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#CakeGate: can you refuse service on the basis of faith? Show more Show less

The cake that Colorado baker Jack Phillips refused to bake was the kindling that lit a nation-wide discussion in the USA. Can a business deny service to an individual on the basis of their sexual orientation? As the Supreme Court came to a verdict in favour of the baker, the narrowness of the ruling still left the question unanswered. The baker was quickly followed by others who stood up in solidarity of his beliefs such as the Richland florist and the Kentucky county clerk. The resultant discussion has pitted religious freedom against the civil liberties of same-sex couples and LGBT individuals.

Some kinds of service can be refused on grounds of religion but not all Show more Show less

Certain acts violate one's freedom of conscience so one shouldn't be forced to perform them, however, one shouldn't be able to refuse service to someone on basis of their innate characteristics.
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Service should not be denied because of someone’s view on identity

The idea of what identity is has changed considerably over the last couple of decades. Gender and sexuality have become more diverse than it was in the early 21st century. Unfortunately, many religions don’t approve of these changes because they don’t acknowledge them as identity.
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Context

Homosexuality and sexualities beyond heterosexual behavior has been regarded as unnatural for centuries. Often, people who weren’t heterosexual were murdered or mistreated. He same went for people who identified as a gender other than male or female. In 2009, the Matthew Shephard Act became a new anti-hate law against people who weren’t heterosexual. In 2015, the Supreme Court could not ban same sex marriage. In 2017, transgender individuals were acknowledged for the gender they transitioned to. Society has changed to include people of all genders and sexualities as equal.

The Argument

The idea of identity has changed over the years. People used to identify mostly as heterosexual and cisgender. Currently people can be gay, asexual, transgender, or non-conforming. But new identities have butt heads with religion. Some religious beliefs, especially Christianity, believe that there should only be two genders and heterosexuality. Homosexuality is considered a sin to these beliefs. However, as the world changes, what might be considered sin to one person, is the identity of another. It would be insensitive to decide that one’s identity doesn’t matter because it’s different from the norm. This also applies to service to customers. Service should not be denied to someone who identifies differently than past standards. Identity is who someone is. That’s something that no one can change.

Counter arguments

Religious people believe religion is their identity. Identity is a set of values that someone upholds in their life.[1] Religious people follow their religion to the point of changing their diet and lifestyle. Since religion is someone’s identity too, it would be impossible to punish a business owner for being who they are. Business owners put their values into their business. Their religious identity goes alongside their work. They pour their lives and heart into their business. Therefore, someone’s identity is a sin to them and there’s nothing wrong with the owner expressing it that way. Rejecting service to people who don’t believe the same thing they do is what’s best for the business. It would be getting rid of people who don’t share the values of the business. If someone doesn’t agree with the values, they should find business elsewhere. It doesn’t warrant a civil case against the owner.

Framing

Premises

[P1] Identity shouldn’t be considered a sin to religious people. [P2] People shouldn’t be denied for service because their identity is different according to social norms.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] The owner gets to decide according to their belief whether they’ll consider someone’s identity a sin or not. [Rejecting P2] Denying service to people because of their identity would support the business’ values.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/identity
This page was last edited on Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 16:57 UTC