The people in my country are fighting again over who has rights and who does not. I keep asking myself why it is that when most people push for what they call “equal rights,” they usually mean that they want to get things all their own way, even though it means stomping all over someone else’s rights. Freedom is a two-way street, and any man or woman who wants to have the “right” to live his life in the lifestyle he chooses SHOULD also want every other man and woman to have that same freedom.
Not so these days. As many of my national and international readers know, we are in a battle over whether our government can force a private business owner to do business with every single person who comes to him, even if he has reasons of good conscience for refusing to do business with some people.
It seems very simple to me. Anyone who owns a business should be able to decide whom he does — and does not — do business with. And why should I, as a potential customer, want to do business with some guy who doesn’t want my business anyway? Why should I want to make him money?
But I digress into whimsy. Let me get back onto what I really have to say. This post is simply my way of speaking my own mind and trying to look at the issue sanely. My readers are welcome to read and comment — as long as comments are mature and kindly-spoken. Or if you are the kind of reader who would rather not get into the heavier stuff, just breeze on by and look around the site for some of the lighter offerings.
FREEDOM IN DOING BUSINESS
So … What Is This Thing Called Freedom?
I have my own personal tutoring/editing business. And when I, as a tutor/editor, do not have the right to choose to work with one person and not another — for any reason I deem important to me — then MY freedom has been taken away. And quite frankly, if I am put in that position, I will most likely move to another country where I can still have that freedom. There are still some places in the world where they know the meaning of the words ‘freedom’ and ‘personal rights’ even if the United States seems to have forgotten the definitions.
I do not require other people to live the way I live. They can choose to live any lifestyle they want. But I should also be free to live any lifestyle I choose, and if I choose a lifestyle that includes quietly not interacting with some people — for whatever reason — then I have as much right to live my choice of lifestyle as anybody else.
And unless my business is connected to the U. S. government, I am the one — the only one — who has invested my money, my time, my blood, sweat, and tears into building that business and making it prosper. None of these other people have done one thing to assist my business. Therefore, morally, I am the only one who should have the right to decide with whom I do that business.
True freedom is a TWO-WAY street. but I’ve noticed over the past decade that our government seems to think that only gays, lesbians, and Muslims have rights worth fighting for. Certainly, they do have rights, but so do the rest of us. Where are the government interventions and legal battles on behalf of numerous Christians who have been robbed of their rights? It’s past time we started seeing a little fairness in our society. In fact, I’d just like to see a return to a little sanity period.
Let’s look at this situation more concretely. I once had an author request my editing services for his book. As I read the manuscript, I realized that his story was promoting, in depth, a demonic religion. The man actually had talent as a writer, and he was not offensive to me. However, as a committed Christian who tries to live every part of my life so that it agrees with and pleases Jesus Christ, I could not, in good conscience, devote my God-given talent, time, and energy to helping him polish and publish a piece of literature that I believe is a slap in the face of Jesus Christ — and that will lead other people into deception and possibly a life of demonic practices that will take them into an eternity without God.
As kindly as I knew how, I explained to him what was in my heart and told him I just could not agree to do the work for him. I did not try to pressure him into believing what I believe, and I did not demean him in any way. He also acted in a manner befitting someone who wants equal rights for everyone. He did not take offense. He has his own beliefs, to which he is equally committed, and he willingly allowed me to have mine without trying to beat me into submitting to his beliefs. He simply found a different editor who did not have a problem with doing his book.
I also have a friend who is a lesbian and a very creative writer. I have done editing for her a number of times, but she knows that I cannot work on material that promotes lesbianism because of what is in my own conscience. Does she take offense at that or run off to find a lawyer to take me to court to try to force me to edit her pieces that include lesbian subject matter? Absolutely not. And why not? Because this person cares as much about me and MY individual rights as she does about her own. So I work with her gladly whenever I can, and she understands that her works that cover subject matter I’m uncomfortable with will need to be dealt with by someone else.
Now those two transactions are from my real life. So let’s take a look at a transaction that has not happened in my own life, but which represents some transactions that have come to light during this political battle. Let’s take a Muslim baker. Suppose I go into his bakery and order a cake for a special event, and I order these words for the top of the cake. “Jesus Christ is Lord! Mohammed is a Fake!” Should that Muslim baker be forced by the U. S. government to bake that cake and write those words on the top of it? They go against everything he believes and lives for, and must, undoubtedly, grieve his own soul. Of course he should not be forced by anyone to bake that cake and write those words. He should not be forced to do business with me.
But here’s the real issue. I, as a person who genuinely cares about everyone’s individual rights, would never even think of asking that Muslim baker to do such a thing. I have more respect for him than that.
And my point is that he — and all gays and lesbians — and all illegal immigrants — and all other groups who keep shouting for “equal rights” — should also have the same respect for me — and all other private business owners as well.
These two real-life transactions — and the imaginary one with the baker — are perfect examples of enactments of true freedom — not the hyped-up liberal, bulldozer kind of legislation that we’re seeing coming out of Washington, D.C. today.
It’s time to get back to the original concept of “equal rights” in this nation and to get on with the job of safeguarding true freedom the way we were intended to do it.