Betty Greene Salwak

Fox News Face-off: "Cupcakegate" Debate

Filed By Betty Greene Salwak | October 04, 2010 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: AFA, cupcakegate, gay discrimination, Just Cookies, Micah Clark

I was invited to participate in a debate with Micah Clark, the executive director of the American Family Association-Indiana. Set on a mock-up boxing ring, it will air tonight on Indianapolis Fox affiliate Channel 59 at 10:00 p.m. This is the editorial of my talking points which will accompany the posting online.

rainbow-cupcake.jpgWhile the debate question was "Should a business be allowed to turn people away?" the subtext is "Should this store be allowed to refuse service to this individual in this case?" The Human Rights Ordinance adopted by Marion County in 2005 says no. So the real debate is why this legislation should stand.

The bakery owners, David and Lily Stockton, have deep convictions backed by their faith that made them refuse to fill an order that would have been part of a celebration for National Coming Out Day. Their concern was that it would set a bad example for their daughters. Those daughters--who are young adults--are probably old enough to discern for themselves the nuance of spiritual obedience. The Stocktons passed up the chance to teach them by example how to accept and celebrate the diversity of people and instead taught them the wrong lesson.

We are human beings and we will make mistakes. When those mistakes have the potential to cause harm, we make laws to prevent them from happening. My rights as an individual end at the point they cause another person harm. Discrimination is wrong regardless of its target because it causes harm; it is not defined by its object. All laws are designed to guide our behavior; they exist to bring out the best in us. This ordinance does exactly that by requiring that we treat all individuals the same. It is a nonpartisan issue that has the full support of the mayor's office.

Discrimination of a segment of the population exists because the culture has established that the group is not equal to the majority. We have had to enact laws to secure the equality of people based on their sex, race, ancestry, age, disability, and nationality because those groups have been marginalized. Our complacency regarding discrimination leads gay teens to attempt suicide at a rate four times higher than straight teens. Being silent when we see discrimination leads to lives of suffering and secrecy for those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and those who love them. The laws lift up their status to equal, where it belongs. It's long overdue that we give those rights to people who are LGBT, the same rights that we in the straight majority take for granted like breathing.

Those who aver that this is against their religious convictions have some thinking to do about what this means to them. As a Christian who came to my faith at age 30 and a Sunday School director for almost 13 years, I know the arguments for both sides of this issue. Requiring others to follow the tenets of my faith is the equivalent of tyranny. God allows me free choice and I must do the same, up to the point where it causes harm. Those who are up in arms about this issue believe that homosexuality is a sin. I do not. But the question at hand isn't about sin or no sin; it is really about grace or no grace. In gratitude for the astonishing grace we have been given, are we not asked to offer the same as best we can?

I challenge those who are struggling with the implications of this event and its outcome: what does grace look like to you?

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

Regan DuCasse | October 4, 2010 6:02 PM

Hi Betty!
I LOVE you sister, and there is something very contradictory about people like this and their so called religious objections, regarding providing a service.

The thing about doing so, a business usually posts signs that disclaim when service can be refused. If you're not wearing shoes or a shirt, for example. If you're too loud, or use profane language.
If you're not wearing a jacket...or maybe a tie.

You get the idea.
If a person has a religious objection to certain foods, through advertising or a quick menu search and inquiry, a patron can decide for themselves if the business can provide what they want.
If not, they can not enter it.

How is a gay person supposed to know who is going to object to them? How is someone supposed to know that a business doesn't serve Jews...or certain OTHER types of religious people?

This isn't about free speech and religious freedom, this is about BEING CONSISTENT in that expression and understand the contract one has with public access when you provide the service, NOT when someone is trying to access it, not knowing what your religion or objection could be.

It begs considering what about OTHER people who don't meet certain religious rules, but aren't homosexual or transgendered?
We can see with our own eyes that plenty of people meet the same criteria for not being served, the difference is they aren't asked...and they aren't gay.

And what about people who aren't religious at ALL, or aren't they have a restriction on THOSE people accessing their services?

Putting the onus of knowing who will or who won't serve you, without signage, or consistency, on gay people is another level of spite and bigotry that IS inappropriate in our society of free enterprise.
Is there a religious restriction on making a profit from bigotry?

As I say over and over: Jehovah's Witnesses cannot accept blood and organ donations. But they don't raise laws that restrict OTHERS who don't share the religion from it, nor do they complain it's a restriction of their religious freedom if they can't do so.
And not hospitals, nor their staff engage in restricting access for others based on the religious belief of the staff.

Hindus don't say there can't be any McD's or Burger Kings because they don't eat beef and the cow is a sacred animal.
But a Hindu also knows they have the choice NOT to go to a restaurant that specializes in cooked beef.

A gay person isn't given much choice before the fact, unless these businesses are willing to post a sign, that lists ALL the religious objections for people to decide for themselves to patronize that business.
And those objections MUST be consistent and not merely select ONLY gay people either.

And then let the marketplace decide.

But we know what really happens. And it happens over the pettiest, most spiteful reasons that no reasonable person would expect and at ONE minority.

Let them try it over Jews, or blacks...not PC enough to take us back to THOSE times of Jim Crow laws and service.

But they would deserve to suffer the consequences of being that way.

Oh Betty! The things I get you in to, my friend. :)

I'm sure you did a great job of being the TBP representative on this one. I know it aired about an hour ago in Indy, but it's not on the web yet. How did you do?

Actually, I found it. I can't wait to see your post on it!

Gay cupcakes! The new Stonewall!

Good job on all this, Betty!

Betty, you were wonderful. You survived the FOX editing amazingly well. I would love to be able to see the raw video, knowing how you were prepared and what talking points you brought with you into the ring. It's odd that they set up the premise of an "interchange" but except for a few moments, they don't include any actual conversing, just snippets that are perhaps rearranged and don't really respond to the previous one.

Anyway, should definitely link or embed the video in a new post on Bilerico.