My husband, Shawn, recently posted this on his Facebook page: “I don’t think a venue should be forced to serve anybody. They have the right to deny customers especially when it goes against their religious beliefs. Apparently the government of my “fine” state doesn’t see it that way.” This was said in regards to this article: “Same-sex couple, wedding venue settle discrimination case” which was reported on by KSTP and then picked up by multiple news sites.
His opinion regarding this story was not appreciated, but I agree with it. You see, I own my own business. I have done so for 10 years now. Unlike the featured venue of this story, I have never turned a patient away for their sexual orientation nor will I, or Shawn. This is, in fact, because no one will ever get married at my office. However, we have had to refer patients to other chiropractors because they wouldn’t agree to an exam, or they were verbally mistreating our staff. There are likely 1000’s of wedding venues in this state. There are likely to be a good number which the gay couple that sued the venue would love as much (if not more) then their first choice. A venue that morally, ethically would be more then happy to allow the couple to get married. Yet, they went after this one because they upheld their religious belief to not allow a gay marriage at their establishment…and won. Why does the right of this couple supersede the rights of the business and it’s owner?
Do you know what it’s like to own a business? To market, advertise, fail, succeed, risk, stand out, ask others for referrals, worry, have people tell you no…over and over, doubt yourself, fail, wonder if you should close, make it through another month, more marketing, worry, more vendor fairs, failure, hours of prayer, fear, tears, sweat, more marketing, success until you either finally make it into the black or close your door. To put all you have into a business. To go into debt personally for the business. To pay yourself last and wonder if you will get a paycheck this month. When you own a business it is not a separate entirety from you. It is a part of you. Because this business is time spent away from your family and spouse. Or family time means cleaning or organizing the business. When you own your own business, you don’t get paid for your vacation and in our case we lose money if we are gone. Vacations that we do take are correlated with holidays or weekends to be away from our practice the least amount of days.
With all that we have invested, why shouldn’t we be able to say to a potential client ” I’m sorry but that goes against our religious beliefs. Here are 10 other locations that would be delighted to serve you.” However, because of my husband’s statement, this was one response: “And how can you blindly hate people you don’t know based on their beliefs and not on them as an individual. And then expect people to accept you and your beliefs.” As a Christian, this is often how the world views us. We “hate” these people, and blindly. I do not HATE the gentlemen in the story, nor any other member of the gay community. Nor do I hate them as a group. That is an INCORRECT belief that is held about me. It is also assumed that I MUST accept their lifestyle and THEIR beliefs, but I it is not okay for me (and the business which is owned, operated, financed, and worked by me) to uphold my beliefs. It is an oxymoron that I see over and over on the media.
Here’s the truth: I love God. I believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. I believe that no one gets to the Father EXCEPT through the Son. I believe that we “ALL fall short of the glory of God” aka we sin. All of us. Christians and non-Christians alike. I believe that I will never reach sainthood. I believe that Jesus will “come again to judge the living and the dead.” I believe that marriage is between one women and one man. I believe that life is sacred. I believe that no one has the right to take another’s life, whether at conception, 2 weeks after conception, 6 months after conception, at birth, or at any point later on in life. I believe that there is forgiveness for those who ask and repent. I believe that it’s my name on the paper as owner/president of my business and as such I get to decide to take you on as a client or not. Just as owner’s of our house, Shawn and I get decide who is welcome and who is not.
The media and others label what this business owner did as discrimination. I disagree. It’s deeper then then. It’s a mentality that if you think anything other then what I think, you are WRONG. Because my beliefs, ideas, plans supersede yours. It’s a mentality that if you don’t agree with the way I live or believe then I have a right to sue you and force you to believe as I do. This is, however, not a two way street. You will not see the business suing the couple for forcing them to hold their marriage ceremony. Or for forcing them to do something that violates the tenants of their faith. It is also primarily a mentality restricted toward those of the Christian faith.
Unfortunately, this mentality is a road we do not want to travel. Why? Because sooner or later you and I will be in a similar situation as this venue. Except we won’t be discussing our business, we will be discussing how we raise our families, how we discipline our children, the type of education we want our children to receive, what we choose to eat, what we wear, wether we smoke or not. You see it all begins with the “I’m right, therefore you must be wrong mentality” which is closely followed by the “since you are wrong, you need to (even if by force/law/court order) to do it right…which of course is my way.”
Are you prepared for the fight that will come when your belief’s are wrong? Are you prepared to protect your family against what the world perceives as right?