Interesting.  No matter how you look at it, tolerance and common sense are lacking on both sides of the “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” story out of Oregon.  On one side you have those supporting Oregon’s Equality Act of 2007, which does not allow businesses to deny service based on sexual orientation. There is an exemption for religious organizations and schools, but private businesses cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation, race, sex, age, veteran status, disability or religion.  On the other hand, you have business owners wishing to express what they feel is their right to run their business according to their beliefs and see this as government intrusion into their freedom of religious expression.  Be careful what you wish for, too many cooks spoil the batter.

Mmmm. the tolerance is baked right in!

Mmmm. The tolerance is baked right in!

One thing I never quite understood was why a business would limit themselves and their market by taking such a stand.  Turning away business is never a good business plan, but then again, if you are so motivated by your beliefs, who am I to tell you how to run your private business.  Hey, at the end of the day it’s eggs, flour, butter..well, maybe my wife could fill in the blanks given the fact that my baking skills are limited to what I can pour out of a box and put in the oven, sometimes I remember to put it in a pan.   Money is money, you’re in business and in these economic times why add more turmoil and push away sales?

Unless your freedoms are being infringed upon.  Why does someone have the right to force you to do business with them?  Does “Sweet cakes” hold a monopoly on wedding cakes in the small town of Gresham, or Oregon for that matter?   Why would you want to do business with someone who doesn’t want your business anyway?  Is anyone forced to buy her brand of “Sweet Cakes?”  Surely there must be a market for gay-friendly businesses.  If not, why not?  Based on the outpouring of support for the offended lesbian couple, one would think that there’s quite a boom market for it.  And of course, as with the totally tolerant, militant actions turned against Melissa, if you drive enough of these “bigotry themed” businesses into bankruptcy, you’ll certainly need someone to fill the void.

Personally, I think the law of unintended consequences is in play here, the slippery slope greased with lard in this case.  Instead of the marketplace driving these decisions, it’s intolerance of Melissa’s beliefs that are behind the threats to her and her family, harassment of her suppliers, possibly the vandalism and definitely the reason why they are being investigated by Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries.  Of course, the ever vigilant left is quite sure that the Klein’s are hateful.  Hateful people.  Unlike those who are hoping that the Klein’s children become ill, or that he should be “shot or even raped.”  No, those are principled people, looking to right a wrong, “send out the cake or we’ll burn down the village.”  Yeah, those tolerant people.

I don’t have much need for hate on either side.  Don’t like my face and don’t want my business?  I’ll get my muffins elsewhere thank you very much.  I don’t care what your beliefs are, I’ll certainly never darken your doorstep again, and make darned sure that my friends and neighbors know about it.  Problem is, maybe my neighbor isn’t too fond of my face either and just might want to stop by and pick up a cruller in support of said bigoted baker.  Hey, it’s his choice too.  But maybe if I stamp my feet hard enough, maybe make some threats, I can close the guy down and all other closeted bigots will be forced to get their whoopie pies elsewhere.  Hey, I’m just practicing tolerance.  Well, forced tolerance on the part of others, as I want what I want, period and I’m willing to go all “scorched earth” to get it.

It’s not going to be long before some repugnant anti-gay person demands to be served by a gay business.  Or a hate group drags a minority businessman before the “Bureau of Labor and Industries” tribunal and he is fined and bankrupted.  Then where do we stand?  Are we really willing to force others to give up their beliefs, whether we find them offensive or not so we can get just the cake we want or to prove a point about how tolerant we really aren’t but believe we are?  I seriously doubt that putting someone out of business because they don’t share your beliefs is any more tolerant than them refusing to sell you a cookie because they don’t agree with yours.

Of course, once your view of tolerance is backed by the full weight of the government, you can sleep better at night knowing that you won, you’re better, smarter, moral, in the right or however you want to paint your victory.

You’re still mixing a bitter batter….Enjoy that cake.

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