Tolerance is a one-way street for them
The owner of "Hands On Originals," a well-known t-shirt company in the region, declined to print the shirts for the city's Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO) because it would conflict with their Christian convictions.
The privately owned company is now accused of violating Lexington's Fairness Act - which protects people and organizations from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
An attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund who is representing the T-shirt company says:
"No business owner should be forced to violate his conscience simply because someone demands it," he said. "The Constitution absolutely supports the rights of business owners to decline a request to support a message that conflicts with their deeply held convictions."
But the city says:
"Hands On Originals" will be "required by law to participate in the investigation."
"We have subpoena power and have the backing of the law," he said. "We are a law enforcement agency and people have to comply."
Should the company be found guilty of discriminating against the homosexuals Sexton said they could be subjected to fines.
Yes, friends, a city has a "human rights commission" which is considered a "law enforcement agency" that can force compliance with a law that would do precisely what the ADF lawyer claims it shouldn't have the power to do.
You'd think there'd be a solution that could be reached well before this is escalated to the use of government coercion, doesn't it? That is if all the GLSO wanted to do was buy T-shirts. And, a solution was offered:
GLSO wanted "Hands On Original" to print shirts for the city's fifth annual Lexington Pride Festival. The store offered to find another company that would honor its price - but that wasn't good enough for the GLSO.
"Our feeling on that is, separate but equal wasn't okay during the civil rights movement and it's not okay now," Aaron Baker told the television station. Baker is board president of GLSO.
That's right, it is agenda time. This isn't about T-shirts at all. It's about forcing their one-way version of tolerance on someone. The irony is that GLSO appears to have absolutely no tolerance for the principles of the owners of the T-shirt company.
Which set me to wondering. Here's a hypothetical for you. What if the owner of the T-shirt company was gay? And what if Westboro Baptist Church placed an order for 10 dozen T-shirts which said "God hates faggots" on them? What if the T-shirt shop owner refused the order because of his principles?
Same reaction? I'd guess no. In fact, I'd guess precisely the opposite reaction.
The T-shirt company owner wrote an op-ed for the paper explaining his point of view:
"I decided to pass on the opportunity because, as a Christian owner, I cannot in good conscience endorse groups or events that run counter to my convictions," Adamson wrote in the op-ed.
Adamson, who has been in business for more than 20 years, wrote that he "does not expect, or even ask, people to agree with my view."
"All I ask for people is to respect my right as an owner to not produce a product that is contrary to my principles," he wrote.
Adamson called on people to stand up for the rights of small business owners not "to be forced into producing a product with a message that conflicts with their beliefs and consciences."
The reaction was anything but tolerant or understanding of a differing view:
"Hands On Originals" has faced a barrage of attacks since the accusations were made public. More than 2,000 people have joined a boycott movement on Facebook. Another group is trying to buy the company's mortgage so they can be evicted.
The Fayette County public school system placed a temporary hold on buying t-shirts from the company until the issue is resolved. The University of Kentucky is also reviewing its future business with the t-shirt maker.
Even Lexington's openly gay mayor has condemned the privately-owned t-shirt company, telling the Lexington Herald-Leader "People don't have patience for this sort of attitude today."
"I'm against discrimination, period," Gray said in a statement released to television station WKYT. "It's bad for business and bad for the city. I support the Human Rights Commission in a full and thorough investigation."
Real tolerance is apparently unacceptable. The hypocrisy of GLSO is palpable. And trying to use the coercive power of government is disgusting.
Tolerance isn't a one-sided principle. If one wants people to tolerate their beliefs and lifestyle, it is incumbent upon them to do the same for others. If they actually believe in true tolerance, that is.
What is clear here is GLSO doesn't.
More disgusting, at least to me, is the inclusion of this ridiculous city level "human rights commission" as a law enforcement agency and it's obvious intent to force "compliance" against the conscience and principles of the owner.
There was a problem (GLSO wanted T-shirts, T-shirt company refused due to conscience), an offered solution (T-shirt company offers to find another producer at same price) which was reasonable and a rejection of that solution because the group has an political agenda and wishes to force the company to violate its principles and conscience. And which side does government take?
The side that wants to use its coercive power to force that violation.
Britain's featherbrained equalities minister
Lynne Featherstone is no Einstein. To say the Equalities Minister is of average parliamentary intelligence might be stretching the evidence. Even her colleagues in the Liberal Democrat party call her ‘Lynne Featherbrain’.
She is by some distance the Coalition Government’s weakest link. Television quiz show piranha Anne Robinson would make very, very short work of her.
It may, therefore, be regarded as a misfortune for the Government that this gum-brained specimen, this most palpable parliamentary dingbat, is the officer in charge of two hot political controversies (gay marriage and the right of Christians to wear a cross at work), which has put her at loggerheads with the Anglican and Catholic Churches.
In this confrontation, she resembles a nocturnal nudist caught in the headlights of a speeding lorry — part-comical, part agonising, likely to end in a squeal of brakes and nasty bruises.
Mrs Featherstone is in an intellectual muddle, though she does not seem to know it. Well, there’s a surprise! On gay marriage, the divorced mother of two presents herself as the champion of tolerance. Yet on the wearing of crosses, she is completely the opposite — so intolerant that she is using Government lawyers to fight her corner.
As the Mail discloses today, the latest legal document dispatched by her ministry dares to state crosses aren’t even part of Christian observance — and that if anyone wants to wear a cross at work where they are outlawed, well, tough, they can simply find another job. Not even Norman Tebbit in his heyday was that blunt.
The case is part of the Government’s fight in the European Court of Human Rights arguing against the right of Christians to wear a cross at work.
It involves two cases: a British Airways check-in assistant who was suspended after refusing to remove her small cross; and a nurse from Exeter who was not allowed to work on hospital wards unless she took off the cross she wore on a necklace.
In opposing these church-going women, Mrs Featherstone is going to the European Court of Human Rights (one of her favourite outfits) to argue against, of all bodies, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (another of her pet state organisations for which she has ministerial responsibility). The Commission, run by her old and very good friend Trevor Phillips, is supporting the rights of Christians.
What a tangle. Government minister fights state quango in a foreign court that we help to fund. British taxpayers are being stiffed at each and every expensive turn of the saga. And all concerning an invented controversy over tiny crosses that offend no one.
So who is this ‘Featherbrain’? Who created this embarrassment? Why is she still a minister? Though she was born in 1951, some feel she looks younger. Some might attribute her youthfulness to natural bounce or the redeeming qualities of whatever seaweed-yoghurty unguent the intensely fashion-conscious Lynne slaps on her pelt of an evening before retiring to her candle-scented lair.
Mrs Featherstone, who is of Jewish stock and whose family made its fortune from the Ryness electrical shops, is Lib Dem MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, a London seat previously held by an able (but unglamorous) Labour minister, Barbara Roche.
Mrs Featherstone’s 7,000 majority is testament to her skill as a local campaigner. She is regarded as a ‘good constituency MP’. But ‘good constituency MPs’ do not always, or often, make good ministers.
She owes her ministerial job officially to Nick Clegg, who had responsibility for picking the Lib Dem ministers once the Coalition was formed in 2010.
She and Mr Clegg are not particularly close, though. One hears that the Deputy PM views her as a liability and regrets not giving the job to someone with a bit less cotton-wool between her ears. Mrs Featherstone supported Chris Huhne in the Lib Dem leadership election, running his campaign. With such an intellect in command of his push for votes, it is perhaps no wonder the poor chap lost.
Now that Mr Huhne is out of Government (while he fights motoring offence charges), Mrs Featherstone may be vulnerable.
There are many Lib Dem MPs who think they could do the job better than her. Her stance on Christianity, while classically metropolitan, is unlikely to endear her to David Cameron in the week he spoke of a ‘Christian fightback’.
Her handling of the gay weddings controversy has been clumsy. Asserting her determination to have gay marriage on the statute book by 2015, she has attacked Church leaders for fanning ‘the flames of homophobia’ in the way some of them have opposed gay marriage. She went out of her way to proclaim her ‘liberalism’ and to deplore the ‘inflammatory language’ of bishops.
Speaking as one who happens to be relaxed about gay marriage, I would respectfully suggest that the ‘flame-fanning’ may have been done by the Government in coming up with this policy in the first place.
Perhaps that was the whole point of it, strategically, for the Coalition. Perhaps the Government intended to provoke a reaction from the Churches. That would ratchet up the controversy — and show opinion-formers at the BBC and in the Left-wing Press how ‘go-ahead’ and liberal the Government is.
A charitable reading of Lynne Featherstone might be that simply by occupying that berth at the Home Office, she helps to remind the voters, albeit in a daffy way, that this Government is a Centrist enterprise and not some extreme Tory regime.
But with tame Christians being tormented by the Government machine, there surely comes a time when the Featherstone joke has gone far enough. David Cameron and Nick Clegg must surely realise that the presence of such a lame performer in their junior ranks brings discredit to Parliament and makes Her Majesty’s Government look foolish.
BBC bias again
How many listeners, I wonder, were as baffled as I was by one of the main items on yesterday morning’s Today programme on BBC Radio 4, which went on to lead the nine o’clock news?
Clearly, the show’s producers believed they had stumbled on a shocking case of ministerial wrongdoing. But whichever way I looked at it, the only surprising thing they appeared to have uncovered was that a minister had done the job he’s paid for — and done it quickly, cheaply and well, for a change.
Indeed, I believe this was an absolutely classic example of the BBC’s semi-conscious bias — a textbook illustration of the way in which it moulds its reporting to fit its own world view, while only half-realising that it is saying anything controversial. But I’ll let you be the judge of that.
For those who missed it, the item began with a woman reporter telling us that back in February, an unnamed Downing Street source had been quoted as saying that Health Secretary Andrew Lansley should be ‘taken out and shot’ for his handling of the NHS reforms.
‘It was quickly contradicted by No 10,’ she intoned (balance, you see), ‘but this was a very low point for the Secretary of State for Health.’ Then, in a voice laden with accusation and ironic intent, she added: ‘Two weeks later, the headlines were much better.’
What had brought about this transformation, tut-tutted Today’s Sanchia Berg, was Mr Lansley’s response to a newspaper investigation that found doctors in specialist clinics (I’ll tell you which type in a moment) were systematically breaking the law on an epic scale.
First, he wrote an article warning health professionals that they were ‘not above the law’ (how dare he, eh?). Then he asked the official regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), to conduct snap investigations of 300 of these clinics over three days.
Sure enough, the regulator found that 50 were in criminal breach of their statutory duty to their patients. The police are investigating and several doctors have been referred to the General Medical Council for possible disciplinary action.
Are you shocked, yet, by Mr Lansley’s behaviour? Nor me. But now we reach the nub of the BBC’s charge against him.
Through a Freedom of Information request, Ms Berg tells us — and I wonder who tipped off Today to ask — the Corporation has obtained a letter from the chairwoman of the CQC to the finance director of the Department of Health.
In it, Dame Jo Williams complains that the Secretary of State’s urgent request for the investigation of the clinics meant nearly 600 planned inspections of care homes and hospitals would have to be ‘forgone’ (by which she must surely have meant postponed).
The request had had a ‘considerable impact’ on the regulator’s capacity to deliver its targets, she says. Furthermore, it cost an estimated £1 million (which the Health Department says Mr Lansley would have given her, if only she’d asked).
In case listeners were too thick to see what the BBC was driving at, Today’s producers helpfully wheeled on the Shadow Health Secretary to make the point for them.
Andy Burnham duly accused Mr Lansley of wasting money and disrupting the CQC’s work of safeguarding the vulnerable. And all for the sake of ‘chasing headlines’ to redeem his reputation after the disaster of the NHS reforms.
So far, so strange. A newspaper uncovers widespread criminality in health clinics. The minister responsible requests an immediate investigation, which takes only three days and costs a mere £1 million — less than one ten-millionth of the Health Department’s £105 billion budget.
The scandal is stamped out, the guilty face punishment . . . and instead of patting the Health Secretary on the back, the BBC swoops down on him like an avenging angel, flaming with wrath.
Indeed, the tone is set from the very opening words of the report, with that spurious reminder that someone had said the poor fellow should be taken out and shot. In my trade, this kind of reporting is known as a ‘hatchet job’. The question is: why is Auntie so angry with Mr Lansley?
I reckon I know exactly why. For unless I’m much mistaken, the one and only reason why the BBC went for Mr Lansley’s throat and thought it worth leading its news bulletins with the story is that the criminal behaviour on which he clamped down with such swiftness and efficiency was taking place in abortion clinics. And as we all know, the free availability of abortions is a central tenet of progressive thought, and therefore of the BBC.
The law states clearly that before a termination can take place, a consent form must be signed by the pregnant woman’s supervising consultant and a second professional, who has either seen her or studied her case history. This is partly so that no woman should go through what can be a traumatic procedure without first having discussed it with somebody qualified, who knows about her.
It's almost as though the 'progressive' BBC can't imagine that anyone would oppose the free availability of abortions
It's almost as though the 'progressive' BBC can't imagine that anyone would oppose the free availability of abortions
The Press investigation found, and the CQC confirmed, that in many clinics, doctors who knew nothing about the patient were leaving stacks of pre-signed forms for others to fill in her details. In other words, they were offering abortion on demand, which is banned by law.
Homosexual politician attacks British Government plans to allow same-sex couples to "marry"
One of Britain's first openly gay MPs has criticised Government plans to allow same-sex couples to get married as a petition opposing the move has attracted more than 400,000 signatures.
Former Labour minister Ben Bradshaw said the controversial move was 'pure politics' and insisted that Britain's gay community did not need the word 'marriage'.
His comments came as the petition on the No 10 website which supports keeping the institution of marriage between husbands and wives went over the 400,000 mark.
The petition, launched by the Coalition for Marriage (C4M), has now been signed by more people than voted in last year's local elections in either Birmingham or Manchester.
Mr Bradshaw, who is in a civil partnership, said that Mr Cameron was pushing through the plans in a bid to show how the Conservative party has modernised.
He told the Washington Post: 'This is more of David Cameron trying to drag the Conservatives kicking and screaming into the modern world.'
Mr Bradshaw insisted that Labour would support the plans, but he added: 'This is pure politics on their part. This isn't a priority for the gay community, which already won equal rights with civil partnerships.
'We've never needed the word "marriage", and all it's done now is get a bunch of bishops hot under the collar. We've been pragmatic, not making the mistake they have in the U.S., where the gay lobby has banged on about marriage.'
MPs are to be given a free vote on the plans in an attempt to stop a revolt by Tory traditionalists who are furious over the idea, which they say will redefine the institution of marriage.
The Government launched a consultation on the gay marriage plan, which could see the term 'husband and wife' officially axed from marriage laws, last month.
Scotland's Roman Catholic leader Cardinal Keith O'Brien recently caused controversy when the said gay marriage went against 'natural law'.
A recent poll by ComRes found that 70 per cent of the public believe the Government should keep the current definition of marriage.
Colin Hart, C4M's campaign director, said: 'The campaign is going from strength to strength and there is no sign of a slowdown in the number people adding their names to the petition.
'I welcome the comments by Mr Bradshaw, who has hit the nail on the head when he said that the Government is playing "pure politics" with this issue.
'Civil Partnerships already give the same legal rights to same sex couples that marriage gives to heterosexual couples. This squashes the Government's major argument for forcing through this change.'
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.