Day: March 7, 2014

Are we legalizing discrimination?

By DON VOWELL Life was easier when all we were asked to vote on was a school bond or a candidate for sheriff.  Now we may be asked to vote on how religious business owners should treat same-sex couples.  There are probably none among us wise enough to decide that question. An Oregon baker refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple because he felt it would violate his religious beliefs.  The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries determined that this in turn violated the civil rights of that couple.  Oregon law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. Fox News quoted the baker’s response as “I’ve never seen a government entity use a law to come after somebody because they have a religious view.” There is the heart of what we must decide.  Oregon BOLI responded to the complaint against the baker not because of his religious beliefs, but because he discriminated against the same-sex couple, citing those beliefs as justification.  That’s not just hair-splitting.  Churches are often given religious exemptions to civil rights laws regarding sexual orientation. Businesses are not. Even though a proposed law names only bakeries and wedding photographers, it involves every Oregonian.  We’d be asked to decide if we are governed by religious beliefs or by Oregon law.  There is one constitution and three million personal faiths. I admire the baker simply because...

Read More

We have a social contract, don’t break it

Is it simply the expression of an innate human condition?  That is, that we seemingly can’t easily get along with one another and when we don’t we try to deny the nation’s freedoms to those with whom we disagree. The latest dust-up in Oregon has to do with Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum’s decision not to go to federal court to defend the ballot measure to prevent marital status between persons of the same sex.  But it gets back to the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and whether Oregonians will abide by it,  reference being made to Amendment 1, Freedom of Religion, and its corollary, freedom from religion, and decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court. Maybe it’s due to a failure by our public schools to adequately educate our youth.  Maybe it’s the result of poor parenting or no parenting at all.  Whatever the cause, it has to do with the many who call themselves Americans yet stand for and bear allegiance to that which was taught them during their upbringing years; too often, apparently, taking precedence over the U.S. Constitution and subsequent passage of laws by democratic procedures. We must remember when conducting business in this nation that the freedoms we have were fought by war to establish while people died to keep and sustain them.  They were organized into a document, signed in 1787 by the founding fathers, those persons who were among the earliest advocates...

Read More
  • 1
  • 2