Freedom of Conscience vs. Freedom of non-hurt “feelings”

Censorship is now ok, and soon freedom of conscience will be an artifact of the past. First they’ll brand us all “haters”, and our religion “hate”, and then they can force us to stop practicing our faith, I mean, “hate”.

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6 thoughts on “Freedom of Conscience vs. Freedom of non-hurt “feelings”

  1. Hi Bekah! I’m not really sure that I quite understand how this is censorship. Freedom of speech has always been limited to certain extents – both to prevent others’ rights from being taken away and just from the practical point of making sure society runs effectively. I just feel like saying it’s acceptable for companies or service providers to refuse service to people whose lifestyle they don’t agree with would lead to a lot of nastiness and division very quickly.

    1. You are right, I guess I wasn’t directly thinking of this particular example being censorship, I was more thinking of general rules of what people can and cannot say without repercussions. Honestly, I was thinking of our school’s incident report log. I’m sure the stuff that the kids wrote were offensive/wrong, but all the same, it bothered me that they were disciplined for it–even if it had been New Atheist vitriol, or something I disagreed with. I took some flak in undergrad, and it was deeply hurtful when people scrawled epithets on my door (dry erase marker), but I just wiped it off. The authorities shouldn’t get involved unless its a direct threat. People are free to cast slurs and lies, one fights words with words, not force. It’s the principle of the thing that makes me uncomfortable. That being said, it was not directly related to this incident, I was just saying that as an aside before I plunged into a new topic. Sloppy writing on my part.

      I think if the religious wars taught us anything, it is that social values that one disagrees with should be fought with other social values. Words with words. Not force. Force is only to meet force — to prevent direct physical violence and sexual exploitation, because those are both intrinsically violent. But otherwise, the gov’t (whose power is from violence) should stay out of the way.

      Without this, we’ll always devolve into inquisitions, thought police, and the extinction of freedom.

  2. Katie, for now it may appear to be quite innocuous—a cute and presumably somewhat decent photo of a well dressed couple smiling who happen to be the same gender. Perhaps you do not feel the threatening legal blade or the myriads of unclean demons harass your intellectual senses. But try to imagine several uncomfortable situations in similar “legal” fashion that could occur opposite to your opinions.
    1. What if the photographer was an immigrant who needed to support his starving family and wasn’t able to photograph a gay marriage because his religion forbade him to? (Should he be sent back to a less tolerant even anti-gay country, when he is a very kind non-violent individual who is doing his utmost to extend a compromise between his old society and his new society?)
    2. What if the society, city, and state was predominantly Muslim or Mormon and the wedding photographs of this gay couple would cause serious problems and social unrest and the photographer wanted to preserve the peace, keep everybody happy, and keep the gay couple safe by refusing to take pictures of them?
    3. What if someone requested a photographer to take pictures of them unclothed or in sexually provoking instances which the photographer believed to be wrong?
    a. (Is pornography to be deemed inappropriate by the photographer, the customer, or the government? Is there a way that pornography could be considered illegal, and is there a subjective way that someone could abuse that law? Is there a solution that could protect both?)
    4. What if several disconcerting events happened where a photographer believed it to be wrong:
    a. What if a non-western man wanted a photographer to take pictures of his child bride, and the photographer felt uncomfortable or believed it to be wrong? (supposing he could also not prove the age of the child to be underage or illegal)
    b. What if it was an ethnic wedding with ritual (and non-life threatening) cutting, and the photographer felt uncomfortable or believed (cutting oneself or each other) to be wrong?
    c. What if the wedding was ethnic, but because it wasn’t in English, the photographer suspected the bride was “forced” or threatened into being married, and he felt uncomfortable or disagreed with their religion?
    5. What if the photographer did not believe something to be wrong, but “felt” it was wrong—could he defend his own feelings to be legal?
    6. What if someone wanted or believed enough to take the above mentioned pictures, but could not due to their own physical+mental responses of wanting to vomit, having painful flashbacks, or severe panic attacks whenever he/she was around such instances? Could they refuse due to “personal reasons” –against such instances for not participating in certain “legal” behaviors?
    7. Supposing there was a wedding where anti-gay (but non-threatening) posters were in the picture that the bride and groom wanted the photographer to take—what if the photographer refused, and the bride and groom were of a minority religion and a different race and accused the photographer of being prejudiced for their “culture” including anti-gay posters?
    8. What if the photographer was gay, and planned to do a wedding, but the ceremony was so heterosexual or traditional that he felt uncomfortable or even disliked or disagreed with their religion or culture for being non-gay although no one was “anti-gay”, he didn’t feel it went according to his personal beliefs—but they were an ethnic and religious minority and would sue for religious violation?
    9. What if the religious/traditional people hired a gay photographer but then felt uncomfortable with him because of his lifestyle—could they not hire him? What if a gay couple hired a non-gay photographer but realized he was religious/traditional and didn’t want to hire him because of that?
    10. Where do you draw the line between personal feelings, beliefs, and “mental disabilities” that prevent someone from offering services?…Should one be more important than the other? Should the courts decide in each instance which is more important, or could there be a law protecting the private opinions and services of the individual?

  3. Hi Crusader,

    I definitely see where you’re coming from, and I do think that there is the potential here for a slippery slope. But I think most of your examples have a couple of key differences from the one illustrated in the cartoon: in some of them, the photographer is refusing the job because he believes that one of the people hiring him is in danger; in others there is a clear physical reason why he/she would be unable to do the job; in others he/she is being propositioned to undertake a job that’s not the job they’re advertising.

    I think numbers 1 & 8 are pretty analogous though. The thing that I don’t really understand is how it violates someone’s religious beliefs to take pictures at a gay wedding – it doesn’t imply that the photographer agrees with it, or even approves of it. And if it does, I don’t understand why those photographers will take pictures at heterosexual weddings even if the people getting married break the Ten Commandments or Gospel precepts in other ways. Does that make sense?

    I just feel as if there’s a slippery slope in the other direction, too – I’m not sure I really see the difference between the illustrated example and an example in which a photographer refused to take photos at a wedding (or serve people in a restaurant) because they were of a different race or religion.

    -Katie

    PS: Thanks for the thoughtful response.

  4. Thank you for the response. I made #1 to be a subjective situation thrown in to add drama, #8 obviously the couple won’t sue the gay guy for being “anti-heterosexual” because heterosexuality is a majority in our culture (currently) and they can easily hire a different photographer. However in other cultures being gay is not publicized for a reason. I realize there is much we could discuss, however let me give you a real scenario you are probably familiar with:
    In September 2012, a CIA operative Chris Stevens apparently got leaked by someone close to the White House that he was gay, and a planned mob (with weapons on the anniversary on 9/11) quickly ensued. Apparently the President quickly realized it was due to a “video” on youtube that apparently was made by Coptic Christian. So I saw the supposed video and recognized a hash of clearly 2 different movies, 1 raunchy bed-sheet decked bunch of idiotic college students “arabic” one where the actors all claimed they didn’t know it was about–with subtitles dubbed in to say “mohammed” (the dubbing was a bad job—and it was in a non-english speaker’s voice) the other hash was a Coptic Christian movie revealing the violence done in Egypt with family actors (not porn)—and guess who got in trouble?
    a) The secret White House authority/President that commanded the marines to stand down (a.k.a. not help)
    b) The marines/special ops that disobeyed orders and saved the 30 people that the White House didn’t want saved (2 of the heroes died)
    c) The mysterious CIA/White House authority who “leaked” that CIA Chris Stevens was gay to the press where he was staying before the mob occurred
    d) The guy who made the X rated raunchy bedsheet decked “Arabs” movie
    e) The guy who uploaded the hash of videos or dubbed in “mohammed” with a foreign accent
    f) The Coptic Christian filmmaker who is fleeing for safety in America

    As you know, apparently the Coptic Christian who fled to America got arrested and imprisoned (and still is) because Obama and Hillary claim he should be… Obama said it was the video’s fault—so apparently if a mob kills people, it’s not their fault, and it’s not the fault of the U.S. gov to protect their citizens&operatives, it’s the filmmaker’s fault–(either “free speech” + pornography?) And Hillary told the dead Marine’s father they would arrest and punish the filmmaker.
    1. Yes pornography is a problem—it shouldn’t be legal or protected under “free speech” when it isn’t speech and it isn’t free.
    2. Free Speech is not the same as threatening to kill, rape, or physically disable someone—sorry that’s not legal or promoting life and liberty. However threats are not the same as the actions they threaten. So if I murder you for threatening to murder me, guess which is worse?
    3. Bringing rockets, weapons, and a mob on a certain anniversary of terrorism towards a certain country whose people has “offended” your religion at a CIA headquarters—instead of say bringing a request to an embassy doesn’t sound spontaneous, caring, or protesting anything. In fact it’s not even hurting youtube (which under Google is funded by U.S. tax dollars)
    4. So my last question: Will youtube put on less pornography since this apparently sparked violence? Will Libya outlaw youtube for their citizens or create a censorship panel? Will Muslims attempt to (in a lawful way) speak out against the hurts of pornography, the obscenity it does for all religions, the blasphemy pornography does to a single person?
    5. —or will they let the U.S. President and then Secretary of State punish a movie-maker (due to tax evasion/name changing of course) instead of Youtube, the other filmmakers, the other obscene actors, because they really think the Copt is to blame for showing the violence done to people he knows in his own country due to violent islam?
    6. Will Americans continue to allow the President to condemn and arrest people—particularly immigrants fleeing violence in their country—for whom he considers the criminal? Is this the proper way that a violation of free speech should be treated?
    7. If this Copt really is a violator of a false driver’s license, tax evader etc.—then shouldn’t all the other illegal immigrants who are getting special privileges from the White House also be condemned? Or is it only Immigrants who speak out against the wrongs that happen in their country the ones who need to be silenced?
    8. If this Copt really is arrested for being the maker of this youtube movie, then shouldn’t this be verified in a scientific fashion, who the uploader of the youtube movie was, who the real makers of the movie was that compiled it by examining in its computer algorithm to see if it was messed with, spliced with, dubbed etc. and see if the programs were the same? And shouldn’t the other movie makers who did the pornography also be brought to trial and similarly treated?
    9. Finally, the Marines that were commanded to stand down said that not only was it the white House that told them “NO” 3 times from protecting U.S. citizens, but that the only go-between the CIA and the military should be the President. And is the President going to explain why or who or what the reasons were for not protecting the CIA? But instead Hillary resigns and takes “blame”—for what–blaming others?
    10. Is Obama going to tell Libya that they were intolerant/homophobic of Steven’s lifestyle and that their country needs to be more tolerant of such people? Or is Obama going to tell Youtube there should be less porn? Or is Obama going to tell Libya that they should have better censorship on youtube?
    Or is it really all about free speech, about speaking out against terrorism and religious persecution that is illegal AND THEN we can persecute the immigrants (who have lots of benefits but no rights—because then they are indebted to the government), AND the Ethnic minorities (because their country will not be a voice of defense for them), AND the religious minorities (because they disagree with our mainstream ones), AND not protect the homosexual CIA operatives (because they might not be on the right side)…So in the end it really isn’t about Truth, morality, or God. It’s about Power, Control, and death.

    We find a crossroads where homosexuality/sexual immorality, violent Islam, and Socialism/dictatorship meet—and it’s not pretty. How do we make them all work? By bowing our heads, and letting them cut us up, feed us with lies–tearing away our soul that is longing to be free? The world, the flesh, and the devil can promise us peace, pleasure, or power—but they only bring us misery, death, and corruption. Only Jesus can save us—and not the church or the law or the government. Because only Jesus can transform the church, the law, and the government. He alone is the way, the Truth, and the Life.
    Only Jesus’ power can cast out our demons—our slavery to sexual sins, our drug addictions, our mental illnesses—and give us a desire to change.
    Only Jesus’ teaching can change and influence our laws to promote freedom like the Puritans and Deists and Presbyterians did to create our Constitution and declare that all men were equally CREATED and that their Creator endowed them with the RESPONSIBILITY and right to protect life and liberty which is the pursuit of happiness–and that’s not “tolerant” of sexual immorality, violent religion, or government dictatorship.

  5. Dear Crusader, I was a little daunted to read your multi-pointed post, so I apologize if I restate something you have said. But I’m imagining a person refusing, on moral/religious grounds, to be a wedding photographer at a nudist wedding. Nudism may be considered perfectly moral & valid in the eyes of its proponents, but most people would not fault a photographer for declining the job on moral grounds. Somehow, Christians are not allowed a similar response just because the religious views of some Christians are increasingly not considered valid by secular society.

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