Jewish videography company is asked to record a Jews for Jesus outreach event with the express purpose of using the video tape to raise funds for Jews for Jesus. Should the Orthodox Jewish videographer be required to video the event and professionally edit the tape? Should the Attorney General take this videographer to court for refusal to comply based on religious convictions?
6) An Orthodox Jewish caterer is asked to prepare steak and chicken dishes for a large wedding, sharing the kitchen with another caterer who will be preparing shrimp, lobster, and pork dishes, in direct violation of the requirements of Jewish law. Should the caterer be allowed to opt out?
6) A devout Muslim photographer is asked to cover the dedication of a new Hindu temple, with the goal of preparing a photo display celebrating the beautiful statue of Krishna imported from India. Should the Muslim be required to violate his monotheistic beliefs in the service of idolatry?
7) A custom car painting company owned by conservative Christians is asked to paint the sides of a van with sensual images of scantily clad women posed in compromising positions and with mild obscenities surrounding the images. Should this company be taken to court if they refuse to paint the van based on their religious beliefs? If so, is there any custom paint job they could be allowed to decline?
8) A printing shop owned and run by born-again Christians is asked by Satanists to print up flyers inviting people in the neighborhood to attend their rally called, “God is dead, Satan rules.” On the back of the flyers, the text reads, “Only a fool would believe the Bible.” Can the Satanists rightly take the Christian company to court for declining their business?
And on and it goes. I for one have no problem saying that in each of these cases, the owners should be allowed to say no to the potential business because of their religious or moral convictions.
What do you say?
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.