Barring discrimination in public accommodations began because people thought it abhorrent that a business would deny service to someone because of their race, and so those of different races could be treated just like others from another race. Discussion on “right to refuse service” aside, it was a desire to be treated just like everyone else and have access to the same goods and services as others.
This began to mutate, though, to not only ban discrimination against people on some perceived unalterable status, such as being “trans-gendered” (even though “gender is just a social construct”) but require the business to use their personal creative abilities to express a moral message, or participate in a activity with a moral component.
This is a very clear distinction that the courts have largely conflated. But by the conflation, we’ve gone from telling businesses who they can and can not serve, to what they can and can not serve.
This surrender of fundamental liberties such as free speech, religious freedom, &c. is excused as being allowable because it involved commerce. Elsewhere in the world, 1st Amendment protections do not exist and governments are free to limit them whenever they want. That these liberties have been deemed limitable in the United States has been predicated on the idea that one has less rights when engaging in regulatable commerce, or otherwise providing a “public accommodation”.
But the idea of what a “public accommodation” has been expanded to anything that is not a closed members-only establishment, such as a church. The Iowa Civil Rights Commission is pushing gender identity guidelines that explicitly deny freedom of worship for any “church service open to the public”:
“The guidelines, published in a ‘public accommodations providers guide to Iowa law’ contain the usual nondiscrimination catch-all phrases, noting that a ‘public accommodation’ commits an act of gender identity discrimination when it, to take a few examples, intentionally uses names and pronouns inconsistent with the person’s ‘presented gender’ (whatever that means), refuses access to preferred bathrooms, or even ‘indirectly’ advertises that a transgender person is ‘unwelcome’ or ‘not acceptable.’
“Incredibly, the document contains an FAQ specifically directed at churches. Here it is:
“DOES THIS LAW APPLY TO CHURCHES?
“Sometimes. Iowa law provides that these protections do not apply to religious institutions with respect to any religion-based qualifications when such qualifications are related to a bona fide religious purpose. Where qualifications are not related to a bona fide religious purpose, churches are still subject to the law’s provisions. (e.g. a child care facility operated at a church or a church service open to the public).”
So, if a church or a mosque quoted accurately from their own holy texts, they could be punished by the state. This is already the law of the land in Canada.
It is now illegal in Iowa to preach a religious message openly that the government does not approve of. This is just as expansion of what bakers, florists, and photographers have been suffering these recent years. This ever expansive realm of “public accommodation” has now gone beyond the barrier of commerce to encompass censoring of public dissent. As New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Richard Bosson stated in a concurrence in a case against a New Mexico photographer:
“In the smaller, more focused world of the marketplace, of commerce, of public accommodation, the Huguenins have to channel their conduct, not their beliefs, so as to leave space for other Americans who believe something different. That compromise is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the varied moving parts of us as a people. That sense of respect we owe others, whether or not we believe as they do, illuminates this country, setting it apart from the discord that afflicts much of the rest of the world. In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship.”
Perhaps most frightening, is that what will or will not be punishable is unknowable:
“People can be accused and subject to this extralegal pestilence merely upon the basis of someone else’s feelings about being ‘unwelcome’ or ‘demeaned,’ not any tangible harm. In other words, the basis for prosecution can be completely irrational and subjective. This establishes an individual’s feelings as the sole criteria by which to judge the rightness or wrongness of another person’s actions. In other words, this process constitutes being subject to a judge and jury of one individual. The standard for ‘convicting’ the charged, according to the commission itself, is ‘preponderance of evidence, i.e. more likely than not,’ not the more stringent legal standard of ‘guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.'”
Thus in the name of “equality”, some people can arbitrarily and capriciously destroy a business, non-profit association, or even a church. Clearly, some… are more equal than others.
The only way to escape this is to become a strictly private members-only association. Though even then actual public accommodation by the state can be denies for dissenting from their view.
But even that won’t work for long.
The measures so far would be well enough for an authoritarian. But the people pushing this are totalitarian. They don’t just want you to say and do what they want, but to actively think and believe the way they want. They seek to crush and dissent and to mold people into cheerleaders of the “correct” way of thinking.
You will be denied employment because you said something politically incorrect, since the mere presence of a H8r will be considered “workplace harassment”.
You will be denied service because you said something politically incorrect, since failure to kick you out will cause “workplace harassment”.
They will say that you are still free to say and worship as you want, but that doesn’t protect you from the “consequences” of your actions because businesses are private and that they are free to associate with you or not… and they will say this with doublethink working in overdrive…
You will be punished even if you merely don’t agree with the “correct” thinking enthusiastically enough.
Even then, you will be punished for private thoughts and action, if you are ever found out, even when that privacy is a right guaranteed under the law! This is because when everything is a public issue, than you have no private existence.
Think the 1st Amendment will protect you? Ace of Spades HQ commenter Vanceone demonstrates the futility of that thinking:
“I’ve mentioned it before, but for a foretaste of what is coming, we have to look back at the Mormon Persecutions. Look at what the Feds did to the Mormons when they (the Mormons) were out of step with what the Fed’s thought marriage should be.
“The Mormons lost their church; their right to vote, hold political office, serve on a jury, even the right to not testify against your spouse.
“All legal, Constitutional, and upheld by the Supreme Court. In the 1800’s, when people actually respected the freedom of religion. The decision stripping Mormons of the right to vote? Davis v. Beeson? 9-0.
“If the Court did that back then… think about the chances of Sotomayer, Kagan and the gang standing up for a Christian now. There isn’t a chance.
“The Mormons had to literally go underground; moving in the dead of night, etc. We will probably see this happen again, except this time all conservative Christians get to join the party.”
Today they come for the churches.
Tomorrow they will come for your very conscience.
And you will be punished for it.
The Iowa Civil Rights Commission Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Guide: