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The Freedom to Sell

May 18, 2014

Recently, Mississippi passed a law that would supposedly protect the religious freedoms of the people of the state, which of course is making people freak all out.  And the reaction of some of the businesses in the state is notable, per the San Francisco Chronicle.

The legislation was introduced by Philip Gandy, a Republican state senator who is also a Baptist minister, and found support from the Christian Action Commission, the Family Research Center, and the state’s division of the United Pentecostal Church. Before passage, a second Baptist pastor who serves in the Legislature, Republican Rep. Andy Gibson, told the Jackson Free Press that the measure was designed to “protect Christians in the state from discrimination.”

In response, some Mississippi business owners have started an opposition campaign under the slogan, “If You’re Buying, We’re Selling.” The campaign has already sold over 3,000 “We don’t discriminate” stickers that shop owners can place in their windows, and the stickers have spread as far Oregon, Tennessee and Texas. In New York, chefs are even protesting an upcoming Mississippi-themed catfish event in Central Park.

I say to both sides of this business argument: Good.  You people go.

How many people have ever raised an eyebrow at the signs that say, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone,” when they see them on a door?  If you see that, do you turn around and walk out just in case you know a class (or are of a class) that might be refused?  Or to another point, if a business decides not to participate in an economic relationship with another party, doesn’t that must mean that it’s turning down business?  Doesn’t it have the right to do that?

Let’s go another way, with all the discussions about Apple and Samsung in the press, does anyone for a second think that it’s about Apple not liking that Samsung is a Korean company?  No.

But this one still strikes me as people wanting government to make decisions that normal people could easily do on their own.  If you don’t like my place of business, don’t support it.  If I don’t want to sell you something, you have plenty of other options where you can likely buy it.  That’s both of our choices if you ask me.

I’m sure there would be plenty of people that would argue back that I’m suggesting that segregation was a bad idea.  No, because a lot of that was a specific restriction of public services.  Those shouldn’t undergo any blockage of access, obviously.  But what if I, as a business owner, don’t want to enter a transaction?  Is this a one-way street now where the customer can decide?

Let’s take things to the other extreme than most people are discussing.  Let’s say there’s a business that specializes in same-sex nuptials, and someone comes to ask whether they’d support a conservative Christian wedding?  Don’t they have the right to refuse if they’re uncomfortable?  Isn’t that denying themselves revenue?  Yes, and yes, if you ask me.

Where government gets into the picture, I worry that we all lose our rights.  So, bravo for both sides.  I hope they both get to weigh in the discussion.

Updated: First, thanks to Mike and Paul for the reblogs.  Very nice of the two of you.

Also, I wonder how far this could be pushed the other way?  I mentioned the wedding deal, but what happens if a gun store were to turn away someone wanting a gun for legitimate reasons, only to have that person sue for racism, or sexism, or whatever.  I wonder how far the left would let the legal system go on that one?  It could almost be a game… what hypothetical would cause either side of the aisle to break into furious spitting?  Feel free to suggest some…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Paul H. Lemmen permalink
    May 18, 2014 5:59 pm

    Reblogged this on Dead Citizen's Rights Society.

  2. May 18, 2014 5:57 pm

    Reblogged this on That Mr. G Guy's Blog.

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